13 Sep
2006

Work Vent: the gayest appointment ever.


Today, our first appointment was late. I have mentioned that already, in some circles. Lucky us, though about a half hour in, our second appointment noticed we had been stood up and offered to go ahead and get started. I, like an idiot, tell him: Sure thing. Sooner we get started, sooner we get finished, and maybe we can take an actual lunch break for a change.

Fat. Fucking. Chance. He actually chuckled and said, “Oh, I doubt it.”

He began by passing out prepared packets, which we thought might be content, but were in fact just pages and pages of printouts from forums he’d been talking on, where they discussed how to choose the best keywords for a site, the best domain names to register, and whether or not any particular search engine actually read the element title attribute or just the alt tag.

He followed this with a chatty phone call to his aunt, mid-meeting.

He followed that by rearranging all our stuff so he could set up his laptop, which couldn’t connect to the wireless, then ask me to help him set up his wireless, followed by me handing him a network cable. All this was to show us the mpeg movie of he and his partner performing a Christmas song and then going on about how wonderful it is to live in Atlanta and be gay, and if you were gay and wanted to move to Atlanta, how he really knew what neighborhoods would fit you best. Honestly, these are almost verbatim his words.

This was followed by a horrifying run down of his final chosen keywords and registered domains, for us to add to his site and hook up. 200+ combinations from three columns: Area of Town, Type of Property, Sexual Orientation or Kink. He then proceeded to inform us that RE/MAX had actually tried to fine him for some of his domain choices, and wondered if we had any suggestions to get around their rules.

Somewhere in here, we actually managed to talk about how I might improve his website graphically, and then I started working on that, while he worked away on his laptop and chatted on his phone. At the 12:30 mark (two hours into a 1 1/2 hour scheduled appointment), I showed him his “completed” site, and suggested that if he was happy with it, that we would certainly appreciate getting some lunch. He wasn’t. I worked some more. He does his best to keep me from getting anything done by asking 50 million questions, which Pam is trying to field so I can finish. Somehow, he insists on talking to me, and practically ignoring Pam. At 1, I tell him our scheduled time is over, and that I’ll have to email him later tonight when I finish making his changes. Pam gets up and heads for the door. I, however, am blocked in by a cable across my lap from my computer to the projector (as it had to be set up that way in the closet we use for a space in this particular office) and by the customer, himself, who is sitting directly in my path of escape.

So, what does he do? He tries to start up a chat about how nice it is to be able to leave the office for lunch, while he’s waiting for something to load that he wants to ask me about. I tell him he can email me the question. He reminds me that I was interested in how something in the Agent section of the FMLS worked, and offers to log in and show me. I go back and forth with him until at about a quarter after, I finally just ask him to please let me out as I really have to pee.

Of all things, he says to me, “By all means… go on. You don’t have to sit in here and babysit me. I’ll just be here working.” And taking up valuable real estate in our closet-sized space, I think. Where exactly am I supposed to eat lunch? Speaking of which, where is Pam? She disappeared.

So, I walk outside and she is sitting in her car, radio blaring, waving me over. She has brought me the usual from Wendy’s, and said she was looking up my cell phone number when she spotted me because there was no way in hell she was going back in there with “my new best friend.”
We sit in her car and eat, and exasperate about this guy who has annoyed us for much longer than the scheduled time, who forces us to eat in the car, and who will no doubt be waiting when we get back… if we go back. I’ve left my purse in there, I confess.

In record time, I scarf down food and head back inside. It is time for our 3rd appointment, and he is still sitting there. He asks how I managed to eat lunch so fast, and I tell him that I’m used to ending up with five minute lunch breaks these days, if I get one, since agents inevitably take up more than the scheduled appointment time. He moves aside to let me back into my chair, and doesn’t act like he’s leaving.

