That reminds me

An interesting characteristic of our brain is associative memories.

It is throwback Thursday, after all.

I’m refering to the brain’s ability to connect two completely different items or concepts.

Music, for example, has very powerful associative properties. For many of us, hearing a certain song will awaken certain memories, some happy, some sad.

Many songs will remind us of a time in our past when we first heard the song, say a childhood event, or a year in school.

Some songs give us a vague feeling, such as “Sugar, Sugar,” by The Archies gives me a general happy feeling about my chikdhood, whereas others are more specific. When I hear “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron,” I’m back in the Cub Scouts with my friends taking a train down to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Some parent had brought an AM radio along and we’d sing to somenof the Top 40 hits.

Another example is, I used to listen to Black Sabbath’s first album while a teenager reading sword and sorcery tales, particularly the Conan stories by Robert E. Howard.

Now, when I listen to Black Sabbath, a feeling comes over me, a mood, if you will, that is similar to reexperiencing the awe and wonder I had back then reading those stories.

So intense is this mood that now I’ll play their music when I’m writing, hoping to capture some of that magic in my own story.

Smells also provide strong associative memories. Maybe a whiff of a certain cologne or perfume will bring back memories of someone out of our past.

Sometimes the association will surprise us because it was unexpected.

For instance, the reason for this rather bland post is because I was making coffee and enjoying the aroma of the freshly ground coffee.

Now I’ve been around the smell of coffee my whole life. There are many decades worth of memories associated with it that I could have recalled.

I could have remembered my time in the Navy, where coffee was figuratively our life’s blood. We drank it nonstop from the moment we awoke until we fell asleep. Our index fingers nearly atrophied into a permanent crook from holding our coffee cups.

On the other hand, because I do drink it regularly, the pleasant scent of coffee doesn’t always trigger any specific memories, it just puts me into a good mood.

Today I was surprised when the coffee scent triggered a memory of my childhood. I was taken back to my parents’ house before they were divorced. Back when I thought my childhood was happy.

Both my parents had coffee in the morning, so our house would fill up with the odor as it was being brewed in an old aluminum electric purculator in our kitchen.

It was similar to the old perculators they’d show in the Maxwell House coffee commercials, like this one:

I remembered that my dad, who, because he drank a lot of coffee, smelled of it. Many people remember the scent of their dad’s calogne. Me, I remember that he smelled like coffee.

My mom had made breakfast and ee were eating at the kitchen table, while my dog, Thor, lay just outside the kitchen doorway watching us. He wasn’t allowed in the kitchen and he stayed obediently on the other side until we came out.

It was an odd associative memory and I thought I’d share.

Have you had any associative memories lately that surprised you?

-30-

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The week in review

A Friday Haiku

This Friday signals
The solemn end of summer
Hello Labor Day

What’s up, doc, part II

My doctor wanted me in ASAP (or should I say STAT?) for an EKG. He was worried about my heart.

I may have overstated the symptoms I was experiencing since stopping my diuretic. *sheepish grin*

Remember, last week I stopped taking my diuretic for hypertension, and I’ve been monitoring it.

My blood pressure seemed to be slightly elevated. At his office last week, on HBP meds, it was 100/60. My home machine was registering in the 140s/80s.

I was having a constant, mild headache. I had gained seven pounds in five days. And I mentioned I felt sluggish and I was winded walking up the stairs I normally take. (I guess I also failed to mention I had my backpack on, which adds another 10 to 15 pounds.)

He asked if I had a cough. No, I didn’t. But he wanted me in immediately.

Those emails took place Wednesday, I went in Thursday morning.

Well, the EKG was fine. In fact, it looked virtually identical to the one I had taken 20 years ago.

Plus, his bp machine measured me at 128/80. So obviously, my home machine is way off.

He had been worried that I had suffered congestive heart failure (Thus the question about having a cough), whereas I attributed it all to gaining 7 pounds in 5 days.

So we had a discussion about the diuretic again. His philosophy is to have his patients on as few drugs as possible. At this point, there are three tacts we could take. 1) Go back on the diuretic because we knew that was working (and continue to pee a lot and have dizzy spells). 2) Continue as I’m doing, monitoring things, and see where that leads. 3) We could try another drug to work with the ACE inhibitor I’m already taking (and have to deal with all new side-effects until we find one I can tolerate).

Guess which door I chose?

