Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Juicing or not?

I've been watching a ton of health related movies since getting a Roku which gave me access to Netflix, Amazon and a bunch of other channels. I usually watch them as I'm walking on the treadmill. It makes me feel virtuous to do double-duty, plus it motivates me to keep on moving.

It's been very interesting and educational. I've watched "Food, Inc.", "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead", "Vegucated", and other similar movies.

After watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead I decided to experiment a bit with juicing.

I don't really need to lose a ton of weight although I wouldn't mind dropping some. My main reason for wanting to try juicing is to get a few more veggies in my system. I'm also a bit concerned about my joints as I've had issues off and on for years since I pushed myself too hard and fast when training for a marathon. Long story but the end result has been an inability to run marathons...or for any length of time.

Tale after tale of people getting of medications, reversing diseases or chronic conditions sparked a strong interest. I'd like to prevent going down the path of doctor visits, prescription medications lined up on the counter, poor health, lack of energy, obesity, brain-fog, and all those other negatives that are so prevalent these days.

I'm a vegetarian, been one since my teens. I don't eat sugar of any sort except, horrible I know, Splenda in my hot tea in the morning (more on that sinful choice at some other time). I stopped with the gluten long before it became a fad. Despite all of those so-called "healthy" food choices I know I am addicted to carbs. Give me a choice between a piece of toast and a stalk of broccoli and guess which one I'll grab?

I have a Nutribullet and had been using it for smoothies but I thought juicing might be a better option. I get plenty of fiber so ditching the natural fibers isn't that big a deal for my intestines, but I am not thrilled with tossing all the good stuff out.

My daughter-in-law loaned me a juicer. She had tried it, said it was messy, a hassle, she'd done it a few times and given up.

I just tried my first juicing. It's messy, it's kind of a hassle and something I may or may not do again! I made a kale, strawberry, apple concoction. It was good. If someone else made it and handed it to me I'd love it.

Right now I have a bunch of glob-filled things in my sink waiting to be cleaned. And the residue on my little glass is not appetizing. My teeth may be green also. 

I'm kind of thinking that maybe I'll just stick with the Nutribullet. I can toss all the same stuff in it, whir it a bit and have a filling, fiber-rich, vitamin-rich drink.

I did learn a few things during the process though. I have been making my smoothies completely backwards. I've been fruit heavy.

I just watched a video on YouTube by Elizabeth Rider ( about some common juicing mistakes. I watched it thinking she was going to tell me how to do things so I didn't have such a mess (ha ha). I need to make sure my smoothies are green. More kale, fewer bananas, mangoes and strawberries.

If you're interested in more on juicing here are a few YouTube videos that caught my attention:

Here a trailer for a movie/documentary I'm going to watch if it's on Netflix/Amazon, etc. :

On a side-note: I saw a number of videos lamenting major weight gain after going off a juice-fast. I think if someone slowly goes back to eating HEALTHY foods, makes veggies a platform of a normal diet rather than the little exclamation point on the platter, and has done their juicing correctly that shouldn't be an issue. I didn't watch any of the videos as I wasn't going to do a juice fast like Joe Cross or others who tout the benefits.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Zumba... R.I.P.P.E.D. and more

I've been working out regularly for a number of years. Mostly I hit the treadmill and the weight machines with my friend. We've been getting out butts out of bed and to the gym between 5:30 and 6:30 almost every morning. Yawn.

I hit a plateau and really wasn't seeing the kind of changes I wanted so about a month ago I started tossing in a few classes to the mix.

Zumba is fun. I'm still working on all the steps, but I move, and move, and move. More often than not I move in a different direction that the rest of the class but who cares? I'm moving. Some instructors are fun, some are fun to watch, some are focused...all bring a different style...all get my heart rate going.

I think that the R.I.P.P.E.D. classes are possibly my favorite "get something done" type class. They push my limits. It's weights, jumping jacks, all kinds of varied things. Those initials stand for something...Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometrics, Endurance, and Diet. So far no one has said anything about diet in the class aside from "eat well", whatever that might mean. I didn't realize the D stood for diet until I just looked it up to share!

