Wednesday, June 20, 2007

HP has a big EGO

Since I work from my home, any time a piece of equipment or network fails to operate as it should, it's a major pain in the ass and a heart-thumper, hey-I'm-on-deadline kind of bad day. Yesterday, my HP OfficeJet K60 All-in-One acts up (again) and I spend many frustrated hours attempting to correct a "scanner failure" problem. As a last resort, I email Mr HP hisself for tech guidance. Didn't tell me much, help me at all or offer any good advice to solve the matter. My reply this morning:

Thank you for the quick reply. Your response actually included all the information I found on the HP Web site and other help resources.

I also contacted two of the authorized service dealers, neither of which was helpful. They would not perform at home service.

I finally "fixed" the problem with an oddball suggestion found in an online forum. Apparently, as I learned from many forum readers, this scanner failure is a bug in the product. I'm surprised the units were not recalled or offered to be corrected years ago. I've had this trouble off and on for a couple years now and it seems each "fix" is a different one. Sad, because although I work for IBM, I prefer the HP All-in-One printers. However my boss will not approve another purchase of one due to these issues.

Appreciate your time.

Not too bitchy or passive aggressive, right? Just the facts, ma’am, with a couple of digs thrown in, as I am known to do.

Here's what HP got/read/inferred from my love note (btw - all original punctuation and repeated "say my name" intact):

Hello Jodie,

Thank you for writing back to HP Total Care. Jodie, Firstly, I appreciate the efforts you have put in to resolve the issue. Jodie, I am glad to hear that your Printer issue is resolved. I appreciate all your efforts in trying to resolve the problem. Your comments encourage us to perform even better. I must thank you for taking the time to let us know how delighted you are with the technical support you received. We appreciate you giving us the opportunity to provide you with "superior customer service".

Love, Ethan
(okay I added the “love”)

Gosh, if I could only get so much love and stay in that special place of joy. That letter will prolly go into a performance file or up on the wall, "Atta-Boy!" of the month. Next time, I unleash the dogs of hell.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A message from the SG to the OC

When you’re single, whether by lack of marriage, current relationship or children, the time can go by a bit slowly. Often, the single girl (heretofore referred to as the “SG”) is the event planner, the coordinator. The one hoping for an invitation, a ride-along.

For those of you with a built-in, ready made “plus one” or family posse (heretofore referred to as the “otherwise committed”, or “OC”), don’t overlook the SGs in your life. Although the perception may be that we’re always “busy”, out on the town, sleeping or teetering around town in heels and short skirts and having the wild time you imagine we’re having that you secretly want a taste of, it’s usually not the case. As much as I wish my time as an SG was more “That Girl” and Carrie Bradshaw, a good deal of down time is spent alone at the movies, watching Lifetime TV (thanks, Dawn ;) or otherwise engaged in activities to keep the mind from the fact that the phone ain’t ringing. It’s more so a weekend phenomenon, “family time”. Thing is, what you may find boring (the requisite soccer game, school pageant, visit to a family theme park) an SG may find a pleasant diversion and bit of fun.

For the married OC, let me reassure you; most of us do not want to sleep with you or your significant other. We're not a threat. We’re not friendly with you as a couple to bed one (perhaps both) of the members of your union

Last, hook a sister up. Of SG hookups, those recommended by 4-out-of-5 friends usually are not bad fits. You know your SG. We trust that you won’t set us up with a loser; we can do that all by ourselves. And no, should it not “work out” it will not change our relationship or friendship. Trust that an SG can handle emotional commitments, even though he or she may currently be lacking a love connection.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Night Fever

The first time I saw Saturday Night Fever was at the movie theater with my weekend-Dad, freshly divorced and sporting the requisite 70's perm. It was one of our special "date nights", the chance for father and daughter to bond. I was 12. As wildly inappropriate as it seems that he took an emotionally fragile and impressionable young girl to SNF, to my 12-year-old, immature mind, it was a movie about getting to dance with the most popular girl.

