Stuff of the Day

Update: Slightly better today – Rodney popped my back a little yesterday at work, and it helped a bit, but it’s fresh anew this morning.  He mentioned something about a pillow, and said that I might have “a little neck thing” and that that part on my inner shoulder blades is there neck issues would show up.

Still very happy about being able to open my car door from the inside.  Such a small thing, but so appreciated after being deprived of it for a week and a half.  Jimmy also got me a front license plate mount ordered.

Got paid today.  My financial status has changed from “broke” to merely “poor.”  Rent paid, electric paid, ordered more cat food, ordered a surprise for someone.

Link of the Day: “The Spy Who Accepted My Friend Request”

Spam of the Day: “As catwalk in refill. An a willpower.”

Funny of the Day: Craigslist Wanted ad

Pic of the Day: The truth about Godzilla

Quote of the Day: “There is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults.” – Thomas Szasz

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Yet More Car I$$ues

So, the last time I got my oil changed, 3 1/2 weeks ago or so, the guys at the Advance Lube place told me they thought there might be a transmission leak. Ohhhkay. Not something I liked hearing, but better to hear it from someone who just put fluids in my car, and in enough time to see about getting it looked at and hopefully resolved. Monday a week ago, I called our mechanic (Jimmy Sarandrea, at World Class Automotive, an excellent, honest, straightforward mechanic with very good knowledge of domestic and asian import cars), and they were booked up fully for that week. Yesterday afternoon, my dad and I swung by his shop after work (I was giving my dad a ride, as he took his truck in to a body shop yesterday morning to get it fixed from where someone hit his parked truck in the parking garage a while back), and he said he could look at it if I brought it in this morning.

Tired and groggy, I drove my car to Jimmy’s shop this morning, dropped it off there, and got a ride to work from my dad. By 9:30, I had news: there was a minor leak from one of the transmission seals. Not a big deal, in itself . . . but, I also found out that the entire steering rack needs to be replaced, as there was a significant steering fluid leak and the steering rack had issues. So, looking at at least $600 . . . and then after clearing a short-term loan from my dad to be able to go ahead and get stuff done, I find out that it’s also going to need new tie rod ends, and an alignment. Yay. 🙁

Getting it done, I need a reliable, functional vehicle, but it’s going to make me poor for about the next month. It’s going to take what I have in savings (which was already mostly money I had earmarked for repaying my dad for the last round of repairs on this Acura), most of the money from my check this Friday after I pay rent, and a significant chunk of my paycheck on the 16th to pay for all this. Oy.

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Stuff of the Day

Update: I’ll be honest, I’m not particularly inspired to write/post right now.  This is pretty much just for Ivy.

Weekend was pretty good.  Spent it with my Kara, we entertained ourselves inexpensively, ate very well (perhaps too well, I need to not be poor again soon so I can afford to get back on my diet), had a lot of fun and many good snuggle times.  Weather most of the weekend was dreary.  I really kinda wanted to see about playing with/test driving some cars Saturday (though Kara really didn’t seem too keen on that idea), but the weather wasn’t cooperative for that.

Entirely too broke right now.  I had to borrow money from a friend until this upcoming payday on Friday so I could afford food to make sure I’d have something other than hamburger and ramen (not the end of the world, I’ve been worse off) and be confident of having enough gas my dad’s van I’m currently driving to be able to get to and from work this week.  Heard from Littlefield Automotive earlier, $350 to get my car from them.  Then haul it to Lubbock this Friday afternoon, and see what the Saab place there says it’ll cost to get things all fixed up.  I’m worried about what they’ll say.  I hope it’s a reasonable figure at all.  Even if I end up in (further) debt to my dad for a year or more, I’d really like my car back in proper working order.  I miss it.  I do like it.  I’d really rather not have to buy something else on the cheap right now.

Link of the DayStudents for an Orwellian Society

Spam of the Day: “Colo Cleanse Plus”

Funny of the Day: Burned by a pharaoh!

