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You know you work for a certain fruity computer company when you hear "I lost my dong!" and your first thought isn't "Loreena Bobbit's at it again!" but "Needs a PRAM reset*!"

So I had this call the other day wherein I greeted the customer and asked for his name and he blurts out rather excitedly and impatiently "I lost my dong!"

This wouldn't have been so bad if he had just said it once- my very first thought was, as I said "Needs a PRAM reset!" but as I attempted to get his computer information to log a case, he kept repeating "I lost my dong!" "What happened to my dong?" "Where's my dong?" "Can you give me back my dong?"

I wasn't really able to tell for sure if the guy was saying this on purpose. He sounded about ninety years old (not that old people are incapable of making with the dirty innuendo or anything...), and "dong" is one of the words frequently used by people attempting to mimic the sound of the startup chime on Apple computers, "bong" being the other one that I hear, with about equal frequency. He didn't really sound like he was trying to be all clever and innuendo-y, but one never knows for sure.

In between all this, I manage to get him to calm down and stop babbling about his dong long enough to complete said PRAM reset, which did, indeed, return the startup chime. At which point, he thanked me profusely for giving him back his dong. By the end of the call, I couldn't take another one for about ten minutes.

*For those not familiar, a PRAM reset on an Apple computer resets some of the low-level hardware functions back to default. This includes audio amongst other things. Once in a while that familiar startup chime will stop sounding when you restart the computer. Resetting the PRAM usually fixes this.
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I've got temporary employment for this week. The Lane County fair is only about eight blocks from our place, and takes place this week. I'm going to be a ride operator.

Woohoo...employment, even if it is only for five days. I didn't really enjoy waiting in line for hours this morning to get in, but hey, they're gonna pay me...

Oh, and I had two interviews last week at a *grumble grumble* local fast food place. Sad, isn't it? It was a total waste of time too. Both times I walked in and talked to them, and every question that was asked, including my name, was on the application in their hands in front of me. Both times I waited fifteen minutes or more to talk to someone for less than two minutes (not an exaggeration). If they don't hire me, I'm seriously considering calling them up and demanding that they give me back the $6 that I spent on bus fare to get there and back twice.

And this is still better than I did in the entire time I was unemployed in Baltimore.
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I haven't posted any poetry here in quite some time...I put this one up last week at Presque Vu but never put it here. It popped rather randomly into my mind last week, I found it amusing, as did Gavin :-)

An Open Invitation from Tartarus

Dear Sinner,
Won’t you come dwell in my stormy pit,
far below Gaia’s deepest depths?
I have tortures here
you could never imagine
and an eternity in which
to inflict them upon your soul.
My gift to you for your crimes,
and I am most pleased to give it.
Drop in any time, I have a place
already reserved just for you.
No need to call ahead.

In other news, I pulled a muscle in my back the other day or something. The lower right side of my back hurts. It was improving yesterday, but has since gotten more painful again.

Also, I met the folks who were looking for knitting. They gave me some yarn on Friday and I have one scarf made, two in progress. (I'm crocheting one, which I have to keep putting down and picking back up...the yarn in question does not lend itself very well to a lot of chain stitching, but I had gotten too far to just rip it all up when I decided this and so am just working on it a little at a time. Thankfully, chain stitching goes pretty quickly. As soon as I use up the yarn, I'm supposed to give them a call so we can meet, they said they would pay me then and go from there. We'll see how it all works out.

I had an email for a job interview the other day with a staffing company. The place is over a mile's walk from the nearest public transportation. Unfortunately, the job was in-house and while I'd be willing to walk that far for an interview, I would just not be able to take a job that required me walk that far to and from the transportation point- it's up in Sparks and it's winter. One thing to have transportation available and choose to walk that far when it's nice. Whole other ballgame when it's your only choice. And you know, night time out in the middle of nowhere where if anything happened to you, there's a really good chance no one would ever know. So they said they would keep me in mind for future not-in-house positions.
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Retook the CVE again. Failed. Again. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing wrong. The last time, I just blanked. On everything. This time, there were questions on material I don't remember ever learning. Oh- I actually got a lower score this time too. But I only missed it by four damned questions this time- three last time. I don't get why I can't get those couple of questions. I'm okay on audio and video technologies, but certain network things and standards and protocols....the very things I made sure to spend extra time studying- I even made myself extra flashcards on them and broke the information down from the other flashcards I had before so that it was one piece of information at a time instead of several. I studied the practice test so many times too. Hell, last time, I swear almost a quarter of my questions were on the practice test (pretty impressive when you consider that the test is 83 out of a pool of over eight hundred. This time, I probably had six or seven from the practice test.

