Using My Powers For Good will be undergoing a sort of ” electronic facelift” over the next couple of days. If things look odd(-er than usual), please rest assured that we will soon be back. with a new look, but as always, with our usual keen reporting on all that is humorous in this blogger’s everyday life.
Generally speaking, I tend to leave everything technological and electronic up to my husband. And generally speaking, that tends to be in the best interests of everyone involved.
Although I do sometimes find it a little upsetting when people won’t even give me a chance. For example, when The Gamers are here on the weekend they sometimes ask me to go online and look up hints for them so they won’t have to miss a split second of combat with the demon-zombie-vampire-chainsaw-wielding-donkey-riding-skeleton-people, or whoever it is they’re fighting this week. But apparently I’m not able to complete this task quickly enough for them.
“Here, give me that,” they’ll say impatiently, irritated that their quest for the golden dragon fangs must temporarily be put on hold.
[Read more…] about Highway To The Danger Zone
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there just are not words to describe just how much I love my Black Berry.
I bought my Black Berry last year as a birthday gift to myself, and I have enjoyed it so much over the past year that sometimes it causes me to spontaneously burst out into verse:
“I think that I shall never see/a poem as lovely as my Black Berry.”
“Oh Black Berry, Oh Black Berry, how lovely is thy keypad.”
My Black Berry is like a tiny, tangible talisman of love. Whenever I hear it vibrating away as it receives some email I think, “Hooray! Someone wants to talk to me!
Of course to hear my husband describe it, my Black Berry love is less adoration and more addiction, but what does he know? Sure I like to have it near me at all times so as to instantly be able to access my emails, even to the point of keeping it right here on my desk with me as I work on my computer. And yeah, so maybe I did ask my husband to drive me down the mountain on which my in-laws’ house is located on Christmas Day so as to be able to receive a signal, despite the fact that they have wireless Internet connection at their house and I could technically do whatever I wanted or needed to do on my laptop. And yes, perhaps there have been times when I’ve awoken in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and have been seized with the uncontrollable urge to check my email despite the fact that I don’t actually know anyone who emails me important information at 3 am.
And don’t even get me started on Instant Messaging and Text Messaging! (Oops! Please excuse me for a moment while I wipe the drool off of my computer screen.)
But anyway, the point of all of this is that now I can stay in constant communication with all the people I like without actually having to speak with them on the phone. Because, and this has been a deep, dark secret of mine for a LONG time, I am a “phonophobiac”. Yes, that’s right. I am afraid of calling people on the phone.
For a long time I was even terrified of having to place my fast food order into those speaker boxes they have in the drive-through line. But I was soon cured of that because, let’s face it, what doesn‘t an order of McDonald’s French fries cure?
If you’re reading this and thinking, “What?!”, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I’ve only met one other person who understands this fear of mine. Everyone else just looks at me as if I’ve just said something like, “You know, I’ve found that having to breathe in and out on a regular basis is really just too much for me to deal with.”
I recently tried to explain this to my family, but they just gave me The Look. You know, the one that says, “I hear the words you’re saying, but they’re…just…not…making…any…sense.” (Incidentally, this is a look that I am VERY familiar with, as I frequently see this same expression on the faces of my tutoring students.)
“So,” ventured my dad slowly, struggling to understand what I was saying, “is it getting any better?”
“No,” I sighed, rolling my eyes so hard that I temporarily severed important connections to my brain, “the whole point is that I finally realize that I don’t have to get better. It is OK for me to be this way. I am finally coming out as a phonophobiac!”
“So, you’re embracing it,” offered my brother, who is himself a Professional in The Art Of Being Unreachable By Phone.
And all was well for the next hour or so, until I heard my mother calling up the stairs for me to pick up the phone so I could talk to not one, not two, but THREE people on the phone ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
So you’d better believe that the gods of irony are going to be hearing from me about this, just as soon as I figure out how to reach them electronically. Um, does anyone know how to IM the Universe?
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
So, I have been having some issues with my fax machine lately. Issues that yesterday caused me to walk through my house all day long yelling about just how much I hate it, and how desperately I yearn for it to undergo a painful, explosive death.
I am the first to admit that I have absolutely NO patience when it comes to things like this. I go from ZERO to ENRAGED in less than a nanosecond. That is why my husband is in charge of All Inanimate Objects Containing Moving Or Electrical Parts.
But today I decided I would TRY and act like a responsible, mature adult, and so I called the “alleged” help line for my fax machine’s manufacturer.