Pic of the Day: Irresistable geekette earrings

Quote of the Day: “Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” – Douglas Pagels

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Worst Customer Service Ever, and Another GenCon Pic

Bounce Energy has absolutely the worst customer service I’ve ever experienced with any company.  Some of you may have read about my ongoing issues with them, which basically started with them screwing up from the very first day I had service with them.  They billed me for the wrong ESID #, for the wrong address.  Getting that sorted out, my proper ESID added, and getting the charges they tried to lump onto me for fixing THEIR mistake, and simply getting my bill straightened out has taken months of frustration.  I’ve been flat out lied to by Bounce CSRs, I’ve seen them repeatedly ineffectual at following through on what should be relatively simple changes/fixes that I was PROMISED by their supervisors would be handled that day, or the next . . . and I’ve received precisely a total of TWO return phone calls from anyone from Bounce ever.  Yet I’ve been told I’d be called back by someone there (after my issues were resolved, of course) probably a dozen times.

Yesterday, I got home from work, to find my apartment oddly quiet.  Why?  Because my apartment was devoid of power.  They’d frigging disconnected me.  By mistake/accident.  In calling them, on my cell phone, to get this mess sorted out, I got disconnected/hung up on twice.  I was spoken to rudely.  I was berated, accused of lying, and told flat out things that contradict the pink piece of paper I was holding in my hand from Bounce – the one that told me to either call them, or use their web site online to make my payment to avoid disconnection. The final supervisor I talked to was so confused by my bill from Bounce, she ended up arguing with me about what I’d paid and suggested that I was disconnected because I didn’t pay enough.  I quite simply paid what their web site’s billing section for my account said I owed.  Simple enough, right?  My current bill is really amusing.  My current monthly charges, indicated on it?  $-42.99.  Then there’s the amount due for my Next billing cycle, not due until September 8th (Currently, nothing is due – zero balance – as the only semi-intelligent rep I spoke to observed, there’s no reason I should have been disconnected) is $137.01.  Oh, but if I wait until After the due date . . . it’s $134.86.  Wait, what?  I save $2.15 if I pay my bill AFTER the due date?

Lunacy.  Insanity.  Absolute, ludicrous incompetence.  After my power is turned back on, I’m looking for a new energy provider ASAFP.  I’m done with Bounce screwing up with me.

On more amusing notes, here’s something that’s just too awesome not to link:

Automatic Pancake Machine: 200 pancakes per hour

Next up, here’s the next GenCon pic:

This girl was actually featured on an article on this year’s GenCon in the Indianapolis Star: Despite recession, Gen Con Indy drew 27,900 I ran into her as she was waiting for the elevators on Saturday as I was heading up to grab food before my DM shift, and she was en route to the costume contest.

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Stuff of the Day

Update: Car news is sounding sucky thus far, and expensive.  TWICE module in my Saab is basically destroyed by corrosion.  Ugh.  He’s tried to find remanufactured ones for it, to no avail, and a new one has to be gotten from a Saab dealership, and is over $700 in cost (I forget the exact number, but I think it was closer to $800).  It also has to be programmed by a Saab dealership.  I’ve found a site called LostSaabKeys.com that says for $595 they can try to read the info off my old module, and if they can, and if the data isn’t corrupted, they can program me a new TWICE module and send it back to me.  Ronnie Littlefield thinks my TWICE module is too far gone to be able for anyone’s system to communicate with it at all, and advises me to just stop wasting money with him and get it towed to the Saab dealership in Lubbock and have them fix it all.

At this point, it’s more a question to me now of, what’s the sane cutoff point of money to throw at this car?

Link of the Day“Where I Write” pictures of SciFi Authors and where they write. (Thanks James)

Spam of the Day: “Look at cars they drive”

Funny of the Day: “That’s sexual harrassment, Lion-O.”

