August 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday is this Sunday.

Get ready!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 01:33 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Odds & Ends
Post contains 11 words, total size 1 kb.

Get Your Party Hats On!

Last year, I tried to throw myself a birthday party. Sadly, I failed to mention to my friends that it was my birthday and almost all of them declined the invitation. Then, I downgraded my party to a dinner for six. Two guests didn't show up.

I had an absolutely divine day that day and my dinner party was actually quite enjoyable. But I do wish more people had deigned to show up.

So, from now on, I am starting to tell people that my birthday is approaching so that they can mentally prepare for any invitations I may send out.

I'm not sending out any invitations to anything this year, but my birthday is still coming up.

Mary your calendars! My birthday is Sunday, September 3! I will be 29 years old!

Contact me via email if you wish to submit offerings to my awesomeness on the anniversary of my mother's uterine purging that brought me into existence.

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Category: About Flibby
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Typical Americans

In a recent exchange, I was reminded of the common leftist insult "typical American."

I've had this phrase flung at me several times, usually when I'm defending Capitalism.

Usually the people who say this to me say it with a sneer. I am sure that if they were sure they wouldn't be laughed at they would probably affect some kind of European accent, say French, when they say it, too.

I am not sure what defines a typical American exactly, but from what I gather it is probably best defined as being the opposite of whatever defines a leftist moonbat. So, it's really hard to say what it is.

I sometimes hear people talk about "typical Americans" in reference to rude tourists and to be sure I have seen some very rude and ignorant tourists in my life (I live in New York these days, not far from Times Square.) but I have not noticed that rudeness and ignorance is an exclusive trait of Americans. I've noticed obnoxious Germans, Canadians, Hungarians (Heavens to Betsy, there were two SUPER obnoxious Hungarians in a gift shop in Costa Rica once...), Japanese, Chinese, French, and British folks in my rather limited travels.

I think Americans probably stand out to most people because America is to the world what Texas is to the United States in a way. We're bigger. We're better. And we're adorably self-centered.

I hope you can forgive the generalization since I'm trying to define what is in itself a generalization.

This alleged "typical American" doesn't know geography. It should be granted that learning the political geography of some areas isn't a very fruitful way to spend one's time because things do change all too frequently.

If there is one characteristic of the "typical American" that people seem to be imagining it is patriotism.

Although I disagree with many of the policies of the American government that have been in place for many years, I am still very happy to be an American.

Consider the alternatives.

This doesn't mean that there isn't anything nice to say about other places like Canada, the United Kingdom, Iceland, France, Russia, China, Japan, Hungary, or (it kills me to say this since I think it might be the nastiest place on Earth) India. I am sure that there are at least a few good things about any country you could think of.

But America is the best.

We're the freest country in the whole wide world. We're one of the largest. We pretty much rule the economy of the world and if we weren't here most countries would immediately plunge into horrible stagnation. In my opinion, America is the most beautiful and fun places on the planet. Basically, when you tally it all up, America is the best ever.

The Atypical Americans don't seem to agree, but it's hard to pin down where they would prefer to be instead.

The Atypical American who visited my site today seemed to prefer to live as a pygmy in a rainforest somewhere.

Atypical Americans generally have some pretty crazy ideas about how things SHOULD be in America. Things like socialized medicine spring to mind even though those things have repeatedly failed everywhere else and shown to be fundamentally flawed.

If the Atypical Americans had their way, would we later see them taking the phrase back and using it as a compliment? You know how black people have taken back "nigger" and homosexuals have taken back "queer?" (I think that the fact the only black people are allowed to say "nigger" is a sign that black culture is actually propagating racial tension, but that's a topic for another day.)

Atypical Americans usually seem crazy to me. Genuinely unhinged. As if they had a messy breakup with reality and they're still not done cutting his head out of all their photos and burning his clothes on the lawn. The kind of crazy that makes everyone inch toward the door or the phone to call 911.

Oddly enough, there are some Atypical Americans who get elected to political office, which makes me wonder how Atypical they really are. And how typical is the typical American?

Do we mash them all together and get the American Avatar? He's a gay, pro-choice, Fundamentalist Christian, isolationist who backs the UN when he's not driving in his SUV to Earth Day parties. (Every day is Earth Day and that's just SUPER!) She's vegan, black, proud and supports giving Israel back to the Palestinians but only if they'll adopt the Kyoto Protocols and turn all oil reserves over to the US and reduce corporate taxes and allow Christian missionaries travel freely.

