“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”


"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Monday, April 20, 2020

A change in plans...

At one point, I had my life and years clearly mapped out.

See, after my time in the Navy, I was going to take my skills and put them to appropriate use.

No, not in some war zone. Not doing dangerous things.

Nope, I was going someplace tropical and nice. I was going to open a dive shop/tourist spot/bar, and live a life of ease. Spend my days on the water. Spend my nights drinking quality alcohol and wooing tourist women. Never cold. Never being shot at. Never worried beyond the next day.

I have never said anything more honest than the fact I am SO glad that life had other plans for me.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Don't bother giving Expedia or Travelocity your money.... and, a related pandemic observation.

BLUF - Travelocity and parent company Expedia are apparently doing everything they can to avoid DOT regulations and decent business practices, and are not refunding customers money for cancelled travel.

The story as of April 13...

We had booked a family trip overseas this summer through Travelocity, and made all the payments and such for airfare. No, we did not purchase travel insurance or refundable tickets - more on that in a bit.

With all the issues of the pandemic, obviously there had been concern lately over whether the trip would still happen or not. But, we kept planning appropriately and crossed our fingers. Turns out that was a waste of time, as Saturday we received word that the trip was cancelled completely on the airline end due to the travel restrictions in place.

NOTE - while obviously that bit is frustrating, I FULLY understand and have no issues with that action. No matter what side of any spectrum you take on this thing, it's abundantly clear that limiting travel and social contact has helped reduce deaths from COVID 19. So, this isn't the post to dispute what measures are/are not good there.

Now, being an informed consumer, and knowing how to use a search engine, there's that bit about the airfare. Per U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, as well as stated company policy from both the airline and Travelocity, if the flight is cancelled by their end, they are required to provide a full refund if requested. Yes, they can offer credits, incentives to take the trip later and all that - but, if you want your money back, they have to do so. Which - given the uncertain state of things right now - is the option I want.

Now we get to where Travelocity has apparently decided the customer isn't a part of the equation at all, much less what priority they get.

The email notice - provides an option to file for airline credit. Nothing else, and it's a "do not reply" address.

Website customer service? The bot options are unresponsive, stating they cannot help with anything but rebooking, and that they cannot connect you with a customer service agent at this time.

Phone assistance? Again, useless. They (supposedly) will connect you with an agent IF your flight is within the next 72 hours - EVERY OTHER option kicks you off the system with no result, and no work arounds I've found.

Email? A search through their site, as well as other resources turned up a couple of possible addresses. All of which are currently bouncing back every attempt to communicate that route.

Heck, let's even check social media. Well, not only are they not replying to any customers through those routes, it's a collection of pretty damning statements nationwide. People running into the same issues, lack of communication, and delays. Apparently they are even refusing to respond to customers who purchased their internal travel insurance as well - so it's an across the board issue.

So... I've currently filed a dispute with my bank, and will see what happens. Maybe Travelocity and their parent company will step up and do the right thing. In which case, I will post an equally detailed discussion giving them full credit for resolving it and taking care of the customer.

But, as of right now, neither company will ever see my business again.

* * *

Which leads to my other observation.

I've long had a personal policy of judging a business and/or person by how they handle adversity or mistakes. Everyone can look good when things go perfect - it's how they treat people at the other end of circumstances which matters. I've stopped patronizing a business or service because of how they act (or don't) when they mess up. I've equally, if not more so, sung the praises of a company when they step up and do more than the right thing. To me, it's simply a reflection of the character and priorities the organization is supporting (or not).

The 2020 pandemic is showing this nationwide. And, I suspect that coming out of the far end, a number of companies will continue on, or be gone, based on how they treated things *during* this event. Note, I'm not discussing things beyond their control. If they can't get merchandise and supplies, or can't open due to the nature of their personal contact I more than understand. But, when they are still doing business, how they're acting matters.

The food place, offering to let you purchase a meal for a first responder or health care worker along with your order? Yeah, they're keeping my business.

Amazon? Yes, it can be frustrating that you no longer get the book or item you wanted with a two-hour delivery (or even two day for a lot). BUT, I respect that they're saying "Hey, we're going to prioritize the people who need food/health care/basic necessities a little more than your knick-knack in our shipping model right now." - I'm good with that.

The grocery store, letting you order an item for pickup, but pushing the date back a week - and then, cancelling THAT DAY saying the item isn't available? You need to fix your business approach, folks.

The online retailers, blatantly price-gouging due to increased demand? Yeah, I can delete you from my saved links.

The small business, unable to open for regular browsing, but setting up online displays and times to come pick up your purchase? Fantastic, and going to do everything I can to support such places.

Just an observation.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

On a Musical Note...

I was pondering today, as I drove home with the radio on - with all that's going on in the world, I'm rather surprised "Don't Stand So Close To Me" by The Police isn't enjoying a chart resurgence by now...

Friday, April 3, 2020

Quarantine World Update

So many things in the world right now, and I'm smart enough to not be an expert on any of them...

Anyway - all surviving in my clan, despite the current issues. I'm finishing up a voluntary self-quarantine work offered to minimize the potential for exposure or spread of the virus. The next hope is that upon returning to work I don't *then* become exposed and bring it home.

