Good morning. Hello. How are you? #510

A litany of corporations being annoying in different ways along with a story about eggs. So, you know, the usual.

Good morning! Hi there! What’s shakin? Happy Wednesday. Man, Wednesdays get the short shrift no one really cares about them. I mean, sure, they got that “hump day” thing and, now that I’m thinking about it, Tuesdays and Thursdays get even less love than Wednesday. Wednesday comes from “Day of Wodin,” or Odin, that is pretty cool. Odin seems all right. And who doesn’t love Anthony Hopkins.

So yesterday, after five calls with AT&T totaling more than five hours of our life, AT&T was finally supposed to send a technician to our house to deal with this two-month long intermittent internet situation. The last call took place last Friday, where I spent an hour on the phone trying to convince them to send someone to the house after they had sent a replacement modem that was incompatible with our system and they were trying to convince us to re-wire our whole house’s ethernet to make the incorrect modem compatible. I said this was out of my depth, which was more or less true. I mean, in-wall CAT-6 running is not my forte. Finally, they agreed to send someone, Tuesday between noon and 2 (a reasonably narrow, albeit inconvenient time!).

Almost immediately after the call, Emma (who is the main contact on the account) starts receiving texts from AT&T outright begging her to cancel the appointment. They just fixed the issue, they insist. Never mind they had insisted more than once while we were on the phone with them that the issue had just been fixed, and it had never been fixed. Over the next few days they sent her innumerable texts, just begging her to cancel the appointment. It really was something, I have never seen such desperation from a company before.

Three things kept us from cancelling the appointment. First, while we have now actually gone 72 hours or so without an outage, which is a recent record, a) this clearly only ever happened because we had an appointment with a technician that they desperately, desperately wanted to avoid, b) the whole problem with these outages is they are intermittent, and so who can really be sure, c) this modem compatibility thing is an ongoing issue in our life, and we have a new, advanced modem just sitting here, and it’d be awesome to have a technician come and swap it in for the old one so that when/if this happens again, they actually can send us a new modem, d) now I gotta return this thing, and e) on the rare occasion you do actually get an AT&T technician in your house, the technicians are generally knowledgeable and helpful and honest and will tell you what is really going on, which no one, not once, across five calls, actually bothered to do.

But, in the end, even though AT&T never officially cancelled the technician, they just didn’t show up. I suppose this isn’t surprising. I’m fairly certain at this point that the entire “sending a technician” exercise as a Potemkin Village, AT&T actually doesn’t have any technicians right now because who wants to work for those assholes when you’re a qualified IT professional and could, like, get a job somewhere that gives a shit. And they figured they could talk us out of it. It reminds me of how I handled social engagements in the oughts, where I would say I was going to show up, hope something would come up to give me an excuse not to, and then that didn’t happen I would just... not show up anyway. Except, you know, no one was paying me.

Really quite amazing. And yes, right now, the internet seems to be working but… come on! We had to call five times and threaten you with someone showing up before you could be bothered to really fix it? Even when you said you had? WTF!

Gah.

I don’t know why I put up with them. Oh wait:

Continuing on our journey of incompetent companies, yesterday I decided I wanted to buy some shares of the hot new Bitcoin ETF, because it seems funny and I am actually someone that it’s made for, someone who wants a wee bit of exposure to Bitcoin but doesn’t want to deal with the hassle, etc. So I go to my trusty Schwab account and do a search for the ticker symbol, enter it in, make a buy order, and Schwab is all like “yo you can’t buy this because you are not authorized to purchase options. Click here to apply.” And I’m like, yeah, I mean, calling an ETF an option may be technically true, given the construction of this specific ETF, but yo, dawg, it is an ETF nonetheless, and that seems lame. And c’mon man, this is 2021, people are trading options on the playground like Pogs these days. But I’m too lazy to bother clicking the button and filling out some application form, like, oh, please sir, can I have some more?

So I just go to my Robinhood account in the next tab over in my browser, type in the same symbol, click “buy” and it is done. This does not seem like particularly good product design by Schwab. I am not an options junkie and it is obvious from my account. I suppose it is just too hard for Schwab to, like, individually verify each ETF for whether or not it should be buyable for its traders who don’t have options trading enabled, except that’s exactly what they already do. Someone had to investigate this new Proshares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, look at its construction, and decide whether the construction of this ETF constitutes options trading, as opposed to, say, the construction of, say, State Street’s SPDR® S&P 500® ETF, which, not surprisingly, I am allowed to purchase from my wimpy Schwab non-options-trading brokerage account. So they’re already doing the hard work! They just decided to be pedantic and non-user friendly, and probably missed out on a good chunk of trading activity on the second highest debut of an ETF ever.