(Oh, he also gave me a fourth option. Allowing me to take the diuretic whenever I felt I needed a boost.)

Thus, if I cut out as much salt as possible and continue to exercise and lose weight, I should be able to stay off the diuretic.

So, goodbye bacon. Goodbye McDonald’s and Burger King. Goodbye canned soups. Good bye pickles. Goodbye salted popcorn. Goodbye salted peanuts in the shell. Goodbye all you other heavily salted snack foods that I love so much.

Hello bland.

The editing stage

To be honest, I’ve always hated editing. I just find it tedious to read and reread and reread a story again and again as I try to find flaws, fix mistakes, correct continuity errors, and so on.

Tedious. Boring.

Except this time. I’m enjoying editing. Maybe it’s because I really do love this story and the characters. Maybe it’s because as I’m reading it, I’m finding more places to put witty banter in to help round out the characters’ personalities and give a more believable portrayal of their relationships.

I guess it’s a writer thing.

Weigh-In Friday

I’m up, I’m down. This morning I weighed 204 pounds, which means I gained 3.1 pounds from last Friday.

But wait! On Wednesday, I had weighed 206.9 pounds. I had gained 7 pounds in just 5 days. My doctor had warned me that I’d gain water weight when I stopped taking the diuretic. But 7 pounds? That’s a lot of fluid retention. Every cell must have been drowning.

So even though I gained weight from my last official weigh-in, technically, I’ve lost 2.9 pounds.

My body is slowly acclimating to not taking the diuretic. I hope to be back on track by next week.

Bigly news about a yuge loser

I don’t know if you caught this article, but TheRump’s son-in-law said, that everyone should be nice to the big orange turd because negative comments about TheRump make him depressed and suicidal.

Well, yeah, that isn’t really news. Anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to the orange turd’s behavior would have suspected that.

Why else does he get so defensive and lashes out at anyone who criticizes him? Because he can’t handle the truth.

Why else would he label the mainstream media “fake news?” Because if he thinks of it as fake news, the negative stories they print can’t hurt him. And if he calls it the “failing” NY Times, anything they print he can chalk up to desperation on their part. (Yes, TheRump is delusional as well.)

Why else would he have special briefings packages delivered to him several times a day that contain only positive news stories about him?

And really. Where do they even find that much positive news about him? Ive heard sone of thise briefings are over an inch thick. Who is giving TheRump that much positive press? Pravda? FauxNews? The White Nationalist’s Gazette?

Maybe he hired a bunch of staff writers to just make up happy Donny stories.

So, yes, finding out the current SCROTUS, suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts is nothing new. But I bet this information makes more Americans sleep less easy at night knowing this guy with a hair-trigger temper is in charge of all our nukes.

It’s a good day to be a Milwaukeean

That’s because our own conservative unstable, hatemonger David Clarke, the Milwaukee County Sheriff, has resigned.

Yes. There is jubilation, my friends. People are dancing in the streets in Brewtown.

Here’s a song to celebrate by:

And that, as they say in the movies, is a wrap. Have a great three-day weekend!

-30-

Talkin bout Friday

A Friday Haiku

Nothin’ you could say

Could make me not love Friday

Talkin bout Friday!

(My apologies to Mary Wells)

Friday!

WIP wrapup

I finally finished the first draft on the novel I’ve been working on since January. I just typed “the end.” Well, actually, I typed “-30-” the same way I end my blogs and how I’ve ended all my stories forever.

The weird thing was, I could have sworn that I had written down several variations of the ending in my notebook, but I feverishly paged through it and nothing. Nada. Not one word on the ending.

Did I write them all in my head? They seemed so real. So I ended up writing a new ending.

Now I’m debating if I should do the “put it away and forget about it for a while” technique or if I should just jump right in and start editing it.

Most likely, I’ll jump right in. With my poor short term memory, I probably can’t recall much of the story anyway, so there’s no point in trying to distance myself from it.

Besides, I’ve sort of been editing it as I’ve gone along.

Finding the ideal run time

Because I’ve stopped my morning runs, I’ve been looking for a good alternate time to run.

So far, the best time is as soon as I get home before I start preparing dinner.

It’s a somewhat good time because it’s early enough in the evening that my body won’t have all that addrenaline running through it when it’s bedtime.

It doesn’t always work however, if I have to stop at the store for a needed something for whatever meal we’re planning.

Which means, we have to prepare menus ahead of time so we know what needs to be defrosted or what ingredients we don’t have on hand.

