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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Reasons to move to the South-West, continued.

Our water pipes froze and burst in five places. Luckily, I found out before they thawed, and managed to slice and replace the bad bits before there was any significant water damage (mind you, that room can probably take it - it's a weird shed-like area under the bathroom, and only a week ago it flooded completely when the regulator broke on our washing machine). I am the soldering fucking queen.

I thought at first that insulating the plumbing was going to keep me from going out to the Slow Andy gig last night, but in a last-minute fit of "fuck it," I left the taps on slow, grabbed an outfit, and tumbled into Matt's car. Once there, I proceeded to get very drunk. I woke up with a hangover. Mormolyke is getting old.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Can you keep a cat?

Are you in the Philly area? A good person? Can you keep a cat?

Our next-door neighbors moved house and abandoned their cat. Another neighbor got in touch with them about it, and their response was "We don't want her. We have dogs now."

Yeah, I know. Don't get me started.

So, instead of leaving this incredibly sweet and friendly cat to freeze to death over the winter, we've taken her in temporarily as of last night. I have no idea what her name is, so I'm calling her Ginger. We can't keep her permanently, though, because we already have two cats, and she doesn't get along with them (it's hard to get adult females to play nice with each other). Can anyone out there keep a cat?

She is so beautiful, and is very social around people. She loves being petted, even by complete strangers, and I'm sure she'd be wonderful with children too. She's well toilet trained (was quite happy going in one of my other cat's litter boxes) and not at all fussy about the food she eats. She's been living on the streets for a couple of weeks now, and is so grateful for shelter, sustenance and affection -- anyone who has taken in a stray cat will tell you that they're twice as loyal as cats that haven't seen the hard life.

Please give her a good home! We really don't want to take her to the SPCA because it's a kill shelter, and the only no-kill shelter in the area isn't taking surrenders because they are full.

I'd estimate she's a year or two old. Obviously, I don't have vet records for her, but she seems really healthy. I'm assuming she's neutered, but only because she goes outdoors all the time, and I've never seen her with kittens.

If you can take her in, please contact me. And if you can't take her, please spread the word!

Friday, January 19, 2007

How Embarrassment

One of the many slightly annoying things about living in the USA is that I can't use the phrase "How embarrassment!" because nobody has any clue where it comes from.

This morning contained a textbook "How embarrassment!" moment. I was late to my music history class because some douches were clearing brush on route 322, leaving only one lane for traffic to pass through. They were douches because traffic towards West Chester was backed up for about five miles, whereas traffic leaving West Chester wasn't backed up at all. I have no idea why they didn't take this into account when directing traffic, except that they are douches.

I screeched into the parking lot ten minutes late, sprinted up the stairs, and tried in vain to creep into the classroom. Creeping is difficult when you have bright pink hair; I so rarely creep that I had forgotten this when I dyed it. I sat down. I looked at the professor. All seemed well.

I looked around. Chris was sitting across the aisle. What was he doing here? Had he transferred into my class? Why was he looking at me as though he might laugh?

Oh, god. Wrong class. Music history is at 11am, not 10am.

So, having arrived ten minutes late and sat down for twenty seconds, I had to get up and try unsuccessfully to creep out of the room.

The worst part is that I have to go back at 11am, and the professor will, of course, know that it was me, and that I am an idiot.

These little things keep me awake at night sometimes thinking about what a loser I am. Another is the fact I remember and use the phrase "How embarrassment."

In good news, the music library has some bitching wireless internet, so I can rip CDs and have iTunes find all the track names for me. And I can blog.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back to school

I am three days into my second semester at West Chester, and I already have too much homework and feel like a walking zombie.

I'm loving my schedule, though. Firstly, I'm taking nothing but music classes. 19 credits of music theory, music aurals, music history, composition, counterpoint, private lessons and ensembles. Provided it doesn't drive me completely nuts, this ought to work well, since last semester I complained every time I needed to switch brain-gears from physics or women's studies to music. I'm also resolving not to do too much in the way of home renovation until break. I should rest on my laurels for a while after building a kitchen and finishing a bathroom (except for the tiling in the shower unit ... OK, maybe I'll do that this weekend).

Secondly, all my classes are in the brand new Swope Building, which is all kinds of awesome in comparison with the facilities at old Swope. The expanded music library even houses all the 780s that used to be in the main library. Since there's ample parking, and everything I need is in one place, I don't have to walk anywhere all winter. Bliss! (I'm resolving to avoid the elevators at all costs, however, for fear of becoming a hambeast from complete lack of physical activity.)

