Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My take on this Senator Larry Craig thing...

I see this whole thing as being very sad.

Senator Craig was born in 1945, and therefore, grew up in the 1950's. An era that held homosexuality as a "sickness" that was "contagious" as you can hear and see for yourself in the 1950's era video "Boys Beware" here:

How horrible to grow up thinking you are "sick" for being gay. It's now known that homosexuality is very much a biological trait, but we haven't quite reached the level of acceptance that's required for even a Democrat to come out as gay in most places, much less a Republican.

So, for his entire life, Craig (assuming he IS gay) has been told that his feelings towards men are unnatural, sick, and harmful to society. I assume that HE believes this too, based on his voting record.

Why are we surprised, then, when he must release his repressed needs, that he choose to do so in a bathroom. It's dirty, right? The washroom is a private place for taking care all of our disgusting, embarrassing, animalistic needs, isn't it logical that he and others choose that location to take care of their "dirty" sexual needs as well?

Perhaps when we, as a society, can accept gayness as a trait, much like gender or race, we'll move on from teaching our children to hate themselves to the point where they are so repressed they seek out anonymous sex in airport bathrooms and try to pass measures against people of their own kind who's only crime is to love someone of the same gender.

To further illustrate how we ourselves have created this problem, countries like Canada, are celebrating the marriage of their gay public officials (link to story) instead of wallowing in scandals such as Senator Craig's, Mark Foley's, etc.

The housing market's falling! The housing market's falling!

Perhaps I'm being stupid or overly optimistic, but here's why I'm not panicking...

Say you bought a house about 3 years ago, at the height of the housing boom. You thought it'd be a smart investment. Interest rates were low, so you bought in.

But, you were smart about it. You did your homework by using one of the many online tools that took housing cost + interest rate and gave you an idea of your monthly payments, so when the mortgage company told you that you were approved up to $300,000 -you knew you'd be looking for something that was about half that in order to keep your mortgage payments closer to what you were already (easily) paying in rent soas not to have to change your lifestyle to afford the house.

So, you ended up buying a home for $185,000. Then the housing market fails. Homes are going for about 25% less than they were when you bought in. Your house value plummets to $136,500 in 5 years when you go to sell your home to move into a home in the same town, but with a bigger garage so your WIFE can work on HER car in the comfort of an enclosed, temperature-controlled environment as well. **Cough**, right, let's move on... Yes, so you sell your house for $136,500. Ooh, rough break, right?

So, you take your $136,500 and you buy into a house for $185,000 again. Doh! Back where you started, right? Nope. Because the housing market fell 25%, you bought into a home that was worth $231,000 before the housing market fell.

My point is, if you own 1 house that you live in (it's not an investment), then it doesn't really matter what the housing market does because whatever your house is worth, as long as you move right into another house, your housing dollar should be roughly equal when you buy as it is when you sell. In other words, when you're selling and immediately buying again, then it doesn't matter if it's a "buyer's market" or a "seller's market" -you'll always get screwed on one end or the other!

(**I am not a real estate agent. I may just be justifying the fact that I bought into a house just a few years ago. I could be totally wrong about the way the housing market works. If you make any decisions based on this blog article, it'd be incredibly stupid.**)

Friday, August 24, 2007

No one suspected a post on the Spanish Inquisition!

I'm going to share what I'm learning while I read "The Spanish Inquisitioin" by Joseph Perez, published by Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-11982-8

I'm reading this more out of curiosity about they psychology of it than I am out of religion bashing and intend to just note the facts here for those interested in the short-story. Truth is, I'm finding it interesting, but can't quite keep track of all the facts in my head, so...

This was getting too long, so it was moved to:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Every time I call Sprint there's an issue...

Another bad review of Sprint's customer service...

A couple hours after the last post I realized what a whiny little brat I must sound like at this point -angry that my latest tech gadget isn't getting here fast enough... Well, it arrived yesterday -a week and a day after the last purchasing issue was ironed out. It's certainly not up to your average web store's standards, but it got here, so I can't really complain...

