No Longer a Champion of Metro PCS

I’ve long been a customer and ardent “word-of-mouth” supporter of Metro PCS. Heck, they even added web browsing (albeit a handcuffed version). However, after my experience with their customer support today, I can not advocate the company, or will no longer be a customer. I’ve always wondered if their business model was really aimed at low-income people looking for a quick and easy cell phone option, and now I think that’s the case. A genuine desire to hang onto long time customers certainly wasn’t in my experience today.
Long story short, I’m a procrastinator. I simply wait until the last minute to pay bills. Certainly I’m working on fixing that defect, see my post about GTD and a desire to at least know that a bill is due. So last night I tried paying my bill, the last day. Nothing uncommon on my end, I’ve done it routinely since I got the service. However, last night, I couldn’t process the online payment gateway. Tried again today, still no luck, so I called their payment service customer support. First agent said turn off pop-up blockers. I explained I’ve never had that issue before, but humored them and tried. No luck. I call back, this time I’m asked, “are you using FireFox Mozilla?” “Yes”, I replied. Nut shell- they stopped supporting Mozilla. No explanation, just, “use IE.”

I started this some time ago, and it’s been sitting as a draft, so I figured I’d wrap it up as I just mentioned Flickr and mobblogging
After I let the account lapse, I procrastinated some more, not signing up with another service, to the point I figured I’d go ahead and keep Metro PCS for a little longer. I paid my bill, (approx a month later) and service was back on. The next morning, I get a text message saying I need to pay another $60. So I try calling them to find out what was going on. I probably spent an hour just finding a phone number where I could speak with a human being. I finally had to call an authorized reseller in St. Petersburg (I live in Tampa) to get a number. They informed me that though I don’t have a contract, their policy is that you pay for the month of service, even if the phone wasn’t in use. I said that was unacceptable, and wanted a refund. That I did get. But never in the whole process did anyone acknowledge that the whole issue arose from their poor web interface, and offer to simply waive a month, or any reconnect fees to keep me as a customer.

Some irony to that is that when ever I would end a conversation with a rep, they would say “we value your business here at Metro PCS”. Did they really? I think not. I highly suggest looking at other alternatives to their service, as I do not think they care about long term customers, and are more in the business of short term, “turn and burn” clientele.


As I age, and my path this time around grows longer, it bewilders me the dynamics that occur between us humans. Even as “life” continues to get in the way, and forks appear at every turn, people still continue to cross my path. Such was my evening. A last minute call, a ticket to a hockey game, and two men I’m proud to call acquaintances, nonetheless friends, produced a profound feeling.
A few more forks in the evening (not to mention a couple of High Lifes and Jagers), and I was faced with another question of what being a friend was.
However, I can say without a doubt that the two men that I was privileged to accompany to the hockey game have routinely given me reason to check myself, without any overt actions. To me, that, camaraderie aside, is the true nature of friendship.
Thanks guys.

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Sums Up My Feelings Quite Well

bush_stepsbush_stepsHmm, title says it all. Might as well be a copy of the Constitution on there too. I’ve avoided blogging anything about 9.11, as so much is out there, from the issues with the ABC docudrama, the politicization of the anniversary (for instance, Bush laying the wreath at the site of the WTC, with only Republican representatives with him), etc, etc, etc. I simply wish that at some point, those that differ on domestic issues, can rationally approach our global issues on a united front, and sanely resolve the conflicts that effect our security, both home and abroad. I’d also like to see the powers that be see that the continued death and injury that befalls our military overseas is not a price worth continuing to pay, and find diplomatic solutions to resolve the civil war in Iraq.


Saw this idea over at Jason Kottke’s site, and thought it was a fun idea. Sorta a meme, but not really. At least there’s no tagging, yet.
So here goes:


  • You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
    Albert Camus (1913 – 1960)
  • The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself.
    Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
  • We only do well the things we like doing.
    Colette (1873 – 1954)
  • It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
    W. Somerset Maugham (1874 – 1965)
  • Only he is free who cultivates his own thoughts, and strives without fear to do justice to them.
    Berthold Auerbach (1812 – 1882)

Gas Station Conspiracy?

