Item The First: I had wonderful things to say about the Amanda Palmer concert and talk in Los Angeles, but I didn’t know the name of the interviewer and couldn’t track it down to save my life at the time I was writing the story. I now have the information, thanks to my friend Joey Shoji who saw the post on FaceBook. The interviewer was Bob Lefsetz.
Joey also had this photo on his FaceBook feed from the show in San Francisco two nights before the Los Angeles show. Needless to say, I am green with envy! I know it’s one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but I’m hoping St. Peter cuts me some slack on this one.
Item The Second: There’s a Jaguar SUV? The cars that were driven by James Bond have now morphed into a mom-mobile? I’m not that much of a “car dude,” but I can tell you this is causing a great disturbance in the Force, as if a billion car dudes cried out in terror and were then silenced.
The website says it’s a concept car and won’t be available for sale until 2015, but I saw it on the 101 Freeway coming back into LA from Ventura earlier this week. No mistaking that it said “Jaguar” and at least from the outside, it’s the vehicle shown. The LA Auto Show was going on at the time, so maybe a reporter or someone was taking it for a test drive.
Thanks, I could have gone all year without knowing that. It’s just so…wrong.
Item The Third: Have you ever (maybe as a kid, maybe later in life) been running so fast that you could just barely keep your balance? Maybe you were running downhill and running much faster than you could on flat ground. But you were flying!
Then you stubbed a foot on something and pitched forward, your arms pinwheeling, trying desperately to slow down or get your feet back under you, teetering right on the edge of going over onto your face for step after step after step, never quite sure if you should go down and tuck and roll, or keep trying to get your balance hoping you didn’t break your collarbone or an arm or your face…
Yeah, some days feel like that. So do some weeks. In that same sense, I’m not sure if resolution would be good (tucking and rolling) or not (uncomfortable, but I can still save this!).
Item The Fourth: It’s an ongoing burr under my saddle, no doubt deeply embedded in my Catholic school upbringing (I’m recovering, slowly, thanks), but I hate the way Christmas lights are so disposable. I hate that one or two lights, or a fuse, or something can go wrong and all of a sudden half or a third of the lights are out and your only real recourse is to spend $10 and go get more.
I know that they have these cheap little “detectors” at the hardware store which claim to be able to tell you where the problem is. I’ve got several brands. They’re all just about as useful and reliable as all of the “guaranteed” fitness and weight loss products that will get you looking like a body builder without ever getting off the couch while eating whatever you want.
I’ve searched for solutions on the internet. I’ve googled it. I’ve looked for YouTube videos.
There’s just something fundamentally wasteful and infuriating about that. Unjust. Unfair. It should be relatively simple to have a way to figure out where the problem is and to fix it. Which bulb is burnt out of these 75? Is there a broken wire? Did a fuse blow? I can fix any of those problems if I know where the problem is.
If anyone has an actual, practical, working answer that I’ve never been able to hunt down, please let me know. There’s a whole bunch of eternal gratitude involved.
Item The Fifth: I have bitched before about telemarketers and robocallers. In the big picture, with all that’s going on in the world these days, it’s not that big of a deal. But it’s still like nails on a blackboard to me.
Well, there’s a new turn in this war. For years and years, I’ve known that it’s illegal for telemarketers or robocalls to call a cell phone number. “FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers.” It seems pretty clear. Whether your cell phone number has been registered in the Do Not Call Registry (DNCR) or not, they can’t call your cell phone. And this was borne out by their behavior in the real world. In all the years I’ve had a cell phone, I’ve never gotten a telemarketer or robocall.
Suddenly I’ve gotten three robo-telemarketing calls on my cell phone in two days. What’s changed?
I made the mistake of calling AT&T customer service. I was told to sign up in the DNCR. I told them that I already had, and besides, it was a cell phone so see above. They knew nothing about the cell phone restriction. I gave them the web page to look at. Yeah, meh, whatever, they don’t care. They suggest that I file a complaint against the company using the Federal Trade Commission’s site. But I don’t know the company’s name – when you ask for that, they hang up. (They seem unaware that the scum sucking maggots who run robocall scams might do this. Duh!) They suggest I use the incoming phone number to file a complaint. That’s useless — the number shown is spoofed, fake, totally bogus. (They seem unaware that this is possible.) They suggest that I block the incoming phone number on my cell phone. That’s useless – the robodialer will pick a different random bogus number to spoof every call. (They seem unaware that this is done.)
I had really been hoping that their technology might be better than that being used by the scammers and telemarketers. My bad – where was my head? When it gets to the point where the best idea you have for pursuing the problem is to complain to your Congressman, you’re pretty well screwed.
I would pay a lot of good money for some device or program that would prevent me from ever, ever, ever again receiving a robocall or call from a telemarketer. If the device or program would also send about 100 volts back down the line into the ear of the telemarketer or 100,000 volts back down the line into the robodialing computer, I would pay a lot more.
The ultimate follow up to that experience was a female telemarketer I got yesterday from one of the “Your credit card account is in danger, you must contact us immediately!” scams. After I asked in a “colorful” manner (i.e., blue) how I could ever get them to get me out of their system and stop calling, she wanted to start lecturing me on what Jesus thought of my attitude and how she would pray for me.
It is safe to assume that the conversation went downhill from there. She never convinced me that I should repent and mend my ways, and I never convinced her that she was a freakin’ idiot working to illegally scam people.
The difference between her and me? I’m self aware enough to wonder if maybe I might be as delusional as she is. (I’m not.) She couldn’t ever conceive that thought, because she already knew everything. (Like Jon Snow, she knew nothing.)
My final thought for tonight on telemarketers & robo-scammers – I need to make my smart be better than their stupid. They’re NEVER going to “get it,” they’re never going to stop, and god knows neither the government nor the phone company is ever going to stop them. All I’m doing right now is venting, blowing off steam, and raising my blood pressure.
Instead, let’s see this as an opportunity to have some fun, using these morons as dupes! I should be able to come up with a good script, a role play, an improv act, where the ultimate goal of the conversation is to leave myself laughing hilariously at their stupidity and leaving them pissed off for wasting so much of their time and making them look like the fools they are.
THAT‘s the thought! When answering the phone and getting one of these calls, before you pick it up, as yourself — “What would Robin Williams do?”