Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rant of the day

iTunes and Google Updater Service.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

I hate iTunes. Yes, I am most appreciative of the gift card I received and have bought my limit. But I'm not a fancy-schmancy iPod house. I'm a generic mp3 player house. OK, not that generic, it's a MuVo, but still, just an mp3 player. Not mp4, not some proprietary effing format. .mp3 and .wm* is what the MuVo plays. And all those stupid iTune purchases are in some hinky format and converting them to .mp3 is an effing nightmare. I'm done with my purchases but some evil person in my household is not so I am forced to convert their music two and three songs at a time since their CD drive is fubar. Last night iTunes made me upgrade to ver. 8x before it would let me burn .cda's to convert to .mp3's. Sheesh. And on top of that unless you are very, very careful it installs a bunch of other Apple crap that I don't want or need.

Google. I ran into the secret Google update whereby upgrading GoogleEarth installs the Google Updater Service. I don't want my effing software checking in with the mother ship every effing time it feels like it. I'm IT dammit. When I want my software updated I'll damn well tell it to update.

Fortunately iTunes will be done with soon, or someone may die a long and painful death and this page (http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/10/invisible-googleupdateexe.html) showed me how to disable effing Google. So there. Yeah, I work with this crap all day long, the last thing I want to do is struggle with technology when I come home at night.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Pictsweet Steam'ables

Update 4/9/2009: Pictsweet has redeemed themselves. I got a very nice letter of apology from Pictsweet regarding my negative experience and a coupon to cover the purchase price of the product. Now the question is, if I go purchase the same product, will I have the same experience? I will write down the codes from the previous purchase to make sure I get a different lot. I will then post the results here. For now, thank you Pictsweet!

It must be my week for product rants. I purchased the product pictured below and was disappointed with the quantity of shrimp contained within the bag. The picture clearly shows six (6) shrimp. You would think that there would be even more shrimp mixed unseen in the product, wouldn't you?. Do you know how many shrimp I found in this product? Three (3). Package says serves two (2). Two what? Two cats on a diet?

How much is that doggie in the window?

Update 4/9/2009: I have heard from the Pedigree folks, but they requested I call a toll free number with a case number and I've not had the time to do that yet so any delay in resolution is my fault, not theirs.

Mine are very expensive. One's got lousy hips and a bum knee. The other has allergies and a weight problem.

We've had success combating the weight problem through the use of PEDIGREE® WEIGHT MAINTENANCE™ dog food. She's slimmed down quite a bit since she's been on it.

So imagine my surprise when I found this in my most recent purchase of the product.

I'm told by someone familiar with food manufacturing that it is not foreign material, merely an unsightly lump of product.

So I went to the manufacturer's website to get an email address to mail this picture to but you can only submit to them electronically via a form, no email contact allowed. Their form was not cooperating with my data entry. It didn't want to wrap the text I was typing and I can't stand not being able to read back through what I've written so I simply directed them to this blog post to see what it was that I found in their product.

The bag was purchased at the Dillon's market in Manhattan, Kansas in early March of '09. The manufacturing codes on the bag are as follows:

BEST BEFORE 02/2010 901DLKKMF 02:55

I like the product, my dog likes the product (that's the important part), and I wouldn't stop using it for finding something like this once but a coupon would be nice.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Patio Pictures...

OK, I got this here picture thing figured out. Put your pictures in first. All of them. Add them in the reverse order you want them to appear in with the last picture you want in the post uploaded first. Then go and slap your text in. Sweet.
So Mom, here's the progression on the patio with the sinking stone pictures thrown in just before some final before & after shots. (Click the pictures to view larger version).
^^Before construction^^

^^During construction^^

^^During construction^^

^^During construction^^

^^During construction^^

^^First sinking of stones^^

^^First sinking of stones^^

^^During the second sinking repair^^

^^After the second repair of the sinking stones^^

^^After (the first after)^^

^^Before construction^^

^^After construction^^

We promptly bought a patio table with an umbrella and chairs. We enjoy very much hanging on the deck. This year I may add some of those citronella tiki torches. The contractor would like to take some pictures of the job to use on their website. He wants to come out with some sod in the next two weeks (sort of an unacknowledged I'm sorry there have been so many problems olive branch) and take pictures after installing the sod. We'll let him. We're pissed but we're not stupid. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Weather or not

Note to Mom...

I obviously did not die in the massive tornado swarm the weather guys were predicting a few days back and their doom 'n' gloom predictions regarding the quantity of snow that might fall upon my little Kansas burg last night have come to naught. Unsure what the weather guys are thinking lately. Is their software failing? Their gut instincts? Are they just looking for ratings? We maybe got 3" out of the early spring snowstorm. Probably just enough to damage all the budding plants in my yard.

So what's up in the Heartland today? Laundry. A movie (Wanted-on DVD) I rented last week along with two others. Of course I did not have time to watch all three movies in the week I was allotted. I never do. You'd think I'd learn by now and only rent two instead of having the third one run into an extra week rental. My learning curve must be flat.

