Coffee heat rising

Live-Blogging from the Apple Store…

Here’s a little oddity. For the first time in recorded history, I heard an Apple dude remark (to someone else, not me) that he dislikes the dsytopic, gawdawful site Apple moved to in Scottsdale Fashion Square.

It’s slightly less dsytopic than the one in Kierland Commons. But…welll…nooo…maybe not so much.

Scottsdale Fashion Square, like other upscale shopping malls here in lovely Phoenix, has been “renovated” into a postmodern nightmare mini-world: sharp-edged, ugly, noisy,… Oh, yeah: noisy as Hell! Indeed, if I were to design a new Hell for Satan Himself, it would look just like these hideous malls. And Satan’s throne would be smack in the center of the Apple Store.

These places are designed to reverberate. Every wall, every floor, every ceiling is made of echoic matter: faux marble (who knows, maybe it’s real marble), definitely faux granite flooring, four walls of two-story-high glass. As a result, the noise level is fuckin’ deafening. You can’t hear yourself think, much less hear the poor Apple guy, who has to shout to hear himself.

To add to the din, the Apple store has a guy emitting “lessons”, through a loudspeaker, on how to operate this or that or the other complicated software. This one is “Music Lab,” which generates “music” – I’d call it “noise,” but whatEVER. Right now he’s showing how to create a beat, emanating whacka-whacka-whacka-WHACK whacka-whacka-whack-WHACK at high volume. The latter being required so the two people watching can hear it over the ambient racket.

Just the thought of working here…ugh! It’s unimaginable. These people must go home with a splitting headache after every shift. And consider: we have to drive on the same roads with these harried folk as they trudge back home from a crazy-making day in this place.


Not surprisingly, the Apple Genius (they don’t exaggerate with that…) figures most of the issues have to do w/ outdated software, both the OS (which I’ve had to keep in the pre-Christian era because I haven’t wanted to move to Microsoft’s cloud and so needed to maintain the functionality of VERY old Wyrd and Excel programs). He is, however, the first to know that Microsoft has updated versions of Wyrd and Excel that can be installed as resident on the computer, rather than floating in the Cloud.

He proposes I install these. This will create an Issue, because they’ve been changed so many times over the years that they’re totally alien. Effectively, I’ll have to relearn Wyrd and Excel.

As you know, this will mean a Chinese mathematician will shortly fly in the door waving 30 pages of differential equations and crying “we must turn this into English YESTERDAY!”

At any rate, if a miracle happens and I have a few days before the next client surfaces, I may be able to run out to the campus and get one of the librarians to coach me. Except…it’s coming on to Christmas break, so unless I move fast it may be too late to trap one of them before the semester ends.

In any event, I’ll still have the big iMac loaded with the outmoded but mercifully functional Wyrd, Excel, and various Mac programs, so if push comes to shove I can perch in front of that thing to work. The problem is…sitting at that desk is bone-crushingly painful.

Pray for no work…

Credit Bureaus, Outrages, Invasion of Privacy, and a Defunct Post Office

Just got off the phone with Equifax. That took some doing! After waiting two days for their (Filipino? Surely not native speakers of US English) staff to take their places at the credit bureau’s call center, I then had to sit through a good 15 minutes of aggravating, ear-grating Muzak punctuated every 40 seconds with “We value you as a customer” announcements.

No. No, dear Equifax. If you valued your customers, you would pony up enough sub-minimum wage dollars to hire enough Third-World workers to answer the effing phones.

When you finally reach a human, the poor creature sounds like a ‘bot herself: flat and beaten down and soulless.

Equifax sent me a hard-copy snail-mail informing me that someone had changed my address to my ex-husband’s address.

Since I haven’t lived at his house in some 30 years, that was a surprise.

Their call center doesn’t open till 6:00 a.m. our time, meaning I had to start hassling with them right on the dot, since I needed to leave about 9:00 a.m. for a doc’s appointment. Nor did I know whether the number they sent in their annoying letter would even reach a human — usually, these outfits do NOT want you to speak to anyone in their precincts.