Adulting is hard.

Weigh-in Friday

Despite my doctor’s scale reading 204 pounds (it’s one of those old-fashioned ones where they still slide the weights to find a balance point and guess your weight, my home scale thus morning read 199.6 pounds. A slight uptick from my low of 198, but down from a more recent 202 because I had a bad weekend a while back going to Wisconsin State Fair and eating things on a stick and their world famous cream puffs.

WordPress complaint

I write these blogposts on my smartphone and usually I have no issues, except when it comes to creating the headings.

For some reason, they just don’t take. The first one does, but each subsequent heading doesn’t change. While highlighted it shows the heading, “H4” or whatever, but when I unhighlight it, the text is normal. So I’m forced to bold and italicize the headings so you know they’re there until I can edit it at home on my computer. It’s a little frustrating.

Does anyone else have that issue?

US Cellular rebate update

After all the rigamarole we went through, and after waiting all this time (we joined them on June 11th), our rebate cards finally came. As I’ve said before, the entire process of leaving Verizon, joining US Cellular, getting new phones, cost over $2000, which is why people don’t switch cellphone service providers all that often. And after all was said and done, we got $350 in US Cellular cash. That’s better than the $40 they originally were going to give us.

Still, it is basically fake money. They aren’t Mastercard or Visa gift cards. They’re US Cellular cards good only at US Cellular locations. I’ll use it to pay one month’s bill.

And after all that, our bill isn’t any better than it was with Verizon.

I do, however, get reception downtown, which is something I never got with Verizon. So I’ll count my blessings and leave it at that.

Have a Happy weekend!

And that, my friends, is that. I’ll spare you any rants about the orange turd in the Oval Office, although he did give us plenty of ammunition this week to ridicule him with. It’s like he does and says outrageous shit on purpose just to get a reaction or to see how far along he can string his idiotic followers until they finally say, “Uncle. Even we can’t excuse that.” But so far, they’ve bought it all. Sad!

And on that note, let’s get the weekend started with some Little Feat, “Fatman in the Bathtub.”

Enjoy!

-30-

What’s up, Doc?

TMI Warning: The following concerns men’s health issues, specifically mine. If words like urine, prostate, and Trump is an asshole disturb you, then read no further.

Addendum to TMI Warning: My apologies, it seems the words Trump is an asshole only appear in the above warning. My bad.

Went in for my annual physical exam today. Unlike the stereotypical male, who never goes to the doctor except in an ambulance, who takes better premaintenance care of his cars than their own bodies, I do get regular checkups and do go in when I’m not feeling at my best.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If something feels “off,” I go in. I don’t want to put it off as “nothing,” or think it can wait, because many maladies don’t wait.

What might seem like a passing discomfort could turn out to be something serious and now untreatable. If only you hadn’t ignored it.

Sorry. Not sorry. Lecture over.

If you want to skip past the rest of this, I got a clean bill of health.

To start with, my pulse was 60. My blood pressure was 100/60. And his lying scale said I’m 204 pounds.

The scale, it seems, measures everyone consistently four pounds more than their home scale, he said. He wasn’t sure why that was. I proposed it was because we were clothed and in my case, had my wallet, keys, a knife, and a fidget spinner in my pocket.

He asked about concerns, I asked if I could go off the diuretic he has me on, in addition to a ACE Inhibitor (yeah, my BP was through the roof). I’ve since lost weight, maybe 30 pounds and I’ve been exercising regularly.

He first was thinking of changing BP meds altogether, but when I mentioned I was having dizzy spells recently, he said we were probably over-treating the BP and yes, I could stop the diuretic; I just have to monitor my BP for a while to see where it goes. He also warned that eliminating the diuretic might increase my fluid retention and thus my weight. But since I’m losing weight, that probably won’t be much of a concern.

Another concern I had was the soles of my feet cramp up really bad sometimes, especially when I first lie down to sleep. He said ending the diuretic should take care of that. The diuretic robs the body of potassium, which would then cause cramps. Here I thought it was from running.

I hated that damned diuretic. It made me feel like I was a six years old again getting a sudden urge to rush to the bathroom, dancing while struggling to get unzipped in time, hoping not to wet myself.

