Pain and debt

I am in pain.

Luke got the last of his stuff out of the house this weekend, and that included the TV, which I helped him load into his car. It was obviously more of a strain than I thought, because I woke up this morning with a pain in my right arm and chest… and a bit in my legs as well. And a headache, which may or may not be related.

So, now that there was a hole in the living room where there once was a TV (a rather clean patch of carpet surrounded by some very dusty carpet), I needed to put the TV shopping into high gear. I went to the last major retailer I had yet to hit, The Good Guys. They actually had the model in stock, and was cheaper than I’d seen it in any physical storefront. (I’ve seen it for cheaper online, but then you’re paying quite a bit on shipping a 130 pound box…) So I made a salesclerk very happy. All he had to do was say “can I help you with anything?” and he had his sale. And it was delivered later that day.

So the empty space has been filled. Now I have a corresponding chunk of debt on my credit card. I need to go to Fry’s tonight and pick up a few other cables and a power conditioner, though.

On another note, Dom mentioned my name in his MT rant last week. Today I’ve had three different people (as well as one on Friday) IM me saying “Who is this?” The first one confused the heck out of me, I responded with “What do you mean, who is this, you IMed me!” Well, the second one was so proud of themselves because they thought of actually putting “Hamusutaa” into an AIM window and seeing who responded and mentioned this to me when I realized what was going on.

MegaTokyo fans… *shudder*

How not to run a customer service website.

For the last four or five years, I’ve had an eFax Plus account. This is a fax number of my very own, local to me, that you can send faxes to and it shows up as an email attachment in my email. This was very useful when I was working on the Fanime con dealer’s room, as a lot of faxing was going on between me and the dealers. As time went on, though the only thing I’ve used it for is the occasional received fax from my financial advisor… which, if need be, could have been sent to my work fax, as it’s just down the hallway. For this privilege, I’ve been charged $13 a month. Today, I finally got around to canceling this account, but it turned out to be less simple than that.

I forgot the actual number, as it’s been so long and I only have it written down in my Palm Pilot (which is dead). So I had to have an email sent from them telling me my number when I put in my email address. That got caught by my spam filter, and I had to fish it out. Then, I had to request my PIN from them after entering the fax number. That took 30 minutes to go through, and was also caught by the spam filter.

After logging in, I tried to find the cancel account button. Now, there was something odd here that I’m not really going to bother looking in to, but still is unsettling. They were still charging the $13 a month to my Visa, even though the expiration date had passed, and I was on a new expiration date. (This was an issue a few months ago when a bunch of automatic charges failed and had to be re-setup.) But anyway, searching through the online help eventually told me that I need to do one of those stupid online chat things with a customer service representative to actually cancel my account.

The guy would not let me go. The general gist of the conversation went like this, although many things were repeated back and forth multiple times: “You want to cancel? We’ll give you two free months, and see how you feel after that.” I haven’t used it in three years, two months isn’t going to make a difference. I’ll just forget to contact you in two months (which is what you’re banking on) and we’ll be back where we started. “I can set it up so that it automatically cancels after the two months.” The website says that it’s not considered canceled until confirmed by a customer service rep. “Okay, it’s canceled.”

Only it took 15 minutes to do so. Why couldn’t there just be a button on the website? No, they don’t want to make it that easy. They want your money.

Well, they don’t have mine anymore. I wish I had the money of mine back they already have.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is a very good game, although very short it is full of eye candy and references to old games.

I have turned off the IRC server on my linux machine. #conversatron died a long time ago, I just didn’t know it. I kept going back, but the last few times it was completely empty. This is the first step in what I hope will be the eventual migration of everything off that machine so I can just get a shell account / webhost somewhere and not have to worry about the bandwidth of the DSL.

Once again, there was a third thing that I can’t remember now.

Language barriers

I had an odd experience today in FFXI, yet one that’s not entirely unavoidable and I’m surprised hasn’t happened already.

