Saturday, May 27, 2006
For Christmas in '04, I received a Sony CyberShot digital camera with a four-year service plan from Best Buy in case something broke, so that I would hopefully have a working camera for 4 years. I then purchased a 256 mb Sony MemoryStickPRO to use with it.
Recently, this camera started acting up. The lens wouldn't open; instead, I could hear a nasty grinding sound. I took the camera in to Best Buy and they sent it out for service. A few weeks later, the verdict was that the camera was "junked out" by service because it would cost $175 to repair, which meant, I thought, that I was entitled to a product of equal or lesser value.
But apparently, the "product" part isn't true.
Best Buy will only give me $100 towards a new camera because Sony had an additional $50 rebate at the time my mom paid $150. That would be fine, except that they don't even have any cameras for less than $129.99. They don't have any cameras that use the Sony MemoryStickPRO other than one for $199.99, either, so with any camera besides that one, I would also have the cost of a new memory card.
So, without paying a minimum of $50 (difference of camera plus the cheapest memory card at the moment), I don't have a camera. And if I wanted the service plan again, even though there is at least 2.5 years left on the one I purchased for my old camera, I'd have to buy a new service plan altogether.
Part of me is annoyed with how this went down, and really doesn't want to get another camera from Best Buy because of the way they handled this. So, a salesperson told us he thought we'd be able to get store credit so that I could just use the $100 on other random stuff I wanted at Best Buy, and go elsewhere for a camera if I decided to. We asked at customer service, and found out that we can't even get store credit- that $100 absolutely has to go towards another camera within the rest of my 4-year service plan, or I can't use it at all.
Grrrr. I'm mad. We spent about 2 hours in there, first looking at Sony cameras thinking I'd have $150 to spend towards one, finding out I'd probably have to get a new memory card and looking at all cameras, then being told I'd only have $100, then looking at cameras again, and then being told I couldn't get store credit. Also add in some waiting for people to wait on us.
It is just frustrating to me that they won't give me at least enough money to get a camera. I could understand if they'd give me $129.99, the cost of the cheapest camera, and tell me that if I wished to upgrade to any other camera, I'd have to pay more. But it bothers me that because all they carry now are, at the very least, 4 megapixel cameras (even online), I can't get *any* camera. I understand that I will be getting a better camera, at least megapixel-wise, with anything at their store (mine was a 3.2). But mine was fine- I could use the pictures as a desktop background without them being blurry! I don't need more megapixels. If they had a 3.2 megapixel camera, I would take it. I'm not trying to screw them over and get a way better camera. I just want some kind of camera that works, and, if at all possible, one that doesn't require I spend another $20-50 on a new memory card when I have one that works just fine. Wanting a camera that works is why I got the service plan, and the service plan is only saving me $60 ($40 was paid for the service plan in the first place); it's not getting me a camera that works.
Grrrrrr. I miss my camera. :(
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Logan's adorable. Sometimes a bit bratty, but for the most part he's a good kid. And he really, really enjoys hanging out with me. Whenever we visit, he wants to spend every second with me. I miss him a lot, but it's probably good that I don't see him too often- that way, when we do, we have fun and I rarely get annoyed by him. Besides, he completely wears me out. For the most part, he's really growing up, but he still says and does some really funny things. I think this is my favorite:
My aunt cooked dinner, and one of the sides was tater tots. As we loaded up our plates with yummy food, my aunt asked Logan what kind of potatoes we were eating. He confidently replied, "Tater-totters." Aww. :)
Sunday, May 21, 2006
I'm not sure how I became interested in horses, but it probably had something to do with my animal-loving mom (see about two entries ago). She passed down some of her favorite horse books, her Barbie horses, and a love of the animal. While my obsession waned, I still love riding horses and would love to own one someday.
Today, I watched the Preakness Stakes. Most people know of the Kentucky Derby, and fewer know of the Triple Crown- a most famous and difficult trio of horse races beginning with the Derby and continuing with the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Only eleven horses in the history of these three huge races have ever won all three in the same year. It's difficult to do because the three are within the same five weeks, held in three different states, and are three very different lengths. Most horses are better at shorter or longer races, but the Triple Crown requires mastery of three very different lengths with little time between for rest or preparation. Since Affirmed in 1978, no horse has won all three legs of the Triple Crown. The fame awaiting the next Triple Crown champion is great, and the money awaiting the owners and jockey are probably much greater. The Triple Crown champion himself, then, will probably retire to a comfortable stall, asked for little but occasional performance as a stallion (...that means sex). Not a bad life, to be sure, but the Triple Crown has proven elusive for the quickest thoroughbreds for longer than my lifetime.
Each year, horse fans like me (who may not even have a particular interest in horse racing) tune in for the big races of the Triple Crown and follow the Derby winner to the Preakness with high hopes. When a horse wins both the Derby and Preakness (I believe the most recent example was 2002's War Emblem), the hype increases considerably.
