Thursday, October 30, 2008

My latest talent seems to be pumpkin art.

I call this one . . . Pimp-kin.

He has been entered in a contest. I will let you know when he wins tomorrow.


UPDATE: Pimp-kin won!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have early voted.

And due to my early voting, I have also ended my interest in hearing any more about the election, campaigns, candidates, issues, and bickering until we have a new president and something to actually talk about.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

A pretty much perfect day . . .

Well, except that I had to get up and going on a Saturday while it was still dark outside, and it was dark by the time I got home. But everything in between could not have been more perfect.

Yesterday, a fantastic group of people that I am proud to call my friends held a benefit garage sale for some dear friends of ours. He suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. He and his wife are fantastic. So, we made some money for them.

Aren't they cute?

We had lots of donations from lots of friends and family plus lots of helpers throughout the sale, and at the end of the sale we made a good chunk of change that should put a dent in some medical bills for that handsome young couple you see above.

At the end of a very long day of garage sale haggling, hard work, and time spent with good friends for a good cause, I came home completely worn out. But despite the aches and pains and fatigue, I was so full of joy and peace about what we accomplished yesterday and about the people I got to spend my day with.

I'll tell you this, helping others is genius. Selfishly, it did as much for me yesterday as I hope we were able to do for them.

We had SO MUCH FUN selling our wares. In fact, rumor has it that I may or may not have put on a wedding dress for some bridal portraits. You know, just in case I need them one day.

We laughed, we bartered, we stuffed our pockets with cash (which we later took OUT of our pockets to count and give to our friends). We shopped amongst the treasures for our own prized used goods to call our own. We entertained the kids. The kids entertained us.

Then, no sooner had we shut everything down and bagged up the leftovers, we were standing in the driveway trying to figure out how to get the leftover stuff hauled off and to Goodwill or something, when a truck with a trailer came by and offered to haul it all off for free.

See? Perfect.

We counted the loot and our blessings and it was awesome. We shared a meal and more laughs. And at the end of the night, we sat once again on the driveway (where we'd been pretty much all day) and talked of God and life.

It was a long day with a lot of activity and a lot of people that I was blessed to share my day with. And at the end of the day to be thinking of God with those folks, well, that's why were really there anyway doing what we can to help those we love.

If anyone doubts that church can happen on a driveway in the Boonies, I'm here to tell you I was there yesterday. And it put a peace in my heart that I don't quite understand right now, but that I've needed. I wasn't expecting the blessing I would come away with.

Thank you, friends, for letting me help and spend the day with you and your families, all for our dear friends. You all know who you are.

And thanks for the free bridal portraits. Fingers crossed that they woo me a husband!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dinner is sometimes more like just a snack

I hardly ever skip dinner. Maybe if I'm sick. But most days, I'm starving by the time I get home from work that following changing into comfy clothes, the next immediate activity has to be dinner.

And not just a light supper. I need food.

So, I eat the food. Then five minutes later, I'm hungry again. Not because I'm not eating enough for dinner. But sometimes I think my body thinks that dinner was just a snack.

So I usually have an after dinner snack, after dinner. But sometimes I look forward to the snack more than my actual dinner.

In fact, sometimes I create my dinner selection in order to make sure it doesn't interfere with what I'm planning to eat after dinner.

So is dinner the snack? Or is the snack still the snack.

I really don't know. But I'm definitely hungry. And I already had dinner.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another year, another Fair Gang Adventure

We went by all the rules.

That guy peeing in the bushes did not go by the rules.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Another Grievance

Seriously, people. I'm not kidding. Anger me and I will publicly "grievance" you.

Dear Best Buy-
You are the scene of the crime. Whoever stole my credit card number used it fraudulently at no less than two of your stores in the Pasadena, CA area. Yet, you do not seem to care that your store was used to commit at least two crimes.

I've filed a number of reports, spent quite a bit of time on the phone - all to piece together what happened to my poor credit card number and to fix the damage caused by thieves.

I do appreciate your prompt response to the email I sent you last night, inquiring about your store policy about asking for ID when a credit card is used, specifically in relation to two purchases in two of your stores using my card, neither of which I authorized.

