Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More

I am, for several reasons, rather annoyed right now.

I'll get over it, but, my gosh.

Anyway.  I pick up Caleb on the way home from work, get home, the old Buick wouldn't start.  I used jumper cables, it fired right up.  I was going to go to the electrical shop, instead, I headed to Auto Zone.  Let's have the battery (which is brand new) and the alternator checked, please.

The battery was BAD. 2 months old and already BAD?  Not just drained, DONE, TOAST, goodnight.
Warranty covered that.  The bolts that hold the clamps into the battery?  Rusted out.  Dude at the Zone was very helpful and did all the of the work.  Removed the battery, got me another one, I bought the new bolts for it. He removed the old bolts and put the new ones in, got the battery clamped down.  Now, he was ready to test the alternator.

But first, the computer has to check the battery.  Battery good. Thank you, it just came off of their shelf.  Start  the car, check the alternator. 14 volts.  Nothing wrong with the alternator.  We're done here, Auto Dude can't tell me anymore, didn't expect that he should be able to.  He went out of his way to help, I offered him a generous tip, he turned it down.

Put it this way: if I would have taken it to the electrical shop with a bad battery, they would have been calling me telling me the battery was bad, that will be $200 and then we can find out what's wrong with your car.  Auto Dude saved me a good deal of money and/or dealing with the car.  I mean, I wouldn't have HAD the electrical shop replace it with an over-priced battery, I would have taken it to AutoZone for the free replacement warranty.  The electrical shop would have charge me a fee for their diagnostics, just plain and simple, I thought Auto Dude deserved a tip. He flat wouldn't take it.  Oh well, I tried.  Thanked him profusely and headed to the electrical shop.

My son's first drive on the freeway.  He was in my newer Buick, following too closely behind me for my tastes.  At least he was QUITE intently watching what was going on in front of him.  Which is good, because a van pulled up in the line to the right of him and completely cut him off.  No signal, no advance warning, just zipped in between my car and..........my car.  I had the notion of slamming on my brakes to give that person a taste of their own medicine, as I saw my newer Buick going at an angle as Caleb hit the brakes hard to keep from running into the idiot.  Good job, Caleb, anyway, for not smashing up my car.

I was watching him in the rear view mirror pretty much the entire distance on the freeway - I kept the speed below the speed limit, which, btw, is not how I usually drive.  That's all I'm saying about that, ahem, let's move on.  Got to the shop.  The dude that obviously runs and owns the place?  JUST like Virgil at Highland auto, who runs and owns the shop that I am now a loyal customer to.  I thought, no wonder Virgil recommended this shop to me.  This man said this is what we do: figure out electrical problems.  They've been in business 3 dozen years and as Virgil's shop, a lot of acclamation for this shop as well.

Set it straight here, cause' I've done both routes, when it comes to complicated issues, it is FAR better to just spend the money outright at a place that charges more, if that's the case, to get it done right the first time, than it is to pay an inferior shop  - to not do anything but perpetuate your problem and keep you on the hook.  And let me give Virgil, owner of Highland Auto in Chandler, Arizona (yes, props for Googles searches, thank you) a spot here: HE paid for the last tow I had in there, got the car running and didn't charge me a single dime for the time spent and money spent on the tow.  Now, he didn't want anything further to do with this problem with my car, I don't have a problem with that, either.

So, the car is there, don't know when to expect a phone call, guessing sometime tomorrow, but who knows.

BTW, this is NOT what is annoying me.  I was well prepared for today, it's been coming for 2 weeks and it turned out much better than I planned for.  HOW, you say, is THAT?  Because, the car drove all the way there without a hiccup.  It didn't stall on the freeway like it did last time without warning.  That did not change my mind about getting it checked out, no, I don't need a car just bugging out on me whenever it is having a period and needs a giant Midol to take it's misery away.  Not dissing the ladies, just an observation about a car that is now in the shop for the 6th time in about, what, 2, 2 and a half month's time?

What's bugging me, for one, are tenants.  I mean, the trailer people are the ones that have been cleaning the main bathroom, 2 of the in-house tenants haven't lifted a finger to help with that.  The third has done it a couple of times - which has little relevance, really, considering the time she's been living here.  What I heard to day made me mad.  You see, I left a note for everyone.  This is what's going on, we are adults, let's not think that one person should be dumped with the responsibility.  The jist of the note.