It was a day of catching up on random quests. I got all sorts of things done that I’d been putting off, and got a few more quests to put into the “forget to mark down, and forget to do” pile. Well, one of these involved getting a Wild Pamama (FFXI’s version of a banana) of an Opo-Opo (Monkey) and taking it to a shrine and yelling out my name. Well, I was taking forever to get the Wild Pamama, kept getting normal Pamamas, so I started getting restless, and looking around. I saw on a webpage that there was a Notorious Monster version of the Opo-Opo that spawned every 2-3 hours one grid space over, so I worked my way over to that area. I came into the room, and sure enough, there he was: Mischevious Micholas. I claimed him, but after I did, I noticed another guy right there.

Well, the fight wasn’t an easy one, but I managed to beat him while simultaneously getting berated in Japanese by this guy. I’m not sure exactly what he was saying but as soon as I replied to him using the autotranslator “(I’m sorry.) (Japanese) (I don’t understand.)” he got very angry saying I had a Japanese name, and therefore must be Japanese. (I go by Hamusutaa in FFXI as well, which I’ve come to regret sometimes.) Ironically, I actually understood that part.

I got the rare drop from the monkey, but didn’t know what to do. Was he angry because he was in the middle of fighting him? No, he was at full health when I started fighting him. Was he just angry because he had been waiting there upwards of two hours and I just waltzed in and grabbed the guy right in front of him? When that happens to me, I get angry beyond words, and that’s sometimes on the Notorious Monsters that spawn every hour or so, let alone three hours.

Eventually it seems like he cooled down… and didn’t necessarily apologize, but at least said that things were okay. I took a screenshot of the entire conversation. You can see my conversation with the guy (Rikiriki), as well as another random guy who was messaging me (Eir) who I thought was a friend of Rikiriki’s, but went “sore ga nan da yo” when I asked him if he was Rikiriki’s friend, so I think he was just a victim of circumstance. You can also see my conversation with Luke (Azalyn) about the whole thing, but there was other stuff going on in the Linkshell chat as well that I didn’t include in the screenshot. And best of all, you get to see my pitiful attempts at communicating in Japanese.

Here’s the screenshot. If any of you who know Japanese can let me know what was said, I’d appreciate it.

I think I’m either going to just sell the dagger to Luke or wait a while to sell it, because I don’t want him to see the Auction House history and see my name there… at least if I wait he’ll assume I kept going back to get it. I don’t want him to feel bad.

verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus chorus

So this morning at 7 a.m. I was awoken by a thunderclap, vaguely registered the sound of pouring rain outside, and went back to sleep.

The subject line is something that’s been in my head for a while. I can’t help but deconstruct every song I hear now, and they almost all fit that pattern. Yes, I know the musical theory behind it, and why it’s aesthetically pleasing, yadda yadda yadda, but I can’t help but notice it now.

Luke finally started moving his stuff out of the house. He got his books, tapes and bookshelf, and His TV is going to follow… so I’m in the market for a new TV. I’ve been gravitating towards the Mitsubishi WD-52725, but I want to make sure I know what else is out there before spending that much money.

Two nights ago, I finally got Rank 6 in FFXI. A Japanese player decided that he wanted to try and solo the shadowlord as a WAR75/NIN37, so he, along with a WHM75/BLM37 for backup, and I went into the burning circle. I was just there to trigger the fight and cheer him on. He beat it, too. I finally was able to get my Royal Army Mantle, but I can’t get my Royal Guard’s Fleuret until San d’Oria is in first again. And that hasn’t happened in months.

Grey clouds, they’re a formin’

So, besides the passing of Will Eisner, today is very morbid for another reason. Today is the last day that the majority of my department is in the office. They’re all in for their exit interviews and packing up their cubes before getting laid off / outsourced / (possibly) hired back to the agency now doing the work. People just keep wandering around, saying goodbye to other people, chatting, answering the same questions over and over, and generally just putting a black cloud over the whole area. Of course, it’s also that today is an Ultra-Monday, being the first day back from work in what was, for all intents and purposes, 11 days off — we got Friday and Monday off for the past two weekends, and no one really worked those three days in between.

At least the sun keeps trying to peek out from the clouds every once in a while, or it would be a thoroughly miserable day.