Sometimes I’m not Convinced I Grew Up

Sometimes I’m not Convinced I Grew Up

Every once in a while I still feel like a kid being allowed to sit at the grown-ups table instead of the Kiddy table. Case and point, yesterday.

I had to make a trip out of town for work with our President and two of our legal team. At different points throughout the day I:

* Still carry a backpack because I refuse to use a briefcase.
* Was the only one not drinking coffee (apple juice or water instead)
* Was the only one of five people at the table without a law degree (any degree if you want to really get technical)
* Was eating a cheeseburger instead of seafood.

Good thing they pay me for my uber powers of Nerd. 🙂

That Wasn’t Quite the Plan

That Wasn’t Quite the Plan

So, I went back to Best Buy this afternoon and walked out… with a RAM module.

I got the numbers I needed for the store to pull my receipt from the 800 number’s Receipt Department (there’s a whole department for this?). Tech Two, who shall hense forth be known as the Geek Squad Yoda, pulled the receipt and asked if I’d like to pick out a new computer since HAL 9000 said that mine could be taken back as a return since it was quite borked. W00t, okay, new computer for Niner.

GSY hands me off to Computer Sales Dude, who shows me the Asus 1018PB (which I have since learned got CNET’s top back to school netbook rating) and I’m sold. CSG has to hunt down the MOD (Manager [on Duty|of the Day]?) because she has the keys to the storage kingdom. GSY does the exchange and since I have enough return credit, offers to install the 2GB RAM module. I’m annoyed and tired, so I say fine. Good thing I did, because when he pulls the unit out of the box, I realize CSG has pulled the previous model and not the one I wanted. Turns out, after some looking about, that no store in the district has it. The only other netbook in stock that does not have a combined headphone/microphone jack, and can be upgraded to 2 gigs of RAM is a Toshiba. Having had bad luck in the past with Toshiba computers I refused to even touch it. I suggested, and GSY agreed, that it would be just as efficient to give me store credit and I could buy the thing online. So I left the store with two gift cards and the RAM module for the new computer.

Best Buy gift cards and I do not get along. They have those scratch off (sadly not scratch and sniff) stickers on the back that hide the card number and security code. For the second time (ironically the first time was when I bought the original computer) I scratched the cover and the code off. Fortunately a helpful Customer Care rep pulled the number from the computer.

That was a long and boring story to say this. I will have a new computer sometime between tomorrow and Monday. Hopefully, this one won’t blow a fan (or rather, I suppose, have a fan that does blow).

This is why I like desktop computers. If something breaks, you just replace it. Not so easy with tiny little circuits.

A Productive Waste of Time

A Productive Waste of Time

For the past nonzero number of days my netbook’s screen as been flickering like mad after I have left it on for a while. Realizing my warranty expires on the 14th I decided I’d better hoof it to Best Buy and get it repaired or replaced before I was, by virtue of the labor costing half the price of the machine, forced to buy a new one.

I arrived and explained the situation to Tech One. Of course, in the tradition of all computers everywhere, when the guy who could fix the thing was present, it behaved flawlessly. Tech One was convinced that it was probably “a driver issue or something”. I let him run his tests and “check for updates” working in the fact that I work with computers and had already tried that. (I know, I know, I pull the same thing with my users.) Eventually it was his time to book off for the evening and he started what would be, “an hour or so” malware scan for Tech Two to take over.

Two hours later, Tech Two walks back over and says the scan was still running, does a double take, and asks, “What did you say was happening? Cuz I just saw it flicker like mad.” Withholding an I told you so, I pointed out that that was in fact the issue. He said the Graphics Processing Unit fan was definitely toast.

This is the point in the evening when my Total Nutbag Magnet kicks in and some random dude looking for “chiefy”, “you mean Chef?” wanders over and asks, “wait, you’re blind, how do you know the screen was flickering?” I just grimace at him and try to ignore him since he smelled of booze and cigars. Tech Two meanders off to take a phone call (thanks for that) and I am treated to a discertation on how Boozy Cigarface thinks we should use a B52 and carpet bomb the rich so and sos who live in the high feluting water front apartments, including his sister, and oh by the way, he was going to take his 80 year old buddy, who was a world war II vet, trolling for hookers the next time he was in town. If anyone knows how to demagnatize a Total Nutbag Magnet, I’m accepting suggestions.

