Thursday, January 2, 2014

Best Buy Blues...

I'm getting a tablet of some sort for my Christmas present. We decided to wait until after Christmas so we could shop in peace without the rush. We also thought we might find a better deal after Christmas.

My "go-to" place for computer type buys has always been Best Buy. We bought two televisions there recently, and picked up a Roku for Christmas.

We shop around but have been happy with their service, the prices, and their proximity.

Not so at the moment. I went in on Saturday to compare the various tablets, had pretty much decided I'd be getting one of their Samsung tablets. I have not decided which one would be best for my needs so I went in to ask questions. They were busy but not overly so. I went to the area and started looking. A woman was at the desk in the area doing something. She never looked up. I was there for over 20 minutes looking at the various tablets, comparing, playing with them, etc. Not once did anyone come ask to help.

I wandered around looking for someone to help, trying to catch the eye of someone. I'd try to catch the attention of one of the staffers walking by, waved my hand at one, but they all had tunnel vision, probably on a mission to help someone else. The woman at the desk had vanished at some point.

After going up and down a few aisles, circling the department, I finally gave up and left.

New Years day I wanted to buy a sound track to a movie I'd just seen and thought I'd stop in to see if they had it (one left!). We're looking for a washer / dryer so stopped in that department and looked. There was a guy in the department working at the desk... I had learned my lesson the previous Saturday --- I walked up and asked for help. He was helpful.

Then I stopped across the corridor to look at the tablets again. Given there was another couple looking at them I thought maybe between the three of us we'd catch someone's attention. They gave up before I did. They really didn't try to get help, but based on their conversation they were seriously contemplating buying one of the smaller tablets.

I wandered again but didn't stick for quite as long.

I guess I'll make the trek to some other store. The Best Buy is close and is about the only game in town if you have questions.  I think that H.H. Gregg has tablets, probably Sams, I may go check them out. Or I'll do what I probably should have done in the first place and do some research and shopping on-line. After all, I consider myself a semi-geek-ette. I should be able to handle it... but somehow I still prefer talking to someone who knows something.

To be fair, I could have gone to the guy at the entrance and told him I wanted someone to come to the area. By the time I was willing to walk to the front I was a bit frustrated and just didn't have the patience -- or time --- to talk with someone.

It won't stop me from buying again at Best Buy, but I am disappointed. If they'd been overwhelmingly busy I wouldn't have minded. Guess I just expect better...

Monday, November 18, 2013

What would you miss the most?

I just finished re-reading One Second After by William Forstchen. It's an interesting book, thought provoking and scary. It's a story about what happens after an EMP attack is unleashed on America.

I see that they're in production at Warner Bros. to make a movie with the book as the basis. I'll go see it.

The scary part of the book is that it's a true possibility. Many of the apocalyptic movies and books are so far removed from the realm of possibility that I would classify them as entertainment. The things that happen in One Second After could happen. I doubt it would happen on the scale that's depicted in the book, but even an EMP over our major cities would create devastating havoc for many, many years.

An EMP is an Electro Magnetic Pulse. I won't go into details, it's easy to look it up (and I'm definitely not an expert!). On a very-simplistic level --- it would wipe out, shut down, kill computers, cars with electronic components, airplanes, your electric can opener,  trains...anything that has a computer circuit or is run by any form of electricity. Here's a quote from the "About EMP" section on Forstchen's website: "In far less than a milli second the entire power grid of the United States, and all that it supports will be destroyed." (http://onesecondafter.com/pb/wp_d10e87d9/wp_d10e87d9.html)

Destroyed.

How do you repair things without electronics? Dams would shut down. Trains wouldn't run. Freezers wouldn't work. Electric power tools would be useless. Tractors, dead. Processing machines, kaput. Circuit board fried.

Most grocery stores have maybe three days of food. They rely on heaters, coolers, freezers and transportation.

How far are you from a grocery store? Right now you hop in your car and drive the five or ten miles. Unless you have a clunker from the 60s or earlier you vehicle isn't going to work. So... think about walking. Think about carrying the food home. Think about how fast those who got their first would clean out the shelves.