Plan B — assuming a phone call got me nowhere, as expected — was to fly directly from the a.m. doctor’s appointment to the credit union, clear across the city, where I would have to beg to talk with the manager (again!!) and ask if she knows a way to reach a person at Equifax. Then charge back here and engage battle.

Mercifully, Equifax let me get through to a near-human (the poor soul!). This means, I assume, that whatever caused them to decide I still live with the ex probably was not someone hacking in with the present PIN: it worked, and the freeze had not been lifted, so presumably no one had changed it.

Thank God I didn’t have to traipse to the credit union in person and beg for help.

No. Instead, now I had to copy two forms of ID including a recent utility bill, write a letter explaining the present fiasco, jump through some more hoops on paper, and snail-mail said package to Equifax. Which of course meant driving to the post office to mail the damn thing. I probably should’ve sent it registered mail.

Naturally, as I’m rushing to get painted, combed, and dressed to dart out of here in time to make the doctor’s appointment, the computer announces its scanner software cannot find the printer/scanner.

Please: give me some more hassle. I love it so!

Shut down and reboot both the printer and the computer. Surprisingly, this works, relieving me of Plan C: go by FedEx on the way to the post office to get the damn private, none-of-their-goddamn-business documents photocopied.

Print and package all this crap just in time to shoot out the door and hit the freeways.

First, since miraculously I was running about 10 minutes early, I figured I’d drop the envelope of nuisance junk into the USPS mail box over on the other side of Conduit of Blight. This post office is close enough to be within walking distance, if you don’t mind taking your life in your hands. I used to walk over there when I had a German shepherd in tow…but of course would never think of it these days.

Well, thanks to the focking Blightrail, at that hour I cannot get across Conduit of Blight! The signal is red, and it stays red. After about four minutes of sitting there — it’s now time for me to get going if I’m to arrive in the Mayo’s precincts in time for the vaunted appointment — I give up, hang a right, and head to points east and north.

So I figure there’ll be a mail box on the large campus of the Mayo’s specialty office buildings. Or a mail drop inside one of the three huge buildings.

Not so much.

Okay. So I need to go to the Fry’s at Tatum & Shea, a huge intersection enveloped in commerce. There’ll be a mail box in one of the parking lots.

Not so much.

On the way down there from the Mayo — a jaunt of several miles on busy main drags — I see one (count it, 1) mail box. It’s placed at the edge of a bus pullout, where you daren’t even think of parking your car, getting out, walking over to it, and dropping in a letter.

Okay, I know of two other post offices, neither of which requires me to cross Conduit of Blight Blvd. One is down in the tony Biltmore District. Reaching that one will mean I have to drive almost down to Camelback Road, way, way, way out of my way. There’s nothing else to call me in that direction: groceries are shopped for, I’m on the wagon — so no Total Wine — and I couldn’t afford to shop at Biltmore Fashion Square today even if I wanted to. The other one is in SunnySlop, home of our reigning meth gang and its various hangers-on, but over in a better part of the former suburb (now one large, tired, arguably historic central-city tear-down candidate).

[Do not miss that link. Or the one to the hilariously famed El Cid Castle. Ah, Arizona…what a place!]

Okay, so… Well, the PO in Sunnyslop is a little out of my way, but really only three miles from my house. In 110-degree heat, six miles round trip is not walking distance, but neither does it involve a ten-minute wait to get across the damned train tracks or a drive past a hobo jungle. Okay.

So the letter is mailed. But when you consider how far I drove to the doctor’s office and then the grocery store — about 23 miles one-way — and there was not one US Post Office in all those miles????? Holy shit.

Remember when there was a postbox on almost every corner? Back in the Day, you never had to traipse from pillar to post to find a place to send your mail.

What a Brave New World…

Prospero and Miranda (William Maw Egley)