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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Here's one for the weird file

Ebay customer from outside the USA bought a silver clasp from me. After she received it, she writes me to tell me it's smaller than expected. She asks me what units I used for measuring. I checked the measurements and they were as described, except I'd omitted the "mm" from the description. However I would think for most people a size of "28x8" would tell them it's 28 by 8 millimeters. I didn't omit the "mm" intentionally, but if a customer had a question, wouldn't they ask first before buying? If you're working with jewelry, you'd better realize that beads and findings are measured in millimeters (and yes, I've gotten some very ignorant customers from the USA asking how big a millimeter is...um...you're using a computer to do online shopping, right? Well, a computer also can be used to look up information! Wow, a knowledgebase right at your fingertips! Imagine! It's not just for chatting with your Pierced Scrapbooking Grannies Yahoo group anymore!). Anyway, the funny part of this exchange was that she thought the measurement was in centimeters!!!!! Can you imagine a 28 centimeter clasp? That's nearly a foot long! If she used it for a necklace (which is what I would think most people would do with these clasps), it would be like wearing a man's slipper on the back of your neck, except less comfortable because it's Silver, which would mean the thing would probably cost something like $400, not the $4 she paid for it!

And even if she was thinking it was 2.8, not 28, centimeters, well, that would make it...28 millimeters, which is what was listed!

Perhaps she was thinking Picas? Picas is specifically used in typesetting and is not a measurement used by the general public, and even if it was 28 picas, that'd still be a pretty big freakin' clasp around 4 1/2 inches. I have used clasps that are about 2 inches, and that's pretty much overkill unless you have a really heavy necklace.

Also, the picture in the description shows it with a dime. Now of course someone not using dollars as their currency isn't going to know how large that coin is, but...since when have people used coins the size of a small frisbee?

Just what are some people thinking?

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Riddance

I was reading something on a local forum I subscribe to. Someone posted an open letter to the community by someone who tried to make a go of a business in the past year or two and couldn't. The business woman was from out of state and moving back home out east to be with her husband. ?. OK, whatever. There was a tone of disgruntledness that Madison wasn't open enough to her supposedly green-friendly business (the letter exuded "damn yokel cheddarheads" without saying as much), and I just sensed this elite east coast snobbery coming through it, on top of resentfulness that her business couldn't make it. Hey, maybe it's just the economy, stupid. Bad time to start a business, not your fault, not our fault, just the stupid economy.

She complained that as her business was losing money, she became homeless and had to live with her sister and sell her quarter million dollar condo. (Ann dons the "oh please!" expression). I'm sorry, living with your sister while you're working on selling your condo for 1/4million is NOT homeless! Cry me a frikkin river. But what REEEALLLY peeesed me off was how she touted her interest in creating a more eco-friendly, sustainable way of life and how she smiled when gas prices went up. (Ann dons the "WTF!!!" expression) How bloody smug is that? Look, I want more green eco friendly sustainable less car blah all those buzzwords too, but you don't see me smiling when gas prices go up! No one should be smiling when gas prices go up! You know who smiles when gas prices go up? Big Limp Dick Cheney, that's who! Dickey and You, that's who's smiling. And the guys who own oil wells. That's who. And that's all. The rest of us are screwed. Even if you don't drive or don't drive much or have the fortune of owning low-mileage/hybrid vehicles, shouldn't you have some empathy for those who HAVE to drive traditional cars, especially those who have to drive a lot because their survival depends on it? The truck drivers who bring your food to your market? The people out west who can only find jobs in tourist places like Aspen or Telluride, but can't afford to live in those communities so they have to commute from Rifle or Delta because that's the only place they can afford to live? People who live in small cities without developed mass transit and have to take a security job on the outskirts of town on 3rd shift when the busses aren't running...yeah, I'm sure they're really happy with the gas prices. Screw anyone who "likes" the fact gas prices are higher. Screw them.

People like that, although they tout all these liberal left ideals are protected by the security of their blue blooded family wealth who helped elect the spawn of George and Babs that got us into this mess.

I never went to her store. It wasn't convenient for me. Now, I'm glad I didn't make the extra effort.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Us and Them

OK, I'm going to document this because I know Stan won't (I asked him to, he didn't want to). This isn't the exact conversation as I wasn't there. It's just a recounting of what Stan recounted to me. It's just the gist:

Stan is assembling the bikes/bike rack on the back of the van.

Durhey: Wutcha doin' with that bike rack?

Stan: We're going for a bike ride.

Durhey (confused): There's places to bike in town...where are you going?

Stan: There's bike trails in the country that we use, like the one outside of Cottage Grove and one outside of Verona.

Durhey: Oh, you mean the snowmobile trails!