Tech Two finally returns and spares me from any additional freakery.

Unfortunately, this three and a half hour trip will be supplemented tomorrow by a, hopefully, shorter one since the Best Buy computer can’t find my original receipt and I have to call corporate customer service to pull the transaction details. Ugh.

I was glad I was eventually vindicated because it feels very uncomfortable, being a self proclaimed geek, going to the Geek Squad in the first place and to stand there knowing there is in fact a hardware problem, but your machine isn’t cooperating and showing it. Ah, well, I’m right and will either be getting a repaired computer in a few weeks, or better, a replacement tomorrow.

Shenanigans? I Think So

Shenanigans? I Think So

One of my “friends” has apparently gotten me the fantastic honor of being on the VIP list of the Flagship Resort in Atlantic City…

Or so I was told by the woman from said resort who just called me. The woman offered me “2 round trip airline tickets” […] “4 if I could come pick them up in the next four days. She said these were free tickets if all I did was take a ninety minute resort tour where I would learn how to “vacation on just pennies”. I had to inform her that, much to my great sadness, I was completely swamped and unavailable… for the next 5 months. Sorry, but I just don’t believe it.

However, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to whichever of you was thoughtful enough to consider me worthy of the VIP list. So, leave a comment if it was you and I’ll make sure to properly thank you*.

If this was a legit offer, well, oops, but if it smells like fish, swims like fish, it’s probably not a block of gold.

*With multiple, swift, bootings to your backside.

Can I Borrow A Grisly Bear

Can I Borrow A Grisly Bear

Yall, if she wasn’t already, the following conversation will push my wife clearly into the “My Husband’s a whacko” territory.

The scene. 01:45, I’ve been asleep for about 90 minutes and am woken up by Treva moving around in bed. In my half-woken sleep, it finally hits me. The reason web accessibility presentations don’t grab people’s attention…

No Grisly Bears.

Me: Hey, do you know where I can borrow a grisly bear? Treva: What? Me: A grisly bear. I need it for web accessibility presentations. Treva (perplexed): Why? Me: Why not? it’s perfect.

I think at this point I mumbled something about feeding clueless developers to it and promptly fell back asleep.

So, who’s going to help me out here?



Thank you so much to everyone who chipped in to help our family member out with her medical expenses. We have gathered enough to help eliminate a couple of months worth of payments (they managed to come to a reasonable payment plan with the facility). We are all greatful for your support!

Thanks again!

Helping Family

Helping Family

Normally the posts here are about humorous incidents or contain long
rants, but today I’m coming to you with a serious issue. Late last year
our sister-in-law was diagnosed with Anerexia and Bolemia. She has been at an in-patient facility for treatment for the past three and a half months. Her insurance company has paid for 90 of her required 120 days of treatment, but is resisting the payment of the last 30 days. The facility is fortunately working with her family to help with payment options, but they are looking at several thousands of dollars in
remaining medicalbills. Our family has done what we are able to do to
help, but there are still remaining expenses, so we are humbly asking
for your assistance. We ask first for your prayers for the situation. Prayers for healing and strength for both her and her family. While her time in the program has brought healing, she will face challenges once she comes home and will need to rely on God’s strength. Please also pray that the remaining expenses are covered and that our brother and
sister’s financial needs will be met. Next, we’re asking for financial
contributions. It took a lot for our brother to come to us and ask for
help, and we want to do what we can to support our family. While we
realize that none of our fabulous readers are independently wealthy, if
any of you would be willing to donate the cost of a cup of coffee or a
meal out, it would really make a difference. If you would like to
donate, please click the paypal button at the bottom of this post. We
would also appreciate it if you would spread the word. Thanks for your
prayers and support. We are greatful to you all.

(If anyone would prefer to help out and not use PayPal, please contact me at anthony[at]olivero[dot]us. You’ll have to insert the appropriate punctuation marks)

In The Space Ship, The Silver Space Ship

In The Space Ship, The Silver Space Ship

Last night a friend from work, her husband, and I attended a They Might Be Giants concert in Towson.

