Rose Parade

Rose Parade has moved: see link in post below

Sunday, April 30, 2006

All drama aside, the important thing is that I got a Hollywood happy ending

The laptop is in the house. I am surfing and blogging from home since I can't remember when. Turns out the poor Vaio was riddled with viruses. Here baby, have some Kleenex. Now it's home and loaded for bear, not only with the anti-virus and anti-spyware the Geek Squad installed (for an additional $90) but also with Windows Defender, recommended by my fine and helpful fellow hockey fans over at Let's Go Kings. Thanks again, guys. Even with work tomorrow I am a happy girl. Because I had a nice weekend, I'm back online and this time next week I'm looking at a week's vacation. Nothing in particular planned, but I won't be working. I'll be doing whatever I feel like. And that's so rare.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Born under a bad sign

Former Dodgers pitcher Steve Howe killed in car accident. Updated: this article has additional details. I was raised a Dodgers fan and followed them fanatically until about the mid-80's, when I was turned off by the combination of player's greed and arrogance and the discovery of a much more exciting game: hockey (well, not the way the Kings played it this season, but you know what I mean). Steve Howe was so freaking talented, it was a joy to watch him pitch. He should have had a long, spectacular career in Dodger blue. And it was painful to watch his downfall over the years. Some people just can't seem to stay out of trouble. It's always a shame to see someone fritter away God-given talent. Rest in peace (finally) Steve, and my condolences to your family and friends.

The decline of Western Civilization continues

California State Senate throws out the rulebook. Logic be damned. No wonder the rest of the country thinks we're insane. I'm especially offended by how condescending this is: By a 24-13 vote that split along party lines, the Senate approved a resolution that calls the one-day protest the Great American Boycott 2006 and describes it as an attempt to educate Americans "about the tremendous contribution immigrants make on a daily basis to our society and economy." Since the Senate is so worried about my apparent lack of knowledge on the subject, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them for their concern (really, I'm touched) and assure them that I'm not as ignorant as they like to think:

  • My great-grandparents were immigrants. They were dirt poor, had ten kids and entered the country according to the rules. I know how lucky I am to be living here, so I'm all for immigration. I wouldn't exist without it.
  • I've worked virtually non-stop my entire adult life, not because it was stuff I wanted to do, but because that's just what you do. I don't expect a medal or special treatment for it. So I know all about contributing to society on a daily basis, regardless of birthplace. In fact, I'll be at work Monday.
  • I know the meaning of the word illegal and the importance of laws.

Another day, another stupid move by our elected officials. No surprise there. The only positive I can see is that if they're busy passing resolutions that defy the legal system, that's another day they're not screwing around with the internet.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mobile Movies

Just found the coolest thing on Metroblogging L.A. - Hollywood Mobile Movies (or MobMov). From their site: Mob: much like Flashmob and similar movements, the MobMov is organized over the internet, appears for a short time in a random location, and disappears just as quickly as it came. Try that with your parents' drive-in! Movement: we like to think of ourselves as movie mercenaries of sorts - we bring free movies to the community, providing a new, wholesome night-time use for the forgotten areas of town. And this: Why should I join the MobMov?Because you like great movies like The Usual Suspects, The Big Lebowski, Run Lola Run, Donnie Darko, and Citizen Kane. Because you want to meet others in your community interested in bringing back the drive-in. Because you're tired of the long lines, long commercials, and high ticket prices at the local cineplex. Hell yeah. Of course I joined.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Power to the people

Had lunch with Liz and picked her brain about Prosper, the recently launched Ebay-like "online marketplace for people-to-people lending". Liz is trying to get a lower interest rate to pay off one of her higher credit card balances. That way, not only does she get the better rate but also gets to give the big middle finger to a major banking institution that would be happy if she stayed in debt to them forever. The site hasn't gotten a lot of publicity yet, but as Liz mentioned in her post ABC News recently did a piece about it. My opinion is that this has all the makings of being the next Ebay or Netflix. I hope it's successful. I'd love to give the finger to Providian and Capital One. In other internet news, I haven't seen anything yet on the vote in Congress regarding net neutrality. Anyone heard anything?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Because it's never been truer...

