Patrick's Rants



11/17/2010

Murkowski Beats The Tea Out of Joe Miller

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 8:08 pm

I’m not generally a cheer leader for Republicans, but Lisa Murkowski is probably my favorite Republican at the moment for beating out Joe Miller in Alaska. Murkowski ran a write in campaign after extremist tea party leaning conservatives went way right with wacko Joe Miller. With the quitter Palin backing him, how could Alaskans vote any other way? Perhaps sanity struck back.

The Daily Sun hacked up these gems

Miller, meanwhile, had several missteps after the primary. Court documents were released showing that he had been was suspended as a government employee for using work computers for partisan political work and lying about it. In other miscues, his security detail handcuffed a journalist asking questions at a town hall meeting, and it was revealed his family received many government handouts that he railed against as a tea party candidate.

So Miller is a liar and his family is on the dole. Really? Is that such a surprise for a Tea Partier? Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, and cut any government funding for everyone except me.

Levi Russell, a spokesman for the California-based Tea Party Express, told The Associated Press that Murkowski’s failure to win a majority in the race “demonstrates a rejection of her well-known policies.”

Yeah. Sour grapes. Look it up.

While disappointed in the race’s outcome, Russell said the group stands behind its strategy and Miller. “We continue to feel that Joe Miller is more in concert today with the people in Alaska, who are concerned about the growth and intrusiveness of the federal government with the higher taxes, deficits and national debt,” he said

Except, the people of Alaska voted against Miller and the Tea Party. If Joe were more in concert with the people of Alaska, wouldn’t they have voted for Joe Miller? You Betcha!

10/31/2010

More Ballot Review

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 1:26 pm

Another look at the AZ ballot initiatives.

10/30/2010

November 2 Is Just Around The Corner

Filed under: Politics — site admin @ 7:36 pm

For my local readers, a rundown of the Arizona Propositions:
Prop 106: Proposed amendment to the constitution by the legislature relating to health care services.
A “yes” vote will have the effect of attempting to usurp federal law, tie the cash strapped state up in federal court for decades and be ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. This proposition is supported by people who don’t care about health care costs and figure that kids can take care of their own health needs. Remember – when more people are in the pool each person’s share is lower. Would we run auto insurance this way?
A “no” vote saves an awful lot of fiscal and legal pain for the state.
My vote: NO.

Prop 107: proposed amendment to the constitution by the legislature relating to preferential treatment or discrimination prohibition.
A “yes” vote would attempt to usurp federal law and attempt to reverse the civil rights act allowing for de facto discrimination based upon sex, race, color ethnicity or national origin under the guise of not discriminating against white males. Of course, “it exempts reasonably necessary qualifications based on sex, existing court orders and actions that would result in the loss of federal funds.” Which basically means the law is an unenforceable piece of dreck. Are we really ready to say that discrimination against minorities and women no longer exists?
My vote: NO
(more…)

10/21/2010

The Toshiba Saga Continues

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 7:19 pm

I had a message from Best Buy on my answering machine when I got home from work. Danielle said had a resolution for me and she would drop me an email as well:

Good afternoon Patrick,

I hope this email finds you doing well. My name is Danielle, and I work in the Consumer Relations department at Best Buy corporate. Thank you for sending an email to us in regards to your Toshiba laptop and the restore disks. I was very disappointed to read about the lack of customer service you are receiving from Toshiba.

I would be happy to provide you with a resolution to your situation. I spoke with Agent Rodriguez at the Flagstaff, AZ store (#1084.) She told me if you can get the restore disks from Toshiba they will be able to reinstall your operating system at no additional charge. This is something that would need to be completed within 30 days of 10/18/2010.

>From what it sounded like in your email you sent, it will cost $24.95 to receive the restore disks from Toshiba. I would be happy to send you a $25 Best Buy gift card as a onetime exception and to make up for this charge. All you need to do is respond to this email with your correct mailing address, and I will get it sent out.

Again, I am very sorry about the experience you have had working with Toshiba. I hope this information provides you with a resolution. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to assist you.

Sincerely,

Danielle
Best Buy Consumer Relations
Case # ——–

And my reply:

Danielle,

I truly appreciate the quick reply both by phone and email. I would be
happy to accept your offer of a $25.00 gift card. I have ordered the
restore media in lieu of shipping my laptop to Toshiba. I feel much
better about placing this in your hands than in Toshiba’s.
My mailing address is: (You didn’t really think I’d blog it did you?)
Again, thank you for not only your quick reply but your generous offer.