If you do have a clunker that works how are you going to fill the tank with gas? The gas station pumps aren't going to work.


No communication either. No radio or TV no Internet to tell us what's going on. No cell phones. No telephones, either. You wouldn't know what was going on with your son in college, your daughter who's visiting a friend across town or your parents living in another state.

Hospital equipment unable to function, elevators stopped or crashed... People in the inner cities would start to move outward hoping for food to live on. How long before the animals on the farms are butchered without thought to the future?

We gradually acquired skills and knowledge to bring us to our current wonderful lifestyles. What happens when all at once everyone loses everything? Most of us don't have even basic survival skills. Do you know what's edible in the forest? How to butcher a deer (assuming you could figure out how to kill it in the first place)? Know where the nearest stream is with fish? Could you grow a garden with edible food before you starved? Could you protect it from those who are out to survive any way possible?

Since reading the book for the first time I sometimes look at some of the things I take for granted and wonder what I'd miss most. Some of the big things are easy --- connection with family, communication, heat, air conditioning, FOOD. Transportation. Refills on medicines.

But, assuming I was one who managed to somehow survive for a period of time, I sometimes wonder what little things I'd miss the most?

I always think about toilet paper. Once whatever I have in the house is gone it's gone.
Toothpaste.

Bandaids.
Aspirin.

Shampoo.
Hot tea.
Napkins.
Contact lenses / replacement glasses.
Tape.
Music.

What about you? 

Here are a few links to get you started if you'd like to know more about EMPs:
http://onesecondafter.com/pb/wp_d10e87d9/wp_d10e87d9.html
http://www.futurescience.com/emp/emp-protection.html
http://unitedstatesaction.com/emp-terror.htm

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Quick note on earaches...

I've been plagued since I was a child with intermittent earaches. No health issues, just have to make sure I take care when swimming, etc.

Monday started with an earache, much worse than usual. It got more painful as the evening progressed, none of my usual remedies made a dent. Even aspirin didn't ease the pain.

I did what most of us do these days when we can't get to a doctor, I hit the Internet and went on a search for natural remedies. I found a ton of suggestions, unfortunately I didn't have any of the items listed in the house... except alcohol and white vinegar.

I gave it a shot. Everyone had different mixtures -- 3 portions of white vinegar to one of alcohol, etc. I went with half and half. I put it on a cotton ball, grabbed a heating pad & went to bed to read. 15 minutes later I realized the pain was completely gone. It's been three days and it hasn't returned.

Next time I go to the doc I'll let her take a look just to make sure nothing's going on in there, but I imagine it was just the old swimmers ear. If it comes back, I'll head to the doctor.

Figured I'd take a minute & share just in case anyone ever ran into the same problem. I didn't see any horror tales or comments from doctors saying not to do it but whenever you / we go the route of home "repair" you / we need to be cautious... That's my official disclaimer . Be careful with your ears, eyes, and all the rest of your bod.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bad truck driver...

You can see there's traffic. he cut across from the far right to the middle lane, cutting off people in all lanes.
I was heading home from setting up an art show Friday on the north side of Atlanta. I was in the middle lane of I-285 between 400 and Spaghetti Junction, going East, when a truck on the on-ramp jumped AROUND all the vehicles merging from the ramp onto 285, cut across the full striped merge median, cut across the lane he SHOULD have merged onto (if he'd merged correctly) and almost ran me over getting in front of my car. If I had not slammed on my brakes I'd have been toast, along with a few other people.

He did it so quickly there was almost no time to react. Scared the heck out of me. Then it made me mad.



It wasn't like we were going anywhere fast for a while anyway, it was rush hour traffic as you can see from all the cars. I left Cumming, GA about 5:15 p.m. so we were truly in the middle of typical bumper-to-bumper Atlanta traffic.

I whipped out my trusty camera and took photos. This BAD J-Par Trucking driver is going to get someone killed at some point. I think he must have seen me taking photos because he slowed his truck-butt down when I passed him.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Facebook going nutty over email...