Dragging this image out again. Honestly, the way things are going, this suddenly doesn't seem so far-fetched. I've never even been interested in something like that, but I could almost see myself tooling around town on one, especially if I can get one that's kind of vintage/European looking. Anyone have experience riding a moped/scooter/Vespa around L.A.? Is it safe? Are they easy to steal? Not that I'm going to trade the Corolla in this weekend, but who knows what's going to happen with gas prices.

Don't panic?

Time to address the freedom of the internet issue. I've been seeing stuff about this popping up on the net lately and wasn't really sure how real of a threat it is. I'm always torn between signing on for unnecessary hysteria or yanking my head out of the ground before it's too late. Bird flu, for example. It's all over the news and yet I don't know a single person who is actually concerned about it, much less panicking. What I do know is that if privatization of the internet were to actually occur it could only be a bad thing. I can't see any good in the idea. According to this terrific post at L.A. Voice, the threat against "net neutrality" is very real and happening now. God damn I hate politicians. Don't they have anything better to do than sell off the internet to the highest bidder? Isn't there anything else going on that they could be dealing with, like skyrocketing gas prices, homeless and hungry people, crime, war and environmental issues? Nevermind, I already know the answer to that. Here are some helpful links via L.A. Voice: The Internet Freedom Fight: A Roundup Save the Internet Online petition Blogher on net neutrality Not really a fan of the Huffington Post, but here's a great article on the subject. Some of the offending names I'm seeing are AT&T, Verizon and Comcast. Normally I don't have time for this, but if these companies do actually manage to take control of the net away from the people, I will make the effort necessary to find alternatives. Currently AT&T is my landline phone company and I was going to go to Verizon for my cell phone. I also thought I read somewhere recently that Comcast is trying to buy Adelphia, my cable company. I may actually break down and join the dish nation. The more I read about this, the more it's pissing me off. Damn, I'm starting to feel politically active. It will certainly be interesting to see how this vote goes. Updated: To add the Blogher link from Liz, because unfortunately this appears to be the real deal. Looks like our elected officials don't care about us and think we're stupid. Why am I not surprised?

Friday, April 21, 2006

What we have here is a failure to communicate

Okay, this is officially turning into an ordeal. Or a fiasco. Or both. The other night at Beast Buy (heh, that was a typo I decided to keep) the guy "helping" me asked me to look for a disk (CD, actually) that should have come with the laptop that he said would be helpful in returning the Vaio to working order. He tapped the mousepad as he said that, making me think that he was referring specifically to the mouse function. Now, with my old desktops, I do remember one coming with a diskette that had something to do with mouse installation. I didn't remember anything similar coming with the laptop but told him I'd look, which I did and I didn't find anything. So last night I get a call from yet another genius-level tech asking if I'd found it. I told him that nothing of the sort had come with the laptop. A short conversation later I realize that what he's really looking for is the OS restore disks. Which I was supposed to create when I got the thing. I do remember this, I passed on it when the instructions indicated that it would require about ten CD's of a very specific type. I figured I'd get to it some other time. Stupid, I know, and yet another lesson learned the hard way. So Mr. Geek Squad tells me that what I need to do is call Sony and get the restore disks, because they aren't so much helpful to the repair process as they are necessary. He tells me to get a pen and paper and proceeds to rattle off the laptop's model and serial numbers, along with a toll-free number for Sony. He tells me that when I receive the restore disks I need to bring them in and then they will be able to do the repair. He also tells me it should take 3-5 business days to get the disks, which means at this point I'm probably looking at at least another two weeks before the laptop comes home to provide me with hours of writing and surfing enjoyment. The only good news is that they were able to backup My Documents and my writing files. He said the docs are on their hard drive, which doesn't thrill me. I'd rather they back them up to CD or a jump drive. But whatever. Still, I have questions about all this:
  • If I had created the restore disks back in the day, could I have re-installed the OS myself and saved a lot of money and aggravation?
  • If they were assuming I had the restore disks, why didn't they suggest I try re-installing it myself before charging me $200 to have them do it? As far as backing up my files is concerned, I told them repeatedly that saving the files wasn't crucial as I had backed them up right before everything went to hell.
  • And the one that's really bugging me: if they had all the info needed to get the restore disks, couldn't they have just called Sony themselves as part of the service? It would have saved a step. He gave me the exact info he would have given them, plus the disks would be sent to him directly, possibly getting the machine fixed and back to me (the valued customer) a day or two sooner.

Again I say: Customer service. Truly a lost art.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

If it sounds to good to be true...

