July 25th, 2011

dim sum

Nudie Dreams and Yummy Dim Sum

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In other news, Shannon and I went on a lovely, spontaneous date yesterday evening, biking down to Oakland Chinatown to pick up tasty dim sum at Sun Sing, then munching our takeaway dinner in Jack London Square while sitting on a bench beneath a pavilion that looked out over the water and the boats.

[Random aside: I try to get something new every time I go to Sun Sing, so this time I tried the deep fried shrimp wrapped in bacon. Okay, not the healthiest dish I might have ordered, perhaps, but AMAZING. But, then, most things would probably taste amazing if wrapped in bacon and deep fried. Shannon seemed horrified that I wanted to eat such an unhealthy thing, but I figured that it was only about an inch square, so such a tiny morsel surely could not do significant harm to my arteries. And, really, what's life without a bit of bacon now and then?]

Anyway, we hung out at the marina, chatted, read the first chapter of Louise Erdrich's fantabulous Tales of Burning Love (which we've both read before), noticed that every single employee of Kincaid's (restaurant) seems to smoke (as there was a constant stream of aproned people taking smoke breaks outside their back door the whole time we were there), watched tourists roaming around, grieved quietly for the Barnes and Noble that used to be a major part of Jack London Square but which is now gone, pondered why the pavilion beneath which we sat had a very sturdy and official electrical "Exit" sign hanging from one top edge (Who posts an "Exit" sign on the edge of a pavilion? I mean, first of all, pavilions are OUTSIDE, and therefore don't really have exits; and, second of all, pretty much any direction you go from inside a pavilion is an exit! I found this sign puzzling, and yet strangely, absurdly wonderful. I should have taken a photo of it, but I don't think a picture would really communicate the ironic openness of the context.), and just generally relaxed and hung out and enjoyed the sunshine and the breeze and each other's company.

Then we biked home, and I huffed and I puffed and I did not blow the house down, but I did take a number of breaks to catch my breath along the route, and Shannon was very patient with me. I think I'm better now at biking up hills without getting snippy with him, and he's better about not getting impatient with me, so the combination makes for much happier riding.

Today, I have a fairly long list of things to do, so it's a good thing I haven't been napping so much this last week or so.
angry, angry Elmer Fudd

DirecTV: Kill! Kill! Kill!

Okay. So I mentioned in some previous entries that a couple years ago we had changed from Comcast (cable tv provider) to DirecTV (satellite tv provider -- notice that link goes to a page of complaints about the company, rather than to the company's official website), because Comcast had annoyed us in various ways, mostly regarding their customer service. Well, it turned out that DirecTV sucked much much more, mostly regarding their actual product. The satellite reception sometimes sucked tremendously (such that tv episodes were simply unwatchable), the DVR sometimes randomly didn't record things it had been programmed to record, the DVR's UI was terribly inconvenient to use, and the remote to control the DVR had buttons -- fairly crucial buttons, like Fast Forward -- that simply stopped working after a year or so.

So about two weeks ago (July 7 or 8), we cancelled our DirecTV service, after verifying that our Comcast was up and running again. The salesperson I spoke to (I suppose he doesn't consider himself to have that job title, but given his behavior I wouldn't know what else to call him.), when I cancelled our service, kept me on the phone for maybe an extra 10 minutes with his attempts to coax, cajole, beg, plead, and otherwise convince me to stay with DirecTV. Eventually, after verifying that the service cancellation had been processed, I hung up on him in the middle of a telemarketer-type spiel.

And it's funny that I should use the word "telemarketer," because in the two weeks (or so) since we cancelled the service, DirecTV representatives have phoned us pretty much every day (including weekends) to continue with the whole coaxing, cajoling, begging, pleading thing. We have told them repeatedly, and in no uncertain terms, that we are not interested, and that they should remove us from their phone list, and I have even twice pointed out to them that it is illegal for them to keep calling us after we have made this request, and that they are breaking the law at that very moment, simply by causing our phone to ring ... and yet they continue to call.

I mostly don't answer the phone lately when it rings -- no matter what time of day or evening -- because I know the chances are very very good that it will be those fuckers from DirecTV. I hear that horrid sound -- BRRRRIIIIING! BRRRRIIIIING! -- and I think, "Those goddamn fucking DirecTV people!" It's like they've ruined the entire concept of telephones for me!

Tonight, after our gazillionth telephonic harassment by a desperate DirecTV (around 8:30 at night), Shannon decided to file a complaint about them with the Better Business Bureau.

In short: DirecTV sucks. Argh! We suffered through your damn service for 2 years, you bastards, and we thought you were out of our lives! Leave us alone!