I'll probably try a few of the others but I think I need to stick to the ones I've mentioned for a bit.

I won't climb on the scale until I go to the doctor next month. I needed a goal and the doc visit is it.

Wondering why I'm writing this? Me too.

Go see "Annie"!

I read the reviews by the reviewmeisters.
They panned Annie.
I almost didn't want to go see it.
I'm glad I did.

The movie is positive. It's uplifting. It's fun. The acting is good. The music is great. There's really nothing negative I can say about it. Sorry to those who make a living reviewing movies, you got this one wrong (dang, you need to take a dose of something to counter your cynical minds).

It has GREAT messages:
- you can be anything, background doesn't matter
- work hard and you can achieve
- hard knocks happen but your attitude will help you triumph
- redemption for any and all

I could probably list some more but those are the ones that shouted out at me as I thought about Annie afterwards. I thoroughly enjoyed getting a dose of positive in the guise of entertaining theater.

The music is fun, catchy, sing-able and yes, good. Sure, the words are a bit different but so is the movie. It's very loosely based on Annie. I think it kept the main themes but with a modern twist.

Sure, it's different. But go out and read the first comic strip then watch all the subsequent cartoons, movies, spin-offs, remakes. Think Annie has changed? What creation from the 1930s hasn't been changed to fit the times? 

They dissed Cameron Diaz (Miss Hannigan) for overacting. Did they SEE Carol Burnett in the 1982 remake? Kathy Bates in the 1999 version?

They didn't like the music? the singing? We left the theater and went straight to the store to find the CD. We bought the last one. I don't know if that means they're selling like crazy or the stores just didn't stock them!

I hope every parent takes their children, all ages, to see the movie. I have seen most of the other versions, if not all. I like the fact that they modernized this one.

(I'm going to come back & add some more later, breakfast calls).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Comcast / Xfinity Update @comcastcares @comcastmike

Bottom line: the problem isn't fixed.

Started tweeting, found a supposed "secret" website page on a forum and sent info, sent an email to the address @comcastmike sent me...and continued to call every day. Not sure which worked, took a few days to get a response from any of them but finally a Mr. Spencer called. He hadn't read anything and didn't have a basic grasp of what the issues were so I updated him. He should have been aware, not good that an escalation contact wouldn't the info at his fingertips. It was a pleasant conversation but anyone who's tasked with calling under these circumstances should have had the background and been ready to act rather than starting (again) from scratch.

Moving on...

I mentioned that we'd waited on a tech again for Wednesday but they didn't show. We hadn't schedule it, became aware when the lady called Tuesday night to tell us they'd be out. I cancelled my plans to be here. He said it showed we had not answered when they called for the tech visit on Wednesday. Not true, a "real" person called & I spoke with her @ 5:30 p.m. Tues. No calls showing on my phone or the home phone --- course, if they called on the Comcast home phone could be it never showed since it only works sporadically.... However, I let it go. No point in arguing ---- especially since we'd already had 4 techs out and they all said they couldn't find the problem.

All the techs had said it was an area problem when they couldn't find an issue at our house, nothing they could do. Mr. Spencer said he didn't show an area problem. I found out later he can't SEE an area problem unless it's an outage or current calls. Anyway, he called the local supervisor or manager and arranged to have someone, a "super" tech, out to see us that same day.

The super-tech checked everything, said it was an area problem. He said Comcast was splitting nodes either this week or next and hopefully that would fix the issue. They thought possibly they had too many customers on one node and it was resulting in issues. It didn't happen this week or, if it did, it didn't fix the issue 'cause we're still having problem.

Haven't heard back from Mr. Spencer. I had erroneously "assumed" that he'd call back to check on us... ya know, like someone who 'cared' would have, right?

Also, I was given the local supervisor's phone number and told to call him on Friday. I called twice, left messages, no response. Thought maybe # was wrong so tried variations, talked with some interesting people but not the supervisor.

Received an email and a call yesterday saying a tech was coming out today from 10 - 12. I wasn't going to be here so didn't cancel my plans and missed the call totally from this morning as I was in class. No one asked me if I would be here before deciding to set the appointment. I think Mr. Spencer may have set it, seems like he said something about it but then he upped the ante and had someone come out the same day we talked. Maybe he didn't cancel it.