He told me the factors that can cause high blood pressure, and the biggest culprit was sodium. I said I rarely salt my food. He said it’s everywhere and most people unknowingly consume 10,000 milligrams a day. The things to avoid are adding extra salt, fast food lime McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc. Even regular restaurants often have too much sodium. Soups, canned or otherwise, have a lot of sodium. So does ketchup and especially soy sauce, which is fine, I use ketchup sparingly and soy sauce only when a recipe calls for it.

I confessed my love for heavily salted snack chips and he nodded his shame as well.

He said you can’t completely eliminate salt, even if you got down to just 2,000 milligrams a day, your food would taste like cardboard. So, moderation. Eat as bland as possible.

Damn you, salt! Why must you make food so tasty while killing us?

He then went through my risk factors for heart disease and I’m down to one now. Age, which I can’t do much about.

Except I still feel like a teenager. Why is that?

I’ve lost weight. I quit smoking 22 years ago. I exercise regularly. My cholesterol and BP are controlled through medications. I don’t have diabetes. And heart disease doesn’t run in my family.

Then we discussed my prostate. One in five men die of prostate cancer and that risk only increases with age. By 80, it’s down to one in two.

They used to give a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, but they’ve stopped that screening because the test was virtually useless. Now they only go by a change in symptoms: size increase (my doctor stopped checking mine years ago), more frequent urination, and a weak stream. Symptoms that might seem obvious but being men, we ignore it or waste money by buying something idiotic like Super Beta Prostate.

Also the test would give false positives. Don’t I know it. I had a scare several years back when my numbers started increasing. The “C” word was spoken in hushed whispers. I went in for a biopsy, which, if they tell you it will be painless, they’re lying. It felt like they were stabbing me with this:

Thankfully, the results were negative and they never did figure out why my numbers had risen, which goes back to why the PSA test was useless.

Then we discussed the Shingles vaccine. I had chickenpox, so the virus is dormant in my spine waiting to send out red hot pokers of pain. He wanted to know if I wanted the vaccine, but suggested I consult my insurance because otherwise it would cost me $450 out of pocket. Medicare doesn’t cover it either.

*takes a deep breath* OK, I’ll spare you a rant on the high cost of medicines and health insurance companies.

Then we talked Hepetitis-C, the baby boomer disease. You know why the commercial calls it that? Because they sell the vaccine! Yeah. They’re scaring people into getting something they don’t need. *takes another calming breath*

The only baby boomers who need to worry about having Hep-C are free love hippies and intervenous drug users. You get Hep-C from unprotected sex and/or dirty needles! They never mention that in the commercial, they make it sound like it’s residing in all baby boomers just because.

After all that he said keep doing what you’re doing. I’m his healthiest patient.

Then I had a vein tapped for routine blood tests and I should know the results by tomorrow. “When was the last time you ate?” 6 o’clock. “This morning,” she said, with a note of irritation. No, last night. “Oh, good.”

After all that, I went to McDonald’s for a steak egg and cheese bagel and hashbrowns.

-30-

Thank the Greeks it’s Friday

A Historical Friday Haiku

The Greeks named today

“Hemera Aphrodites”

Aphrodite’s day.

Monday’s Solar Eclipse

Let me get the Public Service Warnings out of the way:

  • Do not stare at the sun or eclipse with the naked eye. Damage to your vision could result.
  • Do not look at the sun or eclipse through your camera’s viewfinder withiut an approved solar filter on the lens. Damage to your vision could result.
  • Do not take pictures of the sun/eclipse with your camera or smartphone without an approved solar shield. Damage to the electronics could result.

Be aware there are unscrupulous people selling “protective” solar eclipse eyeware that doesn’t protect you from shit. Amazon has been policing the sutuation, but many have already been sold.

That said, I’m really ticked at my ADHD procrastination. I saw solar eclipse glasses for sale at American Science and Surplus back in March when we were buying fun items for our kids’ Easter baskets.

I regret not buying them then because now they’re impossible to find. But then, if I had bought them, I wouldn’t remember where I put them these five months later.

Yesterday, I saw a sheet solar eclipse film for $27 that you could cut to your specifications. I figured I could cut them up so we could wear them on our faces, as well as buy an SLR 58mm empty filter to glue the film to and screw over the SLR camera’s lens.

But when I hit Add to Cart, I kept getting errors. Later, when I finally seaeched again, the price had jumped to $67! I hate the law of supply and demand.

So, I guess we have to go to the old school, tried and true method of putting a pinhole in a cereal box and watching the eclipse’s reflection through that.

