Sunday, July 10, 2016

ATT: Phone Home

I just got a new phone as my old phone seemed to “die,” dropping calls, recharging far too often, and not receiving calls/texts. Went to AT&T to get the new phone all set up, and voila! I have a new phone. Oddly enough, the service is spotty. People call me and the call won’t go through; people send me texts I don’t receive; and it is dropping calls. So much for a new phone, I thought.

Imagine my surprise when Y goes online and finds a whole slew of messages about the spotty at best cell service in my small town. All of the problems we’ve been encountering are shared with a whole lot of local users who are just as upset as we are about the poor service. Some of the complainants talked about cell tower problems, so we decided to go to one of the local AT&T store-fronts and ask them why our service is so poor.

Seems that there have been issues with the cell tower that is about a mile from our home. Vandals have targeted the tower, which is an issue—but I’m not sure how that affects service. Evidently, this problem has existed since last November, but the AT&T folks are making it a local issue, rather than doing something about it themselves. According to the rep I spoke with, AT&T plans to relocate the tower, but is dragging its process for whatever reasons. Since this issue has existed for 8 months already, I guess someone has decided that there is no urgency to serve the customers in my small community.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a new phone to replace a phone that probably did not need to be replaced. I’m lucky when I get one bar of service on the phone while I'm at home, which means I’m not able to use it as my go-to phone while I’m at home or out in my local community. I doubt that changing my service provider will solve the problem because I believe that several providers share the local cell tower, a guess based on the number of pieces of equipment on that tower.

In my world, AT&T owes me at least 8 months of free service to make up for the 8 months of poor service that led me to purchase a new phone to fix the problems I was having. In addition, I can send them a copy of the bill of purchase for a new phone and they can pay that for me, too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Finding Dory Story

My friends and I went to see Finding Dory, having enjoyed Finding Nemo all those many years ago. We settled in amongst the parents with children and laughed our way through age-appropriate coming attractions. Then, it was time; finally, Finding Dory swims onto our screen.

The first half wasn’t bad, but it was draggy. The same point was made countless times and we could have moved on to the next stage of the story much sooner. We stayed with Dory for far too many instances of “I can’t remember” and “I suffer from short-term memory loss” issues. Make the point, reinforce it – and move on. Finally, Dory arrives at an aquarium where her parents have been taken after being found in the open ocean. Dory now knows where they are, but not how to find them – and that’s where the story grinds to a halt.

Young children don’t get all the nuances of the octopus constantly changing its form and camoflauging with its surroundings, but the octopus changes for a full 20 minutes of story time. Young children don’t get all the nuances of the search, including numerous mentions of the pipes and getting lost and taking wrong turns: they just get bored and start acting out. The youngsters near us wondered when Dory was going to find her parents, and so did we not-so-youngsters. Adding in a car chase scene involving the moving van from the aquarium being stopped on a freeway, including going the wrong way in traffic and then being crashed into the bay was simply too much. The children wanted the movie to end, and end happily, but once the truck crashed, they pretty much lost the great moment that finally came far too late for them.

If you’re going to write children’s films, you have to be in the mindset of a child. If this film had simply ended 25 minutes sooner, it would have been wonderfully concluded with a happily-ever-after ending that all children want and need to come to closure. As it is, I can’t recommend the Dory story and find it amazing that word of mouth hasn’t turned the financial faucets off.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Senior Moment

My dryer has a feature that is purely annoying: the on/off knob and other features are accessed by turning a knob that’s on a long plastic spindle. The knobs last for about 6 months before they crack, which means they no longer have a solid grasp on the long plastic spindle; hence, the operator cannot turn on/turn off the appliance, rendering it useless. Y and I have replaced the knobs several times in the past several months – and I’m now over it.

Especially since the long plastic spindle broke, rendering another knob as a useless fix for the problem. My solution for the problem: buy a new dryer and start the process over. Yes, every dryer I looked at has plastic knobs on a plastic spindle to access the on/off feature of the appliance. And, dyers are not cheap, so it’s an expensive fix for a cheap problem, but once the plastic spindle broke, we were out of repair/replacement options.