-----

If I wasn't there I would've explained to Durhey that snowmobiles or motorized vehicles of any kind aren't allowed on the bike trails. It's just that ya-hey kind of culture, whether it's ATVs or snowmobiles or dirt bikes that are as foreign to bicycles as I am to them.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a proficient bicyclist. Even when I was young and thin I couldn't go more than a couple miles in town without becoming extremely fatigued, and things haven't changed much. I sold my bike when I moved to Madison and didn't find any reason to get a bike for in-town use (streets are too busy and narrow and there were no bike paths when we moved here). Years ago we found a bike trail outside of town that looked intriguing. It was The Glacial Drumlin Trail, a converted railroad bed. Last year I finally bought a bicycle. It's been hard getting acclimated to it, and even though people led me to think that I'd be biking longer and longer distances, I simply can't. Last week we biked about 5 miles and it debilitated me for the rest of the week. Each time after I bike my face turns red and purple and green and yellow...yes, seriously. I know lots of peoples' faces turn red when they exercise, but mine turns into abstract art. The center of my face is red. The sides of my jaw are purple. And a swatch between my purple jawline and my red cheeks is a greenish-yellow-white stripe. Actually, that area is probably my regular normal skin tone--it just looks greenish-yellow-white because that's what a lighter color will do when placed next to purple and red (go read some color theory). The first time it happened to me was when I was 10, and outside the whole day during a class field trip on 1972 Earth Day. Classmates kept commenting on my red and white striped face. If I had blue eyes with stars in them, I would've looked like the American flag.

So we've been going for small bike rides every other day or three, a mile or two one direction, and then back. Also, there's not that much time to go much further, even if I had the stamina. Plus, even though Stan isn't exhausted like me after the bike ride, later during the day he complains how tired he is, so it's a good thing I'm his governor. We're taking the Glacial Drumlin trail in short increments. I think because it's a gravel trail it's harder for me than if it was paved. We took it from Cambridge to Ridge Rd. Then another day Ridge Rd. to Dvorak Rd. Then Dvorak Rd. almost to Deerfield (that's the ride that almost killed me). Then from Deerfield back to the spot we turned around before, then back through Deerfield to London Rd. Then today we took London Rd. to London. The next day we'll go to back to London and go the other direction.

On the first day we found a little toad on the road, fortunately I didn't run it over. Last week there were lots of wonderful smells coming from unknown wildflowers. Today we saw wild irises growing by the path. Last week we saw lots and lots of flooded fields, a lake where farmland used to be.

Durhey doesn't care about the flooded fields or the wild irises. As long as he can ride his snowmobile and whoop and hollar and shoot off his 'tater gun, life's good for Durhey.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Still Born

Here's a little gem I came across on an ebay discussion forum:

"My weirdest request was a customer who wanted me to pack dolls with their arms outstretched like a T and without wrapping them in any sort of plastic. She said she did not want them to suffocate, and that with their arms like a T, their arms would not get as tired."

Eeeeewwwww....

It's an inanimate piece of plastic, FFS!

Yep...musta bin one-a dem rebornin' doll folk.

OK, I'm not going to include a link for this, it is just too frightening, but if you want a good fright, click any web page brought up by this Google Link.

Scared yet?

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Separated at Birth?


Josef Fritzel. Imprisoned and raped his own daughter in a basement dungeon for 24 years.


Drew Peterson. Suspected in 4th wife's disappearance and 3rd wife's murder.

Ew.

Creepy archetypes, anyone?

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Is it Just Me?

Sometimes I wish I didn't have a creative bone in my body. Sometimes I wish I had no desire to create beauty. Sometimes I wish I could be happy sitting down with a ledger of numbers at a safe and secure job and not questioning anything or thinking I could make something better. But I'm not like that.

Herein lies the problem. I'm also very practical and grounded. One time I was taking one of those silly online personality tests and you had to pick one trait from a choice of two that best describes you. The two choices were "practical" and "creative." I guess, according to the makers of the test, you couldn't be both practical and creative. I don't know which one I picked in the end.

So many creative types, or at least those who like to think of themselves as creative, are, to put it mildly, batspit loony. A while back, a (non-art studio) professor that Stan had said that Stan and I are not like other visual artists because we are sensible and practical. This professor seemed to have experience with studio artists as being flakes. Unfortunately, we've had the same experience.

It's not just the visual art that gives me this problem. It's the jewelry. And now it's becoming the perfume research. I make art and jewelry because they're beautiful. That's all it is, a need to create beautiful paintings and designs and work with colors and lovely stones. And with the perfumery, it's the same thing, except it's the desire to create beautiful scents.

And in my research, whether it's for sourcing materials or just learning, I'm constantly running into the same thing over and over. The witchy woo woo factor.

Let me start over from a different perspective.

Is it just me, or...

...is it a little off that someone maybe in their 20s or 30s wouldn't like movies? Any movies? I don't just mean mainstream Hollywood blockbusters, or eurocinema, or slasher flicks, or any specific genre of movies, or movies with certain actors or by certain directors...but ALL movies?