Sort of tongue in cheek title, but while pumping gas this week, the thought crossed my mind, do gas stations “fix” the pump so it’s impossible to stop on a round number? Obviously this only applies to those who pay at the pump with some sort of plastic, but I’d guess that’s a majority of Americans.
Think about it, a lot of people have some form of OCD weirdness with numbers, and round things to the dollar. With many years of restaurant experience, I’ve seen it time and time again, people rounding the bill to the nearest dollar when adding a tip, even if that means shorting the server. I mean, what really does it matter if your bill is $43.61 instead of $43?
So back to the pump. Could it be a trick to get people to spend more money at their pump by making it nearly impossible to stop on the dollar? Think about it. You go to the pump, intending on putting $15 in the tank. As the pump nears $15, you slow down, and do the little shuffle of squeeze, stop, look, squeeze stop, look, “damn, $15.01”, and the proceed to go to the next dollar. That could easily happen again at $16, and now you’re at $17. Say it stops. You put the pump away, go about your business, not thinking about the extra $2 you spent that you didn’t intend to. If that occurs with 60% of the customers, that could be an extra $1000 or more a day. That’s a third of a million dollars a year, easily at the minimum, that they take in that we never intended to spend at that gas station. So do you think they are doing it?

Draft of Park Rules Stresses Conservation

Washington Post
Trying to catch up on the news after working 35+ hours in 3 days is tough, but this article caught my interest. Seems the Bush administration has appointed someone who is actually listening, and taking action in preserving our national parks. I strongly believe the parks should be restricted in the use of motorized vehicles, for many reasons. I can only hope the draft is taken as it stands, and I intend on adding my comments formally, as there’s a 90 day window to do so. I’ll update after I make my voice heard.

Yeah, That’s the Solution

Lakeland Ledger, Tallahasse Democrat, Corruption Chronicles
So a supervisor of elections uncovers more security issues with electronic voting machines, and our elected leader’s answer is to pass a bill preventing independent testing of the equipment. Real bloody smart. I’m all for technological advancements in all areas of government, but I also want to know that the technology is secure. Which means testing, and more testing. Rather than a knee jerk reaction and getting into bed with a company because of questionable lobbying practices, or the like. I really hope this bill has limited support, and state reps shoot this down quickly.

9rules Network Adds More Blogs

9rules Network has announced 111 new sites for the network. 111!? Before I go any further, let me say, that I’m not some bitter blogger that was part of the 589 bloggers that were rejected. I would never consider this blog something for a network. I don’t have a niche, I don’t post enough, I simply rant out loud, and a few people actually read it. Period.
But as someone who reads a lot of sites, I once took a site’s acceptance into 9rules as some sort of validation, that perhaps before reading a post, there was a strong chance that the author was going to know what they were talking about, or that the information would indeed be valid. But to water down the network, IMO, with that many blogs in one fell swoop, I can’t help but believe it was a publicity stunt for a group that had recently fallen off the radar, so to speak.
I mean, what better way to get the blogosphere to chatter about you than to “accept” 111 sites into the network. How much traffic directly from those sites is generated alone? Plus those, (I guess I’m buying into the hype by posting this) who comment on the recent events. I must say, I really have a hard time buying any of this, and will now take the 9rules logo on a site with a grain of salt, and that is an injustice to those who have been longer termed members of the network.
I’d like to say I haven’t looked at all 111 sites, and I’m sure they are all fine bloggers in their own right. I simply have a hard time understanding how that many are brought in at once.
I think I might create a snazzy little logo and start my own network. I’m sure at least 100 of those 589 that were not admitted are as good in their own right as the 111 picked. It could be called the Odd Man Out Network. Wonder how much ad revenue that would generate? Anyone interested in joining?

When Did This Happen?

