Thursday, October 27, 2005


Never let it be said that I'm afraid of being a little politically incorrect.

I was just thinking that while often we curse handicapped people for the fact that they get all the best parking spots, and often require the entire remodelling of old buildings to make them wheelchair accessible, we should always think first to thank them. In this case, thank them for handicapped stalls in the bathroom.

If not for those often luxurious bathroom stalls, some of us would have to get to used to being packed in there like cattle. Think about it. The average handicapped stall is what? two, three times the size of a regular stall. Sometimes it takes up the whole end wall of the bathroom. I love going in there to take care of business. You've got lots of room to take off any coats, jackets, backpacks you might be wearing, instead of having to awkwardly stradle the commode as you'd have to in a regulation stall. No being so close to the next person over that you have to hear every minor detail of their own travails, poor saps who for some reason got stuck in the tiny stall. They also have those hand rails which come in handy for draping your newspaper or any other reading material you've brought with you over. Some handicapped stalls even have their own sink included. Its as close as you can get to homestyle waste elimination on the road.

And in contrast with handicapped parking stalls, there's no restriction on us regular folk using them. If only there were a way to work out parking the same way. But until then, I'll continue to handle my public restroom business in the big stall on the end.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My milk keeps going bad before its time

Is it me, or does milk go bad faster these days? As I always have a hard time finishing the half-gallon of milk that I buy in any kind of rapid fashion, I tend to base my milk purchases on which half-gallon has the latest "best by" date.

About a year or so ago, milk prices really took a jump. And then the only time you could get cheap milk was when it was nearly expired and it was on sale. For example, one day they had gallons of milk on sale for like a dollar or so, but then when you checked the date, it was like two days away. So basically if you could drink it that day, it was worth it, otherwise no. Lots of milk had a short time to expiration, and it was hard for me to even convince myself it was worth buying it.

Then over time, the expiration dates seemed to get further away. The funny thing is that the last couple half-gallons that I've purchased, have gone bad well before the expiration date. Is the date just for milk that hasn't been opened yet? I threw out just under a quarter gallon the other day because it clearly was going bad, even though it was still a week to go til the expiration date.

Anyway, I sure hope that its just been a fluke and that the integrity of the "best by" date has not been damaged.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dell-icious? Pt. 2

So I've had my laptop for just over a year now. At some point during that time, one of the little rubber feet that go on the bottom of the laptop fell off. Then more recently, like in the last month or so, two more of them have fallen off. I would attribute this probably to the heat emitted from the bottom of the laptop drying the adhesive that is on them and causing them to detach.

Anyway, the lack of 3 of the 5 rubber feet has led to my laptop sitting very wobbly on a flat surface. So I decided I'd call Dell and see if I could find some replacement feet for it. Thus began my ordeal.

First I called the general purpose service line (1-800-WWW-DELL) and found out that because my computer had been purchased through an employee purchasing plan, I would need to speak to someone at a different number that handled corporate accounts.

I called this number only to find that it was only available during regular office hours. When I finally got around to finding a time during regular work hours, today, I talked to someone who told me that they would be covered by my warranty, which I thought had expired a few months earlier. She transferred me to someone else who would help process my needs. This guy however, told me that in fact my warranty was expired and that I would have to pay for replacements myself. This was what I had expected anyway, so I was okay with that.

Anyway, he says he has to transfer me to spare parts. At each step along the way, I am transferred to a new phone mail system which requires me to listen intently and make choices based on what, in my situation, seem like pretty silly options (press 3 if you are having trouble with a wireless connector, press 4 if you have installed windows XP), and then do some waiting on hold. Finally I get to someone at spare parts and she tells me that yes, the rubber feet that I need are in stock, and that each one costs $4.95. $4.95 a piece for little tiny rubber feet!

Anyway, at this point, I still need them, so that I don't go nuts as my computer wobbles back and forth on my desk. So I say ok. All the while, she is trying to upsell me to buy some extra replacement feet, just in case, or an extra battery, etc. Do you travel a lot? etc. etc.

No, I say, I just want the replacement feet.

Ok. They're $4.95 a piece and shipping is $8.00.

$8.00! I say. For four little rubber feet that altogether surely weigh less than a pound?! You've got to be kidding me.

Well we do send it by UPS or FedEx.

I don't care. I don't need them rushed to my door.

Oh, and the kicker, expect 3 to 5 days delivery.

I think I could overnight four tiny rubber feet for less than $8.00.

Well that's our minimum shipping charge, that's why I'm trying to get you to buy a battery or something else to maximize your shipping cost, some garbage like that.

No, I don't want anything else. I just want 4 rubber feet. Can't you just put them in an envelope and mail them to me? They can't be damaged in shipping. I don't need them today.

Then she tries to get me to apply for their Dell preferred Customer Credit program. For $28! Just in case of what? In case my credit card can't cover $28?


Anyway, I just paid $28 total for four tiny rubber feet for my laptop that will ship by October 12th (a week from today) and after shipping will take 3-5 days to arrive. Amazing what you can buy for $8.00 worth of shipping. They better come in a box made of gold or something.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Random Thoughts on the English Language #4: Imply vs. Exply vs. 1-ply

So if something is "implied" that makes it "implicit", right? But if some is explicit, is that because it was "explied". And if some can have "implications", why have I never heard of "explications"? Has there every been a warning about "implicit lyrics" on a CD?

And speaking of plys, shouldn't there be a law requiring 1-ply bathroom tissue to explain clearly, "exply" even, that it is in fact not 2-ply? Things like fishhooks have warning that they are not to be ingested, but we can't get a useful warning about 1-ply toilet paper? C'mon America. I expect better of you.