Copyright

All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ad Frustration

I am getting really upset with advertising these days. There are so many that so obviously obfuscate the truth or outright lie. I wonder how the federal government is allowing them to subvert or ignore the truth in advertising rules.

The many "male enhancement" ads started this annoyance. If you go to the Better Business Bureau and look up any of these companies, they each have a list of complaints against them a mile long. These led to a general annoyance with all of the ads for pharmacy products on TV with their 10 seconds of advertising and 20 seconds of side effects and warnings.

Next came the Mac versus PC ads. While entertaining and usually funny, I get consistently annoyed with the half-truths and sometimes outright lies that Mac uses against PC. I think Apple makes a good, quality product and that they could make similar gains in sales from touting those instead of lying about what PCs "can't" do. The same week that they release the ad touting how many people are going back to XP is the same week I read an article from a reputable computer magazine showing the big gains that Vista is making. Who is right? The ads about how Macs inherently can edit video, find all of your pics/videos, and record TV seem to ignore that Windows has had those features as part of the OS since XP and that the Media Center in Vista is getting pretty high praise from many critics in the industry. And the fact that (certain) Macs run Windows faster than standard PCs-- well, yeah-- ever since Apple had to concede that they should produce Macs using Intel processors, they can A) run Windows and B) can design and produce machines that run Windows fast. And the one touting Leopard's features over Vista? Well, many pundits I've read comment that a lot of those same features appear to be knockoffs of what Vista did-- but Apple doesn't mention that in their ad. I wonder why Microsoft doesn't counter these advertisement. I guess Microsoft is content with their overall 80% market share. But that still doesn't help me with my annoyance!

My current annoying favorites are the ones for paycheck loans/debt consolidation and one for a new weight-loss product soon to be released. One of the loan ads has the announcer say that loans are "quick and affordable" yet, right there on the screen in the explanatory 'fine print' it says that loans start with a 99.99% interest rate for the period of the loan (and most of these places loan money for weekly or semi-monthly periods). How is owing double what you were loaned considered "quick and affordable" -- quick to poverty and affordable if you don't mind selling an internal organ! The weight-loss pill actually says "And we couldn't say it on TV if it wasn't true!" Just the shear fact they say that makes me wonder. The product is the miracle weight loss pill from Europe that is "proven" to be effective-- yet the fine print says that the item has not been submitted to the FDA for evaluation. How is it proven effective if it has no proof to point to?

I also hate the anti-eHarmony ads that I'm seeing. They show people complaining about being "rejected" by eHarmony-- except, as a former member of that dating service, I know for an absolute fact that you cannot be rejected. Your answers to their questions may mean you don't get immediate results from their database of potential mates, but that is far different from the way these ads use the term "rejected."

So far the political ads have been relatively tame. However, the Indian Gaming ads have really started to annoy me. I'm glad that someone smart finally put a direct counter ad up to the anti-Indian gaming ads that were being paid for by ... non-Indian gaming casinos and racetrack betting businesses. Gee, only those who will be directly and negatively affected by the Indians increasing their gaming business. I'm shocked!

Super Tuesday is coming up shortly (Feb 5). I'm really not looking forward to the political ads that will start steamrolling once that is over and the main candidates are chosen for the next Presidential race. After this, I expect to really start getting annoyed.

*sigh

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Just the Facts

This was an article in today's IMDB.com news roundup:

MPAA Admits College Pirate Study Was Wrong
The Motion Picture Association of America has acknowledged that a study that it commissioned in 2005 -- that concluded that widespread illegal downloading of movies on college campuses was responsible for billions of dollars in losses -- was wrong. The study had claimed that students with access to high-speed Internet connections in college dorms were to blame for 44 percent of the industry's domestic losses from online pirating. However, on Tuesday, the MPAA admitted that it got the figure wrong because of "human error" and that it was more like 15 percent. But Mark Luker, vice president of Educause, told the Associated Press Tuesday that the study did not take into account the fact that 80 percent of college students live off campus. He figured that campus networks may be responsible for only 3 percent of illegal downloads. The industry's earlier figure, he maintained, was intended to show that if college campuses got tough on the issue of illegal downloads, "it would make a tremendous difference in the business of the motion picture industry." He said that the new figures show that campus action would "have only a small impact." For its part, the MPAA said Tuesday, "We take this error very seriously and have taken strong and immediate action to both investigate the root cause of this problem as well as substantiate the accuracy of the latest report."