Long story, but we're still having the problem. We now possibly, probably, know what's causing the issue and guess we'll just wait and see. Up to one more week of spotty service, phone calls dropped, Internet in and out.

What I've learned is that Comcast really has a horrific system of keeping their customers happy.

My suggestions:

- have a system in place where after 2 or 3 calls the complaint is automatically routed to someone who follows up and has some authority to do something other than just send out another tech. Having to call daily to get the run around is ridiculous.
- we shouldn't have to call billing to ask for the guarantee they have on their site to happen. Only ONE of the many, many techs and customer service types I talked / chatted with mentioned it existed. It should be automatic, not something we have to beg to get.
- give that person, whether it be a supervisor or super-customer service type, the ability to SEE area-wide problems, to track issues, to use a bit of common sense. I'd suggest a liaison in various sectors who got the problem so they're at least familiar with the area and can talk with the techs, the supervisors, etc.
- do a better job of writing up what is happening so the customer doesn't have to repeat the same problem over and over. When we call and say, "it's still happening" then that info should be available.
- give people the option of reporting an issue with "multiple services" on the phone touch system rather than having to choose phone, internet or TV.
- follow up with customers. Most of us just want to be kept abreast of what's going on. We were told repeatedly that no one would be calling us to let us know when the supposed super tech type would be coming to track down the area-wide problem.
- Get some people working customer service who are pleasant. Some were, some weren't. None had a clue other than one super nice guy in Illinois, Kendrick, who impressed the heck out of me. The supervisor I spoke with was  rotten.

There are other things that have crossed my mind while dealing with Comcast/Xfinity over the past few months. Wish I'd written them down...but I've given enough of my life to trying to fix this issue. 

I used to work customer service and I used to go into areas with issues and organize them, turn them into profit centers. Comcast's left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing and it comes across clearly to the customers. No wonder we're so frustrated with the service. .

Monday, August 4, 2014

Comcast / Xfinity... again

It seems that I only post to this blog when I'm having problems. Sigh. I am a 99.9% happy-type person and need to change the flow of this blog to more fit my personality. However, today it's another rant.

Problem: For years we've been having problems with intermittent service. In recent months the problem has been growing to the point where we're missing huge chunks of programs, missing ends of sentences, etc. Phone drops. Internet goes out. TV continually pixilates then goes blank, get a message saying to call Comcast if issue persists. Sometimes it lasts for over half an hour, and has been hours at times without any service. Been calling. Had tech visits.

I just got off the phone with Comcast / Xfinitiy again. A supervisor this time. (Side note: called from home phone, call dropped when phone went out, had to call back from cell phone).

Conversation went something like this:
Me: We've had umpteen tech support come out and each time they tell us there's not a problem at our house, it's an area problem. They tell us they can't fix it and they're escalating the problem.
Supervisor: You have a tech appointment today from 10 - 12.
Me: No one told us about it. And why would they be coming out again when they can't fix anything?
Sup: They have to check the lines.
Me: They've been out here four or five times to check the lines. The last time was last Wednesday. They gave us a window of 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. for their visit. We stayed home all day. They came out around 7 p.m. and said there was still nothing wrong with our lines. It was an area problem. They would escalate it again.
Sup: I see you have an tech visit scheduled from 10 - 12 today. They will check your lines. They can escalate the problem.
Me: We have been calling for two months. They come out. They check the lines. They tell us it is an area problems, not something they can fix. They will escalate the problem. Our phone, TV and Internet work only sporadically. Over two months. Numerous visits. What is the point of having someone else come to our house to check out lines?
Sup: We have to have someone come out before we can escalate the problem.
Me: They escalated it Wednesday.
Sup: A technician is scheduled to come between 10 & 12 today.

We played that game four or five more times before I said forget it. Which, I have to surmise, is their goal.

That is typical of what has been happening for the past two plus months. We've been patient. We have spent countless hours on the phone, waiting for tech support, following technicians around as they do exactly the same thing again and again and tell us the same thing again and again. I posted a few of my on-going Facebook posts below if you'd like more details of calls, etc.

