January 6th, 2005

little review

Poem for Thursday

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It's late again and I have to get up very early tomorrow, and my thoughts are generally in chaos but the migraine is gone and really sometimes that's all that matters. Spent half the morning having a bitter argument, over e-mail and then on the phone, with Dell -- remember how last week I explained that I had spent half the night on their live chat site trying to straighten out IEEE/Firewire issues? Well, they had promised to send me the correct cable (after initially sending me the incorrect cable) and yesterday I discovered that they had cancelled that order, without any word of warning to me. This required what could have been a polite inquiry, but quickly led to aggravation. While I understand the need for a global economy, is it too much to ask that US companies who export their customer service departments to Pakistan and India require that the employees there have a basic grasp of English for dealing with US customers? And if they are being asked very simple, basic questions that they cannot answer, would it not be more fair to the employees as well as to customers to have someone standing by who does speak English and can say something other than, "Did you look again on the web site for your answer?"

In other annoyances, we have our van back (YAAAAY!) but the insurance company that is allegedly covering our rental has not yet paid since December 17th (!!!!) so we can't get back our security deposit until they do so. Had I mentioned that we could have gotten the van back last week, had our insurance contact used next day mail to send a check, yet she insisted on using regular mail, which meant five extra days driving the rental? The cost-ineffectiveness of businesses is really pissing me off tonight. How many hundred dollars that could have been used to rebuild houses in Asia has been wasted because of laziness and stupidity on the part of corporate managers?

Okay, enough ranting. I actually had quite a pleasant afternoon writing porn for sheafrotherdon, who somehow got me into a discussion of how Alan Rickman pronounces the name "Lupin" (i.e., like Snape wants to wrap his tongue around the word, or around Remus, I can't tell which). Obviously this called for "ohgodyesseverussaymynameagain" fic (at least, Lupin claimed it did). I sent it to Cate first, since it's her fault, but shall post it tomorrow in penance for having not posted any fluff in weeks. Now I have to write fic where Lupin says "tell me you love me" and Snape safewords...

And I had a semi-pleasant evening watching first Event Horizon on SciFi (what a great cast for a terrible screenplay -- Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, acting all excellent, story incredibly stupid), then The West Wing (dammit, John Wells, stop making me cry, I do not in principle even like you, and I am SO SO GLAD C.J. refused to answer the question). I am ready to vote for Jimmy Smits. Or, for that matter, Alan Alda, if either one of them could trade places with George Bush and he could play the president on TV instead. Younger son's mouth is feeling much better, recovered in part by tooth fairy gift of Kirby for the Game Boy which he is not usually allowed to play on school nights; older son watched Event Horizon with me and narrated explanations of how horror movies work (SciFi cuts for 7 p.m. showing still a little much for a 12-year-old; I am glad he was watching with a critical eye but every time my kids don't get scared by a movie I can't help thinking that seeing 9/11 unfold live on television really numbed something in their sensibilities).

Tomorrow is going to be insane and I am hoping to see perkypaduan in the midst of it, so again I may be late on all comments -- apologies in advance. Have been absolutely fascinated by the comments about Minas Tirith, both the people who agree and the ones who strongly disagree. Thanks so much for telling me to look at photos of Siena, something I've never really done before -- it only reminds me of Minas Tirith superficially, as it seems much more vibrant to me, but I definitely see the resemblance here and here.

The USS Constellation lit up for the winter holidays. Note that, unlike in my previous photos, she is now docked with her prow facing the harbor; she had sailed to Annapolis for her birthday and was feted upon her return with the promise of a new visitor's center at the pier.