Monday, May 30, 2011

So, I've Made Some New Friends

Ever had people say to you "You should go out more.  Meet new people."  Although I've never actually had anyone say this to me, I'm pleased to say that I don't need this advice because I've managed to get some new friends without ever leaving the comfort of my home.

My new friends are so great I wanted you to meet them too.

I call this one Holy Shit.  Actually, I don't know what his name is, that's just what I said when we were introduced.  He lives in my shed and enjoys long walks and eating unsuspecting insects.  As a reference point, that round-ish spot where he's got his right hind (?) leg is about the size of a quarter.  He's a big boy indeed.  Probably a real winner with the ladies.

Then today, I met another new friend.

This one is Damn, There's Another One.  He lives in the wood pile behind the shed.  To be fair, I'm not sure that this isn't Holy Shit because, to tell you the truth, they all look the same to me.  To get this all sorted out, I'm thinking of having a cook-out next week and introducing them to each other.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Emails Your Father Should Not Send You

It is well documented that my father sends me (and everyone else he knows) the most ridiculous emails.  Most of them I don't open because I'm very, very afraid.  His computer always seems to be infected with one virus or another and I'm sure a lot of it has to do with him indiscriminately clicking links in emails that HE gets.

The other day I got one from him that the subject line alone had me terrified.  This is not something a father should be sending his daughter. 

The subject was "woodies."

That's just wrong.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Good News: The Nigerian Scam/Canadian Lottery People Have Got Jobs Now

If you are like 99% of the online community you will, at one time or another, have got a poorly worded email from somebody half a world away from where you live telling you that you can easily make a cool $50 million just by following some simple directions as explained in the email in the same poorly worded fashion.  I don't get a ton of these, but when I do I always feel compelled to hit the reply button and respond in some snarky way.  For some reason I never hear from these people again.

About a week ago, I got a new clock.  The directions included with the clock were clearly written by the same people responsible for these emails.  For your enjoyment, I have include those directions, verbatim, here:

1. How to Using?
1. Turn off two accessory first.  (For the uninitiated, this means unscrew the clock from the cardboard box the clock came in)
2. Take the clock out.
3. Turn the setting knob on the movement to set the clock to the correct time.
4. Put 1*1.5V AA in.  Then the clock will be working normally.
5. Remove the battery before storing the clock.
6. Worn out batteries can damage your clock.  Replace batteries worn or damaged batteries.

2. How to Hanging?
1. Hang the clock by using toggle bolt or strong nail planted in a firm, solid wall.  You can see the hole on the back of the clock.
2. Find a truly vertical position for the clock on your wall.  (As opposed to hanging it on the horizontal wall above your bed, for instance.  On second thought, this might be a good idea.  No more turning your head in the morning to look at the alarm clock when it goes off to see what time it is).

3. How to Cleaning?
1. Carefully wipe the unit with a soft, damp, cloth please.  Be very cautious near the motor and heating elements.  (Heating element?  It's a clock.  Why is it heating up?)
2. Do not immerse in water.
3. Never use gasoline, benzene, or thinner.  This will damage the surface of the clock.  (Damn.  I ALWAYS use gasoline and benzene for my everyday household cleaning chores).
4. After cleaning, be sure to completely dry the unit with a cloth or towel.

I haven't hung the clock on a truly vertical surface yet.  But I plan to.  Very soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Worst Customer Service Help Desk...

…is staffed by me. I don’t want to be unhelpful, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

Some years ago, I was voted to be the computer support provider for my father. I was not in the room when the vote was taken, so I had no say. He has a computer at home that he primarily uses to do the bookkeeping for his local VFW. But he also uses it for personal reasons like sending me and anyone else he can think of ridiculous emails and looking up crap on the Internet.

I am not an IT expert by any means, but I know more than I should. At least, I know more than most people. I work in a small office that has no IT department and I happen to work for a guy that I can only describe as a “gadget guy.” His gadgets of choice extend to everything from home electronics, recording studios, model trains to, of course, computers. By necessity we’ve had to solve a lot of our own computer issues over the years and I’ve learned a lot from him, so this is why I was the likely candidate to provide the same services to my father.

My father’s knowledge of how to operate his computer is basically, how to turn it on. He knows how to read his email and he knows how to hit the forward button on same. (One time he accidentally forwarded my sister and me an email joke that contained a picture of a naked woman. When I got it, I immediately called my sister to see if she got it too. As we are laughing hysterically because we figure he has no idea how to selectively forward an email to people in his address book, my other phone is ringing and it’s him. As you can imagine he’s mortified that we got it, since he only meant to send it along to his cronies. The best part was that he sent it to EVERYONE in his address book)! He also knows how to check things out on the Internet. I’m not sure what he’s checking out, but I’m fairly certain that I don’t want to know.