Of course, as soon as I got home I ripped through the box, powered up the phone, installed a couple apps, and surfed the web a bit. When I checked the voice mail, there was a message from Sprint saying that I should dial *2 to activate the phone. Well, according to what I've heard online you shouldn't call with the phone you are trying to activate (although you can call customer service with it unactivated -I tried), so I dialed the number that the instructions told me to with my regular phone. The auto attendant asked me some questions that I didn't know the answer to, like "are you a new customer?" uh... sorta. I tried both Yes and No, both dropped me into a queue where the wait time was estimated to be between 15 and 25 minutes. I waited for about 5, then hung up.

So, this morning I tried again at 7am CST and I got through to a rep in less than 5 minutes. (Good start!). It was an Indian girl who talked too fast for me to really keep up and she understood me about as well (although I talked clearly and slowly). It turns out that this wasn't going to be easy either. She said she had no record of my request that my number be ported from Virgin Mobile. I tried re-doing the request, but she needed a Virgin Mobile account number, and I couldn't find one, so I told her to skip it -I'd keep the temporary number for now.

She had me go into the phone settings and set up the phone. It went just fine although she spit out the numbers a little fast for me to figure out how to type/dial them in on this phone (Treo 755p), but I figured it out -no biggie. Once it was set up, she said "Ok. Now you need to choose a plan." Here's where the fun begins...

Me: "Uh, I bought the plan when I bought the phone."
Sprint Rep: "Well, it's not showing up, so we have to set it up again."
Me: "I don't want to set it up again, I already chose a plan when I bought the phone."
Sprint Rep: "You do not currently have a plan, how many minutes would you like?"
Me: "I'm not going through this again -I already have a plan"
Sprint Rep: "How many minutes do you want?"
Me: "Look. I signed up for the Sero plan. Can you put me on that plan? It's called Sero, S-E-R-O."
Sprint Rep: (silence)
Sprint Rep: "Yes. How many minutes?"
Me: "500"
Sprint Rep: "Ok"
Me: "How much is the plan?"
Sprint Rep: "$30" (right)
Me: "And how much data do I get with it?"
Sprint Rep: "There is no data on this plan."
Me: "There's supposed to be unlimited data and text messaging on this plan. That's what I signed up for. That's what I already have."
Sprint Rep: "I'm sorry, but that plan is not available."
Me: "What do you mean it's not available? I ALREADY HAVE THAT PLAN! I signed up for it when I bought the phone. You sent me the phone, so I must also have gotten the plan. It's on my invoice!"
Sprint Rep: "I'm sorry, but in order to be eligible for this plan you must have the rep that referred you to Sprint call and..."
Me: "That's not acceptable. I'm not jumping through hoops to get on this plan. I already purchased it and I have proof. If you can't put me back on this plan, transfer me to a manager."
Sprint Rep: "There's nothing anyone can do. You are not eligible for this plan. You must choose a plan you are eligible for."
Me: "Just transfer me to a manager."
(repeat ad nauseum)

I should have timed it. It had to have been 3-5 minutes of solid back and forth going in circles. I even pointed out the fact that we weren't getting anywhere. Finally she transferred me to a manager, who picked up in about a minute. When the manager picked up, all she said was "You've been authorized for the SERO plan". I was like "What!?!" She repeated herself, then I asked for the details -she confirmed both "unlimited data" and "unlimited text messaging".

Now, when I look online it says I'm on the Sero F&F 500 plan or something like that, which is the plan the rep told me about -500 minutes, no data, no text messages. But, the website also says that the details are not available because my plan was recently changed. It says details will be available after the next billing cycle. I'm willing to wait, but not that long. I think I might have to call back tomorrow or the next day in order to confirm that I'm on the correct plan.

GRRR I look forward to the day when this is all settled and I can just be happy using my phone. For now this hassle doesn't even seem worth the deal I got. But, over 2 years, I have to admit it kinda is, although I'm not happy to be giving Sprint ANY money at all at this point. >:P