Pam returns, and her eyes are wide when she sees him. He asks her where she went for lunch, and she just holds up her Wendy’s cup. I say aloud to Pam the name of the next agent we are expecting, and I don’t think either of us ever hoped so hard that an agent would actually show up for an appointment. Ten minutes late, an agent matching the photo I’ve already pulled up comes around the corner, and does a double take that there is no room for her. She marches on up, says her name, asks if she’s in the right place, and when I say she is, she looks at the other agent and says, “Man, you’re going to have to move. I need to see these people.” He takes his sweet time, but finally, Elvis does leave the building.

Then, somehow Karma turned our last appointment from one agent name, to three actual agents, a team, who all wanted their sites done. They liked the first site I showed them, all wanted the same thing, and we got all three done in less than the time of one usual appointment. I guess we paid our dues today.

Oh, and FYI, I sent the boss a letter asking for a nice fat raise tonight — since he’s never in the office either to go see in person.

12 Sep
2006

The RealAge Health Guide to Getting Fit – Part One

You want to be more active, right? But you have trouble getting started. Everyone does — don’t feel like you’re alone in that regard. In fact, over 60% of adults in the U.S. do not exercise regularly.

But that’s not a group you want to belong to, because it leads to a wealth of health woes, including an increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The First Step
So what do you need to know to get started on the path toward fitness? Nothing, really. If you overthink and overplan, you’ll never get started. So do something today — without fail — whether it’s walking around the block, doing a few jumping jacks while you watch TV, or visiting that gym you’ve always belonged to but never used. Don’t worry if you do things right; just promise to squeeze in 10 minutes of something.

Then do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. And if you skip a day, that’s okay. But eventually you’ll be out there doing it, a little bit, every day. And that’s a huge start.

Basic 3-Part Plan

1. Walk every day.
2. Work out a few different muscle groups 3 times a week.
3. Stretch for 5 minutes every day.

The Next Step
Eventually, though, you’re going to need to understand what you are doing, so you can refine and improve your plans and make real progress toward getting fit.

Your first goal: Try to burn 3500 calories per week. This is your RealAge workout goal. Doing so will help you grow as much as 3.7 years younger. But this is something to work toward — not to accomplish on day one. RealAge benefits begin with burning just 1000 calories per week, so start there, and then optimize at 3500 calories per week down the road. How many calories are you burning? Use this calculator to figure it out.

You can burn these calories any old way you want, but you’ll do your body the most favors if you burn them using the three types of exercise below, because each exercise provides you with a unique set of health benefits.

1. Walk About
The foundation of your program, if you don’t know where to start? Walking. Really, you could do any form of cardiovascular exercise you desire, as long as the activity is giving your lungs and heart a workout. But why not walking? It’s low-impact, so you won’t stress your joints. It’s easy to do — you don’t need a how-to video or a fitness instructor. And you can do it anywhere — at the gym on a treadmill or around your neighborhood or local park. For optimal benefits, you’d do well to walk for 30 minutes every day.

2. Lift Yourself Up
Lift yourself up a hill or some stairs, lift a pair of dumbbells, or lift yourself up off the floor, pushup-style — whatever you do, challenge your body a few days a week to overcome resistance. Resistance training is a key ingredient in getting fit and growing younger, because it builds strong muscles. This, in turn, reduces your risk of accidents and injuries and improves your bone-mineral density and metabolism. Here’s a fun and easy way to sneak body building into household chores.

3. Lengthen Your Lines
Strength is good — whether you’re talking about your heart and lungs or your muscles. But are you flexible? Staying limber is a key component of staying young. People who lack flexibility are physiologically older than their more limber peers, because a lack of flexibility increases the risk of injuries, falls, arthritis, and a host of other health problems. Stretch every day, preferably after your muscles have warmed up through walking or some other physical activity. Here are some simple stretches you can do at your desk.

These basics could be the start of a beautiful relationship between you and exercise.

Look for next week’s issue of this series to provide tricks and tips for making exercise easier.

12 Sep
2006

The flerly formerly known as “flerly”

If you’re on ICQ, and you had me as 6628865 then I’m now 253260840, just because ICQ’s helpdesk is the bomb.