Even as I was blogging about it yesterday, I had a feeling I'd be eating my words. I chose to ignore it as my usual pessimism and told myself to think positive. So I go to Best Buy to pick up the newly restored laptop last night...and sure enough, it is not fixed and when it finally is it will not be free of charge. Turns out the only thing they fixed was the keyboard (I had accidentally busted a couple of keys while typing rather forcefully out of frustration as the virus devoured my OS, like that was gonna help). No wonder the guy laughed when I asked him if they saved my documents - it didn't make any sense. Apparently these supposed computer geeks missed the part of the conversation where I told them all sorts of weird windows and websites started popping up until the OS crashed completely. They also missed the note on the work order that mentioned the OS wouldn't launch. Not only that, last night it took several tries to explain that the keyboard wasn't even the reason I had brought it in. Sure, it looks nice but my computer crashed you guys, and all the pretty keyboards in the world aren't going help that situation. When the guy assisting me finally figured it out, he gave me a brochure detailing the repairs that will be done that I had wanted in the first place, wrote up a new work order, charged me $200 (the service plan I was badgered into when I bought the thing gave me $50 off the repairs, so yay to that) and apologetically offered to try and put a rush on it, since they had goofed. Seven to ten days until I get it back. What a freaking letdown. Customer service is truly a lost art.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Why thank you, Best Buy!

A couple months ago my desktop gave up the ghost and my laptop promptly picked up a virus when I took it online. It's the first time this has happened to me and believe me, I've learned my lesson about backing up and keeping the anti-virus program updated. I'm going to be positively anal about it from now on. Luckily, I had backed up all my writing the day before all hell broke loose so I'm covered there. May have lost some other stuff, but the writing was the main thing. I was dreading the potential cost of repair and also wasn't sure where to take it, so I put off dealing with it for awhile. Weeks, in fact. Eventually my brain returned from wherever it had been vacationing and it occurred to me that I should call Best Buy, after all I bought the thing there. Turns out Best Buy teamed up with Geek Squad to provide onsite service. After literally waiting twenty minutes for someone to pick up the phone I learn they have a deal for $270 which includes diagnosis, repair and installation of anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. I figured it was time to bite the bullet and get the thing fixed, especially since the cost was a lot less than I had anticipated. Not to mention how long I'd gone without internet access at home. Felt like I was living in the dark ages. So I took the mighty Vaio to the West Hollywood Best Buy. The guy told me it would be 2-3 weeks and they would try to salvage my documents. It was actually very reassuring, as I'm thinking the whole computer is shot to hell and he's acting like it's no big deal. When I got home yesterday there was a message that the laptop is fixed and ready for pickup. I called to verify how much this was going to cost and to see if they were really able to save it. The guy I talked to kind of laughed when I asked if they were able to save the documents, his response was "probably not", but that hadn't been crucial in the first place. I just want the thing working again. Here's the best part: The laptop was still under Best Buy's service plan, but I figured that didn't cover me picking up an online virus. Apparently it does. Or maybe it was something else, a malfunction or something, because total charges due... $0. No charge. I kid you not. So there was much rejoicing, although I am disgusted with myself for taking so long to figure out what to do. This was something that could have been solved weeks ago. I amaze myself sometimes, for someone who is reasonably intelligent I can be just amazingly brainless sometimes. I'm going to pick it up tonight after work, which means I'll get to hear stuff like this from my parents again: "I've been trying to call you but you've been on that fucking computer all night". Which is probably what I'm going to be doing tonight. Cannot wait. Thank you, Best Buy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cleaning out the castle

The Kings made it official today. Dave Taylor was "relieved of his duties" (aka fired) along with the entire coaching staff. A big fat housecleaning was in order. Dean Lombardi is reported to be the frontrunner as new GM, if he wants the job. And that's a big if.

