People love to say Dooda

Flickr Faves Seven

Some more of the beautiful and cool and funny images I've found during my Flickr travels. Clicking on the image above will take you to a page with links to the full-sized version of each of the thumbnails in the mosaic above. And pay particular attention to the third photo in the fifth row, please. Dooda is a wonderful photographer. Well, for an ape, anyway.

You could also just go directly to my Flickr favorites to see a sampling of what I've been looking at lately. There are some real goodies in there. By the way, you can make your own mosaic with your own or others' photos using Flagrant Disregard's handly little mosaic tool. More fun stuff, such as programs that allow you to put captions on your photos, here.

Do I look like a self-obsessed twit in this?

Do you ever wonder if random people from your past ever think of you? I don't mean people you loved or who loved you, or people you grew up with and knew for a very long time, or relatives you've lost touch with, or people you married in what turned out to be the biggest mistake of your life. I mean people who were on the periphery of your life ... maybe you were friends of a friend of theirs 15 years ago and you went on an awkward weekend ski trip together, or they met you for the first time at a New Year's Eve party and insisted that you feel their new boobs to see just how real they seem, or maybe you worked together for a couple of years when you were very young before both of you moved on to bigger and better things.

I always assumed the answer was no. Seriously! I mean, think about the sheer number of people with whom you have this kind of non-relationship and think about how slim the chances are that they remember you -- let alone actually think of you. Can you remember the names of half of the people you worked with at your first job out of college? I can't.

Well it turns out that somebody from my past -- someone I worked with at my first job out of college in fact -- has been thinking of me. And it also turns out that this person hasn't been thinking very nice things about me.

About a year ago I wrote an entry about being a newbie reporter and my editor at that time, who was the best writing teacher I ever had and who had such an impact on me that I still hear his booming voice in my head sometimes. Sometime last night someone left a nasty anonymous comment on that entry claiming they knew me then and that I was an obnoxious, self-obsessed twit ... and adding that it looked like I hadn't changed very much in the last 10 (OK, 13) years. They said some other crap, too, but that was the sentence that felt most like a punch in the stomach.

Meanwhile, what they said is partly true. Of course I was an obnoxious twit -- I was twenty-something years old, for Christ's sake. I think the more remarkable thing would be to find a recent college grad of that age who isn't one. As for being self-obsessed back then, I'm not sure where that comes from. What I remember of that time is feeling woefully inadequate and unprepared and completely incompetent. I recall feeling like an outsider there, as well -- someone who didn't fit in with my more experienced and seemingly more confident co-workers.

Maybe I was a better actor than I thought.

As for today? Of course it's just a joke to read one entry in someone's friggin' blog and pronounce them self-obsessed. Uh, hello? I write a blog that's mostly about me and my life ... How am I supposed to do that without coming off as self-obsessed? If you don't like it -- and this is just a suggestion, here -- maybe you shouldn't read it.

Of course now I'm thinking of all of the people I worked with back then, trying to remember all of their names, and hoping that the anonymous chicken who wrote that comment is the mean stuck-up girl I never liked anyway, and not the cute guy I had a wicked secret crush on ...

Is it just me or does $50 seem like a lot to spend on something that is going to be dead on the side of the road in a month?

The price of Christmas trees is spiraling out of control, people. I can remember spending $30 on a tree about 10 years ago and thinking that was outrageous. This year I went to the place right down the street from where I work and their tabletop trees were $30. Their Charlie Brown trees were $36 and up; their sort of normal trees started around $50. I ended up getting a $55 tree this year, but because I dragged my feet and waited 'till yesterday to buy it, I got it for $30. It's a kind of average, cuteness-wise, not very tall, nice and full with no huge bare spots, and all the needles didn't fall off when I brought it into the house. So that's good. But no way it's worth more than 30 bucks.

It's enough to drive a person -- even a person who swore she would never in her life buy a fake tree -- to break down and buy a fake tree.

These are a few of my favorite things

Flickr faves 5

Here's another batch of my Flickr favorites for your enjoyment. Clicking on the image above will take you to a page with links to see each tile in the mosaic at full size. There are some real beauties in there -- totally worth an hour or so of your time -- including a particularly impressive view of downtown Boston on a foggy day and the one that is my current desktop picture on my work computer.