I'm trying to wrap my brain around this. I'm trying to imagine what it would be like to be someone who rejects this contemporary art form and way of storytelling. All movies are are a modern technological extension of storytelling which has been with us since humans could communicate. Movies *are* a part of us, and to deny the urge to hear or see a good story being spoken or read or presented in multimedia is to deny our humanity, right? Am I wrong about this?

Let me start over from a different perspective.

When I was a 12-year-old I found out that NOT all 12 or 13-year-old girls liked boys. It freakin' blew me away. We're not talking latent lesbianism here, at least I don't think so. The person I'm remembering is married now. I don't know if there are kids. I mean I remember being interested in boys since I was like 6. I found out they existed, didn't like any in my class, really, but made some up to like. Moved to New York, found cute ones in my class, got crushes, rinse, repeat in various forms for most of my life until now when I'm just too old and tired and married to get crushes anymore. When I was in New York, I had a friend who had a crush on the same guy as I did, and it was sort of cute. No competition or anything, we were just 9 or 10. I always talked about boys with my girlfriends and soon-to-be-girlenemies. But to find someone who didn't like boys? Blew me away. Just like accidentally happening on someone's blog while doing research on something else. (I call it being "blogboozled"...being misled/confused/cheated by having blog content come up instead of either commercial content or informational content. I'm sure this journal blogboozles people all the time. But ferkryinoutloud, the dumb stuff people search on that brings up my blog...they deserve to be blogboozled. Yet, I digress.) So this person whose blog comes up instead of more relevant content I was looking for doesn't like movies. Can't sit through them. Weird. To me, it's weird. Am I weird because I like movies? I don't think so, I think that's pretty normal. Everyone has their favorites and genres they don't like. But to blanket-statement say "I don't like movies"...because "I can't sit through them"...Weird. We must be talking some major ADHD here.

To me it came off totally condescending, like she was too good for movies (like my 13-year-old friend was too good for stinky boys) because she practiced this Pagan Mother Herb Goddess Shawoman (not Shaman...it has the word *man* in it) lifestyle which looked down on anything that was "Man-ufactured" (womanufactured is ok). I looked at some other blogs by people associated with her (all women, of course) and although they weren't as militantly-anti-movie as she was, they all had that veneer of "I'm Belladonna the Good Wytch" and "I like groovin' with our Earth Mother and singin' songs to my wyld gardyn" almost parodic self-descriptions. No, I take that back. Not almost parodic self-descriptions, parodic self-descriptions. Nothing almost about it.

And then it hit me. This woman is a fundamentalist. No, not a FLDS or Pentacostal. Not Christian of any stripe. She's a fundie crunchy pagan herbie. Wildcrafting plants is her Sunday morning service. Organic tinctures is her holy water. One fundamentalist movement is patriarchal, the other is matriarchal.

Look, I love the smell of plants and the smell of natural essential oils, but I also love movies that love the smell of napalm in the morning. And you know what? Putting that citrine stone in your herbal blend isn't going to make you more clairvoyant and blending Patchouli and Ylang Ylang isn't going to bring you love especially if your intended lover doesn't like Patchouli. It's all bunk and hogwash. A stone cannot infuse any mystical power in herbal oil. And as much as I loved buying oils at Isis the other month when I was in Colorado, I loved buying them for their SCENT. I love stones because they are visually beautiful, not because wearing one makes me wiser, or richer, or whatever.

Gaaah. Glad I got that off my chest, it's been bugging me for a while now.

And how could anyone not like movies?

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Real Problems

I feel compelled to write more on the topic of the Duggars, not because I'm negatively obsessed with them--well, maybe just a little in the way I'm negatively obsessed with all cults and tyrannical leaders--but to clarify the issues I have with them *and* the issues I have with some of the banal commentary I find about them on blogs. Too much of the insidious commentary about them is based on the superficial, not on the real problems. IMHO the people who would criticize the superficial, their hair, for example, is completely missing the big picture.

What's this? Ann, a blue-city-living liberal secular humanist childfree atheist coming out in defense of the Duggars? No, not quite. I'm just clarifying. Please read on.

Example 1: Hair and dress. Yes, they have hair and clothes from another century. So what? How does this affect you? Not one iota. And why is the only criticism about the hair directed at the girls' hair length? Why does no one ask "why aren't the boys allowed to wear their hair LONG?" Hmm...I see a bit of a double-standard directed toward people with double standards. Pot kettle black? There are plenty of hairstyles I've seen in my 5 decades of living that have been really dumb looking, especially the way so many guys just shave their heads now. Yuck. If you've got it, flaunt it, don't shave it. At least the girls in this family can flaunt their hair, if nothing else...so to speak. For the record, I too have long hair...not Duggar style long, but it's longer than most mid-40-somethings. I think a lot of animosity towards long hair comes from jealous people who can't grow it long themselves. Just my opinion, of course, and the opinion of others I've spoken to who have long hair and have felt the scornful wrath from those who don't have it.