I went to Home Depot first to find a replacement dryer, but HD does not offer free delivery, so I drove across the street to Lowe’s, which does give that service. I found just what I wanted: a dryer marked to half-price because someone else ordered it and returned it within 30 days for a refund. The service rep, Carter, and I discussed the features, as well as the persistent plastic problem and whether I needed a three-prong or a four-prong cord option. I didn’t know, so he said he’ll just send both and the delivery crew can use the one I need to make the dryer operational.

All well and good, I went to the garage upon my arrival at home, to pull out the old dryer and clean the area so the delivery persons could more easily install the new dryer. Imagine my surprise to find that my dryer is hooked up to gas and not the electric dryer I thought I had – and had just purchased a replacement that was also electric. There is a moment when one feels totally and completely -- stupid -- for making such an error, which now has to be undone, beginning with the phone call to cancel the delivery.

Yesterday, I went back to Lowe’s and reversed the first purchase process and replaced it with a new purchase, a dryer not on half-price sale, but which is gas. The new dryer will be delivered and installed today, so my trips to the Laundromat to dry my clothes come to a close as I will once again enjoy having that option at home.

Yeah, I learned the lesson: check what I need to replace before I go to store in the first place. But I was certain I had an electric dryer, so didn’t feel the need to measure twice/cut once.

UPDATE: The new dryer is here, delivered, installed, and tested, so we're good to go.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Invasion from the Samantha Brown People

For my river cruise a couple of months back, I went to the Samantha Brown website looking for a travel wallet that would keep my cash/credit cards safe, as well as handy. When it arrived, it was not what I expected, so I returned it to SB. Since that fateful transaction, I now am punished with Samantha Brown offers on every single page that opens in my browser.

I go to email and get SB offers; I go to and get SB offers; I go to the site I use for directions and get SB offers. I doubt that I’ve ever had such an invasive intrusion into my personal computer than I’ve had with Samantha Brown.

My question is: how do I remove this pest from my machine? I tried deleting cookies, but it stayed – and I don’t know how to do much of anything else to remove this annoyance, so I’m afraid I’m stuck with the banners and special offers and lovely photos of merchandise available to me from this vendor.

I may not know how to get rid of the computer infection, but I can guarandamntee you that I’ll never order from that website again!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

IHOP No More

Today, Y and I decided to go to Palm Springs for breakfast at the IHOP on Indian Canyon. Originally, I wanted to get the pancakes with peaches and caramel sauce, but didn't see them offered anywhere in the store, so switched my order to the "senior special," which is 2 p'cakes, 2 bacon, and 2 eggs (scrambled in my case). Y ordered chicken fried steak, with fresh fruit instead of the potatoes. And, we both ordered coffee. Pretty much a run-of-the-mill b'fast, nothing fancy at all.

My meal was lukewarm, not hot, but the p'cakes arrived a bit later and they were smokin' hot -- really melted the butter. Y's meal was just fine, but by the time he had eaten his p'cakes, he was almost full, so he only ate half the chicken fried steak and brought the rest of it home for his afternoon snack.

When the bill came, I was astounded to find a total of $31.13. For 2 b'fasts, not a family of four. We were each charged for a cup of coffee, although the server filled a carafe at the table and whether one was drinking or two, the same amount of coffee was left for us to self-serve. My senior meal is supposed to be budget friendly, but it came in at $9.69, which is about $3 more than the last time I ordered it. Y's chicken fried steak was a whopping $13.29, which is also higher than the last time we ate the same b'fast at the same IHOP.

Needless to say, IHOP is now on my don't-go list. It's far too expensive for what is served, and the service isn't anything to sing songs about. There's always a reason that the meal comes late, or, in the case today, in two separate servings of egg dish first, then the p'cakes. For the price, I can find a dozen restaurants that do it better on all levels of dining -- and will the next time I get a hankering for p'cakes.