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Saturday, July 31, 2010

AT&T redefines poor communication and customer service

So I came home to flakey net service yesterday. Sporadic and getting worse. After a walk, no better.

Unplug the wireless router. Go to bed. Sleep. Do morning stuff. Plug in at 10.

Even with a cable.


No luck.

45 minutes later, the CS gal tells me they are doing system maintenance. In the broad daylight.

I could just spit!

Could they have scheduled this work for less popular times? Could they have announced something?

A tweet would help!

This stupidity is so common these days. Let's balance the burden and expense directly on the customer's back. They won't do more than complain.

How long have you waited while pretending to fly? Had to pee while the bathroom was under reconstruction? Lost a conference call because someone rebooted a phone system at 4pm? Heard about sunspots causing the digital static with your cable?

It just makes me appreciate the very few organizations that still see customer service as a part if doing business.

Southwest Air. Zappos.

Play your role. Communicate problems. Make a small corner of the works a little better. Watch the money come rolling in.

Now if I could just find a reliable ISP.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Drivers report bull on I-40 in Johnston County

http://www.wral.com/news/news_briefs/story/8030907/

The Buzz: Drivers in Johnston County reported seeing a bull along Interstate 40 on Sunday morning, county 911 dispatch supervisor Jason Thompson said.

I grew up here, and I am so biting my tongue about now.

Must. Be. Nicer.



Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Sweet tater pancakes

Find those leftover canned sweet taters. We're making pancakes this morning!



Smoosh them real good and add a couple of eggs.



Stir in the eggs, and add some buttermilk.



Most of the buttermilk is under the batter in this pic. I used about a cup, which is equivalent to a big splash.

Stir all that. Then find the iron skillet, remember that you forgot to wash it after pan frying the steaks, wash it out, add some olive oil, and let it warm on the burner.



While you have it out, splash some olive oil into the batter.



Give it a good stir, and then add some self-rising flour.



Stir until the batter looks like pancake batter.

If your eating alone, put two in the pan.



At some point, they need flipping.



Notice that two in the pan makes the flipping tough. If it's just you, that's OK because we know it's better to be good than to look good.

If you have company, presentation trumps taste. And speed. Cook one pancake at the time. To perfection. Take forever. That'll teach them to show up so early expecting breakfast.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Saturday, July 24, 2010

For the working peeps

Out on my morning constitutional while peeps labor on a Saturday. If they show up tonight, they'll receive healing beverages.


Friday, July 23, 2010

How to make sweet tater drop biscuits

Remember Bubba in Forest Gump going on about all the ways to cook shrimp? My brother and I can do that with sweet potatoes.

Tonight: Sweet tater drop biscuits.

Melt some butter. You'll want to cover the container in the microwave.



While that's going on, find the can of taters.



And smoosh about half up.



Mix in the melted butter.



Find the buttermilk.



Shake it real good, and splash some in.



Stir a lot.

Then find the self-rising flour.



Stir in flour until it's about right.



Do not over stir. Drop spoonfulls of batter onto the pan.



Yes, that pan is new.

Bake at 450 until done, which will be in 20 to 30 minutes.



Drop biscuits will not generally be as fluffy as kneaded biscuits. The sweet potato also decreases the fluffiness.

I'll have these with grape jelly and skim milk.




Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Walking on a warm summer's day

Yeah, the heat index hit 112 at the WRAL site just down the road from me, and it seemed like a good time to step out and stretch my legs for a late afternoon's fiver.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Attack of the Praying Mantis

Yes, I was out walking too long in the triple digit heat index. Dehydrated. Electrolytes off. Somewhat stinky.

And then a praying mantis blocks my way.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spain To Consider Banning Burqas

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/18/spain-burqa-ban-parliament_n_650394.html



The Buzz: Spanish lawmakers will debate barring burqas in public, joining other European countries considering similar moves on the grounds that the body-covering garments are degrading to women, the leading opposition party said Sunday.


First, if you're going down this road, let's get the reason straight. Degrading to women? Oh grow up!

The degradation is to the men of that sub-population who can't control themselves when presented with a glimpse of skin.