So I’ve got an old truck. And it was bloody hot out today. Running errands, I see the temperature gauge creeping up. Ok, needs water. Not a big deal. Yeah, right. Sometime along the way, gas stations simply stopped offering water. I can shampoo the hell out of my rug, but I can’t put the third most important thing in the thing to keep it running. Not just one I tell you, ALL of them.
I take that back, Shell had some water. $.75 to use, and it came out by the thimble full. At $2.80+ a gallon for gas, and record profits for these companies, you’d think that when they sell you water, you’d get enough to keep the vehicle running long enough to fill the tank back up.
Self preservation, or something. Then again, I doubt they really care about those who aren’t driving around a brand new Escalade…

Saudi Men Board High School Bus
I’m not quite sure what to make of this, but I have to agree, the substitute driver should have had better training in how to handle riders that seem not to be students. However, I can also understand the level of concern, and truthfully feel the authorities are handling this in the proper manner. I don’t care if they are Saudi or not, two adults boarding a high school bus, and not showing complete remorse when told of what they’ve done requires further investigation. I’m not a fan of racial profiling to say the least , however, in today’s climate, all precaution should be taken. And as I said, any adult not showing remorse sends a signal to me. You have to think the driver and students were on the edge of their seat the whole ride, and were happy to see swarm of police when they arrived at school. What I hope not to see is a rash of law suits from well to do parents claiming negligence on the drivers part. That will accomplish nothing, but strap an already over burden school system with legal fees and potentially worse.

Clearly something needs to be clarified about how to handle similar situations, and at least in this area, better training and incentives for drivers need to be in place, as anytime something “scary” or worse happens, its a substitute driver at the wheel.

“We Know Who You’ve Been Talking To…”

The Blotter

“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation…Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

When will it stop? What has to happen for the voices of the sanity and democracy to rise above this administration and reign it back in?
I’ve not posted about this really, as it seems everyone else has said it more eloquently than I, but at this point, I think people simply need to continue to put it out there, don’t let it go away with another news cycle about another cute blonde disappearing in the tropics (as sad as the story is, it shouldn’t be prime time news, every night).
And instead of coming clean tonight, he’s going to talk about sending soldiers to the southern border.
Hat tip to Bob Harris for the link

More Reasons to Halt the Death Penalty

I’ve not blogged about this topic before, but I came across 2 newspaper articles this morning outlining major deficiencies in the system. While in college, I wrote an argumentative paper against capital punishment, and I still stand by that stance. I don’t believe those convicted of murder should live in the lap of luxury, however I don’t believe we’ve perfected a system to take another’s life in response to murder. This article from the Columbus Dispatch details failure in the actual lethal injection process, in which failure to establish an IV led to a prolonged process, that had to be done behind closed doors.
In this NY Times article, short comings in the state of Texas’s method of reviewing deaths by arson. Currently in Texas, the reviews are made by people who’ve never attended any formal training in the area. The article outlines the execution of an innocent man due to the process.
So mistakes a plenty, no empirical evidence that the death penalty prevents murders, and mountains of tax dollars spent to litigate death penalty cases, can we end this archaic practice now?

Bright House Drops the Ball (or How Not to Conduct Customer Service)

So, I mentioned I’m getting a sweet deal on digital phone from Bright House. In the time since, I’ve had about 6 telephone conversations getting to the bottom of the price. The day after I signed up, I received a letter offering me the service for $6.55 less than the night before. Seems a simple 2 minute explanation that the price offered the night before included tax and fees, the lower price was before. That they were one in the same. Meanwhile, I reported to them that once again, I was experiencing poor picture quality on my living room television. Continue reading “Bright House Drops the Ball (or How Not to Conduct Customer Service)”

Hey, HuffPo, a few Suggestions

I just removed the HuffingtonPost from my RSS aggregator, as the Vongage ads were the last straw. It’s bad enough I can’t get a feed with excerpts. I know some people don’t like excerpts, but a site as prolific as HuffPo (not to mention, the “bloggers” at HuffPo are some long winded essayists) You miss one day of reading, and there’s 30+ full length posts to wade through. Lately, I’ve found myself ditching them anyway without even reading headlines.