I just don't understand what I'm doing wrong here and this whole thing reminds me so much of being back in high school, and my mother and stepfather lecturing me on and on and on about how I'm "smart" and the fact that I could blast right through French and Spanish classes with practically zero effort was a clear indicator that I should be able to do the same thing with algebra and biology.

Because I'm "smart"

don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I'm stupid...I'm not, though the lectures always made me feel like being "smart" (that was always the word, smart.) meant there was some sort of established checklist of items that you could tick off- you were good at French and Spanish and government and English and history and the non-math part of chemistry, but you also had to be good at algebra and trig and biology and economics and the math part of chemistry. Oh, and you had to take physics. Because smart people take physics. (I never took physics. I did take digital electronics and environmental biology for science classes in my senior year instead. Those didn't count though. They weren't physics. I was really good at soldering, for whatever that's worth. A good, practical skill. Right up there with spackling- which I'm also very good at (not that it takes much to be good at spackling) would that I had cause to use those skills though. I'd kick the rest of the world's ass at both.) Oh, and art classes don't mean anything. Even the ones that end up having you go to school on Saturdays or stay after a tennis practice for several hours to work on huge projects and learning lots of art history. They don't count.)

So yeah, right now I'm feeling like there's another box on the "smart" checklist that I can't tick off. Smart people can pass the CVE. (Assuming they've taken the class, done the studying...oh and been working in the freakin' field for two years.) But i didn't pass it. Twice now.

Ah well, at least I have my girlfriend here. She's been wonderful about this. Even agreed to go somewhere that she really didn't want to for a sandwich afterward (ended up liking the sandwich though and is willing to go back again sometime, despite the fact that both of our sandwiches needed to be remade on account of the chicken being cold (it wasn't supposed to be cold) and looking quite undercooked- once remade though, they were great...hehehe.)
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So I'm at work...Matt called in sick, so they asked if I wanted to take his shift for overtime. I did but had to go back home and feed/water the cats- I left them with enough food/water that they'd be okay til I got home around midnight, so when they asked if I wanted to stay another nine hours, I said I'd have to go home and feed the cats, since Gavin's not home and thee's no one else who can do it.

So I'm here, and just wanting to throttle yet another coworker who does nothing but sleep- and snore, loudly. Oh my god, why don't they fire this guy? So he comes in, pulls up a filing cabinet near his chair, takes his shoes off and drapes his legs over the cabinet as if the whole setup was his living room recliner at home...what's next, bath robes and boxer shorts?

If this guy's still sleeping at eight AM, I will be SO tempted to go find chuck and let him know.

But...anyway...overtime. More money for me. Yay!

Additionally...

On Monday, I came into work to find an email in my box informing me that the former administrators of our health savings accounts had tried to mail me a check but it was returned, saying that they had the wrong address. They asked me to look at the address and verify or correct- oddly enough, they had the address correct. So they said they'd send it out again.

See, thing is, I was really confused. I hadn't filed any reimbursements in almost a month, and I'd received all the reimbursements that I've filed. So I try to find out. Over the course of the next two days, I talk to the account administrators and there's nothing in the system about an outstanding check...but in the meantime, I recieve an email back saying that they've resent the check.

So yesterday morning, I finally grabbed the HR person to try to ask her what was up with that. Apparently, this was a $40 check from early March, not just a week or so ago as the email had said.

So when they opened, I tried to call in, asked them to check farther back and sure enough there was a check on its way for $40.

See, here's the thing, I know what that $40 was from, and I also know that I have received that reimbursement, and an extra $40 has not been taken out of my balance. I mention this, and am promptly given a "Well isn't that lucky for you? We're not your administrators anymore so we can't do anyhting about it and when this happens, the money is yours."

Huh. Okay. $40.

So this afternoon on my way back to work, I checked the mail and sure enough, there was an envelope in the box from them.

I opened it. The check wasn't for $40 but for $72.49.

I remember filing that reimbursement. I also remember depositing that check into my bank account. But I got another one.

But anyway...between that and the overtime that will be on my next paycheck, a nice unexpected chunk of change.

Hail Hermes!

But on the other hand...our HSA is now being administered directly by the bank that owns the accounts. supposedly this was going to make our fees and whatnot go down.

I'm having some trouble seeing where this is the case. The former administrator offered a debit card, direct deposit, and didn't charge to issue a check. Oh, and there was no monthly fee.

The bank now charges us $2.75/month. They also offer a debit card. They also offer checks (you have to pay for them) you can get reimbursement by writing yourself one of their checks (but you have to pay for the checks), at an ATM with the debit card (there's a $2 fee) by requesting a check (there's a $10 fee) or scheduling an electronic bank transfer or going to the bank with the debit card and requesting a cash advance (I'm sure that costs something but there's no fee given in the brochure). As far as I can see, they don't offer direct deposit.

