Tag Archives: everyone is stupid

Click Here For More Clicking

A couple of weeks ago I had a question about my health insurance so I did what I thought was a sensible thing and went to the website.

The website wasn’t going to tell me anything until I created a username and password to log into my account. Once I was logged in there was a box that said I had 9 alerts.

Nine alerts sounded serious so I clicked on the first one which sent me to a different website and asked me to create a username and password.

I wish I was making this up. At this point I was determined to see what all this alerting was about and the first one led to a cryptic note about a test my doctor had ordered.

Then to see the next alert I was supposed to go back to the first website and start the process again. There was no way to navigate from alert to alert.

Needless to say, I felt that they should take their alerts and shove them. Then I made the terrible error of wanting to tell them this and spent another 15 minutes trying to figure out how to send them a note. Would the process maybe involve going from the first website to the second website? Why yes it did. I’m sure they are taking my suggestions to heart right this minute.

Meanwhile, somehow while I was clicking around between websites I got into a health survey which was 50 screens of questions about exercising and medications.

When I finally got to the end, I failed in two categories: alcohol and nutrition.

First of all, I don’t believe more than 5 oz. of wine a day is bad for you. Oops, accidentally typo’d that as 50 oz. at first. I do believe more than 50 oz. of wine a day is bad for you.

I take really good care of myself and I like to drink wine. There are oodles of other bad things I don’t do that the survey did not ask about so they can take my fail grade and shove it.

Nutrition I screwed up because I didn’t understand how to measure what I eat. Fruit? I have fruit in the morning. 1 serving. Vegetables? There are vegetables in my lunch and dinner: 2 servings. For whatever reason, a serving is a tiny portion. So I should have said 4 fruit servings and 15 vegetable servings. The survey thought I was starving. It wants me to take some positive measures to improve my eating and maybe sign up for coaching – which is tempting purely from a performance art perspective.

Finally, after all this I received a pedometer in the mail with congratulations on taking steps to improve my health.

WTF? Next time I need a healthcare service that isn’t covered I’m going to be pissed because I do not need a pedometer. My fitness is also fine and doesn’t need any canned advice based on the results of a poorly designed survey. Maybe there are people out there that benefit from this and if so, great but to me it seems like a waste of resources that could be put to better use.

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Cold Call

I usually avoid writing too much about work but this isn’t about my employer so I think it will be okay.

Not long ago a copier salesguy came by the office to tell us about his company. In my career I have told approximately 20,000 of these guys to take a hike but on this day, I was interested.

I welcomed him in, told him we would be looking at copiers soon. I showed him the copier we had and what the terms were and explained what we were looking for.

Him: Can you give me a copy of your copier lease?

No, I said.

He returned another day with his manager and they continued their spiel and brought some pictures of copiers and told us about some other services that we’d expressed an interest in.

Them: Can we get a copy of your copier lease?

No, we said.

Later I asked for a good faith estimate that we could use for our budget to take to our boss. I gave him at least 3 weeks. Two days before the I needed the numbers I followed up and asked if he could get me an estimate. Didn’t hear from him.

Over a week later I got an email.

Him: Can I get a copy of your copier lease so I can get you that estimate?

No, I said, and it’s too late anyway.

Later I told him we were seeking proposals and I sent him a sheet explaining what we were looking for and reminded him what we already had and what we were paying.

He sent me back an email that said what we were looking for didn’t need a proposal and they would lease us a machine and charge us based on what we used.

For reasons not related to this story, we’ve had to delay getting the new copier.

I just about dropped my teeth when a few weeks ago a different salesguy from the same company came in here to ask me if I was interested in talking about copiers.

I told him the entire backstory and he made an appointment to bring his manager in.

I had to cancel it because we had something going on here and when I called he informed me that *he* had to cancel and was intending to tell me this, “soon.” He would call back to reschedule.

And I’ve never heard from him.

Clearly, we decided not to do business with these people a long time ago. Colleague has asked me to stop talking to them.

But I’m dying to see how far this thing will go. How many times we can ask and still not have one useful piece of data about what their company can do for us?

[Note: I updated the post to clarify that they wanted to see our copier lease.]

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In Reference To The Stoves Required At This Post

I don’t like to wear sunglasses. I feel like I can’t see when I have them on. I have an sunglasses holder in my car and every once in awhile it will be super bright out (only about 3 days a year in this neck of the woods) and I’ll reach into the holder for sunglasses. Only there are never any glasses in there because I don’t wear sunglasses.

