Call the bullpen… gimme the lefty

August 29th, 2005

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I started work a few weeks ago, but didn’t have a project to roll onto initially. As a consultant, you get ’staffed’ on projects, typically for other companies that hire your consulting company. When you’re ‘unstaffed’, there isn’t much to do, other than training and other self-improvement activities. Being unstaffed can also be referred to as being on the bench, or being on the beach. A few weeks of training is more than enough for me. Benchtime is somewhat typical and expected during this time of year. The summer hiring stampede creates a surplus of available consultants needing to be placed on projects. After a couple weeks, they’re placing the call to the bullpen and bringing me into the game.

Mmmm, papaya

August 22nd, 2005

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This week is Hawaiian food week at Uwajimaya’s (a local ethnic grocery store that carries quite a few “local kine grinds”, a.k.a. tasty island food) and some things just make you say, ahhhh, I miss that. One of those things is Hawaii-grown papayas. If you think of papayas as those big, oddly-shaped fruits the size of small footballs, you’re wrong. Hawaii papayas are smaller and sweeter, about the size of softball. If you’re in Hawaii, you can probably get them for about $0.40 each. Here in Seattle, they go for $1.89 (this week only, so hurry down there!) which is still under 2 bucks, but in my mind, it’s highway robbery. I say somewhat hypocritically that as I digest a $4 espresso/milk concoction from Starbucks….

papaya

Are you starting to see a Hawaii theme to my posts? Well I went to a Hawaiian music concert recently over on Lake Union featuring Kealii Reichel. It must seem weird that people from Hawaii like music that they can’t even understand. True. I can’t understand any of the words to his songs, except for the easy ones…. like “aloha” and “mahalo”. It doesn’t matter though, since most hawaiian songs sound the same, just like how country-hillbilly banjo music all sounds the same… when they yell out “ho’down” you know it’s gonna be a bunch of fiddlin’ and two-steppin’…. unless you’re the one who throws your girlfriend on the floor. Yeehaw!

hoedown

Laughing out loud

August 20th, 2005

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Seattle is full of great things to do…. and after living here for a couple years, I enjoy doing new things. Last night, I went with a couple of my friends to a comedy club, The Comedy Underground, and it was quite funny. Maybe it’s the atmosphere of everyone laughing around you that makes it more “haha” funny rather than “hmm, interesting” funny. We didn’t know the performer, but he made us laugh for almost an hour. Good stuff.

On an unrelated note, tomorrow, the 21st, is Hawaii Admissions Day. It’s a day where Hawaii admits an unlimited amount of new immigrants who aren’t allowed to enter during the rest of the year. Just kidding. It’s the day Hawaii was granted statehood back in… anyone?… anyone?….. 1959. There’s no big ceremony or celebration on Admissions Day; the day is just an excuse to have a state holiday in August. Go eat a coconut or buy a can of spam to honor Hawaii’s statehood birthday. Mahalo!

Sideswiped

August 19th, 2005

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I awoke this morning to an unfortunate sight…. someone sideswiped my car last night while I was sleeping. I park on the street in front of the house, but since there’s always the concern of getting hit by cars on my street, we all park our cars with the right wheels on the sidewalk. I guess I need to start parking my car with more of the car on the sidewalk. Maybe all 4 wheels need to be off the street. No note was left… which figures. All I know is that it was a black/brown color car that hit me, since that was the paint left on my driver door. I would take pictures of the damage to show you… but my car doesn’t like to pose for pictures when she’s not at her best.

The driver door panel is scratched up, but the left front panel is bent a bit, so they’ll replace that… plus a new driver’s side mirror, since the existing one is hanging by a few wires and in about 100 pieces on the ground. 3-days to get fixed and $1800… sure doesn’t seem fair, does it. Yea for Allstate. I knew insurance was a good thing. I’m never worried about my driving (knock on wood), I’m only concerned with other drivers…. and nothing epitomizes that more than my car getting hit while I’m in the house sleeping. F$&(*$#%@ (I do run a PG-rated site here…)

Cheap DVD’s from China

August 18th, 2005

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When I was in China for 2 weeks in March, I picked up a few souveniers… not much, just a postcard here, a trinket there, and oh yeah… about 6 DVDs I got for about a buck a piece. This wasn’t from some street vendor selling from the back of his van. This was from a seemingly legit DVD store where there were TONS of locals buying as well. So I bought my DVDs… nothing super new, just things I don’t mind watching repeatedly (A Few Good Men, Armageddon, Dodgeball and Ocean’s Eleven). When I returned home, we all had doubts that any of them would work, so we put in “A Few Good Men” and by some miracle, it worked perfectly. I filed the rest of them in the bookshelf, assuming they would work as well…. wrong assumption.

