Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wife + Pasta + Disposal = *@#$&*!!

What happens if you leave a bunch of plain cooked pasta sitting out? It turns into a big, sticky mess unless you've kept it wet. That's pretty much a given, the high starch content makes it the next best thing to glue.

Apparently my wife was absent the day this little gem of knowledge was taught. A rather large pile of leftover spaghetti noodles had been in the refrigerator for a couple weeks, definitely not high on my list of edibles at that point. Sunday night she thought it would be a good idea to stuff it all into the disposal, run it just long enough to clear it all out then turn off both the disposal and the water. That left the pipes full of ground up pasta, which as it turns out is the next best thing to dumping a bag of Quikrete down the drain.

So Monday evening comes along, and after working outside in the yard and the garden for a few hours I am a filthy mess. I come inside, turn on the water and start washing my hands and arms. Next thing I know the sink is full of filthy water, and it's gone through the connecting drainpipe between the two sinks and started filling the other one too. So now I had two sinks full of dirty water. I get out the little plunger, cap one drain opening and use the plunger to try suctioning the clog loose. That was a waste of time and effort, not to mention pretty damned messy. Then I had two sinks full of even dirtier water which looked like it carried the remains of a drowned maggot infestation. *insert cursing here*

I figure I'll wait til after dinner to give it another go, then head to the bathroom to finish washing up. While I'm in there the wife has her second bright idea and pours in a bottle of drain opener. Now I had two sinks full of filthy water, shredded pasta resembling drowned maggots and caustic chemicals! Happy happy joy joy. *insert even more cursing and profanity here*

I hoped that it would clear with time. No such luck. I took off the traps under the sinks hoping to find the clog where it would be easy to get to. No such luck. So today I went to Home Depot and bought 25' pipe snake and spent the afternoon trying to twist and shove the damned thing down the drain pipe. After about an hour and a half and ending up covered with sweat and nasty, stinking, black drain pipe slime I finally got through the clog. Can I get an amen and a big ol' hallelujah?

Happy birthday to me! Now I'm off to shower again so I'm able to tolerate my own smell. Remember boys and girls, pasta + drain = DON'T EFFING DO IT!

Monday, June 29, 2009


Yahoo! is continuing their never ending quest to render themselves obsolete.
For reasons unexplainable by me they continue operating with the philosophy "Less is More." Services and features continue to be cut back or eliminated altogether, usually leaving their users with no choice but to go somewhere else altogether. They seem to be intentionally weakening their own customer base while simultaneously strenghtening that of their competition.
Y! Games are ancient and have undergone no significant changes in play or appearance for over a decade. Meanwhile, game sites like Pogo are on a level so far above Yahoo! that the big red Y! will probably never catch up and never measure up.

Y! Photos was discontinued, leaving users with two poor choices. Users could either switch to Flickr, an unbranded (but Yahoo! owned) service which was more difficult to use and offered considerably less than what they were used to unless they paid for a premium account, or they could switch to another service not affiliated with Yahoo! at all. Bye-bye users.

The Y! Briefcase service was discontinued and no replacement offered. Users now have to go elsewhere for any photo or document storage. Bye-bye users

LAUNCHcast radio underwent major change, removing the ability to create or maintain custom stations which play music defined by the listener's specific preferences. Bye-bye users

Yahoo! 360° will soon be put out of its misery after years of neglect during which it never functioned properly. No replacement is offered. This completely removes Y! from the social networking market, one of the biggest markets on the internet. I can't even begin to fathom the reasoning behind this decision.

The new "universal profile" is a bug laden disaster almost as unusable as 360° often was. A large percentage of users aren't even able to access their own profile to make changes, so it broadcasts updates about all of their activities on Yahoo! to all of their contacts without their permission or control. The developers of this new profile are themselves unsure of what purpose it is supposed to serve, they continue to add features and functionality which make it usable as a stripped down social networking site while all the while claiming it's not supposed to be. Bye-bye users

GeoCities is the next to be shut down. Users who have had personal websites hosted on GeoCities for a decade or more will now have to go elsewhere. Yahoo! will have no free website hosting features anymore. Bye-bye users

Yahoo! Answers is a disaster. It could have been a worthwhile property but due to incompetence, lack of foresight and lack of any sort of user control it has turned into a giant game, a pre-teen Dear Abby and rate my pic site, a cesspool of hatred and a haven for spammers and malware distributors. Yet Yahoo! still has no restrictions in place to prevent ill intentioned users from sitting down at their computer and creating dozens upon dozens of back to back accounts which they then use to blanket the site with spam and malware. Malware alone has continued unabated for over a year, with the only control in place being the herculean search and report efforts of many of it's users. Even then Y! refuses to give them the tools they need to do the job properly, and keeps breaking the one ineffective tool they do have.