This year's Derby winner, Barbaro, was the favorite today at the Preakness. He hadn't ever lost a race, and his trainers had prepared him somewhat unconventionally before the Derby, which apparently paid off. He had broken away from the pack in a Derby which was expected to be a close race on all accounts. Barbaro was expected to do well at the Preakness, and some even speculated at his chances for the Crown.
After nearly all of the horses were loaded into the gates, Barbaro broke out of his early. His jockey struggled to slow him, and they led him around to re-enter the gate. Perhaps he was a bit too raring to go. In any case, the race started soon thereafter and Barbaro bolted from the gate with the other horses. He was in good position when suddenly he appeared to step down wrong on one of his hind legs. Soon, it was obvious that he was trying to gallop on only three legs, struggling to keep his balance while his jockey steered him to the side of the track. Veterinarians rushed in as Barbaro stopped and held his right hind leg in the air, something obviously very wrong. Once the race finished, an equine ambulance carried him off the track, and he headed to a world-class medical facility for horses where he was diagnosed with a career-ending and potentially life-threatening double leg fracture (both above and below the ankle). Broken legs are extremely dangerous injuries for horses- much more so than for humans.
I guess I just wanted to write about this because it made me really sad to see it (Barbaro was in obvious pain), and I really hope he's okay. I'll definitely be praying that his surgery goes well.
Friday, May 19, 2006
I've already talked about America's Next Top Model (I missed the series finale, dang it... I was on my way home and forgot entirely that it was Wednesday night). This show is currently on UPN. My other favorite show- my very favorite- is Everwood. This show is currently on the WB.
For those of you who haven't heard, these two networks- UPN and the WB- have merged to create the CW. The CW's schedule recently came out, and while many favorite shows- including Top Model, Veronica Mars, Smallville, and One Tree Hill- have returned, Everwood is strangely missing from the schedule. Even 7th Heaven- which had its series finale last week, has somehow returned for another season.
I started watching Everwood three years ago because I watched 7th Heaven and Everwood came on right afterwards. I missed the first season, but started watching at the beginning of the second season and got hooked. (Plus, 7th Heaven started to really suck- somehow half of the plot had nothing to do with actual family members and everything became predictable and cheesy and downright ridiculous.) I received the first season of Everwood on DVD for Christmas, so I've now seen all 4 seasons of Everwood and stopped watching 7th Heaven all together.
Why, you might ask, do I like this show so much? Well, this critically acclaimed series covers many important issues, but often chooses to focus an entire plotline spanning a few episodes at least on the issues, rather than glossing over them in a single episode. Better yet, the show will often present more than one view of an issue, rather than forcing one opinion on viewers. There are some really big but very realistic problems facing the characters. I can't tell you how many times I've cried because they hit the sudden-loss-of-a-parent nail right on the head. One of the main characters had to struggle with finding out he was a parent. Sometimes things are dramatized, to be sure; there aren't that many high school girls who lose their boyfriend to a coma and then for good in a later surgery. In most episodes, though, there is very much a sense of realism. None of the characters are impossibly rich (or at least show it); Everwood is a small, conservative town. The focus is not just on teenagers, but on adults and sometimes children as well. There is still plenty of relationship drama and, of course, most of the characters are good-looking, but overall the show feels more mature than most dramas out there, especially on the WB.
Besides the issues it brings up, Everwood has plenty of entertainment to bring to the table. The two doctors have abounding quick wit and sarcasm, while Bright makes ironically dumb comments in nearly every episode. Some couples in the show seem to 'fit' together and you almost can't help but root for them to get together. I'm not sure the cinematography could be ugly; the town of "Everwood" is in the mountains of Colorado (actually, it's filmed in Utah), and the scenery is gorgeous. The music, similarly, is outstanding- often poignant and fitting for the situation besides being enjoyable. There's also lots of beautiful piano music (Ephram, one of the main characters, is a piano virtuoso who at one point was attempting to audition at Julliard). There are a few things that make the series a little more multicultural, too, despite the mostly white conservative town- the Brown family is Jewish, and Edna and Irv are a biracial couple. Both of these are rarities in television. Basically, though, Everwood has made me laugh and made me cry; it's entertaining television with engaging characters and thought-provoking plots that keep me coming back week after week to watch it.
Four more weeks, though, and I may have to resort to watching my Season 1 DVD's over and over (I would watch the other seasons as well, but they haven't been released). I understand that some shows have to be cancelled, but I have a few beefs with this show in particular being cancelled.
1) The show has traditionally had low ratings, despite critics loving it. But somehow, instead of aggressive marketing or placing the show in a less competitive timeframe, Everwood has had to fight for viewers with popular shows like 24 and (I believe) The O.C. Is this really giving the show a fair shot?