A few weeks ago it was really bright out and I reached into the sunglass holder and found these. We got them as a promo at a game last year but I don’t remember putting them in the car. They don’t really help with the whole, “I feel like I can’t see when I have them on” thing.

This morning I finished George Saunders. Then I picked up my Siskiyou County Historical Society publication.

With very little editing, the “Selected Entries from Military Notes from Fort Jones, 1852-1858″ could pass for a George Saunders story. It’s hard to find even a brief quote that conveys the dark hilarity of these letters. The gist of this particular exchange is that Fort Jones needs some cookstoves because they either have to cook outside or with some sort of stove that has chimneys made of mud and don’t draw well and all the food is sooty.

Here’s a tidbit from a letter from D.A. Rupell dated January 4th, 1855:

The condition of the chimneys, and the means now used for cooking, are a most serious annoyances to the officers, and a source of very great dissatisfaction among the men — and as the cost of material at this place with which to build proper chimneys would be very great, the length of time which must elapse before they could be completed, and the entire uncertainty of their being fit for use after they are completed, I think it would be a matter of economy, as well as justice for the A.A.Q.M. to purchase two cooking stoves for the above purposes if such purchase would be allowed by the Department.

Naturally, I have no sympathy since the letters also discuss one of the troops’ main purposes for being there: operations against the Indians. The book is called the Siskiyou Pioneer and Yearbook, 2012 and if you want to get your hands on a copy, try the gift shop.

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The Office Next Door

For reasons not completely clear to me, the wall between my office and the office next door is paper thin. The wall between my office and co-worker’s office is more substantial.

Way back when we moved in here I commented on it because I can hear everything that goes on over there. I’ve never had to work in a cubicle. Perhaps it is analogous.

Fortunately, whoever was using that space was hardly ever there and it wasn’t a problem.

Earlier this year, those people moved out and the business adjacent on the other side expanded into the space.

I might have whined about it during the construction process. It was loud and dusty and inconvenient and no one even took 3 seconds to come over here to talk to us about it. At one point it was so loud that I couldn’t hear people on the telephone and when I complained I was assured that they were doing something something so that it when it was finished it would be more insulated.

As it turns out, this is not true.

So far, the office isn’t in full time use but at least once a week their receptionist goes in there to make phone calls. Her voice is loud and grating and she talks a lot. Oh my. I know everything about everything in her personal and professional life. She is guilty of massive overuse of the word, literally. Sometimes after she’d been in there awhile I have to leave my office because the sound of her talking makes me want to stick forks in my ears.

It occurred to me that I could politely mention how thin the walls are except it’s financial firm and most of them are total weenies and when I complained during construction everyone gave me stink eye and make it clear they didn’t care. If it gets worse I’ll move my computer to the reception desk.

Meanwhile, the photo. I have been an office worker since time immemorial and we’ve always had these floor mats. The mats come with a lifetime guarantee and I am here to tell you that they last about 5 years, max. The lifetime guarantee is genius because it comes in the form of a sticker on the floor mat and it’s impossible to peel off without destroying. “Just present this sticker and your original purchase receipt for a full refund.” HA! Every time we buy a new mat I try to figure out how to get our refund. It’s not even the money, it’s the challenge. This last time I managed to peel off the sticker in about 3 big pieces. Then I couldn’t find the receipt. I have every office supply purchase receipt in the history of this office, except that one.

Next time.

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Like a Chicken With Its Head Cut Off

OOPS. Looks like I never clicked publish yesterday.

Ladies Room

It’s only Day 7 and I’m already losing steam for NaBlo. Soon you’ll find posts about the snoring man on the bus and how I organize my socks.

So you know how everyone has their Internet pet peeves? For example, incorrect use of the word: literally.

I’m sure it will come to no surprise to my loyal readers that I have a million pet peeves. My pet peeves have pet peeves.

And I always resist the urge to write about them because pet peeves are sort of like dreams, it’s much more interesting to talk about your own than hear someone else’s.

Unless that person shares the pet peeve. Then it’s love.

I started to keep them on a piece of paper next to my desk so I wouldn’t be tempted to write about them. Then the paper became too full so now I have a spreadsheet. It has two columns. The column for lazy writing clichés has 35 items and the column for hated and overused expressions has 31 items.

Sometimes I have to sit on my hands to keep from writing about “just this one this one time because it is so irritating and I hate it so much.”

Another reason I can never write about them is that almost every person I know including myself has used at least one of them before and I don’t want anyone to think I’m picking on them.

