Issues with Amazon

In the last three months I’ve had more problems with my Amazon experience than the past three years combined.

The first blip on my radar was with the shipping of some milk powder I’d ordered (BTW, great in shakes or if you prefer to use milk instead of water when making oatmeal). The package, marked as “Ready to Ship”, arrived with no protection; when I opened it there was milk powder everywhere. Their customer service was excellent and quick to send out a replacement (in much better packaging), so I let it go.

Then less than a month later I ordered my netbook and had a similar experience. Except instead of milk powder everywhere I had a damaged computer. Although the computer was secure in its own box, Amazon neglected to add any protection to serve as shock absorption. Sure, getting it replaced was easy enough, but I still had to go through the hassle of repacking the old computer and shipping it back. (The new computer arrived in the same packaging conditions, so it was only by miracle it didn’t end up damaged in transit.)

And less than a month after that, I ordered a product and paid the extra $3.99 to have overnight shipping (I’ve been a Prime member for some years and enjoy the luxury of free 2nd day shipping on certain products or $3.99 for overnight). It was scheduled to ship out and arrive by Saturday, but I was informed on Monday via shipping update email that there was a delay and my package would arrive on Wednesday. (No offer to refund the $3.99 though.)

Unfortunately, I’d selected the shipping address based on where I was going to be at the time and wasn’t going to be there on Wednesday. Unfortunately when I logged into my account it wouldn’t allow me to change the order in any way or even cancel it. Yet another call to customer service. By the end I was so frustrated that I just had her cancel the order altogether and bought what I needed from Best Buy.

Now (and this is a relatively minor quibble), recently Amazon extended their Prime shipping to include Saturday delivery if the product is ordered by a certain time on Thursday. Just decided to test this theory out this past Thursday only to find that my package didn’t arrive as scheduled on Saturday, it arrived on Monday. No big deal, just annoying.

There’s more, but I don’t feel like getting into all of it. Had these incidents been spaced out over years I probably wouldn’t have noticed. But since they all occurred within such a short period of time I wonder what’s going on…growing pains while they try to make improvements?

(I still ♥ and will continue to shop there—assuming things don’t get much worse, this blog post is mainly to vent some frustration.)

The New Netbook

Lately, I’ve been out and about more and lugging around my laptop (even the smaller one) has been a pain in the backside. I needed something even more portable, but more potent than my iPhone. The decision came down to getting a Kindle (or Nook), the iPad, or a netbook.

Deciding between the three wasn’t too difficult. The main purpose of the device would be for writing and work, so that immediately knocked the Kindle (and Nook) out of the running. And I know there are people out there who would be voting for the iPad because…OMG IT’S SHINY!!…but I couldn’t justify it. While I can write on my iPhone, it’s not as pleasurable as typing with a traditional computer (I love to feel the keys sinking under my fingers and hearing the light click they make as I type), plus it was about $500 more. So my decision was made for me.

A netbook would allow me to write, get some basic work done, and should the mood hit me, read. But which netbook to get?

I ended up making a chart listing the specs/features of each brand/model and after all was said and done, the Asus Eee PC 1005PE won. It had ample battery life, upgradeable memory, light weight, and a reasonable price; it seemed like the best value. As a bonus, it even came with Kindle for PC pre-installed.

I’ve had it for about a month (actually, this is my second one because I had to send the first one back to Amazon, a discussion I’ll save for later) and so far, I’m really liking it, despite its quirks. I’ve already read an entire novel via Kindle which was surprisingly comfortable, watched a couple shows on Hulu, which was surprisingly stilted, and typed a few documents, which was…normal.

The processing speed is slower than a regular laptop/PC (which I expected), but not egregiously so. The keyboard is small, but getting used to it is nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. The only things I still haven’t gotten used to is the smaller SHIFT key on the right side, plus needing to use the FN key when paging up or down, home or end.