The real problem: The fact that the girls are all *made* to wear their hair long (except for the bangs) and the boys are all *made * to wear their hair in that clean-shorn 1950s way is an example of how controlling their parents are and how the kids are not allowed to have any say. That is the real problem. It wouldn't matter if they had Duggar hair styles, or they were all shaved like the Heavens Gate cult or they all had B52 beehives. The fact that no one is allowed to make a simple choice about their own clothes or hair is sad (and picking the brown skirt instead of the blue one isn't the kind of choice I'm talking about). All children should be allowed to make more and more choices as they grow older and become more independent, and by denying them that right the parents are denying any mature development. Their decisions as adults will not be based on reason and logic and personal preference, but on what is done because that is what is done. I also have a problem with not allowing the girls to wear pants, especially when doing physical activities. Can someone explain the logic of this to me? There is none. It's all about keeping the girls in line as demure baby-making machines who never spread their legs even to do sporting activities--except to make babies for God . And that's the big problem.

Kids naturally want what other kids have, and since these kids really only socialize with eachother and maybe another fundie family or two, there's no wanting for hair like Amber's or jeans like Tyler's. They're only mirroring eachother which helps keep them clone-like. Yes, mom and dad are trying to keep bad outside influences from coming in, and that's commendable only to a degree. They won't have to worry about Jessatessaannabanana's butt-crack oozing out of her low-rizers. Or JumpinJehosephatbillybob's baggy pants exposing his ModestWear boxers as they fall down to his knees. And you know what? I think those hip hop pop fashions are every bit as awkward, dare I say--retarded--as their LittleHouseonthePrairieWear in this day and age. But here's the big problem...they're preventing their kids from dressing like that by keeping them in a unhealthy closed carbon-cycle bubble. I feel it's better to allow the outside influences in, and have an open discussion why these things are bad or good or uncomfortable or cool or unwearable, or whatever. Let the kids as teens wear silly fashion statements of their own choosing, then allow them to decide as they mature that yes, those clothes were silly...or maybe not. Maybe some fashions will stick. But that will be their choice, not the parents. But that's where the problem lies. This dictatorial household will never allow the kids to decide on their own. Or the kids might think they're deciding on their own, but they know of no other alternative from which to choose. And that's the big problem.

Example 2: Sex. I have actually read commentary that this couple needs to find another hobby other than sex, that they like sex too much, that they're oversexed, etc. etc. I have to check my calendar to make sure this is 2008 and not the Victorian era. Let me get this straight, people are complaining, in this day and age, that a couple is having too much sex? What? Hey, these Duggars aren't geniuses, they're not working on novels or scientific inventions or art. Let them have their sex hobby. It's not the sex. It's what they're allowing the sex to become. And that's the big problem. Ground control to the Duggar Clan, take your birth control pills and put your condoms on.

Example 3: Arkansas. Is. Not. The. Midwest. It is the South. Get over your geographically-challenged "if it isn't NY or LA, it's midwestern hicksville" condescending elitist coastal selves. Enough said.

Example 4: They like big families. So what? Look, I don't want kids myself, but there's nothing wrong with the fact that some people like big families. But here's the big problem: Every single child that they have, they bore. There are so many unwanted kids in this world they could have adopted. Go ahead, have a couple of your own, then adopt the rest. But no, they've been brainwashed by some fundamentalist movement that says you will be closer to God the more kids you bear. And that's the real problem. These patriarchal fundamentalist sects seem to be more about the male proving his penisworth by fathering large litters and giving no consideration to either a) the health of the mothers who have to suffer through these double-digit pregnancies or b) the Earth, its diminishing resources and the carbon bigfootprint that all these mega families stomp on it. This is where it starts to effect YOU. This is no longer about an eccentric family who dresses weird and keeps to themselves except to appear on Discovery Health when they pop out a perennial young-un. This is about the Earth and its future. You have a family of 20 driving huge SUVs, and, worse case scenario, their 18 kids go on to marry and have 18 kids each, each family having multiple SUVs and consuming large quantities of tatertot casserole and all the commercial processed junk that is in their family recipe book and doing 10 loads of laundry a day and throwing away exponentially large amounts of disposable diapers...this is not good.

Now if I were a believer in a god or any magical, powerful entity that supposedly "created" the Earth, this is certainly not what I would think it would want to see happen to its terrestrial creation. It would not want people who are perfectly capable of planning smaller families to procreate to this unhealthy degree(and this doesn't just apply to American fundies, but people of all lands). It's hurting these mothers and it's hurting the Earth. There is no sense to it. None.

