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Which Pole?

From the front window of a local store. Merry Christmas, Santa:

whichpole.jpg

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I’m all about the cheese, baby

(Hi, Digg! Thanks for visiting.)
I wasn’t sure whether to post this under amusing bits, or create a whole new category for “freakin’ disgusting.”
As a full-time student, and little-time earning a paycheque guy, I am now making purchases of computer equipment vicariously through friends and family members. One friend, after suffering through endless reloading of his XP machine because of bad hard drives, and innumerable virii, finally decided he wanted a Mac, but was looking for nothing fancy. I find a suitable — and excellently usable — PowerMac G4, of the “Quicksilver” variety on eBay. I bid, I win, I pay, it ships. I pick it up from the UPS depot in International Falls, MN…and when the UPS guy brings it out, I can hear it tumbling around in the box. Ouch — not well packed. Sigh.
I sign for it, haul it out to the van, and slice it open, fearful of what I might find. Here’s what I see:
G4_packing1.jpg
Well, there’s foam padding in the top, but not enough. Packing material pretty lacking. But….wait — what is that, peeking through the foam? No, it’s not…..
G4_packing2.jpg
Yup — it’s a pizza box. Well, dead air crush space, not a bad idea to use. (Cue creeping sense of horror) You don’t suppose it’s….um…….
G4_packing3.jpg
Hey, excellent — I heard hardened, leftover pizza cheese and grease acts as an antistatic barrier! Lucky me.
Underneath yon bacteria-laden packing material lies the G4 in question — somehow, amazingly, intact, apparently.
G4_packing4.jpg
And, our illustrious eBayer appears to have included a keyboard with it, packed underneath the G4. That’s a nice unexpected……(lifts the G4 up to see the keyboard)
G4_packing5.jpg
Holy…mother….of….crap. I thought the pizza box was bad — apparently, eBay is now suggesting using 2 litre pop bottles and milk jugs to protect my purchase. Could this get any worse or more disgusting?
Apparently, it could.
G4_packing6.jpg
Observe, if you will, the milk jug in question. Good to know our favourite eBay seller isn’t lactose intolerant — and really, milk and pizza go well together. Besides, why not have more bacteria protection on the *other* side of the G4?
I was completely overwhelmed by the situation. How on God’s green earth could anyone think that I’d do the Mypos Dance of Joy over the arrival of a computer, packed with someone’s garbage?
Surprised — nay shocked — as you might be, gentle reader, the machine arrived, and the hard drive merrily engaged in the “click of death” on bootup. And was short half the RAM that it was supposed to have. And was a slower processor than first described. Oh joy — hours of leg work ahead of me for a computer that ISN’T EVEN MINE.
After jumping through requisite hoops, I was finally able to get a partial refund, more RAM, and another HD out of the seller — which he shipped sans garbage, much to my disappointment. I was thinking, “Smaller box, maybe this time I’ll get a used condom, or a ziploc bag of cat hairballs.” No juice. He did, however, ship the RAM and HD sans antistatic protection, as well. Sigh.

So who the hell is Judas?

Although it’s been around for a while, I saw the Star Wars version of Da Vinci’s Last Supper today via Digg.
It’s a neat piece, and I think the artist did a great job of capturing the style of the poses in the shot, but the positioning of characters is really, really weak. He does, however, note that he wanted Anakin to be in the Christ position, but that the magazine editors kiboshed it. Way to know your stories, knobs — how could you possibly do this picture and *not* put Anakin/Vader in the middle? And, who the hell is supposed to be Judas? Han? I can’t see any justification for that; I can’t fathom using the Last Supper imagery and not at least trying to match the characters to approximate equivalents.
Two minutes of research dug up the About.com Art History page on Da Vinci’s painting, with a chart of who’s who, as well as Bibleinfo’s descriptions of each of the disciples.
Here’s how I would have positioned characters (left to right), assuming that you wanted to try and incorporate characters from both trilogies:
Bartholomew: Leia (The Sincere Disciple, of royal birth)
James the Elder: Darth Maul (The Unknown Disciple)
Andrew: Qui-Gon Jinn (The First Called Disciple)
Judas: Palpatine (The Betrayer)
Peter: Luke (The Primary Disciple)
John: Amidala/Padme (The Youngest Disciple; the Beloved)
Christ: Vader
Thomas: Mace Windu (The Doubter, right?)
James Major: R2D2 (The Quiet Disciple)
Philip: C3P0 (The Analytical Disciple)
Matthew: Boba Fett (The Tax Collector)
Thaddeus: Han (The Misunderstood Disciple)
Simon: Chewbacca (The Zealous Disciple)
Some of my choices do actually match with the artist’s choices, but I think many, if not most, of the positions were really more about aesthetics than representational. What do you think?

