Let’s talk about the weather

It started out cool, with ice pellets, sleet, and mild frozen rain. Then it got colder, and I expected snow. Ah ha, though. The warm front from the Gulf had other ideas, pushing back into our area, and actually warming it up again. Just enough to keep it hovering at freezing. What does that mean?

Flooding streets, and silver thaw–dangerous build up of frozen rain on trees and power lines. I just looked out the window and the trees are beautiful–exquisite!–silvery, ethereal shapes in the street lights. The more beautiful they become, though, the more likely to break and come down on cars, homes, and power lines.

Now it’s starting to cool, but as I looked out the window, I saw lightning. It’s like a spring/summer storm meeting a winter blizzard, with a January ice storm thrown in for good effect.

The weather will cool overnight, and the water running now will begin to freeze, and snow will fall. Wind will blow just before morning, so drivers will have drifting snow over the iced, downed tree and broken branch laden, partially flood submerged roads. Oh, what the hell–let’s toss in a tornado, just for effect.

But just this moment, the trees are silver in the street lights, the ground covered in crystal, and the water on the roads runs runs like rivers of black velvet. Glorious. I could wish to be that beautiful just before I die.

No, I’ll probably go like the old apple tree in the field–gnarly, leafless, with not even a few wizened fruit hanging from the branches to mark its days of glory. The kind that leads farmers to say to each other:

“Gar, that old apple tree’s finally dead.”


“Picked a lot of fruit from that tree.”


“Make good firewood to smoke the pigs with, though.”


Another flash of lightning. Lightning. Bizarre.

update It’s not lightning. It’s transformers blowing out all around us, reflecting in the clouds like lightning. One just went across the street.


Winter storm

The winter storm didn’t miss us this time. It’s cold, down to your bones, cold.

My roommate just called, and he estimated it will be another 3 or more hours on the freeway home. This is just the frozen rain, and sleet. We haven’t even had the major storm yet, with all the snow later tonight.


Emptying camera

Dumping photo disc.

The birthday cake my roommate got me last week.

Autumn Color Cake

Zoe, giving me the ‘eye’.

Cat's eye

Squirrel nest and today’s first frozen rain.


Social Media

The danger of comments at community sites

The discussion thread just mentioned in the last story is also a good demonstration of what can happen when newspapers and other localized publications open up discussion threads. In particular, the St. Louis Today site, which runs its weblogs using WordPress, doesn’t put much in the way of restrictions on comments. What’s happened is a group of people have moved into the discussion area and setup housekeeping.

You can’t read a thread where it isn’t dominated by people like robsmyth and others, with their own insider language and discussion–usually only incidentally related to the topic.


Amazon, Best Buy, Sears and ‘ware the Season

An update on my recent difficulty with Amazon: I received the product, but the company still showed it as ‘in process’, to be shipped in January. It took four emails and finally a phone call to get this one removed so that I wouldn’t get shipped another.

On the other hand, when we opened the second season of a TV show my roommate purchased (through my account), we found three duplicate disk 1′s and a missing disk 2. Since we had bought the series over two months ago, I wasn’t expecting Amazon to replace it, but they did–sending out a replacement season via 1 day shipping, and a pre-paid mailer to return the defective one. Now that was good customer service.

Ooops, spoke too soon. The item I’ve been trying to get removed has reappeared on my ‘to be shipped’ list.

Unlike that shown at Best Buy: Recently, a Missouri couple bought an expensive camcorder, but when they got it home and opened the box, they found a jar of pasta sauce instead. $1600.00 for a jar of pasta sauce was a bit much. The Best Buy store would not provide a replacement, and eventually Sony ended up replacing the camcorder because of the publicity. Sony did make a point that the only reason they stepped in was Best Buy wouldn’t–there was no way this item would be shipped as it was, because the camcorder comes from Japan, and that type of pasta sauce is rare in Japan.

According to another St. Louis Today story, this is typically the result of a ‘returned item’ scam, where a person buys a new item, replaces it with worthless items of equal weight, tapes up the box and returns the item for a refund. The store’s employees don’t have the time (or don’t take the time) to ensure it is the proper item returned, and just restocks the item.

Many stores will make good when this happens, but I gather from a few of the more coherent entries in a discussion thread, Best Buy is not one of them. In fact, from the stories, I gather that Best Buy thinks if you sell something cheap enough, you don’t need to provide customer service. I’ve not had problems with Best Buy purchases, but I have returned an item and noticed that the customer service person did not check to ensure what I returned was the actual item. Before you ask, no it was not a camcorder.

A good rule of thumb seems to be if you’re making a closed box purchase at Best Buy, for yourself or as a present for someone else, you might want to open the box and check the contents before you leave the store. In fact this is good advice for buying more expensive electronics at any store: open the box, make sure everything is there before you leave the store. Oh, and try not to get arrested for having a big knife or box cutters along.

Another person in the thread mentioned about having problems with Sears. I stopped shopping at Sears when I read the story of the company sending a representative to a bankruptcy proceeding in order to demand that the used toaster and other items of this nature bought on a Sears credit card be returned.