Only one phone no-service person / chat person / technician has mentioned their supposed guarantee. Chat person. On one subsequent phone call I asked the guy about it and he said I need to call billing. I mentioned it to the supervisor today and he completely ignored me, said he needed to check to see our record. Went back to June, commented on it and said "Oh, I see a technician is scheduled to come out today between..." (you know where that conversation ended!).

It's 11:22 a.m. and they haven't shown up. Not that it would matter. One time the service people told us they were going to replace all our inside equipment. I asked how the phone modem could affect the television. He said we needed to have all our equipment replaced to make sure that wasn't the issue. When the tech type came out she said that was crazy (well, she didn't quite say crazy, but she did say that wasn't the issue). We did get an email receipt showing that nothing was changed out.

I'm going to be calling or visiting my neighbors over the next few days to see if they're on Comcast & determine whether they area also experiencing problems. If it turns out they ARE having problems then I'm going to see about getting some sort of group effort going. If it turns out we're the lone stranger I'll deal with it differently.

Either way I'm getting ready to spend a bit of time with Clark Howard, the state of Georgiia's folks and Fayette County government types who approve the Comcast contract. I also have some names, addresses and phone numbers of some folks on up the food chain.

I've been tagging Xfinity on my Facebook posts. No message. No response. Guess they must be overwhelmed with complaints.  Here's a recap:

July 31 Facebook post
A lot of you have asked me about what happened with XFINITY/Comcast. They came around 7. They did not conquer. In fact, they told us they could not conquer, that it wasn't an issue here at the house; replacing all our equipment as suggested / promised wasn't gonna happen. Supposedly it's an area-wide issue and they have been out trying to figure it out without luck. It is going to take Super-Comcast-Repair-Person with magical abilities in addition to being able to fly and use x-ray vision to potentially identify then fix the issue. This magic superhero will appear someday and our problems are promised to vanish...maybe...however, no one will call and there is no known timeline for fixing the issues. Gotta love a company that has those great commercials.

July 30 Facebook post
Transcript of chat with XFINITY/Comcast. I think you'll laugh. I cut out some due to length or privacy (.... to show missing bits).
Chandan > Hello -_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Chandan. Please give me one moment....
Me_ > My Issue: During last chat Christian said someone would call within 15 - 30 minutes. Still no call. Ticket #....
Chandan > To ensure we are on the same page, I understand that you need to know about ticket status Is that correct?
Me_ > I guess. We've been sitting here all day (again) waiting on someone to come out & fix problems we've been having for months. Time frame was 8 a.m. - 8 pm. We wanted to see if could narrow down time as we'd really like to do something other than waste ANOTHER day waiting... Christian said dispatch would call us within 15 - 30 minutes. Been longer than that, about an hour I'd guess. Just want to know when someone is coming out.
Chandan > I am here to provide you with excellent customer service today.
Me_ > Does that mean you're going to find out when someone is coming today?
Chandan > You have reached the right person. I can help you.
Chandan > I would now verify the account .....
Chandan > As i can see that technicain has been sent from our side to fix this issue.
Me_ > You're saying they are on the way? They're not here yet.
Me_ > Do you have an estimated time of arrival?
Chandan > Thank you for patiently waiting.
Chandan > I would reques you to wait. They are on the way. They will reach you soon
Chandan > Rest assured. As soon as possible
Me_ > On the way now or they'll be here before 8 p.m.? We've been waiting since 8 a.m. this morning. Your answer isn't giving me a window of time.
Chandan > I can understand how important it is for you. I will arrange a technican to fix this issue.
Chandan > They will call you before they reach
Me_ > I give up. All I wanted was a time frame. Last chat person said 15 - 30 minutes. Been well over an hour now. You're not giving me any kind of time frame, just another very vague answer. Calling before they get here could mean a call at 7:30 tonight. All I want is a simple "they'll be there in 30 minutes", "they won't get there until 6 pm." anything that's a little narrower.
Chandan > i can understand your concern. I apologize for the inconvenience
Chandan > you will recieve the call withing 1 hour from the technicain to fix this issue.

