Random Crap

Yes, do it

I often wonder whether or not the United States is actually a true democracy, but people have the freedom to vote and speak — and they maintain the power to organize into political parties.

Therefore, people have the power to limit gun violence.



Evolution of Popular Music

I gotta get back to slogging through contract law, but I came across this really interesting paper, which has been covered in the media. Some scientists have determined that there have been three major branches of popular American music involving early 60s rock, early 80s new wave and early 90s rap.  According to the paper also, the British Invasion was not necessarily responsible for the 60s evolution of rock because it had already started, but the Invasion possibly helped to increase this genre’s popularity.

Having been a biologist before and more than a bit of a music fan – this paper is pretty cool, and it’s an open source paper, which I like.

Here is the link: The evolution of popular music: USA 1960–2010.  Have fun.

Have I mentioned that Comcast has abysmally bad service?


Screw you, Comcast.
(Used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0.  TheBird by Dave Dennis)

Today was the third (and fourth) time I phoned Comcast to cancel my internet service.

After entering my telephone number 3 times; twice to the electronic phone system and once to a human, my account information would not come up based on my phone number.  I find this odd, and this is obviously a failing of Comcast’s IT system, assuming the customer service agent was telling the truth in not being able to bring up my information.  I also find it very ironic that customer information can’t be found when customers call in, given Comcast’s line of business.

I was told by the customer service agent that even though I could verify my address and name, I could not cancel my account because I would be required to verify the account number.  Well, guess what?  I’m moving, and my bills are packed, Comcast. Since I wasn’t allowed to cancel three weeks ago, I now don’t have a bill readily available with my account information, and your system should be able to bring it up after I had entered it THREE times in one phone call.  I logged into my online banking, and provided the last 5 digits of my account number to the agent, but this wasn’t the WHOLE account number, so she would not allow me to cancel.

When I called back, for some reason the system magically pulled up my customer information based on my phone number. I was then able to cancel.  Weird, no?

Moving isn’t stressful enough; I need Comcast to make life more difficult. Thanks a lot.

Now I have to return the modem, and you can bet your ass that I will be taking pictures of this process when I drop it off at UPS, in case it accidentally gets ‘lost’.

Let’s hope the final bill is correct, but at this point it is a crap shoot.

Another Comcastic Experience

So it’s been awhile since I posted, but I thought I would complain about Comcast one more time.  There still may be another rant forthcoming, but that remains to be seen.

My partner attempted to cancel our service with Comcast, but since he wasn’t the primary account holder, he couldn’t do it. Fine. But that isn’t the problem.

I spent 10 minutes on hold today, with the intention of cancelling my Comcast service (10 minutes isn’t too bad, but that isn’t the point).  I had to give them my account number.  After finally speaking to a human, giving her my account number again, and waiting for her to input all of my customer information,10 minutes later I was told that I couldn’t cancel my service until 2 weeks prior to moving.

20 minutes of my life I won’t get back.  20 minutes of my partner’s life he won’t get back.

Is this not useful information to give customers on a pre-recorded message, or at least as soon as they tell someone they are cancelling?  For example, when my partner called 2 days ago, this information wasn’t important enough to tell him so as to preclude me from wasting my time?

You’d think having cable service with this company was rocket science.  Except that it isn’t.

Home improvements continued

I’ve painted the bottom shutters and reattached them to the house.  The color is washed out on the top ones so they will need to be primed and painted also.  Color is Benjamin Moore “Weathered Stone”.  It is a lovely color if I do say so myself.  I did two coats with the semigloss exterior type.  I used a brush to get into the crevices, then I used a mini roller to roll the brushed areas and paint along the edges.  Looking forward to attaching the new mailbox – today I opened the broken mailbox that is currently on the house, only to find a soaking wet envelope!

Bottom shutter up close.

Bottom shutter up close

Which way is the front line from here?

I just finished watching the documentary “Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington”.

This was a thought provoking documentary about talented photojournalist/filmmaker Tim Hetherington (“Restrepo”), who was killed in a mortar strike in Libya in 2011. This film was difficult to watch. There is no doubt that Tim Hetherington was a risk taker, and I argue that he was addicted to taking risks, but without this type of personality he would not have been able to document human behavior in the way that he did.  Rather than making value judgements or politicizing the conflicts he covered, Tim elected to ask different questions about the relationships between the people he encountered.  With this point of view, he uncovered truth in his work.

At one point the film discusses how Tim forcefully expressed to his father how “rich” he was, in the sense of being able to exist in a free society — he and his family were from the UK. For many of us living in the first world, we are “rich”; this is the correct word.

What gets tiresome is encountering people whose arrogant and corrupt worldviews demonstrate that this richness is taken for granted.

Luckily though, every so often, people like Tim Hetherington pop up and show us how it really is.

Home improvements

Today I did some small home improvements on our new home.  The shutters hadn’t been painted in a long time.  I read some blogs about how to paint aluminum stuff on houses and did the following:

1. Washed shutters with some water and all purpose cleaner.

2. After drying, I used a fine grit sandpaper and ran across all areas to ensure primer adhesion, then wiped loose dust with damp cloth.

3. Bought some spray primer; Rustoleum grey tinted flat.

4. Covered with 2-3 coats, waiting a few minutes in between each.   It was pretty nice to use.

5.  Repeated steps 1-4 on new mailbox too.  It was strange sanding off the nice shiny black finish but I want it to match the shutters. I have to do 2 more shutters also.  Will show final results in posts to follow.

Spray primer is my friend

Spray primer is my friend.