eBay (need I saw more) [ G, I, PI ]

The names were shortened to protect the stupid.

This is why eBay can be hit or miss - for every transaction you have some mouth breather who asks things like "will you ship to the Canary Islands" when you plainly state US only, or they buy a used lot of items for pennies on the dollar and are not satisfied unless all items are pristine. Let me tell you about a fun transaction I had recently.

Dear mark
do you combind shipping?

In retrospect - the initial misspelling in the e-mail should've tipped me off... just as an eBay user name with "stoned" in it should've, and he's not into lapidary either. I was going to point out the obvious E. E. Cummings writing style similarity, but felt not many would notice it.

Dear mark
just recieved the gameboy games all but one didnt work. cubix dont work

Dear stoned
I would try cleaning the contacts. These games were is storage for years and to the best of my knowledge were working when put away. These are solid state game cartridges and rarely if ever fail. I would try cleaning the contacts and/or see if they work in another GB.

Dear mark
got these games also 2 worked 2 didnt. matt hoffman's pro bmx and lego alpha team dont work i tryed the games in a game boy color.please message back

Dear mark

(don't have to SHOUT!)

Dear stoned
Please return the defective games and I will refund the $1.13 via PayPal.

Note this is how the math works out; I have no idea if this is just some scammer who wanted some free games, although in hindsight my bad for not just eating the $1.13, so imagine my shock when I saw not one but TWO negative marks on eBay saying (so eloquently)

"not all games worked said send it back i had to pay shipping aint worth it."
(again, so like E. E. Cummings).

I wrote one last time, just to try and explain how the real world works:

Dear stoned
When someone makes an attempt to refund 100% of the price you paid for a defective item - which as noted was not known at the time of sale - proper eBay etiquette is to either accept the refund or just "man up" and acknowledge that when buying used things, sometime onesies or twosies won't work - hence the name "buying used" as opposed to buying new. At the very least mark feedback as "neutral". I find it staggering that I graciously offered you 100% of the refund due (above and beyond what is due). At least I get a good story for my Blog about the people I have to deal with on a daily basis. Please do not respond; doing so gives me approval to publish said reply, for all to ridicule.

Which leads me here. Ten years on eBay, 100% perfect record, shot to hell.


Same Sex Marriage [ G, GY, RR ]

(The following is a letter to my church on the topic of same-sex marriage)

Whether we can all ever agree on the topic or not, one thing we can probably agree on is - as Bob Dylan said - the times they are a-changin'. Now for those who attended the discussion know, I do not necessarily support gay marriage, but it is the law in CT. It wasn't when our Minister was ordained, but it is now. So one question is do we let a personal belief or view stand in the way of a law? I am sure some member's parents or grandparents could've remembered the day when Orientals and Coloreds were first given the right to not only attend all-White churches, but even to take communion and get married.

And maybe not our parent's parents: Martin Luther King wrote "In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched White churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies," He wrote this from jail in 1963. Not 1863, 1963. So whether or not you agree, certainly the view in the 21st century is gay rights are civil rights. It does beg the questions about polygamy, as Utah had to outlaw this before becoming a state, but I digress...

One of the wonderful things about America in general and certainly our church family as a whole is we can agree to disagree. I certainly do not agree 100% with anything my family, church, workplace or government does, but I "suck it up." I may complain but I do not leave my family, church, workplace or country. I do it for two reasons; the first being there is nothing that we will all agree 100% on, once that happens you have devolved to a hive mind, like a termite mound. That is the very nature of the human condition, to question, discuss, debate.

I also realize there are much, much, much bigger issues that we should not be distracted from; as an example in typing this paragraph our national deficit went up by about $5.6 million. What jobs will be left in the US in 5 years? In a thousand years or so global cooling will consume Chicago under glaciers. Of course there will be people who leave any organization, and like the ebb and flow of the tides it is inevitable. And I know we have lost – and gained – members over various things that our church offers. For example, people with children really like our child-friendly atmosphere, while I do know people no longer attend as there are too many "noisy kids." I was personally waiting for the many Hollywood stars to leave the US when Bush was re-elected, but I guess even they "sucked it up."

I would also add that I do not want our church to become sensationalized, with a line of couples out the door awaiting same-sex marriage. It would make sense to say the couple would have to be a member of our congregation to have a service in our church.

And as far as welcoming any new member, whether it be gay, straight, Polish, old, tall, Black, fat, bald, Asian, blonde, Irish, etc., I'd love to tell you a story. I was in New Orleans (pre-Katrina) years ago at a conference, and decided to go to a local church service. I so this sometime, which may surprise my wife (but isn't that our goal, guys?). Anyway, I do not remember the name of the church, or frankly if it still exists, but when I opened the door to go in, the only white things in the church were my face and the ceiling. I had a lot of eyes on me as I took a seat by myself. No one said a thing to me.

The service began, and one thing I have to say is I love the classic southern Baptist preacher. In a stentorian voice calling out things like "WHO WILL BEAR WITNESS!" and the enthusiastic congregation jumping up and waving their arm, the presence of God was palpable. I have to admit that I too "got into it" (no one can resist) and much to my surprise my actions were greeted by smiles. Not smiles of derision, but welcoming smiles. At the iced tea after service (this was New Orleans in late June) I was asked where I was from (Brooklyn CT) and how did I like New Orleans (the heat/humidity is killer on a hangover; again this WAS New Orleans on Sunday morning) but I felt very welcome regardless of any difference between me and the congregation at large.

So I personally hope that all our church members look at the big picture and let life go on, and welcome any new church family members as we always have.


App review - Snapture [ A, G, T]

As part of my 2010 resolutions; I will be parroting my iPhone App reviews posted to iTunes.

I had Snapture back when it was only for jailbroken iPhones (unlocking of underlying file structure). Has a lot of great features, plus the whole screen being the camera trigger is an option way overdue from Apple.

Note to the mouth-breathers who claim the digital-zoom pictures are "blurey" or not sharp, please revise your reviews.

The term "digital zoom" means just that, a static image is enlarged, which enlarges individual pixels which affects image quality in a detrimental way. As opposed to an "optical zoom" which uses "optics" or "lenses" to magnify the image; which remains sharp and detailed. And no amount of post-processing (what you see on CSI notwithstanding) will sharpen a 5x digital zoomed photo to the quality of a Hasselblad with a Leaf digital back, even if you used a Cray XMP or IBM Deep Blue as your host!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone