Gmail can’t access my contacts. iStock has 60 staff members working on their problems, and their site is up and down. And the market is tumbling due to weak housing data. The squirrels sent an email saying they’ve eaten all the baby zucchinis off the plants, what else is on the menu. I expect a message from the ants pointing out the difficulties of ingesting the Terro granules, and could I please put out the liquid form instead.
Last week I bought this camera. I’ve had my eye on it since it came out last year, but the planets, moons, constellations and animal intestines had to be lined up just so.
Sunday, I got an email telling me that I needed to call and verify. It being Easter, there was no answer, even though I was assured there would be. Calls this morning were mostly spent on hold listening to old Enya tracks, and after the sixth or seventh try, there was actual human contact. After making sure the address was correct, the salesman and I had a little chat:
He: So, do you have any questions for me?
Me: Uh, no.
He: Well, I’ll have to tell you what most buyers of this camera ask. They want to know how long the battery lasts. I can tell you it has a very short life.
He: We’re running this deal where you can get one for ($xxx) or you can get our special promotion of two for ($xxx).
Me: I just want the camera, thanks.
He: This promotion runs out soon. You sure?
He: Tell you what, I’ll give you the two for the one price. How about that? Comes with its own charger.
Me (thinking): Uh, no, I don’t think so.
He: Okay, then. Now you know it only comes with the store warranty.
Me: How much is the manufacturer’s warranty?
Me: Actually, I’m still looking at how much I spent just for the camera, so not now.
He: Okay, you play a tough game. I’ll throw in the manufacturer’s warranty plus the two batteries for ($xxx).
Me: No, this is something I need to think over.
He: Well if you are budget-minded, this is a great deal since you aren’t paying for any shipping.
Me (having never paid four figures for a camera before): No, I don’t think so.
He: You think I’m coming on too strong? I’m not, this is such a great deal.
Me: Just the camera, thanks.
Note to self: next time, back to Adorama or B&H.
During Secretary of the Treasury Geithner’s speech, the Dow drops almost 300 pts, the Nasdaq near 50. Still to come, the stimulus bill vote outcome and Bernanke speaks after that. I expect some whipsawing action. Be careful out there.
Bloomberg reports that he might be considering it. Within the article is a quote from an irritated Jobs, highly annoyed at the media scrutiny. Apple stock drops over a point, following drops in previous days. Via Briefing.com.
Watching stocks come back up is gratifying, yet strangely underwhelming.
The names were committed to memory: Fra’mani, Boccalone and the restaurant La Ciccia. A family member in Seattle had every intention of visiting Salumi, the cured meats establishment favorited by no less than Anthony Bourdain.
Alas, a snowstorm thwarted the Seattle effort. The family member flew out of Seattle in the nick of time, just before another storm.
The Fra’mani was found at the Berkeley Bowl. A quick trip to the Ferry Building netted a sampler box of Boccalone salamis. A reservation at the restaurant was not to be had, but it is in the plan for the new year.
The recipient was surprised and happy.
Let’s see, when did I stop shopping at Fry’s. Was it after the time I bought a $3000 laptop from the clerk who couldn’t make eye contact with me, and addressed replies to my questions to the male accompanying me? (Yes, yes, I know I should have gone elsewhere.) A little over a month after, the CD slot quit working, and someone at Fry’s told me not to bother them, they were not responsible after 30 days.
Maybe it was after when I went with a female friend to buy her Mac. That clerk treated us like a couple of homeless people with mental issues. (My friend now takes her business to the Apple store.)
The comments following the SFGate article make for interesting reading.
Hooray for online shopping.
Just in time for the Christmas shopping season. Before you rush to buy a few, ask yourself, ‘Do I have man breasts?’. Although judging from the video, this is not a prerequisite.
This begs the question then, do women wear jockstraps? Somewhere, someone might be working on just that, and getting set to offer them at Etsy.
Clam-shell packaging, while an effective deterrent against thieves, works equally well against buyers. Now, Amazon, Sony, Best Buy and Microsoft, among others, will be offering less intimidating containers, and consumers can begin to put away their pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, table saws, drills and other tools necessary to get at the goods. But keep them nearby, not all companies are following suit.