Having just watched the (edited) movie again - it's in rotation as a VH1 "Movie that Rocks!" - it's freakin' brilliant. A morality play, really; the quest and struggle to break free of financial and (lack of) educational constraints, how family traditions can both breathe life and bind and the missteps (and shortcuts) of the modern woman finding her place as an independent career woman. Long before When Harry met Sally, this was the movie that asked, “Can a man and woman be friends?”.

And John Travolta was never hotter (the scene where he slowly zips up those coral- polyester-pants in close-up…ouch).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Sharpton is gonna be pissed

People Magazine recently ran an article regarding discrimination against dogs of color. The article by Jill Smolowe is titled “Dog Discrimination?: When it comes to finding owners, big black pooches often face a tougher time than canines of other colors.”

Apparently, black puppies and dogs don't sell as well or adopt as often as their light-colored counterparts. Most pet store owners (btw, don’t shop at pet stores; if you lurves you some fuzzy friends, go to a shelter or work with a reputable breeder) stock light-colored dogs. Shelters report black dogs are least likely to be adopted, more likely to be euthanized. They speculate it’s because they do not photograph as well, or can appear “mean”. But it’s a dog on the inside.

Although comical to the point of sad, it speaks to the mentality of those pet purveyors who fail to commit to the animals willingly brought in to their lives. A large percentage of animals are dumped in shelters (worse, abandoned to fend for themselves) because the owner moves (I didn’t realize there’s issue crossing state or county lines with a furry or reptile) or a new baby/boyfriend/girlfriend appears and the pet is tossed like a stained mattress. Worse yet, some surrender loving pets because, as they age, they “aren’t as cute or good-looking”.

It’s not just black dogs. The adoption of black cats is halted during the month of October for fear the animals will be mistreated in the name of Halloween misfortune (although, due to overpopulation, some larger organizations have limited or ended this practice).

The “black pearls” need a break. Where’s Al Sharpton or The Rev JJ when you need them?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I Want to Hold Your Hand

I got drunk last night.

Worse yet, I got drunk alone, at home last night. And I meant to. A couple of vodkas followed by red wine. Continuing the pattern of self-destructive behavior that (sadly) can be my way of coping with stress.

It was work that started it, but it quickly spun into something else. As anyone who’ll ask knows, I love my job. I adore what I do to earn a buck. I pursued my love of words and found the nooks and crannies of progress to work from home as a FT writer and editor. I work for a very large company. A company with a good deal of money. The CEO of my company took home $1.75 million in salary and a $5 million bonus in 2006. Yesterday afternoon, my boss called to share the results of my annual base pay review. I was excited. I’ve been taking on new projects, showing solid results and garnering a good deal of executive attention. I had hung a good deal of secret hopes on a bump in salary. I was allotted an additional $157 monthly. Boss said it “was all he could do”…”limits and restrictions in the plan”.

Money isn’t everything. But it’s something. There’s little recognition in a company that spans the globe. Often times, success is gauged on money. When a leader is granted millions, $157 feels like a bad joke. It was embarrassing, humiliating. I’m fully committed to my work. I get that it’s a job, and I don’t equate who I am or title myself based on it (how folks tack an “er” on to the company name to define themselves…an HPer, an IBMer).

So why did the day get so dark. I let it sink into my gut. I wanted to stay awhile. I wanted to commit. It’s a blow when your company won’t. Feels as if the message is, you’re not needed. We can find another you. You don’t matter so much that we can’t do without. And it sent me to a personal place I don’t like to go and I got stuck there. That career message sounded too much like many of the messages I’ve deflected emotionally. And I don’t like to delve into rarely shared feelings and learned beliefs I have of being unworthy, unloved and alone. So I got drunk last night.

Of course the drunk sleep is a fitful one, but I did manage to get deep enough into REM several hours past midnight to have a dream. There was a man. A boyish man, really. About my height, no taller as not to be imposing, with a slimmer build, dark curly hair and a light beard. And he was building up things in my house. A beautiful deck. A “man room” for himself. Fixing the little things that were broken. I didn’t know him. But he knew everything about me, what I liked and what I thought. And he was building things up around me. And it was overwhelming because he just was. I kept asking why and it just was. Because I was. And at one point in the dream, I took his hand and he held it and didn’t let go. And I was worthy of not being let go. I haven’t had my hand held in some time. I would really like to. And I didn’t want to let go.

