On a somewhat less-sullen note…

If you haven’t been perusing Datajunkie, and are at all interested in pop culture… well, you should. People interested in what my childhood looked like, for instance, should click over to the entry that reprints the Outer Limits trading cards. i had all but one of the damned things before they stopped production, and since I was the only one in my small town who collected them (that I knew of, anyway), never had a chance to trade. And now, in the far-flung future, I have no idea which card was missing. Ah, well. Enjoy.

Whine Moan Bitch Complain

Whole lot of water under the bridge, amigos.

Yep, I’ve been gone for a while. In the physical world, at least. Two weeks ago, the antique air conditioning unit – which I believe was original equipment when this house was built in the late 70s – finally gave up the ghost. No problem, I thought – this is why I pay lots of money to a home warranty company.

Those of you familiar with my writing style will know that those last thirteen words are a prelude to disaster.

It took two days for First American Home Protection – no names will be changed, screw them – to send our information to a contractor. It was then two more days before the contractor could come. (That, at least, was understandable. This is a very busy time of year for the industry)

It then took the technician less than five minutes to reveal the unit had a hole in it, it had lost all coolant, would have to be replaced, and the claim would be denied because the unit was dirty. We had obviously been abusing the poor thing.

So I do the usual thing you hear about in these stories: do research, far too late. You see, I had been told I had to have a program like this in place in order to obtain a mortgage. Thereafter, it was somewhat comforting to keep it in place. I called on them perhaps once a year, a clogged drainage pipe here, a busted thermocouple there. Now, on my first major claim, my eyes got opened to the truth of the organization.

Doing a Google search on First American, the first hit I got was, of course, their website; practically every hit thereafter was page upon page of people complaining about them. Well, except for the second from the bottom, which was their financial statement for last year. They made a $64 million dollar profit.

It took me two weeks to find the money for a new unit – which was, incidentally, a THIRD of the price the First American contractor quoted – and we are finally back in our home. Now I just have to find the money for the cosmetic repairs the Home Owner’s Association is demanding before they put a lien on said house, closely followed by those damned property taxes which will not go away.

One of these days I am going to figure out WHY it was a good thing to buy a house. Until then, I will be contemplating a return to heavy drinking.

One of the things that the consequent divorceage from the Internet enforced was a return to some, you know, actual reading. I had downloaded some PDFs of Doc Savage novels from Black Mask Online (which has since gone missing – turns out those pulps were not in the public domain after all….). I devoured these things in the Bantam Paperback reprints of the 60s, and returning to this trough, discovered that they are merely entertaining and diverting garbage. In other words, pulp. Formulaic and highly addictive. The demise of Black Mask Online would not be near so irksome if these were available though some legitimate source.

On the other hand, a visit to a local used book store I had meant to visit forever (it’s literally right across the parking lot from the office I manage) netted the first volume of Brian Daley’s GammaLaw series. I’ve always enjoyed Daley, from his first Coramonde books: Doomfarers and Starfollowers. Excellent fantasy/science fiction war books with large casts of engaging characters. But just to add to the sorrows of this period, I was reacquainted with a fact I had managed to forget: Daley died ten years ago, and we won’t be getting anymore books from him.

So, to recap: First American Home Protection = Satan, Brian Daley dead, Doc Savage and The Shadow unavailable.

I freakin’ hate the 21st Century.