Now, if only the food industry will come up with more friendly ways to present blueberries, tomatoes, and other produce, plus bakery items.
I can remember when a Dow plunge was not an everyday occurrence.
The Dow has come back almost 500 pts, the Naz near 100 pts. In other words, losses from yesterday have been regained. Via Briefing.com.
In the biz, we stock photographers try to stay ahead of the game. Sometimes, the agencies tell us what they need, sometimes we guess right. Some of it is common sense, as anyone can figure that photos related to energy conservation will sell.
Predicting trends can be about as tricky as picking the next hot stock (the financial kind). People do that all the time, and make an incredible living at it. People fail at it too, and they tend to be in the doldrums, especially this year. But if you are of a mind, you won’t need to pay for theme park thrills. Just buy into the stock market for the ride of your life. Stocks are dirt cheap nowadays. But I’m not saying you won’t lose your wallet. It can vanish at what you thought was the peak experience.
Which reminds me, a third kind of stock has been on my mind as well. I saw a picture of a steer recently, and I can sure understand the whole vegan thing, face on food and all that. However, the idea of a veggie stew, for example, does little for my appetite. Which is why I’m having pot roast tonight.
Are you going to line up at the Apple store tomorrow for a new iPhone? Do you keep the packaging that Apple products come in because they are so well designed? Did you know that packaging for said iPhone is made from potato starch?
I won’t be there, although the heat is supposed to ease off, and even though I know there is this device in my future. But I do keep the boxes of all things Apple.
Info via Popgadget.
To get me through the upcoming sweltering days, I just might get one of these. Once only available to the military, they’re now for sale to all.
Maybe I’ll start drinking coffee after all. This is kinda scary. But relax, it’s still just a rumor.
It fits in a mailing envelope, and weighs three pounds less than my current Powerbook G4. Mighty tempting. Mighty. Tempting.
Just after Christmas, a family member and I went to Orchard Supply, which was advertising storage boxes for $5. These were the right size for me to move around, unless I filled them with books, which I am doing today, even with the upper respiratory. Because the ‘putting away’ frenzy is on.
We found three boxes and no tops. The clerk called a superior, who reported that there was a glut at their other store ten minutes away. We didn’t have the ten minutes to spare. Life, you know.
Fast forward to last week, when Target had the same boxes advertised for a lot less. Thursday night, another family member and I tried to access the ones on a high shelf. After failing, then getting a clerk’s attention, we learned they had plenty of boxes, but no tops.
Do people walk out with extra tops? Is there a higher authority somewhere in the supply chain that decrees, we’re going to send them 100 boxes and 70 tops? Do I have to run out Sunday morning after the ads appear to get first choice?
We got the last ten at another Target. The contents of the garage will be indigo blue. But they will have tops.
Now then. What to do with all the VHS tapes of X-Files and Simpsons that the kids taped years ago.
According to the Beeb, one trader bought 1,000 barrels to bring the price up, then sold it immediately for a loss. Just to be able to say he bought oil at $100/bbl.
I tell ya, it gets crazy out there.
I made a call this morning to a company back east.
Me: Your item X (family members read the blog, cannot reveal product) in medium is out of stock. Will you get more in in time for Christmas?
Salesman 1: It’s showing up here as being discontinued.
Me: Can’t be. It’s a very popular product.
Salesman 1: Right, okay now it says later in January.
Me: So there’s no chance for Christmas at all.
Salesman 1: You can call back in a couple hours and talk to the guy who can ask the buyer.
Two hours later.
Me: Do you plan to get in X before Christmas? I was told you would talk to the buyer and find out.
Salesman 2: (brusquely)Who told you that?
Me: I don’t know his name.
Salesman 2: (loudly) Why would he tell you something like that? It says here clearly not available till January.
Me: He said you would talk to the buyer.
Salesman 2: I don’t need to talk to the buyer. I know it won’t be here till January.
I call a rival company, same product.
Me: Will you have, etc. etc.
Salesman 3: Sometime in January.
Me: Early January?
Salesman 3: Yes. Does this person you’re giving it to plan to gain a lot of weight over the holidays?
Me: (giggle) Well, there’s Christmas dinner.
Salesman 3: We do have the large and extra large in stock.
Me: Afraid not. Medium.