Then Angelina Jolie came over and shared her shoes with me. A strong, confident, caring, compassionate, successful, authentic and beautiful woman insisted I walk her shoes.

So today, along with a good deal of water and aspirin, I pledged to be kind to myself. All day. To build up, like that boy/man in my dream, some of what I allowed myself to tear down. I’m going to try very hard to hold my own hand today.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Musings born of weekend errands

Happily, my 20-year-old niece has asked that I be a bridesmaid for her May 2008 nups. Of all the friends and girlfriends, she chose her Auntie...the woman who knew her when she was merely an "I feel funny" uttered by her Mom. We're friends in the true sense. Now, did you know bridesmaids dresses and some bridal gowns are sized what they call "internationally"? And unlike the positive tone of, say, the "international language of love", that means the size sewn on the tag fits TWO TO THREE TIMES smaller than what you actually wear in life. Size 8? Oh no, missy, grab yourself a 12. Add to that equation that most 'maids dresses are constructed of absolutely unforgiving material (your satins and such), leads to a sucker punch moment when you must zip yourself into a dress a size you've never known next to skin....and it sorta fits. Wouldn't you think designers would work it just the opposite and make us all 2's? My niece, by the way, absolutely gor-ge-ous in each and every dress. The perfect trinity of height at 5'8, size four waist and size six bust is tailored made for off the rack. As for me, the search continues, although I do know I will be wearing "celadon", a lovely, pale green that offsets the red hair and pale me ever so nicely.

The turkey-portobello-swiss-burger at Ruby Tuesday, a winner.

Old Navy and Circuit City have return policys in which if said goods equal $25 or more, and you paid by check, a check will be mailed to you within 10 days. Huh? Doesn’t that require more man hours, handling and cost?

Those nights I don't feel like cooking, Chinese or Tai take-out it is. And always a nice spread of appetizers because that's just the best, most interesting grub on the menu.

Friday, June 1, 2007


A cough due to cold may very well do us all in.

The saga of the Atlanta lawyer diagnosed with and carrying a dangerous form of tuberculosis, advised not to travel, placed on no fly lists and who did it anyway is the story du jour. Said lawyer has begun the press junket, speaking this morning to GMA’s Diane Sawyer, mask and all. HE SAYS they told me I could fly without risk to others. THEY SAY oh no we di’nt! HE SAYS I have it on tape that I could go get married and honeymoon in Italy with this deadly business rattlin’ around in my chest. THEY SAY liar, liar.

Atlanta is an educated man. His new father-in-law, how ironical, works for the CDC doing TB research. Not only did Atlanta choose to travel while infected, worse yet, he did so in an environment where the air is circulated around and around for all to share many times over. PR it anyway you like, Atlanta, you thought you knew better, put your wants ahead of the concerns and needs of the general public and even your weepy new bride. In news stories prior to todays TV appearance, Atlanta was quoted by the AP as saying, "I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person. This is insane to me that I have an armed guard outside my door when I've cooperated with everything other than the whole solitary-confinement-in-Italy thing."

Educated, successful and intelligent (btw, redundant). How about self-aware, concerned at all about others, willing to listen to the experts, conscious enough to put the safety needs of many ahead of your own.

Now he says he feared he would be abandoned and left to die in Italy, forcing his covert trek by plane and car back into the U.S. Atlanta, the lawyer, is trained to communicate. Educated (and connected to the CDC) enough to make some noise. If you thought YOU might die, Atlanta, what about the woman sitting next to you enjoying her in flight honey roasteds? What about the employee behind the counter at the rent-a-car? Assuming you didn’t go all Michael Jackson and cover your mouth and nose while on your jaunt, what about the children you came in contact with?

Worse yet, Atlanta flew commercially while on a no fly list, a germy mess crossing national and international borders. It won’t be another blast from fuel and metal that will make the next big round of news. Seems the carriers of biological or germ warfare could easily slip in to a metropolis unnoticed. Atlanta is not a terrorist, as some have proclaimed. But rather a self-absorbed example of some of the worst of the human spirit.

Let the lawsuits begin. Hey, I know of a lawyer, willing to travel anytime, at any cost.

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