More crazy dreams

Last night I dreamed that I was getting married. Before the ceremony took place, a group of women told me they had to weigh me. In my dream, it didn't seem like I was overweight, but they had to use a livestock scale to weigh me. After the ceremony, no one would talk to me or look at me, and I couldn't find the bathroom.

I was wearing a really pretty dress, though.

Depends on what you call a call

My Comcast digital phone service has been out off and on for about a month now. By "off and on" I mean that it's usually out of service when I need to use it, but works fine on the days when I could call from work to complain about it.

Friday night: no dial tone. Monday morning: dial tone.

This morning, however, there was no dial tone, so I called Comcast when I got into work.

And got the customer service rep from hell.

First off, he kept repeating everything I said, but in an accusatory/hostile tone.

For example, I said I'd been having problems with my phone since the beginning of November, and then he said that his records show there was a service ticket opened on November 5th. But he didn't say it like: "Oh, I see, you are right." He said it like: "What the hell are you talking about, the beginning of November? My records show it was November fifth, you moron.

And then I told him that I tried unplugging my phones and plugging them in again but that it hadn't worked. And he said, "Well, you should try unplugging your phones and plugging them back in again." And I said, "I just said that I did that." And he said, "Well you can't just unplug them and plug them back in again, you know?"

And it went on and on like that, only with lots more annoying details. At one point I asked to speak to a supervisor and he told me "no."

Then, because I was so pissed off, I decide to switch my phone service back to Verizon. I went online to check the rates and the packages and the calling areas and then I called them.

And got the customer service rep from hell's bitchy mother-in-law.

This one argued with everything I said. She actually argued with me about the meaning of the word "call."

Do you think I'm kidding?

First I told her that I want the Verizon Local Package with the 5 cent regional and long-distance package. And she tells me that the regional calling plan won't allow me to make calls outside of the town I live in and a handful of ones nearby. And I say I'm sorry but I have no idea what you are talking about.

So she quotes a fee structure of one cent to connect and one-and-a-half cents a minute. I've been online, so I know that she's describing the flat rate plan and I say no, I don't want the flat rate plan, I want the Verizon Local Package calling plan. And then she says that, no, I wanted the flat rate plan. And I say that no, I want the next one up, the Verizon Local Package calling plan. And do you know what she says? SHE TELLS ME THAT THE TWO PLANS ARE THE SAME.

So, I ask, why is the Verizon Local Package more expensive than the flat rate plan? And she says that's because it comes with extra features. There was more, but to be honest I'm getting annoyed again, so I'm going to skip ahead to the part where she tells me that with the flat rate plan (which, by the way, we have already established that I DO NOT WANT) I cannot call certain areas. And I say, "Surely you don't mean I *can't* call them? But that there would be an extra charge to call them? Because it would be a regional toll call?"

And, get this, she tells me I am wrong.

And I say, "So, what are you saying? That if I have Verizon phone service there are areas that I won't be able to call? That the call physically won't go through?"

This is where she tells me it depends on what my definition of "call" is.

"Oh," she says, "I just meant you wouldn't be able to call them if you don't have Verizon as your regional phone service carrier."

"HUH?" I say. I'm calling to sign up for Verizon phone service. Why are you telling me that I won't be able to make phone calls if I don't have a service carrier?"

And she says: "Well, you know, some people choose not to have a service carrier at all. But they can't make calls outside of their calling area. At least not for free."

Seriously, people, do you have any IDEA what she's talking about at this point?

So I say, "Listen. The plan I want is called the Verizon Local Package. It costs $26.95 a month. On the web site, it says it allows me to call towns in my local calling area for no additional charge. It says that those towns include xxx, xxx, xxx, xxx, and xxx. I know this because I went online and entered my phone number and this is the information that came up on the web site. Please sign me up for that service."

"Well," she says. "The information on the Internet is wrong."

Yes. Of COURSE it is. How stupid of me.

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On my not-to-do list

I was making a list this morning of things to do. I started to write "camera shopping," but since I am so completely broke I had to write "camera looking," instead.

That's right, I have "camera looking" on my weekend to-do-list.