You called today, and you almost had me at "hello." You seemed interested in my concern, probably because I may or may not have mentioned that I will no longer be shopping at Best Buy if you can't be trusted to recognize and fight fraudulent purchases.

You asked what you could do for me today. I asked for as much info as possible on the two transactions that took place on 9/27, using my card number, each in the amount of about $865.

You said, "Yes, I can help you with that today." You gave the impression that you heard me, that you understood my need, that you wanted to be helpful. You offered to send me copies of the receipts to help me dispute the charges with my credit card company.

But then, you failed. You bombed. You tanked.

You found the two transactions. You had all of the information in front of you. You had me on the phone, seeking answers. You offered more than I actually asked. My privacy was violated and exploited in your store, and I turned to you for help.

But then, suddenly, all you would tell me is that they were two transactions of ipod Nanos.

You had the transactions right in front of you. You could see that my card number had been used, twice, at two store locations, on the same day . . . and that the names on the card transactions weren't mine. And suddenly, you can offer no more information. You decide you can't send me the receipts after all, since my name was not on the transactions. Only my card number.

Suddenly, you decide that you can't legally give me any more information. You tell me that Best Buy's policy is to protect the private information OF YOUR CUSTOMERS.

So, you're now telling me that your "customers" can steal someone else's credit card number, make their own cards using their name with the fraudulent number so that it matches their ID, stock up on a couple thousand dollars worth of ipod Nanos with the card number that isn't theirs, and Best Buy reserves the right to protect those "customers"?!?!?!

You know that it's a fraudulent purchase. I am the victim and I am asking for your help. And you choose to protect the criminals instead? It may be a legal store policy issue. But it's a crappy store policy.

Then you tell me you can't even tell me if it's one name on both transactions, or two different names on each transaction. So, I still don't know if I'm dealing with one thief, or two. Even though you are looking at the info while you are talking to me on the phone.

You insist that Best Buy checks IDs for credit card purchases. Fantastic. So, two large purchases of a bunch of ipod Nanos on the same day at two different stores using the same credit card number doesn't raise a red flag to anyone, regardless of if the ID matches the card?

No one needs that many ipod Nanos in one day.

And you insist that without a police report, you can't give me any further information. Your "Fraud" department works only with police.

So, this tells me only one thing. Since fraud of this nature doesn't cost you anything (in fact, you sold a lot of ipod Nanos that day), you don't care. And you do nothing to protect your actual customers. I'm sorry, but fraud thieves are not customers. Doesn't your "Fraud" department also want to cut down on fraudulent purchases in your store?

Now having been a victim of credit card fraud, I will be very careful where I spend my money using my credit card. Only at places that I feel are truly "fraud conscious" and actively fighting fraud.

Best Buy, since it's clearly not safe to make purchases in your stores, you no longer have my business. I've given you a lot of business over the years (far more than the couple thousand dollars you made recently selling a bunch of ipod Nanos to one or more thieves using my card). But, I will be taking my business elsewhere from now on.

It's worth it to me to potentially spend more at a place that is probably paying more attention to fraud than it is to find better deals at a company that doesn't care about it's true customers.

I know this only puts a potential minor dent in your company profits. But, it's the principle of the matter. I am the voice of the people.

I will be filing that police report. If all that stands between me and the names of the people who used my card that day is a police report, then you will get your police report. And I will get those names. And I will pursue tracking them down. Credit card fraud may be a common occurrence these days, but it's a big deal to me and I won't put up with it.

Also, I might be buying a bunch of ipod Nanos later on eBay for a fraction of the cost that I could get them in your store.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sometimes, I leave a paperclip in the middle of my floor.

Just to see if anyone will pick it up.

It annoys me when someone picks up the paperclip.

And yet, I prefer not to have a floor full of paperclips.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

More Grievances

I warned you.

Dear Local Grassroots Democratic Party Volunteers-
Do not ring my doorbell at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday morning.

For one thing, I have had a very long and stressful week (see post below). The one thing I have looked forward to all week is sleeping in on my Saturday morning and enjoying a day of leisure.