Pic of the Day: Spock’s Ship “Jellyfish” done in Legos

Quote of the Day: “I’m assuming it’s either ginger, or condom flower. I’m hoping for ginger.” – Kara

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Stuff of the Day: Lake Drive Edition

Update: This update is late.  A week and a day late, in fact.  I originally intended to post it last Thursday afternoon, after I had started having a fucking terrible day about 2 minutes after I stepped out of the door of my apartment in the morning to head to work.  Last week, things were really busy at work, quite hectic, as we were preparing for the software launch of our new version at work to our sister company (the Home Health Therapy company).  This week has been really busy too, and today is the first time I’ve had spare time enough at work this week to actually write something.  I have this spare time, because this morning, James “pulled the plug” and pushed the release back another 2 weeks.  This probably makes for a better product on launch, and a more prepared, relaxed launch . . . but it kind of bites, because I thought my weekend was mostly figured out: I was working.  For however long it took to get everything done.  Yay Overtime pay.  Now, I’ve got an entirely open weekend, with no money (not -technically- true, I’ve got like $8 left in checking after rent), and no transportation.

No transpo?  Yeah, getting back to the terrible fucking Thursday last week . . . It rained Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  Lots and lots of rain.  Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

That’s the sort of open field that dips down a little across from my apartment complex, and behind a host of businesses right along on the Loop 250 service road.  It stretches from this paved alley behind them that runs from Midkiff to my apartment complex, up to Caldera.  It was basically a humongous pond, or a shallow lake.  Unfortunately, so was a good stretch of Caldera.  I stepped out of my apartment that morning, greeted by this continuing rain, water all over the parking lot, in a rush to try to make it to work and Not end up a couple of minutes late.  I hopped into my trusty (so I thought) car, and drove across the parking lot, and saw Caldera underwater.  Hmm.

Keep in mind, this was right at pretty much 8:00 a.m., I hadn’t had been awake very long yet, and what little caffeine I had in me thus far had not kicked in yet.  I’m not fond of mornings at the best of times, unless I approach them from the “still awake from being up all night” angle.  This is the only defense I can make for the terrible decisions I made.

I decided I’d try to make it across a bit of Caldera to Crista Lane on my way to work.  This was a bad decision.  The water was really quite a bit deeper than I thought it was initially.  This is something I discovered as I was trying to begin my turn towards Crista Lane on Caldera, as my car’s engine sputtered and died.  Then, being sleepy and stupid and panicked, I tried to restart it.  Only afterwards, reading on the web, did I realize just how terrible of a thing that potentially is.

A City of Midland Transportation Services truck happened to come driving by (though the water – that truck has ground clearance of about up to my windows) right as I was getting stuck.  They radioed for for someone to come get me out.  A couple of police cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck all showed up, with a wrecker supposedly on the way.  Two firemen got out of their truck, put on waders, and pushed my car out of the water up onto Crista Lane – so the tow truck ended up being unnecessary.  Later that morning, Corey pointed out a bit on the CBS7 web site about a water rescue being reported in Midland “near Loop 250 and Midkiff.”  That was probably the host of vehicles with various sorts of flashing lights that showed up for me.

While I was waiting, in the water, I took a couple of pictures.  This one, when, hrm, I felt something wet on my ankle:

Water was coming up from under the car, through whatever various holes or crevices or whatnot, and filling my floorboards.  It got to being a couple of inches in each of them.  Not fun at all.

Here’s a view from my car while I was stuck in the effing water:

Tried to do what things I could Thursday afternoon after work, Friday after work, and then Saturday, to get my car driving.  No luck.  Sunday, Kara and Matt came over, and we pushed my car back to my apartment complex, parked right downstairs.  It doesn’t start, and the electrical system is haywire.  I reached out to my dad for help, having no other real alternatives.  Finally got my car towed on a car carrier to Littlefield Automotive Wednesday during lunch.  Haven’t heard anything from them yet, going to call in a bit and see what, if any news, they’ve got for me yet.

