Tales from Tech Support

I should really start this post by re-stating that I am not a xenophobe. Granted, my pet peeve doesn't do much in the way of confirming it, nor will this entry, but I am not a xenophobe. Onwards.

A few weeks ago my laptop took a small bump whick caused the power jack to burrow dep into the laptop body. So deep in fact that the charger jack no longer makes contact, making battery charging and battery-less operation impossible. It is my understanding that the jack is directly welded into the motherboard, so replacing it should probably be left to the professionals. As it happend, however, said professionals happen to be extremely rare, and I don't mean undercooked. My only way out was to resort to the brand tech support.

Where matters of warranty and sending back products are concerned, I'm always a bit weary. This is swampy grounds for me. Usually this just means my stuff will be "at the shop" for months only to return partially repaired or deemed unsuitable for warranty repair. Still, never would I imagine this.

My first call to tech support was awkward enough. Even though it was a business day and not 17:00 yet, I got no more response than a recording commanding (not politely asking, brutally commanding) that I called Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 17:00, with a very thick accent (Italian, I guess), and hung up. How wierd is it when a machine hangs up on you? Still I tried again the next day. Making myself clear before the operator (whose accent wasn't quite as thick as the on on the record) took most of the call. After some wasted half hour struggling to make myself understood, she tells me the system is down and she cannot process my request.

So let me get this straight, fellows. You make computers, but your computer isn't working? Oh, yeah, that's guaranteed to impress even the most skeptic consumer.

I called later that day with the same results. I called the other day, and the operator had the nerve to hang up on me. I called again, and finally my request was granted. I was assigned an RMA and told to ship my computer over to their tech support labs... in Spain. At least DHL would do it free of charge for me. Still, packing and padding were my responsability, which I'm thinking it shouldn't be. Nonetheless.

At least the good people at DHL gave me no grief of any sort. The operator, bless her heart, was more than helpful with packaging guidelines, arrangements for pickup, etc. She was even polite. How often does that come around these days?

So sure enough they pick up my laptop at the arranged date, and a few days ago I got a text (in Spanish) telling me my laptop was ready and being shipped back (or at least that's what I figured). Indeed, just yesterday the good people at DHL delivered it straight to my door. However, the contents of their delivery couldn't be more ghastly.

The repair report was written in some melange of languages I could barely make out. My name was mispelled and not even capitalised. Even the problem wasn't propperly stated. It was "battery can't charge." While this is true, it's but a result of the problem, not the cause. And sure enough, the geniuses at the repair labs shipped it back with a new battery (which I have no intention of giving back. For my greivancve). They didn't even bother turning the damned thing on, even though they claim to have updated my BIOS from v. to v0.3.1.22, a major change.

So come Monday I'll be going through the motions to send it back again. Only this time I'm sticking some post-it notes around the little power hole, with pointing arrows stating "look here" and "reapir this".

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark wonders why the hell there isn't a better solution. What happened to those Knights of the Soldering Iron who'd clearly state that your warranty will be void, but the job will get done? Because these wops aren't pulling through, you know...

Now paging Dr. Phill

Actually, I think the good doctor might be acquainted with the case at hand. He did host it on his show, so hold the page. Onwards.

So this couple comes up on Dr. Phill, during a segment called Conception Deception (and no, I won't make a segment out of that here. I should think I have enough segments as is). The wife complains that the husband has tricked her into pregnancy. Four times.

The first time she got pregnant as a result of a misconducted coitus interruptus, which her husband had no idea of conducting properly in the first place. Well, can't really say that I sympathise with her on this point, she ought to know better. I mean, I must have been 9 when I was told not to rely on "the pull out method". I hardly knew enough not to ask "pull what out of what". That they didn't use adequate contraceptives at that peculiar time is as much her fault as it is his, IMO. Sure, he might have complained about condoms (so many men do... too many men do. Get real fellows), and, as it turns out, he would have complained about birth control pills or a diaphram and foam, but at least then she'd know what to expect.

As it turns out, this fellow is so insecure about his relationship that he needs the children to trap his wife in their marriage. I'm wagering she wouldn't have married him (or at least she might not have had his child) in the first place if she knew, and thus I sympathise with her. But wait, it gets worse.

At least one of her pregnancies (if I recall, they had some four children, although I'm not sure that's with or without the one on the way) was a result of him having unprotectes sex with her while she was asleep. I mean, how is that possible? Without the help of Rohypnol, gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, ketamine or any other such treats of the pharmaceutical industry, that is. Actually, now I wonder if he did use any such "daddy little helpers", in which case the word would plainly and blatanty be "rape". In fact, I see no reason why the word shouldn't plainly and blatantly be "rape" even if he didn't drug her up, other than she stated she didn't feel raped. I suppose that would have been because, either way, she didn't feel it at all.