Patrick

So next I just need to see if they hold up their end of the deal, but I’m already impressed.

10/20/2010

Email to Best Buy

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 7:17 pm

Figuring that I wouldn’t get any satisfaction from Toshiba I fired off an email to Best Buy via their web form:

My wife and I have a Best Buy credit account and have purchased a number of items at Best Buy. One of our most recent purchases, a Toshiba Satelite laptop, has become an extremely disappointing purchase. About three weeks ago the hard drive died and I returned the laptop to Best Buy. Although it took longer that I expected, Best Buy replaced the hard drive under the manufacturer warranty. When trying to get the restore disks from Toshiba – as they no longer include them in the box – I was unable to get them to ship me a restore disk without charging me $24.95 to handle the disk. They will send me a box to send my laptop to Toshiba, reinstall the OS and ship my laptop back to me at no charge. Toshiba support apparently does not think that all of the shipping and labor is less expensive that spending a couple of bucks on priority mail postage. After clicking through the BBB logo on the Toshiba web site and reading complaint after complaint about Toshiba customer service I have to question my decision to send my laptop back to Toshiba for anything. I would much rather have the Geek Squad finish what they started with the replacement of my hard drive. What customer service center does not have a real second tier support? What company hires supervisors to only schedule the phone operators?
I understand that hardware sometimes fails, but to be treated with complete and utter contempt by Toshiba is unacceptable. As a single individual I don’t have much pull with Toshiba. I don’t even have much pull with Best Buy. As a company, I would expect Best Buy to assist its customers. To not at least attempt would imply approval of this unfriendly behavior towards your mutual customers. I hope to continue my relationship with Best Buy although I will not be purchasing any Toshiba products at Best Buy or any other store.
I look forward to your reply.

I looked for Toshiba stock information. It looks like they don’t qualify to trade on any of our exchanges except OTC. Not to be Xenophobic in this world economy, but this Japanese-centric company only hires people at their call centers to wring $25/pop out of their customers. My story is way too much like the complaints on the BBB web site. Let’s see if Best Buy steps up to the plate (they are publicly traded after all and no one wants bad publicity) In a day or so I will be looking to email the Japanese CEO of Toshiba – not that he’ll care – and if I don’t get any satisfaction it will probably mean a submission to the channel 12 problem solver team.

The Failure of Toshiba

Filed under: Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 5:04 pm

The laptop I purchased had a hard drive crash. We took it back to Best Buy – they replaced the hard drive. Toshiba wants $24.95 for “handling” to send me the restore disk. You know, restore disk as in what used to come in the box when you bought a computer. I’m not even asking for the unadulterated version that you can get in a retail box. Nope. Just a simple restore disk. I called Toshiba support to demand they send me a restore disk. I got nowhere. I asked for the next tier customer service. I got “Lacey”. Lacey would not send me the disk either, instead telling me how to order and pay for the disk. I asked for the call to be escalated and she told me that she was the highest person on the totem pole.

I told “Lacey” that if Toshiba is willing to send me an empty box, have it shipped back to them, pay a tech to install the OS and then pay to ship the laptop back to me (which they will do under the warranty), they can surely just drop the restore disk in the mail since that is clearly cheaper. Still no dice. I asked her if she realized how ridiculous that sounded. She answered that is their procedure. I stated simply, “of course you realize it, you chose not to answer the question.” I then asked to speak to her supervisor. She told me that her supervisor only makes her schedule and does not talk to customers. My reply, “do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?”

I’ve already steered one person away from Toshiba purchases. If I had read the BBB listing of negative reviews of Toshiba I would not have purchased this laptop. I have 3 IBM Thinkpad laptops that range in age from 10-15 years and none of these has ever had a hard drive problem. And they came with restore media. And I don’t know why I didn’t buy another IBM/Lenovo laptop. You can bet the next one will be.

