Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Results 1 - 10 of about 29,400,000 for Shoes

If you search the word "Shoes" in google you get over 29 million results. Which is more than any other article of clothing or accessory. The closest article of clothing is the shirt with 23 million results. Not even jewelery has a higher search result!
So what's the world's fascination with shoes?

I myself only have 6 pairs of shoes, unless you count my 2 pairs of flip-flops. I have 2 pairs of dress shoes (1 brown & 1 black) and 2 pairs of DrMartens (for work, 1 brown & 1 black). I then have 1 pair of "skate shoes", which are really referred to as my comfortable shoes and 1 pair of basketball shoes, which i use for anytime i do something physical. 6 doesn't seem like alot, especially when you hear the function of each shoe.

My better half, Ashley, boasts 32 pairs of high heels alone! That's a pair of high heels for every day of the month with option to change shoes on a few of those days! I fully support her high heel "addiction", not only because that's what a good boyfriend would do, but because she looks sexy as hell in them. Though, it does make you wonder how many other pairs of shoes she has!

"My what a big shoe collection you have!"

"What better eat up my income with?"

So why are shoes the number one clothing item? Personally, i blame Disney. Even though it was Charles Perrault who first introduced the shoe as a Glass Slipper in his version of the fairytale Cinderella, it was Disney who made it an icon. They solidified the idea that a shoe that can change your life, even though real life changes are nearly as drastic. Why do you think so many girls, and even men, will go shopping for shoes when they're upset or unhappy with where their life is at?

Let's face it, no outfit is complete without the right pair of shoes to go with it! So next time that special someone in your life is unhappy and you're not sure what to do...take them shoe shopping! And if you need help knowing what shoes would look good with what...ask an expert **cough** Triplyksis **cough** ..wait who said that?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Surviving As An Insurance Company During The Recession

"Sir, It looks like you're covered! ....Just kidding!"
So at the end of my workweek last week, i got into my car prepared to drive home and enjoy my weekend. That day had been extremely hot, and having that heat around me in the air was unbearable. I rolled down my windows to let out the air, and then hit the buttons to roll them back up. As i was backing out of my parking space, it starts sounding like glass was breaking. I look around and see my rear driver's side window was the only one not on it's way up, so i pushed the reverse button for it to stop.

I'm thinking "Crap, i broke my window!". As if i wasn't upset over all this as it was, as i was driving home trying to explain why i was upset to my girlfriend Ashley, the air going over that window as i drove home on the freeway was making a very loud and very annoying noise, giving me a headache. She was very patient with me and tried to calm me down before suggesting the possibility of my insurance covering this. Right after i hung up with her the window fell all the way into the door.

Having no experience with using my car insurance for claims, and knowing my mother goes through the same insurance agency, i call her to try and explain my situation and ask what to do. She proceeds to yell through the phone that she can't hear me, to roll up my window.

"Roll up your window. It's too loud, i can't hear you!"

After explaining the situation to her, and her telling me she couldn't give me any direction other than to call my insurance agent, i called American Family Insurance. Of course, why would my agent have his office open on a friday afternoon around 3pm? So i have to call the non-personal line and deal with the call-center people rather than the people that know me.

Now that i had the first problem of knowing what to do out of the way, calling my insurance, the second problem was figuring out which phone options was right for me. It didn't take long till i was routed to an agent. I explained my situation in full, she said it sounds mechanical and so it wouldn't be deal with by their department specific to glass repairs. She transferred me to a older man named Jim Reid. Explaining my situation again, he agreed it sounded like it might be mechanical, but that i was covered with my Comprehensive Insurance in full, with a $0 deductible. NICE! So he recommends i go through one of their shops, says it will be covered by a lifetime warranty, and that this place had quick turn-around. After giving me all the necessary info, i hang up with him and call the shop, Abra

Quickly setting up an appointment for the falling morning, i finally felt less stressed and let myself breath again. The following morning i got up, and showed up much too early (as i have a habit of doing) and sat in my car playing on my T-Mobile G1, waiting for them to open. I went there with no information (since i asked if i needed it and my insurance guy said i didn't) and the people there were very helpful in helping me get them the information they needed. They even called the nearby Enterprise Car Rental and told them to come pick me up, since my insurance fully covered a car from there.