If there was a family of 20 that were independent-minded with a low-carbon-footprint and not out to overpopulate the world with the agenda of spreading their religious zealotry and creating more voters who will eventually vote in representatives who would make all birth control illegal, I wouldn't have quite as big a problem with it. But independent-minded and religious fanatics are anathema. We as a country are so scared of terrorists that go boom, but what about this silent terror right here on our own soil cleverly packaged into a "gosh gee whiz, what a well-behaved large family"? Shouldn't we be concerned that as these kids are becoming young adults they have no education, no experience dealing with anyone outside of their family or tight-knit sect, no marketable skills or trade and no hope for college, not because they made bad choices and dropped out of high school, but because this was done with their parents' moulding and blessing? What about the young women in the FLDS sects in Arizona and Texas who become nothing but baby factories to polygamists at the age of 13, 14 and 15? These women are "married" in the eyes of their church, yet legally are unmarried so they can collect welfare from our government, a government which they otherwise detest and have no regard for. Then there's the "lost boys", the teenage boys expelled from the FLDS because they are competition for the Alpha Males and their "prophet" says they must leave. They have no future, no home, no where to go. What the hell is wrong with a culture that treats its young people like this? I find it outrageous that we can sit around and snicker at irrelevant superficial things like their clothing and hair, but not be outraged by the real problems that are taking place inside these compounds and homes-declared-as-churches. Thank goodness the government raided the FLDS ranch in Texas and thank goodness they prosecuted Warren Jeffs.

We need to rethink our laws on tax-exemption for churches. Why do churches need to be tax exempt? Why can a mega-church gobble up acres and acres of land (often times good farmland!) and not pay a dime in taxes on it while the old and very modest single-family homes in my neighborhood pay 3-4K a year for a tiny little 40x120 foot plat? If you want to build your mega-church on 17 acres, you should be taxed for the 17 acres. Can't afford it? Then build it on a smaller lot. What is truly egregious about Mega Churches is that they are built in the middle of nowhere, so they are only accessible by a long (usually SUV) drive. It is truly sickening.

We need to regulate home schooling. Why are people with no experience as teachers and hardly any education themselves allowed to teach children? It seems to be so rampant now. I never heard of it when I was going to school, and as much as school was unbearable for me at times, I'm glad that the thought of homeschooling didn't exist back then. And please, no tax-vouchers for home schoolers or private schoolers! If you don't want to take advantage of free tax-supported (by many people who don't even HAVE kids anymore or ever had them because it is for the public good) public schools, that's your choice, but don't take money away from the public sector for this!

And now you see my thoughts on the matter. I just hope more people will look behind the veneer of hair and outdated dresses and see the real problems beneath.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Vagina: It's not a Clown Car.

Image-Google that title and you'll see what I'm referring to.

Now cut and paste the URL below:

http://health.discovery.com/convergence/duggars/baby-name-poll.html

If you've run out of ideas for new names and have to make a poll to have other people decide your baby's fate, maybe you should just stop breeding. Ones ability to breed should never surpass ones ability to come up with ideas. If I had a religion, that would be one of its laws.

What's so odd about this overpopulating resource-exhausting entire-school-of-Jesus-fish family is that they love the limeiight that Discovery Health and TLC gives them, which seems odd since they don't own or watch TV. Ironic, isn't it? TV is the work of the devil except when it pays you to continue in your breeding-addicted SUV-driving millennial consumerism-based lifestyle. Don't let the quaint Little House on the Prairie dresses fool you...they're not plucking raspberries and pulling rutabagas from their garden...there's more brand name non-organic canned products in their pantry than in my local neighborhood grocery store. Watch one of their TV specials...the resources this family consumes is astounding.

What's also ironic is that their family website is now hosted on Discovery Health. Well, I don't see anything "healthy" about having 17 (working on 18) kids.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You Can't Be Too Old to be Pissed Of by the Rock and Roll Illiterate

I know there are bigger things to be pissed off by in this world, and believe me, I am. But I've been a big music fan all my life, and when someone misattributes an almost incredibly obvious lyric, it just totally chaps my hide until it is in severe pain.

Look, I don't care if you're not a music fan, or don't care about lyrics, but to PRETEND you know something when it is so obvbiously WRONG, why quote it at all?

On a message board today, someone wrote this:

"Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss"
The Byrds

WTFH??!?

The Byrds? The Freakin' BYRDS? Everyone knows it was The Who (specifically, Pete Townsend's words).

Who is this person? I mean, I don't expect people like my parents to know any better, but they wouldn't go around misquoting and misattributing lyrics in a genre they didn't know anything about either.

I mean this is one of the most famous lyrics in rock, I just find it hard to believe that anyone who would CARE to quote it, would also MISATTRIBUTE the band.

Yeah, it takes all kinds.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

A "Thursday Mornings Suck to Wake Up To" Quiz

1) You see an item you want online, but you need X amount of them. As you are going through the process of purchasing it, you realize there is only ONE of the items available. You:

a) You hold off on buying the item and email the seller first and ask him/her if there is anymore available.
b) Go ahead and buy the item. You'll email the seller and ask for more AFTER you buy it.



2) You email the seller at 10:00 pm. You then check your email the following morning, at 7 am and see that the seller has not responded. You:

a) Assume that they have not yet received your email from the night before (it's only been 9 hours, most of it was during the night) and give it at least 12-24 hours from the first email to contact them again.
b) Email them AGAIN immediately and ask them to respond to your first email.