I guess my bitch-of-the-day is going to be about my patio. We had a retaining wall and pavestone patio installed off the dining room deck last May-June. It went where our beautiful Clump River Birch was located prior to it's demise in the ice storm of 2004. At that time we had the stairs that leave the deck re-designed to eliminate the steepness that prevented our Lab with the bad hips from climbing those steps.

It really is a beautiful patio, It overlooks the woods and pond (although those in the know know that our pond is not always a pleasant sight). About two months after it was finished (and the job took a while), stones at the bottom edge of the patio started sinking. The soil here is very sandy and my guess is that a combination of that sandy base, poor compaction, and not installing landscape cloth between the wall and the sandy soil (both failings on the part of the contractor) were to blame for the sinking stones. But if I was a landscape contractor, I wouldn't have had to hire someone so what do I know?

The contractor returned and repaired the patio. It once again looked quite beautiful. But then these past couple of months the same stones started sinking again in the same manner. The contractor returned once again for repairs, this time basing an inch of quickrete before resetting and grouting the pavestone. Again, it looks beautiful and good as new but my gut says that all that's going to happen is the sand is still going to erode from underneath and the quickrete will hold the stones until the void underneath becomes so great that they once again sink into that void.

I had several issues with the contractor when he originally did the work. There were days when he did not show up on time (or show at all) causing the job to drag on for longer than necessary. He installed some perforated drain tile under the patio but his termination of the drain elbowed straight up out of the ground leaving a 4" round pipe that would hold gallons of standing water forever creating a great big mosquito breeding ground located two feet from our outdoor living space.

He'd undid two sections of our very expensive fence in order to bring in equipment for the job and promised to stretch the fence back and terminate it so that it looked just like it did before he started. He replaced the corrugated plastic that roofs the dining room deck. When the job was finally complete, he'd forgotten to fix the fence and the plastic he roofed the deck with stuck out 7" beyond the rain gutter which created 80 tiny waterfalls every time it rained. He also left a lot of pavestone grout smeared into the top of the retaining wall.

I called him about the poorly constructed drain, too long roof, unfinished fence, and sloppy grout work. He scheduled a date to return and take care of these items. He did not return on the date promised and to save being eaten alive by mosquitoes I redid the drain myself. I wasn't going to climb up on the deck roof, have no way of stretching and securing the fence, and no intention of removed the excess grout so all these items were left for him and he did return to take care of the fence and deck roof. He wanted to wait to see if a couple of months would weather the grout off and we agreed to that. Needless to say he never checked back about the grout but by then we needed to contact him regarding round one of the sinking stones.

Upon being informed of the first incident of sinking stones he had the cajones to tell me that he couldn't keep coming out to our house for free. Huh? The only thing he's been called out for was to fix things that either weren't done right in the first place or things that were left unfinished. Since I needed him to come out and fix the damn things, I was unable to drive into town to rip his head off and shit down his neck, marking that task for a future date on my mental calendar. Once he came out and saw how bad it was he apologized profusely and he did fix it. And it did last almost 6 months...

So right now the patio looks stunning but only time will tell if it is truly fixed. I was going to post some pictures but uploading them and getting them where I want them to appear on this page is apparently beyond me right now so I'll try that tomorrow when I'm not so effing tired.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where have all the protest songs gone?

I was lamenting the lack of protest songs in light of how sucky things are lately. I remember growing up with them all around me in the twilight of the Vietnam era, but never hear any about current events. The music galvanized a generation and I'm sure it could do it again.

Then again, in the personal music player era that may not be possible. We perambulate through our lives to our own personal soundtracks now, no longer reliant upon the radio to tell us what to think, how to feel, basically what to get angry about.

So it was with much joy that I actually heard a protest song on our local college radio, KSDB, The Wildcat 91.9. I knew there was a reason why I liked this radio station so much. In the middle of the heartland they continually surprise me with little nuggets of liberalism. Thank god for college kids.

Of course they rarely tag the songs they play with the artist so I was left wondering who came up with a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool, good old-fashioned protest song. I had a distinctive snippet of lyric that I took the time to google tonight and lo and behold, it's a song by Neil Young. So I give you here, the lyrics to my new anthem:

Let's Impeach the President by Neil Young

Let's impeach the President for lying
And misleading our country into war
Abusing all the power that we gave him
And shipping all our money out the door

Who's the man who hired all the criminals
The White House shadows who hide behind closed doors
They bend the facts to fit with their new stories
Of why we have to send our men to war

Let's impeach the President for spying
On citizens inside their own homes
Breaking every law in the country
By tapping our computers and telephones

What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees
Would New Orleans have been safer that way
Sheltered by our government's protection
Or was someone just not home that day'

Flip - Flop
Flip - Flop
Flip - Flop
Flip - Flop

Let's impeach the president for hijacking
Our religion and using it to get elected
Dividing our country into colors
And still leaving black people neglected

Thank god he's cracking down on steroids
Since he sold his old baseball team
There's lots of people looking at big trouble
But of course our president is clean.

Thank God
I may have to go out and spend some money on a Neil Young cd just to say thank you to him. Scary, huh?