I took out “Ocean’s Eleven” this week, hoping to regain some television sanity from the reality-tv filled summer programming schedule. (Can’t we just have a reality-tv channel where all the apprentice/survivor/amazing-race shows can be quarantined?) Instead of finding Ocean’s Eleven in the DVD case, I find some french movie that has the word “Eleven” in the title… which shows the person packing it probably didn’t read ‘en-grish’ too well and just put in what they thought was the right dvd. I guess the old mantra fits, “you get what you pay for”…. and for a buck, I got just that.

Personal Injury Attorneys

August 16th, 2005

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Did you know that when you Google “Personal Injury Attorney”, the sponsored links that appear at the top of the search list pay a lot of money to be there? They pay even more if you click on them. They don’t really pay you, they pay Google, so don’t run to the bank hoping to see extra zero’s in your account. When working at my internship last year, I would discuss Google ad rates with co-workers in charge of buying space on the enormously popular search engine. For the really popular searches, like Personal Injury Attorney, sponsored links could cost as much as $80-$120 per click. That’s each time someone clicks on that link. So…. if you feel like putting it to a few attorneys, go ahead and click on a few and raise their Google ad bill. Other searches you can try include: “mortgage brokers”, “auto loan financing”, “term life insurance” and “LeFever black dog”. Just kidding about that last one… i just wanted to give a search that put a picture of Amos (the black dog member of the family) as the top result in the search.
Lazy dog……

Cingular can’t count

August 16th, 2005

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I have switched phones a few times recently… most recently to the Siemans SX66. After starting my new job a few weeks ago, I found out that Cingular has a corporate discount of 40% off phones. So, I called them up and said… “gimme my discount!” They told me to buy the same phone, return my current phone and everything would be fine. What? They would rather send me another phone, take the return, and do all that exchanging instead of just crediting me the price difference? Whatever. So I call in my order for my new (same model) cell phone and they say it’ll take a day or so for FedEx to deliver it. Luckily, I still had a few days left on my 30-day return window for my current phone. I finally get my new phone yesterday and attempt to return my old one… on day 30 of my 30-day return policy. Turns out Cingular can’t count.

They tell me I’m on day 31… not day 30. I’m counting a day as 24 hours, so I purchased the phone in the afternoon 30 days ago, but was returning it in the morning…. hours before my 30-day grace period ended. I feel like i’m explaining astrophysics to a 2 yr old when telling this guy that a day is 24 hours, not calendar days. I told him, “if I had a one-day grace period, would you give me from 4pm today till 4pm tomorrow? or would i have to return the phone by the time your store closed today?” Yeah… he looked at me like I just told him that Santa Claus was a myth. So even though I was within my (30 days x 24 hours = 720 hours) grace period by at least 5 hours, they wouldn’t take the phone back.

Now, cell phone companies typically have small margins when it comes to phones. A bunch of their phones are free or pretty damn close, just to get you on their calling plans. My phone, however, isn’t cheap. I’m not their bargain basement customer with a $7 phone and a $20 calling plan. My phone costs over $500 and my monthly service plan is a Ben Franklin each month. You’d think they’d try to be nice and accomodating for a customer like me….. yeah, right. For a company that makes money by counting the minutes you use, I figured they could count bigger units of time… like hours and days. I figured wrong.

Guilty of neglect

August 8th, 2005

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Dear weblog,

Sorry for neglecting you. It’s been a couple weeks and you probably don’t know what’s been going on in my life. Let’s see…. I started work and have been busy with orientation and training. Outside of work, I spent one weekend out in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at a beautiful wedding. The last time I was in Idaho, I was driving through on my way from D.C. to Seattle, with a stop only for gas and a quick lunch at the Coeur d’Alene Denny’s. After getting a chance last week to really take it all in, I was surprised how nice Idaho could look. We got down with our boogie shoes and had a blast. I didn’t bring a camera (read preceding post on Amex Insurance to find out why), but i’ll post some pictures of the wedding once they start getting circulated.

This weekend was the annual SeaFair weekend in Seattle. For the little kid in all of us, the Navy’s Blue Angels air show and the Hydrojet boats created enough horsepower to make even the smallest kid do a ‘Tim Taylor’ grunt…. arrh arrh arrh. The crowd for SeaFair is a whole ‘nother story. Northwest rednecks with fatigues, folks with mullets and jean shorts, i even saw a few teens dressed in all black and goth make-up. All black? really? on a hot summer day? Were these people born without sweat glands? I guess this is Seattle’s version of Nascar weekend in the Northwest…. but with planes and boats instead of cars.

Don’t worry weblog, i won’t go another two weeks before my next entry. My life has gotten less intersting now that work has started, but that just means you will get more “hmm, i had this weird thought today….” insights into my head.

Until we chat again weblog…. have a great day!

-mark



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