Nothing says professional respect like…

On one of the mailing lists that I am on there are occasional requests for consultants or work-for-hire type jobs. This morning I saw one that looked vaguely interesting until I got to the second paragraph, reprinted here for your enjoyment:

Our environment is a bit unusual, so you have to be willing to help us do some things that may not be the most ‘recommended’ practices for installers — while we’re totally interested in hearing about best practices, you must understand that our needs may dictate doing things in a less than traditional way, and you must be willing to bow to the will of our users.

Um, I’m thinking that sounds about as fun as getting a root canal. I sure hope that person does not think they do a good job recruiting. On the other hand they get points for honesty.

No tag for this post.

Cutting the cord

To those of you with my home telephone number I will be disconnecting that line sometime this week most likely permanently. Due to the kindness of a good friend I’ve got a free cell phone for quite awhile and now that the Minneapolis Municipal WiFi is working great I have no need of DSL service which is a great opportunity to remove a monthly bill from my budget.

If you don’t have my cell number contact me through the usual methods and I’ll be sure to get it to you.

No tag for this post.

Not actually an engine problem

Thank goodness for the FAQ at TDiClub. Last week-ish the glowplug light in my 2003 VW Golf TDi started flashing but performance didn’t seem to be effected at all and the car was starting fine and everything seemed kosher so I figured it could wait to get taken care of. Last night on the way home I had a fairly close call in traffic (Funny how bad traffic during rush hour on the first night of Daylight Savings Time almost always is) and noticed something odd while staring at my rear-view mirror hoping that the person behind me was going to miss: I didn’t see a reflection of my brake lights on the other car.

After getting home safely with the garage door closed I was able to verify that except for the roof light the brake lights were totally DOA. Went inside and checked the TDiClub FAQ and sure enough there was entry (8.d. third item down) Brake lights!

The irritating thing? Why was there no helpful police people to tell me my brake lights weren’t functional all week long until I was on the three and a half block drive up to the auto parts store? Thankfully they believed me when I said I was literally on my way up the street to get new bulbs (and followed me just to make sure). Gr.

I’m sure they meant well

I just got a telemarketing call from the organization that calls itself “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices”, asking me if I would like to join their organization for free and they won’t even ever ask for any donations. I don’t know if I’m the only one, and I certainly hope I’m not, but anytime a “non-profit” organization calls and is not looking donations or some sort of financial transaction all sorts of red flags go up.

So I asked the polite man to repeat the name of the organization and did a quick google search and ran across their website. Don’t bother going if you haven’t clicked that link yet it doesn’t have any actual useful information about who they are and what they want to do with my name on their little “member” list. Skimming content while asking the polite man who funds the organization made his answer pretty obvious even while he was saying it: The Power, Oil, and Coal companies. I did find it even more interesting that when pressed he didn’t have any names of any of these companies. Nor did he or his supervisor have any information about where they had gotten my contact information or why I had been selected to be a “member” of their organization.

Unfortunately they were blocking their inbound number so I couldn’t do a reverse lookup.

I apologized to the polite man for telling him that he could tell his overseers to go fuck themselves.

No tag for this post.

When the system mostly works

I just got off the phone with a very nice person from the Wells Fargo Fraud department who wanted to ask me some questions about some apparantly suspicious charges that were trying to come through on my checking account. Apparantly some nefarious person was attempting to buy software from Germany!

Oops, that was me.

And I had been becoming increasingly frustrated with the purchase attempt since I was pretty sure that I had been doing everything exactly correctly but for some reason the charges kept getting declined.

On the one hand I actually am kind of happy that they are being proactive enough that not only where they stopping the charge but they even called me within four minutes of my attempting to do the transaction. That’s near-realtime monitoring in action folks, and now that I’ve had a nice conversation with the guy I submitted the exact same information and it went through with no problems.

OTOH – So what if I was trying to buy software on the internet through a company that exists in Germany? I did an identical transaction with this company a little over two years ago, and a similar transaction with another company every two years for the past 6 (Grisoft, makers of AVG Anti-Virus, my currently mostly preferred AV suite). There is a point where I should be able to use my own funds in a global market without my financial institution being an irritating obstruction. That is alleviated somewhat by getting a fast response from the instituion in question by a real person who then made it not a problem but I wonder really how much I should be satisfied by that.

No tag for this post.

Billing oddity

I learned something today about my electric bill: The State Taxes are computed on the subtotal and the City Fee rather than just the subtotal. I actually called Xcel Energy to ask about it because there was an apparent extra $0.25 in the State Tax line item and after getting hung up on the first time got someone helpful who figured it out.

No tag for this post.

My horn

While I’m on the topic, I should mention the details about my horn.

A few years ago after searching for a few months I came across a used four valve front bell American Euphonium that was in decent shape (Lots of scratches, some dents, lacquer is very worn but largely intact) for a remarkably good price. The sound isn’t as good as the Yamaha YEP-321S I played in college but for less than $500 it is certainly good enough. Nicely wide though just a touch breathy.

Anyway, this morning I finally ran down the serial number (237531) and bell markings and I’ve found out that it is a F.A. Reynolds Contempora BR-06 4-Valve Baritone manufactured in 1967 in Abiline, TX.

I’m actually wondering a bit if some of the breathy sound may be from the mouthpiece I’m using right now, which is a Bach 6 1/2 AL. It’s a lot more like the Bach 12C that I remember playing on in high school than the shallow mouthpiece that came with it. I need to do some more research about the topic.