Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gulfport! Magazine

You have to look closely to see what's really going on here. Nero's trying to, um, pet the nice snake which is disguised as a bush branch in the upper left of this photo. See her head? I tried to think about her neck, but that's impossible.

I first came upon the dark duo with her coiled in a big enough circle to support herself in the strike position while she opened her mouth as w-i-d-e as it would go. Nero was lounging not a foot away, occasionally glancing at her, but mostly acting bored. Just as her open-wide stance is a strategy for survival, so is his ennui. I saw her strike out a couple of times, but either she was just trying to make him blink or her neck was too short. He didn't even flinch.

Later I discovered them around the corner, apparently trying to build a tree house together, as suggested in this photo. In the end (so far), I think she slid under the door of a shed out back, because I found him there, sitting calmly, waiting.

He didn't come home with snake on his breath, so I assume their friendship continues.

What's this got to do with Gulfport! Magazine, you ask. Nothing, say I. But I do urge you to go down to the Casino today at 4:30 to be on the cover of the inaugural issue, unless you're an artist, in which case you should go at 5. I think the camera will be clicking pretty much as scheduled, so be prompt. Go to for more information but, really, isn't this enough information right here? Of course it is.

I'm going to bring my AutoCling to St. Pete Beach's Corey Avenue Sunday Market from 9 to 2 tomorrow. Come out and buy some CarBling. Here are some awful shots of the newest Mo'bling. Yep. I can't settle on a name, but remember there was a whole blog about my [not] naming stuff? It's called, appropriately enough, Nameless, from June 29, 2008. Go read it on your own, okay? I've got to order new glasses. They'll at least help me see things if not name things.

And, really, what's your opinion about "Dinky Manor"? Should I keep the name of the house that Vicky named when she owned it -- and for which her parents made a sign -- or should I change it, and if so, to what? Here's a picture of the kitchen. New cabinets, door, and floor! It's neither a before nor an after picture. It's a during picture, which is the worst.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Change of Address

I've lived at this address here in Gulfport for sixteen years as of July 1, but I'll be moving out by May 1. That means I'll be dealing with -- ominous fanfare, please, like when we're about the meet the monster for the very first time in a black-and-white movie but before the torch-wielding villagers have gathered, scarves wound tight against bats, pitchforks at the fore -- the Dreaded Customer Service Representative (DCSR).

Yep. I'll be on the phone a lot, after having pressed so many numbers on my cell phone that it thinks it's about to connect me to someplace in Indonesia, when in fact I'm just trying to reach a human being ... English ... existing account ... address change ... I said address change ... no, I don't want auto insurance .... EXISTING ACCOUNT! Of course, poking "5" several times really hard doesn't come across like CAPITAL LETTERS IN AN eMAIL, so there's really no satisfaction to be had.

At least this morning's call was just to renew my AAA membership. It should have been simple. I'd received written notice that the automatic renewal was going to take place shortly. Had all my information remained the same, you wouldn't be reading this blog. As it was, not only is my address changing soon, but the debit card used for payment has since swooned or otherwise expired, so I had to furnish that fresh information, too.

And I would have done it online except that the instructions in the letter were incorrect. There was no "My Account" at the top of the page (or the bottom or the center) of But I'm no idiot. I fumbled around till I found a Renew Your Membership page, but of course I couldn't remember if I'd ever been online with Triple A before (because I'm not twenty-one), and even if I could have remembered that, I promise you I wouldn't have remembered the password because ... well, see excuse above.

In addition, the topics listed online were so very sensitive to the merest tickle from my mouse that menus and sub-menus were bursting out on the page so fast and colorfully that they obliterated everything else ... except my desire to slap someone. Ooh ... how about a DCSR?

I used the 800 number and got a man with a Radio Voice. That's always pleasant. I like nice voices (I trust Berny is blushing now). I also prefer to talk to male DCSRs. This will probably come as a surprise to you, but sometimes I'm a tad hot-headed. This never bothers men. They just don't take me seriously. They ignore the crazy lady. Women, on the other hand, won't give an inch. They respond to every nuance in my tone, my word choice, my neck angle -- and they make me pay for it.

So I got the nice man with the Radio Voice and it really was quite pleasant. He did say "St. Pete," as opposed to "St. Petersburg," and I'm a nut about that, just because I have a baton up my derrière, but we straightened that out. Then he made the mistake of asking me if there was anything else he could do for me today.

Well, I told him about the bad instructions for renewing online. Yes. I actually thought he'd do something about that. Perhaps he felt personally attacked (despite my Radio Voice) because he suddenly started acting like one of those Talking Robots on phones. You know how they are. If you clear your throat, they interrupt themselves and say, pleasantly enough, "I'm sorry. I didn't hear that." Some -- the more relaxed Talking Robots, the ones in jeans -- will even say, "I'm sorry. I didn't catch that." You apologize, and the Robot repeats itself. If, like me, you end up cursing the day it was assembled, it again apologizes and repeats the options. It's sort of like being on the the phone with a friend when you both have bad cell phone reception. Just when you think she's done talking and so you say something, she says something, so you're both apologizing and saying What? Huh? Within thirty seconds of that, you're no longer friends. It's just too annoying.

So Radio Voice (RV) and I went on like this:
BN: I'm just saying the written instructions are wrong.
RV: Now, if you just go to where it says "My Account--"
BN: That's what I'm saying, there's --
RV: and choose--
BN: no "My Account."
RV: "Renewal Options" and--
BN (shrieking): LISTEN TO ME!
RV (stung): I'm just trying to help.
BN: There is no help. It's DONE. I called you instead of using the computer. I'm trying to make it better for the next--
RV: Oh no, ma'am, I can help you, or you can just go to and--
BN: You HAVE to let me--
RV: add "South" to the--
BN: finish a sentence!
RV: address. Triple A South. See?
BN: But it doesn't SAY to do that!
RV: We can do it now! Together!
BN: We've ALREADY DONE IT! I'm just telling you--
RV: Just go to Triple AA south dot com and--
BN (weeping): the instructions are wrong.

The difference between male and female DCSRs is that the women hang up on me, whereas I hang up on the men.