I’ve been really severely stressed most of this week and last weekend.  Stressed about my car, about everything going on at work right now in crunch time (well, until this morning anyway), stressed about money being entirely too tight until my next payday.  Having a non-functional vehicle, and that adding unknown added costs to repair it (or possibly end up getting a cheap used vehicle if repair on it is too costly to be considered feasible) and having to work something out with my dad, probably on a payment plan basis, just added heaps of stress for me.  Some of that is why I haven’t posted a damn thing on this site until today.  It was just something that so seriously wasn’t anything of a priority for me.

So, yeah, that’s a bit to catch things up.  All I really feel like writing about it for now anyway.  Linkage commences:

Link of the Day: SDCC 2009 Hot Cosplay Chicks

Spam of the Day: “Time For a New Copier?” – from, of course, Copier King

Funny of the Day: “Try and spell shield that

Pic of the Day: Interesting Top

Quote of the Day: “(760): I wish they had nachos that got you drunk” – another gem from TFLN

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Stuff of the Day

Update: Blah.  Not lots to say here.  Work was work.  I chatted for a decent amount of time and talked on the phone for a while with womenfolks (well, just one on the phone).  Watched the 2nd and 3rd episodes of the Torchwood: Children of Earth miniseries.  Had dinner.  That’s about it.  So happy that this week is coming to an end, looking forward to my date tomorrow night.

Got paid today.  Money from that paycheck has vaporized alarmingly quickly.  Cable, Verizon, Airfare to Indy for GenCon.  Yeah, that hurt.  $346 was the best I could score, even with The Priceline Negotiator working his dubious magic (not as magical as I had been led to believe).  Having to borrow some money from my Dad for 4 weeks so I can be sure I don’t starve and so forth.  Bounce Energy STILL has my account screwed up.  Called, left two different voicemails to people there (Though I don’t know if one of the extensions actually is anyone or not), filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and even griped on Twitter.  Someone at Bounce responded on Twitter and I emailed them about it, going with cut ‘n paste from my BBB complaint.  😉  I’ve got to budget for paying Bounce still this month, once I can find out what I actually owe them, and probably replace another wheel on my car (please god/universe/karma/luck/whatever, just be the wheel and not require the tire to be replaced now as well).

Link of the Day: Key/Keyring Combo

Spam of the Day: ” Are you looking for the Fountain of Youth?”

Funny of the Day: Lit-er-al?

Pic of the Day: Super Trooper

Quote of the Day: “Life is like a road trip. Sometimes, the road is smooth, the scenery is beautiful, and the weather crisp; other times, you break down with a flat across the road from a hillbilly with 3 teeth, playing a banjo and looking at you like a dented can of Spam out of the dollar bin at the local Piggly Wiggly.” – Kara

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Stuff of the Day

Update: Yesterday was a rough start to things for the week.  Did something I haven’t done in quite a bit: managed to go totally zombie and apparently shut off my alarms and oversleep.  Woke up to a text message at 8:18 a.m. from James asking if I was planning on coming in to work.  Eek.  Yes, but late.  *sigh* Symptom of the sleep deficit I was running on from the weekend I guess.  It was a Good weekend, though.

After work yesterday, I ran by HEB to pick up the second half of my Androgel prescription.  They of course didn’t have it ready, despite my calling in on Friday and using their automated system to request the (half) refill.  Which was supposed to be ready by 11 a.m. on Saturday.  I was really not very pleased.  Got it eventually sorted out, got my meds, grabbed some Atkins stuff, some eggs, and got out of there.  I’m a poor, poor boy until payday – and that paycheck is going to have to stretch a whole bunch of different ways already.

Said “yes” to a “want some company” message last night.  Ended up watching Yes Man with Mummy Chick – I was a tad amused, because if I hadn’t said yes to her on a general sort of “sure, might as well” basis, I wouldn’t have seen that surprisingly excellent movie.  I like the core concept the movie is based around a lot.

Link of the Day: My Jello Shocks post made it onto Mancouch – It’s so nice of them to repost my entire article there, but use my bandwidth for the images. :/

Spam of the Day: “Grow Giant Snake in Pants”

Funny of the Day: Hmm.  Maybe some sort of ass-garter system?