Monday, April 17, 2006

End of the line

The Kings managed to actually win Luc's final home game Saturday and I suppose they want props for it. Screw them. Thankfully, this more painful than usual season ends tonight in San Jose against the playoff-bound Sharks. I figure the next team email I receive will be the announcement that Dave Taylor has been relieved of his duties as General Manager. It's a matter of when, not if. The only question mark is whether they'll keep him in the organzation in some other capacity or cut him loose altogether. This season was brutal even by Kings standards. At the beginning of the season I didn't think they looked terribly impressive on paper - certainly not elite - and figured it was going to be another typical mediocre year, but they played out of their minds for pretty much the first half of the season and even I had to admit they were the real deal. But then they just started falling apart and even worse haven't even been trying during the last month or so, despite still being in the hunt for a playoff spot. It's bad enough they were losing, but the way they can't be bothered to even show up for the games and put in a full 60 minutes of effort is unprofessional and unacceptable. Another year down the drain.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Avery the Mouth talks himself out of a job

Because what the Kings need is more turmoil. Dude needs to grow the hell up. Seriously, if he doesn't learn to control himself better, he's going to find himself playing for a different (and desperate) team every season. Nice going, Sean. See ya.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ka-ching! Or not

Courtesy of LAist, a reminder to buy lottery tickets this week. Funny, I usually get this reminder from my mom. In fact, after many years of her telling me to buy tickets (usually in response to me griping about work), I've come to the conclusion that my lack of professional success has nothing to do with my negligible education, skills and utter lack of ambition in the business world. My problem is that I don't buy lottery tickets. My bad. I get paid Friday and will probably break down and pick up some quick picks. Even though I never win a damn thing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Luuuuuuuc!!!!

It's official. Makes me wanna cry. It's not going to be the same without him. Truly the end of an era. For you non-hockey types, imagine a guy drafted in the ninth round, the 171st pick of that draft, whose skating was suspect, who worked his ass off to become the all-time highest scorer in his position (left wing), Calder Trophy winner (Rookie of the Year), an eight time All Star, a Stanley Cup winner (with Detroit, not L.A. of course) and a future Hall of Famer. Robitaille is from Montreal and barely spoke any English when he arrived here in 1986, but that didn't stop him from falling in love with L.A. and vice-versa. The few years he spent with other teams were not the best of times for Kings fans and apparently not for him either, because he always returned to the L.A. As if all that isn't enough, he's probably the classiest, most genuinely down to earth pro athlete ever. Always upbeat, a family man, a role model, active in the community, wonderful with fans, just one of the most decent people you could imagine. Success never went to his head or changed him. And he's cute. Even at 40 he still has a happy, boyish smile that could light up Staples Center. My words just don't do him justice. He is the professional athlete of every fan's dreams. I'm going to miss him terribly. When the Kings retire his number 20, I plan on being there. I don't go to Staples often (combination of cost, not liking downtown or the arena, and oh yeah, the crappy team) but I definitely want to be there when his jersey his hoisted into the rafters. Thanks for everything Luc. It was an awesome twenty years. Picture stolen from Yahoo Sports because I'm too miserable to care.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Like death and taxes, retirement comes to everyone, I guess

I just wish it didn't have to come to Luc. I'm a sad panda. Robitaille to announce retirement.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Cruise Control

I've been seeing billboards for "Mission Impossible 3", coming to a theater or five thousand near you in about a month and it makes me wonder how the public spectacle that Tom Cruise has become will affect the film's box office performance. Cruise (along with Tom Hanks) has been the most bulletproof of movie stars for years, the whole Scientology thing notwithstanding. It's hard to remember a time when he wasn't a major movie star. But with the couch-jumping, suspect relationship/pregnancy and the apparent lobotomizing of Katie Holmes, not to mention getting into a bitch-slapping match with "South Park", Cruise is no longer impervious. I haven't seen either of the MI movies, so I'm not sure if their success is due to Cruise's star power, lots of explosions or really good writing and directing. But I still have a feeling that MI3 is going to suffer along with the fall of Cruise's public persona. He should never have fired Pat Kingsley. And I have a feeling Matt and Trey will go after him again, especially if MI3 tanks.

Sick as a dog

That's been me all week. Coughing, congestion, stressed, no energy and today the head cold portion of my week has arrived. Missed work Tuesday and Thursday, wish I could have stayed home today but I feel funny missing too much time at what is still a newish position for me. I have a feeling my weekend isn't going to be anything to get excited about either. And that Robitussin is some icky tasting stuff. Sick as a dog. Where does that expression come from anyway? It doesn't really make sense when you think about it, but then again it sounds fitting. Funny how these things work. On the other hand I could go the Blackadder route and say I've been sick as a sick person who's been very sick indeed. I guess that means I still have my sense of humor. That's always a good sign. And now for some soup.