Salesman 3: Or maybe he’s tending some toward anorexic? We have the small. In both colors.
Me: (chuckle): Sorry.
Salesman 3: Are you a returning customer? Phone number? Ah, (my name), yeah, early January.
Me: I’ll order it online then.
Salesman 3: Nah, (my name) I can do that right here, take two minutes.
Salesman 3: Oh. Can’t do Paypal over the phone.
Me: It’s okay. I got it.
From time to time, I find one in an Asian store deli. Over the summer, as a matter of fact, I spotted a glorious one. (I am always looking for photo subjects.) Alas, there is a language barrier. The proprietor failed to fully understand my meaning, perhaps. I certainly failed to grasp why anyone would pay the price I thought he suggested. The transaction was not to be.
This morning, another head rested in a metal pan next to the ducks and assorted cooked meats. For $5, it was mine. I nodded. Before I stopped nodding, I heard a CHOP! Then another CHOP! I waved my arms wildly, No, No, I want it whole! Stop!
He stopped, the head was wrapped, I paid. I pictured a split down the snout, and thought, with a little luck, maybe I could Photoshop it all back together. The family member accompanying me said he thought the ears had been removed.
The chopper and his friends were smiling behind the counter. We asked for the ears. He looked blank, then waved over a counter person who spoke English. Ears, I said. I need it all for a picture. Ah, she said, and the chopper located the charred ears from some unseen location.
Tomorrow, with a few toothpicks, possibly duct tape, I will try to reattach the parts. There might or might not be a photo posted.
Yes, yes I know online shopping is best for people like me. But then I’d miss all the drama.
I got some at the farmers’ market bakery, and they were attractive and, uh, delicious. We wound up eating several, and by photo time, only three were left. They were bendy in the middle, and didn’t have quite the look I wanted, being made of puff pastry.
Friends had told me some time ago about a local restaurant famous for its breadsticks. I stopped by tonight, waiting patiently while the man behind the counter took an order by phone. When he finally looked up, I asked how many breadsticks came with an order to go.
Man (very Italian): You want side order or whole?
Me: Not whole, I want just the breadsticks to go. How many per order?
Man: Three. But that not what you want.
Me: (Raise eyebrows)
He staples the phone takeout order to another piece of paper, and turns to the cook in back. They confer. For a long time. The place was deserted, but I think it was closing time, or very near. Finally, he turned back.
Man: Now, what you want again. Breadsticks.
Me: How many in a side order?
Man: That not what you want. No. I tell you why. You order side of bread, you get three piece. Cost $8.00. You want big whole order.
Me: No I don’t. I want the small order.
Man: No no. Come, I show you. (He goes over to a refrigerated case full of small tubs of a yellow substance.) You see that.
Man: You order side of bread, you get three small piece and the little bitty tub of cheese spread.
Me: I just want to take photos of bread sticks.
Man: (long-suffering look)
Me: So I only need a few.
Man: Come with me. (He goes to another refrigerated case, and takes out a round of dough cut into wedges.) You see. You buy for a dollar more, you get all this, and the really big tub of cheese spread.
Me: (tempted) I’m sorry, I really thought you had the bread in sticks.
All the way to the car, I kept thinking I should go back and buy the whole thing and the big tub, and just plan a meal around it. Maybe Sunday.
The Naz is up over 80 points. I must be having another stock dream, although this one is a bit more positive.
So you think your workspace is cramped and airless. (Mine has termites chewing through the ceiling above my head.) Check out the 12 winners in the Wired News Saddest Cubicle Contest.
The Andy Rubin phone perhaps.
An NYT look at the career moves of the man at the helm of the Google phone development .
I needed a few things, which came to $11.62. I had the ten out, and was reaching for the rest when the clerk (who appeared to be in his 50s) volunteered that I needed two more bucks. Thinking I wasn’t really that slow, I handed over the dollars plus two cents.
He froze. After he put the money in the register, the change thing at the top said .40. He fumbled around, rattled the change drawers, sighed, looked at the growing line.
Clerk: Okay, you gave me two cents.
Clerk: I owe you change.
Clerk: How much do I owe you.
Me: 40 cents.
Clerk: 40 cents?
Clerk uncertainly puts a quarter and two nickels on the counter.