You responded:

All As: You are a sane person. Your decisions are based on logic an understanding of how people and the world work. I want you for a customer.

One A, one B: You are a bit impulsive. You need to read instructions more thoroughly and realize the world doesn't revolve around you. With a little experience and learning the hard way, you can hopefully turn into an A-type.

All Bs: You need to stay away from commerce, especially the internet where you have to wait for emailed responses, however I'm sure brick and mortar sellers think you're no picnic either. My advice? Go away. Now. Please.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I Learned a New Fashion Accessory Today

There's this building not too far from where I live that has gone through different ownership recently. I think it used to be a shoe repair shop, then maybe it sold guitars, and then it was vacant...I can't really remember. Or maybe I'm confusing it with something else. Who knows, I didn't really NOTICE it until recently because as of late it's acquired new ownership and a new business and a graffiti-art sign. I think it says "Uptown Grillz" or "Urban Grillz". I don't know which, I really wasn't paying attention. At first I thought it is a new bar...grilled food, even though it seemed really small. Maybe it was takeout food. Then I thought maybe they sell custom grills, you know, for your car. Then I saw something on the news about how some 7-year-old sprog swallowed some rhinestone grillz (almost a Darwin award for this sprog who got his genes from his mommee who bought him such a brilliant gift (at a freakin' FLEA MARKET no less....ewwww...used...yelch)). So I decided to Google "Grillz" and now I know what they sell there.

Holy Crap. Fashion has hit an all time low in beauty and comfort. For someone who had to wear braces for over two years as a teenager and a retainer for even more years after that, why the hell would anyone want to have that crap in their mouth? Metal in your mouth is the most unpleasant feeling. But what the hell is wrong with a culture that on one hand cannot tolerate natural discoloration/yellowing or any slight imperfection that no one would give a second thought to in other Western civilized cultures ("English Teeth" simply do not phase me one way or another...they're just natural teeth), and on the other hand creates this sort of fashion abomination?

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Terry Matthesons

What should have been a simple art application process turned out to be a daylong activity...and that doesn't even count fine tuning the photos and writing the biography (I hate doing stuff like that). No, that was already done. All I had to do now was send the jpeg photos off to them along with the image list and biography. Since they so competently decided not to tell me what the dimensions of the photos needed to be, I kept the images as large as possible. After all, they wanted 300 dpi. That totalled about 45 megabytes. My email client has some limit on it of 20 megs. So I had to go back and resize the images so that they'd be less than 20 megs. I tried sending it through my gmail account online since all the recipients had gmail addresses, but that took forever, so I cancelled out of that and used one of my domain emails. I sent a followup to acknowledge receipt, and one person responded that they did not receive it. I resized again, this time I decided I would only use gmail and let it chug away at it until it was complete, regardless of how long it took. Then gmail gives me a message that my attachments are over the 10 meg limit.

You know, you'd think that before they decide they're not going to accept any hard copies (which is a bit unusual when they're asking for 300 dpi images...most applications like this ask for 300 dpi images on CD because of their size), they'd make some provision of having email accounts that can accept more than 10 megs of an attachment. Or, they should've put limits on the application, i.e., "size your images to be no more than 7" in any dimension" or "compress your files so that no file should be over 1.5 megs" or whatever. But no. Just "send 300 dpi images". Yeah,, but what size? What file size? That's involves too much effort when you already know who you want to use for the exhibits. So it was back to the drawing board, resizing the jpegs some more so that the cumulative amount would be less than 10 megs. This time I added some compression. I sent them off through gmail again, and sent a followup for an acknowledgment as well. I bet I don't hear from them one way or another whether they received them or not. I suspect this is a total Terry Mattheson operation styled after the Bush administration, i.e., "Loyalty over Competence".

----

Most pretentious woman at the grocery store today. She was going through the checkout when she got a cell call. She had one of those earphone things permanently attached to her phone and ear so that she could use both hands to do stuff while her brain was engaged elsewhere (like drive...oh joy). As she's paying the cashier she's answering a call "oh hi julie, yes I got your email blah blah blah" all the while she's trying to interact with the cashier. If it was me, I wouldn't answer the call while I'm interacting with another person. I just wouldn't do it. No call is that important that it should take priority over the people you're dealing with face to face. Or at least answer it and tell them you'll call them back. It's just so rude. And she just had that air about her that she was so bloody special.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The New Word for The Day is: UNBELIEVABULLSHIT

Every person I am dealing with today is a damn moron.

1) The "Well, they're new, so it's forgivable, but still how can you be so Stupid?" Moron:

I check my ebay feedback and find positive feedback from a name I don't recognize having dealt with. Why? Because they just WON THE ITEM A FEW MINUTES AGO! You're supposed to leave feedback AFTER you receive the item! OK, now I realize that sometimes people accidentally leave feedback for something they haven't received yet. This is an honest mistake. But that's not the case in this instance. How do I know that? Because their feedback says:

"cant wait to get them"

WTF?!?!