So, imagine my, um, displeasure to have barely rolled out of bed and started my Saturday morning coffee (which I look forward to every week, enjoying it in the peace and quiet of my Saturday morning after a week of hard work), when the doorbell rings and you are standing on my front porch.

I am still in my pajamas. I am not yet functioning beyond "need coffee . . . " I do not know you. I am not going to open the door and listen to anything you have to say. And you are lucky I wasn't coherent enough to throw open the door in my disheveled state and chase you off of my porch with a broom. Or a Swiffer, whichever I grab first.

Now, I have to ask. Is it really the best way to secure votes for your Democratic party by harrassing people on Saturday mornings? Do you really have much success annoying people in the morning to convince them to vote for you?

I consider myself a responsible young adult. I've paid attention to the debates and the candidates and the issues. I care about the election and the future of our country during the next presidency. I am informed.

I also care about sleep. And peace and quiet for my weekend mornings. And not having to deal with strangers first thing in the morning while I am still groggy and disheveled.

I will go so far as to say that I applaud the grassroot efforts of our political parties. The whole campaign and election event intrigues me. I like that people are out there, encouraging the vote, and talking to people about what is important to them about our country and our government.

But, regardless of if the one thing I was waiting for was someone to come to my house and personally talk me into voting for your candidate (nevermind which party), you've probably done a pretty good job this morning of pushing me to the other side, due to sheer annoyance with you.

Unless Obama himself shows up at my door at 9:30 in the morning, with donuts and coffee, and with Biden mowing my lawn while we chat so that I don't have to mow later today, some local nobody disturbing me that early on a Saturday is actually going to do much more harm for your campaign than good.

I wasn't on your side to begin with. Now you've lost me at doorbell ring . . .

The Cynical Tyrant


To avoid appearing as a Grievance here, don't anger me.

Dear Insensitive Credit Card Company Phone Person-
(not the credit card that was recently hacked - a different one)

When I call to cancel your card because I never use it and I haven't used it in years, why must you argue with me? Even after I explain that I've had a recent issue with credit card fraud on another card and I want to cancel your card because I don't want it out in the world for thieves to use, you continue to try to convince me to keep your card.

You launch into your pitch about you rewards and awards, none of which even matter to me if my card is compromised. You launch into a series of questions about why I haven't used your card, why I prefer other cards, and my general credit card habits - none of which I want to answer because I know it is all for research.

You make it clear that you are not listening to me, nor that you care about me as a very long-time customer. This actually perpetuates my problem and my annoyance with credit cards at this time.

I know before calling you that you are going to try and convince me to stay, even though I never intend to use your card anyway. I dread calling you people because instead of listening to me and accommodating my needs as your customer, you will try to upsell me on things that I do not want or need. I am spending my Friday night trying to repair of the work of thieves and head off any potential issues that could still be out there, checking credit reports and filing fraud reports. Do you think I want to argue with you about a card I haven't used in years?

Instead, you should be promoting responsible credit card use, applauding my actions to put a stop to what could be a seriously damaging situation, not knowing the full extent of the breach of my personal information. You should sympathize with my situation and cooperate without bullying me into what I clearly do not want: extra credit cards out there just waiting to be hacked and used. At this time, I am paranoid about my credit cards and personal information.

So, you should know that after my call to you last night for help, you convinced me to never use your card again, now or in the future when I am past this annoying ordeal. Even after you finally canceled the card and said, "We look forward to getting you back as a customer sometime in the future."

You forced me to say no less than SIX TIMES, "I just want to cancel the card." Why would I come back? I'll stick with the card that was compromised because at least that company has helped me with the problem and rewarded me for my pain and suffering.


The Tyrant

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's possible that I killed Mr. Clean

Last night, I'm sitting here watching T.V. A commercial for Mr. Clean comes on.

I'm watching the cartoon Mr. Clean on T.V., and I began to wonder why Mr. Clean is a cartoon. I've never really thought about Mr. Clean, cartoon or otherwise. But for some reason last night, I was really intrigued by the mystery of Mr. Clean.

I thought I remembered once upon a time when Mr. Clean was a real, live human. I began to wonder when he turned into a cartoon. Or if he had ever really been real at all.

Then, today I read that Mr. Clean died.

Seriously, what are the odds?