Archive for the ‘Ranting’ Category

Why the Netflix price increase isn’t

I might be getting in to this conversation a little late, but I still keep hearing people talk about the “price increase” for Netflix users. But its not really; or not if you’re willing to ditch one of their two services, streaming or dvd-by-mail. And I’m gonna be just fine with ditching streaming. Here’s why:

  • Selection: Out of 40 disks in my queue, only 6 are even available for streaming.
  • Reliability: Who wants to get halfway through watching a tv series and have the remainder suddenly yanked from the service because of a contract dispute between Netflix and the producer? I’ve had that happen at least once with streaming.
  • Picture quality: At least on my interconnect connection, watching Netflix streaming is like watching a DVD, if I were to previously have dipped my glasses in vaseline.
  • Sound: In some of the videos I’ve watched on streaming, the sound was out of sync with the video by more than a second. I saw this the worst in the old Monty Python tv shows. Timing is everything (they say) in comedy…and trying to watch Monty Python with the sound off by a second proves it.

I’ve heard some people say they’ll be just as happy ditching dvd-by-mail and getting streaming only. I’m not sure why they’d be willing to pay for a limited selection of jerky out-of-sync videos, but they’ll get a price cut too, just the same.

Now if Netflix ever decides to actually drop their dvd-by-mail service altogether, then we’ll have something to really complain about, but hopefully they’re smart enough to know that streaming just isn’t ready for prime time, yet.

iPhone Alarm Did Not Go Off on Jan. 1st, 2011

I am one of Apples biggest fans, but this morning they owe me an apology. Last night I set two alarms on my designed in Cupertino iPhone. One for 4:35 AM and one for 4:40 AM. My eyes opened to see a big red 5 AM on my (not set) clock radio. I needed to be somewhere at 5:15!

My New Year’s Eve beverages, enjoyed while playing 9 Ball at California Billiard Club, did not get any stronger than diet Pepsi and coffee, and I was home before the New Year ball drop. How could I have slept through two iPhone alarms? Apple let me down. The alarms did not go off! Thankfully, I made my destination on time this morning, but I wonder how many lives were altered by this iPhone glitch? How many users are still asleep?

PCMAG.COM explains it here. I think I need to set the clock radio… ;-(

Original Joe’s Left a Bad Taste

I was downtown with my husband Ken. I was tired and hungry, so when he suggested that he could drop me off at OJ’s while he ran an errand I said a quick, “Yes, please”.

It was late afternoon so there were plenty of stools at the counter. My favorite place to sit. I enjoy the banter between the cooks and the waiters, I like to see my meal prepared, and even though the front window is no longer a picture window I still covet the street view.

I decided that an omelette would be just enough. I asked to add cheese, bacon, vegetables, and onions. My waiter said that I might want to skip the onions because there were some in with the vegetables. I let him know that I didn’t want the bread, but that I would like a cup of coffee.

It was my mistake to order bacon in the afternoon. I appreciated that the bacon would be well done, but it seemed to take forever. When the omelette was finally set in front of me it looked perfect. My waiter then said that he would have them start the fries. (?) He just then thought about fries? I asked if I could have the small dinner salad instead.

As soon as my fork cut in to the eggs it became “you can’t judge a book by looking at the cover”. The bacon and the cheese were OK, but the vegetables looked and tasted as though they had been overcooked three days earlier! My salad came with the proud announcement, “There are no onions!”

Looking at my thimble of cold coffee as the waiter walked away I called out, “Could I have some more coffee please?”.

The bill was just over $23. I really hated to give up that $24. It will be a long while before Original Joe’s sounds like a good idea.

Security express lanes closed at SJC…and good riddance

The Merc reported this morning that security express lanes at SJC and other bay area airports closed this week due to insolvency of Clear, the company that operated them.

Hopefully worse is in store for the misconceived and anti-American airport pre-screening program (but realistically, a new company will be running those lines by the end of the year). Never mind that this program is tailor-made for terrorists who want to find out which of their agents are on the US government watch list (but thanks to Bruce Schneier for pointing it out). Never mind that this is a blatantly anti-egalitarian program that leaves those of us waiting in the cattle chute wishing we could give the world-mover being ushered through the Clear line a punch in the nose.

The real problem with the program is that it means our government leaders don’t have to eat their own dog food. They can legislate endless security hassles for the rest of us, but instead of enduring it themselves, they can look down their noses, ask (in a metaphorical Hahvahd accent), “don’t you know who I am?”, and skip right through. Maybe they have to pay the same $100 per year for pre-screening as anybody else, but they’re sure to get it back again as a campaign contribution from Clear by the end of the year.

The other galling aspect of the pre-screening program is the sheer stupidity of it. Didn’t the power elites (and by creating this program, they really demonstrate that “power elite” isn’t just a Marxist buzzword) who thought this up realize how resentful it would make the rest of us? How obviously anti-egalitarian it is? I realize its unrealistic to expect the power elite to wither away, leaving behind a paradise of social and economic equality, but I demand a power elite with some intelligence!

Did you know you can’t feed the animals at Central Park anymore?

I didn’t. I didn’t know there was an ordinance passed that you can’t feed the animals at City and County Parks here in Santa Clara County.

When my sister in law was visiting from  Northern Ireland in September, we were out and about with the kids, just chilling and having a good time.  I had gathered a wee bit of old bread, and made a plan to take us over to Central Park to feed the ducks and geese.  It seemed like a nice place for photo ops and just some bonding time between my SIL and her nieces. 