From what I have been able to glean, AOL/ICQ/Whomever-owns-that-shit-now, has forced some password restrictions on their users, which are supposedly causing problems with people whose passwords happened to NOT be 6-8 characters. If you were over 8 characters, you are supposedly just being truncated temporarily to the first 8 characters, but if you were under 6 characters, you are supposedly just screwed.

I’ve been reading about this in the forums for a couple days now, and the under six character folks can’t even use the website to force ICQ to reset their password so they can get in to set up a new compliant password. No matter what email address you put in, it is rejected.

The help files basically read that if you can’t use the website to retrieve your obviously “forgotten” password, then you must be an idiot, and just need to register a new ICQ number with a new password — which will this time force you through their process of limiting symbols, minimum characters, and forcing the association of an email address with the UIN, instead of just gleaning one out of your former profiles.

I was pretty perturbed by this, because though I am in idiot in the way that I was using a password that was less than six characters, and that it happens to be the same password that I’ve used since I first signed up with ICQ, I am pretty sure I am not an idiot because I forgot that password. I know it, because, I’ve been typing it in for years. If anything, ICQ forgot my password, not me.

And, you know, I would have been happy to alter my password to something at least one character longer to meet with their requirements if they had merely asked me. I would have also been happy to formally associate it with an email address, again, if they had but mentioned the need.

Instead, they rudely stopped letting me log in, blame me for not being able to remember my password, accuse me of forgetting any email addresses that have ever been listed as mine in my profile, and force me to register a new number.

And that is the state of things at present. One small annoyance in a day full of small annoyances.

9 Sep
2006

It’s not easy being delinquents.

Breakfast out? Sure. Hey, we’re near Frye’s, let’s go. Ooh, we’re near Best Buy, let’s go. Ooh, it’s 4pm and we just got home to begin our weekend cleaning.

But we’re now proud owners of a stack more DVDs we really wanted, including Cromartie High the movie, Thank you, Best Buy!

(If you care, Frye’s has up to season five of the Gilmore Girls on DVD for $18.99 each, as opposed to the $42.99 at Best Buy)

Weeee! And my mood is much improved. I’ve been squealing about my car being paid off all day. I’m actually psyched to start on my closet project. I feel loads better already!

PS: How funny was it that we Riffed on Star Trek V on the evening of Star Trek’s 40th anniversary? Must have been somewhere in the geek subconscious…

9 Sep
2006

Explain why…

You’ve authorized your car payments to be autodeducted from your bank account by the loan company for years now, so you haven’t had any sort of late payment. You get so used to that amount coming out on that day every month, that you don’t even open the bills they send you anymore.

Should you then be surprised when you get an early morning phone call from the company saying that your payment is 19 days overdue and when are you going to pay it? Why didn’t you just autodeduct it, I asked them. Their reply: because it is your final payment on the car, and we’re not allowed to automatically deduct the final payment on a loan.

News to me, though probably in one of those paper bills they’ve been sending me… though, no. It says final payment, but not “final payment that we cannot autodeduct.” Somebody could have mentioned when I’d signed up for the autodeduct that at the end of the loan, they would try to stick me with a late payment on my credit just for fun if I didn’t pay attention.

But hey, on the bright side, soon as this check for the August payment clears, car is paid off.

8 Sep
2006

For lack of a better title, we’ll just call this one… “grunt”

/end shitty week.

/begin shitty weekend…

As in, finally a weekend that we don’t have to be anyplace, although Mom tried really hard to guilt me into coming up to work on her computer. But, not having to be anyplace means no excuse to ignore all the crap that’s piling up to do around here. Well, plenty of excuses, but if we don’t get shit done this weekend, then we may drown in the stuff piling up before we have another weekend here to deal with it. If I’m good later tonight and all of tomorrow, I should be good for some chillout time on Sunday with the ladies. Chilling out sounds like a nice reward.