Or, I could just go on FB and view the millions of FB Go Live events everyone will be posting.

Well, there’s another total solar eclipse expected on September 14, 2099. Maybe I should buy them Tuesday and out them away.

Fahrvergnügen

You remember the old Volkswagen ads, right? Fahrvergnügen! Which means, “driving pleasure.”

Tomorrow, we (specifically my wife) get to once again enjoy Fahrvergnügen!

We will be picking up our new 2017 VW Jetta SE. I don’t expect much sleeping tonight as we wait in restless anticipation like it’s the night before Christmas.

Our first car as a couple was a Jetta. Great car that we drove into the ground because neither of us are mechanics.

Weird thing was, it had no lap belts. It did have a shoulder belt. The salesman at Ernie Von Schledorn (“Who do you know want’s a car?”) told us that a lap belt was unnecessary because the dash was heavily padded to protect our knees in a crash.

And we believed the asshole.

Anyway, it was still a great car and we were fortunate never to have tested the padded dash.

But we wondered as we test drove and finally decided to welcome this new Jetta into our family, why it took almost 25 years to look at another VW?

My son and I were thinking of naming the Jetta, Jarvis, because that’s a good German name. My wife is leaning toward Jean-Luc, because … Piccard. And really, Star Trek and Patrick Stewart trump a Marvel AI anyday. Sorry, didn’t mean to trigger anyone by saying trump. Dang. Did it again.

And no, I’m not unhappy with my Fiat 500 already. In fact, here’s a

Gina Update

My Fiat 500 is still the most fun car to drive I’ve ever owned or even test drove. I have no idea where all the bad reviews come from. I haven’t experienced any issues at all and still find it an extremely enjoyable ride. In fact, no one shoukd be allowed to enjoy driving this much.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Well, maybe for a 500 Abarth, that little scorpion badge is pretty cool. Or maybe a 124 Spider. But that’s several years away.

I am thinking of adding a throaty performamce exhaust at some point though. I think Gina would sound good with a growl.

Weigh-In Friday

Yeah. Sorry. I forgot to weigh myself again. Don’t worry. Wednesday I see my doctor for a regularly scheduled annual checkup and I’m sure his scale will tell me I’m still a fat slug. It always does. No matter what my home scale says, I can always count on his scale to add several pounds. That scale hates me.

Update on Zagg

Last week i ranted about Zagg making hard screen protectors for the Samsung Galaxy S8 that are for shit. They only have glue along the two curved sides, which causes several problems.

One is they create an airgap between the screen and protector which inhibits touch sensitivity, forcing the user to press harder.

The second is they just fall off because there isn’t enough adhesive holding the protector to the glass.

My wife’s just fell off. My son’s didn’t fall off when he dropped it but the Invisible Shield itself cracked.

I invoked their warranty, which is a free replacement whenever you damage it. They send you a replacement screen protector and a prepaid envelope in which to send the damaged shield back. I suppose that prevents people from submitting endless claims, getting a free reolacement, and selling them to others.

The other day I received an email from Zagg. “We received your damaged shield. Thank you. And we charged your credit card on file for $10.99 for shipping and handling.”

That isn’t free! I call that being charged. Bastards.

The Alt-Right

Fuck them. Fuck all of them. Fuck the Nazis. Fuck the neo-Nazis. Fuck Nazi sympathizers. Fuck Nazi apologists. Fuck the KKK. Fuck white nationalists. Fuck white supremacists. Fuck fascists. Fuck racists. Fuck misogynists. Fuck bigots. Fuck homophobes. Fuck Islamiphobes. Fuck anti-semites. Fuck TheRump. Fuck Bannon. Fuck all the fascists in the GOP. Fuck anyone who rationalizes hate, prejudice, or who blames “both sides.”

Because there is no middle ground here. Both sides aren’t to blame nor are the radicals on the right and left cut from the same mold. The responsibility lies solely with the alt-right. They don’t plan “peaceful” protests or rallies. They come armed to intimidate and provoke fear. They come to spread their loathsome message of hate in an attempt to win over new converts who get a hard-on for these primitive chest-pounding threat displays. These are nothing more than recruitment rallies and the more media attention they get, the more successful they are. That’s how bullies work.

And the only way to stop a bully is by standing up to them, refusing to back down, refusing to be intimidated. And by answering with force if need be.

If anyone tries to spread the blame to both sides, if they try to make claims that the alt-left is just as guilty as the alt-right, explain to them there is no alt-left.

