January 23rd, 2007

Walken

(no subject)

I get onto the Northern Virginia toll road every weekday morning to get to work. The entrance I take to the toll road has two lanes. The left lane has a tollbooth to the left of it (the booth is not in between the two lanes) and accepts any cash, plus exact change and EZ-Pass. The right lane has no attendant, therefore it only takes exact change and EZ-Pass. This will be relevant later.

The same woman works all five days. I have no idea what her exact shift is, but it definitely includes this time because she's the only person I'd ever seen there in the mornings.

Every few days, this woman (let's call her Susan because it sounds like snoozin) is asleep when I pull up to the tollbooth. She's literally asleep on the job, she's sitting up, she has coins in her hand, leaning out the window a little, she's just asleep. Susan usually wakes up when I say "Good morning!" really loudly. Sometimes I have to honk my horn a little. She just wakes up and proceeds to give me her change while in a zombie-like state. She then falls back into her sleepy trance, like a robot at Disney World that comes alive when your tram passes by and then turns lifeless when you leave.

A few weeks ago, I got to the entrance a little after seven. I was running late compared to my usual schedule and the closer to eight that you get on this road, the worse your commute will be (traffic here is insanity, if you go in at the wrong time, it can take you an hour to move less than two miles) so there were many people behind me in the toll line. I pulled up to the booth and the doors were closed. There was a car next to the booth, but no person. I started yelling for someone, but no one was there. The line of cars kept growing, and it started backing up the road you turn from. People start honking at me, I start honking, its like a chorus of geese. I stood up in my seat a little, and I saw Susan in the back, asleep. She even had a little blanket on her. I don't know how soundproof those booths are, but she stirred a few times and didn't wake up. It took me a few minutes to find change in my seats, and I was lucky I had change. I mean, I'm not going to get out of my car unless I absolutely have to. Its dark, its cold, I could get hit by some half-asleep workaholic.

I didn't turn her in because I figured someone else would, perhaps someone who was late to an important meeting and only had a 10, maybe a fellow government worker. Well, I don't know if someone did or not, but guess who took my dollar bill and made it two quarters yesterday? Susan.

(no subject)

Now this isn't end of the world, but it did kind of annoy me, and I'm bored so I figured I'd throw it up here.

I have a 3.5 year old son who's been in daycare since he was 2. The daycare itself isn't too bad, it's clean, they have good activities, the workers are nice, and it's just a block from our house, which is good for when I have to take him into daycare because I use public transit.

The $700 per month that we pay for this daycare, the cost is meal-inclusive. They provide breakfast, lunch and snacks. The problem is that my son and I are both vegetarian. I always thought it was required that places like this have to have vegetarian alternatives especially considering there are children there who do not eat meat or certain meats because of religion, but I don't know if that is required here. It hasn't been a big problem so far, just an annoyance, because even though we pay the full $700 a month, we end up having to spend more to send my son with a vegetarian alternative for lunch. If they're having chicken nuggets, I send soy nuggets. If they're having shephard's pie, I make my own shephard's pie with soy ground instead.

The one thing I've always appreciated though is they stick to a strict rotating menu, which is helpful because then on the weekend I can look at what they're having at daycare that week and make sure we buy what we need, as well as know what days we'll need to cook it.

I get a letter on my son's sign in page yesterday, stating that they're planning on playing around with the menu for the next while, trying to establish a new menu. They will try and give us a whopping 1 day notice about menu changes. Some days will be changed, some days won't. So on the weekends, I'll have no way to know what he'll need, nor do I have the ability to go grocery shopping any given night that they change their mind, in case they spring something else up on me, because my husband works evenings and I can't drive.

I'm just annoyed, because I pay for them to feed my son which they rarely do because everything they make has meat in it, and now the one thing that made it tolerable they're taking away for an 'undetermined' period of time where I'll be kept on my toes, wondering if there's a menu change that they didn't tell me about. Like if the menu says it's a day without meat, like grilled cheese sandwiches and I didn't get any notice of change, I don't have to send him with anything, but if they decide last minute to make hot dogs or something, then what will my son eat, you know?

I just figure if I'm paying them $700 a month, and part of that money is for them to feed my kid, I should either get a reduction in what I pay every month, or heaven forbid, actually expect them to feed my kid. I don't see why they can't use the money I pay them to feed him to buy their own vegetarian alternatives.