It's all just too much for me to handle.

In the end, I'm happy to be American. I don't consider it an insult to be called American. And it says worse of the person who uses "American" as an insult than anything else.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 01:25 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Politickin'
Post contains 820 words, total size 5 kb.

August 27, 2006

Asking the Wrong Questions

That movie Final Destination is on the SciFi channel right now. I haven't seen it before, but I did see Final Destination II. I have to say that in spite of the fact that I am more then willing to sit through some really bad movies, these don't really interest me.

The metaphysics of a universe in which Death is a non-conscious but petty, persistant, ever-present force is just too confusing for me to consider.

Ok. But the movie is on teevee right now and in one scene, one of the characters is shown in his bathroom. He shaves a little and clips his nosehairs. He turns on the radio and does some other mindless things. Well, a little leak springs from the toilet and the water trickles out and starts making a puddle on the floor. The puddle flows across the tile toward him and we get the clear idea that he's going to slip in it and die some how. He is unaware of the puddle that is stalking his bare feet but he steps away from it and it flows after him.

Then he slips in it and dies.

Once he's dead, though, the water goes back under the toilet.

Here's my question: why does Death care about cleaning up his bathroom?

Death in this movie has no problems blowing things up or leaving huge puddles of blood all over the place, so I know Death isn't a neat freak or anything.

I don't understand that.

Among other things.

I guess the people who made the movie showed us that to build more suspense. But, really, I think the shadowy distortion in the mirror and the mysterious breezes are enough. I just can't reconcile the water going away from within the movie.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 12:03 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
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Hey. How You Doin'?

Hey, y'all!

So, I haven't been blogging much and not for lack of things to blog about, really. I mean, I've been seeing someone special, Trey Givens is putting naked pictures of himself on the internets, I saw Snakes on a Plane (awesome), I saw part of a movie called Leeches!, which -- if you like to look at hot guys -- you might want to watch (but maybe with a margarita or two handy because it's awful). Anyway, the general excitement of my New York life is going on.

I've been busy.

But I'm writing today mostly cuz I have good news about my job, namely, my workload recently tripled over night.

As you know, I haven't been enamored with my job. It's been over five months now and it's been boring, frustrating, limited, and not really what I expected.

It sounds weird to be excited about tons of overtime, but the good thing about my workload going up is that it limits my boredom because now I have lots of new projects to work on. I also get to work with lots of new clients. (Previously, I had been limited to to a single account due to an arrangement with that particular client.)

What's more is that my job role is actually shifting to give me more contact with clients, which is something I love and had expected at the start.

When I told my boss that I was particularly excited about the change in responsibilities because it would give me more exposure to clients and contact with the sales process, he told me that they were working to create some new sales engineering positions for which I would be well-suited.

So! I'm excited about the potential for my job and even if it doesn't work out in the next six months, at least I won't be as bored at it as I have been.

Anyway, that's what's been going on.

I'm busy.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:32 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Odds & Ends
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August 24, 2006

See Me Naked!

I've finally uploaded new photos to my photoblog, This is Not Art.

Mostly it's a lot of crap, but amid those photos you can see:

- Who I will vote for in the '08 Presidential election
- A puppy!
- One guy licking another guy's butt.
- A bike covered in metrocards
- A bunch of drag queens
- A pair of the ugliest boobs ever
- me, naked

So, enjoy!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 03:32 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Category: BLEEAAARRRG!
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August 22, 2006

Neckpunch: Apply Directly to the Carotid

That commercial I hate was voted worst commercial of the year.

What's that? You haven't seen it?
What's that? You haven't seen it?
What's that? You haven't seen it?

While I do agree that the commercial is effective in building brand recognition, I still think everyone should pray to Satan that bad things will happen to the people who made it up. Or, at the very least, someone should start a charity to have that lady's vocal chords tightened, loosened, or just clipped.

hee hee hee hee...

I just love hating this commercial.

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Category: Kicks & Giggles
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August 21, 2006

I Don't Care What You Say

I love bad movies.

That's not true. I don't actually love them, but I can't resist them.

Show me a trailer of a surefire bomb starring -- oh, I dunno -- Tara Ried and Christian Slater -- you know what movie I'm talking about -- and I can tell you MONTHS in advance that 1) the movie will most definitely suck and 2) I will see it opening weekend.

