24 June 2008


The decision is made, I'm headed to Wordpress.

Come join us at the Intellectual Thicket, version 2.0.

19 June 2008


I think this blog has reached a crossroads ...

Do I go on?
Do I move it to wordpress?
Do I start posting crazed diatribes about the usage of relief pitchers?

Who knows.

12 June 2008

Comcast, I thought we had a breakthrough ...

So, after all that drama over my chat with "Lotta", the online Live Chat Comcast Rep., I got an email from the company's customer service rescue team. Long story short, they said they would downgrade my cable without any fees or such for "installation" or "change of service fee" or whatever. All they had to do is find a day/time for a service person to come to my apartment - for unknown reasons? - to finish things up. My guess was so they could collect my digital cable box. That was last week. Since then I have not heard a peep from Comcast about when I might expect this downgrade to actually occur, and honestly, after emailing to remind them that they said they would get back to me and getting no response, I am just fed up. When I get a free moment, I'll pop the cable box in my car and drive down to the local office and get rid of Comcast cable once and for all. Comcast, you had your chance and you blew it. Back to thinking that Comcast and its customer service does indeed suck.

05 June 2008


Oddly enough, Philadelphia International Airport does not suck. I know, I know, it might suck when you're stuck in it for hours, but its customer service, at least from me was great. How so?

Well, after going through security, I had to walk down two gates to find a place to sit to put my shoes back on (OK, that was a demerit for PHL). Afterwards, being the idiot that I am, I left my camera bag with my new, $600 Nikon D40 DSLR with the accompanying zoom lens behind. I didn't realize I had been parted with the camera until my flight to Houston was boarding, so I rushed around trying to find it. Finally, I called the PHL Lost & Found and luckily for me, they had found my lost camera bag! At first, they asked when I'd be back in Philly (uh, never?) and then asked if I had time to go to the communications center (on the other side of security ... sorry, no), but neither of those options worked. So, much to my surprise, they offered to mail it to me in California.

Now, I wasn't holding my breath that it would (a) arrive and (b) in one piece. However, about a week after leaving the camera behind, it arrived in Davis, packed neatly in a box with bubblewrap and all. So, huzzah on PHL and its Lost & Found department. You are a gem in a field of abysmal Customer Service!

04 June 2008

The man for the country

Huzzah for Senator Obama!

On to the White House, says I!

03 June 2008

Why Comcast is terrible ...

I tried to downgrade my cable from Digital Cable to Limited Basic on Comcast tonight. Let me tell you, Comcast is terrible.

Here is the transcript. Note the bolded passages, where, among other things, they wanted to charge me a $25 installation fee TO CHANGE MY PLAN. Insanity, my friends, insanity.

Erik(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:24:02 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I would like to change my plan to Limited Basic

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:49:28 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Hello Erik_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Lotta.24942. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:49:31 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I will be glad to assist you today.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:49:50 GMT-0700 (PDT))>May I ask why do you want to changer your cable plan to Limited Basic, Erik?

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:50:24 GMT-0700 (PDT))> It is too expensive for what it is worth. We don't need it anymore.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:50:33 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I see.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:50:47 GMT-0700 (PDT))> May I have your account number please? So I can better assist you.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:51:20 GMT-0700 (PDT))> XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:51:19 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Thank you for that information.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:51:23 GMT-0700 (PDT))> How are you today?

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:52:03 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I'm doing well, thank you.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:52:07 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Great to hear that you are doing well.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:52:08 GMT-0700 (PDT))> You are welcome.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:52:09 GMT-0700 (PDT))> For identification, could you please verify the last 4 digits of the Social Security Number listed on the account?

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:52:30 GMT-0700 (PDT))> XXX

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:52:35 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Thank you for that information.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:52:41 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I am now going to process your order.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:52:45 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Please hold.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:54:37 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Thank you for waiting.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:54:55 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Your new monthly rate would be $11.70 before taxes and fees.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:55:20 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Alright

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:55:10 GMT-0700 (PDT))> There is also a one time installation fee of $25.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:55:15 GMT-0700 (PDT))>Okay.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:55:47 GMT-0700 (PDT))> There is a fee to change my plan?
Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:56:24 GMT-0700 (PDT))>We already have the cable installed here? Why is there another installation fee?

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:56:15 GMT-0700 (PDT))> What do you mean?

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:56:55 GMT-0700 (PDT))> We have digital cable and we're trying to change the plan to limited basic
Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:57:06 GMT-0700 (PDT))> why would i have to pay another installation fee?

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:57:49 GMT-0700 (PDT))> It is because your Basic Cable is wired and has a different way of installing it.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 19:59:08 GMT-0700 (PDT))> That doesn't even make sense ... so if I change to non-digital cable I get charged for a new installation?

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 22:59:38 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I understand where you are coming from but yes, there is an installation fee.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:00:02 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Listen, if that is the case, then just cancel our service
Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:00:10 GMT-0700 (PDT))> This is rather ridiculous

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:00:10 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I am sorry to hear that, Erik.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:00:27 GMT-0700 (PDT))> If you want to cancel your service, you can contact your local office for the cancellation.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:00:38 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Do you know the contact details of your local office?

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:00:49 GMT-0700 (PDT))> So I can;t cancel it here?

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:00:59 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Your local office is the only authorize to cancel services.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:01:17 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Wow.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:01:22 GMT-0700 (PDT))> If you want I can just give you a promo of our Digital Cable package.

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:01:34 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Yes, I know where it is ... and I will gladly cancel this service ... this is ridiculous
Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:01:41 GMT-0700 (PDT))> No thanks, this is insane

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:01:37 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Alright then.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:01:38 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Is there anything else I can help you with?

Erik_(Tue Jun 03 2008 20:02:02 GMT-0700 (PDT))> No, thanks.

Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:26 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Okay.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:27 GMT-0700 (PDT))> You are welcome.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:29 GMT-0700 (PDT))> It is my pleasure to assist you today.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:30 GMT-0700 (PDT))> I will appreciate your feedback about the service you experienced with me today. It is our priority to provide you the best customer service. Kindly answer the survey at the end of this chat so we will know how we can improve our service.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:31 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Thank you for contacting Comcast! We appreciate your business!
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:32 GMT-0700 (PDT))> If you need assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us through Live Chat or E-Mail (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Comcast also offers excellent FAQ and Help forums located at www.comcast.com to help you reach a resolution independently.
Lotta.24942(Tue Jun 03 2008 23:02:33 GMT-0700 (PDT))> Have a great evening!

30 May 2008

New (and not so new) Reviews ...

I haven't updated much in the way of new reviews lately, so here they are!

Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow & Blue
Why? - Alopecia
The Long Blondes - "Couples"
Common Market - Black Patch War
Clinic - Do It!

And sure, here is my iPod Top 10
1. Death to Los Campesinos! - Los Campesinos!
2. Throw It On Me - Timbaland & the Hives
3. Sophia - the Toothaches
4. The Gymnast, High Above the Ground - Colin Meloy
5. Trouble Is - Common Market
6. Einfach Sein - Die Fantastischen Vier
7. Threads - Portishead
8. Under Pressure - Xiu Xiu
9. Shopping Bag - Clinic
10. Holle - K.I.Z.