Shocked yet? Here's the kicker: The couple is introduced by Dr. Phill McGraw and his story is summarised in a brief clip, after which the host asks the couple the ever-the-first question along the lines "How does this make you feel", to which this creep of a husband replies "It came out rather harsh". He actually tried to make himself look like the victim. Sure, tell me that I'm taking sides too soon and that I haven't heard his side of the story (actually, I have, and, for the most part, it was awkward silence, whining and distasteful puns to try to steer the conversation off course), but I dare you to come up with a likely scenario that actually makes a man who will impregnate his wife in her sleep against her will look like a good husband. I'm not questioning his motives; he stated that he loves his wife, and seeing as he'd go that far just to make sure she'd stay with him and not just take off, I just might believe him, but still...

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark is slightly disturbed that, keeping with the theme of today's entry, he managed to guess Oprah Winfrey's bra size seconds before she'd state it on her own talk show. Does anyone else think it's wierd?


      a prostitute; whore.

The word harlot nowadays refers to a particular kind of woman, but interestingly it used to refer to a particular kind of man. The word is first recorded in English in a work written around the beginning of the 13th century, meaning "a man of no fixed occupation, vagabond, beggar," and soon afterwards meant "male lecher." Already in the 14th century it appears as a deprecatory word for a woman, though exactly how this meaning developed from the male sense is not clear. For a time the word could also refer to a juggler or jester of either sex, but by the close of the 17th century its usage referring to males had disappeared.

Pax vobiscum atque vale. Unless, of course, the above applies, in which case Pax would be wasted vobiscum and you're quite incapable of vale.
ArabianShark just needed to get that off his chest. Thanks for listening. Cheers, mates.

Just noticed...

On my wall, above my flatscreen, hangs a calendar, a Star Wars calendar (go figure, a geek like me), the third of its lineage, this one celebrating 30 of Star Wars (a very heart felt Congratulations and Thank You for Mr. Lucas, in the immensely odd chance he might be reading this). For April, the main picture is a frame from Episode II: Attack of the Clones, from the scene in the Naboo Lake district when Padmé and Anakin kiss. This particular frame pertains to just before the kiss, when the charactres' lips are barely an inch apart. What could be more romantic?

How about if Hayden Christensen hadn't that look of (what is that? Revolt? I'll go with) repulse about him. Really, watch the movie again (of course you have watched it once), get it on DVD (now watch me do the mind trick: You will get it on DVD), just get a load of the frickin' frame and tell me if there's not something wrong there. What, does the Jedi Council warp Padawans' minds so that they'll find attractive women repulsive? Or is against Christensen's religion to kiss Natalie Portman without looking like you're only doing this for the cash? Take a leaf from Hugo Weaving's book, you didn't see him grimacing when Ms. Portman kissed the lips of his Guy Fawkes mask in V for Vendetta. Well, actually, for all I know, he could have been choking in disgust behind the mask, provided that he didn't move... but, come on, Weaving? Not likely! Not at all! No! Silly 'Shark, even suggesting such a thing.

Come to think of it, there could have been nobody behind the mask at that particular time. Even more reason to think Mr. Weaving would not be grimacing at that time.

OK, then, on to a better example: Goya's Ghosts. Alas, I am yet to see that one. Oh well.

So what's left? How about senseless movie connctions? I'll attempt to prove, by means of connecting actors and actreses to each other, possibly in ridiculous ways, that Weaving hasn't or wouldn't have grimaced. So:

Hugo Weaving is know to be greatly attatched both to England and Australia, where he currently resides, or so I'm told; actor Hugh Jackman is widely known to be Australian as well; Mr. Jackman had kissing scenes with actress Scarlett Johansson in the movie Scoop, without ever grimacing; Scarlett Johansson has absolutely nothing whatsoever to connect her to Natalie Portman, except for the fact that Johansson stared in Lost in Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola, who also stared with Portman in The Phantom Menace. This should be irrefutable evidence that Hugo Weaving has not/would not/will not grimace in a kissing scene with Natalie Portman unless so specified by the script.

OK, that was plenty strange. I'll just wrap up here.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark would just remind you all that the once (though I think no more) centre of the Hollywood universe is Christopher Lee, know for roles as Sorcerer, Frankanstein, Sith Lord, Bond Villain and time and again Dracula. Surely you can see the cleverly hidden mystery in this. I know I can.