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Well, what if there is no tomorrow?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one:

I’ve had this post partially finished and saved in draft for days but haven’t had time to finish. The weekend got away from me and I’m behind on everything. My yard is out of control. The rain is destroying my will to live. I made *another* loaf of fail bread. I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.
It’s the same post every week.
I’m going to queue it up to post itself over and over and save myself from the existential despair of discovering that I am living some sort of twisted and ultimately unsatisfying version of Groundhog’s Day.

Here’s some news: I saw two movies in one week and neither one was The Avengers (which I’ve seen 3x and I would cheerfully go see it again tomorrow, if you asked).
First: Rock of Ages.
When I saw the trailer for this movie, I wanted my 3 minutes back. I thought it looked dreadful. I did not think I wanted to see Tom Cruise in that role.
I went on a movie date with my cousin and we saw this. It is totally off-the-rails crazy and also completely genius. Tom Cruise is amazing. If you enjoy 80’s hair band music, you should run to the nearest theater. If you hate 80’s hair band music, you might be happier if you stayed home.
The other movie I saw with my sweetie: Moonrise Kingdom
Wes Anderson is in danger of becoming a parody of himself but I loved loved loved it. This movie is brilliant. I loved all the acting. The kids, Bill Murray, Francis McDormand, Bruce Willis. Tilda Swinton plays a cold bitch — but it’s a different flavor of cold bitch than you’ve ever seen her do before. Bob already downloaded the soundtrack for me. I can’t quote my favorite line because it’s a spoiler so here’s one:
Watch out for turtles. They’ll bite you if you stick your finger in their mouths.

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Point of No Return

I’ve had a gift card for new exercise clothes since my birthday. I tried to use it at least a half dozen times but always seemed to get interrupted before I was finished or else when I finally found the perfect item it was only available in XXS or neon green.

I like to go through the comments where people describe the fit. If there are lots of comments that the clothes run small or that an item looks cute but is uncomfortable on, this is helpful information but it’s time consuming.

I finally sat down with all my notes and figured out what I wanted and placed my order. And then when it arrived the pants were too tight. I think they might have been doable but I don’t like skin tight pants and would never have wanted to wear them so I decided to do a return.

The invoice that came with the order exclaimed how easy returns were! Then proceeded with three paragraphs of tiny writing that made no sense. Use the pre-printed return label. There was no pre-printed return label. Use the same packaging the clothes came in. You mean this plastic bag that I had to rip open to get the clothes out?

This company has about 5 brands You had 45 days to make the return unless you only had 30 days to make the return although some clothes could be returned anytime. You could return them to an actual store unless you couldn’t. You could call and they would credit the return but charge your credit card and then credit it back and upgrade the shipping.

On and on it went. I seriously considered whether it might be easier to just lose weight so the pants fit.

Finally I called and navigated one of those phone trees that makes you say what you want to a robot. You can’t just press a button. I prefer to press a button. It also had no choices that fit my situation: “Doesn’t understand return procedures” and it took a few rounds to get it. But finally, Mitsy picked up the phone. She was super perky and ultimately very helpful. She ran me through an equally confusing thing about my credit and gift card. Something like it takes three weeks to get the gift card return because you have to get the credit in the same form you paid and I used a combo of gift card and credit card. But I could get the exercise pants now if I gave her my credit card and then use the new gift card on a future purchase. Or I could wait and call back. Or I can get one pair of pants now and one later. Let’s check how much we have in stock.

I was still confused but Mitsy’s over-powering confidence urged me to a decision. So I think I bought a pair of bigger pants and then will get a gift card in a few weeks and can start all over with a new order. And if I don’t like the new pants, I will keep them anyway.

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Pump It Up

This guy called. Strong accent. He had Bob’s name and tacked a Mrs. on it for me and then told me he was calling because of our Windows computer system. He sounded like he was phoning from a cafeteria in Outer Mongolia using a tin can and a long piece of string. I could barely understand him.

He said since we were authorized users and he could see that we’d being going online he knew we had a virus.

Normally I would have shut this call down before we even got this far except I was curious where he was going with this. I knew he wanted to rip me off but how was he going to do it?

But he just kept reading off his card with long pauses and this terrible connection. I finally asked him what exactly he was going to do and said he was going to walk me through a check for viruses.

I’m not filled with patience today and that was enough for me so I told him we don’t have even have a Windows machine in this house and buh-bye.

So I guess he wanted to get usernames and passwords? It’s hard to imagine this would be successful.