Now, I don't know about you, but revising from 44% (when this was a huge hot-bed topic that all the media were talking about) down as low as 3% (now that is is primarily a back-story and no one is caring), strikes me as a bit of erroneous reporting. Matter of fact, I would go so far as to say it is irresponsible of the MPAA to have released those (original) figures in the first place.

I have sent letters to Jack Valenti describing why I thought he and the MPAA were not only wrong, but salaciously so. Each time I received a nice letter back that proved he had no understanding of how the Internet worked, that his numbers had no solid backing, and that the MPAA just didn't get how much easier just about any other method of copying a movie is compared to using the Internet. He couldn't seem to understand that, even with all of the advances the Internet's structure has undergone to allow for DSL, Cable, and fiber optic connection, the Internet as a whole would screech to a halt faster than the next denial of service attack if the numbers they present are true. The millions of people downloading millions of gigabytes of these movies would bring the Internet to its knees and no one be running faster than the old 9600 baud modems. I will miss his responses, and should write to welcome the new head of the MPAA, Dan Glickman.

The Internet is not where the majority of people get illegal movies. It is much faster, cheaper, and easier to get a Netflix or Blockbuster subscription and, for $14.95 a month, get as many movies as you possibly can, copy them, and return them. Once you have the digital copy, if you have the ability, money, and setup, you can make an unlimited number of other DVDs of exactly the same quality. Those who do get the latest movies before they are even released in theaters are doing it through inside sources-- which no amount of legislature against average Internet users is ever going to solve! The quality of all other sources is so bad that most people are forced to buy a legal copy when it comes out anyway.

Lastly, I've never seen the MPAA release the stats on the percentage of those who do download movies, or get them illegally from other sources, go out and purchase a legal copy of the movie once it is available. In my personal experience, with the few people I suspect may have procured something nefariously, most of them have purchased the legal copy of those they liked once it became available. So, in each of those cases, the law may have been broken but the MPAA did not lose any money.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Unexpected Racism

One of the things I like about City of Heroes is that, in general, I find a better quality of player on the servers. I don't find a lot of gankers, or "Leet" snobs, or loot whores (this last mostly because there is little loot in the game). Every now and then over my nearly four years of playing I have run into someone who surprised me in a positive or negative way.

A few days ago, while playing my Peacebringer, Ace Atomic, I accepted an invitation to join a team. One of the two other members already on the team welcomed me and then asked me, "Why a PB (peacebringer) instead of a WS (warshade)?"

"Because I like to be a good guy," I responded.

"Have you read the history on WS? They are like bad guys who repent and try to do good."

"Exactly. I don't like that. I like being a good guy through and through," I said.

And then this person with whom I was having a perfectly ordinary, generally pleasant conversion, said the following (absolute direct quote-- I wrote this down word for word), "LOL. It's like the black ethnicity wanting to live in a nice house. Know what I mean? They didn't do what makes the sterio type [sic]."

Normally I am a fairly quick-witted guy who always has a comeback. I process most information fairly quickly. However, this comment flabbergasted me. I sat in front of my PC monitor in amazement.

A few things finally started flitting through my mind: How does he know I'm not a "Black Ethnicity"? Does he have any idea how that sounds? Where does he get off saying something like that? What the hell?

I said nothing and he dropped the topic and did not return to it. I helped them with that one mission, thanked them for the opportunity for the team, quit the team, and then used the Ignore command on that particular person so I wouldn't hear from him again.

I have at least one or two friends of each of the other races, and many friends of some races. These people are my friends for many reasons and due to many qualities, their skin color not being a driving factor to any of my decisions. My parents raised me to be open-minded and to judge people on their character and qualities, not their race, religion, or creed. And, like most human beings, I tend to think of others as having similar sentiments, thoughts, feelings. Having this sort of subtle racism suddenly brought to my attention has made me rethink how I see the world and how prevalent racism is in it.

