Monthly Archives: March 2004


After much turmoil and aggravation with my lame HTML coding skilz, I think I have mostly resurrected the Fantastic Green Blog template. I don’t think I’ve left anything out, but since I’ve been all distracted (what with it being Ewan McGregor’s Birthday and all), please let me know if you find something amiss.



Happy Birthday to Ewan McGregor!

I think they should make this occasion a national Holiday. Meanwhile, I have a fantastic link to a lot of screenshots taken from Mr. McGregor’s interview on Michael Parkinson’s television show. There are many droolable photos to scroll through and the majority of them are close-ups.

Go out and enjoy the day!


I’m broadcasting to you LIVE from The New Computer System at Home.

I hadn’t planned to buy a new computer today. And I work in a computer store, for crap’s sake, so it isn’t like I can’t buy one any time I get the hankering. My existing home system was meeting my needs, even though it’s quite elderly, as computers go. I purchased it in summer 1999; it’s a Gateway Pentium III, 550 MHz with 384 MB of memory and a 40 GB hard drive. It came with a DVD drive and a SuperDrive (the high-capacity floppies of the late 1990’s that got trampled by the Iomega Zip drive people), and two USB ports. I added a CD burner and other stuff over the years.

Today, I saw it… the new system. It was an overshipment from Dell and they would rather pay us to keep them, than to send them back. The specifications called to me… Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz, 1 Gigabyte of memory, 80 GB hard drive, floppy drive (what’s that about? I haven’t used a floppy since 2000), DVD/CD-RW, and eight USB ports, all for the low, low, inclusive price of $699. It is so very rare to find a Dell desktop system for less than $700 that isn’t some jacked-up POS machine with 128 MB of memory that’s shared with the integrated video, or requires you to file seventy-eight pieces of paperwork within 24 hours to get a rebate, etc. But there it was on the sales floor, all lonely and needing a good home.

How could I resist? I brought it home and plugged it in. The biggest and most noticeable difference is that it is completely SILENT when it is on. When my old system was on, I could hear the fan whirring three rooms away. And the speed… sigh… I turn it on and it’s on. When I turned on my old system, I would push the power button and go start some laundry. It would have booted up by the time I got back… most of the time.

I heart my new machine.

I can’t guarantee that it will improve the contents of the blog, but with each new morning, there’s fresh hope.


In news that is neither depressing nor insurance-related, I bought a pair of sandals for the Spring and Summer season. Now, I know Mr. Trump doesn’t allow open-toed shoes in the boardroom, but I couldn’t pass these up.


I think insurance is just a scam perpetrated upon people too afraid to go without it. I fall in to that category, so I can speak from knowledge. Haha!!

The basis for my rant on insurance is my latest go ’round with my homeowner’s policy. When I purchased my home in January of 1991, I chose insurance with State Farm because that’s who the bank suggested. Since the bank held the mortgage and homeowner’s insurance was required to “protect their interest” in the property, I didn’t argue.

A couple of years later, the water pipe in the laundry room froze. The shut-off handle blew off the pipe from the expanding ice, and water sprayed from ceiling to floor, filling the room. The place was destroyed, so I filed a claim with State Farm. I figured it was a “catastrophic loss”, and they paid to have the room’s interior (floor, walls, ceiling) replaced.

Right after I had my roof replaced, Mr. Mormon cut down a walnut tree and it fell on my house. That’s a whole ‘nother story, but he refused to tell his own insurance about it. I told him that it didn’t matter whose tree it was, the person cutting it was responsible for where it landed. I had to phone up State Farm for assistance. They covered the loss, and made me sign paperwork to take Mr. Mormon’s insurance company to court to recoup the cost. State Farm won in court (obviously) and got reimbursed from the other insurance company. My roof still leaks from the “repairs”, but again, that a whole ‘nother story.

That December, I got a letter from State Farm that said since I’d had two claims in five years, they were canceling my policy. WTF?! I called them to ask about the second claim, because that wasn’t my fault, AND they got their money back. They said it was their “policy” to cancel anyone filing two claims in five years. Talk about a circular argument. I gathered up my paperwork and went to Allstate and transferred my coverage for home and auto to them.

Last month, I got a letter from my bank asking me to send them a copy of my proof of homeowner’s insurance. They said they didn’t get anything from Allstate, so I called up the insurance people. Allstate said, “It says here that your homeowner’s policy was cancelled for non-payment”. WTF?! I asked about my auto insurance coverage and they said that was fine, so I asked how THAT was possible, since I send in ONE check to cover BOTH policy premiums each month. How could my auto be paid up and not the homeowner’s? Allstate finally said that they’d “refunded” my homeowner’s payment and then cancelled the policy.

I had absolutely NO claims with Allstate, since I’d already learned my lesson that you really aren’t supposed to USE your insurance coverage unless your house burns down. Even worse, the Allstate people were pretty snotty about the whole deal. They said they “might” be able to help me get coverage with one of their “other companies” at four times the cost, but they couldn’t reinstate me because it is their “policy” to only write policies for people with uninterrupted insurance coverage. Yet, THEY are the ones who put me in an interrupted state!

I finally did what I should have done years ago. I went to the local Farm Bureau office and threw myself upon their mercy. I was about staggered to find out that they would cover my house for a quarter of the price of the premiums I’d been paying to Allstate. When I asked about auto insurance, I found out I could add Comprehensive Coverage to my Liability Only policy and STILL pay less than half of what I’d been paying to Allstate. With all the spare change that will be rattling around in my pocket in the coming months, I might be able to afford to spruce up the old home and auto.


Note to self (previously called “Word to your mother”):

If you fiddle with your blog template right before you go to bed, you are bound to screw something up. You will manage to single-handedly erase dang near everything, then wonder why it isn’t showing up in Preview Mode. Yet, you will still save your changes, like the sleepy fool you are. Then you will have to stay up an extra ninety minutes while you attempt to replicate your original template (since you don’t have a backup, you’ll fail at this endeavour) before you are reduced to choosing a generic Blogger template so you can get back on track.

Bang head repeatedly on computer desk until you remember that Ewan McGregor’s birthday is this Wednesday, so there IS something to look forward to, after all.


At the grocery store check-out:

Me: Oh, and please add a bag of ice to my total.

Cashier: A small bag or a large bag?

Me: The small bag, please. (pause) You know, I used to make my own ice at home, but I’ve lost the recipe.

(Sulky teenage cashier nods her head)

Bagboy (about three minutes later): Don’t you make ice out of water?

Cashier (backhands bagboy in the shoulder): You idiot! She was just joking!

Bagboy (blushing beet red): I… I was just trying to be helpful…

Cashier: I’m telling the manager that I don’t want you working in my lane.


I went to the library to check out some movies today. I got About Schmidt, which was a good film, but exceptionally depressing. I also got Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It was based on an autobiography by Chuck Barris and reminded me a LOT of A Beautiful Mind. I just wonder what delusions schizophrenics harbor now that the Iron Curtain has been torn down and Communism is no longer the threat it once was.