I'm like a big, gay moth (technically a butterfly, but let's stay with it for the sake of the metaphor) to their badly acted, haltingly plotted, implausibly staged flame of steaming... More like a big, gay dung beetle (still technically a butterfly) to.. well, you get it.

So, let's look at The Covenant.

If I went to the movie theater right this instant and had the option of seeing the widely lauded and acclaimed Little Miss Sunshine or The Convenant, I would drop $12 to see The Covenant.

I KNOW!

I KNOW!

I. KNOW.

I can't even believe it myself, but it happens all the time. It's like how I can't believe Tara Reid has a job outside of the porn industry (That was rude and unfair. Just because she's generically hot and can't seem to dress herself does not mean that she has sex for money in any way shape or form. My apologies to Miss Tara Reid.) but there it is.

I just needed to share it with you because I'm going to go see The Covenant and I don't want you telling me that I shouldn't go because it is going to be so bad. I am fully aware of how bad it's going to be. But I am still going.

And I don't care what you say.

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Category: Odds & Ends
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August 20, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

What are you doing? You're supposed to be at the movie theater right now watching Snakes on a Plane starring Samuel L. "The Man" Jackson.

As expected, Snakes is an awesomely bad movie that everyone must see and love. It has all the elements of a classic B horror movie. There are implausibly aggressive snakes. There are people you don't like and hope they get their just desserts. There is a badass hero guy who manages to survive impossible odds. There are unlikely heroes who save the day in their own way and realize their personal efficacy. It is good times.

I saw the movie last night and it's super-duper fun. The audience cheered and clapped at the fun cheesy lines like, "I am tired of these motherf***ing snakes on this motherf***ing plane!" and monster movie classic techniques like the ever-suspenseful distorted "monster vision." We laughed at some of the unexpected places where people were struck by the snakes.

The plot of the film is completely predictable and many of the characters can be generously described as "stock." But the movie revels in its generic nature and makes little attempt to throw in any twists and turns. The writers make the most of the jokes and silly situations these movies provide. And it's lots of fun.

Now, let me rant a second because I have the Sci Fi channel on right now and they did something that Snakes on a Plane did that bothered me.

This is a King Snake:
snake-king.jpg

This is a Coral Snake:
snake-coral.jpg

I'm not a herpetologist, but I was taught to distinguish between the Scarlet King Snake and a Coral Snake by the mnemonic device, "Red and black is a friend of Jack. Red and yellow will kill that fellow." This references the order of the stripes and tells us that the King snake is non-venomous.

Snakes on a Plane shows king snakes among all the deadly snakes on the plane.

And I swear I spotted some regular old corn snakes in the mix, but I'm not as certain about that.

Then, in this movie Silent Predators on the Sci Fi channel, they keep showing boas and pythons and saying they're rattlesnakes.

Maybe it's because I grew up in the woods or because I'm an Eagle Scout or because I love going to the zoo and learning about animals that I am quick to notice these things. I'm not sure, but I am a big dork and it bothers me when there are obviously inaccurate like that.

Ok. It doesn't REALLY bother me that much on the Sci Fi channel because, well, it's the Sci Fi channel. But Snakes on a Plane had CGI snakes. They made some of them BLUE. They could have made sure that there weren't any scarlet king snakes in the bunch. That's all I'm saying.

But still. Go see Snakes on a Plane. Take your friends. Have fun!

Update: I have learned that a third of the snakes on the set of Snakes on a Plane were, in fact, real and some of them were king snakes. So, there you go. That's why they were there.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 04:37 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
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August 19, 2006

Wire Tapping and Such

Cox & Forkum published a cartoon yesterday showing the hand of the ACLU writing "And foreign terrorists" on the US Constitution next to "We the people."

The cartoon is poking at the recent decision by the US District court against the NSA wiretapping program which was in favor of the ACLU, the plaintiff in the case on behalf of "journalists and researchers."

I do not understand this discussion. Based on what I know about the situation, I'm surprised that anyone supports the NSA program in the first place.

First, the Constitution clearly prohibits illegal searches and seizures, which has come to apply to wiretapping.

Second, there was some kind of law in 1978(?) that allows the government to seek warrants for wiretaps after the fact and in secret in cases of national security. (That's my understanding from the CNN coverage I watch in the mornings, which is notoriously shallow. If anyone cares to point me to additional info here, it would be welcomed.)

So, why does the government need this warrantless system?