The weekend goes by and I get a call at work today stating that my window and the window regulator had been repaired and that they were sending my car off to get the window re-tinted. He said he'd call me when that was done, but that it'd probably not be until the following day. My experience so far, had been pretty painless!

Then Jim called back. Said that they changed their mind, that this was considered "wear and tear" and not comprehensive. WHAT?

First, i have nobody in the back seat using that window to be causing any kind of wear and tear because i dont have kids yet, and i don't have passengers back there. Second, even if the first was true, i was told i was covered and the work was already done. I get that people make mistakes, but it shouldn't be me who pay's for Jim's mistake, it should be his employer. I thought part of my insurance was to pay for other people's mistakes anyway!

After getting off the phone with Jim, i think about it. After deciding i'm not okay with the results, i call back, got jerked around by some other Agent who said that he could help me, and i didn't need to go to Jim, i let them know i wasn't okay with their decision. I then call my personal agent's office, and speak with their receptionist and let her know my frustrations and how i feel like i'm being dealt with fraudulently, she says she'll get my agent in touch with me in the morning. Not wanting the mechanic to be out of the loop, i call him up and let him know my situation with my insurance company. Brian, my mechanic, begins to tell me that he was very surprised that they "took back" their previous classification of my claim. He said they sent over as a comprehensive claim, saying i had a $0 deductible and also said:

"I looked at your regulator, and it didn't show any signs of wear and tear. Yeah the cable looked a mess in the pictures, but that's because it just snapped, but because of wear and tear!"
Thanking him for his help and understanding in the matter, i agree to keep him informed of any changes. Jim then called back, having gotten the notes of my disagreement on my account. As of right now, they are currently "looking into it" with his manager, to see if they should cover it. We'll see what happens.

So my advice for surviving through this economic recession as a car insurance company, is to claim you'll cover your customers, and then after everything is done, take back that coverage! 90% of the time, you'll be dealing with someone who just takes what life gives them, and won't know that it's okay to speak up and say they don't agree! There's a good chance you won't get someone like me. So not only will you continue to get their premiums, but you won't have to pay a dime! Your survival relies on you finding those loopholes, confusing your customers, and pressuring them into submission!

Even better, buyout a repair shop & car rental company and direct those repairs to that shop. Referral of business without and "liability" and assurance that the work has been done and so payment is due is the the best way to not only survive, but climb back up that mountain!

"So i know a guy that can get that done for you..."

Sort of reminds of those Home Improvement episodes where that guy was every department. All he had to do was switch the sign at his counter, and he was the department they wanted to talk to!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thunder, Prayers, & Alot of Brake Lights

I did not wake up to my alarm today.

It's not that it didn't go off, and it's not that i slept through it, though to be quite honest with you, i fell asleep last night much to early! I was extremely tired, kept drifting in and out of sleep while talking to my better half on the phone. (It's nice to know that the girl of my dreams will talk to me before she goes into my dreams, and during the transition!).

God was bowling early this morning, and he sure was causing making all kinds of noise. The thunder woke me up, numerous times. I finally got up after it sounded like a bomb went off outside and the flash of light through my window finally made it seem like it was daytime. After taking a shower, i zombie'd around getting ready, and put on my suit. Ashley loves thunderstorms.

Driving through the downpour, utah was full of it's normal moron drivers. Driving scares them, randomly while driving, and they just decide to break...go a little and break again..all with nobody in front of them! If you were watching from an eagle eye perspective, I'm sure you couldn't help but laugh seeing me stuck behind two people going well under the posted speed limit. Patience is one of my better life skills and i'm very lucky to have it. My freeway entrance ramp to I-15 was closed. I decided to get on the ramp going the opposite direction, planning on getting off at the next exit and getting back on going in the direction i wanted to be going. Bad idea.

As i'm getting on the backtracked exit, i can easily see how wrong i was. Traffic was backed up all the way to where i was. Now i tried to think logically, and since my ramp was closed... i assumed there might be an accident, so i chose to rest in the left lane moving with the top and go traffic. 9:12am, just entered the freeway from the backtracked exit. 9:44, still not back past the exit i originally started from. Any other saturday morning, and this wouldn't really be a problem, however i had somewhere i need to be.

