General Ramblings comments edit

As I progress towards buying a house, I realize how that’s a big ticket item - probably the biggest purchase I’ll make in my lifetime - and how I’m a cheap bastard, which means I’m going to end up with the hugest case of buyer’s remorse ever seen. As beneficial as it will be to me, it’s a huge commitment. I don’t fear commitment in the general sense, though - pretty much just monetarily.

Thinking about that, I started looking around the apartment at the stuff we’re going to have to move and it occurred to me that there are certain things that we’ve got that I will actually comment on occasionally, saying, “That’s some of the best money I ever spent.” I decided to write up the list of those things and share them with you. There are four. Sony 40” WEGA XBR TV [$3,000]: This is the largest tube television on the market. I wanted a larger TV, but I can’t stand rear projection because you have to be looking close to dead-on at them in order to see the picture correctly. Not so with a tube. Every time I look at this thing, be it watching a movie, playing a game on my PS2, or just watching TV, I am constantly amazed at the clarity and just general coolness of it. Besides my car, this is probably the largest single purchase I’ve made, and I’ve never looked back.

Cat Declawing [$300]: There are some people who claim this to be inhumane. I see their reasoning, but let’s look at it this way. I love my Tiny Cat. She’s cute and fun and very playful. She’s also a wild child and always has been. I paid the money to have her declawed and get her all the best pain meds, and now she can still be her natural wildness, but she won’t destroy everything I own (though she still kneads on everything, at least I know she can’t hurt it). She can’t be trained (she likes water and doesn’t care about smells) and she won’t be dissuaded from doing what she wants. By contrast, the Tubby Cat we have is very dormant but still has claws. (Both cats are indoor only.) I’ve had aluminum foil on the side of my couch for three years now because the second I take it off, Tubby shreds my couch. I would like to have my cats around but also be able to have (gasp) nice things. Let me tell you - if I could safely get the larger cat declawed, I’d do it in a second. (Larger/older cats have problems with declawing; you need to do it when they’re young.)

Scat Mat [$60]: This is the only thing that affects the smaller cat. She used to sit outside our bedroom door at night and cry and play with the springy doorstop attached to the door (Jenn and I are allergic to cats so we can’t have them sleep with us). We tried a mat that makes noise, but she didn’t care. We tried spraying smells, using the water bottle… none of it worked. The Scat Mat uses a nine volt battery to generate an electric shock that you get when you step on it. The shock comes in three levels

  • “mildly annoying,” “just got out of the car on a staticky day and touched the door,” and “gaping flesh wound.” We leave it on “mildly annoying” and the cat leaves us alone all night. I can tell you now that many a night’s sleep has been saved because of that thing.

Cable Internet Service [$43/month]: I used to justify dial-up Internet service by having a slow, old computer that we didn’t get on very much at home. Then we bought a new computer and I found that half my time was spent connecting to the Internet so I could not only download information slowly but also busy up the phone line at the same time. Now I’ve got cable Internet and a wireless router. I can’t believe I was in the Dark Ages for so long.

General Ramblings comments edit

I just totally spilled coffee all over my desk. It’s under my computer, it’s in my mouse, it’s all over papers and my bag, it’s soaked down my mouse pad.

It’s not shaping up to be the best of days.

General Ramblings, home comments edit

Jenn and I have been working to get ourselves together so we can get a house. (I’ve probably mentioned that before…) We’ve been getting our list of wants/don’t-wants written down, figuring out the budget, etc.

I think we got ourselves to a point yesterday where it’s time to call the mortgage broker to figure out how much money we can get to start shopping with. That’s a scary proposition for me - first time home purchase and all, it’s a little intimidating. I’m a cheap bastard. I don’t like to spend money in large quantities (yet somehow I’m okay with buying several smaller items… hmmm….), so thinking about this stresses me out like nothing else.

It’s a positive move, though, since we’re both really tired of the whole apartment lifestyle. Sure, there are benefits - no maintenance being the primary one - but there are far more drawbacks. I’m tired of being “attached” to neighbors and hearing them banging around or flushing the toilet or whatever. I’m tired of being double-parked into my spot by the people downstairs. I’m tired of smelling what everyone else is cooking. I’m tired of not actually building any equity with the money I’m spending and I’m tired of not getting any tax breaks. This move is long overdue, so we’re ready.

In other news, my eBay auctions are sort of iffy. I’ve gotten bids on three of my shirts - minimum bids - and one of them was bought with the “Buy It Now” feature… but there are still six shirts that need to go. Bah. I’m wondering if I may end up making a Goodwill run. I’m tired of this hope-on-eBay thing.

I rented a movie called So Close yesterday - a Hong Kong action movie. It was pretty good. It actually seemed to have a budget, unlike a lot of the other HK movies I’ve seen, and the plot was pretty decent with some great action. Check it out if you’re into that sort of thing.

I’m blogging on the laptop using my wireless network, which I’m still very pleased with, and watching India Vision on the International Channel. I’m not sure why I’m so intrigued by it, but I am. While it’s not an accurate representation of Indian culture by any means (any more than watching Entertainment Tonight is a representation of US culture), I’ve noticed certain things watching. First, there are some fine Indian women out there. Like, better than most of the US models I’ve seen. Second, they sing about everything. Crazy style. I can’t even understand any of it and I still think it’s nuts. Third, everything is styled like Grease. The sing to each other, they change costumes and locations at random intervals… Nuts.

I think maybe it’s the randomness of it all that intrigues me. It makes so little sense, I can’t not watch. It’s like a deer in headlights. Damn.

gaming, playstation, process comments edit

I generally loathe having to contact any customer support organization for any reason because I know I’m going to have to get into it with whoever I get ahold of to try and get something to happen that will alleviate whatever problem it is that I’m having.

I’ve gotta say, though, that I’ve been in touch with both Sony and Namco on customer support issues recently and both of them had outstanding customer service.

In Sony’s case, I made my primary contact over the phone, and the operators I spoke to were very helpful - they didn’t make me go through all of these ridiculous procedures, they talked to me to ascertain my level of knowledge with the product and when they determined that I didn’t need to do the “beginner” stuff, I was pushed through to the proper level of support. That’s awesome - do you know how long it takes to get to a real tech at Microsoft?

In Namco’s case, they have live online support so rather than waiting for an operator on hold, you’re instantly connected to a support person in an online chat scenario. It took me all of two minutes to get an RMA # for an item I needed to exchange, and I just now went in and used that service to check the status of the RMA. With a real, live person. No 24-hour-turnaround-time, no automated response.

I think if I’m ever in charge of a support organization, I’m going to use those as examples of the right way to do things. That doesn’t imply that the customer is always right, by any means, but the responsive nature of the service and easy manner in which the correct service was retrieved is invaluable.

home comments edit

I forgot to mention earlier that I was able to successfully spend several hours on the wireless network at home last night without any connection issues. I think the hard reset on the router fixed my problems.

I enabled Remote Desktop on the machine in the computer room and was able to connect to it from my laptop in the living room and work on my iTunes music library while watching TV. I can’t begin to tell you how cool that is. (I know, all you other wireless people are laughing and saying things like “Welcome to the 21st century!” but, in my defense, I use this stuff all the time at work, I just never got into it at home. Now that I’ve got it, I’m liking it. Next stop, tablet PC?)