My opinions on how far America has come in race relations has taken a hit and I am continuing to reevaluate my response to this surprising, and disappointing, occurrence.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Finally

I have had to settle for scrambled and fried eggs lately because I have been failing miserably to make an omelet. Today, however, I managed to do everything right and created a nearly perfect half-moon of an omelet, filled with cheese, pepperoni, and broccoli.

I cannot be sure what I've been doing wrong lately, but today everything came together. I started the pan at high and then, once it was hot, turned it down to a medium/low setting. I sprayed a very light layer off Pam on it today, even though I was using a nonstick pan (on a few of the cooking shows I've caught recently the experts say you should do this), I remembered to move the liquid around a bit to ensure even cooking, and I waited until the egg was mostly cooked before adding the ingredients. Generally I do all of this each time, but the last few omelets have turned into scrambled eggs instead, as the flip hasn't functioned or the egg has not properly covered the pan and congealed during cooking.

Anyway, color me happy as I sit here and enjoy my omelet!

Friday, January 11, 2008

'Roids

Everyone who knows me knows that I do not approve of any athlete found to have used steroids. I say strike their records (or asterisk them, at least) and throw them out of the Hall of Fame.

That being said, I have an idea to throw out there.

What if, say, an athlete was sitting there, trying to fight against the effects of age and years of overuse to their bodies, and says to his personal trainer, "Isn't there something we can do?"

And Trainer says, "Well, X vitamins and Y pain relievers are said to work miracles." But what the trainer is thinking is, "If he doesn't keep producing, he won't need me any more and will retire. I want to keep this gravy train going, and the only thing that will really help is steroids. I'll show him the info on B12 injections, lidocaine, and all these other flim-flam "cures" but I know that HGH and certain steroids can't be detected, so I'll actually inject him with those. He won't even know what he's taking, but it will keep this gravy train going for a while longer. Gotta get me that boat!"

Trainer then gets prescriptions, either legally in the name of the player at doctors with questionable morals or illegally, and tells the player, "I got your stuff right here. Rub this stuff on your sore joints, it is filled with B12 and pain reliever-- all legal, don't worry." Or tells player, "Here are those B12 injections you ordered! Aren't I just the best trainer ever? By the way, the prescriptions are in your name for legal reasons. You understand."

Players then honestly say that they never knowingly took any form of steroid or HGH or anything else banned or illegal to the sport. They think they are playing by the rules.

This necessitates the player turning a blind eye to the changes his body undergoes while on this regimen. He may suspect what is going on, but figure he has plausible deniability, forgetting that the prescriptions are in his name and that the trainer will provide his name at the drop of a hat if called to testify on anything to save his own reputation. And, let's face it, human beings are good at justifying what is going on in their lives; the steroid-induced changes may simply be a blind spot that their egos refuse to let them see.

This story also allows for those cases where Player A says he saw Player B inject something. As long as Player B thinks it is something legal and Player A doesn't know, or learns somehow that it is not legal, both stories told by both players are true-- one doesn't knowingly take anything banned and the other knows that the first is using banned substances.

I'm not trying to give these guys an excuse. And many of the athletes are definitely guilty. It just occurs to me that the trainers may have an entire seedy underworld in place to keep their own jobs going and give themselves a big reputation or make more money. And it seems plausible to me that they would try to keep that going without even informing the players of what they are doing or taking.

Undefeated IS Exceptional!

I am getting really tired of pundits saying we have to hold off on anointing the 2007 Patriots as one of best teams ever. In the history of the NFL, only 4 teams have completed the regular season with a perfect record, the Bears twice ('34 and '42), the Dolphins ('72), and now the Patriots ('07). So, in the entire history of the NFL, this has happened only 4 times! I think that right there makes a case for this Patriots team of being one of the best ever. If they manage to win the Super Bowl, then they will do what only 1 other NFL team has done, the Dolphins (the Bears teams both lost in the Championship game). And in all of professional football, only 1 other team has had a perfect season, the Browns in  '48 went 15-0, winning the championship of the AAFL (ironically, the domination by the Browns (52-4-3 in four seasons) is partly what caused the demise of the AAFL and subsequent merger with the NFL). However, while the NFL acknowledges the feat, it does not recognize the record as part of its official history since the Browns did it prior to the merger.

