USPS

Aargh!  My local post office isn’t really a problem, but when I need to put a hold on our mail for a few days, the USPS website gives me grief.  I had it working for years, but then, it suddenly refused to recognize my login.  Dealt with that nonsense for a couple of years, and finally signed up for a new account, as if I’d never had one before.  Now it works again. It was like pulling teeth, though.

Oh, well.  My mailman is a really nice guy.  No matter where I’ve lived, I’ve never had a jerk for a mailman.  I’ve never met a jerk working the desk or phone at a post office — ever.  It’s not the front line people who deal with the public who mess up things.  Navigating the USPS website isn’t as bad as the old voice jail deal was, but it’s still more of a pain in the ass than it should be, just to put a hold on your mail for a couple of days.

Used My Capt’n Chucky’s Gift Certificate

After making a polite pill of myself with the radio station, I did receive my $50 gift certificate to this local seafood market that has other things, but specializes in crab cakes (several different varieties) and other crustacean items.  So, we went there yesterday.  I blew a little north of $100, but I wanted to sample a bunch of different things, and it turns out their prices had gone up a buck or so per item from what’s listed on their website’s menu.

Last night we had some of the freshest, crabbiest crab cakes ever.  No breading, no filler, just jumbo lump crab and binder.  Also tried some “roll ups” with shrimp, crab, and a wasabi cram sauce, that were sort of halfway between a spring roll and an egg roll.  The spring roll thingies were alright — good, but nothing I’m likely to order again.  Served with a nice chilled Pinot Grigio and a side salad, it was a really good dinner.

Today, we visited my mom, and brought a quart of the lobster bisque soup.  I made a batch of butternut squash soup from the last of the butternuts we grew in our garden, and left that with her.  We had some of the bisque ourselves, for lunch, and offered to leave the rest with her if she wanted it, but she didn’t.  It’s thicker and creamier than other lobster bisques I’ve gotten from elsewhere.  She tasted it and loved it like we did, but it’s milk based, and she tries to stay away from dairy other than yogurt and small quantities of hard cheese, so I sort of figured she’d pass on the leftover.

Tonight, we’ll try a different variety of crab cake, have some more of the soup, and maybe try a few “crab critter” appetizers, which are balls of crab, a little smaller than golf balls, deep fried, then frozen, so we can bake a few at a time, and leave the rest frozen until we want them.

We also got a quart of cream of crab soup, which supposedly is also good on pasta like farfale and rotini.  I may freeze that in smaller half-pint containers.  Could have bought it already frozen, by the pint or quart, but it didn’t occur to me at the time.

The guy working the counter was the only employee there at the time.  Not old enough to be one of the owners, but he might very well have been their son.  His knowledge of their inventory was stellar, and he had no problem accepting the gift certificate from the radio station along with the balance of my tab in cash.  If he were just some HS or college kid working there on weekends with no supervision, he might not have known how to handle that transaction.

I can say for sure that we will return.  I wouldn’t put it on a weekly or biweekly grocery list, but every once in a while for a treat, it’s on my list.

Little Nicky Would Love Our Ghost Lights

This would convince Nikita that his domicile was haunted if it happened to him.  Some of our ceiling lights refuse to light when the rest of them on the same electric circuit do.  Then, once in a while, we’ll turn on the lights, and the recalcitrant ones decide to light up.  This happens in more than one room in our house.  Those bulbs aren’t really toast, and it’s not really the unusual wiring in this house, either.  They don’t flicker.  They just don’t light up, then later do at full wattage next time we turn the wall switch on.  It’s weird.

I think it’s funny, and have better things to do than replace light bulbs that are only pretending to be burnt out.  If I wanted to write a haunted house story about it, I couldn’t.  My specialty is research papers, with graph, citations, etc.  I couldn’t write compelling fiction if my life depended on it.  I’ll leave that up to novelists and the news media.

Got It!

Had to be a a (polite) pill with the radio station staff, but I eventually got my gift certificate.  $50 off an order from a seafood seller floats my boat.  I’ll probably spend more than that, but it’s a nice discount.

Crab cakes and lobster bisque are in my future.  We will probably go there tomorrow.  There are several locations, but the one nearest to us is only ~10 miles away.  OMG, I drool every time I pull up their “menu.”  Fortunately, I’m not allergic to shellfish, although I’ll go for crustaceans any day over bivalves.  Bivalves are yucky to me.

Radio Station Update

After getting the run-around from Audacity and my local talk radio station personnel, I finally tweeted the program host who drew my name out of the hat for the weekly gift card giveaway.  The producer tweeted back with an email address to contact him with my information.

Looks like it’s been taken care of.  Within minutes, the producer looped me in on an email chain with their promotions director, who had previously ignored my attempts to contact him, said he’d get it in the mail today to me, and I should receive it within 2-3 days, which sounds about right from there to here.  Evidently, being a bit of a (polite) pest works.  The producer even checked his records, and told the promotions guy that I had been “persistent,” and told him which week’s drawing I had won.  He knew I wasn’t BS-ing him.

I really, really wanted that gift card, because I love seafood, and there’s a location within 10 miles of me at which I could use it.  If it had been a gift card to, say, Target, I might have let it go.  Nope, a gift card to a seafood market that specializes in crustaceans is far too valuable to me to let it go.

Let’s see what happens.  I want those crab cakes and lobster bisque!  YUM!