Oh look! It's an elbow! Ummmmm, elbows...!

Burqas do not bother me all that much, though I do think they are odd.

I'd rather we discuss banning those ugly ass suits that men are expected to wear in business settings.

Talk about cookie cutter ugly! Butt ugly. Let's not have a single distinguishing characteristic ugly.

These suits are the very first identifying mark that I use to anticipate that not one unique neuron will be firing. Instead, we'll be complimenting one another for having the same thoughts everyone else had last year or last decade or last millennium, and calling it out of the box thinking.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Lightning 1, Tree 0

I knew the lightning was hitting nearby the other evening. It sounded like it even hit the building. I learned today that it hit a tree in the cemetery down the street, blowing the dirt off the roots, and leaving me to have Frankenstein-like thoughts on a Sunday morning.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Raleigh and the ignorant

So I had a delightful Saturday evening downtown with Rent.



As I walked to my car, I stopped to cross Fayetteville St., a drag queen by my side. A policewoman asked if we had seen the show, and we had a delightful chat as we waited for the traffic. The policewoman then stopped traffic long enough for the heels to make it across the street.



I reached the car thinking how nice it was to live in an area like this.

My walk at 4:30 this afternoon took me past the arb where I saw a bumper sticker.



NOM.

A very few blocks downtown were safe. The arb was not this afternoon. I found myself wishing I had a gentleman to accompany me into the arb where we could hold hands in front of the owners of that Chevy, watching the tension grow.

But not today. Their little world and littler minds are safe for another day.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Friday, July 16, 2010

TDTD 2010

Oh yes, it is. It's that time of year again. We should probably have a quarterly celebration just to spread the cheer more evenly. I'm sure the area cardiologists would feel better about that.

38 years ago, TD. Why we don't have international recognition, I just don't yet understand.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Convicted

Exhibit A



Exhibit B



The sentence



I should probably dip my hands in lard or something.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jordan Lake

Here's where I spend parts of my staycays, holidays, and weekends. The price is right, though when gas closed in on $5 a gallon, I began to question that. There are other places, but they'll have to wait until a more convenient day.

Nonetheless, the lake is generally private at this location. There might be two or three other people in the 500 acres at any given time, unless a boat stops for lunch. Then it's Katie bar the door as Ma and Pa Kettle unload with 40 children.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Makeup for my deficiency

Yeah, it's not enough that I paid Starbucks' price for a double coffee this morning.



Or that I slammed down a muffin that exceeded 500 calories, if it was called Glorious Morning.

Hey! Even a psycho deserves a glorious morning once in a while.

Look in the left upper corner. See the two napkins?

Yeah, they dropped off somewhere along the street. I noticed the absence when I spilled coffee on my hand.

I am a litter bug?

My penance was to collect a cup full of trash on the way back.



I'll self-flagellate with blackberry vines later this afternoon.

Location:Carlton St,Athens-Clarke County,United States

The sign I could not see

Here it is.



That's a whole lot of writing for one sign. I might offer some abbreviated substitutions that mortals such as me could read in the evening with the glancing lights washing it all out while the traffic honks impatiently, but no, that might upset the marketing apple cart UGA spent so much money to create.

Hmmppphhhh!!!!!

Location:Carlton St,Athens-Clarke County,United States

Dinner on the road

It was a seven hour drive, and I arrived at nine, settling in at 10, only to realize that the hotel restaurant was closed, as was room service...by two hours.

I suppose the help had to get home to tuck in the chickens.

I could have driven to real food, but I was tired, especially of driving, and I settled in with what I had.

I started with cheese popcorn.



About a third of the bag was left from the drive.

Then we need to wash it down.



It was chilled to the temperature of my car trunk during the drive.

The rest are in the mini fridge in the hotel room.


Location:Sanford Dr,Athens-Clarke County,United States

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sometimes we don't have to preach

Danger needed a bike. Not just any bike. A mountain bike. And not just any mountain bike. An expensive mountain bike.

And he finally found one he could afford. Used, but new to him. And very do-able.



He swapped out those pedals for the kind your shoes lock into.