Pic of the Day: Uh, maybe not?

Quote of the Day: “My next cast is going to have shag carpeting.” – Kara

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Venting. Because I Need More Air Loss Today.

So, after I bought my Saab, after getting screwed over by the inspection company (if you ever talk to Rob at ASR, tell him to burn in hell, give me my money back, and then report his ass to the FTC), when I had it checked out at the Saab dealership in Fort Wayne, IN for some problems that cropped up, one of the things I was told was that 2 of the wheels (both Passenger side) were “slightly bent.”  It wasn’t bad, I’d probably be ok for a year to a year and a half or so.  That was . . . concerning, but I’ve dealt with it.  One of many little background niggling worries that I’d, eventually, deal with.  Part of my recent plans have been to get the wheels checked out locally (probably by Midland Frame and Wheel, as I was very pleased with them on the rear brake job, and they come highly recommended by a mechanic I trust, and they seem competent), and see what options I’d have for repairing or replacing the wheels.  Hopefully, repair would be viable.  I kinda like the stock Saab wheels.  I’ve looked into some stuff online for them, though, and repair (remanufacture), or replacement would be . . . costly.  Probably at least around $125 a wheel, possibly more.  Eeesh.  Then a full new set of Good (not super, but Good – probably Falkens or maybe Pirellis) tires.  This would happen in, hopefully, 2-3 months down the road, or possibly sooner if I got a sizable bonus from the software deployment at work.  Well, plans changed there, having a bonus at all is questionable, and when I might ever get a raise here so I can afford all of this necessary stuff is mystery as well.

This morning, an auspicious, lovely start to my day, I head downstairs, and notice, hmm, that’s funny . . . that (front passenger) tire looks low.  No, actually, it looks bloody flat. I hobble the car to work (thankfully it’s a very short drive), go tell James I’ve got a flat and am going to the tire place (Discount Tire, also, thankfully, very close by).  I hobble it there, park it right in front, apparently smack in the way of practically everything.  They were really busy.  I spent probably 10+ minutes waiting just to get talked to.  Told it’ll be 45 minutes or so before they can look at it and give me an assessment.  I call James, get a ride back to work.  Get a call a bit later.  Verdict?  Wheel is badly bent, they’re doubtful a new tire on it will even stay inflated.  ~$190 for a new wheel and tire.  Oh, and also, the rear passenger wheel is pretty badly bent.  It should really be replaced too.  Except I can’t right now.  I simply don’t have the money.  MAYBE I can swing getting another wheel (hopefully I won’t need another tire with it too) next paycheck.  The timing on this sucks ass.

So, went and picked up my car – $190.64 total – during the process of writing this post.  I’m past being angry now, and am just sort of weary and demoralized.  All by 10:15 a.m. today!  AWESOME!

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Stuff of the Day

Update: So, really scraping by super-tight right now, monetarily.  The 10th just can’t come quick enough for me.  I’m having to delay getting medication prescriptions refilled, and eating until then while trying to stick to my diet will be extra-challenging.  I thought I was going to be ok, but I realized yesterday that I had failed to account for the check to the dermatologist last week – which cleared this morning.  Meh.  Talked to a friend to see if I could borrow a little bit of money until the 10th, but he’s not able to help right now (which wasn’t surprising to me, he’s going on a vacation next week – to Vegas, which I really wish I could manage to join them on).

Tried to be mostly lazy last night.  Semi-succeeded, Mummy Wrap Chick came over, we hung out, watched Vexille, fooled around.  Mixed feelings there.

Chatted online with a good friend until probably slightly too late – I’m tired and cranky this morning.  But it was worth it, very enjoyable chat.

Link of the Day: Fancy Fast Food – via @kpereira

Spam of the Day: “Kelly Clarkson brutally raped”

Funny of the Day: Well, it IS a valid point.

Pic of the Day: Just Plane Awesome.

Quote of the Day: “just fyi, Sneezing while on the phone with TXU’s bill pay system Will get you put into the spanish speaking menu.” – Kara

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