So, I hear today that the newest guy said that: "His ad didn't say anything about cleaning the bathroom".  FREAK.  You're right, it doesn't specifically state that: it says that a person needs to clean up after themselves.  To hear that a person has a problem with it?  That person can move out.  I have no problem issuing notices.  Yes, it may affect my income, but, I have no doubt that I can re-rent the room.

Long interval in writing here.  Can't finish tonight.

G'night.

ben

Cafe World Tips 23: Low Buzz Rating Revisited

Low buzz rating.

Hiya chefs, I am doing some updating on my experiences with Café World, what makes it tick and how to make it play as well as your computer can.

Low buzz rating is almost invariably a problem with doors; blocked passage ways; poorly set up café (tables are thrown all over the place making it take a long time for servers to get food to the tables) and the lack of using teleporting.

In fact, if you AREN’T using teleporting – where waiters are trapped behind the counters and “throw” the dishes to the waiting customers, I STRONGLY suggest you set up your café to do so, especially if you have consistent low-buzz-rating problems.  When you have your waiters teleporting the food, you can set up your café just about anyway you please and you will still have a high buzz rating.

90% of the time that I have inspected a person’s café to try and help them fix their problem, the problem lied in the fact that they thought they had the waiters teleporting when, indeed, they were not.  When I reported back to them that their waiters are wandering around the restaurant, they were surprised at such and reported back that yes, you were right, they aren’t blocked!!

The point is that you have to make sure they are sufficiently blocked but at the same time that they have access from inside the blocked area to ALL counters with food on them.  THAT is where most people get it wrong.  People think that they can block in their waiters and at the same time have their counters set up any which way.  Simply not true. 
If you waiters do not have access to all counters from inside the blocked area, then they will simply walk right through the counters and deliver the food to the waiting customer.

Make sure, from INSIDE the blocked area, that you have nothing on the floor that will stop the waiter from accessing EVERY counter.  Make sure you haven’t got counters in front of counters, this is usually the problem and simply rearranging the counters usually fixes the problem.  Once you actually have your waiters teleporting the food, sit back and enjoy the fact that your buzz rating is going back up and will stay up there.  Occasionally you might find it go down for a few seconds upon entering your café, but it always should go right back up and stay there. 

Also, always make sure that when you leave your café, the buzz rating is at 105.  The buzz rating will NOT go down once you are out of your café and will stay there for however long until you return to your café to take care of your customers and waiting dishes. 

If, for some reason, you do not want to have your waiters teleporting, then you must closely inspect your café if you are having buzz issues.  The customers do NOT want to wait forever for a waiter to bring the food to them. If they have a long way to go, or there are obstacles in the way making them go far around to get to them, or there are blockages making serving them impossible, they will leave with thumbs down and buzz goes down, too.

Each table much have at least 1 access point for the waiter to be able to put the food on the table.  One of the biggest problems I have encountered is that many people put their counters up against a wall, far away from the tables.  This works fine with teleporting, but if you don’t want to teleport, probably not so fine.  A more effective setup has your counters in the middle of your café so that waiters don’t have far to walk to get food from counter to table. 

There is another issue I must address here that I have spoken about before as well:  Your computer.  I recently built a new computer.  It has 8 gigs of RAM; an AMD Athlon II X4 640 Processor; and a medium quality ASUS motherboard, fitted with a 1 Terabyte hard drive and a 750 watt power supply.  My OLD computer IS old. It was built by Dell.  It has an Intel 4 processor, no clue what the motherboard is and 2 gigs of ram.  THAT computer had GREAT difficult running Cafe World.  I would enter my Cafe and buzz rating would drop and drop and drop.  If I let it sit there for a couple of hours without doing anything, the buzz rating would eventually come back up.

Yes, that's my point.  It isn't ALWAYS Zynga's fault.  Your computer might be a dinosaur that needs replacing.  There isn't much fun about an internet experience that is slow, gives you lots of error messages and causes Explorer to shut down.  I know, we are in bad economic times.  Maybe buying a new computer or building one yourself isn't in the cards.  But, if by chance, it is and your computer is old, you might consider it.  My entire internet experience greatly improved, not just with Cafe World, but - I have to say that Cafe World loads almost instantly now.  It used to take up to 15 minutes to load it.  I click on something and it's either there or a second passage and it's there.  For as much time as I spend on the computer and internet, the money spent was WELL worth it.

More to come in the future.  