So, regardless of what happens in this post season, the Patriots have done what only a select few teams have ever done. I think, of the many years of the NFL and all the great teams that have come along throughout the years, this makes a very specific statement of excellence. If the Patriots can finish it off and win the Super Bowl, it will simply be an exclamation point on what is already a record breaking season and team effort.

Aside: And to all of those who say this season is somehow tainted by the cheating against the Jets, let's remember a couple of facts:
  1. It happened for less than one half of one game and wasn't even used in that game. Also, this was the first half of the first game of the season.
  2. The team was doing something that is legal to do by NFL rules, the man was just stationed in an inappropriate location from which to do it.
  3. Goodell said that, had further evidence beyond that one game been found, he would have penalized the team more harshly. Since he didn't, I can only assume no further evidence of illicit behavior was found on the many hours of tapes the team turned over to Goodell's investigators.
  4. This act did not influence the outcome of any of the 16 games the team played, and they still managed to win all 16.
As a community, Americans need to stop and take a long, hard look at what we consider excellence. We need to stop focusing on the championship game in whatever sport or activity and start looking at the body of work, the entire season, and allowing as how someone can be dominant and the "best" without getting a championship (or equivalent). The amount of good breaks and good luck that you need to win the championship doesn't account for the hard work, preparation, and actual skill it takes to compile a winning record during the season.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I've Been Saying this for YEARS!

From an IMDB.com news roundup:

The victory of Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary amounted to a big loss for polling companies (and, by logical extension, TV ratings companies, as well). There was general agreement expressed in the media that if pollsters who had predicted that Barack Obama would win by double digits (USA Today/Gallup had him leading Clinton by 13 percentage points) could be proven so wrong despite massive surveys of the New Hampshire population, then the news media's insistence on reporting the election as if it were a horse race ought to be reassessed. As it became clear Tuesday night that the polls had been out-and-out wrong, veteran NBC-TV newsman Tom Brokaw, brought in as a special analyst of Tuesday's election, turned to colleague Chris Matthews and remarked, "You know what I think we're going to have to do? Wait for the voters to make their judgment." Matthews responded, "Well, what do we do then in the days before the ballot? We must stay home, I guess." No, said Brokaw, there were other matters to report about the election. "I think that the people out there are going to begin to make judgments about us if we don't begin to temper that temptation to constantly try to get ahead of what the voters are deciding."

I've told anyone who would listen that, in my opinion, it should be illegal to report on estimates. Any estimates can taint the next state(s) results, or cause people who haven't voted yet to stay home ( i.e., if they hear on the news that so and so has already won, then why go vote?).

I also think it should be illegal to report until a district is closed and is reporting the actual count. California is the most populous state, so has the most electoral college votes (I won't rant here about why the EC should be done away with), but we are at the tail end of voting districts due to being on the west coast. Many people can't vote until after work, but by then the President is often already "decided" by the media! And then they are shocked that the California (and WA, OR, AK, HI) voters don't turn out. Duh.

Of course, I've only been saying this since the '88 elections. I've written to a couple of news anchors about this issue and the replies I got back were, basically, "we have to report the news" and totally discounting my argument that they are fabricating news by reporting these poll results. Hopefully this issue will get more national coverage now that the pollsters were so badly off. Let's hope for some change.

FYI - Lou Dobbs, one of my favorite pundits on TV, had something to say about this, too. Article

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Round Two

Okay, I didn't do so hot in the first round of the NFL playoffs; I only got two of four games correctly picked for wins and losses, my scores were pretty far off, but I did well on my summary of what I thought would be keys to the games and the spread.