* * *

Last weekend I made a Sweet Potato Pie for Easter dessert. I haven’t made one in a long time and I thought I’d used this recipe before but maybe not. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated. As per always I was trying to do 1000 things at once and I started my pie late and then I had to hurry so rather than mashing my potatoes by hand, I tossed it all in the food processor so that filling was smooth.

When we ate it after dinner it was still warm and it was very good. But the next day after it was completely chilled it was AMAZING.

Ten stars for this recipe.

We’re going to see Elvis Costello. The last time we saw him was in 1996 in Seattle during our honeymoon. You can find the setlist here. (The Internet is so awesome when it isn’t awful.) I remember that. 4 encores. I was like, OMG, another encore?

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When the Morning Cries And You Don’t Know Why

The guys first time wearing their new third kits.

I’m still too traumatized to talk about the game last night so I’ll tell you about the guy who sat next to me.

There’s something like 12,000 season tickets. I think most of the tickets around us are season tickets but there is only a handful of people who go to all the games like we do.

Three guys I’ve never met before sat in the seats next to us. They were kinda rowdy, especially the guy next to me, we’ll call him Jason, who was loud. Jason told me he normally sits with Army and how he was all hardcore and apologized and said he liked to be noisy.

I told him I was happy to have a rowdy guy next to me because I yell quite a bit myself. We also took note that there was a kid in the row in front of us and adjusted our cheers accordingly.

At one point Jason pointed to one of the Timbers and said: That’s the news guy. He’s from Cameroon.

Me: Actually, that’s Palmer. He’s from Jamaica.

Jason: Oh. I guess it is Palmer.

Later in the game he pointed to a different player and said: That’s the new guy. From Cameroon.

Me: That’s Jean-Baptiste. He’s from New Jersey.

Jason: What a coincidence. I’m from New Jersey.

(I just checked the bio and it says Jean-Baptiste was born in Brooklyn. So I was wrong, too, but at least I had the right country and even the right general area.)

Me: Songo’o is the one from Cameroon.

(We have a guy on our team with an apostrophe O in his name. Is that awesome or what?)

Then, when a bad thing happened near the end of the game, Jason stood up and said, “We’re leaving. I am not enjoying this.” And they left.

What a big fat soul-patched lemon-in-his-hefeweizen ironic-eyewear fair-weather faker! He better not show up in my section again.

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Bright Light Almost Blinding

I bought some new sugar but the package seemed different somehow.

I’ve had this post half-written in draft for several days now. [Excuses for not keeping up with everything omitted.] I’m going to go ahead and half-ass it so I can hit the publish and move on because I have a Timbers game on Saturday and I need to write some long-winded fangirl posts about that.

Several months ago I decided to delete my Facebook account.

I was never a big fan. I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation about Facebook where I didn’t say, “I hate Facebook.”

But I do wonder about people I have seen in ages and at the beginning it was nice to reconnect. I like reminders that people I rarely see are out in the world and doing stuff. And I liked to see what the kids were up to.

But mostly FB is stupid and soul-depleting.

Remember when the Internet was invented and there was this thing called AmericaOnline? And it was this little self-contained world that you never had to leave and you could just stay inside all day and use their email and chatrooms and get your news and talk about your TV shows? And then remember how the cool kids started venture out using URLs and AOL became the Internet for babies?

Now look at FB. People that I have email groups with start FB groups (which are immediately abandoned). And instead of emailing me they message me on FB. I typed a URL from memory the other day that redirected me into FB. And I was doing something concerning a government agency that directed me into FB. Why is the world becoming FB?

I spend most of my time on FB hiding people and unliking my dentist and making sure I haven’t inadvertently allowed an app to borg me and my friend list. I didn’t know why everyone was complaining about timeline because I didn’t even know what it was. I didn’t realize I didn’t have it yet.

One pound different.

I thought about reasons for keeping my account. “What if someone wants to find me?”

I’ve had a personal website since 1996. If you put my name in a search engine I come up on the first page. You know how many people have tried to find me? Zero.

But here’s the thing: I haven’t deleted it yet. And the reason I’m waffling is FB is where I get my Timbers fix. That’s where they post the pictures from the games and practices. That’s where they put the video clips. That’s where I connect with the other season ticket holders in my section. (117!) That’s where I spend the rest of my time on FB, liking things about the Timbers.

I keep trying to convince myself that I could live without that. I lived for almost my entire life without Timbers on Facebook, surely I can get by now. But I don’t want to. And also it feels like the world has become sell-your-soul-to-FB.

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