Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Five Friday PFFFFFFFTs...

Artful chef, gardner, photographer, poet, cat-lover, observer and reflector on life, and all around wonderful soul Nikkipolani has had a custom of putting a semi-regular feature on her blog called "Five Friday Faves". It is just what the title indicates, i.e. a list of five things to feel good about (and it's generally posted on - wait for it - Fridays).

I thought about doing the same thing, but then I realized I'm in one of THOSE moods. One of THOSE moody sorts of moods. And you know, the only way to beat THOSE is with THEM. However, being that there are none of THEM handy, I'll resort to the next best thing: a sort of "anti-faves", if you will. In other words, here are five things that are really chapping my hide on this most gray-skied of Fridays.

1. Glitchy Automatic Updates. I'm sure my most recent computer-related headache has absolutely nothing on the office solution hell currently being suffered by my sister. It's still enough to rankle. First I noticed that my wife's computer, which I hooked up to the internet only a few months ago, kept repeatedly downloading and installing the same Windows security patch over and over and over and over again. It always said that the download and install were successful, but it would immediately go through the cycle again. I looked back through the log and discovered that it had been doing it for over a month. After none of my (feeble) attempts at a solution worked, I finally grit my teeth and got onto the Microsoft support site. It turned out that there was a page dedicated to the very problem I'd been having; apparently it was widespread. The fix was easy. All I had to do was uninstall and reinstall Internet Explorer, which I had upgraded to version 7 a little over a month before (apparently when the trouble started in the first place). That took care of it, and everything was hunky dory...for a few minutes.

Actually, my wife's computer problems were solved. What happened next was that I immediately discovered that my desktop machine, this machine, had been doing something very similar. It was a different security patch, and the installation was NOT working, but my computer was still downloading and attempting to install it over and over and over and had been doing so for months without my knowledge. This time I couldn't find any useful info on the Microsoft support page, so I e-mailed them. The automated response said that they would get back to me in about three days. Guess what? They got back to me immediately! Their suggestion was to uninstall and reinstall Microsoft Office and then go through the update procedure again. I did just that, and it fixed the problem quite handily. I've got to hand it to Microsoft: so far, all my dealings with their customer service have been very positive, and they've done a good job of helping me when I've needed them to (unlike IBM or Canon [Japan], who "helped" me in the past by suggesting I stop using their products).

Wait a minute...that's something good. Ahem...

2. Over-blinged Websites. Okay, okay...I know. You don't want your web page to look dull as aluminum foil, and there is a lot of really happening stuff out there. Yes, you have a lot of cool photos, and you've linked a lot of even cooler videos. I'm sure all those ads you've linked are helping you pay the bills, and that's perfectly understandable. However, if accessing your site means having to wait a couple of minutes for all those little tidbits to finish downloading (even with broadband), and moving back and forth from each peripheral page to the main page means yet another long wait, I'm probably not going to visit your site very often...if at all.

3. Institutionalized Redundance. Look, I'm honored that you've given me this position. I'm happy to have been put in charge of this project. You know I've always done my best so far, and I'd like to continue doing so in the future. As far as I know, every endeavor for this project has produced good results till now. There have been no complaints about my efforts whatsoever; on the contrary, I've heard nothing but praise. I even heard you say - publicly - that you were happy to have me on the job.

So why have you just taken over the project yourself and moved forward on a new endeavor without the slightest word to me about it?

4. Fame-Hungry Bureaucrats. Look, I know that bureaucrats are professional dorkwads by default and should always be considered guilty until proven intelligent, but give me a break! I don't know what sort of ministry pencil-neck-geek-sans-real-life thought he was getting off on his miniscule speck of power and making a name for himself by outlawing passing on all two-lane roads, but he's in desperate need of being whipped to death with his own coke-bottle frames. Either that or he should be forced to get stuck behind a slow-moving farm tractor every time he tries to commute 25 kilometers to work. The problem is even worse now since gasoline prices skyrocketed; even though prices have come way down recently and are still dropping, you still see - and get stuck behind - "eco drivers", i.e. people who think they are saving a bundle by habitually driving at or just below the speed limit. Actually, I'd be tempted to pay good money to see them run off the road.

5. American Presidential Campaigns. Election seasons are among the few times that I consider myself to be totally blessed to be on the opposite side of the ocean. I've heard that Europeans are fond of describing American presidential elections as a "beauty contest". Yes, that does seem to fit...except for the fact that campaigns invariably devolve into really ugly character assassinations and smear campaigns. That being said, I was thankful that Barrack Obama actually tried to keep the debates rational, intelligent, and centered on issues, at least till he finally got fed up with McCain's constant mudslinging and started throwing some of it back. Any Presidential election tends to polarize the country more than any other time. This year's was particularly ugly.

I'm glad it's over, though I'll shamelessly admit the result fills me with pride. (Um...that's good, too...)



  • I'm glad the campaign is over, now the relative media silence is deafening. Though there has been mention of the puppy the Obamas are adopting, and some mention of cabinet considerations.

    The whole world is drawing a sigh of relief. Let us now go forward into the 21st century together!