While I was at Schwab I also purchased a few shares of Scholastic stock for good measure. I probably should have consulted with my friend who used to work there, but I read this article in the New York Times that just had a sexist whiff all over it, and it pissed me off. Apparently the company has been family-run forever, with the last Chairman being the son of the founder. There is a separate class of stock for the family, Class A, that controls all the power, even though it is family run. The Chairman dude owned 58% or so of that stock, his siblings and their families owned the rest. When he died he willed his 58% of the stock — and thus control of the company — to, gasp, a woman, who wasn’t in the family. She just happens to have, you know, been an executive at the company for thirty years, knows the company inside and out, been involved in a lot of their most successful initiatives. Now, you might think this is a lurid story of rich people suing each other over money but… nope! The family is totally cool with it, they are fine with her running the company, they had nothing but good things to say about her to the Times, and have not sold any shares. But still this is bad! Maybe she had an affair with him! Maybe the outside shareholders — who bought their stock knowing they had no voting rights — might be upset! This is terrible! I mean, they didn’t come out and say it, but, it was all over the article. Gross. And, you know, she is chairman, not CEO, there is also a CEO, and people seem to like him.

So, yeah, I bought some stock.

Sexism arbitrage.

Continuing on our journey, for two days I have been trying to purchase some hoop houses, a gardening stool, and some bird netting from Gardeners.com for next year’s garden. This is a hefty purchase - over a grand. It is an investment. Been planning it for months, if not a year, and now’s the time to do it, because it’s a light time in gardening e-commerce, things aren’t as back ordered, and I want to get the order in now so I don’t get screwed with the long shipping times, and it definitely comes before next spring.

BUT, each time now, for two days, when I try and purchase these items, the purchase hangs at the exact moment I click the “buy” button, which is the absolute worst time for an e-commerce purchase to hang, because you don’t know if the purchase was completed or not, and when it’s like this much money, that is stressful! I’m not sure what’s going on. Pretty sure Gardeners.com has their shit together enough to notice that their ecommerce system was down for two days. I suspect it’s some bullshit privacy functionality of Apple’s Safari, wherein Apple has decided it’s perfectly fine to ruin some small businesses e-commerce functionality if they, like, use an Adobe or Shopify tech to, like, run analytics or something. Nine times out of ten, when things like this happen, just try another browser.

And speaking of Safari, good news, apparently in the newest beta of the next version of Mac OS they gave up on the bullshit, anti-user tab implementation where the tabs are not actually tabs anymore, but detached boxes that tell you nothing. I hate updating my OS to a major new release on the first day, but that alone will probably tempt me to do it. God, these tabs are the worst.

Okay I think I am done with complaining about companies now.

There has been a real nice drop in hospitalizations from COVID in North Carolina over the last month. We peaked at just under 4,000 this wave, a little under last winter’s wave, but not by much. But look at this drop over the last month!

I mean that is just fantastic. God, please, give my daughter a vaccine, let’s all get our boosters and be done with this bullshit for a while. I mean, a lot of other people are already done. I just wanna be done too.

So when I make eggs for Jane every morning, I make a circle of scrambled eggs and then cut it into squares, because she likes her squares. I put a plate of these eggs in front of her at her counter chair. Then she likes it when I hand her the eggs, one-by-one, and she takes them and moves the egg squares, one-by-one, from my hand to her tray, and lines them up in a neat row. Then, while she’s eating her eggs, we “share some eggs” and she gives me one square and she takes a square and we share our eggs. She always gives me an egg from the right-most side of the row of egg squares. This whole exact process means that each day I end up with one of the rounded squares. That is, a square cut from the edge of the round circle of scrambled eggs, which means it is a smaller egg square than the other ones and, you know, I am a big guy, hungry guy. I have been plotting and debating whether to fix this for months now, but big news, yesterday, I took the plunge. When I was handing her the egg squares, one-by-one, from the plate, so that she could line them up in a row on her tray, I changed the order in which I was handing them to her, so that the curved egg squares were in the middle of the row now, and not at the rightmost side.

I cannot convey to you how risky this was. Hot gutsy. This could have been catastrophic. The entire routine could have been shot to hell and we could have had a screaming toddler on our hands.

But… nope! She did not care at all! Turns out the exact order of egg squares in the perfect row is not a thing she cares about. And now I get a bigger egg square! Success!

I am an amazing parent.

Mix time, moody mix, mix of old and new, some old ones rattling around my subconscious these last few days. I used to listen to “Love Songs on the Radio” almost every day. For a good year or two, the first Mojave 3 album was hands-down my favorite album, I listened to it constantly, I was so sad. There are still lines on that album that immediately make me cry it is a real problem, I don’t listen to it much anymore.

I kinda cheated with the Aeon Station song, “Leaves,” but it’s brand new, so good, and mostly mellow, just has a big rock finish. I wanted to get it on a mix, stat. But, you know, something about a nice moody and quiet mix that has a little bit of a big rock finish at the end. Quiet Quiet Loud.

And Sinead O’Connor was right.

Talk tomorrow!