What goes with Facebook and these new @facebook.com emails? Getting rid of them is a pain. It's necessary to get rid of them, too, because they go nowhere. I understand that supposedly we're supposed to be able to email back and forth to the accounts ON Facebook? But I can send a message to anyone I'd like already by clicking on the "message" button on their page so that doesn't sound reasonable, or right.

I went in and made mine vanish from my Facebook info page. You can make them go away if you're on Timeline also. I could understand if they wanted to give everyone a FB email account...I did see the message on the top giving me the option to change my FB email name for a week or so before they made the magic change. I didn't understand WHY they wanted to give me a FB email, definitely didn't understand that they were going to make it visible on my profile page and do slide the one I had on their into oblivion.

You'd a thunk they've told us they were going to do this massive flick-of-the-switcharoo and explained why... If there was a button on the "your FB email is blah-blah-blah" box that was on top of the page for a while, I missed it. It would have made more sense to have a message saying "We're getting ready to make you have this account and we're going to make it your default email and show it to the world". I might have paid some attention if they'd had a big warning.

Of course, I gather it's a big split as to whether most people on FB even know they have a new email!

I happen to like Facebook, love keeping up with my family and friends, and love meeting new people. The exposure to things I would have missed is fantastic. It is a bit time consuming and addictive though. I'm trying to tether back a bit.

Did you notice they gave you a new email? that it was listed on your info / about page? Did you change it? What do you think about Facebook? Google+? Pinterest? Twitter? So many ways to keep in touch these days, so little time to live life away from the computer...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lines of Privacy in a Relationship

The relationship of a friend just ended because one of the duo was snooping into private documents. I don't know enough of the details to know whether it was curiosity, jealousy or just different lines of privacy that caused the guilty party to snoop.

What it did bring up for me was the ending of one of my relationships years back.

I caught my guy reading my diary / journal. It had been in a drawer, hidden, not a place where there was any excuse for him to look and possibly find it. He read enough to start asking questions about things in the journal. Nothing incriminating or bad about him. However, I used the journal to vent feelings on issues, worry out problems, or walk myself through choices.

It wasn't the kind of stuff that anyone would want to share with another, and while lining out choice or venting feelings even I understood they were fleeting and many times not even how I truly felt once I put them on paper. I always destroyed the journals after I filled them.

It destroyed our relationship as I didn't want anyone who'd snoop, violate my privacy, and then, to make it worse, start questioning me about things in the journal during our attempt to work it out. I truly felt violated.

Today I believe that there are lines in a relationship. There should be some privacy allowed for each party. I wouldn't pick up a piece of mail belonging to my significant other and open it, or read it without permission. I don't go through drawers or closets.

I was curious, what are your lines? I realized everyone's lines are different. My ex brother-in-law walked into my parents house the first time he met them, went straight to the fridge, opened it and took something out to drink. He didn't ask, didn't wait for them to ask. It was an assumption on his part that he was welcome to whatever was in the fridge. He also would open any closed doors and take a look if he walked by them... Those are two big no-nos in my book!

Would you log in and read your spouse or significant others' email? Open a piece of mail directed to them? Go through his or her closet? office desk? Is it a trust issue or just different lines of privacy? Do you feel like your significant other has the same lines as you?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Falderal and Hendersonville, NC

Don't you love the word "Falderal"? Obviously my spell checker doesn't 'cause it's popped the squiggly red line under the word... what foolish nonsense. Ummm, well the definition of falderal does include foolish nonsense....

Anywaze, the reason I'm going along on what some might call a worthless trifle is 'cause Falderal is the name of a winery in Hendersonville, North Carolina and I fell in love with their wines over the weekend!

I did a show with my son up there over the Memorial Day weekend. Someone from the winery posted a comment on Facebook inviting their friends and fans to visit them. I popped a comment back saying we were going to be up there working the show, would love to stop in but knew we wouldn't be able to do it (long days when you're working a show!). They said to let 'em know where we would be and they'd bring us a sample! Wow, how out of the way, above and beyond nice --- and obviously someone who cared about promoting their wine (very good business sense).