There is no alternative to denoucing hate, prejudice, and racist beliefs. In the end it comes down to this: you either support hateful, fascist slime or you stand with the rest of the human race. There is no middle ground.

An Alt-Right Haiku

Ignorant beliefs

Hate, prejudice, racism

We stand against you.

And how about some classic Anti-Nazi songs?

anti-Nazi Songs

-30-

Back to thinking mornings suck

As you might remember if you regularly follow my blog, I started running in the morning back in June. I actually was getting up earlier than my normal waking time, by about 45 minutes, so up at 5am, to go for a run.

And considering I have never been a morning person, I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing that.

Well, guess what? That experiment has failed. “How?” you ask? “By the sun,” I reply.

Yes, the sun. In the longer days of June and July, I’d get up and there was enough predawn light in the bedroom that I could dress without turning on the light and waking my wife. Also, the predawn light acted as a motivator. “Oh, look, Sol is up already. The least I can do is get up as well.”

In other words, dawn was mere minutes away. The sky was turning pretty shades of red, orange, and purple. It was often beautiful.

I did not, however, get up when it was raining.

Why? Because it was dark and gloomy out. I believe I’ve mentioned I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Most people only suffer SAD during the long, overcast days of winter, when there isn’t enough sun.

For me, however, even just one cloudy day can set off my SAD. I’m very sensitive to a lack of sunlight, moreso than most.

Which will explain why as the days grow shorter and the sun rises later, I’ve been struggling the last few weeks to get up.

My alarm goes off, I get up to turn it off, and the darkness beckons me to reset the alarm for 45 minutes later and I get back I to bed. I don’t hit snooze, I actually change the time the alarm goes off.

As it’s gotten darker these last few days in the morning, I’ve just left my alarm set for 5:45 am.

And it will only become an insurmountable obstacle once November 5th gets here and we have to set our clocks back an hour.

Getting up at 4:45 am every morning during the winter will be difficult enough. No way could I set the time for 4 am to get up to run.

I loathe going back to Standard Time.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint all the morning runners, but I’ve returned to evening runs. It was fun while it lasted.

Ok, that’s a lie. Morning running was never fun. I was like an automaton set to autopilot. I ran at one slow, steady speed. Every part of me exceot my legs were still asleep.

I never increased my pace, except for a half-hearted sprint for the last block (60 to 100 yards?). And Inwas only able to increase my distance feom the 1 mile a day in June to about 1.75 miles.

I do not have any gumption in the morning. My brain is asleep, which means my motivation center is as well. I do not have the will needed to say, “Go faster!” even if it’s just to the next tree or to say “Keep going!” once I’ve reached my usual end point.

However, I can do that in the evening. I can force myself to go faster, to run farther.

So my experiment in morning running is over. It was a fail. I never improved as a runner and just barely maintained where I was.

In other words, mornings still suck and I’m glad to be rid of them.

Update rant on US Cellular

We’re still waiting for our rebate for having switched from Verizon to US Cellular. I had to go back to the brick and mortar store to air my displeasure. The rep was understanding, looked everything up, and said he could take care of it, that the previous rep had indeed screwed up. With luck, something I’m lacking, everything is straightened out.

Now we just have to continue to wait even longer for our promised debate and while we waited, I was holding off paying my bill hoping the rebate would come in.

It was due 8 days ago.

This morning, US Cellular cut off our service for lack of payment.

Let me say that again.

I was 8 days late and they cut off my service!

Before someone says, “You didn’t pay your bill and they shut you off and you’re surorised?” consider Verizon never cut off our service. Ever. And there were times where I was several weeks late. In fact, Verizon would accept a “promise to pay” future-dated payment, which sometimes put our lateness as far out as almost a month.

Still, they never shut us off.

In fact, no cellphone company we’ve been with has cut us off after only one week. Not Sprint. Not Cingular. Not AT&T (I think AT&T’s threshold was 15 days).

So I made a payment, with money I don’t have yet, hoping it takes until Friday to reach my bank so I don’t get an insufficient funds penalty.

To add insult to injury, US Cellular added a $25 per line activation fee to turn our service back on, which will appear on our next bill! (I thought their commercials claim they don’t have activation fees?)

I sure hope our rebate comes in before then.

I’m really regretting having made this switch to US Cellular. I’ll give them a few more months bedore I start shopping again.