Now, I will admit that I do have pretty high standards when it comes to customer service. And that is due to the fact that I, personally, have experienced outstanding customer service many times. So I know that it does actually exist.
For example, take the people who sold us our car.
My husband and I own an Audi, and a couple of years ago it was in the shop for service. Happily, our dealer provided us with a rental car to use in the meantime. We went to see a movie, and when we got back to the parking lot after the movie was over we discovered that we were unable to unlock the rental car. We called our dealer, and within a very short time someone drove out to the movie theater, popped open the trunk, GOT IN THE TRUNK, CLIMBED THROUGH THE ENTIRE CAR, and unlocked it for us from the inside. And they were GENUINELY HAPPY to do that for us. This is just one of the many reasons why we love Audi.
Or take our pest control company, Breda. It doesn’t matter how many times I call them, or what I ask them to do; they too are always happy to help me. I could call them up and say, “Um, there is a black cloud of death located directly over our house, and it’s raining down fiery, flaming scorpions on top of us, and they’re falling into a black pit of writhing, poisonous snakes, which is being whipped around by the hurricane-force winds of killer bees that is blowing in from the west,” and they would say, “OK, we can have your guy there tomorrow morning at 8 am.” And that is why we also love Breda.
I have also experienced extremely poor customer service, which unfortunately was what was constantly displayed by Our Former Internet Service Provider. Our high-speed Internet connection was giving us A Lot of problems, and eventually was “off” more than it was ever “on”. It got to the point where it would start cutting off in anticipation of any kind of inclement weather. So we’d wake up in the morning, see that, “Oh, the Internet connection’s out again,” and know that it was probably going to rain that day somewhere in the state of Georgia. So as a weather forecasting system it worked great, but as an Internet connection it totally sucked.
I called their so-called “help” line quite a bit back in those days, but all they ever told me to do was this: “Go get a paper clip, straighten it out, and poke it in the tiny hole on the back of your modem.”
So here’s what a hypothetical conversation with them would’ve looked like:
Hypothetical Me: “Um, there are flames shooting out of the top of my computer, and the screen has opened up and disgorged all of the fiery demons of hell, and there is a deep, cackling maniacal voice coming out of my speakers, and the demons are snatching up my cats and tossing them into the air to use as props in their satanical juggling routine. HELP!”
Hypothetical ISP: (in a heavy Indian accent) “OK. Do you have a paper clip?”
But, back to today. So I called the fax machine’s “help” line and did get connected to an actual human being, but I knew I was in trouble the minute I heard her speak. Because she was talking to me in the tone of voice that said, “Whatever is wrong is your fault, because you are a total %$$@&*(^% idiot, and now I have to deal with you.” Now, there have been PLENTY of times in my life when I have, in fact, been a total &^%$#&*( &^% idiot, but to just ASSUME that I am one because I needed to call your help line is kind of a big jump in my mind. Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?
But I really need to send some faxes today so I continued the conversation, willing for her to dislike me if she could just tell me how to get my machine to work. But, no, that was not in the cards for me today. Because no matter what I said to her, all she ever said back to me was, “Hm, that could be a problem.” Every answer I gave her was wrong. It was like being hit on the head repeatedly with the hammer of, “This Is How Much You Suck!”
I could’ve had this conversation with her, and the answer would have been just the same.
Hypothetical Me: “Hi, I’m calling about my Sharp fax machine. I’m calling from Sharp headquarters. I invented every single Sharp product known to man. I am the physical embodiment of all Sharp technology that currently exists in physical form on this planet.”
Sharp Help Line Lady : (hypothetically speaking) “Hm, that could be the problem.”
EEEECCCCKKKK! THUNK! (Those are the hypothetical sounds of me traveling through the phone line and bludgeoning her to death with my dysfunctional fax machine).
So anyway, I guess I will have to wait until tonight when my husband gets home so I can ask him to take a look at The Stupid Fax Machine Which I Hate And I Hope It Dies And I Wish I Could Beat It To Death With A Sledgehammer!!!!
Not that I am bitter. Or cranky. And I definitely DO NOT need a nap! Ggrr!
We’re pretty excited here in blog land because this is our very first post that we’ve ever done from a remote location, and not sitting at home in our office. But despite my new feelings of technological mastery I clearly have some more work to do before I reach the levels at which my husband and father-in-law are currently residing.
Here is the conversation that my mother-in-law and I were having on the way home from dinner:
My MIL: “See how they’ve decorated all the lamp posts in town with those white lights.”
Me: “That’s really pretty. Remember when they used to have those really big multicolored lights? I really miss those.”