Thirdly, I passed my piano proficiency requirement for my degree, which freed me up to take up the bassoon. I have a shitty rented bassoon on my couch, which sounds remarkably like a sick goose when I blow into it. Apparently I'm required to join the concert band, which present problems since I currently can only play four or five notes with any consistency. Why the bassoon? I have no clue. It was one of those occasional sudden urges I have that more often than not turn out to be a good idea. If nothing else, it will help with any composition I might do for double reeds.

I composed that thing on the right there last semester and recorded it a couple of weeks ago. You can also find it on YouTube and MySpace.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Verizon is the worst company on the planet

Oh. My. God. I just checked my bank account, and Verizon has deducted $229.97 from it. Motherfucking cunts. I can't fucking believe it. I spent 40 minutes on the phone to them last week getting those charges cleared, and what do they do? Deduct them straight from my account. What in the motherfucking fuck.

Looks like the billing department at Verizon is going to wake up to some hair-raising yelling come eight o'clock tomorrow morning. You better pray you're late into the office, Verizon employees; there's one motherfucking angry consumer itching to reach through her phone and rip your goddamn scrotum off.

10:43 EDIT: I just got off the phone to Verizon. The first thing I said was "I want to know what the hell this payment is on my account." The CSR freaked out that I said "hell" (I'm not kidding. "Don't use profanity. I'm getting my supervisor.") and ran to a supervisor. The supervisor, Jodie, was totally fixated on the fact that my account is linked to a debit card instead of a credit card and at first tried to blame my troubles on that. She was also one of those hyper-annoying representatives who think they can calm people down my talking over them and refusing to listen to the point the customer is trying to make, so consumed is she with her own agenda.

After screaming at her repeatedly - and yes, actually crying with rage - she suddenly decided to listen to the words coming out of my mouth and realized that Verizon made a terrible mistake. Apparently, the CSR I spoke to last week, as I requested, changed my service from 15mbps to 5mbps. When he did that, he took me off a 12-month plan and put me on a month-to-month plan, incurring a setup fee and equipment charges. It only took them two business days to charge me, but it's going to take them one to three billing cycles to refund my money. That's one to three months. One to three months in which I can't tile my bathroom or pay my cellphone bill because Verizon stole $230 of my money.

So, not only is Verizon incompetent, they are fucking evil to boot.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Melisa Dunphy?

I am nerdier than 89% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!I recently did something I'd never done before: I met someone with the same name as me.

Well, not exactly the same. She spells Melissa with one 's.' I bet she has a middle name, too.

Still, I was surprised. She is the assistant at the Giant Pharmacy I frequent. When I picked up a prescription last month, she leaned over the counter and whispered, "Hey, we have the same name, only spelled differently!"

I was so surprised that I burst out, "OH MY GOD, ARE YOU TELLING ME YOUR NAME IS MELISSA DUNPHY TOO!?" Then I realized that maybe she didn't want her full name broadcast in public. I was embarrassed.

It's odd, though, isn't it? That someone with the same name as me would not only live near me but run into me in such a situation?

This is all very new to me because before I married, nobody in the world had my name. Now I suppose I've become relatively common.

Verizon sucks my hairy balls

Back in July, before we even had a working toilet, we decided to get Verizon FiOS. In fact, the day we closed on the house, I was on the phone to Verizon organizing the FiOS account. We didn't want a Verizon phone because we have Vonage, so we became one of the few customers who have a Verizon account but no Verizon phone number.

Verizon's entire billing system is based on Verizon phone numbers. This is amazingly retarded, because they don't only provide phone service. Because of this, we can't receive paper or even e-mail bills. Our service fee is just deducted straight out of our credit card - the only record we have of our service is our online bank statements.

In October, there wasn't enough money on my credit card for the month's bill. I had maxed it out temporarily on something, probably tiles. I figured they would just charge me double the next month.

Nope. They just cut me off. No warning, no letters, nothing. We wake up, no internet.

OK, I think, I'll just call them and have them put through the payment and reinstate my account. No. There was some awful bug with my account, and it had been cancelled. A cancellation fee of $99 had gone through. I screamed at them for hours and hours, and they decided to close out my account and start a new one. I was told I would be credited for the cancellation fee and no further charges would be made. Everything would be as it was, only I would have a new, non-buggy billing account.

