I Am Not Customer Service

Have you ever caught yourself in a store wearing the same color shirt as the employees? For example, going to Best Buy wearing a blue shirt, or Circuit City with a red shirt? It happens to me more often than I’d like to admit. Of course, this leads to people assuming I work at the store and asking for help. Since I happen to be Mr. Nice Guy, I will point them to where they need to go. After all, my poor choice of clothing isn’t their fault.

Today was just plain weird, though. I went to Target in order to buy a wedding gift for some friends that are going to be married next week. Of course, I first stopped at the customer service area in order to check the registry. I went behind one of the computers and started tapping away, thinking nothing of it. I am facing the inside of the store, and there is a wall that is about 3-1/2 feet high in front of me, and the monitor is peeking just above that wall.

As I am browsing, a woman walks up to the other side of the wall and asks me if I know where the optical department is…apparently she thought I was in the customer service department. I then explain that I do not think there is one in the store, but am not sure. At that point she realized her error, apologized profusely, and walked over to the REAL customer service desk.

I wasn’t even wearing a red shirt.

And Then There Were Three…

The company I worked for laid off some people today…including a (now former) cube-neighbor in Tech Support. I’ve been through that myself, and its a pretty crappy feeling to have the rug pulled out from you like that…I told her “Good luck” when we said goodbye.

I had a bad feeling something was going to happen when the president of the company said we were “breaking even” a few weeks ago. The girl who was let go was hired after I was, but for that fact, I probably would have been the one tossed on my ear.

Its dead quiet in support today…I don’t really feel like cracking jokes myself. Of course, we had a meeting where everyone was assured that “everything will be fine” by the higher-ups, but I’m not sure I want to stick around to find out. After all, I’m probably the next one down on the list…

Just Sayin’

Note to pundits and economists: The average citizen DOES NOT CARE if the economy is in a recession or not.

What we see is our paychecks getting eaten away by increased costs of living and rising health care costs, neighbors and friends losing jobs, and lots of cash being thrown to the people who put all of us into this mess because of their greed (Wall Street) or incompetence (Federal Reserve).

So while the country as a whole may not meet the textbook definition of “recession,” lots of working people are in trouble.

The Subprime Mess Explained: http://docs.google.com/TeamPresent?revision=_latest&fs=true&docID=ddv7hj34_03774hsc7&skipauth=true

The Cost of “Success?”

Things are quiet at the ol’ support desk right now. REALLY slow. I’m-about-to-fall-asleep-in-my-chair slow. No crashed servers, or corrupt databases, or nimrods who can’t figure out that our stuff doesn’t work on Vista Home…just quiet, save for the incessant yakking of the sales weasels. Its nice because I’m not being bothered by pesky people, and it also means that stuff is working, but geez, its boring as heck.

The downside is that the days just drag on, and I can feel the fluorescent lights slowly sucking the life out of me…there’s just gotta be something else out there.

DAMMIT!

I’m something of a clean freak and this extends into the computer and video game worlds as well. I don’t like having extra crap lying around, so every time I saw that unused “Player 2” gamer profile on my Xbox 360 it gnawed at me. Well, in a fit of cleanliness, I finally decided to nuke the damn thing, and deleted MY OWN profile instead…all of my save games, gone to binary heaven…FARK!!

NAY/C

This started out as a look at my relationship (or the lack thereof) with alcohol, but that got tossed out in favor of some strange goings-on in Casa De Randomizer9 earlier this evening.

It started out as just another Saturday night, which meant videogames and doing stuff on the computer. After getting my head handed to me in Mercenaries 2 for a bit, I decided to fire up the ol’ PC and browse around the internets for a bit before going to bed.

All was well, I was working on the aforementioned alcohol-related blog entry, when I smelled what my instructors in junior college called “the smell of money.” This is the smell of melting insulation/wires/electronics, and if you are a repairperson, it means you are going to get PAID. Of course if you are the owner of the source of the smell then you will be doing the pay-ing.

RavynX has had some adventures with his machine as of late (i.e. it died) so the first thing that I did when that smell hit my nose was hit the Windows key followed by the “U” key twice. This shuts down my PC (I don’t need no steeenking mouse) and I hoped that whatever was getting ready to give out would hold it together long enough for me to shutdown.

Much to my relief, my PC shutdown properly, so I pulled the power cable and prepared to get a face full of blue smoke as I removed the two thumb-screws that held the case shut. Much to my surprise, there was no smoke to be found, and no obvious signs of blow-upage. I then started checking the various heat sinks (after grounding myself, of course) expecting to find one that was extra-hot to the touch. No dice. Next on my list of “how to find the piece that’s not working” was the ol’ smell test (also handy for determining the ‘wearability’ of clothes, well, for guys, at least). I catch faint wisps of the odor but nothing really stood out.

I figured I would power on the PC again…AFTER disconnecting my main hard drive and booting off the spare, which happens to have OSX on it (more on that later, or maybe not). There isn’t any important data on it, save for a Def Leppard CD I ripped as a test, so I figured if it went kablooey, I wouldn’t lose anything terribly important.

I pulled out my PC so that I could keep close to the power cable. That way, I could yank it out quickly if stuff started smoking, sizzling, sparking, or all of the above. I nervously pressed the power button. I then heard the usual sounds of the fans and drives spinning up, and then the POST beep. Everything looked normal on the screen…well as normal as it gets on a Hackintosh, anyway.

As I’m doing all of this, I keep smelling that smell…and I’m starting to wonder where it is really coming from. At times, the smell even seems to be getting stronger. The freak-out fire in my head isn’t burning yet, but the pilot light is definitely on. I initally dismiss it as the byproduct of opening up the PC’s case, but as time goes by, I am coming to the conclusion that the smell is not coming from the PC.

I then wander around the living area of my apartment smelling anything and everything electrical. Nothing. I disconnect the surge protector my TV and gaming consoles are plugged into and also the UPS. Nothing. I check the bedroom and bathroom. Still Nothing. Then a scary thought enters my head…what if there is a fire somewhere in the building?

I toss on a T-shirt and some shoes, and go outside. I pray that I don’t see smoke coming out of a neighbor’s apartment. I look around the building, and to my relief there is no smoke, no fire, and no smell, either. Bewildered, I go back inside and the smell just won’t go away. I’m getting a little sweaty as well…I check the thermostat. I had it set to 74 (yeah, I know, bad, bad Randomizer) but the temperature reads 75, and I notice that air conditioner is not running. I turn off the air-conditioner, and try to run the fan to circulate the air. Nothing.

I go to the bathroom and partially open up the access panel in the ceiling. Sure enough, I am greeted with a fresh whiff of that blue-smoke smell. Aw, damn, the A/C went out…I think to myself as the pieces fall into place. Curiously enough, I had asked that my air filter be changed a few weeks ago, and also earlier this week. I was assured that it would “only take a day or two.” I would have just bought one myself, but at my last apartment, they used some odd size that I couldn’t find in any stores, and as this one looked similar, I decided not to bother.

It looks like I’ll be calling the office in the morning. I’m not expecting any miracles, but hopefully they can have it fixed by the weekend, as I am expecting guests. There is a cool front coming in tomorrow night that will keep temps in the 80’s all week, so I guess if this is going to happen, this is a good time for it. Oh well.