So why not offer a feed of your blog posts in excerpt form without ads. If the article sounds interesting, I’ll click over the site, and you inundate me with as many ads as you like.

New Pig Book is Out

Citizens Against Government Waste has released their annual report outlining the pork barrel additions to spending bills from Congress.
Some of my favorites are:

  • $3,000,000 for the Animal Waste Management Research Laboratory in Kentucky
  • $1,099,000 for alternative salmon products in Alaska – WTF are alternative salmon products?
  • $6,435,000 for wood utilization research in Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Mich., Minn., Miss., N.C., Ore., Tenn., Wash., and W.Va. Since 1985, $86 million has been sapped from the taxpayers for this purpose – Um we’ve kinda got an idea how to use wood, don’t we?
  • $1,000,000 for the Gaming-Technology Software Initiative in Michigan- huh?
  • $13,500,000 added by the House for the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), which has released a five-year strategy focusing on grassroots reconciliation and cross-community projects such as: the construction of Creggan Community Café and Catering Ltd., the Newcastle YMCA, the Donegal Town Waterbus, the Leitrim Food Center of Excellence, the Chef Development Program, and funding toward the World Toilet Summit. – World Toilet Summit, come on…
  • $46,908 for Hampton Jitney, Inc. The Jitney is known primarily for shuttling wealthy New Yorkers to their summer homes in the Hamptons.
  • $4,000,000 for a visitors center at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska – yet another pork barrell project from Sen Stevens. What gets me about this one is A, $4 million is a lot for a visitor center, and B, this is a guy who basically wants to ruin another wildlife refuge in Alaska for the sake of oil. Will the visitor center at Kodiak have pictures of the other, to make up for the loss?
  • $21,750,000 added for the National Writing Project, a program established by Congress and developed by the DoE, which aims to enhance the writing skills of grade school teachers
  • $100,000 added by the House for the Harpers Ferry Police Department in West Virginia. The population of Harpers Ferry was less than 400 in 2004 and the police force today consists of two full-time and one part-time police officers..
  • $5,880,000 for the Zora and Main Street Interchange in Missouri- Joplin requested the funding, purportedly to maintain safety and prevent congestion in the town of 50,000 people
  • $500,000 for construction of the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, North Carolina – yep, you read that right

Those are just some highlights of the highlights, I’m sure there are even more mind blowers in there.

Guess He Heard the Footsteps!

New services around the country are reporting that good ol’ Tom “The Hammer” DeLay is stepping down from his bid to run again for Congress. Couldn’t be better news to me. I just wonder why it’s taken so long. Perhaps he got advanced warning of the extent of Tom Rudy’s cooperation, and pending charges that will be harder to shake.
I also wonder if those who donated to his re-election can ask for a refund, and how the successor is chosen. A run off between the remaining 3 candidates?
I also wonder if Bush and the Rove machine will continue to stand by their man, or will attempt to distance themselves and the White House from DeLay.
I’m sure some answers will come sooner than later, but that’s at least one perpetrator of the culture of corruption that won’t be influencing the laws of our country, and won’t be perpetuating the good ol’ boy network on Capitol Hill come this fall.

Tom, Can You Hear the Footsteps?
In case you’ve been asleep the last 4 days, Abramhoff got 5 years 10 months for his role in the Sun Cruz line purchase. Still to come are sentences for his multitude of other indiscretions while a lobbyist. Though that sentence is bound to be lessened based on his cooperation with prosecutors, and run concurrent to these charges. I really hope these prosecutors are holding out for DeLay, and not just Ney.

More Smoke and Mirrors from Bush’s Environmental Policies

Fewer Marshes + More Man-made Ponds = Increased Wetlands – New York Times
I’d really like to meet the genius who came up with this idea. “Hey, we can turn a negative into a positive if we simply start counting any puddle as wetlands. Heck, the golf course that surrounds my new house must have at least 15 ponds, let’s start counting those…ah screw the pesticides and fertilizers that filter into the ponds…”.
As a Florida native, it breaks my heart every time I take a drive through an area that once used to be “swampy”, and now is condo, or subdivision. I do enjoy playing golf, but would never trade a cypress swamp for a course. And nor do I think my goverment should either.