Recently, bills for the old account started to arrive in the mail. The first one claimed I owed $117. I tried to call Verizon about it last week, and reached a voicemail system. Who the hell puts a voicemail system on a billing enquiries line? Amazed, I left a message.

Today, a Verizon associate finally returned my call (leaving a message on my voicemail). And I received a new bill in the mail, this time for $203.07.
3:23 PM me: I am on the phone to Verizon now
leviathant: Oh
me: They finally returned my voicemail this morning
leviathant: hahaha.
me: Yeah, really.
And we got a bill from them today with an extra $86 for non-return of equipment (bringing the total we supposedly owe them to $203)
3:24 PM leviathant: Amazing
3:25 PM me: Motherfucker, it asked me to leave another message
I left a really pissed off message
3:27 PM me: I just called the technical line and tersely asked them to transfer me to a real person
I'm on hold now for billing
3:28 PM leviathant: Yeesh
3:34 PM leviathant: I demand a refund!
3:36 PM me: Oh, God, this is bullshit
still on the phone, the guy doesn't know what the hell is going on
3:37 PM leviathant: Manager! Supervisor! GET ME THE PRESIDENT
3:46 PM me: Hahah, I just yelled at him for a couple minuites, and he is cancelling all the charges.
He was like, OK, I will cancel the $86 for equipment return, but you owe $117.
and he was like, oh, it's $99 for an early termination
and he was like, ok, that leaves $18.04
and he was like, Uh, listen, instead of wasting $18.04 of my time digging through your account (their system is hella slow), how about I just credit you.
And I said, Great, that's all I wanted, thanks.
He is doing it now.
3:57 PM leviathant: Hahaha awesome.
me: Wow, we had been getting the 15mbs service instead of the 5mbs for the last two months at a $15 discount
Lucky I called in today, because that discount runs out this month
3:58 PM and it would go up to $44.95 a month instead of $34.95.
4:02 PM me: Fuck, this is so fucking stupid
So, now he's trying to tell me that it's actually $39.95 a month instead of $34.95
and I'm like, nooooooo, we signed on when it was $34.95 a month
4:03 PM So he is trying to figure that out now
4:04 PM He's giving us a $5 credit per month for the remaining 6 months of our contract
Then it will go up to $39.95 a month
leviathant: Fair enough I suppose
4:05 PM me: Jesus, this is fucking epic
leviathant: Hope you're laying into him good, hahaha
me: I have been on the phone for 40 minutes sorting this out!
I think that's punishment enough.
4:06 PM He has credited me $234 today.
leviathant: Wow.
me: Although they should never have charged us $204 of it.
Verizon sucks my hairy balls.

Verizon should have overhauled their billing system before offering FiOS. It astounds me that I can't get e-mailed (or even paper) bills from a company that offers internet services, nor can I access my account online. This page seems to suggest that some "FiOS TV" customers can access their accounts through a mystical "account number" but when I ask the billing people about this on the phone, the account numbers they give me don't work and they aren't at all familiar with this aspect of the online account system.

The basic message here is that Verizon is fucking incompetent.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Pictures from NYC

I nearly called in during a radio show again the other day. This time, there was an astrophysicist (apparently the host of a new Nova program, and hailed as the successor to Carl Sagan) on Science Friday discussing, well, science. Anyway, I wanted to ask about the effect of the space program on our environment, especially given the push by some entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos to turn space into a tourist destination. If the regular earth-bound aeronautical industry vastly affects weather patterns and air quality, what would commercialized space flight do?

Then I discovered that my phone service has been suspended. During finals last month, I forgot to pay a bunch of bills. They all came in late this month, so we're flat broke. No phone for me! It doesn't really matter, since I never answer it anyway, but I couldn't ask my question.

I've been here for years, but the accent foibles continue. One night, a few weeks ago, I asked Matt to help me take the clothes off the line "before the dew gets them." He thought I had developed sudden paranoic antisemitic tendencies.

David Bowie turns 60 today. Happy birthday, Mr Bowie.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You got mud on yo’ face

I have been drywalling for four days.

MUD! MUD! Glorious mud!
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood!
So follow me, follow,
Down to the hollow
And there we shall wallow
In glooooooooorious mud!

Does anyone else out there know this song? We used to sing it in primary school, and it's one of those childhood songs that makes me weep a little whenever I hear it. Much like "Five Little Ducks Went Out One Day." I don't remember the verses (well, not without looking them up on Google), but I remember one of them rhymed 'ignoramus' with 'hippopotamus.'