I don't care if the government taps lines in other countries, but it seems a clear and unnecessary violation of constitutionally guaranteed liberty to do so against American citizens.

And it's all the worse that the government claims to not be able to prove its case because it would compromise national security. Surely there are legal mechanisms in place to deal with situations such as that!

It all seems quite ridiculous to me and, unfortunately, I think the Cox & Forkum cartoon comes down on the wrong side on this one.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 05:45 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Politickin'
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Where Have I Been?

Well, I'm around. I keep thinking of things I need to blog about, but I always forget about them when I have my blog in front of me.

I just wanted to let you know.

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Category: Odds & Ends
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CAT RODEO!!

Reader Fabian (Thankyousomuch) posted a link in response to my call for information on cat rodeos.

Yes, that's right, folks. I have a link in my possession that will show you a picture of a gen-u-ine cat rodeo. What makes this even better is that it is a GIANT CAT rodeo. Not a giant CAT RODEO -- you know, like, the cats are giant, not that the rodeo is... well, you get it. A GIANT CAT rodeo.

And I am sharing this link with you today. Please prepare yourselves. You may want to hold your children close lest they be overcome with the shock and, dare I say it? yes, awe. Shock and awe, people!

At the GIANT CAT RODEO!

You didn't see it here first, but you saw it here just a second ago and that's good enough for me.

YEHAW!

PS If there is a Peter Parker in the audience, you have a phone call from PeTA at the customer services center located in the front promenade next to Pita Pleasures Grill and Pub. Thank you!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 05:22 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: BLEEAAARRRG!
Post contains 180 words, total size 1 kb.

August 18, 2006

Social Experimentation

Kyle Stoneman, creator of Gullible.info, commented on my site and directed me to some other posts he's written that he says justify the creation and maintenance of the site.

I wrote a response http://www.legatissimo.info/node/287 .. or actually, I linked to some responses to other critiques, which hit many of the same points as yours.

In one of the posts he links to, Kyle clearly states his reasons for the Gullible site:


1. It is a creative endeavor for me. When I was updating the site daily, it forced me to be creative and think about new and unique ways.

2. It is a learning experience for visitors. It demonstrates why we need to be teaching people how to asses the reliability of sources in an information-rich environment.

3. It is a social experiment. Not an experiment in any scientific or academic sense of the word, more like a kid mixing all the chemicals in his chemistry set together just to see what happens (side note: I did this as a child).

I, personally, would not bother with such an endeavor.

On the first point, I question the legitimacy of the site being a "creative" exercise. Why not write a short story? Why not create puzzles or proofs? Why not draw a picture? Making short lists of false statements that may pass cursory inspection for truth isn't "creative" in any positive, productive sense of the word and it's not all that challenging apart from managing one's time effectively to find time to make things up.

But if that's how Kyle likes to spend his time, that's his business.

The site fails on the second point as well.

For people who come to the site and read through it and get the joke right away, they didn't learn anything. We might conclude that those people are those Kyle considers well-equipped to evaluate sources.

Those who don't get the joke have to eventually figure out that it's a lie and that is how they learn their lesson. But does this teach that lesson?

If someone runs by you and snatches your purse, does that teach you to be wary of runners? Of carrying a purse? Of that neighborhood?

This certainly isn't as serious as a mugging, but the principle is the same. What if it were your friend who snatched your purse? Or maybe we could compare it to that guy who used to leave notes in people's cars when they left the doors unlocked. (It was a while back, but I heard that his car was stolen while he was out doing that one day. I did a quick Google search to try to find a reference, for you, but I didn't find it right away.)

When I was little, my dad used to lie to me about things all the time. It got to the point where I developed a strong mistrust for the man and he would get furious with me when I refused to believe him on things. He was the dad who cried wolf.

But I didn't learn that everyone is trying to play tricks on me. In fact, I still make a pretty easy target for jokes. But I don't trust him.

If you really want to strike to the core of things you have to ask: Is deception an effective means of teaching?

It isn't.

I mentioned in my earlier post that it's not possible to have constant skepticism toward all sources of all information at all times. The nature of knowledge is such that one MUST rely on secondary sources for much of one's understanding of the world. Verification of all secondary sources without regard to context or even in the more limited context of the internet (limited when compared to the universe of media and collected knowledge) is not possible.

I have my doubts that any person of reasonable intellectual capacity actually believes everything they read on the internet. That some folks cited Gullible.info in their theses is shocking. I mean, even in my casual review of those lies, I quickly started looking for primary or corroborating secondary sources.