One other annoyance is that it comes with a bunch of unnecessary bloatware, but not as much as some laptops, so I count myself lucky there. Right now I’m uninstalling Microsoft Office, which was included with a 60 day trial, and Adobe Acrobat Reader. When the uninstalls have finished I’ll be installing Oo 3 and Foxit PDF Reader respectively.

Once I’ve played around with it for a while longer, I’ll probably be writing a review at Amazon about my experience. As an early estimation, it’s an adequate computer, but it’s hovering around 3.5 stars (one star off because of the craftsmanship–to put it plainly, it looks cheaply made–and half a star off because of some usability quirks).

In Geekier News: OptiNiche and WordPress Diva Websites Have Been Sold

I’ve been sitting on this bit of news for a little while now, but my life has been a whirlwind for the past couple of months. (Plus, I’ve learned that I’m just bad about making these sorts of announcements.)

In any event, I’ve sold two more of my web properties: The OptiNiche and WordPress Diva websites and content. It was a smooth sale, but I won’t be disclosing the details since I haven’t yet discussed it with the new owners.

Since the OptiNiche website did have commercial content which wasn’t included in the sale, I archived it and will be providing access to the original OptiNiche customers. When things settle down for me in the next couple of weeks, I will send out an email with specific details.

And since the WordPress Diva property was sold without the themes, I’ll begin working on updating a few of my favorites and making them available for download from the Teli Design website.

To finish up, I’ll say that I’m happy with the new owners. I’ve checked out some of their other web properties and feel confident that they’ll take care of these websites.

Now I just have a few more web properties to sell and my web portfolio will be down to where I want it. :)

When Criminals Waste Your Time and Disrupt Your Family Ties

Well, I showed up at the courthouse on Thursday only to find out the sentencing was delayed and when we finally did get in to see the judge one of the defendants decided to reevaluate his guilty plea. In Plain English, it means that the criminals who broke into my home are also hell bent on wasting my time as well.

Luckily the judge didn’t care too much for it either, and it was written all over his face, so he declared that when it was time to reschedule their sentencing (if, and when, the moronic burglar decides that a jury trial would not be in his best interest considering I saw his face only moments before he and his friends, who will testify against him, broke into my home) it will be rescheduled at our convenience (mine and the neighbour’s who was also burglarized).

When I think back to that day, it just seems like a comedy of errors to me. Each of the two defendants had separate lawyers. One of them was ready to have himself sentenced; he even had his lawyer come and talk to us about what they would ask from the judge. Then, there was the other lawyer, who was put into a sticky situation by the other defendant’s family. Apparently, someone in the family was a lawyer and decided—that morning—to cause a stir.

I was sitting on the waiting bench next to them so I could overhear everything they were saying. Mind you, I tried not to listen, but it was difficult. All I can say is, I’m not a lawyer, but even I know what they were thinking was idiotic. Then when that poor lawyer had to go in front of the judge and say, Sorry, but we need to postpone again (I’m paraphrasing), the other lawyer made sure to get in there and mention his client had nothing to do with it and was ready to take his lumps.

Long story less long, I’ll be going back to court some time in Sept.

To make this whole situation more unnerving, my daddy yelled at me. He told me I shouldn’t be going to court over any of this. I told him that they were mandatory subpoenas and that I would get in trouble for not going. He told me to pay the fine. What it came down to was my daddy being worried about my conscience. Although I did nothing wrong—they were the ones to break into my home—I would still feel guilty when the judge sentences them to prison. And I’ll admit that with the first one, I did feel somewhat guilty.

I mean, a year and a half of this kid’s life is going to be spent in a place where men will most likely be treating him like their bitch, and that is due in part to what I said to the judge although I only spoke the truth. It’s like these kids didn’t just take stuff from me, they put me in the worst possible position when it came to their own lives.

Still, I eventually got over it. After talking to multiple people, each telling me that while I can mourn for them and their families, I shouldn’t feel guilty because they made stupid choices. I told this to my daddy, but he wasn’t buying it. So, now my daddy’s mad at me, too. All because three boys decided to break into my home and steal my stuff over a year ago.