Cellphone companies suck!

-30-

Friday Rants

This Friday, I’m all ranty, and it all has to do with buyer’s remorse. But first:

A Friday Haiku

I cannot help it

Another weekend is here

That makes me happy

Rant 1 – Cellphone Buyouts

I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest scam you could fall for is the “we’ll pay you up to $650 per line to leave your current cellphone company!”

We fell for it when we switched from Verizon to US Cellular.

The first problem you encounter is, you have to pay off your previous carrier first. In our case, that meant having to come up with over $1,200, which we didn’t really have.

Second, you need to prove you paid off the previous carrier, which means an itemized bill showing paid in full. It took me over six weeks before I finally could get our final Verizon bill. After several phone frustrating ohone calls, I eventually had to go to a corporate store to get it because I was locked out of my Verizon account almost immmediately.

Third, our new carrier has a waiting period, which no one mentioned. What are they waiting for? Who knows? But because we’re out that $1,200, we haven’t paid our US Cellular bill yet either.

Fourth, you have to turn in your old phones! No one told us that. We sold our phones so we’d have some spending money (for silly things, like food) while we waited for our rebate, because againz we’re in the hole $1,200. So now we’ve learned that because we didn’t turn in our phones, our possible rebate will be halved.

Fifth, we trusted the store reps to know what they were doing, but they didn’t. They didn’t tell us about turning in our phones, which we would have done on the spot if told, but additionally, the rep didn’t submit our claim properly. Only one phone, mine, was submitted and it looks like US Cellular, once that unspecified waiting period is over, is planning on giving me back a measly $40.

When all is said and done, the entire process cost us just under $2,000 and they think they’re going to call it square by giving me $40? Fuck you.

Rant 2 – Zagg screen protectors

The US Cellular rep talked us into buying Zagg Invisible Shield screen protectors for all our phones. (Well, mine is some other company, but same difference.) Each cost $50.

These aren’t the soft, flexible plastic screen protectors, these are some stiff product made from a hard glass-like substance.

My son managed to crack his the next day. My wife dropped her phone and the shield just popped off. Let me say that again: it just popped off! And mine has a crack in it as well.

They do come with free replacement warranties, but now I’m reading a ton of complaints about these Zagg shields.

So now I’m wondering if I should just take the $200 hit and chalk it up to experience because having to replace a poorly designed product every few weeks seems like an exercise in futility.

Don’t buy these hard glass protective shields. Find yourself the cheaper, flexible ones or go without one. Aren’t these new smartphones supposed to be made of near-indestructable Gorilla glass anyway?

Rant 3 – Fire and fury

The latest news is about a mentally unstable bully threatening to throw nukes around and a North Korean dictator who seems to know exactly which buttons to push.

TheRump has escalated tensions between the USA and North Korea by announcing we would respond to any missile attack with a fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen. (Either he’s never heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or he’s trying to outdo those events. Considering how ignorant he is about everything, I’d go with the former.)

When the entire world balked at his words, that he was not helping things and his rhetoric was inflamatory, TheRump replied, his fire and fury comments weren’t tough enough! That our military is “locked and loaded” and if North Korea “does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before, what will happen to North Korea.”

In other words, TheRump can’t fucking wait to push The Button. He thinks this is a game. We’re all stuck in the middle of a standoff between two small-minded schoolyard bullies trying to see who has the bigger dick.

Nobody wins a nuclear battle. Russia and China, South Korea, Japan, they’ll all suffer from radiation fallout. And who isn’t concerned that dropping nukes on North Korea won’t cause a chain reaction? Russia will retaliate. China will retaliate. Missiles will fall like rain and the world will burn because we elected a moron.

You know, I warned you this would happen if the orange turd was elected. I wrote this the day before the election, and it looks like it could come true.

I’d ask if the trumpettes were having buyer’s remorse yet, but I get the feeling ya’ll are pumping your fists and whooping it up, believing you finally got a manly president who won’t take shit from all them pesky feriners.

Funny thing is, our Founding Fathers envisioned the Electoral College would protect us from electing an egomaniacal psychopath. Won’t they be surprised when we all turn up in Heaven with radiation burns.

“Well? How’s our great experiment in democracy doing?” Benjamin Franklin will ask.

“Sit down, Ben, have we got a story to tell you.”

Weekend

Didn’t want to leave you all depressed about our future, so here are The Dictators singing “Weekend.”

Have a good one.

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