Saturday afternoon someone DID drop by with a sample. Yours truly tried the "Nantahala White" which is a peach chardonnay. Absolutely loved it. Turns out the winery was just a few blocks away! So, long story short, we bought two bottles of the Nantahala White, plus two bottles of their "One Pink Toe" which is a raspberry zinfandel. Ditto on how good it is...

The BAD part about this story is that they can only sell in North Carolina. The GOOD part is that a lot of my friends live up there or nearby, or vacation in the area, so at least I can encourage them to buy and try. Even better, my sisters and I have been talking about a girls weekend in Hendersonville. Not because of the wine, it's a trip we've been talking about for a while. However, we will definitely be stopping by the winery to get the weekend started on the right foot if you know what I mean!

Prior to our girls weekend, we'll be having a girls night and Falderal wine will most assuredly be part of the night!

Hendersonville is a great place to visit and live based on my discussions with the locals. I've done the Memorial Day show for three years now and each year I am more impressed with the area and the people. Finding a great winery just adds to the attraction.

Here's what the label has to say about Falderal Winery: All wines made by Falderal Winery are hand-crafted in small batches to ensure high quality and full flavor. Our wine is crafted locally from the finest juices from all over the world! Once you try it, we know you will agree."

I agree.

www.falderalwinery.com --- haven't checked, but maybe they can ship! If they do, I'm gonna try some other wines.

Addendum: I just popped over to the Falderal website. You must, must go check out the wines they carry! Shoot, I may have to buy one of each and line them up on a shelf just for comments when people come to visit. Great names, great labels, lots of fun: http://falderalwinery.com/our-wines/

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jury duty update

Great news -- the case settled so I don't have to serve. I found out that I was not on one of the panels that would have been selected anyway, so settle or not I wouldn't have to go through a trial.

On a side note, yesterday I heard a story about the troubles they were having in Fulton County (Atlanta, GA) getting prospective jurors to show up. If I heard correctly, only 17% of those who get the notice actually bother to show up. Wow. That's sad. They're getting ready to crack down and start fining people up to $500 for not showing up. They are also offering a one-time amnesty for those who show up and sign up (and show up) for jury duty in the next month.

Here in Fayette County I'd guess we had close to 100%. The room was packed. I found the experience very well run, informative, and pleasant. I didn't want to spend my time sitting in a courtroom but believe it's part of our system and my "duty". Shoot, if I ever have to go through a trial (please, no, no, no) I'd want someone like me on the jury...

Monday, April 23, 2012

If only I had Allstate insurance...

Turns out jury duty is for two state civil trials involving insurance carriers. I'm thinking if I had Allstate or Safeway insurance I would probably not be someone desirable on a trial.

Right now Sheila Studdard, State Court Clerk, is putting us in groups of twelve and querying whether we have either of those insurance companies. I'm on panel five. There are eleven panels.

Crud, I have to come back on Wednesday. I was planning to take my daughter-in-law shopping for her birthday. They just announced that the trial in question was being deferred to Wednesday and that everyone who didn't have either insurance company would be coming back... grrrrrr....

First time for jury duty...

Well, it's almost 8:30 a.m., my check in time for jury duty. I, along with over a hundred others, got here early and am now sitting in the room wondering what comes next. There's still a long line of people checking in.

I was surprised at the number of Sheriff's deputies hanging out down by the check-in screening area. I wonder if people give them grief or try to carry in contraband. I brought half my life in anticipation of being here for a long time. I have my laptop, two bottles of water, a book, snacks, paperwork, purse with all the usual paraphernalia. I did remember to take the mace off my keyring and, just to be on the safe side, I left my ultra-large barrel mascara in the car. I used to have a metal compact that always triggered the sensors when it went through the scanner --- for some reason when it was slightly angled I was told it looked like a grenade.

Not much else  to share at the moment. I showed my ID when I entered the room. They didn't catch the fact that there was a discrepancy in the name on my ID and the name they listed, but I wasn't going to point it out. I then came in and signed in. Now I sit.

Some people have attempted to get out of duty, and succeeded, while I waited. One had been convicted of a crime, the other just postponed their "duty" for another day. The room is filling up. If I counted correctly there are at least 160 seats plus some extras scattered in the back. There's still a line waiting to get in and it's now 8:33 a.m. I think we're going to fill up the room.