People also don't believe everything they read in magazines.

But I also know that the internet is like magazines in another way in that people do take into consideration the source and the content itself to assess its accuracy. Consider the reporting of US Weekly v. that of The Economist. Which are you more likely to accept as true even on the bare facts of a given situation?

The point is that while many people probably are very slack in their fact checking on the internet, probably moreso than they are with newspapers, magazines, and even television, there is a rational, practical standard of judgment of sources that does not involve extensive research.

This site deliberately attempts to thwart reasonable standards of acceptance in an effort to say what? That reasonable standards are not acceptable? There's a fallacy of infallibility there.

If he really wanted to work to educate people, he could contribute to or create a site like Snopes.com which researches urban legends. That site has been far more useful to me in terms of teaching me about verifying claims.

So, Gullible.info is an extremely inefficient and ineffective tool for education. There's no arguing that point. Lying, deception, or even good-natured trickery is not a good means of teaching lessons.

But by his own remarks, it seems Kyle is only aiming for "marginal" benefit to the world. I'm not really interested in the benefit the site has to the world, though. I'm interested in what benefit it has to me. And I suppose if one person learns a lesson from Kyle's site, he will be happy.

The third reason Kyle has given is that it is a social experiment. He says it's not scientific or anything like that. In fact, I would be surprised to hear that he is collecting any results from this. So, this isn't so much a "social experiment" as the term "social experiment" really means here that he's just effing around.

Kyle or anyone can split hairs all they like and spend hours discussing such "social experimentation," but let's call a spade a spade. Gullible.info is a site Kyle Stoneman created on a lark, a whim.

It's his business if he wants to spend his time that way.

It's my determination that there are better things he could be doing with his time and better means of reaching his stated goals.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 12:09 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Category: World Wide Weird
Post contains 1083 words, total size 6 kb.

Support ARI through Searching

Google is awesome. I love Google.

But I have just learned about GoodSearch, which is powered by Yahoo! I don't know if it's a better search engine, but the cool thing about it is that for every search you do, one cent is contributed to the charity of your choosing.

And ARI is one of the options!

So, go to GoodSearch, choose ARI, and search! It's that easy.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:14 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: Importance of Ideas
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Overheard at the Office

There's this guy I work with who is very smart, but very bitter and not reliable at all. He likes to be the guy who knows everything and is weighed down by all the idiots around him. He is just too busy and too smart to stick to silly things like project plans and deadlines.

Well, I got fed up with this and had to find someone else to help me on a project. He had a very simple, 15 minute request to fulfill -- something I would have done myself, but he has refused to train me on how to do it because he thinks I'm stupid -- but he said it would take him a "couple of days." That was four days ago, so I had to get someone else to help.

As soon as I wrote saying I was getting help elsewhere, he jumps in and starts responding quickly and completes the request.

So, in reference to this guy, this morning:

Flibby: Superman saves you all the time, not just when you threaten to go to Batman for help.

I guess that's funnier without the preceding rant about that asshole I work with.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 04:41 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Overheard
Post contains 200 words, total size 1 kb.

August 17, 2006

A Quotation for the Time Being

Old people don't need companionship. They need to be isolated and studied so it can be determined what nutrients they have that might be extracted for our personal use.

-Homer Simpson

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:05 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: A Quotation for the Time Being
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From New York Community Bank

In response to my letter from the other day, I got this email from NYCB:

Dear Ms. [Givens];

I want to thank you for taking the time to write this letter and inform us of your experience with the representative. I apologize for the treatment you received and assure you that we have taken appropriate actions to rectify this situation. New York Community Bank always strives to provide the highest customer service but unfortunately sometimes for any number of reasons we may fall short of your expectations. When someone like you takes the time to let us know that this has occurred we take it very seriously and take action to prevent this from happening in the future. Please do not take the actions of one individual as a representation of all the dedicated staff members who work hard every day to provide otherwise excellent service.

With regards to the mailing you received, I can only tell you that it was an unfortunate error that the letter was mailed to you. The letter was to advise account holders of a recent change precipitated by the Federal Reserve Bank decision to close a Federal Clearinghouse. The reason you received this letter is due to the fact that your landlord maintains an account with this institution for the security deposits under their control. The account belongs to the landlord and as such we can not provide you with any information. I understand that this is confusing since your name does appear on this account but it does so only as a means of separating your security deposit from those of other tenants. I am providing you with this information in hopes that it will alleviate your concerns. You are not on any mailing lists and will not continue to receive any mailings from NYCB.

