Sunday, October 26, 2008

Random Memories

  • It's Halloween, 1990. I'm living in a raised ranch in the suburbs and have set up shop at the garage door with two TV tray tables holding bowls of candy.

    It's quite dark when along comes a father with two children: a boy about 6 and a girl about 4. Shouting "Trick or treat," they run up the driveway ahead of their dad. The boy is in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume and the girl is in a ballerina costume.

    As they take their pick of the candy, I ask the boy "Who's your favorite Turtle?"


    "Ohhh, Mikey's my favorite too."

    The ballerina is halfway across the lawn to the next house when Dad arrives at the garage, and she shouts over her shoulder, "He's my favorite too, Dude."

    I crack up. Dad looks at me and shrugs helplessly, grabs Michelangelo, and hustles after Dudette.

  • In 1986 I bought my first new Cadillac.

    I owned a seven year old Cadillac which was at the local dealer's for some kind of problem. They'd had it several days when GMAC announced 2.9% financing. Although you can get 0.0% today, this was a *big* deal at the time. I called the dealer and they hadn't even started on my problem yet. (This, by the way, was the result of what I consider a sensible policy: among all cars in for service, those which had been bought at that dealership took precedence over the rest.)

    I told them not to do anything, that I was headed their way to look at new models. When I got there, there was a black and gold Sedan de Ville on the floor. I looked at several models in the showroom but kept returning to that one. About the fourth time I looked at it, I heard a quiet voice behind me: "I can have you behind the wheel and out of here in half an hour."

    It took just about that amount of time to trade in the previous car and be on my way. Several miles into the return trip to work I stopped at a red light and the driver behind me stopped just in time to be too late. I picked up my first scratch on a car I had owned for perhaps ten minutes.

  • I have been an AOL user for about ten years. My experiences with AOL's customer support have been almost entirely productive. Almost.

    AOL outsources some or all of this function, and I once wound up in contact with a male employee in India. My problem was minor, but annoying: an HTML process had changed overnight, and I wanted to know how to get it to work the way it had a day ago. The only thing that had changed in the interim was that I had updated AOL by downloading and installing a new version.

    I explained my problem to the AOL techie, telling him that the sequence was:

    1. The HTML process worked a certain way

    2. I updated AOL

    3. The HTML process worked a different way

    Question: How can I restore the old HTML process?

    CSR: "You have to contact the company that made your computer."

    Semi-astonished Me: "I think I haven't been clear. Yesterday the process worked fine. Today I updated AOL and the process has changed. How can I restore the old process?"

    CSR: "You have to contact the company that made your computer."

    Sheesh. Just say you don't know, okay?

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