Archive | February, 2014

Squirt’s crappy day

25 Feb
I was going to write a post about how hayfever is making me want to rip my eyeballs out or how I’ve fallen off the Nutella wagon and am a jar away from needing serious rehab, but I feel there’s a more pressing issue to discuss: my poor little dude Squirt.
Squirt tie tongue
On Friday I received this text from my mom:
“Squirt was attacked by Samden
on way to hospital now
big cut on top of back”

Apparently they were on a walk, Squirt was settling in to take a dump, when a big neighborhood dog got loose and grabbed Squirt. As my mom put it — “He had Squirt in his mouth like a big bone.” It was hard to get that image out of my head, or that of Squirt with a gash on his back, trembling, or my parents worriedly rushing to the emergency veterinary hospital. I would have felt helpless were I there with them, but I felt even more helpless being thousands of miles away. My parents continued to text me updates, and my dad eventually sent me a photo of Squirt with a row of staples on his neck, his shaved back showing multiple wounds. That image of Frankensquirt may haunt me the most.

My parents had to file a police report and speak with local animal control, but eventually they were able to get the owner of the attacking dog to pay Squirt’s vet bill without a lawsuit, which is nice. I was sure it was going to be a long, drawn-out affair.

Now I’m not sure what the canine combat rules are, but if they’re anything like Cartman’s “You don’t shoot a guy in the d**k, Butters!” you don’t attack a dog when he’s mid-dump squat. That’s just not cool.

My dad emailed me as they were leaving the vet office. “Squirt dumped all over my shirt and pants in the lobby as we are checking out!” It was the icing on the proverbial crappy day cake, the head-on collision between comedy and tragedy.

“Oh goddd why?!!” I replied. “Was it because they gave him some medicine or anesthesia?”

“No,” he said. “He had the squirts when he was attacked, I think he was just finishing.”

The vet told my parents that Squirt’s scars will give him street cred. He’s one tough little almost-15-year-old. My mom assured me he’s doing better, finally eating his food on his own and is barking again instead of just whimpering. Never thought we’d be happy to hear his annoying little bark!

I’ll end with a fun video I shot when I was home last month of Squirt barking in slow motion, or how he probably hears himself when big dogs come around.
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The joys of negotiating a fibre broadband deal

13 Feb
Is there anything worse than arguing with the cable company, yet anything more satisfying than finally getting them to give you a deal? It’s a pain in the butt in every country, but in the US all you seemingly have to do is threaten to switch to a competitor and suddenly the deals come out and the prices drop. I tried this a couple weeks ago with Sky. It went something like this:
“I am interested in upgrading to fibre broadband. I see on your website you can get half off for the first six months.”

“That’s only for new customers.”

“Oh. You can’t give me that deal for being a loyal customer?”

“No.”

“My contract is almost up and it would be cheaper for me to switch to another provider like BT or Talk Talk. Are you sure you can’t give me the deal?”
“Ma’am, I’m not going to do this with you, if I could give you a better deal, I would. I can’t.”

south park cable
Imagine her whole speech in a thick Irish accent I could barely understand. I was feeling defeated, but I did not give up. I searched through Sky forums and researched ways other people had gotten them to cave. I talked to three different people before getting someone willing to play ball. I tried a different strategy and said I was simply interested in what offers were available and that I had seen an offer for current customers on cable.co.uk (I truly did). The guy looked for the offer for a good 15 minutes, putting me on hold every so often, before eventually coming on and saying he couldn’t find the half price offer anywhere (really? Because it’s everywhere!) but that he’d give me an even better deal with half price line rental every month for a year. So now we’re paying a little less than we were and our broadband is twice as fast.

Moving on…

I feel like the winter Olympics are harder to get into than the summer. That, and they’re not covered as extensively here. In 2012 I could turn the telly on at any given time of day and some BBC channel would be playing something, but now it’s only BBC2 and only until around 7 p.m. I’m not sure if that’s because of the four-hour time difference, or because the BBC went all out when London was hosting and doesn’t care about Russia or winter sports. I have been tuning in every so often, and I gotta say I’ll always be Team USA, but it’s hard not to root for Team GB when the announcers absolutely lose their minds and {perhaps literally} wee themselves over a bronze medal. I caught the women’s snowboarding slopestyle event on Sunday while eating breakfast. Jenny Jones from Team GB had a solid run and at one point was ranked first, but fell down to third and had to watch several more women compete before securing the medal. Sarka Pancochova from the Czech Republic fell so hard she cracked her helmet. Then Austria’s Anna Gasser, a favorite to win, fell and the BBC commentators cheered. Maybe it was their accents, but I still found the commentators less annoying than NBC’s, although they were quite unprofessional. This Daily Mail article says hundreds of people complained that the commentators were “puerile” and “hyperactive.” I remember laughing when I heard this gem:

Leigh said: ‘I can feel my pulse in my lower intestine.’ Warwood replied: ‘That’s not your pulse, Ed.’

Cheeky! Even though Jamie Anderson won gold for the USA, I was really happy “our girl” (as the announcers repeatedly called her) Jenny Jones took home the bronze. It was Britain’s first medal on a snow event ever (and so far is their only medal of these games), so I guess it was a pretty big deal.