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Credit card services PSA

Posted on 2010.10.13 at 14:51
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
When you sign up for a card, they often give you the option of an "Account Shield" program that helps if you lose your job or otherwise can't pay your bill. Those are great if you have a high-balance card, but they're also expensive (based upon a percentage of your bill). They're also tricky and won't always cover you if you get into trouble (as I learned a long time ago when life attacked and bills got hard to pay).

I have a low-balance card with a fairly low credit limit, and declined the Account Shield coverage when I signed up for the card. Even if I max it, the minimum payment would be low enough to keep the account on maintenance (even if I'm adding interest), so it's not worth it to pay the 1% or so a month to keep this program on it.

Except when I received my bill, Account Shield was on the bill along with a charge for it.

Oh hell no. Thankfully, it was easy to get rid of. I didn't even have to call -- the card has an option for online support, so I emailed them a statement saying I did not authorize the Account Shield, and would like it both cancelled and refunded. Within 24 hours, they fixed it.

Grrr. I think the rep who helped me set up the account gets a percentage for every Account Shield account set up, and even when I *specifically* said I did not want the service. Basically, I got "slammed" into the service. Hell no.

Definitely something to look into on your own credit card. If you got signed up for it against your will, you can cancel it and get a refund. I know a few people who thought it was mandatory and never questioned it -- really, you have rights in this as well as responsibilities. It's worth checking to see what's hitting your card.

I <3 NY

I <3 New York, car repair edition

Posted on 2010.10.08 at 12:51
Current Mood: amusedamused
 Over in Corona by Citi Field (the old Shea Stadium area), there's a place called "The Iron Triangle." It's a section of Queens that our mayor wants to "clean up" (read: take over, often by misuse of Eminent Domain) and build luxury hotels and a convention center upon. What's there now is a series of junkyards and small vehicle repair shops. Yes, some of them are kinda shady, but most of them are really hard-working small business guys giving good car repair at a really affordable price.  

If you've never been in the Iron Triangle, it's like being in a third-world country right here in Queens. The city has deliberately ignored the area in hopes that it would get so bad they could list it as blighted and take the land to develop it. The streets are like the craters of the moon -- you have to move at idle speed, or risk breaking an axle or destroying your undercarriage. Junkyard dogs roam their territories unmolested, and this is the place I picked up George, the (out-of-place) junkyard cat who really didn't belong in a junkyard with rats bold enough to steal his food in broad daylight. Mechanics and junkyard parts-runners approach your car like hookers in old Times Square; "Whatcha need? We can fix it -- whatcha need?" "Good price, good price!" "Muffler? You need muffler?" "Tires! We got tires!" It can be a bit disconcerting if you're not used to it, but for the most part, these really are decent guys just trying to eke out a living in the big city. Their first price is pretty much never firm -- this is a haggler's paradise. In fact, if you don't haggle at least a bit, they don't completely respect you. It's pretty wild. 

I have never owned a new car. In fact, I'm trying to remember the last time I owned a car that was less than ten years old. When one drives beaters, one needs a cheap source of parts and repair, and the Iron Triangle has served me well for a couple of decades. Since clemve is a mechanic (among many other things), he can check out used tires to make sure they're not patched or otherwise crappy, and he talks over the repairs he can't do without a garage with the guys there, and we get a really good price. 

We have an alignment and suspension problem on the Caravan that really needs fixing,  but it's going to be expensive. We'll probably get it done in a couple of weeks, but for now, one of the tires was starting to show steel so we had to replace it. There's no sense in putting an expensive new tire on a car that's going to chew it up quickly, so we headed over to Corona to get a used tire to tide us over until we get the front end fixed. 

We went to our usual place, but the owner (who usually really takes care of us) wasn't there, and the guy who was there was kind of a dick. He tried to charge us $35 for a piece of crap with no tread that had three patches in it. Uh, no thanks. So we went on to another place, and may have found a new regular guy (at least until Bloomie runs them out of the Triangle). He offered us a much better tire for less money, and when we inquired about having the window switch replaced on the driver-side door, he immediately got us a part and a couple of his guys installed it in minutes.  This all cost us less than getting a new tire at Sears would have cost. Whoot! I have never been able to roll down the driver-side window on this car, so I'm happy. No more opening the door just to be able to get food at the drive-through, or paying a toll!

The funniest part of the day happened a few minutes later. Yesterday, we encountered yet another junkyard animal -- a big, red-combed rooster, who chose to cross the road right when we were driving by, and then *stopped* in front of the van and glared at us. 

I honked, no dice. Rooster wasn't moving. He fixed us with that beady little eye and crowed. clemve said "Look!  We've been cockblocked!" I damned near fell out of the van laughing. Finally, he got out of the van to confront the little bugger, who pecked at him, but finally moved out of harm's way. While we were stopped, the denizens started the approach the van again -- "Whatcha need? We can fix!" I pointed at the rooster -- "Sorry, just trying to keep from running over the rooster!" One guy laughed, and said "Yep -- he one big MEAN rooster. He bite, careful!"  By this time, the rooster had completed his road crossing, and we were able to be on our way.

We wonder if the rooster was someone's escaped dinner. I think if anybody tried to catch him, he'd give a very good fight -- he really did look mean. This is New York , after all -- the roosters say "Cockadoodle-F*ckYou!"