Today, was the funeral of my grandmother. My mother's husband's mother passed away this week, and things got handled quickly and this weekend was picked up the date for her day. 10:30am was the family prayer, and 11am was when the funeral started. Being it normally took ~60minutes to drive from my house to my destination, i had left at 9am giving me plenty of room for traffic...or so i thought! Construction was moving us from a 5 lane freeway down to a single lane freeway as it turned out, and i chose the wrong lane. I didn't get out of heavy traffic until 10:30am, having only made it 1 exit past my original location. It was at that point that i decided today was a good day to break the law.

My driving record is completely clean for the first time in my life since i began driving. I decided if there was any good excuse for speeding, this was it. Going around 100mph nearly the entire time, i began weaving in and out of traffic. Breaking all kinds of lane switching laws, driving in the carpool lane, even passing a carpool lane car on the left side in the lane that doesn't exist! I said a silent prayer that god would understand my intentions and make cops turn a blind eye to my speeding. I passed one cop, right after Centerville.

Now anybody who knows Centerville...knows there is close to no crime in Centerville and that the cops there have been known to fabricate that you've broken the law and try and convince you that you have!
I was going 100 when i first saw him, and only got down to 85ish before i passed by him. He didn't budge at all, God must have heart my prayers! I walked in with 1 minutes to spare before they began the funeral talks, I suppose i could have done without a few of my highly illegal maneuvers. Don't worry kids...on my way home, i followed every traffic law :)

Today wasn't all tears, it was mine and my baby's anniversary! I love this girl, and I'm glad she puts up with me and my geeky ways :) It's days like this that make me especially glad that i have her!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making Wishes On Space Rocks

The world feels rather small when you're staring at the sky.

When the girl you love lives thousands of miles away, something like looking at stars can make you feel closer knowing that compared to the vast really aren't that far away.

10pm my time, midnight her time, we both went out of our respective houses and began looking for these meteors. I've never seen a meteor before and so i wasn't quite sure what i was looking for. Eventually i started seeing a few shooting stars here and there, and we decided those were what we were looking for.

Ashley is adorable. Enough said, she just is whether she's getting excited from seeing, or upset from not can't help but just want to hug her. It was the best thing in the world hearing her getting excited when she would see one! It was even better when we saw one at the same time, because there was a chance we were looking at the same one! :)

It was hard to get the best view because i was on my front yard in the grass and our streetlights were shining bright. My left view was obstructed by streetlights, my right view by the roof of my house. Ashley had trees blocking parts of her sky, but we were doing what we could with what we had! After having seen 5 meteors that looked like shooting stars, i saw a much bigger one go across my sky from north to south with a good size trail. As i was talking about how cool it was to see that one, a really bright one came from the south-east horizon and it looked like it was coming straight at me! It was a small dot of white to begin with then it got really bright and kept getting bright it; was lighting up that portion of the sky. Then the light started to fade and it disappeared.

I was so amazed i immediately jumped up, Ashley having to listen to my, I'm sure, garbled words as i failed to describe what i just saw. I went inside to tell my dad, his wife and her kids that they're missing out (they all were playing World of Warcraft at the time). I was able to convince one stepbrother to come out, and he did get to see a few smaller ones. Another stepbrother came out and replaced the other one (good to know they're interchangeable like that!) and we sat for a while waiting for more to show up.

Brian Regan says:
"Is this a good activity??"

I kept seeing small ones here and there, but Miles (the current step-in stepbrother), 8 years old, wasn't seeing them...even though he pretended to see them lol. After i finally was able to show him one, he knew what he was looking for, this was a first time experience for all of us (Ashley,Miles, and Myself). Miles and I started seeing some huge ones that would disappear behind our roof. Fearing we were missing the best part of the show, we walked to clear to the end of our neighborhood where there was only one street light, and laid down on the sidewalk on the corner. We could see almost the entier sky, and the occurrence of sighting was more than doubled!

Watching the meteors was great experience and i hope i get to do it again someday. The only thing that could have made it better, is if the distance between Ashley and I was reduced to nothing ;)

Cuddling while watching meteors? What could be better?

"Some days all i do is watch the sky..."

I made a wish on every single meteor i saw, each one was the same wish. Next time..i'll come prepared with a list of wishes to read off!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Man sells his wife for twitter business

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of twitter or your favorite twitter app\site? What kind of people are running\developing that 3rd party twitter app that you use to make your posts and read your tweets?