Oooh, but here's the best one yet:

3) The "Most Pathetic Scammer in the History of eBay" Moron:

I get a customer who purchased some widgets recently. I sent her an invoice yesterday. She emailed me this along with the invoice I sent her:

Please send me back a note to let me know that you got this email from me. I'll send you a money order shortly and please wrap them in lots of bubble wrap and mail them insured to:
(her address)

I wrote back to her and told her some additional info (who to make out the MO to, etc.) and:

"If you want to have them insured, please remember to ADD THE OPTIONAL INSURANCE OF $1.35 ON TO THE TOTAL, otherwise I can't insure them."

She emailed me back to tell me she had changed the total to include insurance, including a new quoted invoice along with my previous email. I couldn't believe my eyes...she had CHANGED my email to read "ADD THE OPTIONAL INSURANCE OF $1.30 ON TO THE TOTAL"! She had changed $1.35 in my email to read $1.30! Also, on the invoice that she was including, she had added $1.30 right next to the little space on the invoice where it says "Shipping insurance (Optional US $1.35):".

A Nickel? She's trying to cheat me out of a Nickel!?! I've had customers not include the correct amount of postage before (and I just wait for them to send the rest of it before I relinquish their widgets), but to GO BACK INTO MY EMAIL and CHANGE what I had written, and then try and sneak it past me as if that is what I had actually told her the insurance was so she has some kind of "proof" or something? Unbelievabullshit!

I know I am being more than kind in what I wrote back:

"I just noticed that you changed the $1.35 to $1.30. I just checked my sent email to see if it was a typo on my part, but I did INDEED write $1.35 for the insurance, anyway that is also what it says on the invoice (as an optional additional charge for the insurance.)

Just want to make sure you know that it is $1.35, not $1.30."

After that exchange, I have not heard from her. I hope she is embarrassed that she got caught trying to cheat on her insurance.

I guess no one can accuse me of having bitchy customer service. Maybe I shouldn't have been so nice, I don't know. Maybe I really should've called her on it. I just really want to deal with some competent (and honest) people for a change.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

An Afternoon at the Post Office

After a Postal Holiday, I had a lot of packages to ship, packages I couldn't just put out for the delivery person to pick up, mail that needed a customs form or delivery confirmation and insurance, and Stan needed to send some registered mail. We don't have a post office in our neighborhood, not a *real* one, anyway. We used to, a few blocks away. It was convenient. I used to use it all the time. Then USPS went through some kind of corporate downsizing in the early Bush era, eliminating our convenient little postal station, and put it in the convenience store next door. I can't use it anymore...first of all, they don't ship anything out of the country...how absurd is that? Also, you have to request a receipt, and it's typically illegible. For my business I need a real bonafide USPS itemized receipt that one gets by default at any *real* post office. Using this contracted postal station is now out of the question. Plus everyone seems like they're on drugs there, drug dealers in the parking lot, drug users working in the convenience store. I stay away. Then there's the main station a couple miles away. I don't like that place for reasons I won't go into, but let's just say it's usually super crowded with long lines, the parking is bad and there's usually panhandlers in the parking lot. Recently, we discovered the next nearest post office, which is actually in Monona, is about 4 miles one way. It's now my default post office. It would be a lot closer if there was a ferry across Lake Monona, but there is none, so every time I go there, usually about every other day or so, we or I take a trip around the lake. It's not a bad drive, the road is a little rough and there's lots of traffic lights and school zones, but it's not bad. It's best if I can do it as early in the morning as possible, but usually that's not the most convenient. Today I felt like going to another post office, one in Cottage Grove, a suburb of Madison. Once you get on Cottage Grove Road, it's a straight shot going 55 most of the way, a very easy 7 miles, and much faster than going to the next closest post office in town, a whacky old stuck-in-the-60s one on the west side, which is met with horrible stop and go traffic all the way. Plus, I just felt like a ride in the country.

One nice thing about the Cottage Grove Post office is it is seldom ever busy. Easy errand, I thought. When I got to the window, I instantly recognized the postal clerk as one who gave Stan a hard time about shipping a large, heavy book via media mail but I had forgotten about that incident in the interim period. I was a bit worried she'd give me a hard time too, which she did, a bit.

"Do you work out here?" she asked me

I tried to interpret what that meant. Do I work out? No, I'm an art potato.

I asked her the question back: "Do I...work...out...here?" And then I answered myself, thinking she must mean if I work in Cottage Grove, "...No...." I wondered what she was getting at as the question seemed suspicious.

"(The Street I live on) in Madison seems like a long way to drive here," she said.