Now...explain to me how our fees were supposed to go down?

Great. So I can't get reimbursement for the last couple of appointments with the therapist until I at the very least get the debit card- though I should have that soon but still...what to do with receipts? are you telling me I have to hold onto them *just in case* they're asked for? Great, more clutter to hang onto instead of just faxing the receipts in where they're verified and kept digitally.

Where the fuck is the logic?

I am so happy that Gavin's coming home today. It's just not the same without her here to agree with me as to how everyone sucks.
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My brain, I think, is broken. Studying for the CVE exam is frying it. Standards! Protocols! Time division multiplexing! Coded exited linear prediction! In-band signaling! DIDs and SPIDs! Oh my!

*tosses note cards in the air and laughs maniacally*

Good times, I tell ya.
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Well, I got back into Baltimore last night, an hour and a half early, but still with a delayed flight.

So, sadly, Colorado was mostly boring. I was insanely tired no matter how much I slept and in the end, the class material ran about 600 pages. I couldn't even get away form it when I slept- ever night, I dreamed of standards and protocols- Asymetrical Transfer Mode in particular. On the upside, information that I dreamed of was correct to the best of my memory, so I guess it's an indication that I was absorbing the information and remembering it?

The one fun part was Thursday night when I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] georgiamagnolia for coffee. We swapped amusing stories for a while before I had to go back to the hotel and get ready to check out in the morning.

I had called the airline thursday night to see if there was a flight earlier than mine- 640 PM, getting into Baltimore at 1155pm. Class was going to be out at about noon, I didn't feel like waiting for seven hours. The airline said there was a direct flight at 235, and one requiring a plane change in Chicago leaving at 325, getting into Baltimore at 1035. Thursday night, there were still plenty of seats left on both flights. I wanted to change my reservation then and there, but I wasn't completely sure that I would get to the airport on time. I wish now that I'd changed it.

I got checked in before 1pm, the flight was full and over by two people, so the ticketing agent put me on standby and seemed pretty certain that I would still be able to get on the flight. I got through security pretty quickly and to the gate. Unfortunately, everyone who bought a ticket checked in and they denied boarding to a ticketed passenger. So they gave me the gate for the next flight and transferred me to it- the flight was only about 2/3 full to Chicago and the flight to Baltimore was even emptier.

Got to the gate, got checked in. Suddenly there were a whole lot of people lining up, and an announcement that the flight would be delayed. Of course. It had to happen. All these people lining up were en route to Chicago on another plane that landed due to mechanical issues. Fast forward through the airplane gate minutiae, I did get on the plane, it landed in plenty of time for me to get to the gate for the flight to Baltimore, get a boarding pass (the agent couldn't figure out why they didn't give me one in Denver all the way to Baltimore) and then go and get a Chicago postcard. Flight landed in BWI, where I was met by [livejournal.com profile] chironcentaur and [livejournal.com profile] dcnblus, got my bag from the baggage check (they had sent it on the 235 flight) and we went home, and before too long, Gavin and I were sleeping.

I was so happy to be home except for one thing- our heating isn't working. It's been alternately working and not working for a few weeks now. Every time we call the landlord, he does something, it starts working again, then stops again. This past week it wasn't working again. I called Bill, let him know what was going on, he brought up a space heater, though Gavin waiting to use it. We plugged it in and turned it on last night, and the lights started flickering- brighter and dimmer every 2-3 minutes, and the fan running in the room for white noise got louder and softer.

This evening, we went out for some groceries and on the way out, talked to our downstairs neighbor. She says that these issues have always existed, and she's lived here for five years. It's an old building, so no real surprise there. Came back home and turned on the kitchen light to make some dinner...damned if the light bulb didn't blow. Gavin found another light bulb, and replaced the blown one. When she flipped the switch to turn on the light again, it didn't turn on. Instead, the lights in the dining room and the hallway dimmed to the point that there was just a bit of glowing in the base of the light bulb. She flipped the switch off and those lights came back on. Flipped it on one more time and the same thing happened...only this time, smoke started coming from the kitchen light and we heard sizzling. Turned it off immediately and didn't touch it again.

I immediately called the landlord and left a message asking him to get back to me as soon as possible. He called me back within a few minutes, I gave him the story and well, he was understandably not happy to hear it. So...he's going to be out tomorrow morning to check it out.

*Sigh* Why can't things just work? Things just worked at the house on Calvert street. Then we moved out to the ghetto and back and there have been problems since. At least this landlord is trying to fix things, unlike the last place.
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So...nothing is carved in stone, but it looks like I'm very possibly going to be sent for my CVE certification training towards the end of October. Ahmed asked me tonight if I wanted to go to California. I said I'd never been to California. He thinks that's where the October training class is held.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think it happens in Milpitas- I'm about 99% sure it's somewhere around the San Jose area. And he said he thought it's the week of October 22nd.