Then there's Yahoo!'s crown jewel, their "Customer Care" division. I doubt there has ever been a more incompetent, ineffectual, self-defeating customer care department than the poor excuse offered by Yahoo!. Instead of working to keep their users, they continually cause them to leave by way of horrible service and attitude. Contacting them about anything only begins a chain of copy and paste responses, most of which don't even address any point made in the original contact. They may as well just respond to the first inquiry with a simple "Fuck you, we don't care." At least then the user gets the idea the first time instead of dealing with the frustration and aggravation of multiple communications over an extended period of time while their issue remains unresolved. On Yahoo! it is totally possible to lose your entire account and everything in it for no reason at all without ever being given a reason, especially if you participate in Y! Answers.
Personally I think Yahoo! totally blew it by not selling to Microsoft. They have cut back their staff and services to the point where none of their new products work and nobody there can fix them. I honestly see no reason to even use Yahoo! for anything now aside from Messenger and for some, e-mail. I won't use Y! Mail myself for the simple reason that I could lose it at any time due to unexplained account deactivation. The one service I still use is Messenger, because it's free. I will not pay them again for the use of the Phone Out service because the last time I did they stole the remaining prepaid balance when they erroneously deactivated my account. When they realized their mistake and reactivated it the balance was gone and they refuse to reinstate it. So, screw 'em. So what do you think, will Yahoo! survive and regain it's former status or will they continue to decline to the point where they are irrelevant?

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Trip To The Urologist

As men age we start seeing more of the medical world. Nowadays this includes an increasing number of women as our physicians and therapists - in my case, a new urologist. My doctor recently referred me to a 30-something female urologist. I saw her yesterday. She was drop-dead gorgeous and dressed to kill... unbelievably sexy. She told me that I had to stop masturbating. Being male I found this an unreasonable request so I asked her why. She said, "Because I'm trying to examine you." D'oh!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Life's Little Surprises

Life has a tendency to spring a few surprises along the way. Too bad they aren't always good ones.

If you know me then you most likely know that my marriage is not a happy one. My wife and I have developed opposing viewpoints regarding several issues, some of which I consider core issues key to any relationship especially a marriage. We've drifted apart and I'm now at the point where the only reason I stay is because I can not yet afford to leave, but that day is coming.

Over the past few years I have become emotionally involved with someone else. We are separated by many miles but talked nearly every day, sometimes for hours but because of the distance we got to share only the occasional visit with each other. We have much in common, both in personality traits and involvement in unhappy marriages. Judge all you want but she made me happy and made me feel loved, appreciated and wanted and I feel no guilt or shame for allowing myself that feeling. Nor do I feel any guilt or shame for loving her. Talking with her always brought a smile to my face and was always the brightest part of my day. When the day came that I could leave my marriage and cut all ties, she was who I wanted to be with.

That's over now, courtesy of surprise number one. She felt it was in her best interest to walk away so that she could get on with her life. I never saw it coming and that's made it even harder to deal with. I understand and don't hold it against her but it still sucks. There's a huge hole in my life and I feel very empty right now. C'est la vie.

Two weeks later along comes surprise number two. My boss shows up at work Saturday right around closing time, she tells me she can't afford to pay me anymore and asks for my keys and parking permit. No notice, no discussion, no alternatives, just an instant statistic. I'm not really all that marketable, have no higher education or degrees and in this shit economy finding another job is going to be really tough.

I'd managed to scrape together a little nest egg for when I was able to leave, but after replacing my dead laptop a little while back and taking a vacation I'd put a pretty big dent in it and this will probably finish it off. I guess I'll just have to start all over again.

That's two shitty surprises in a row neither of which I saw coming. I'm really hoping there's not a third. Looking back, I see there were clues along the way but I either missed them all at the time or just completely underestimated their relevance. Maybe I'm just not as smart as I thought I was... So there's my current happy place.