But for now, this crappy day, this crappy headache, all the crappy people in the world (read: REALTORS), can go away for a little longer while we Riff on Star Trek V for a bit.

PS: I just ordered this little gem. A movie I love, autographed, with commentary. Sweet.

8 Sep
2006

Friday

Well, it’s Friday, and due to CMRs keeping him up all night, JamesT is working from home today. I, however, am spending a Friday on appointments, due to the holiday this week. Feels sort of weird, but I’m sure he’ll be glad of the chance to catch up on sleep without me around trying to make noise. Just like I’m sure some employee of the apartments will be there to make noise for me, and make sure he doesn’t actually sleep.

Why do I have time to sit here and write this? Oh, because partner is “late” as usual, which means she is showing up at the same time the appointments are supposed to begin, leaving her to set up her computer while the customer waits. Wednesday she scared me coming in at about five after, but luckily the customer was late, too that day.

The debate is still out there as to whether we’re going to move to four days a week of appointments or three longer days of appointments.

And speak of the devil… the customer and his assistant just came up to introduce themselves, and I had to tell them to give us a few minutes. They go to get coffee, and the partner strolls in.

Well, I guess that means I’m done typing for now. Very informative post, I know.

1 Sep
2006

As Kamiyama would say…

Dearest Mother,

Where do I get this DVD?

Cromartie High School – The live action movie!

Finally more from this quirky anime series.

(Another YouTube Find: Cromartie Rhapsody!!)

31 Aug
2006

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night, nor… whatever… how does it go?

No, I’m not talking about postmen. I’m talking about the fabulous work ethic of the crew that Broadstone of Dunwoody has hired to paint all the trim on the outside of all their apartment buildings. Take today, for instance, it’s raining and they are painting trim. This seems brilliant to me.

What’s more brilliant is that Broadstone gave no notice of this. No warning that at say, 8am this morning, someone with a ladder would be climbing onto our 3rd floor porch, which attaches to our bedroom and bathroom, peeking in the windows to say good morning to us as we shower and get ready for work. No warning to, say, block the pet door or move things away from the railing on the balconies so they could paint them and not have kitty prints, or white paint tracked into the house. No warning to, say, take down decorative items that might be attached to such trim areas, as in my thermometer, which I found removed and tossed into the bushes (but, hey, at least I found it!).

I think it might just be time to give our dear Broadstone a little payback gift in the form of a bunch of CRAP we’ve had sitting around here that needs to be hauled off. Even though we DID get a notice for residents to please stop leaving items beside the dumpster, I think we’ll just pretend we didn’t get it, just like we didn’t get any other useful notices.

Yup, old chair, old futon mattress, old tv, broken fans, and a half dozen boxes we may neglect to break down. Hell, I wish we could just carry that washer and dryer in the garage on out there. Have fun with that, Broadstone! BTW, thanks for finally finishing the work on all the pools in time for Labor Day weekend! Can’t wait to see you all and “meet our neighbors” at the grand opening party for the “Internet cafe” tonight. You know, those neighbors who don’t know what parking spaces are, and who made you guys decide you needed to hire a security/courtesy officer to be on the grounds 24/7/365. Won’t that be fun!

27 Aug
2006

Ahem

We’re home. Ashley and April are happily married and off for their honeymoon, where they will likely spend the first few days trying to remove all the birdseed from their undies. The boys have built prototype fireworks launcher version 1, and tested it. I have some mpeg movies of the three experiments, but I bet JamesT will handle links to those if anyone is interested.

We got to see Miami Vice finally, and we finished all of Lewis Black’s “Nothing Sacred” on audiobook, and a bit of the Phillip K. Dick “Minority Report and other stories” during the trip. With the audiobooks, the driving time seemed to fly even though I was on cruise control and not being a leadfoot. Good thing, too, as cops were out with radar traps both ways this weekend like they had nothing better to do.

And for those folks in Alabama we leave behind, we had a great time and I fixed the feed to flerly.com, for your usage.

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