Once again, I am sorry for the poor service your received. I hope that we have the chance to correct that impression in the future.

Thank you,
Customer Service Center

Of course, I'm ignoring the fact that they used the wrong gender-specific title for me. My legal first name is rather uncommon, so if you saw it, you might not know whether or not I am male or female.

But the explanation this person gave me is perfection. Couple that with verifying the account with my landlord and I am satisifed with this at this point.

Interestingly, though, when I mentioned that NYCB's CS rep was rude to me, my landlord said that she often has problems with their CS people as well.

I've printed their response here so that y'all can see the other side of the story. If you are working with NYCB -- or ANY business for that matter -- I will still encourage you to weigh carefully the service you are receiving.

There is no sense in putting up with bad customer service.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 05:37 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: State of the Arts
Post contains 484 words, total size 3 kb.

August 16, 2006

Holy Production Interference, Batman!

Did you watch Project Runway tonight?

I got in late, so I had to watch it on my DVR.

Some thoughts:

- Wow! Kayne sassed Laura!
- Vincent is insane. He's stupid and insane.
- Rockstar designer guy is a snot.
- Good for Michael, although I didn't think his was all that.
- Rockstar designer guy has a bad case of sour grapes.
- THEY KICKED OFF ALLISON!

I can't believe it. Her dress wasn't THAT bad. Especially against Vincent's stupidity. I really think the production kept Vincent because he is so Woody Allen + Qualuuds - Lithium + Amphetamines * bad taste to the millionth power.

Anyway... it's past my bedtime.

Later!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 05:18 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Odds & Ends
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I Have So Many Questions

From Overheard in the Office:

Woman #1: I don't think I can handle a two-hour meeting.
Woman #2: The trick is to doodle in your notebook the whole time; it looks like you're taking notes.
Woman #1: I can design outfits for my cat rodeo!

Cat.
Rodeo.

Who is trying to ride a cat?
Who is chasing a cat with a lasso to catch it and wrestle it to the ground in record time?
Who is dressing like a clown to distract the cat from goring the person who was trying to ride it earlier?

Or maybe there are cats riding bulls and chasing calves and pretending to be clowns?

I really need someone to help me find this woman so that I can go see a cat rodeo.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 10:00 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: World Wide Weird
Post contains 134 words, total size 1 kb.

A Quotation for the Time Being

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

- Douglas Adams

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 04:27 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Category: A Quotation for the Time Being
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August 15, 2006

My Heart is OK

But apparently my laptop is trying to kill me.

If it's not one thing, it's another, right?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 02:06 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Odds & Ends
Post contains 21 words, total size 1 kb.

Because You Care

My blood pressure this morning was 120/71.

Update: I just took it again and it was 114/64.

Woohoo!

It doesn't look like I'm going to suddenly go blind after all! yay!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 08:47 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Fitness with Flibby
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Bad Customer Service

I got a letter in the mail from a bank the other day. It wasn't my bank, so I didn't open it right away because I thought it was junk mail. This morning, I opened the letter and found that it was a welcome letter and privacy policy for a new account.

This scared me because I didn't open an account with that financial institution, so I called the number on the welcome letter and spoke with a customer service representative.

"Julie" interrupted me when I was trying to explain the reason for my call. She impatiently told me that the letter had been sent to me because my landlord had opened an account to save my security deposit.

I asked if there was any way for me to verify that and she told me to contact my landlord.

I pointed out that according to the letter, the account is open in my name, so she should be able to tell me more about the account and verify its origins.

She interrupted me and told me she could provide no information about the account, but she was sure that the letter I received was due to what she had explained.

I said I would certainly contact my landlord, but that her explanation was not good enough and that I needed more information.

She and I went back and forth on that point and finally, with a deep sigh, she asked for my social security number and name. I provided the information and she pronounced, "Yep! That's what it's for!"

I said, "Just a moment ago you told me you couldn't provide me with any verification or information about the account and just now you looked up my information."

She denied ever telling me that she could not give me any information.

She argued with me and finally I requested to speak with a supervisor. Conveniently, she said they would not be in the office until 9 and that I should call back. I took her name and their names to call back and complain, but I couldn't get through later, so I wrote this letter:

To whom it may concern:

A few days ago I received a letter welcoming me to New York Community Bank, but I did not open an account with NYCB.