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Those damn French fruit pickers!

Driving down the hill from Mom/Dad’s place tonight, Dad relayed the local story he’d heard about the seasonal workers that move through — and live in — Osoyoos. Apparently, as can be kind of be seen in the pic, there’s a tent city above Osoyoos where fruit pickers (from Quebec, usually) squat while they’re working. One of their neighbours had suggested to her husband that they make a big pop of spaghetti, and invite the crew of them down for dinner. An emphatic “Are you nuts?!?!” was the response.
squatters.jpgUndaunted, she walked up the hill to see what whether the demonization of the group was justified. Apparently, when she saw half of them naked, some of them copulating in front of the others, and probably all of themk smoking dope, she bolted, all thoughts of offering pasta to them gone.
Dad said that there is some kind of deal that the Quebec provincial government has that pays these folks to come out west to pick fruit. Further, they get paid $50 more if they have a dog. The local legend is that they just come out west to sell dope instead. I did a little digging, and found a few articles that provide a little more confirmation (not about the dog thing, but I don’t know *where* you can find information on that). This was the best shot I could get of the tents on the mountainside — sorry, no nakedness.

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Amazon.com and Overzealous Customer Support

Tuesday, I order three things from Amazon, and they hadn’t shipped — even though they were marked as in stock. So, I email Amazon for a what’s up:
> Date: Tue Mar 07 18:41:24 UTC 2006
> Subject; Where’s My Stuff?
> To: int-primary__4r4t4y@amazon.com
> From: lincoln@vitaluna.net
> —————
> 03/07/06 10:37:43
> NAME: Lincoln Dunn
> ORDER ID: 104-1560901-0102303
>
> COMMENTS: If these items are on-hand, why is the estimated
>shipping date two weeks from now? Please advise.
And, the same day, I get this back from them:
—————————————————
Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.com.
I cannot express to you how sorry I am for the promises made
regarding the delivery of your order which were not kept and for the
frustration and disappointment this situation must have caused for
you.
Our goal is to provide the highest level of customer service
possible and I sincerely apologize that our service did not meet
that standard in this case.
We are very sorry for the delay in completing your order.
I’ve learned that the shipment of your order has been delayed by a
system error. To help compensate you for this unexpected change, I
have upgraded the method of shipment for this order to Next Day
Domestic. There is of course no additional charge for this.
We expect your order to be shipped on March 07,2006. The Estimated
Delivery Date of your order is March 09,2006.
I hope you’ll understand that we do our best to ensure that all of
our customer orders leave our fulfillment centers as close as
possible to the availability and shipping estimates listed on our
web site.
I know this must have shattered your faith in Amazon, but if i may
say so, this is not a typical Amazon.com experience and for us the
customer comes first. Disappointing you in such a way not only
makes us hang our heads in failure but also spurs us on to work
harder to ensure such an error never happens again.
I hope you give us another chance to regain your faith and prove our
commitment.
Thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.
Best regards,
Srikanth
Amazon.com Customer Service

http://www.amazon.com

—————————————————
A lesson in offshoring your customer support, without clarifying appropriate response language…
Reddy, our Indian programmer, is hiding his face in his office. He says he’s embarrassed that one of his fellow countrymen would even write something like this. Meh — I told him I’m embarrassed that my fellow Canadians put Stephen Harper in 24 Sussex.

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