Archive for May, 2008

Thirty-two

As of this moment, I’ve been thirty-two years old for about 24 minutes. And I can’t say that I’m terribly excited about it. It’s not that I feel like I’m getting “old” — rather, I look at the goals I’ve set for myself in past years, and whether or not I’ve achieved them.
While I feel that I’ve made good progress in certain areas, there are still some things that I still need to work on (a lot). So, with that in mind, here’s my list of goals for the next year:

  • Feel more comfortable in my own skin; improve self-esteem
  • Take more risks (and by that I don’t mean go skydiving)
  • Find outlets for meeting like-minded people
  • Be able to express feelings/emotions to people I’m close to
  • Avoid snarkyness and judgment
  • Work more efficiently (improve time management skills)
  • Continue meditation practice (I haven’t mentioned this one before, I started about a month ago)

All of these goals are focused on my mind, and my thinking. Sure, I have other things I’d like to do this year, but I think the items above are holding me back. I don’t expect to achieve each of these in one year, but I’m going to try my best.

Just great

Earlier tonight, my car got hit (well, scraped actually) in a parking lot by a guy in a truck who was backing out carelessly. My mom and I were in the car at the time, having just pulled in. As luck would have it, this guy speaks very poor English, has no drivers license, and — you guessed it — no auto insurance.
My mom had to do most of the talking, since she knows Spanish and I don’t. The guy was upset with himself and was apologetic, and not surprisingly, wants to pay my directly for the repairs. Problem for him is that painting one side of a Lexus isn’t going to be cheap. I’ll give him some estimates, but I have a feeling I’ll end up calling my insurance company on this one.
Suggestions are welcome, by the way…
Update: Got two estimates today, one for about $1400, the other for $2200. I sent the truck owner a letter (in both English and machine-translated Spanish) and my mom will be calling him as well. Not sure how this is going to turn out.
Update 2: The guy will supposedly pay in cash this Friday.
Update 3: As promised, the guy had the money for me on Friday. Seems like a decent guy.

Cool pic of the week

I’m not really sure why I like this one, but here it is anyway. Taken from Fort Point with the Fuji FinePix S100fs.
mol.jpg

Comcast sucks

A few months ago, I had big problems with Comcast’s Internet service, and amazingly I did not blog about it. I’m having trouble again, so this time I’m just going to let it all out.
The old story (a few months ago):
Comcast released a new “speed tier” in my area, known as Blast. This promised speeds of 16 Mbps / 2 Mbps (up/down), which is pretty amazing. In order to use this service, your modem had to be updated with new software. The problem was, Comcast kept pushing software for the wrong modem to my cable modem. Thus, I was never updated to the new tier. It took at least a week to get it straightened out, and Comcast had nothing to do with the end result.
I had multiple phone calls with various support people, ranging from the useless Tier 1 people, all the way up to the Tier 2.5 people (you know, the ones who can actually do something). I heard many false promises, and several lies. They’d say my problem was fixed, or that it didn’t matter that the wrong firmware was being sent (gimme a break). One of the Tier 2.5 techs promised to fix the problem, and call me personally a few days later to confirm. Neither ever happened. They sent me to my local office to see if they could put the correct information into the database, but that still didn’t fix the problem.
Finally, I said, what if I just BUY the modem they’re sending the firmware for? I went to Fry’s and spent $70 on a new modem… call Comcast to activate it… and wouldn’t you know it, the firmware update went through instantly, and I got the faster speeds.
Jumping to more recent events: Yesterday, my Internet service just flat out died at 2pm. I tried the usual things, but nothing would fix it. Looking at the modem logs, it seemed that the network was not recognizing that I was a customer. I called the tech support line, and here’s what ensued:
Me: Gives Comcast way too much personal information for a tech support issue
Support guy: For some reason, your modem has been removed from our network. Sometimes, our automated systems remove modems accidentally, especially those that are purchased.
Me: Oh, great.
Support:
… 15 minutes pass while he punches in God knows what ….
Support: I’m sorry, I’m unable to add your modem to the network. The issue has been escalated to a higher tier that can assist you. This issue should be resolved in 24 hours.
Me: How do I know this same issue won’t happen again?
Support: Sorry sir, I don’t have that information.
Me: Why does it take 24 hours? Can’t you transfer me to someone who can fix it now?
Support: I’m sorry sir.
Me: I run a home business and this Internet connection is my lifeline. I need it fixed. There’s nothing you can do?
Support: I apologize for the inconvenience sir.
Me: Can someone there call me when it’s fixed?
Support: No, I’m sorry sir.
Me: This is the second problem I’ve had in the last few months. If this continues, I will cancel my account.
Support: I apologize for the inconvenience.
Me: Well, thanks for your help, I guess.
Needless to say that I am REAL pissed off at Comcast. They refuse to take ownership for their mistakes, and customers are treated at the same level as pond scum. The front line employees are completely useless, and only exist to stall you, hoping you’ll give up.
But what choice do you have? Thanks to the government’s approval of every big corporate merger, there’s no competition. I can switch to AT&T and get DSL. Yeah, AT&T’s a whole lot better. Sigh.
Update: Got home tonight and it was still not working. Called the 800 number twice. First time was told that it was fixed, but that there was a network outage. When I asked for a supervisor, I was connected back to the main menu. Second time I called, the rep hung up on me. Tried the online chat too. First time the woman was completely useless, and could barely write. Second guy escalated me to Mike in 2nd Tier support who fixed the problem in 15 minutes. THANK YOU MIKE! Now if they could only clone him about 10,000 times.

Counting my blessings

Talk about getting out at the right time. If I had waited a few more months to sell my house in Brentwood, I would’ve been in a world of trouble. The headline of this article says it all: Brentwood the poster child for housing bust. Ouch.
Oh, and just to show you how messed up things are:
In 2003 I paid $349,750 for my house out there
I sold it in 2005 for $540,000
Now it’s worth approximately $325,000!