Me: That’s only 35 cents.
Clerk: What do I need?
Me: A nickel.
I can relate to his confusion. We had a play store in second grade, and somehow I missed the lesson on making change. I would just dump a handful of play coins in kids’ hands after they bought something. Very quickly, the teacher came marching up.
But I had an excuse. I was 7 years old. I wondered what kind of horrible day this man had on Sunday at a major chain store, and how long he could last before someone came marching up.
Perhaps you heard about the turmoil in the stock market over the past few days (weeks). If you own stock, maybe you got sick to your stomach. I spend huge amounts of time staring at numbers, and yesterday, for a long while, I took those numbers off my screen. Went outside. Looked at the tomato plants, deadheaded some flowers. Dropped my camera.
The Feds did their best to soothe matters. When they massage the market, they do it with lots of bucks, $78 billion, in fact. So what exactly does that mean, putting billions into the economy? This is the internet, we have the answer.
When the Nasdaq almost hits -100, there’s nothing more to do but polish my Bejeweled skills. And wonder if tomorrow will be more of the same.
A painting in her husband’s collection from Bacon’s Pope series will be up for auction this week. Christie’s expects a tidy sum to be raised.
A real possibility, according to Briefing.com, citing AppleInsider.
For a reasonable amount of money, a college student can purchase a pretty good paper. The NYT puts the concept to a test, then submits the results to a few professors.
Some interesting finds: possible intentional misspellings and curious syntax suggesting that the professional writers might hail from foreign countries. The latter might be useful unless the student is not from abroad.
I often joke that my Powerbook can double as a cooking device because it heats up so much. Now Apple announces that it is replacing the lithium-ion batteries in the G4 12-inch iBook, 12 and 15-inch PowerBooks.
But not the 17-inch.
When AOL goes looking for gold bars in suburban backyards, it comes up with some heavy duty loot. The kind of stuff most of us see only in caper movies.
Users of the service will be the ones with a chance at the gold, the vehicle and $75,000 in cash.
With four million Flickr users and their 200 million uploaded photos, that’s quite a database of images. But will customers be lining up to buy?
The sexy look of a high heels plus the comfort of a flat. In one shoe. You’re kidding, right?
An idea whose time has definitely come, and one that should be implemented on the majority of high heels.
Why you shouldn’t give a striped tie to a business associate in the UK, why a light-colored suit is a no-no in Japan and tips for the job-hunter whose potential employers take him out to a meal.
Such a meal can be a minefield of etiquette testing, and one applicant loses his chances when he wads up the foil around his baked potato and leaves it on the table.
So what exactly is the right way to deal with the foil other than bouncing it off the salt and pepper shakers?
I generally eat breakfast and lunch while working, and have so far managed to keep the keyboard relatively free of crumbs and other debris. Now there’s a product to make juggling food, drink and typing a bit easier. Well, for some anyway.
Seems to be fine for conventional desktop work, but maybe not so great for laptop users since the tray, while transparent, will still block part of the screen.
The new version of LuckyOliver rolled out June 1. It’s not your stodgy, old-fashioned stock photo place, but a peppery, high-energy and somewhat irreverent site where you can sell or buy photographs.
Is this a commercial? Well, yeah. If you like my photos, some of them, possibly many of them will be up at LuckyOliver.
When we first moved here, it was Alpha Beta. Then it changed to a Lucky, which became Albertson’s. I still put ‘Lucky’ on my grocery list because it’s shorter than ‘Albertson’s’.
While See’s is well known in the Bay Area, nationally it’s not. Buffett wants to change that.
While nothing else comes close in search, Google’s attempts in other areas fall short of expectations.
Baseball or watchcaps with LEDs powered by 9-volt batteries are a great idea out of Finland.
The Dow is down 170 pts, the Nasdaq down 44 pts as the market sells off yet another day.
I think I will go plant some petunias.
Researchers have succeeded in generating hydrogen using waste materials from a Cadbury factory.
The day is approaching when traffic will be more bearable.
Users noted with some alarm that the Russian music site seemed to be down for much longer than usual. Rumors began to circulate of its possible takedown by no less than Putin in his new concern for intellectual property.
The site now seems to be operational, enjoying double the visitors it had before all the fuss.