Tuesday, May 12, 2009

OBX ...

Ok, the last post was written lying down at Oregon Inlet, part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It was a windy, clear, beautiful night with a full moon that lit up the entire landscape with its familiar yet eerie milky white glow. As excited as I was just to be there, I was very tired.

Sleeping wasn't great, but when we woke we did feel rested.

We went down to New Inlet in the morning to do some canoeing. It was the suggestion of the Park Ranger and it was an excellent suggestion. While there was some wind, it was not too bad. The water was shallow and at its deepest it was about 3ft. We saw some skate rays while we were paddling about. We found a small island where we could beach the canoe and walk about for a bit. The very astute Chris found some of these little guys. What a strange little creature...looked like a small bunch of seaweed, only with some well blended legs and it was moving.

A skate swam in between Chris and I while we were walking around too. On the way back to the ramp we went by an Osprey nest. It looked like there were two adults and some smaller chicks. We didn't get too close.

When we got back to the truck, it looked like someone had purposely killed a small water snake. It wasn't poisonous and only its head had been smashed. Snakes are an important part of our environment, even poisonous ones, and killing for the sake of fear angers me. Unless a snake is startled, cornered, or attacked it is almost always going to flee the presence of a human. There is no real need to kill them.

Overall we had a fantastic weekend. We headed back home to a Mother's day dinner with Chris's sister and her mom. Glucklich Muttertag (Chris's mom is German).

The horse pictures aren't the greatest as they were taken with my phone....


Saturday, May 09, 2009

OBX ADVENTURE - onsite blogging

Brought to you live...via cell phone.

today has been very interesting. my girlfriend and i were going to the outer baks (obx). we were slow moving in the beginning. we took our time packing and deciding what we would do. we loaded the truck with the canoe and camping gear and headed south. we knew we wanted to go to corolla and drive on the beach. we didnt know if we could camp there...turns out you cannot. we saw a LOT of wild horses. pictures will be up sunday. we could not sit on the beach because it was too windy. we did some hiking and then headed out to find a campground. roanoke island does not have any anymore. we did find one at oregon inlet. right now it is nearly midnight and im too tired to type anymore. good night and happy mothers day!!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Open letter to Verizon

I have been a happy customer of your FIOS Internet service for almost three years. I used your FIOS TV service for nearly two years, but since I do not really watch TV I recently had that disconnected. I recently put in an order to get a basic copper line telephone, with only local service, and that was supposed to be put in today. The reason for this is that my VoIP provider is shutting down their service.

Two years ago I tried to switch from my VoIP provider back to a basic Verizon land line at the same time I got the TV service. When the technicians got here, they did not know about the phone install, just the TV. Towards the end of the day, I still had not seen a phone technician. When I called I found out that some how they had lost the phone part of the order, were very sorry, and asked if I could take another day off from work to wait around for a phone technician to possibly show up at some point to install my order. I told them no and then asked them to cancel the order. In 10 minutes, I had phone service back through my VoIP provider, and all of the control I wanted over the line as well.

Today I had to be at work first thing, but quickly came home to wait for the phone technician. The order did not specify I needed to be here, and really the circuit just needs to be turned on at the local central office. You see, phone service has been here for a long time. I did not need to pay $40 a month for special FIOS service, I just need dial tone and local service. Specifically 911.

I called to make sure I needed to be here. I was transferred around, went from IVR to human to IVR to human to disconnect to redial to IVR to human, etc. The second time I talked to a dispatcher they said I did not need to be there. Being in short supply of time to get things done at all times, I left to go do something I was going to have to put off until next week. They called in that two hour time span and left a voice mail to tell me that the technician was there, could not get in, and would need to be rescheduled. I am a very unhappy Verizon customer at this point.

I called back, bounced from IVR to human to IVR to human to human to IVR to a human that was still unable to help me but offered to transfer me again and then I went to another IVR and was disconnected yet again.

At this point I have wasted over 90 minutes of my cell phone time, on Verizon Wireless, and I am sure they will not credit me back because they are different companies. You see, I worked for Verizon for a short period of time, and divisions or sub companies might at as well be speaking different languages, in different countries, and at war with each other. It is not going to happen.