So we get there just after lunch, it was a fabulously sunny and warm, and walk around the path towards the duck ponds.  My children were all excited about the ducks, and eagerly reached into my backpack to get the bread.  Not thinking hard about it,  I broke up the bread and tossed some crumbs into the water for the few ducks that had gathered at waters edge.  Well, one duck leads to another, then the geese and pigeons get involved, and  soon we had hundreds of webbed toed friends squawking at us for the morsels. My children squealed and jumped around with delight.  Well, so did my SIL and I, its amazing watching two little kids have that kind of fun.

I guess our commotion attracted a City worker, which brought him over in a huff. “Please don’t feed the animals”  he said.   I replied, half joking, half smart-ass “Technically they aren’t animals, they are waterfowl” He raced back to his truck and continued his work.

We turned back to the birds, and by this point the bread was nearly gone, maybe a few handfuls, and we were taking family type pictures.  While the girls were still laughing wildly, the City worker came back with an awful stance, and basically told us, we were disturbing the peace.  Now, mind you, there were only maybe 5 or 6 other people in the area of the park we were in.  He was probably  pretty mad at my remark, I thought. 

Just as we were finishing up, and talking about going to the playground, a Police Patrolman strode up behind us to demand stopping our activity.  He stood a few inches from my face, reprimanding me for our behavior, ignoring the posted signs and ignoring the City worker.  He wasn’t civil about it, nor did he back down when I took my sunglasses off (out of respect), and agreed I understood what he was saying.  He offered up a couple of reasons as to why we should stop. He said something about recent animal poisoning, the mess the birds make, and something about the ordinance.  But he got so intimidating that his words became fuzzy, and I just wanted to get my family out of there.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been a smart-ass to the City worker, my bad I know.  But why should they reject ten minutes of pure pleasure for two little kids?  Why did that City worker have to call the police?  Why did that Policeman have to be so bad-ass to WOMEN AND CHILDREN feeding the ducks?  Now when my oldest sees any policeman she asks

You can take a photo, but don't feed!

You can take a photo, but don't feed!

if he’s going to yell at us too.  So, in the end we were banned from that part of the park.  We could go to the playground as long as all food had been tossed away.  No, we left the park, I don’t think we’ll go back. If I see that City worker face to face, I might throw some bread at him.

A Free Movie – IRON MAN – But at What Cost

This morning I stopped by my local Safeway to pick up a container of raspberries. Near the front of the store I noticed a display for a free DVD. All I would have to do was to buy $40 in home care products in a single transaction then Iron Man would be mine. They were specific products like Bounty paper towels, Duracell, Kleenex Reynolds foil and others. Pushing the cart down each aisle I saw that the products for the promotion had special price tags indicating that they were participating items. I carefully selected the products worth $40, and then some, the raspberries, other groceries, and the DVD.

The man at the checkout told me that my plastic bags of stuff did not qualify for a free movie. Why not? I had followed all of the rules and surely I had well over the specified $40. He could only direct me to the customer service desk.

Resolving the problem with Tiffany, at the desk, should have been easy. She asked me which of the items would get me the movie. Shouldn’t she have known this? I told her that it would be all that was non-eatable. Using an oh-so bothered tone of voice she asked me to follow her back to a checkout.

Picking off of master list, she would call out the products not found on it. This is where it got ugly. When I told her that she was wrong because I had noted the special price tag for each item purchased, she said that she would attempt to explain it to me. Attempt!!! I let Tiffany know that I did not appreciate her inferring that I was too stupid to shop at Safeway. I followed with, “I might be better off getting a refund”. She was all ready for that, but I wasn’t about to let her win the war! I stood my ground until she marched off to the manager’s office. She returned asking a co-worker to put the stuff back into the cart, for she was letting me have it all. I asked if that meant that the things I bought were actually correct. Not admitting to the mistake she said that she had customers waiting, mumbling something about getting me out of the store. I wasn’t a customer? She obviously found out that some of the products had not been entered into the store computer correctly. No apology for me, and I had to remind her that she still owed me the almost $20 for the so-called free DVD.

File under: Customer Service From Hell.

Foreclosure Abandoned Pets

I know the economy is crap right now. I know you just lost your home and barely have enough money to survive. But when you close the door of your foreclosed home for the last time, do your pet a favor and take an hour out of your life to make sure he is well taken care of. Even if all you can do is to take him to the overflowing pound where odds are he’ll be euthanized, at least he’ll die a humane death.

Just google: “foreclosure abandoned pets” and you’ll see all the articles out there about animals being abandoned because people are losing their homes. Read this one. Or this one. Or this one. All about animals found starving, dehydrated, or dead because they’re locked up in an abandoned house. The kitchen sink is ripped from the walls because it can be sold but an animal? I guess all lives aren’t created equally.

A new California bill was recently passed making it mandatory for anyone who encounters an abandoned pet to immediately call animal control. Previously, anyone finding an animal in an abandoned house had to leave everything untouched until the foreclosure process is complete. This is a step in the right direction but doesn’t take into account the dumb ass morons (can I say that on this blog?) who abandon their animals in the first place. ( I propose stoning.)

Humane societies, shelters, and rescue groups are trying to rally together. The Humane Society of the US now has a grant program for shelters and tips for folks who are facing foreclosure. The East Bay SPCA has a page on their website about foreclosure and pets. If you’d like to help, go to your local shelter and support them!

I’m going to go and hug my cats now.

Photo credit: Me! This was one of my foster kittens.

San Jose City Council Wants a Salary Increase

I recently paid $150.00 for a business license (taxi) but, until I sent in an additional $22.00, the city held it hostage! The city needs my help with the budget deficit, but they are unwilling to help me out with the cost of gas.

Because everything in the city seems to be going up, except my taximeter, it only makes sense that the San Jose City Council members would like to see their salaries go up too. Their request may be on the November ballot.


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