Doing the Impossible

I love this quote.

“Luckily,” he went on, “you have come to exactly the right place with your interesting problem, for there is no such word as ‘impossible’ in my dictionary. In fact,” he added, brandishing the abused book, “everything between ‘herring’ and ‘marmalade’ seems to be missing.”

(From Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams)

I used to have this book, and the sequel, The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, and I really liked them both. Especially the first, because it was the only time I’d seen anyone mix Samuel Taylor Coleridge poetry, time travel, electric monks, and sofas into one coherent story.

Stickers

It’s been a while since I put a blogsticker in here.

You know you’ve done a successful advertising campaign when it slips into common usage and starts appearing everywhere. The original ad was “Got Milk?” Now we have this:

ThinkGeek sells a t-shirt saying “Got Root?” and a friend has a bumper sticker saying “Got Jesus?” which is a lot less scary than the big red truck driving around with black windows and a “Vegetarians Taste Better” sticker.

But nothing beats the “Behold, the Power of Cheese” ads.

Voice Mail Hell

I really, really, really, hate phoning the health insurance company. First I called the number on my card, went through two voice mail menus, waited five minutes and talked to someone who was very nice, but said I had to call another number because another company was responsible for refusing to pay my doctor. Lovely.

So I call the other number, get through three voice mail menus, get a “Your call is very important to us,” which loosely translates to “Go away little ant, we’re busy,” get through to a real live person (I’m pretty sure she was alive at least) who says “Can you hold while I close out my last call” and promptly puts me back on hold. This company had some nasty hold music. Someone in Hubby’s old company switched out the CD of classical music they were using for people on hold, and replaced it with Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction” once. I would have preferred Guns N Roses to the twinkly, syrupy, easy listening sludge they were piping at me.

The “customer service representative” came back finally and did the whole twenty questions “What’s your name, address, daytime phone number, star sign, shoe size, breakfast cereal preference, favourite exotic fruit, etc.” thing. I don’t like that because people over the phone sometimes get confused with my accent and think I’ve given them false information. After the interrogation, I finally get to state my case. “No, I’m not seeing a claim for that date,” my friendly CST says. “Huh,” quoth I. “Oh yes, there it is,” she says at last. The screw up was them misfiling the claim, then refusing to pay for it because it was in the wrong system. It’s their fault, and I get a $98 bill and panic that I’ve done something wrong.

I thought it was pretty funny when the voice mail menu said “If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911.” They waited until you’d gone through the voice mail menu before saying this, as if I’d be sat on hold bleeding from a severed artery, calmly waiting because “all of our representatives are currently busy with other customers.”

They say you get what you pay for. You don’t pay for the NHS in Britain exactly, but it’s generally OK. In America, you are a health care consumer. You paid for it, you have the right to jump up and down and shout if they mess it up, because they messed it up on your money. The customer is always right.

Latin and layers

Created a few new web page backgrounds with Paint Shop Pro 7. Amazing what you can do with a pattern fill, colorize, and a semi-transparent white layer.

Paul got the tree component on Chronicle working. I loaded all my existing Blog entries in, so both programs have a complete data set.

(Translation: What is said flies, what is blogged stays. Replace “bloga” with “scripta,” meaning “written.”)

Found a web page full of Latin phrases and their translations. I always feel like an idiot when I hear something in Latin and don’t know it, even though I only managed one year of Latin at Copleston High.