Bouncy owl

Facebook is FUBAR

Posted on 2010.09.23 at 15:25
  Uh oh. DNS failure.  I Googled "DNS failure" and saw all the tweets coming up from all over the world regarding DNS failure on FB -- at least I know it's not just me!

That's OK -- I've been feeling I've been neglecting my LJ lately.  How are YOU doing?

Calvin animated GIF

Media oddities

Posted on 2010.09.10 at 03:51
Current Mood: amusedamused
I am a media maven. My wide and varied tastes, in fact, have helped me a lot in my publishing career, because it helped me to be able to work in a variety of genres.

Netflix has trouble pigeonholing me at times. I did the 'Rate it" thing so they could suggest stuff for me, and honestly, most of their suggestions have either been stuff I've seen or stuff I've never heard of.  But sometimes, their suggestions -- and their explanation of why they suggested them -- are a bit odd.  For instance, they suggested Are You Being Served? which is understandable -- I've seen it, I like it. 

But the reason they suggested it? Because I enjoyed Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Muppet Show.

Uh, what?   

I'm really curious as to what algorithm put *those* three programs together!

Another oddity of "You might like this" autoprograms happened on Amazon tonight. They're offering Daria for a really cheap price ($27, on Gold Box special, so run and get it fast if you want it, but realize that most of the music is gone or had to be changed because of rights issues), and lower on the page, where they put the "Customers who bought this also bought..." suggestions, they said:

"Customers buy this DVD with Dexter: The Fourth Season ~ Michael C. Hall DVD $26.99."

Seriously. Daria and Dexter. Hmmm.

Yeah. That could work. Dexter could catch them, and Daria could sarcasm them to death.

My arms from Laurel scroll

Literary errors

Posted on 2010.09.08 at 15:56
My inner lit geek and inner costume history geek have collided again. I'm reading Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross, and the errors are starting to get to me. The most egregious so far are using "kirtle" where she clearly means "girdle" as in an early-period *belt*. Argh.  One's a dress or a gown (can be for either gender) and the other's a belt clasped around the waist or hips.

The early usage had the characters crossing a river, and the water was coming up their kirtles. OK, that could mean coming up to their gowns, but I think she was meaning the horses' gird straps. But later, there was a bride who clasped a jeweled kirtle around her waist -- clearly a belt.

It's a pretty good book thus far, even if she did have an invading Viking wearing a *horned helmet*. Argh.

Bruce HA!

More from Old Spice Guy

Posted on 2010.09.08 at 15:27
The Old Spice Guy is at it again. There's a website where you can get an MP3 of him and use it for an outgoing voicemail message. The choices are funny, and the end results are absolutely hysterical.


Content Lioness

Priceless bit of music

Posted on 2010.09.08 at 03:27
 I don't normally watch Jimmy Fallon (I'm a Craig Ferguson-kinda gal), but the other night, I was busy and didn't switch channels. I'm glad I didn't, because I'd have missed this!

Edited to add: If the embed doesn't work, try this direct link:


I &lt;3 NY

Addendum to "Interneterial World"

Posted on 2010.06.15 at 12:28
Current Mood: amusedamused
 Hahahahaha!  Thanks to Terri for this gem:


There are signs in the subway station at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue that direct people to the F train, the M train, and the L train. Unfortunately, put together, those letters tell people they can transfer to "FML."

Oops. Again, like "FAP" and the others, if it weren't for 'net culture, this wouldn't be funny.

I don't see why they're bothering to change it, though. [shrug]

Knut Just Can&#39;t Look

Doctor Who: "Cold Blood" spoilers

Posted on 2010.06.14 at 23:09
Current Mood: disappointeddevastated

No, really, this is a BIG spoiler. If you haven't seen this ep, move along. Really.Collapse )

Bruce HA!

For we are living in an Interneterial world...

Posted on 2010.06.10 at 18:45
Current Mood: amusedamused
 ...and I'm an Interneterial girl! Heh!

And apparently, the rest of the world is not completely Interneterial.  If they were, could any of the following happen?

For instance, I'm listening to NPR right now, and they just did a bit about the ATT hacking job, and mentioned a company called "Goatse Securities."

I have to admit -- hearing the word "goatse" on the radio was a bit jarring, and they kept saying it over...and over...and over. And no, if you don't know what it is, I'm NOT telling you. If you Google it, be careful which links you click on. The definition is decidedly NOT safe for work. [shudder]

On other news, the NY State vehicle license bureau apparently has no idea what the word "fap" means in Internet parlance, because when they rolled out the new license numbers, starting with FAA-1111, they did not skip the combination FAP-****. So for weeks now, I've been seeing cars all over with license numbers that say FAP. FAP, FAP, FAP.  Makes me giggle every time.

Speaking of giggling over inadvertent puerility, another segment on NPR today involved a technique for collecting natural gas ("fracturing" rock with fluids and collecting the natural gas that bubbles up) which has been nicknamed "fracking." I really REALLY have to wonder if the folks who coined the nickname had any clue what they were saying when they started referring to the process as "fracking." I am enough of a geek (and probably just immature enough, heh) to have inwardly giggled just about every time they mentioned fracking. Some of the phrases: "The company was fracking on private land..." "Authorities are investigating whether or not fracking will affect drinking water..." etc. (If you're worried about it, don't frack in the reservoir! Save it for the hottub.) 

Oh, I slay myself. 

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