    By Blogger Olivia, at 2:15 AM  

  • MM, your first entry was all too familiar among Windows users, but what cracked me up was the tidbit about IBM and Canon and their infinitely useful advice to you. And I hear you about the over-blinged sites. Even the ones I like to visit from time to time (cheezeburger cats) are so full of visual detritus that I can only take them on a very limited basis. And though I voted for the candidate that lost, I'm just grateful that the election to be OVER. All in all, a nice job on your very own Friday FFFFFFFFFTs ;-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:00 AM  

  • 1. That's good to know about M$. Until now, I haven't bothered to try.

    2. The long page loads are usually the advert servers which get overloaded all the time. They like the money, but not the expense of adding server capacity.

    3. Institutionalized Redundance.

    4. I like passing on one lane roads...the wrong way.

    5. They should prohibit ads until the last 2 weeks.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 6:33 AM  

  • Personal gripes I have

    1. The big gulp cup doesn't fit in the cupholder in my car. Try to imagine half a gallon of soda sloshing all over your leg as the carpet gets drenched.

    2. Doorways are never big enough. Either I am running into the door jam, or the new chair won't fit properly.

    3. Things that break. I know, its my job to fix things, but I wish it wasn't.

    4. Metal chips, oil, grease, dirt, rust, sawdust, and rain. I currently have all the above on my coveralls.

    5. Presidential campaigns. When neither candidate runs on upholding the very document our country is based on. THE CONSTITUTION. I think that politicians should be made to read the documents of our founding fathers once a year, given a very concusive test, and if they fail they should be booted from office. As a side note, voters should have five questions on their ballot to test their knowledge of the Constitution and if they fail two of them, then their ballot should not count.

    By Anonymous Dave, at 8:52 AM  

  • So what do you think about the elelction result? My relatives and friends and our family are delighted and I thought his victory speech was excellent. But for heaven's sake, why did they have to spend all that money on the campaign. That's obscene.

    By Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog, at 3:42 PM  

  • dave - i like your way of thinking! i've often thought that ppl should have to pass a test before having a child. voting should be no different! but man.. i wonder if i'd pass!

    can't imagine not being able to pass, and why anyone would be allowed to make such a law!

    now... on fox news, they're continuing w/ stuff by finding any and all dirt on sarah palin. not that i like her, but when does it end?!

    the only thing w/ the way things seem to be moving forward w/ obama being elected, why did this Prop 8 pass? on one hand, seems the states has taken a huge step forward, but w/ this, they've taken another step back.

    internet problems... i'm constantly battling w/ Vista on my laptop... i hate it.

    By Blogger Um Naief, at 2:43 AM  

  • Olivia
    Media silence? The Japanese news is still reporting on everything Obama says and does. Sarah Palin is still appearing in my newspaper pretty much every day. And now we're getting the cultural feedback from the election results, e.g. at least one school in Missouri in which students were ordered not to mention Obama anywhere in the school building.

    I have a feeling we're going to be hearing a lot about things like this.

    Media silence, m'lady? Not yet I'm afraid.

    Thank YOU for being a good sport!

    1. I admit I was surprised, too. So far Microsoft has probably given me the best service of any major outfit whose customer support I've needed. They were prompt, they were clear, and they even checked back with me to make sure everything was okay afterward. (I mean...yes, I got great service from MS in the U.S. some years ago when I went through someone I know who works there, but this was MS Japan!)

    2. Dadburn capitalism! ;-)

    3. Institutionalized Redundancy Institution.

    4. That's what sidewalks are for.

    5. Either that or show all the ads in a single, hour-long slot like they apparently do on some European TV channels (I mean with ALL ads).

    1. Don't buy Big Gulps.

    2. Don't get new chairs.

    3. Don't wish yourself out of a job.

    4. (Ditto above.)

    5. Who would be qualified to make such a test? Who would be qualified to score it? Who would be qualified to judge the results? Too much of the Constitution is subject to interpretation.

    As I said, Europeans tend to describe the U.S. Presidential election as a beauty contest. That pretty much sums it up.

    Speaking of spending obscene amounts of money, did you hear about the Obama campaign workers in South Carolina that rioted because a lot of them weren't paid the full promised amount (or had bogus claims made against them in order not to have to pay them the full amount)? Granted, that wasn't Obama's own doing, but...

    Um Naief
    I'm about to write a rather deep post on the Snabulus blog. Stop by and read it sometime.

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 12:12 PM  

  • Uh-oh, I'm in trouble. Thanks for the check. Sometimes, I get carried away. Have adjusted, some.

    By Blogger Happysurfer, at 4:59 PM  

  • Happysurfer
    Well, it wasn't necessarily your site I was griping about.

    Not necessarily your site I was griping about. ;-)

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 8:32 PM  

  • No seriously, a couple of days after the election, I didn't hear his name for hours!

    It's back to being all over the place, but maybe that was the short period of calm after the storm while everyone switched gears and drew a breath for the new situation.

    By Blogger Olivia, at 8:18 AM  

  • i read this other blog. i left a comment on a couple including the 'post election reflection'. that was a really good post. i admire your honesty.

    i like this blog. thanks for telling me about it.

    By Blogger Um Naief, at 3:26 AM  

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