Ever since the recent ddos attacks against twitter, facebook, and other social media sites in the "Social Media Outage of 2009", many twitter developers are up in arms as they continue to encounter issues with their 3rd-party applications working properly with the twitter API. While many of the developers are understanding about the situation and very hopeful that it gets resolved soon, there are still a handful that are being rather obtuse about it all.

At risk of giving one such developer undeserved publicity, , has been one such developer ranting about twitter's "lack of information" and how their API's downtime is costing him money. As the main person behind, Dewald has taken advantage of twitter's free API by creating a tool that allows you to schedule tweets, automate following of folowers, among many other useful features. As per good PR, Dewald has put an announcement on his site explaining the reason for certain features not working on his site, but behind the scene's he's letting his short temper show saying things such as

I would hope that Twitter engineers are all in force at the
office on a day like this to solve this issue and get our applications
back up and running, regardless of whether it is Saturday, Sunday, or
Christmas Day.
As supportive as some people are of twitter's efforts to get things back up and running, there are still those who think that Twitter is obligated to provide a fully 24/7 supported gateway from their site to twitter's data. Twitter is not obligated, legally or financially, to any 3rd party developer or site. In good confidence and in effort to keep the talent in favor of their site, i am positive they are doing everything they can to get things back up and running. The developers and technicians working on getting this sorted out are not your servants, nor are they your paid employees.

Keep in the back of your mind that as much as your 3rd-party app may have contributed to help them grow, they could easily close their API and develop their own applications to take the place of your own. They have the manpower to do it now, thanks to all of us developers! As stated directly from their ToS:
We reserve the right, in accordance with any applicable laws, to refuse service to anyone for any reason at any time.
Now you're probably wondering, how did i get the title of this article? In my attempts to portray my stance on this situation between 3rd-party developers and twitter's IT team, i wrote a story in the twitter-dev group (keep it mind it was directed at the developers):


A band broadcasts their music on a radio station all the time, and people are able to freely tune into it, or go buy their music online. They go and play in a city park for free every day just because it's a much nicer experience for the listener then to be just sitting at home listening on their radio, and it gives them more exposure.

You, as an up and coming entrepreneur go buy a hotdog & drink stand and setup camp in that park to make some cash off of the flow of people who come to see this free event every day. You being there, giving the ability for people to eat & drink without leaving the park allows for more of this bands songs to be heard, in effect increasing the chance that their music might be purchased. So you're essentially helping them, by taking advantage of them for your business.

The band gets in a car crash, and alot of equipment is damaged to the point of not being able to be used, along with their main source of transportation. The band starts working to find and replace all that is damaged in their equipment and repair their band van.

Now you can imagine that little hotdog stand guy standing on their doorstep while they recover yelling profanities and how they should be skipping the shipping company, who's delivering their parts & equipment, and to get their parts themselves to save time. Yelling that they shouldn't be sleeping, they should be working on their band van right now to make sure it can take them back to the park so he, the hotdog guy, can make some money.

"People aren't coming to my stand anymore! They're going to fast food restaurants and going home!!"
"WTF i sold my wife for this stand!!!"

Now of course, this little hotdog stand man may not have really sold his wife, depending upon which one of you people who are still up in arms about this was put in his place, but i think you get my point.

Now, the band could easily move to a venue that has their own hotdog/drink stand making your services not necessary, but instead of doing that and capitalizing on the profit they could get from that, they're still planning on going back to the same park they do their free shows at, and allowing you to continue earning your money.
My point in writing this, was not only to express where i stood on things, but also to give some perspective on how narrowminded people are being about this. Yes, i get that some of you 3rd-party developers rely solely on the income you make from your site. Yes, i get that you may lose users due to this. But keep in mind, you're not alone! Twitter, you, and many other 3rd-party developers are in the same boat.

Twitter user said it best

"The wrongdoers in this are the DDoS people. Everyone else is collateral in
someone else's stupid war."

And this even-headed individual went on to suggest another way someone could monetize this situation, to make up for their other money lost by suggesting we make a Tech Soap Opera regarding twitter and the google twitter-dev group's drama behind the scenes as (suggested by the part of the show where the actors talk to the camera. All great ideas :)

Support goes 2 ways. If you want twitter to continue supporting this API, be a little more supportive of them and their efforts of trying to get back on track. We're behind you 100%