Now that I've gotten this lovely notice I'm thinking I'll bring it up with the director, but it's hard to because I don't want to rock the boat. There's 6-9 month waiting lists for like every daycare in the city, and it is a good daycare, but this one little aspect drives me up the wall. I'd love to just take my son to daycare and know that he'll be fed, without being up at 5:00 am cooking him his lunch for the day.

I won't publish the name of the daycare, because it IS a good daycare despite this annoyance, I just needed to vent a little.

the taste lives here . . . and so does jagged metal.

saturday night i went to dairy queen with my boyfriend. i don't go there very often because, well, i don't like it all that much. but i decided to give ol' DQ another chance. i ordered a brownie explosion, and thought it looked pretty appetizing, so i left fairly happy. we got home, popped in a dvd, and started to eat our delicious treats. a few bites into my ice cream, all was going well. and then i bit down and felt a sharp pain. i thought to myself "okay, neither ice cream nor brownie should be hard enough to chip a tooth or sharp enough to tear my cheek". i pulled the offending item out of my mouth, and was highly dismayed to find a metal washer . . .

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Dish Network frustrations

We've had Dish Network for well over a year now, nearly two I think, and frankly I'm sick of them.

We have two recievers - one is a dual reciever and mine is HD. My mother's tv and the hubby's computer tv are hooked up on the dual and the main tv (the big screen) is on the HD reciever. No problems what so ever with the recievers when we first got them then several months later (I'd say around August) we began having various problems with both recievers and remotes.

Let's start off with the problem with my remote. The original remote fell to the floor (hardwood) and shattered so I called and it was replaced under warranty since it shouldn't have (LITERALLY) shattered into five pieces. It wasn't throw or anything, it fell off the sofa - no more then 12 inches - and just shattered. So a new replacement remote was sent out. The replacement remote was programmed and things were fine... for a week. I replaced the batteries when I got the new remote so I know it can't be the batteries. First I used the rechargable kind and then the normal kind but neither corrected the problem. So what's the problem? Well when you press the SAT button, channels won't change, volume won't turn up or down, can't get into the menu. Nothing. It acts as if the button wasn't programmed. HOWEVER, if you press AUX it functions just fine EXCEPT for a few features that use to work with the SAT button. So I call, we go through a complete walk through and finally she says she'll send out another replacement. A week passes and I get the 2nd remote. Again, I use fresh batteries with the new remote, program it and everything works fine... FOR ANOTHER WEEK! I call Dish again and again we go through the walkthrough and finally the tech/support guy says he'll send out another remote. I get remote #3 a week later and go through the same routine but this time I use a different brand of batteries. THAT remote lasted me a month before it stopped working with the SAT button. I call again but this time it will cost me $29.95 to replace the remote! Forget it. I'll use the remote using the AUX button.

So during this time my hubby's own tv/remote was having problems including the annoying, "pay us" popup on the screen DESPITE the fact our online balance would say ZERO. Example, last week we made our monthly payment. Our current balance is ZERO, I'm looking right at the account screen right now!

Account Balance ¤0.00
Payment Due ON RECEIPT
Last Payment $180.43
Last Payment Date 01/12/07

Since Saturday his tv is getting the payment popup with Dish's phone number to call. So I call and go through their automated process to get to a representative who confirms my current bill is ZERO (this was Saturday) and she said that the message shouldn't be popping up (and it only pops up on his tv screen - never mine or my mom's and she's on the "master" tv/reciever). I tell the rep that this has been going on since around August despite the fact the bill was paid or not. Nothing she can do, so I get off the phone with her and figure, fine, it's a pain but we can live with it. We move the cable cord from his computer over to the kids tv (they typically only have the DVD player hooked up) and it's STILL giving us the message. No biggie since we just click OK and the message goes away. (And yes, we even looked in the [mail] message box to see maybe we have to turn it off there.)


Oh and before I forget, what's even MORE annoying, is that there have been MANY instances where the channels would be flipping channels by itself EVEN with the batteries out of the remotes. It's like a neighbors remote is controlling HIS channels. And it would only be on his portion of the reciever. We checked my mother's remote and it wasn't hers. We called about that and went through the whole "let's reset up the remote" crap. ::rolleyes::

Fast forward to today.