Nuff for now. I'm waiting for the band to set up, the music to start, breakfast to be served, coffee, tea and crumpets...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jury Duty it is...

It finally happened. I have been summoned to do jury duty. They sure don't give you a lot of notice! I had just under two weeks, which isn't horrible, but when you have an ultra busy schedule it takes some juggling. Good thing I wasn't planning a vacation or wasn't headed out to a conference...

I was pleased to find out they had Wi-Fi and laptops were allowed. I doubt they'll be allowed in the courtroom if I'm selected! I'll try to keep you posted tomorrow on what's going on. Yep, tomorrow. 8:30 a.m.

I'm planning to write about my experience if I'm selected. I have mixed feelings about doing jury duty. It's a good system and I feel like it's my "duty" to do it when called. However, I have a zillion things I'd rather be doing. It does beat going to the dentist though and it should be interesting.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Comcast / Xfinity: The Good, the Bad and the Strange

A short time ago I ran into some issues with Comcast / Xfinity. I wrote a blog about the problems (http://ramblingjan.blogspot.com/2012/02/so-long-comcast-sending-xfinity-into.html) and was pleasantly surprised to get a comment from Comcast's National Customer Operations saying they'd like to try and resolve the problems.

I responded --- I'm always willing to give a company that goes that extra mile a second chance (or in this case, a third or fourth chance!).

I received a call from the local office, however, I was out of town. That started a chain of tag phone calls (two for me to every one from them). Finally I got an email from them saying that they hadn't heard from me and if we didn't connect within a certain time frame they would consider the matter resolved. Didn't particularly like that... I sent an email back saying I'd been leaving messages AND once again tried the numbers in the email.

Finally we connected. I won't bore you with the back and forth, but they ultimately came out and switched me from their modem with Wi-Fi to a combination of their modem without Wi_fi and MY Netgear router. Now I can pick up Wi-Fi anywhere in the house, something that did NOT work with their Wi-Fi modem.

The guy who came out to make the switch was great. While here, per the discussion with customer service, he switched out our HD TV modem (if that's what it's called?) for a non-HD modem. However (always a however somewhere, huh?), the modem thingy he had on hand was a silver boxy ugly thing that clashed with the TV, the room and looked like something from the early days of computers.

He was super. He called his office supervisor, explained the issue, and was told it was fine to just leave the HD modem and they would ditch the $10 cost per month. Just as FYI background - we got a package, price was approximately $10 higher than we were told, Comcast customer service said tough and suggested we ditch the HD since we didn't use it, didn't have the option on our TVs.

We were very happy with keeping the old modem minus HD. The switch of computer/phone modem fixed the problem with me IPS address being added to spam blockers, too.

Now for the second "however". I called to get one of the final issues resolved (credit and cancellation of the super-assistance I had to "buy" to fix the problem caused by Comcast) and, after multiple calls, getting discounted a number of times, being shuttled to the wrong area (roughly half a day down the drain) I got the charge reversed HOWEVER I learned that at some point someone at Comcast / Xfinity would do an audit, learn that we had the HD modem and they'd come after us for the $10 a month....

I contacted the lady I'd been working with at Comcast, the local super service lady. She said that was true. Grrrrrr... taking the TV modem switched out would entail a half-hour in one direction drive. She offered to send us the modem AND a prepaid shipping box to return the other. Great.

Third HOWEVER... the modem they shipped to us was the same one we refused. Now we're at a stand still.  I have some posts out on forums trying to find out how we can go about getting a different modem / receiver. The Comcast lady tells me that it's the silver boxy thing or nothing. I have found the sleek black boxes out on eBay but have been told that's an iffy proposition. They could be stolen, Comcast could come after us for using them, etc.

It's a silly thing but dang it, after all the time and effort we've put into this I know that every time I look at that silver box on top of the TV that I'm going to get irritated. Not sure what I want to do at this point. I'm looking at options. I zapped an email to the Comcast lady asking if we could just BUY the black DCT700 (which is what we had before). I'm waiting.