2) In a recent interview with Dawn Ostroff, president of the CW network, Michael Ausiello of TVguide asked about the connection between 7th Heaven's return and Everwood's lack thereof:
Ausiello: One of the theories going around is that the moment you decided to bring 7th Heaven back, Everwood died.
Ostroff: (Crickets) It was, you know... It really came down to those two shows. It was such a tough call...
Ausiello: I hear the decision to renew Heaven was made after the ratings for the finale came in. True?
Ostroff: It [drew] over 7 million people. It's hard to ignore that.
So, it came down to Everwood, or 7th Heaven, which just had its series finale. It bothers me that Everwood is being compared to the series finale ratings of a show that had been running for a decade. Of COURSE lots of people tuned in to see how they tied up loose ends on 7th Heaven. I nearly did, and I haven't watched the show in the last few years. More people always watch a series finale... just because 7 million people watched the series finale doesn't mean 7 million people are going to watch 7th Heaven next year.
3) Ausiello: No, I'm talking about leaving Everwood where it is at 9 pm after 7th Heaven.
Ostroff: We wanted to put a new show on the air and Runaway is a really good show. We couldn't have the whole schedule of returning shows.
Okay, because leaving Everwood there means an entire schedule of returning shows. I don't even understand why that's a problem. If you're going to have to draw people into a new network, I would think it'd be easier to keep shows with a dedicated following...
Basically, I'm just frustrated. Everwood isn't a soap opera of spoiled rich kids in the sun... it's different. It's one of only two shows that I really really try to watch every week. And now, because of some politics and a show (that's already been on long past its prime) being continued again, this is its last season. Rawr. I think I'm going to find this Dawn lady's address and write to her, because I am not happy, and most of her reasoning in her interview with Ausiello (here, if you scroll down) made me even angrier. Shows that I feel shouldn't have been renewed were brought back to fill in precious space over Everwood, and I don't think the WB has ever done much to fight for viewers for Everwood... so I'm *quite* angry. I wish there was more that I could do to save my favorite show. :-
To make me even angrier, Everwood was previously on the schedule and even had a space on the CW's website. Grr!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Originally uploaded by JW05.
Most of you who read this will already know the story, but I felt like writing it out again. :)
Recently, the humane society in my town had this puppy on their website. He had entropion, a condition in which the eyelides roll under and irritate the eye constantly, so he barely held them open, his eyes were constantly gunky, and he would eventually become blind without surgery. This surgery was estimated to cost anywhere from $500 to 1000, and my mom was worried no one would take him, knowing he'd cost so much up front.
My mother has always been an animal lover. It's rare to find a picture of her as a child without some kind of animal in her arms. The only baby animals we've ever had around were Mama's kittens, because Mama wasn't even our cat. All of our animals are promptly spayed or neutered so we don't contribute to the already-too-large pet population. All of the animals I can remember having we have either found or rescued. We aren't really cat people, but we've somehow ended up with 2 cats now. My mom likes cocker spaniels, but we have two dogs that are not one bit spaniel. We've had dogs, cats, a rabbit, frogs, snakes, turtles, guinea pigs, fish... quite the menagerie over the years. And almost all of them have needed homes.
Mom went to go see Mikey, and he's got a really sweet personality. The receptionists said no one had shown interest in him, and he'd been there about a month already. Even though 3/4 of our family are currently full-time college students (and the other probably will be in 3 years), Mom decided that she wanted Mikey. She picked him up almost two weeks ago and scheduled his surgery for last Wednesday. The surgery was on the low end of the estimate, and appears to have gone really well. He's as sweet as ever, and holds his eyes open most of the time now.
My brother- always one to argue- was completely against getting Mikey. He kept trying to convince my mom of the many reasons that we didn't need this dog.
And when she finally got a word in edgewise, my mom agreed with him. We didn't need Mikey-- but he needed us.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Cody: Vault...it's addictive
Mandy: Mt. Dew or jones soda. :D I love you.
Gwen: root beer
Andy: At one of the discount grocery stores in Fort Wayne, they have a version of Dr. Pepper so generic that it's called "Dr. Soda", and sold one can at a time off the shelf
Benji: I love mountain dew and mug rootbeer (and I typically say pop out of habit but by no means do I consider one more appropriate than the other since the true term is soda pop)
Ryan: Mt. Dew (Pepsi) and Cherry Coke (Coca-Cola)
So, Mountain Dew, as expected, took the lead... root beer, however, surprised its way into second place.
And while I'm on the topic, my personal favorites change all the time, but Barq's Red Cream Soda, Cherry Coke, Jones Soda (green apple and fufu berry), Sprite, Orange Fanta, and any kind of grape soda (especially Grapette!). But I like Mountain Dew and root beer, too.
This is such a random entry. Hahaha. :) While I'm being random, this is hilarious, as are most of the gags on that site. Have a nice day!