10/13/2010

Death in a Bucket

Filed under: Gardening — site admin @ 7:46 pm

I heard through the grape vine that the original source of our worms had a complete die off. The worms had, as she put it, drowned. Now, keeping worms in the small space of 5 gallon buckets can be tricky. I have had relatively few problems, but the small systems can be very sensitive to any imbalance. I have spent hour after hour researching vermiculture on the internet. I carefully built my bucket systems based around what I have learned. I periodically empty the leachate from the bottom bucket. I feed slowly and methodically, never too much. My worms are thriving and I’ve harvested quite a bit of vermicompost as of late.

After hearing that our benefactor had a total loss, A was sure they had a complete failure in the vermiculture department as well. But, with worms, benign neglect is worse that dutiful over feeding (and not emptying the leachate) and A & J’s worms were just fine. I did decide to do a harvest of the system. As I was using the reclaimed colander to shake out a few castings I pulled out the wood pieces and decorative gravel that the original designer had placed in the bucket. I never understood what the gravel was for – turns out neither did the system designer. He just threw it in there. I threw the gravel onto the driveway, losing some castings in the process. The wood I threw onto the driveway as well.

At the bottom of the first set of buckets the designer had placed a rock to keep the top bucket from getting stuck in the bottom. The idea was imperfect, the rock had cracked the bottom of the lower bucket. Turns out benign neglect saved a pool of stench in their garage. If the buckets had any moisture, there would have been a permanent reminder stain. I consolidated the worms into one system and brought the Homer buckets home – to await a time when I can collect enough Burger King pickle buckets to rebuild the bucket set.

As fate would have it, I was at my mom’s working on a few things so she can move when she crooked her finger at me, beckoning me to the garage. She had me lift the active bucket from atop the solid bottom bucket of her worm bucket system. The active bucket slurped away from two gallons of leachate. Leachate is anaerobic. So is the human colon. And they smell the same (although leachate could be worse). I dutifully carried the six inches of stench around to the flower garden and poured it over the surface. Six inches of undrained leachate contains about two inches of solids. And when first poured off it looks pretty much the same as it smells. Thick, black as night, anaerobic. It’s disgusting.

Mom had been doing so well with the worms. When she was on a weird diet she bought a single banana per week just to let it go mushy so she could squeeze the innards out onto the top of the bucket like an over sized tube of banana tooth paste. The worms were ecstatic, thriving, vibrant. But that all changed because mom is moving. She stopped feeding her outdoor compost bin and doubled down on the worms. Nay, quadrupled down. Mom’s buckets could have used the next working bucket placed on top, but the bucket sat empty next to the stack. When I dared open the top I saw a two inch layer of lettuce and smelled the unmistakable odor of dead worms. I cannot describe it, but I know it when I smell it. I stuck my unprotected hand into the top layers of lettuce and paper. I pulled slightly to the side and was both sickened and saddened by what I saw. Worm bodies in a semi decayed state, still with stretch but with no life. Barely a day away from being unrecognizable. But such is the way of life, ashes to ashes, worms to muck.

This allows me to perform a small experiment – assuming that mom doesn’t ditch the entire waste treatment plant in a bucket. Leaving the buckets alone for a month or so should allow the lettuce to melt into mush and any worm egg casings to hatch. In theory, the hatchlings should repopulate the buckets. I should really add a second set of buckets to mom’s system so they can handle the double down. I may have to add some more worms to her system though.


Get your own Red Wiggler worms (EF)

It’s a Miracle!

Filed under: General,Religion — site admin @ 7:21 am

Those Chilean miners trapped for two months after a mine collapse have begun their return to the surface. Here in Arizona, one man said in an interview, “it’s a miracle”. Really? I thought that there were people drilling a rescue shaft over the last two months to reach the miners. There is heavy equipment and quite a few workers on the scene and these miners are now taking a fifteen minute ride to freedom.

This is not a miracle. A miracle is if people gathered around the breathing hole, prayed and the earth opened up, forming stair steps with a hand rail so that the miners weren’t trapped for two months. That’s a miracle. That did not happen.

10/6/2010

Repeat After Me

Filed under: General,Politics — site admin @ 6:15 pm

There’s no such thing as global warming or catastrophic climate change. And there weren’t tornadoes on a mountain top either. Oh wait, there were.
Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

Tornadoes rip through Bellemont

More photos and story
This is gonna be national news

9/27/2010

The High Cost of Backyard Chickens

Filed under: Gardening — site admin @ 7:21 am

Feeding backyard chickens can be a lot of work.

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