Another Day in Court

It’s the night before I have to go to court, again. And I’m nervous.

I’m not sure why though.

The last time it was an interesting experience. We sat in a courtroom (um…looks nothing like on T.V.) and waited for a few hours while the judge worked through all the other people who were up for sentencing. Then, when it was my turn, I went up and told the judge how I felt and what I thought the punishment should be.

When I left the courthouse I was in a mild state of shock. The kid seemed so contrite (but I have to wonder if he would have been that contrite if he’d not gotten caught) and he was in tears when the judge handed down the sentence: 18 months in prison. That’s a year and a half of his life that can’t be spent dropping the SOAP in the shower. All because he and his friends were stupid and broke into my house.

Still, I must remind myself that he did, after all, commit the crime and should be willing to do the time. Another part of me is still frightened that he might retaliate.

And I get to go through it all again tomorrow morning.

The other two boys deferred as long as they could and it will be their turn to stand in front of the judge, beg for leniency, and then get shipped away to the big house.

And again I will feel the same incongruous feelings. It’s such a shame that these boys wasted their lives on what? A couple computers, a sword, some jewelry, DVDs, and a few other knickknacks and bric-a-bracs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t all they took: They took my sense of security and for that, I feel they deserve whatever they get.


Sundays with the Sibling (and the Nieceling)

Let me start with: I’m typing this with one hand.

While her grandparents are away, I’m playing nanny to me niece so my sister who is an emergency room night nurse can get some actual sleep this weekend. But oh the wonders you’ll see taking care of a three and a half year old.

This morning I awoke to a soggy behind and a baby half strewn across me. I decided to move her to a dry spot and let her sleep. An hour later she woke up, tapped my shoulder and said in her best big girl voice, “Auntie Teli, I wet mommy’s bed.”

I smiled and said, “I know.”

We got up, got her cleaned up, then went to wash the sheets. Another hour and a half later, my sister came home from work and my niece met her at the staircase and said, “Mommy, I peed in your bed.”

Funny thing, though, because I agreed to keep it our little secret if she was a good girl and quietly watched Blue’s Clues while I cleaned up (which she did).

Then for another hour she terrorized her (very tired) mom. And then we were terrorized by a large flying black demon insect from the depths of Hell itself. My sister couldn’t find the bug spray so she tried to Windex it to death. That didn’t work, but it started cleaning its legs.

After the insect incident we all went upstairs, and mommy twirled and laughed with baby. It truly was a lovely moment (made infinitely more comical because mom had just taken NyQuil for her cold). Finally baby let mom go to sleep and came back downstairs with me, begged me to make her a burrito, then climbed into my lap and promptly fell asleep–burrito uneaten.

Which brings us to now.

It occurred to me that the last time I updated about my niece, she was still in diapers. Now she’s a “big girl” who is 98.6% potty trained, but still cute as a button (even when she’s being bad).

Designing by the Seat of My Pants

It’s long overdue, but I’m finally redesigning the Teli Design Studio. Right now there’s just a placeholder up while I work behind the scenes, but I’m tempted to take it down so that people can watch a design in its various iterations. Since I’m too tired right now, it’s a decision which needs to wait ’til morning.

Dreams, Nightmares, Same Difference

I wonder what it says about me when I have a dream that by normal definitions would be considered a nightmare, yet I think it would make one freakishly fantastic story. (And rather than frighten me, said dream only made me slightly tense.)

I Write Like…Part 2

Since I didn’t include the nifty badge last time, here it is:

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Inspiration from Mr. Hines


I want me some pretty (serif) ampersands, so I’m making a mental note of the (relatively web-friendly) font families which have them.

Baskerville, “Goudy Old Style”, Palatino, “Book Antiqua”

I’ll probably come across some others, but for now…pretty ampersand fonts, duly noted.