This morning I called to inquire after this anomaly and spoke with a customer service representative by the name of “Julie.”

Julie interrupted me while I was explaining the purpose of my call. She brusquely informed me that these letters were sent out to people whose landlords had opened accounts to save security deposits.

When I asked for verification, she told me that she could not provide any information to me about it and that I should contact my landlord. I explained that if there is an account open in my name, then I couldn’t accept that explanation and I needed to verify the account. Julie insisted that she “knows that’s what the letter was for.” I insisted that I needed more information to ensure that it was not something else, like identify theft.

Julie grew impatient, interrupting me continually during our discussion, and finally agreed to look up the account based on my social security number and name. By the impatient tone in her voice, I am very skeptical that she actually verified that information.

When I pointed out that only moments earlier she told me she could provide no information about the account, she argued that she didn’t say that.

When I asked to speak to a supervisor Julie told me that no supervisor was available at that time and I would have to call back later if I wanted to talk to one of them.

I tried to call back to speak with “Sue” or “Tony,” whom “Julie” said were her supervisors, but after being on hold for ten minutes, I decided that writing a letter would be more efficient.

Julie’s communication with me was impatient, argumentative, and failed to meet even the most basic standards of professionalism. She implied that these letters were sent out in error and although I can understand the strain this has placed on your customer service representatives, I am sure that you will agree that her conduct is absolutely unacceptable.

What began as an inadvertent direct mail communication has, for me, turned into an extremely unpleasant experience and turned me away from considering NYCB for any of my future financial services. I will also encourage my friends, family, and landlord to seek an alternative financial institution for their business as well.

Regrettably

And then I gave my legal name.

I detest poor customer service. I am a polite customer and I know that customer service representatives have to deal with a lot of crap, so I do my best to make their lives easier. But I won't accept them making MY life more difficult.

This Julie woman's conduct was completely unacceptable. I don't know what her problem was, but after two minutes of talking to her, I really didn't care.

So, if anyone reading this banks with New York Community Bank (http://www.mynycb.com), I would strongly advise you to assess the level and quality of customer service you receive and find a financial institution that treats you like a valued business partner instead of a burden in their lives.

As for my situation, I'd like this mystery account closed, but I'm not sure how to proceed to make that happen. I will contact the property management company for my apartment, though, and see how we can proceed.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 05:00 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Category: About Flibby
Post contains 932 words, total size 5 kb.

August 14, 2006

Going to Extremes

A couple of weeks ago my cousin visited me here in NYC with a friend of hers. Both of them are nurses and I was telling them about my blood pressure problem. They both thought that it was very strange that I had such high blood pressure when the problem occurs so rarely in our family and usually only during pregnancy or old age.

So, I was showing them my blood pressure machine and how I take my blood pressure and it turns out that wasn't doing it right!

I wasn't really paying attention to how the cuff was lined up on my arm and the little air tube needs to be lined up with my brachial artery that passes through the inside of my elbow.

They also showed me how to rest my arm so that it isn't strained or anything.

Lo and behold when I took my blood pressure it was lots lower! This weekend, I took readings on Saturday and Sunday at sort of random times and both times my systolic was under 120 and my dystolic was around 70.

This morning, I took a reading after my work out (not immediately, but about 30 minutes after) and my blood pressure was 103/62!!! Crazy low! (Hopefully, I'm not going to have to worry about hypotension now!)

So, I am going to start trying to measure it again regularly and do it right this time and see what my real average blood pressure is.

All in all, this is pretty good news and I'm glad my worry was the result of a silly mistake on my part!

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:43 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Fitness with Flibby
Post contains 272 words, total size 1 kb.

Banned!

I got another rash of comment spammers this weekend, so here are the IP's:

59.20.123.120
213.151.115.239
210.7.74.140
200.88.223.98
211.141.77.194
59.9.40.141
211.115.230.93
218.75.87.37
221.208.173.84
125.245.166.2
62.7.244.103
220.118.183.50
202.146.67.238
165.229.47.125
61.61.248.9
211.191.147.114
219.250.26.156
192.104.37.16

I noticed that some of my posts get more spam than others, so I've gone ahead and closed comments on those in hopes of thwarting the baddies.

If you have a comment on a past but the comments there are closed, feel free to shoot me an email junk at my name dot com.

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 07:21 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
Category: Banned
Post contains 87 words, total size 1 kb.

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