Saturday Night Speculation

Thank goodness for the internet, because when you are addicted to a British TV show like I am, you’d go crazy jonesing for a full year before it arrives on American TV.

And now, a consumer complaint

The trifecta is complete.
I’m watching Judging Amy on TNT, which is already a shining example of how to annoy viewers — the show is cut in the middle of scenes for commercials, while the built-in fade to black for ads just passes by without a commercial. It’s jarring and annoying.
But worse than that is this afternoon’s new annoyance: we’ve seen the bug, that station logo that lives in the corner of the picture at all times. We’ve seen the huge, animated, and noisy promos that flash across the picture as you’re trying to watch a show. Now, we have the combination of both: a promo message that stays on the screen during the entire program.

I think that my new policy is to use the “zoom” function on my TV, in order to crop off the top and bottom of the picture. All this clutter on the television, on web pages, ads everywhere… how much is this contributing to the short attention spans we all seem to have now?

What is this, Consumer Reports?

While I’m at it, more praise: this time for a car washing kit. I picked it up at Target the other day for $18, it’s the Mr. Clean gadget that you stick on the end of your garden hose. It has soap and a water filter built in; you rinse the car with water, then twist the knob and spray on the soap, rub a dub dub, rinse again.

Electrifying Customer Service

I often write about crappy customer service here — well, more than often, because it seems so prevalent these days. But today, I’m singing the praises of a small business.
Electric Motorsport, run by Todd Kollin in Oakland, California, is where I got my electric scooter a little more than a month ago. Todd was helpful and knowledgeable about electric vehicles, and gave me pointers on which one to buy.
I bought the other one.
I began to have some problems with it. First off, even after riding it and cycling the battery, I never could travel more than 10 miles on a charge. Then, I couldn’t get the battery to hold a charge and the charger wouldn’t even kick on because the battery voltage was so low. This was exacerbated by the fact that I don’t ride it every day.
Todd stopped by one evening on his way somewhere — Oakland is 50 miles away — and dropped off an auxiliary charger. Still, I couldn’t get it to work, not being an electrical engineer.
So last week — again, 50 miles out of his way — Todd stopped by with a replacement scooter with a different battery technology for me to try out. The very first time I tried it, it worked perfectly, and the second day I rode it all the way from my house north of downtown to south San Jose, where my friends Jann & Mike live, about 12 miles. I let it charge for an hour at their house, and made my way home — a longer trip, about 14 miles. And when I got home, the battery still indicated enough power to go 20 miles more.
So, I’m going to keep this improved scooter — the one Todd recommended in the first place — and pay the extra charge for the new batteries (no pun intended).
I can’t recommend Electric Motorsport highly enough, they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty to make me happy, and they go into my admittedly small hall of customer service fame.

Electric Motorsport
2400 Mandela Parkway
Oakland CA 94607
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone (510)839-9376
Fax (510)832-7010
Open M-F 10am-5pm PST

Free entertainment

Ever watch your local government access channel?
As I write this, San Jose’s City Council is meeting to discuss the mayor’s current woes and whether he should be asked to resign. I’m watching the public comments right now, where citizens are invited to address the council. It seems like they are alternating thoughtful, engaged citizens with mentally unstable, crazy people.
It’s a hoot!

I need some E Tickets

I’ve been in California for a full year now, but I haven’t taken advantage of it — I kept thinking when I moved here that I’d be running around to all the things to see, the mountains and beaches and whatnot.

It’s a disposible consumer world, I guess

Okay, one more little complaint aimed directly at Apple: the Mighty Mouse, which I love, has a fatal flaw — it can’t be opened for cleaning. So, the little trackball on the top of the mouse no longer scrolls down, which I assume is due to dirt and crud from being caressed by my fingers for the last year.

Update: not less than a few minutes after I wrote this, The Unofficial Apple Weblog notes that there is an updated Apple Technote describing How to clean your Mighty Mouse.

Moving right along

You know what is really annoying about the web these days? The ads — not just because there are so many and they’re becoming more intrusive all the time, but because they are served from third party servers. More and more often I’ll surf to a site and then the page will load halfway and freeze, waiting for the ads to load before it will draw the page so I can read the content that’s already arrived.