Jaguars at Patriots

I would not want to play the Jags if I was any team. This team is good at every position on both sides of the ball. They can pound it at you by running or throw decently through the air. They don't have many superstars, but have good quality and good depth at nearly every position out there. However, they are playing the Pats. As long as the Pats have Brady at QB and Belichick on the sideline game-planning, I don't bet against them. Also, they are at home and they have proven that weather is not a factor to their high-scoring offense. I am worried a bit about the Jags running on them (Pats were not good all season against the run) and keeping that powerful offense off the field. Also, the Jags are more physical on offense and the Pats defense is getting older. However, the extra week off should help the Pats D to get healthy and rested for this grueling match up. I do worry a little that the Pats O may be a little out of sync to start the game.

Patriots over Jaguars, 31-27

Chargers at Colts

The Chargers can win this game with two things: Tomlinson and Turner pounding it down the Colts Defense's throat for about 150-175 total yards and two TDs and the defense getting at least 3 turnovers. You still have to worry about Rivers and Norv Turner zoning out, but I think this first playoff win will get them focused and working hard.

The Colts, though, have one of the best offenses in football and a defense that was surprisingly good all season. The Colts can score with anyone, so they just need to not make mistakes on offense to stay in the game or blow it open early. Their D is opportunistic and sometimes gives up a big play or two. And, of course, they have Peyton Manning.

I will be rooting for the Chargers to win (closest thing to a home-town team I've got, and I really like LT), but I just don't think they have enough to grab this win away from home in a very hostile dome.

Colts over Chargers, 38-31

Giants at Cowboys

This game comes down to which teams show up. If the Giants team that nearly beat the Pats and the one that did beat the Bucs shows up, this will be a game. If the Cowboys team that was second in scoring and offense to the Pats shows up, this could be a blow out. What I fear is that the Dallas team that scored 6 total points in two of the final three games and the Giants team that couldn't beat sub-.500 teams both show, this will be a dog of a game.

I have a feeling that the Giants have a recipe for success now. I also don't think the Cowboys will come out flat or poorly. That being said, I think this game primarily comes down to the the lines and the corners. Whichever line can dominate the other will control the clock. And both sides have DBs that are vulnerable to the long pass and play-action.

While the Giants are much improved, and their defense is stout, I think this swings the favor to the Cowboys.

Cowboys over Giants, 28-24

Seahawks at Packers

The Packers, at home, in a playoff game, in January. I don't care how young their team is; history says you don't pick against the Pack in January at home. They are 14-2 at home in Green Bay in postseason games (and only 6-11 at away games). And I don't even want to get into Favre's record when the temperature is below 40 degrees, which it should be for this game.

Packers over Seahawks, 24-21

Stardust

I just can't for the life of me figure out why this movie did so poorly at the box office. I got Stardust from Netflix yesterday and sat down to watch it hoping for something good but believing it would be something bad after a few reviews and the poor box office results it got.

This is a great fantasy/fairy tale! Well acted throughout. Michelle Pfeiffer is great as the main witch, Robert DeNiro is hilarious as the "rough and tough" pirate captain (and his men give him great support), Charlie Cox plays the main hero, Tristan, with just the right amount of bravado and naivety, Claire Danes (always a favorite) gives a surprisingly warm and confident performance as Yvaine. The supporting cast is superb.

The story is a good one, involving a dreamer who wishes to marry the pretty but stuck up girl in his home town going to a fantasy realm to fetch her a fallen star. However, it turns out the star is a person. He then gets sort of roped into an adventure involving the star as people are out to get both her and the necklace she wears. Along the way, the star and the hero fall for each other.

Note: While I own the book, I cannot comment on how closely the movie follows it, as I haven't read it yet. It is somewhat buried in my stack of things to read at the moment.

The effects are well done, although mostly CGI, and the music is a nice accompaniment to the movie (whereas some fantasy films overdo the music).

Lastly, and what I liked the most about it, is that the story didn't play down to children. It is perfectly accessible and entertaining to both kids and adults. This movie succeeded where some recent fairy tales (Brothers Grimm, for example) simply missed the mark.

Why didn't this do better at the box office? At least the rest of the world seemed to have picked up on this little gem; the domestic was only $38 million but the foreign was just shy of $100 million.

