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Friday, December 10, 2004

Attention, Attention, all 2 of my readers...

What's that weired thing to the right??? Hit the play button and check it out.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Most Understated (or Misleading) Job Title of the Week . . .

Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer

Read down to the last two paragraphs to see who was left on the ship as it started to founder..."Rescue swimmer." Not lifeguard. Not "rescue diver." Rescue swimmer. Sounds kind of relaxing, doesn't it? Oh, the job description includes having to jump out of a f___g helicopter in the middle of a raging storm with 25-foot swells into really, really cold water? And, if the captain's still with the ship, you have to stay with him? And then what?

Talk about tough. I thought I'd read where the CG's "rescue swimmer" training program is tougher than the Navy SEALS program. In fact, I think I read that in SEALS frequently wash out of the CG's "rescue swimmer" progam...These "swimmers" have to be able to, like, parachute out of a plane at some god-awful altitude and plummet straight into the ocean. I guess that's when they start with the "rescue swimming."

Having grown up in and around the surf and lifeguards in Northern California, I only have the slightest understanding of what "rescue swimming" must be like. Off the coast of Alaska. In December . . .

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Modern Life's Little Stress Inducers . . .

Contractor comes to house to perform a job. Satisfied with the job, I write check and hand to contractor's representative.
About 10 days later while balancing checkbook using my bank's phone system. System says check to contractor cashed. I mark as paid. Yay, the checkbook balances. All is well in my little corner of heaven.
Three weeks later I get a letter from the contractor's business office saying I haven't paid the $500 bill. Perturbed, I use my bank's phone system to see if check had REALLY been cashed/posted like the system told me it had been a couple of weeks before. There are clouds on the horizon of my little corner of heaven...
System says check has not been posted in past 45 days. I go online to use the bank's "search" tool to see if check posted. It says it has not. My stomach starts to churn as puzzlement gives way to concern. There's now a chill wind and sleet in my little corner of heaven.
I decide to talk to a meat-space teller.
Teller gets on. I repeat tale of woe. He says, no, his system doesn't show the check has having been cashed in the "...past 30 days."
"Dude, you're a teller," I say. "You're supposed to be able to go back years."
"Actually, my system goes back 30 days," he replies. Concern is quickly joined by anger. This little process is starting to take time. And $500 is $500.
I hang up.
I call contractor's business office promise to pay check because, well, they haven't been paid. Contractor's business rep is pleased to hear of my integrity.
I call bank, again, this time to stop payment on first check. Teller on phone checks and says, "Mike, this check got cashed and posted seven days after you wrote it." Now I'm really confused. I pass along tale of woe.
Just as I'm getting to the part about checking the bank's many online and telephone-based systems, I pull out the monthly bank statement from my file cabinet and, lo, there's the statement showing a photocopy of the cashed check. (So much for my previous examination of the paper statements.)
So, I came THIS close to writing a second $500 check. Righteous indignation sweeps across Mike's little corner of heaven.
I call contractor's business office. Somehow a second "account" for this transaction had been set up in my name. Conversation follows the well-worn so-sorry-these-things-happen-have-a-nice-day-and-happy-holidays path.
My question is this? How long would it have taken for the contractor to realize I'd paid them twice? Is this an actual business practice? A vast conspiracy by America's service providers? Probably not. More like a combination of human error and poorly designed computer systems. At least I hope that's all it is...
Thank God for paper statements. I'm still trying to figure out why my bank's online search tool didn't return the correct result.
This little episode does nothing to lessen my suspicion of financial institutions and contractors...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Who is Brian Williams? What's a "News Anchor"?

So some guy named Brian Williams -- apparently he's in the news business -- is not happy with bloggers. His reference to being "in a bathroom with a modem" is odd. It's almost amusing. Perhaps I should actually watch TV news?
Then again, I read this and I think, nah, no good reason to do that.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Armando Benietez? For 7 Large/year?

Um, isn't Bobby V. in exile in Japan because of Armando's, er, lack of focus in the playoffs? Yah, he kicked butt and put up big numbers for the Fish last season. Did the Fish play in any real tight games last year?
Between April and August, Armando will be fine. We'll find out if he's the same ol' headcase so familiar to Mets fans during any of the Giants-Dodgers games that come after the all-star break. Oh, right, there's a stand in LA July 14-17 immediately following the All-Star break. That should be interesting...

When this little ol' blogger's lazy, this is what he does...
Unfortunately, for some, this is playlist from my Rhapsody account...
RHAPSODY Link On the other hand, if you're not a Rhapsody user, go check it out. They might have a trial offer you can use. As subscription music services go, it's very fine, indeed.
They, like all the subscription services, face a number of challenges, the thorniest having to do with getting the average online consumer to start thinking of music as a service instead of a product. And without portability -- like being able to toss songs onto an iPod or something else -- there are some limitations.
Implicit in the notion of subscription that permanent ownership of a song or album doesn't really apply.
But multiple choice is what digital media markets are all about...

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