Occasionally I will get a support call regarding things like the mysteriously disappearing toolbar, the attachment that won’t open, or my personal favorite: why won’t this document print? I got that call one Sunday afternoon.

Dad: Hey, I’m trying to print something and it won’t print.
Me: Did you accidentally delete the printer again?
Dad: I don’t think so.
Me: What happens when you try to print? Do you get an error message or something?
Dad: No. Nothing happens.
Me: Is the printer on?
Dad: Yes.
Me: Could the ink cartridge be empty?
Dad: No, I just put a new one in.
Me: {Thinking “ahah.”} Did you forget to take the tape off the copper part on the cartridge?
Dad: No. I printed something this morning and it worked ok.

I had him check a couple more things, ran out of ideas and told him that I would drive over and take a look. He lives about 20 minutes or so from me. By the time I got there he had left to go to a meeting so I had the place to myself. Good thing too. I took one look at the printer and wanted to pull my hair out or at least run around the house screaming in frustration at whoever was home. The printer was out of paper.

From this moment on, I knew I was in trouble. My patience was at an all time low and this was becoming readily apparent to me every time I was called upon to provide support. The latest call came a couple of weeks ago while I was at work.

He got a letter that the tax-exempt status for some group he belongs to was expiring soon and that he should visit and then click the Charities & Non-Profits tab. He was having trouble finding this. So I immediately go to the website and have no trouble spotting the tab in question.

Me: Don’t you see the tab just under the big blue block at the top of the webpage?
Dad: What? No, I don’t see that.
Me: It’s just next to the picture of the happy people. Do you see that?
Dad: No. It says Bing… {the rest is lost as I try to speak over him}
Me: Don’t do a Bing search for, just type that into the top of the page where you normally type in website addresses.
Dad: What?  Where?
Me: Just click in the box at the top of the page and type in Then hit enter.
Dad: There’s already something there.
Me: I know, but if you click in the box it will turn blue and you can delete what’s there. Just do it.
Dad: Ok. {I hear typing.} It says Bing….

I’m pretty sure at this point I started thumping my desk in frustration with my fist and outside my office people were starting to congregate as they listened to the drama unfold. It took several more tries before I managed to direct his cursor to the address bar and got him to the stupid IRS website. By then, I was nearly shouting at him.  He didn’t seem to mind which I don’t understand at all. I think he derives great amusement in these phone calls. Some sort of father/daughter bonding or something.

So, hats off to anyone who is in the business of providing any form of computer support. It can’t be even remotely easy. You must have infinite stores of patience (which I apparently don’t have). I fully comprehend that I stink at it.  I wish I could be like you, but I don't think I've got it in me.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Day I Let My Hair Down

My sister and I were having a conversation the other day about Dippity Do. I’m not sure how we got started on the subject, but I’m sure we must have spotted someone with a gravity-defying hair do and that probably led to speculation about how to achieve the same look ourselves, which in turn led to us wondering if Dippity Do still existed. Well, my friends, it does.

When I was a kid Dippity Do was something that I’m fairly certain everyone had in their house. I remember having the green version, but apparently there was a pink one too. The green was the “extra hold” version which explains why I probably never saw the pink one: my family has very stubborn hair. Just a little dab in your hair, roll your hair around some rollers and presto! Curly, shiny, crusty hair. If you rubbed your crusty curls in your fingers you would eventually break down the Dippity Do-ness and then your hair would just look shiny and greasy. Magic!

Back then, my mother was forever playing beauty salon with my grandmother. This always involved perms, rollers, Dippity-Do, trimming, teasing and, of course, Roux hair tint to give Nana’s hair that soft blue sheen. One day as my mother was distracted fixing Nana’s hair, I picked up the hair razor and began to “comb” my hair with it. In my defense, it rather looks like a comb and the blade is encased inside of it, so to my young eyes I thought it was a cool shiny comb.