The kids tv turns on (it's on a programmer to turn on and off) and the damn message pops up AGAIN. So I get his remote to click OK to remove the message but the remote won't work! The lights go on but it won't flip channels or anything. I change out the batteries with the batteries from my remote and nope, still won't work. So I go to my mom's tv to access the menu and get into the System Setup and System Info. Originally the remotes were set up so my remote was #1, mom's was #2 and the hubby's was #3 but when I got the new remote mine was switched to #5. So the current remote addresses are mom's is #2, hubby's is #3 and mine is #5. The System Info on my tv says my remote is stll #5 and my reciever is on the other side of the house furthest away from the Dish and mom's reciever. Mom's system info says her remote is now #6 and the hubby's is #9! I didn't change the remote addresses and no one else in the house knows how to do it. It's not like you can accidently change it either since it requires you to hold the button down until all the lights light up and then pick a number, hit the pound key then the record key then the power key.

So I switch mom's remote back to #2 and the hubby's back to #3. Now NEITHER remote works! Well, let me clear that up.... Mom's remote refuses to work on that remote address while the hubby's now works on mom's! So I switch the numbers around and both remotes work again. Two minutes later the channels begin to change again and so I go back into the system info and AGAIN the remote addresses for their remotes have been changed! Ugh!

Dish Network is of no use because when I called the girl has me go through a walkthrough to reset the remotes up. (I called a half hour ago) I comply and again, a few minutes later the remote addresses change again! Right now, my remote works, my mom's remote works but not the hubby's and that stupid message keeps popping up!

I want new equipement but they're refusing so I'm probably going to canncel our service with them since we shouldn't be having to deal with this crap on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. I'm sure my neighbors ended up with Dish and it's THEIR recievers that are interferring with ours. And let me make something clear, we've had our longer then we've had the neighbors. The neighbors moved in and several months after they moved in, we began having problems so I'm pretty sure they ended up with Dish and it's their recievers that are interferring with ours. See, mom's room (and the "master" reciever" along with the dish) are on that side of the house - near them. I know their living room is on the east side of the house and our bedrooms are on the west side so basically their living room from our bedrooms are within 50 feet. That has to be the reason but of course there is "nothing" Dish will do about it. Bleh. Back to Charter I guess. Yuk.

EDIT 1:50 PM Pacific

Well, I called Dish - again - and talked to two different reps. Well, three but let me start from the beginning.

After posting the original post I decided to call billing about the popup notice and complain about that. No, I wasn't snarky or rude, just vented my frustration and asked if there was anything they could do to fix the problem because it was very annoying. She apologized and said that if it's constantly coming up despite pressing the OK button three times then it might be the equipement so she transferred me to lasy #2. I again explained the situation starting with the payment popup then going back to around mid-2006 (around August) how channels would change on their own, told her we've already tried resetting the remotes and recievers (multiple times), replaced the remotes and gone through things step-by-step multiple times with multiple techs over the last several months. So she agreed maybe we needed a new reciever as the current one might be sharing addresses with a neighbors. That was a little over 15 minutes. Unfortunately, we lost connection and I had to hang up and call again. I get through to tech support and spend another 11 minutes explaining the situation to the 3rd woman who agrees that there is nothing else that can be done with the current reciever. So finally, after months of fighting with the reciever and remotes and some of Dish Network's "techs", I finally found two women who agree with me that there is something seriously wrong with the reciever and that it's under warranty and needs to be replaced.

So in three to five days, we will get our new reciever and I'm to return the current one back to them so we're not charged for the equipment. I wish the previous techs I talked to would have listened to me when I said that I've already gone through the process before and it still won't work correctly. Thank you to the two Dish network techs who agreed with me and are sending my new equipement out.
buck passer!

a la carte fine dining my butt.

Sunday night, myself &three other people went out for dinner down the road from where i live to a placed called the Sailmaster Tavern in Adelaide, South Australia.

I used to go here all the time with my dad, growing up, because it had a pub-ish atmosphere with a guy on a keyboard every saturday night &very family orientated.

In the past few years, it's been done up and now has two sections - bistro and a la carte. We'd chosen the place for our sunday night dinner because it was in the gold section of the entertainment book and we wanted to use the deal on it.