Capt’n Chucky’s Here We Come

I won a $50 gift certificate to Capt’n Chucky’s from a local radio station over three weeks ago, and never received it.  Calls to the radio station people to politely inquire about it just give me the run-around, telling me to email so-and-so, which I’ve done twice with no response.

But, a lot of us in my family have special occasions to celebrate, trading gifts, etc., this time of year, some of which involve things like corn cushions, Ace Bandages, and other things you don’t want to know about that I am asked for as presents, so I was so thrilled to just get cash, instead of something like a lavender scented stress ball. or hand soap, that I still have a quart of in a refill bottle.

We can go to Capt’n Chucky’s, to get some crab cakes, lobster bisque, and other seafood.  It’s not a restaurant, but a seafood market that specializes in crab cakes, although it does also have other shellfish specialties.  Bivalves make me want to puke, but I’m good with crustaceans.

This time of year is almost better than Christmas with our family member trading gifts.  Almost.

JFC on a Crutch

Alright, I do like this new box, but days later I’m still discovering things that need to be installed, and the updates from both Microsoft and Dell are driving me nuts.  Every day so far I’ve gotten beamed out at least two updates.  Some go really quickly; other seem to take forever.  I did tape a piece of cardboard over the camera, even before I fired it up, so that’s good

I was going to go out for a a special dinner, but we got t-stomed out, so it’ll have to wait until Friday.  In the meantime, it did give me the time to upgrade to Win10 Pro from the home version, because the home version pisses me off when I can’t find the pro features I’m so used to using.

I’m finally upgraded to Pro, but it was like pulling teeth to get it installed.  FU Microsoft!  I miss the old days when I’d get a CD with a product key.  Yeah, I know, I’m an old timer, but so what?

New Machine Arrived

It’s always a pain in the ass setting up a new computer the way I want it, with the software, including utilities, that I want.  Sure, firing it up and configuring the basics for Win10 only took about 10 minutes, but the rest takes longer.  Microsoft already had an OS update for it.  The damn thing came with McAfee, which I can’t stand, so I had to nuke that after I got Norton 360 installed. No point to nuking Edge, since Microsoft will just keep reinstalling it, but at least I got my browser of choice installed with the extensions I wanted, and made it my default.

I think it’s mostly done, but I’ll probably find something else I forgot to download and install over the next day or two.  As much as I can’t stand dealing with Dell employees who lie to me about why they can’t fulfill my custom “build-your-own” order (no it wasn’t my payment method, as claimed), or tell me they no longer build ones with optical drives, I did manage to order a Dell from elsewhere that had all the features that were important to me — lots of memory, loads of HD space, and a CD/DVD RW drive.

In the end, and cost me a few hundred less than the one I originally tried to have built to my specs.  I like Dells inasmuch as they’re usually good for 5+ years before something like the fan, hard drive, or wifi card shoots craps and needs to be replaced.  I never got that sort of reliability or lifespan out of any laptop HP my employers would issue me.

Screw Dell

Tried to order a new laptop from Dell last night.  For the last 20 years, I’ve always ordered my computers directly from Dell so that I could configure them the way I wanted.  It looked to me like the transaction went through, but today I got a call from a guy with a very thick Indian accent telling me they could not process my order unless I paid via check, which sounds like a crock because the website accepts American Express, and Amex even gave me a security code to verify that the transaction was legitimate, so I told him to cancel the order.  Aside from that, Dell claims it no longer puts optical drives in their laptops, which I wanted.  That is also a lie.

Then, I went online to order one from elsewhere.  Found an electronics store in Colorado that had a brand new Dell with the specs I wanted — Win10 Pro, loads of RAM, huge hard drive, i7 processors, and an optical drive.  It also has all the same ports this old machine has, in a slightly different configuration, but so what?  It also cost me ~$400 less than the one I tried to order from Dell, with shipping included.  I don’t give a rat’s ass about it being touch screen.  This one is, too, but I’m not in the habit of using that feature.

Here’s what I think is going on.  The vast majority of microprocessors are manufactured in either Taiwan or China, and supply is tight, which also affects the automotive industry.  Since the computer I had tried to order from Dell had not yet been built to my specs for me, they gave me a song and dance about not being able to process my order, although they falsely blamed it on my method of payment.  If they didn’t want to fork over a 5% fee to Amex to process my payment, they shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place.

The only downside to this, is that since the shipping cost  was included in the purchase price, it’s probably going to get shipped via mule train, given the estimated delivery date.  Oh, well.  In the meantime, this old box still works.

Poe

Our next door neighbor’s goat head butted in the bottom glass window of our front door’s storm door.  I heard a thump, thump, thump at our front door. At first, I thought it was the car dealer returning my car after inspection, but it seemed odd that the guy didn’t ring the door bell instead of banging on the door.

When I went to investigate the noise, my neighbor showed up with the goat on a leash, and their dog running around free to bother ours, which I had grabbed by his collar.  She apologized so profusely, and told me they’d fix any damage done.  I looked at the panel that Poe had knocked in.  There was no damage to the glass, frame, or to the clips on the storm door that held it in place.  Took two minutes to reinstall, but I love it when neighbors take responsibility for any damage their livestock does.

Anyway, I love neighbors like that.  Poe’s a fun goat.  Mead’s a rambunctious dog, but whatever.  So be it.  I love good neighbors.