Luckily these things don’t take off a lot of hair. I’m sure I expected to smooth my shiny locks into some semblance of order and when that didn’t happen I stopped. I’m not sure how much hair I cut, but I don’t recall my mother noticing anything unusual about my new hair do. That is until we decided to go to the lunch counter at Fernandes. It must have been cold out because I wore a hat, and when we got to the counter my mother took my hat off and a large quantity of my hair came with it and spilled all over the floor. I’m sure she was horrified on many levels not least of which was why was my hair falling out? I don’t recall if I fessed up or if she found the evidence in the razor at home. In any event, I don’t know what happened to all my hair that wound up on the floor at Fernandes either. I doubt we took it with us. I wonder what the guy who swept the floor was thinking?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

And the drummer was nearly naked

A couple of weeks ago I went down to Quogue NY because the restaurant my niece works at was closing for the season and they were having a bash called Drink Dockers Dry. At least I think that’s what it was called. It was what I called it anyway.

My partner in crime for this little jaunt was my sister, The Interrogator. We caught a 9 o’clock ferry from New London and got to Quogue at about 12:30. We had some time to kill before the party so we went to the Canal CafĂ© and had their killer lobster roll. We had manicures then checked into our hotel. We got to Dockers around 6 o’clock.

There was tons of food, plenty of people and a band. The Interrogator and I sat at the bar because it’s usually way more fun. And as a bonus, you can make friends with your bar-mates. This crazy woman was sitting next to my sister for half the night. She was dressed in ratty sweat pants and kept her cell phone in her bra. I think it was on vibrate, because she kept taking it out every so often to send text messages.  Maybe she was sending them to herself.  She seemed to be having a good time anyway because she was doing the shake, rattle and roll to the 70s music.

Also present was the Tomboy. She was a teeny-weeny woman who loved to dance. I couldn’t stop staring at her because she appeared to be in her 50s but had the body of a 10 year old. She had perfected the chicken-head-bob dance and spent much of the night on the dance floor in a crouch position with her arms flailing around. The Interrogator thought her dance was similar to Elaine’s on Seinfeld.

The band was pretty good. They played a lot of 70s and 80s music, which was fun. I was sitting only a couple of feet from them and at one point tried taking a movie with my point-and-shoot camera. They were playing Play That Funky Music and I thought my other sister (who was supposed to come with us) would like to see what she was missing. Unfortunately, point-and-shoot cameras apparently don’t take the best videos because it came out kind of stinky. Lots of background noise. The lead singer, who introduced himself to me as Bobby, wanted me to email it to him but the file is too big. Not to mention that I’m not sure I want Bobby to have my email address.

The Interrogator managed to get the lowdown on the band and everyone sitting within a 10 foot radius of us. She spent a lot of time gushing to the band about how fabulous they were. I think she was laying it on a bit thick, because they weren’t THAT good. She found out that ratty-sweat pant lady was actually a very successful real estate broker, despite the fact that she wears ratty clothes and apparently doesn’t place personal hygiene high on her list of priorities. And she’s pretty sure she scared away a couple of young men who were friends of one of the bartenders because she was asking them too many questions.

Despite the fact that it was a cool October night, and the restaurant is open to the outside, it was plenty hot in there. By 11:00 or so I noticed that the drummer was a little hot.

I don’t know much about being a drummer, but apparently you can work up quite a sweat. And I think he wanted his pants off too. After the band played their last song, he gets up and proceeds to button and zip his pants up.

And one final note. What’s up with New York drivers? Everyone says that Boston drivers are one of the worst, but I would say that in Boston we drive with purpose. We know where we want to go and everyone else is just in our way. I can’t tell you how many times I was behind someone in New York that drove as if they had no idea what they were doing or how they came to be the master of 3,000 lbs of metal on wheels. Stopping in the middle of the road was a fairly common thing. Good thing I had decent brakes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Amazing Trailer Transformation Part V

Well folks, it's been a while since I reported on the construction project going on next door.  The construction people seem very diligent about showing up for work at 7:00 am sharp and I could see some progress over there.  Finally on Monday I got around to taking a few photos.

This is the side of the house that faces mine.  So when I look out my kitchen window this is what I'll see.

This is the front of the house facing the street.  I've just realized looking at this photo that although this house looks like a cape, it might be a colonial where the first floor is actually below grade.  All I know for sure is that there are two floors below the one you see here and the bottom one looks like a typical cellar.

This is a shot of the first floor that is below grade.  I was mystified by that hole in the floor in the middle/right of the picture.  When I reached the back of the house it became obvious what it was.

It was the stairway to the cellar.  Duh!

This is the photo of the back of the house.  I think this fairly represents the slope from the street to the back of the house.  All I can think of when I walk around this property is "thank God I don't have to push a mower HERE!"  It is quite steep up that incline to the street level.

I hope my new neighbors (whoever they are) will appreciate this journey on the construction of their new home!