July 30 post:
XFINITY/Comcast update... still not here. No call. Went on-line & did a chat to see if could narrow down time-frame. Was told dispatch would call within 15 - 30 minutes to give us a time. Been about 20 minutes, clock is ticking. Funny --- chat guy ended by asking if we'd be interested in their Home Security system. After I stopped laughing (on-line chat, he couldn't hear), I politely typed that given the issues with all the rest of their services I definitely would not be interested. Can you imagine having a security system tied into a Comcast phone service that only works intermittently? I'd have to ask whoever was breaking in to hang on for a minute as I was calling Xfinity trying to get service so the alarm system could go off & notify dispatch so they could notify police... Might not be a bad idea though if I could hook it up so that every time the service went out they automatically notified tech support so I didn't have to waste my time calling...

July 30 post
More on XFINITY / Comcast... stuck at the house ALL day today 'cause they couldn't give me a window for arrival of tech support for this round of attempting to fix the problem. Well, they did give a window of sorts --- 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

I've lost count of the times they've been out and SAID they fixed the problem. This time they are replacing ALL of our inside equipment and finally getting up on the pole to check the connections up there. Seems like that would have been their 1st stop, but hey, we're just the ones putting up with the intermittent service, not the "knowledgeable" (but very nice) tech types that stick gauges on connections & say everything works fine.

OK, said I wasn't going to vent anymore in my last Xfinity/Comcast post but am not thrilled about sitting around all day waiting for them to show.

On the phone when making the current call I asked about that famous guarantee on compensation for lost service if not fixed...the one that all their tech guys are supposed to share but never do...turns out you have to make a call to billing and beg (they didn't say beg, of course). Seems to me that if there's repeated calls on the same problem good customer service would entail offering something.

And yes, if I had a choice I'd be trying something else.

Vent finished.

July 14
Short update on my ongoing XFINITY / Comcast issues. I received a call this morning from them. It was one of the techs and he told me they'd identified a problem in the area, fixed it, and wanted to know if everything was working OK. Well, at the time, it was. He then wanted to know if they should cancel our Wednesday tech appointment. I explained that the problem was intermittent and thus I had no way of knowing if what he fixed would resolve our problem. Nice that they're trying. Could be they fixed everything. But I'm not cancelling the appointment!

July 13
Getting ready to VENT. On XFINITY / Comcast. For years we've been having issues, TV vanishing randomly, Internet going out often at the same time, & sadly we also have their phone service (yep, dumb move). Just got off the phone with customer we-try-to-check-every-box service. I know they have a check list. I know when you say certain buzz words they automatically pull up the appropriate list.

But we have been doing this forever. I've unplugged, checked wires, they've re-buried wires, they've left wires above the ground, they've left then swinging in the wind and been out to fix and been out to fix.

The random interruptions got worse so called again a few weeks back. Guy came on Friday. He buried the cable that's been above ground. I thought they were coming to fix the problem. Lady heard "above ground" and "assumed" that was the problem I guess.

Anyway, internet, phone & all 3 TVs out Saturday morning. Came back on by the time I finished workout so didn't call, figured maybe area issue. This evening happened again.

We have two separate lines coming into the house, one for TV, one for Internet / phone. Lady wanted me to unplug all 3 TV boxes, plus the ones in my office for computers / phone. I flat out refused. Told her there's no way that ALL the boxes were bad, logically two separate cables into the house and all those separate boxes can't all be broken / have issues.

Bottom line, they're coming out again on Wednesday. A few years back we had issues and they came out so many times & weren't able to figure it out that the area supervisor gave me his direct line so I didn't have to keep calling main # & go through rigmarole each time.

They've completely put in new lines (leaving stuff waving so we had to caution the lawn guy not to use his weed wacker). If there were ANY other alternative I'd be there. I am going to ditch the phone service, even though it would only decrease our bill by $2 due to the "deal" we have. It's not a deal when you go without phone service every for sometimes hours on end.

OK, I'm done. I know I went on LONG, but it sure feels good to vent.

OK, you get the gist, I'm not going through my Timeline to find more. I have posted a lot as I've been going through this revolving lack of service.  Waste of time but as I've written, it makes me feel a bit better.

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...