If you like fairy tales or fantasy stories, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Results

Redskins 14, Seahawks 35 (wrong)

Man, I pegged this one all wrong. Seahawks played with a lot of heart and the "12th man" really came through for them. The Redskins looked tired after so many away games. I really thought when they came back to take the lead, that they would hold on and win it. But the Seahawks were able to grab the momentum right back and played to win.

Jaguars 31, Steelers 29 (right)

Much closer on this one; it was a tight game, the Jaguars showed their balance and efficiency in the red zone. The injuries hurt the Steelers mostly in that it made them rely on Rothlisburger too much. Ben hasn't really ever proven he can be the reason that the Steelers win; he's a great game-manager, but needs a good running game to take the pressure off and the defense to play well.

Giants 24, Bucs 14 (wrong)

The Giants came to play. And they had a good game plan to keep Manning successful. It is always tough to judge which Giants team will show for any given game. Garcia made some uncharacteristic mistakes and the Bucs defense wasn't its usual self-- especially against the pass.

Titans 6, Chargers 17 (right)

I thought this game would be much higher scoring. Young proved my point, being streaky and lacking accuracy. Turner and Rivers also proved my points, but not coaching well and not playing well for the first half. However, SD came out strong in the second half and got rolling. Some smart plays and some bad defensive play on the Titans allowed SD to take a commanding lead and hold on for the win.

Mmm

I like eggs. I like eggs a lot.

Yesterday morning I fixed two sunny-side up eggs, some toast, and then made some sunshine sandwiches out of the twain and enjoyed the immensely. This morning I scrambled some eggs, with Mrs. Dash and season salt, cheese, and some pepperoni and put it into a soft flour tortilla with some La Victoria taco sauce. Oh man!

I think the main thing I like about eggs is that they are so easy to change up. You can make scrambled eggs, which are good, but then you add some meat and veggies to it, cheese, some chorizo mix, or put it into a tortilla, and you've completely changed the meal. You fry them and they are good, but then you fry them and put them on toast or a muffin with cheese, hot sauce, and/or some meat, and it is something different again. And then you can go with an omelet and all of the variations there. And the best part about all of these combinations is that damn near all of them are done and ready to eat in under ten minutes. Many in under 5 minutes!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Er... What?

I was just checking on a new movie release to add to my Netflix list when I noticed this in my suggestions box:




Now, Lost in Translation is a drama about two people stuck in a hotel in Japan and growing intimate with each other (in a non-sexual way). It is about relationships and people. What the hell does that have to do with this movie? I generally don't like sports stories, but I especially don't like x-games, winter sports, or sports injuries.

I think Netflix may want to look at their recommendation algorithm.

Going on Record

I speak to a lot of friends about the NFL and game results. However, it is easy to fall into the "I said that" with no proof syndrome. So, this year, I'm going on record by writing down what I think will happen in each of the playoff games. Let's see how radically far off I am!!

Redskins at Seahawks

The Redskins are hot right now. They are playing well on both sides of the ball. The Seahawks did well in a weak division, but have pretty much given up on their running game. There should be bad rain and high winds this weekend, which leads toward a stronger running game being required. While the Seahawks play in a very noisy stadium, I don't think that is enough.

Redskins over Seahawks, 24-17

Jaguars at Steelers

The Jags are incredibly well-balance. They are efficient and quite good in the red zone. The Steelers are suffering through some key injuries and ineffective play. While they are at home, the Jags proved they could play there. I have also not seen good in-game/half-time adjustments by the Steelers in any of the games I watched.

Jags over Steelers, 27-24

Giants at Buccaneers

The Giants are up and down-- they sometimes play better than most teams in the NFC and other days they can't seem to walk and chew gum at the same time. Eli Manning is inconsistent at the most important position on the field. However, they have a good running attack and a pressure defense which can keep them in the game. They also have injuries at key positions which will affect their offensive rhythm. The Bucs are streaky with a stout defense. Garcia is superior to Manning right now, but does get "happy feet" on occasion against good defenses.