Free Long Distance and Double the Internet Speed for Half the Cost?

Sign me up. Got the call from the local cable company, Brighthouse tonight saying that with our current package, I can add VOIP telephone and and twice as much download rates for Road Runner for basically half of what I pay monthly for my traditional phone service. And they claim they have battery backup for phone service in case of power outage (we keep an old fashioned phone around for those just in case moments, though a cell phone now makes it less used). How can you beat that. And one less bill a month to deal with.
So if anyone has any experience with the digital phone service, I’ve still got two weeks before they come to install, I’d really love some feedback.

Sure Harris Was on the Up and Up in 2000

State: New questions dog the Harris campaign
harrisThe argument has been made over and over to defend the clown woman for her actions in handling the Election in 2000, and the events leading up to it (see Texas company hired to purge thousands of “felons” from voter roll, etc). Now she’s seen clearly in bed with an admitted criminal who’s been found to illegally donate to her campaign, she’s been documented to have worked with/campaigned with/for ol’ Duke Cunningham, who’s admitted to taking kick backs/bribes. If it looks like a circus clown, and talks like a circus clown…nah, that’s not fair to the memory of Emmitt Kelly.
My only worry is that she won’t run this fall, and Bill Nelson will actually have to campaign against someone.

And I Thought I Had a Bad Night

As much as I love food, and cooking, and know that real restaurants are out there with caring owners and concerned staff, the combination of my hard-headedness and bad luck, I’ve not worked in one in a long time. I loathe working in a restaurant right now, and pray for the day that I discover that I really can make a living working with the web, or some other career opens up, but until then, I’m in it.
And with that off my chest, I really had a bad night, and was looking forward to getting home, and watching my favorite hockey team take on their in-state rival. (yeah, another sports post, go figure). So I settle in on the couch with some munchies and fire up the DVR, and no sooner than the game starts, it was over. And it was downhill from there. So thanks Lightning for reminding me that I might not have been the only one who had a bad day, and that you’ve got to put it behind you, learn what you can from your mistakes, and accept the fact that somedays, it’s just not your day. Here’s to a better tomorrow, and a run for the Cup.

Scooter Libby, Global Crime Fighter

Washington Post Can someone tell me why the Chief of Staff was “so preoccupied with national security issues”? They make it sound like he was personally out hunting Bin Laden himself. Maybe he was, and he and Cheney took shooting lessons together, as neither hit their intended target. I have a feeling nothing will ever come of any of this, and that the Republicans are going to successfully sweep ALL of this under the rug, until , oh 10 years from now, when someone’s broke and needs a tell all book.


“>Palm Beach Post (second story)

So when I first read about this, I thought it was much ado about nothing, a simple oversight by a transplant who registered to vote without a permanent address, blah blah, benefit of the doubt.
Now the truth comes out that she was simply a lazy bitch who didn’t feel she needed to follow the rules. Which is how the story originally broke. All she had to do was fill out the change of address form, and be done with it, but no, the woman who recently used the term “raghead” in reference to Arabs in a post 9.11 world, walked out of the voting precint she should have voted in, and drove to the one she originally registered in and voted. Which, is clearly defined in FL law, as a 3rd degree felony. What I would give to see her charged.

New Attempts at Gulf Drilling


New attempts at opening up the gulf to gas and oil drilling, this under the assumption that the current methods are “safe”. And that no accidents happened last year during the hurricanes. Whippee. Thankfully, even Mel Martinez is saying he will oppose the legislation, as well as most of the congressional delegation from Florida. If they would only draft legislation taking the area off the table for X number of years, so we didn’t have to hear about this every year. If you haven’t yet, be sure you’ve contacted your Senator and Congressman about this, or any issue you feel strongly about.