Maybe it’s just me

I really can’t figure out the point of dating anymore. It seems, quite simply, to be an exercise in whittling away the ego and leaving the participants — or, at least, one of them — diminished.
Take the date I went on this weekend, the latest in what to my mind seems like a long, long line of first dates that never lead to a second. The guy was just my type — intelligent, creative, a fellow designer, way cute, could carry on a conversation — but as always, where prior to the date there was an excitement and a dialogue, immediately after there was silence. What set him apart from others was that 24 hours later, he emailed me to say there was no match — usually I just never hear from them again.
His reasoning? We were in two “different places” with our lives. It’s interesting, most of the people around me are fascinated by my move to California, this sabbatical in my life; but this guy indulged in a little transference, noting that hs ex-boyfriend couldn’t find a job in California and moved away.
My response to this late last night via email was that I was not that guy, and he shouldn’t assume that I am. It remains to be seen if I get any response.
My first thought this morning after a sleepless night of contemplation was that I should call him and state my case for a second date. If there’s one thing I know about myself, it’s that I can’t be summed up in one meeting, it takes a long time to find out who I really am. I’m really tired of bearing the brunt of snap judgments, and I liked this guy enough to not want to just abandon it. But my self-esteem has taken yet another beating — I’m already feeling diminished because I haven’t found the job I want here, and even though financially I am quite well, thank you, this incident has just left me feeling even more like there is nothing more important in my life than a career — evidently, I can’t even have a relationship without one.
I never know the right thing to do. I probably won’t call him, even though I feel that it might be an important gesture — because now I am afraid that he’ll abandon this excuse for something different that is even more ego bruising.
How do people do this? How can one go through this time after time after time, and not be a shell of a person at the end? Is that the point, to whittle away your self-esteem so that finally you’ll take the first person that comes along who doesn’t have tattoos on his face and rotting teeth?
Why is it that every time I peek my head out of my hermit’s cave, I’m hit with a crowbar and forced to go back in even farther?

How it gets worse: we’ve now emailed a couple of times, explaining our positions, and two things are clear to me: first, that I wish it had worked out with him, because even in these circumstances, he is sweet and honest and intelligent and kind. (To set the record straight, he says was not “transferring” his previous experience, but learned from it.)
Second, it is clear to me that my emotional defense of gloom and doom and putting up walls around myself is still just as powerful as it ever was despite my attempts to tear them down. The self-reinforcing walls just get stronger when I try to let my guard down and then retreat back into them. The nicer the guy, the higher they go.

What’s 99¢ between friends?

Okay, so you haven’t rushed out to buy Motherlode yet. I’m hurt, but I’ll get over it.
But it’s New Music Tuesday at the iTunes Music Store, and you’ve got another opportunity to show me that you care–by picking up a song (or twenty) from Motherlode.
What are you waiting for? Go, buy!

Red State, Blue Pill

I just can’t understand people who worship hypocrites and cult figures — from L. Ron Hubbard to George W. Bush, there are charlatans and liars and downright bastards out there who manage to wrap the weak-willed around their fingers and no matter how judgmental or hypocritical they might be, to their admirers they can do no wrong.
I offer the following as an example of that kind of nonsense. What’s most amusing about this one is the fact that we’ve been through this before, and the cult leader didn’t seem to learn his lesson the first time. What’s double amusing is that he obviously has some sexual dysfunction problems, as well.

(CBS) MIAMI Sources have confirmed to WFOR-TV in Miami that conservative talk show host [Rush Limbaugh] has been detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when they found the drugs, among them Viagra.

Limbaugh entered a plea deal back in April in a previous case where his charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions was dropped under the condition he continue undergoing treatment for addiction.

Limbaugh had admitted to being addicted to pain killers on his radio program and had entered a rehabilitation program prior to that arrest.

Now, why aren’t those law-and-order Republicans demanding jail time for Limbaugh? Oh, right. He’s a wealthy, right-wing white man, so he deserves compassion.