OK, what am I dealing with here, I thought. Here's someone who's clearly on the lookout for anything suspicious, because that's what her boss tells her to do, but clearly her terrorist meter is permanently set on broke and instead she's picking apart insignificant things like my home address and Stan's large book which was clearly too heavy to be a book so he really should've sent it parcel post because he was trying to get away with shipping it for the less expensive media mail...OK, I got an odd one. I'll just keep talking so she won't be able to get a word in to ask me questions, err, I mean interrogate me. So I go off on how I'm going out this direction anyway and I don't like going to the main post office and I used to have a post office in my neighborhood, blah blah blah, and I liked to take walks there..blah blah blah. Clearly, I was grasping at dead bits of conversation...anything to keep yammering so she couldn't speak, but I'm not big with the gift of gab, so by the time she got to the end of my packages and I wrote her a check, there was plenty of time for her to say,

"Can I see some ID, this is a low-numbered check." Yes, they can ask for my ID for any reason they choose when I present a check, but low-numbered? The check was in the 1500s. I'm sorry, but that's not a low-numbered check.

"Low-numbered? I've had that account for 17 years!" (Well, it was only 14 years, but I forgot I switched banks in the early 90s)

"You must use your debit card a lot," she said.

'The hell? I don't have a fucking debit card. It's just that I'm not constantly buying a lot of crap where I would be on check number 589,441 by now! "No, I just use credit cards or pay bills online," I said. Damn this woman was really annoying. Maybe she was just trying to make smalltalk. I hate smalltalk, especially when it's prying about my personal life. Small talk about the weather is fine, but let's not delve into me personal life, eh? But then the paranoid side of me thinks she's gathering this information because she thinks there's something suspicious about me coming a WHOLE 7 FRICKIN' MILES to a post office. Look, put a damn post office in my 'hood already, and I won't have to bother your nosey ass. The thing is, 7 miles is not a long way to drive to a post office *once in a while* especially when it takes almost as long to drive to one that's 4 miles away and when it's the second closest one you can really go to. I could drive to Kenosha to mail packages if I wanted to. It would be unusual, not to mention a waste of gas if I wasn't already going there, but there's no law that says you have to mail packages at the post office nearest your home. I've mailed packages 1000 miles away in Colorado with my backaddress of Madison, and I've been asked fewer questions than mailing it 7 miles away.

Anyway, just as I ran out of gas trying to ramble on so she couldn't get a word in, I've also run out of gas in the telling of this story and don't know how to conclude and wrap it up into a neat little package. So I'll leave this package unwrapped. That way, no one can accuse me of shipping something suspicious.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Topic: It Takes All Kinds

OK, usually I don't share the goings-on of my ebay life, but this one is completely out of the weird file under "self-righteous I'm never wrong persnickety finger waggers".

I sent off a 100 count bag-o-widgets to this customer. They received it promptly, and rattled off this ebay message to me:

"I just received my (widgets) and am happy that they arrived so quickly. However, there were only 99 (widgets) not 100, I counted them 3 times. I'm not going to leave negative feedback but that is slightly annoying. I understand that mistakes happen but it's not really fair to me. Somebody needs to be more careful counting!"

To quote the Geico Caveman: "First of all, I'm not alltogether in love with your tone right now." There have been times I've been shorted a widget on ebay. I simply write the seller, tell them I didn't receive a widget, and they either a) send me the missing widget or b) refund my money if said widget isn't available. In the case of where I've received the wrong widget, but it's a halfway acceptable enough widget, I usually decide to keep the widget, but not leave any feedback and drop the matter after they tell me they don't have the right widget. I don't finger wag at them telling them "Someone needs to be more careful sorting out their widgets!" Come on, what good would that do? Sellers are as careful as they can be and no amount of finger-wagging by an annoyed customer will improve that. Also, the problem is a minor and correctable one. I'm happy to send off another widget to the customer, you don't need to finger-wag to get me to do that. Just tell me I there was an error in the count, and I'll fix it. No problem. No need to act all "this is unfair to me!" and persecuted! Because you're not!

I wrote back to them:

Thank you for contacting me about the counting error. Yes, it would be unfair to leave negative feedback, because all you would need to do is contact me and tell me there were only 99, and I would be happy to send you the extra (widget). As you said, mistakes do happen, and it was a mistake, and I will be glad to send you the extra missing (widget). I do not cheat my customers (please check my feedback), and this oversight was simply that, a mistake in counting. No need to get so upset about it--no one is cheating you. Your extra (widget) will go out in the mail on Monday.

But you couldn't top their response:

I wasn't so upset, like I said I was annoyed. But turns out it was my error. The missing (widget) had slid under something on my desk. Please excuse my error. Sorry for the mess.
Thanks

I really wanted to write back and say:

"Seems like somebody needs to be more careful counting!" But I bit my tongue as that would be playing right into their own little game of wag the finger. Maybe if they would've just been a little more trusting/not paranoid that there were 100 widgets (not that I'm denying I couldn't have made a mistake counting...no one is perfect and mistakes do happen and I have made these widget-count mistakes before), they wouldn't have had to be so annoyed over nothing in the first place.

Even thought they found their widget, I suspect they're still annoyed. I blocked them from buying from me again. Who needs this?

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