When we got there, we asked what the difference was between bistro / a la carte. The waitress was very.. air-headed. She showed us the two menu's and said 'bistro is all bar service. a la cartewe come to you for table service.. and you can only use the entertainment card in the a la carte section as well. but there's a band playing later in the bistro...' she trailed off.

my friend said 'band...?' contemplating it. the waitress replied with 'yes. you know. music?'

um. right.

so the four of us decided on a la carte. the waitress said she'd show us to a table &we asked for one by the window overlooking the boats, right next to another party of four who were already enjoying their dinner. waitress said 'well i'll check if i can seat anyone in that area because i dont think i'm allowed' (even though another party was there, plus there was a reserved sign for a party of five on the table next to the one we wanted) and walked away for about 30 seconds before coming back saying 'yeah! thats fine! we're just having a huge function in here tomorrow and dont want to mess up many tables.'

um, why is this information relevant to 4 people who come in for a nice dining experience who are completely oblivious (&dont care) about said function?

she handed us all our menu's, went through the specials menu &asked us immediately what drinks we'd like. we all ordered soft drinks so she said 'so no wine tonight?' my friend said 'well.. we just GOT the wine list so we'd like a few minutes please..' and we asked for a garlic bread serve to start as well because we were all quite hungry.

she said 'well you get wood oven rolls with oil &balsamic anyway...' but we said 'well we'll take one serve of garlic bread and have the rolls' because there was only 3 pieces of bread in a serve (why do they always do it in 3s??) with 4 people.

our garlic bread came out, 3 of us had a piece, the 4th person said she'd wait for the rolls &balsamic.. which never came. the table of two who got seated after us got their bread. so another few minutes went by before the waitress came past &we asked for the rolls. 'oh did you want them as well as the garlic bread?' we said 'yes, thats what we asked for, thanks.'

the service got progressively worse.. she brought out two bottles of wine at once for our table &another (which you dont do if you are a la carte) &she just poured all the wine, no tasting. another no-no for a la carte. she put the wine in the cooler on the table, which took up a lot of room so my friend lent over &put the wine on the table next to us (which we have seen places do all the time if it's not reserved). the waitress came past shortly after, saw this, and moved it back onto our table. my friend said 'it's just taking up a bit too much room on the table, thats why i moved it there..'

the waitress said 'oh. well. i'll just put it on the floor here then.' and PUT THE BOTTLE OF WINE ON THE FLOOR.

wtf?

we sat there gobsmacked when she did that.

we were also wanting refills of our water which she'd originally poured for us as we sat down, but had taken the bottle away.. good table service would mean they would come and refill it. but no, our waitress plus one other were now crawling around on the floor wiping down chairs with chemical spray &buckets of water. what the hell?

i'd rather my waitress to NOT be touching chemicals as she deals with my food / serves me / pours my wine.

my friend who put the wine on the other table had finally had enough of it (&he's worked in 3 of the top 20 restaurants in adelaide) &went to speak to the manager. discreetly &calmly.

another waitress then brought over a bottle of water to our table &we asked if it was okay with her if we put the wine on the other table.. she said that was fine. &apart from the fact i had to pour my own wine for the rest of the meal, everything was okay.

we sat there for ages after our meal waiting for the bill.. but no waitresses were to be seen.. they were still wiping down chairs (let me also say that a couple walked in &we counted over 2 minutes before they were approached &seated at a table. just to see how long it'd take). so we had to go up &ask for the bill.

&then no one wanted to take our money. so we had to go up &have that processed as well. so much for 'fine dining' table service! we could have walked out without paying, i'm sure they would have been none-the-wiser!

i put a bad review on the entertainment card website and they are going to personally review the place to see if it's "worthy" of the book.. which it isn't. their staff obviously are not trained for more than a pub atmosphere.. when they upgraded they perhaps should have upgraded the staff as well.
Phoebe | Looking Up

United Airlines Flight Crew walks off plane ... (Er, yes. They suck)

Hi all - new member here. I posted this story to my personal LJ last night and LJ friend kiwiria (*waves*) suggested I repost it here so I am. Any advice or suggestions on what to say in my official letter of complaint is appreciated.

As this is C&P'ed from my original LJ post allow me to explain a few things (because I had already posted in previous posts on my LJ some of the background stuff ...) ... Collapse )

I suppose a letter reading Dear United Airlines, you suck probably won't get me anywhere. 'Tis a shame really because that's what it all comes down to.

I'm too tired for all the details so this is actually an abridged version - a lot more nonsense went down ... but here goes. Collapse )
There's so much more but I have to stop writing. I'm still really tired and I'm getting too angry remembering all of their lies. But that's the story in a nutshell. Unreal, eh? Jerkoffs. It seems, judging from this link (www.untied.com) another LJ friend sent me that I'm not the only person who has ever gotten the shaft from them.

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