Any of you wacky Califonians on my friends list in that area? If it's the case and I go to California in October, I'll be there from Sunday through Friday. I'll be in classes until 4 or 5pm every day, evenings are for studying...but I'll need to get dinner sometime, so if anyone is interested in keeping that possibility in mind....

More details when I have them.

My first ever business trip. Woohoo :-P
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Arright people, listen up. I got some advice for you, should you ever choose to email technical support:

Emailing tech support twenty times and saying only "it doesn't work" is not going to get you very far.

Getting pissed off and demanding a refund when we ask you for specific information about the problem is grounds for a bitch-slapping.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to copy down "error code 7" or to inform us that the program tells you your license expired early.

Spam

Mar. 12th, 2008 10:38 pm
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from the email I'm working on at work...

"Sharon got wet and desperate for my new large monster in her"

Seriously, this is supposed to entice someone to buy the product?

Granted, I'm not a guy, so I don't know how many guys would actually buy something based on that line, but really...
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I looooove getting emails that say "Please disregard all server warnings from *client contract* until further notice.

They make me happy.
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I'm covering another shift tonight...this time it's a short shift- only 8 hours! (Kinda funny when a "short shift" is a normal shift to most other people...)

On the other hand, there's nothing like having three different, fairly huge trains of thought collide all at once...and 8 hours of silence to be alone with them.

So please, do feel free to distract me. I'll be on AIM, yahoo and gmail chat.
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One of my overnight coworkers is out of the office til October 12th. That means I have lots of opportunity for overtime because his absence leaves us with insufficient coverage...and he works the days that I'm off.

The question is, how much overtime do I want to do....I could have 16 hours just working overnight tonight and the first four hours of his shift tomorrow night, and if I worked all night tomorrow night, there's 8 hours onto my next paycheck.

It would severely chop my next two weekends, but I could think of a thing or twelve that would make the overtime worth it...
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I finally wrote a personal religion essay that I'm happy with. Of course, I left it on my desk at work (reasonably sure I did anyway, really hope I did.)

Today at the Grove, we talked about the Spring Equinox and what we're doing. We've decided to do a ritual this time for the strengthening and protection of native trees against invading species like Aleantha. Everyone is supposed to research, looking for deities that are connected to the protection of forests and/or trees. Caryn seems to be very set on the idea of a ritual asking the assistance of Artemis, to which I said that we would definitely need to include the nymphs (more specifically, hamadryads) in this venture. The hamadryads' lives depend on the lives of the trees (Though, what about hamadryads connected to the trees of the invading species...?)

And folks are also researching other possibilities. We'll see what is found. I went looking for non-Greek stuff too, but haven't found any deities or spirits so far that are as intimately connected to the trees.

In any event, I am working up an adaptation of the festival of Thargelia, for possible celebration this year instead of Beltane. (The idea seems to be going over pretty well with people. Nothing is decided yet of course, but everyone that's heard it seems to have an enthusiastic response so far.) Since I am so interested in doing that, I will certainly be happy if people decide that two Greek rituals in a row are in order, but I would not be nearly as vocal in expressing a particular opinion for this one as I might otherwise. I would, of course, help out in ny way I could...but I would do the same for any other ritual.

After the Grove, Steph, Jesse, Dominic and I went to Barnes & Noble down at the harbor. I bought a new journal tonight, for a specific purpose. None of the blank books that I currently have actually suit my desires for this use- mostly in that none seem to have enough pages. I've been feeling for a while like I should be keeping some sort of track of my regular religious activity- daily, weekly, etc. and I got some more motivation this morning when I was reading over some thigns on the ADF website and found that a log of no less than four months' time was required for just this sort of thing.

I figure this one should last me a decent part of the year. Writing about this sort of thing on a mostly daily basis should take up, in most instances, less than a side of a page at a time. Though I haven't really talked about it, I have for a while now been working on daily religious practice. I've got the weekly thing down quite well by now I think :-P

On a different topic, I decided a while back that I was interested in learning about the Iberian Celts. There's something about obscure cultures that fascinates me. I was just talking to Jon a little while ago, he's going to send me a list of source information that he's got. He's a history snob, so I think I'm safe there. The only thing that I've managed to find myself was a single issue of a single academic journal online.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going down to Caryn's place with [livejournal.com profile] jackgreen60 to talk about the ritual upcoming at Four Quarters Farm in two weeks. I'm really on the fringes of this one, and I'm ok with that. Yeah, I have the day off work tomorrow. It's Presidents Day and I work exclusively with schools so no work for me. Oh, and I had volunteered to work on MLK day. So there you are.

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