Bucs over Giants, 23-20

Titans at Chargers

The Titans are a sneaky-good team. They quietly rolled to a 10-6 record in a tough division. Their QB play is a bit streaky, as Young continues to improve and learn. He makes more plays still with his legs than with his arm, as his accuracy is not really at top-tier levels. The Chargers seemed to find their winning recipe at the end of the season, after a poor start. However, two people worry me: Norv Turner and Philip Rivers. After Rivers ended last season, I thought he was a franchise QB and there was little repercussion to getting rid of Brees. However, this season, he has played like a rookie at times and simply made bad decisions other times. Turner has never impressed me with his coaching-- he is a career loser who has been unsuccessful at the playoffs. However, the bad taste the loss to the Pats left in the Chargers mouth last year during the playoffs will be assuaged this year.

Chargers over Titans, 31-21

Thursday, January 03, 2008

El Sicko

I got sick about halfway through the Holidays, after going out to DHS and 29. Advil Cold/Sinus, Sudaphed, and some Halls Defense kept me going for the most part, but I did crash and burn a couple of times.

And then I took my Enbrel in order to ease the pain in my hands and feet, which was getting bad from the extended period between injections of my new schedule. However, apparently I was not yet over the cold and the meds were only masking it. Taking the Enbrel immediately caused the cold to flare up and today I am not at work because of it.

So, here I sit, feeling like crap warmed over with full-on cold symptoms (at least they aren't flu symptoms this time), hating life. It really sucks to have to choose between relative bodily health and discomfort and pain in my joints.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

As We Expected

M tried to get her ticket changed last night. We tried again today, before she checked in. Chicago, Toronto, and SJ are all suffering from winter weather, snowstorms, and plenty of delays. However, United and Air Canada simply wouldn't listen and could not go the extra mile to rebook her for sometime a little later.

This is funny to me, as they allowed her to fly into Chicago and then are leaving her possibly stranded there because this leg of the flight was clear. So, rather than dealing with the rebooking last night, or doing it this morning, they have now added her to the even longer list of people they must accommodate tonight and tomorrow.

M is hoping to be on an American flight from Chicago to Montreal, where she can hopefully hook up with her brother and stay with someone she knows. However, when she called me and had me check, the American flight was already an hour delayed due to weather and it didn't look good that she would be going to Montreal, either.

So, because the airlines are allowed to run their business in a slipshod, perfunctory, and unsatisfactory manner, she may be stuck in Chicago, left to buy her own hotel room, left to fly standby and deal with the hassle of rebooking everything tomorrow. She will miss out on at least one full day of work which, had they allowed her to rebook for Thursday, Friday, or the weekend from here, she could have made up working from my home while I went in to work.

The American government has bailed out the airlines a number of times. And most of those times it was because the airlines run their businesses in such shoddy and haphazard a manner that they couldn't remain solvent, couldn't pay their employees, and had to be bailed out.

I think we are rapidly running into a state where they will need to be bailed out again. Until we make these people treat the cargo they freight across the world as human beings, we will not get the service, respect, or treatment we deserve. Yes, so that may mean that airline tickets go up, possibly significantly, in price. I think that is a good thing; those who need to travel will still have to travel. But when we do, we will be treated like we should be and rerouted, accounted for, and helped to our destination rather than stuck, stranded, alone and friendless, in some god-forbidden place not of our choosing and forced to shell out loads more money that we may not have or cannot afford to spend on our own survival for something that is not our fault.

We need to start considering holding the airlines as responsible for the contracted job they do as we do any other contracted service.

M on Her Way

I have released M to the care of United and Air Canada, for her trip home. She will get stuck somewhere in either Chicago or Toronto, of that we are sure. However, the United and AC people were completely unable to change her flight(s) or destinations to avoid the... what?... third storm through that area since Xmas.

The good news is she has copies of everything she needs from me, we hope. Plus my signature on the most important pages. So she just needs to complete one or two simple areas, print out a mess of pictures as documentary proof, and ship off the paperwork for evaluation. Fingers crossed that this is it and we get a quick turnaround on it.

Now, to find something mindless and dull to do for awhile to distract me from the fact my honey is gone again.

*sigh