Here is the conversation that was taking place between my husband and my father-in-law in the backseat.
My husband: “Tonight after the movie we need to get started on that black belt level Sudoku puzzle.”
My FIL: “What we really need is a copier so we have enough sheets to try out different possibilities.”
My husband: “We could generate a spread sheet in Excel to do that for us.”
My FIL: “I bet we could even create it so that it checked to make sure that all of our totals were correct.”
My husband: “What is the total?”
My FIL: “What’s 9 factorial? Is that it?”
My husband: “No! 9 factorial is huge!”
My FIL: “Oh, you’re right. What was I thinking?!”
(Snorts and chortling laughter as they realize their mathematical gaffe.)
Clearly, I cannot start drinking eggnog soon enough.
It’s a happy, happy day here in our household, because my Internet connection has finally been restored.
For the past couple of weeks our connection has grown increasingly worse, and I have grown increasingly more crazed.
As my husband has flitted from his office, to his various business-related travel destinations, to his various hotels, all with their perfectly functioning Internet connections, I don’t think he was really getting just how frustrated I was. When I told him last night that I was ready to throw my brand-new laptop-which I had just received a month ago for my birthday-out the window, that seemed to spur him into action.
He got online and set up an appointment for a technician to come to our house today (did I mention that his Internet connection was working just fine?) So I was starting to feel much better, until he shared the following observation with me.
“I wonder if we have rodents that are chewing through our lines?”
Then he said, “What are the chances of you going down to the basement to check that out?”
Have you ever been under the influence of an irrational belief so strong that, despite absolutely knowing that you are totally making this fear up, and despite never once seeing any shred of evidence that there is cause for this fear, it still powerfully controls your behavior?
I am that way about snakes. I am terrified of snakes and, despite all evidence to the contrary, I am CONVINCED that huge groups of snakes totally surround our house. There are certain places around our house where I will never go because I just KNOW that the snakes are waiting there to get me.
That information is important to this story, because in order to get to our basement you have to go outside, down the deck stairs, and across the backyard. There is no access from inside our house. So my husband was asking me to go outside, in the dark, past two of the places where the imaginary snakes live, into the basement, where he was pretty sure I would find REAL rats.
On the one hand, I suppose I could have been flattered that he thought I was brave enough to do this by myself. But I decided to respond with, “Are you insane?!”, with a little dash of, “Have you met me?!” thrown in to “kick it up a notch.”
I am happy to say that it was not necessary for me to go down to the basement last night, and even happier to say that when the technician was here he did not say one single word about rodents. And now our Internet connection is working perfectly.
Now, if I could just figure out who to call about those imaginary snakes…
So this spring I’ve been taking a marketing class in order to learn how to best use the Internet to support my business. As a result of that class I have been slowly increasing my computer knowledge and abilities, and often my husband helps me expand what I’m learning by sitting down with me and showing me even more things I can do with my website.
So the other day we sat down together just like we’ve always done so he could teach me how to do something new. But this time it was like I was suddenly abducted by aliens and then put back into a parallel world where everything appeared to be the same, but in reality, everyone except for me spoke some sort of alien language. This is an an attempt to recreate how our conversation went.
My husband (or so I thought): “OK, first you need to click on the ‘MYSQLVBC+DOSRAMSAPLINUXBYTEREMPDQASAP’. Then it will take you to the ‘135791113171923313741’. So then you will need to ‘whirl-beep-beep-creak-clang-crash!’ and then it will always ‘we-are-the-borg-you-will-be-assimilated-resistance-is-futile’.”
“Are you writing this down?”
Clearly, I was not. Clearly, all of my available mental faculties were tied up in planning my escape back to my home planet.
I mean, it’s not as if I expect to just automatically understand everything in life. As a matter of fact, there are lots of times when I go into a situation knowing that I will not have the foggiest idea what is going on, such as any time I try and understand what my brother, a Ph.D. candidate in organic chemistry, actually does.
For example, last month he gave a big presentation at a national gathering of his peers and my mom sent me the title and abstract from his presentation. Out of 97 words, here are the parts I understood: ” to be used in the”, and “naturally occurring substance.” That’s it. And I’m totally fine with that. I actually kind of like the fact that I can’t even understand the layperson’s version of his work because there isn‘t a layperson’s version. I enjoy just begin able to appreciate his brilliance without actually having to understand it. It’s just the times when a seemingly familiar situation gets turned upside down that throw me off.
I’m not really sure what to do about those times, but I have my tinfoil hat ready…just in case.