" /> The Juggle Zone: Bargain Blog: August 2005 Archives

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August 31, 2005

I'm Back!

I have returned from a two week vacation. I'll get back to blogging shortly.

August 15, 2005

Meet Timmy

We had the opportunity to adopt a lizard recently, and we seized it. Timmy is an Italian Wall Lizard, and he lives in a 10 gallon glass tank. We feed him live crickets He's relatively boring, however, and doesn't seem very friendly, so it's not clear we'll keep him too long.

Some Italian Wall Lizard links:
Newsday 1, 2

Belkin 500 mA Universal AC Adapter

It's not every day that you need a universal adapter, but when you do, it's good to have one around. While picking up my Palm at OD on Sunday, I noticed they had some on a 50% off clearance table. The packages weren't labeled, so I asked the price, and found out they were supposedly $1.50 after discount. Worth it, for one, in my book.

I went to check out, and it rang up at $11.99. I commented on the conflict to the CSR, who marked it down to $1.50.

Despite the lucky nature of the situation I posted it on FW. The thread wasn't too well received, but I don't care.

August 14, 2005

New Palm

My old Palm has been out of comission for weeks, maybe months. Despite my last ditch efforts to save it, it really is dead.

I finally broke down and bought a new Palm. I was debating between a used/refurb IIIxe (to replace my existing model), something with similar specs, but newer, or something fancy like a Treo.

The first idea didn't appeal much to me because I don't like used/refurb stuff. The second idea seemed like it might be a waste, especially if I decide I need a phone someday, and get a Treo to fulfill that need. The third idea was expensive, and I hate cell phones.

So when I saw a Zire 21 for $60 at Office Depot (B&M - online it shows at $80), and realized I had a $50 GC from last quarter's OD Advantage rewards, I figured I could spare the $10 + tax to feel a bit more connected with the names, numbers, and dates in my life.

August 10, 2005

Dairy Duncan Hines?!

The following kashrus alert is from the Koshertoday on August 8, 2005
and confirmed by the OU.

Duncan Hines will soon switch to dairy ingredients in their cake
mixes. The product when dairy will bear an OU-D.

Note: Pinnacle Foods who owns Dunkin Hines can be reached at
1-877-852-7424 then 2-2-1-4-2

Car Insurance

I have a lot to say on this topic, but not a lot of time. Almost a year ago, two neighbor's witnessed someone hitting my parked car. They got the plate, and with the plate I got the owner's information. I called her, and though the owner initially denied the accident, she eventually admitted it, and indicated an interest in paying, without going through her insurance.

Because of the games she was playing, I made sure to get a police report. I got an estimate (~$1500!), and called the owner seeking payment. She was more wishy-washy than earlier, but I called back again, later, and found out she was in the hospital, ill. I backed off for a little while, then got tired of waiting and being played, so I sent her a certified letter, asking for payment within 10 days or I would sue to collect.

I got a response from a lawyer, that she was dead, with no estate.

Things didn't look good - dead people aren't very good at paying debts. I consulted with several lawyer buddies, one of whom suggested I go after her insurance, even at this late date. Her insurance company was Geico, and when I called to submit the claim, they were amused by the story. It took a couple weeks, but they processed the claim, and took 100% responsibility!

I salute Geico. I might even switch to them, someday.

August 7, 2005

Tool Tool

A tool for tools, sort of. I picked up a Craftsman Tool Carrier today. How could I go wrong for $6? It's a pretty handy bag, and it seems very sturdy.

August 5, 2005

New Olds Posts

I finally got around to catching up on some old posts:

Dell is Silly (5/4/05)

A Salute to Mr. Dunbar (5/9/05)

More to come, possibly.

August 1, 2005

UPDATE: Rant: Bureaucracy Sucks

Wow! I'm pretty much left speechless following the lackluster performance of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Vital Records Corrections Unit (the name alone is a waste). It's been a month since I re-re-submitted the application to fix the hospital's errors! The hospitals! Saturday's mail brought an envelope from the NYCDHMHOVRCU. I excitedly opened it, convinced it was the birth certificate. After all, it was just a few short weeks ago that I received a phone call from Ms. O'Neil following my re-re-submission in her name, based on the instructions of the CSR from the NYCDHMHOVRCU. Ms. O'Neil didn't recall any conversation with me (probably because we never spoke), but indicated that she had received my re-re-submission, but without the necessary IDs.

While there's a slim chance (read: 0.0001%) that I forgot them when I re-submitted, there's no chance I forgot them when I re-re-submitted them. I made this clear to her. In fact, I said something along the lines of, "When I sealed the envelope, they were in there. I'd bet they were in there when they arrived at the NYCDHMHOVRCU offices. What happened to them between then and now, I don't know, but I sent them. However, if need be, I can send them again. I'll mail them, fax them, whatever you want. Just don't send back my forms!" Convinced that I was certain I had sent them, she said she'd check the mail-room. I guess that meant she'd pull them out of the trash.

So, back to present time, since I hadn't heard from Ms. O'Neil since that one phone call, I figured everything was in order.

Silly me.

The latest piece of mail from the NYCDHMHOVRCU was a form letter stating that while they did finish processing my application for corrections, they didn't have any record of receipt of payment. Good thing, considering I didn't pay them. The rules for correction replacements are a bit confusing, but pretty clearly indicate that for kids under one year, if you send in the old one, they'll send you a new one, free. Which I had done.

In addition to the letter was the NCR (self duplicating) form for requesting (read: paying for) new birth certificates. The genius at the NYCDHMHOVRCU had filled out the hand-written portion of the form letter on top of the request form, so it had copied through to the bottom two layers.

So I called. The number on the letterhead still went to Verizon's voice messaging service. Then I called another number, found my way to a human, asked for Ms. O'Neil, heard a number of rings, then a click, and I was disconnected. I called again, spoke to the same receptionist person, didn't ask for Ms. O'Neil, was transferred, and even more promptly, disconnected. The third time I called, I asked the receptionist's name before anything else. I then asked to be transfered to a human, not hung up on like the last two times I had called. She partially complied. There was a wait for a CSR, and she told me she couldn't wait with me, but she didn't disconnect me this time, so I was somewhat satisfied.

When I finally did reach a human (20 minutes later), we discussed the situation and she told me that since my son is now over one year, I couldn't trade in the old one. I then berated her, explaining that it had only taken this long because of her office's incompetency. Despite all this, she didn't seem to care. I asked for Ms. O'Neil, only to be informed that she's out until Monday.

I proceeded to complain and she finally decided to pull up the file. She identified the earlier correction from when we finally had gotten our son's name added to the birth certificate at the last minute in order to arrange for a passport for our fall trip. She tried to use that incident against me (apparently one can only trade a birth certificate in once). However I explained that they had forced us to purchase one at that time in order to get it processed same day.

That turned out to have been the magic word. She immediately began to look up the details of that, and apparently used the purchase record from that certificate to validate the trade-in of the current one, and said she'd have to run it by the director, but that she expected the new certificate would be mailed out in the morning.

I also complained that I hadn't received the original documents that I had submitted with the application. She claimed they would have been certified. Well, I still haven't received them regardless. Supposedly she is looking in it. Doubtful, at best, I say.

When this is all said and done, I will be sending a very long, detailed letter to the head of the NYCDHMHOVRCU, and maybe even Mr. Bloomberg himself.