I hooked my VoIP provider back into the house wiring, I called them back, went through the whole process all over again bouncing from IVR to human and so forth until I get to someone that tells me I have to reschedule and the earliest time is next Friday, and I MUST WAIT FROM 8am UNTIL 5pm so that a technician can get access to the premises.

I will not take another day off from work. I once again asked Verizon to cancel my order. I will choose from a variety of other VoIP providers and move my serivce to them if I even get another line at all.

Yes, Verizon is getting my money for FIOS Internet. FIOS Internet has been the best Internet service I have ever had. Installation was not too bad for me, but I have talked to many other people where they have had the same experience above getting even the Internet service installed. The Verizon FIOS TV service is too expensive and not nearly flexible enough. They riddle you with extras to boot (i.e. renting the set top box, other hookups, etc). A cafeteria type plan would suit me better, just the basics and a few other extras I choose. I also don't want to rent a set top box.

Verizon is also getting my money for Cell Phone service. Again, it is an overpriced service, but the coverage is better and it is worth a little more money to know that I'll have service where other providers do not.

Verizon is an institution and I am insignificant to it, therefore they can afford to just bounce me around like a ragdoll and it does not make one bit of difference to their bottom line whether I am a satisfied customer or not. Everyone I talked to was pleasant but unable to help me and unable to offer restitution or an explanation as to why I was told I could leave or why someone needed to be there in the first place. Other companies can make after hours appointments. Other companies can schedule specific times. Verizon has no reason to do so. The Virginia SCC will not revoke their license to operate or penalize them for this ineptitude, they are too big to fail as the current presidential administration would say.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

hmmmm....just randomness....

Sometime soon I will try to do a post or a series of posts on recommendations for your home computer security. None of what I will say will totally protect you, but it can help keep you reasonably safe provided you practice reasonable web surfing. I deal with malware on a daily basis that, even on thoroughly locked down systems, is still able to bypass all security measures. I will only cover windows though. Some of the concepts also apply to other Operating Systems such as Linux or the MAC OS, but you'll have to find your own software for them. :-)

I always have a good chuckle when people ask me if I've seen this show or that commercial. Today at my son's IEP they suggested taking away TV as a punishment. :-) I don't watch TV. I have one, but it is basically a large computer monitor that I watch an occasional movie on, a downloaded show from iTunes, Hulu, or some other alternate media. One reason is that I cannot stand the advertising. My mind is cluttered enough as it is. Another reason is that I abhor having TV networks tell me when I'm going to be home and sitting on the couch to watch something that in my mind is drivel and keeps me (and the rest of the world) from getting out and doing things that really matter and can make a difference. All so that we can be entertained.

and I had more, but it is getting late and I realized that I'm just ranting on about things that will get me into trouble anyway. :-)

Have a good night.

Monday, May 04, 2009


It's everywhere. All over my back yard.

I didn't know.

Poison Ivy. It also happens to be all over the neighborhood too. My girlfriend had to tell me what it was. I either don't react to it, or I have just been wildly fortunate.

Saturday afternoon was spent raking part of the back yard and butchering the bushes back into submission. It really is amazing I don't have some sort of exotic deadly respiratory ailment right now. I inhaled massive amounts of dust, pollen, and vegetative matter.

All that work and the yard is only partially finished. I have more to do in the back, and then I have to weed the front. Grrrrr. I'm neither a gardener nor a landscaper.

I also believe that Virginia Beach is the mega-epicenter of all pollen on the planet. I'm tired of having to constantly wash the cars.

The weather has been nearly non-stop awesome though. I am very thankful for that.

Friday, May 01, 2009

More conversations...

This morning was a funny one....

[B] "Dad, have you ever broken any bones?"

[D] "No. You?"

[B] "No."

[D] "What about when you flipped backward off the swing and smashed your face on the railroad tie?"

[B] "I didn't break anything!"

[D] "Are you sure? Have you seen your face?"


I got the squinty eye scrunched up glaring face for that one.