Then he bought a helmet. Fullface.



I though that was a bit extreme, but what do I know? I coast down hill.

And he's out for a ride. Jumping mess. High mess. With his feet locked to the pedals.



That drop looks harmless enough, doesn't it? Think a gentle 15 feet.

Here's his helmet after the first run.



Note the arc of scratches along the top, and then start counting stitches. Lots of stitches that could have been.

And imagine the bleeding that would have come with that head wound. Imagine explaining it all to the maternal unit.

He no longer has to explain to me the full face helmet. Cool served a purpose.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ticks

The ticks were out in force at the lake today, and apparently, I was on the menu. None on the Truth Telling Chick. None on Smiling Bob. None on the Naked Salesman. Just me. Wrapped up. I was born to suffer.

Oh yes...Squirrel is still dead.

Pelicans on my sand dunes

So Shannon's SBF is down to the Gulf dealing with BP's mess, and as you might expect, he's missing his Shanpie big time, her word's not mine. My words would have been more on the line of nanner puddin'.

Well, the fellow is so bad off, that Shan thought he might benefit from a song. More likely, he needs rum. No matter. Here goes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Headblade Sport head shaving system

I have been following this guy on Twitter for some over a year now. He's also on FaceBook. He has been in the process of developing a head shaving system, and I watched him take it from mostly nothing to a patented razor designed for heads.

Last week, I noticed Jim Cantore mentioned using one.

Of course, I'm a skeptic, and I had no intention of dropping $20 on a toy to replace my razor that does its job quite well already.

Still, I was jealous of Cantore.

So this morning at KMart, I walked by the discount aisle, stopping to see if there was something there I might like at half price.



And what do I see, but the Headshave thing.



You know you've arrived when your baby makes it to the half price bin.

Being unable to resist, I brought it home with a small box of razor refills, generic.



The package came with a small sample of shave creme that had not aged well.



However, I don't use shaving cremes anyway. Years ago, I read that Einstein shaved with handsoap, and I decided that was good enough for me.

On roadtrips, I might use the hotel-supplied conditioner or hand lotion. At home, I shave under the shower.

The razor looks like a toy car.


And it fits on your bird finger.



In this pic, I have the Gillette Sensor adapter on because I'm using the KMart knockoffs. The headblade came with a Gillette Atra razor, but I wanted to give the razor a go with the local blades.

And KMart was out of Atra refills.

To kick off the experiment, I took a shower, not that I needed one. I'd only been on two five-mile walks today. Washed three loads of clothes. Shopped for groceries. And rearranged the car trunk for next week's roadtrip.

The deodorant was still holding up. I'm sure it was.

Of course, I had three days of stubble on my head, and that was going to present a challenge to any razor.

Hopping out of the shower, I figured I'd need something on my head to lubricate the scalp, and the generic handsoap from Food Lion served well.



As you would expect, it took a few minutes to adapt my strokes to the new razors shape. Changing hands started that adaptation all over again.

However, I found it trivial to use the Headblade correctly. Mostly, you roll it over your head like a toy car.

I noticed that the Headblade seemed less prone to leave gaps than my regular razor, which is a Schick disposable purchased on deep discount at Food Lion.

In the end, I felt this shave was superior to my usual shave.



However, we know that first tries often go better with many things. The question is about how the 30th try goes. There's also the business of using the Headblade in the shower, not by the sink in front of a mirror.

We'll give it a go for the next week or so, and then let #1 Son give it a whirl. I see a video coming up soon.

Buddy Bear needs a home

How Buddy Bear came to be in that dumpster, I might never know. Bears can be so inquisitive and mischievous sometimes.

All I wanted to do was properly dispose of my coffee cup.



So I popped the lid, tossed in the cup, dropped the lid, and set on about my walk.

But a tendril of sentience drew me back.

There was a bear in there.



A dirty bear in need of a swim. Now, where is the bear bathing suit?

Oh yes!



And we're all set for a swim.



Swimming pools for bears just look different, don't they?

Then time for a nap.



And finally all done.



Time to find a home for a clean Buddy Bear.

Location:Westgrove St,Raleigh,United States