TMBG, you were fantastic and I very much enjoyed you. Despite my assertion of, “I could do that,” in reference to Kevin Ram’s (I believe) amazing trumpet playing I couldn’t and he rocked.

To the people behind me. Avatars of They was one of the funniest parts of the show. Also, shut up, you’re an idiot. Next time you want to spend money to stand around talking, go to a bar. Some of us actually wanted to hear the show.

Now, for the obligatory YouTube drop-ins.

First for Epi, because she very politely thanked me for getting it stuck in her head, “Birdhouse in Your Soul.”

And the cover from “Pushing Daisies”, because it has Kristin Chenoweth, and my platonic love for this woman knows no bounds.

Finally, “The Guitar” where the title of hthis post got it’s name.

Round is no longer an acceptable shape

Round is no longer an acceptable shape

Maryland is recruiting members for the MD-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. I very much want to join the team as part of the communications unit. The position description I’ve found indicates the need to be able to handle “arduous physical requirements. I don’t entirely know what that means, but I’ve got some work to do. So here’s my plan for now:

Step 1: Ride the excersize bike and remind my cardiac system that I know it exists and convince it we need to be friends again.

Step 2: Eliminate the belly.

Step 3 (assuming steps 1&2 haven’t killed me): Build strength and stuff.

Crap this is going to be hard.

Any suggestions from my medic readers what I might expect/need to work on?

Tony the Techie (or how my Colleagues Made Fun of Me)

Tony the Techie (or how my Colleagues Made Fun of Me)

Each year, as a part of my employer’s christmas Party,there is a tradition of singing parody songs about funny/memorable/characteristic things other colleagues have done in the previous year. This year, I got picked on.

Tony the Tech Man (to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”)

Tony the tech man

Was a jolly techy soul

With a brand new JAWS, and a CD rom and two cell phones in the bowl

Go for a plunger

We need it right away

Check here and there

And at ace hardware, don’t forget about ebay

Flushedy flush flush

Flushedy flush flush

Round the bowl they go

Clickety click click

Clickety click click

Look at that techy go!

If you haven’t already figured out why this was necessary, here’s the backstory.

Some of you know that I can be a terminal clutss. Parenthetically, my Mom would likely attribute this to the fact that I tend to move at warp 3 and don’t always pay enough attention to where I’m going… and she’s probably correct. Sadly, this got the better of me twice, as i sent two cell phones for a swim in the toilet.

The first one was back in March at a hotel in LA. I had tossed a bottle of Coke into the trash can and missed. While leaning over to pick it up my fat belly dislodged the quick release clip on my phone case. It was one of those moments where time slows to a crawl, and you fight the inevitable, but you know no matter what you do, that thing is slipping from where it has come to rest, between you and the top of the toilet seat, and going in. As it is prone to do, time reengages.

*Mad grab for phone. Splash! Explative deleted. yank phone from bowl; shake madly; tear off case; yank battery and SIM chip; out of insane despiration (this was a pricey phone after all) suck as much water from the speaker grill and headphone jack as possible (no, i did not swallow it), thanking God that you hadn’t just contaminated the toilet prior to this incident; rip the hair drier from the wall, turn it on high and blast the phone for 15 minutes; After a while, give the unit up as lost and scour the convention for a dealer selling new units; strike out; IM spouse from the hotel bar and say you’ll be out of contact for a while; bang head against wall; borrow demo phone from employer for trip home.

Fortunately, the phone actually survived. I powered it up the next morning after flying back to Baltimore and things worked again.

The second time, with my iPhone, I was not so lucky. Basically this time it slipped out of my hand while I was trying to answer a call and shot behind me into a toilet at work. This time I was not so ready to admit it to Treva, both out of self-annoyance and the knowledge that I would quite likely experience a great deal of ribbing. Unfortunately, the 3g radio was a casualty of the water and I had to do an out of warranty replacement (thanks Apple for adding that option and not making me suffer the full cost of replacing the phone).

So that’s what lead my wonderful friends at work to sing about me. Oh, you can all thank Treva for this post too. 🙂