Financially - we're fortunate in that for the moment my job and income are stable. Literally millions in this country aren't that lucky right now. I can't fix all the problems, but I am being conscious about some local opportunities to help those who are in a tough spot. Here's hoping those of you who are able are doing the same; and for those who are hurting, that some of these promised resources nationwide make it to you.

I don't have a magic crystal ball predicting how this will end for my family, tribe, nation or the world. But, I do have a feeling this is going to end up with an increased push for, and reliance on the local community to look out for each other. I think that may be a good thing, in the long run.

And, while a part of me would love to see life go back to normal tomorrow, the increased time online has resulted in some truly great snark ending up online. Tam, Correa, and Williamson in particular have gotten a number of needed laughs.

Stay safe out there, as best you can.

Monday, March 9, 2020

OOOpps

Honestly meant to post before this.

But, well, life.

The best thing I can say about being sick as a dog the past four days? At least it was *only* the flu...


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Just Stop it Already

Look, I try to be as tacti-cool as the next guy.

I love our little inside jokes, the memes, and all that.

And, yes, *The Mandalorian* is an awesome series.

But.

Stop.

Just stop.

I'm sick of every company I see popping up a new patch, or sticker, or shirt with some variation of the sigil, or "This is the Way" or whatever.

You all are turning it into the "Crusader Cross" of 2020, I swear.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

I have issues

Coworker last night asks if I can sharpen a knife for him.

"Sure."

Then, he hands it to me.

"Nope. I refuse." While he was trying to figure out where I was coming from, I was examining the "knife" in the loosest sense of the word, which wouldn't even pass muster as truck stop store quality.

"I can't do anything with this but throw it away. I'll bring you in a decent knife tomorrow."

Because it's not like I don't have any spares.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Another small fragment...



We did a lot of desert training. No sweat, (no pun intended) as far as I was concerned. 

Sure, most of my time doing ugly stuff was down in South America - but if the Altiplano isn't high desert, I don't know what is. Not to mention growing up in the southwest, hiking and camping and trail running and the like. Whether it was Stateside, the Middle East, or down south, dry and sandy was sort of in my blood at this point.

So, as much as they pushed the limits, the thought of getting tossed out of a helicopter for a week's survival and evasion practical in the middle of the Mojave didn't stress me like it did some of the others. 

Which is why they dropped my presumptive ass in the middle of New York City. 

A short bus ride, a long ride in a blacked-out plane, and a text message. "Your name and photo have been posted to the Homeland Security threat list and publicly disseminated. Your electronic devices have been compromised. You have 36 hours to return to the facility." Nothing more, no hints, no tools, and no support network. 

That's what I get for thinking I knew what was going on.


You had *ONE* job...

I rarely delve into politics here, but this is one of those times.

And, without taking sides or promoting my own thoughts. Just an observation.

After the 2016 campaign revelations regarding how the Democratic Party treated Bernie Sanders and engineered the Clinton nomination, you would *think* that the one goal they would have foremost in 2020 would be to make everything aboveboard and as transparent as possible. Or at least to appear as such.

Instead, I swear these days I feel like I'm watching some cheesy kid's cartoon where the villain doesn't realize they didn't even close the curtain. And they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids.

I need to buy popcorn at this rate and just sit back for a few months...

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Nothing quality to share...

Had a long (but good) week of work travel last week, and still mentally recovering. So right now the idea bank is overdrawn, even for short commentary.

I'll try to fix that in the next day or so.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Conspiracy or ????

Not sure what to chalk it up to - but in the space of ten minutes I had the same lady almost hit me *twice* in the grocery store parking lot...


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

What happened to blocking senders?

Is it just me, or have our email, message and other communications routes in general removed the option to actually *block* a particular sender or contact?

Sure, it can filter to spam. It can flag certain things.

But, at least for my accounts, it seems that the ability to totally block and never deal with these annoyances is gone.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Enough With the Reboots

So, little humorous bits of Interwebs chatter and statements, and someone up at Fox made a statement to the effect of "Well, we'd be open to a Firefly reboot if we could make it fitting for today's audience."

Which, of course, generated kerfuffle amongst fandom.

Here's my 1/2 cent opinion, and it'll be brief:

#1 - "Fitting for today's audience." - um, dude, watch your own show. The whole reasons certain series and movies gain their huge fan base is because they have a certain timeless appeal. Casablanca resonates now just like it did in 1941. Friends is huge with the current generation, even though most of the music and other references are far out of date. We all have plenty of examples.

#2 - Stop. Just stop. I don't want to see you "remake" Firefly (or a lot of other shows and movies) with different actors and their take on iconic roles. I don't want you changing some canon we've all grown to love, just to make sure the "messaging is right."

You want to tribute a show and please the fans, without driving them nuts? Look at how The Mandalorian is done. Take your familiar setting and tell a new story in a different spot. Keep just enough links and references to tie things in, but go in a new direction.

Of course, I'm not holding my breath...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Welcome to 2020

Honestly?

Never figured I'd make it this far.

Or, that life would be pretty much the same in a lot of ways as it was in the 80's, 90's etc...

Anyway.

I feel I need to start writing more. And - based on the example of those more prolific - apparently the best way to do that is, well, *write*.

So - my first goal? I'll get back to posting something, at least once a week.

Maybe just a sentence. Maybe more. But, it will build the habit.