Cafe World Tips 22: The Holiday Dinner - Goals and Mission

The Holiday Dinner – Goals and Mission

First, the 7 goals.  I am not going to go into the specifics of the goals here, since they are posted all over the internet, I AM going to go into the glitch that is making it impossible for numerous Café World cooks (players, lol) to be able to finish the goals.  The glitch is the inability to send out RSVP’s to your neighbors while asking them to help you finish whichever goal you are on.

In these 7 goals, they ask you to ask your neighbors for help getting various items.  You either ask your neighbors or you pay an exorbitant amount of café cash to finish each part of the goal that requires it. 

I cannot offer any assistance on this issue, Zynga knows ALL about this problem, they apparently have yet to fix it.  I DID encounter this glitch just about every time I went to send out requests.  “Sorry, something went wrong in the kitchen” would come up instead of a list of your Café World neighbors.  I just kept trying until the actual list would come up.  I would send out a LOT of requests on one thing just to make sure I got them out because, apparently, no-one is immune to this particular glitch.  When I tried to send the requests, another error message would come up, same error message as before.  But, I had already hit the send button and found out even though that error message is coming up, the requests were sent anyway.

I eeked through that 7 goal list.  The final goal has 30 requests that you have to get filled up, which in turn is making a lot of people made because many of them simply can’t send out any requests at all.

Moving on.

The Holiday Dinner Mission.

I like this mission, but a lot of people are hating it.  Many of them have one or another dish that is in the mission locked, even though they did everything necessary to unlock them.  The dishes you have to cook and serve are: Waldorf Salad; Baked Ham and Angel Slices.  MANY people don’t even HAVE the Angel Slices, making the mission impossible to complete on their own.  So, those people head straight to the Café World discussion board, venting and ranting about the situation.

I feel for those people, but, it IS possible to finish the mission if you have neighbors that are able to cook the dishes that you cannot. 

The point?  Another Zynga classic blunder.  Putting out a Christmas mission that SO many people can’t even participate in because of the numerous glitches.  I mean, it’s what, 10 days until Christmas? 

On another note, Zynga apparently is finally getting a clue.  You know that ugly Crane machine that looks like it belongs in a circus that you might have built, put in your café and then found out you can’t remove it from your café?  You know, the one that, after you built it, doesn’t WORK?!!!!  Well, on the boards, a moderator posted yesterday that Zynga is doing a trial run to see how well it works and whatever glitches might be encountered.  It’s not IF a glitch is encountered, at least not from my perspective, it’s how MANY will be encountered.  So, 3,000 people and 3,000 only are going to have that thing up and running in their cafes.  THIS is the way they should do ALL of their new rollouts.  Get a group of players that will test it (preferably without all the griping about the glitches they are going to encounter, since they are voluntarily being Guinea Pigs) FIRST before rolling it out to everyone. 

Since we’re almost at Christmas, I would also like to gripe about one more thing in this game: the lack of a freaking Christmas tree to be able to put INSIDE of your café.  They have one for the outside of it, great.  How many people put a Christmas tree outside? If they do, they probably also have one INSIDE as well.  They’ve come out  with everything BUT an indoor Christmas tree!

I’m not all mad and upset about Café World and what’s going on, I’m just expressing my discontent with a game that is bugged with all kinds of known glitches that are never fixed. There are far too many bugs with the game that have plagued the game for SO long, it's a bit ridiculous that they continue to bring out new goals, missions and other things yet they don't seem to get it: FIX the EXISTING issues!

Wednesday 12/15/2010

Wednesday

Okay, so, my mother attempts to talk me into coming to Christmas party with family. I said no thanks, not if middle bro is there. It was a drawn out argument a month or more ago and the end was, whatever. I mean, she just wants to see us, that's fine, she doesn't have to see us at the same time.

Then I get a call from my sister-in-law. My mother put her up to it. She had no idea that there was anything going on. She wasn't too happy my mother put her up to something without letting her know what's going on. Got into a bit of a discussion about other things, but that story ended the same way: no thanks.

Yesterday, I am going through my email box and find my middle brother has sent me an email. Morbid curiosity caused me to open the thing, otherwise I would have passed on it. He asks in the letter if we would come to Christmas dinner at his house, his son is going to be there and wants to see Caleb.

I've always wondered how people can do that. Act like there's nothing wrong. Politicians obviously can do that with the financial nightmare going on, but in personal relationships, I have no clue.

I've been in this situation before with brothers who thought I was some sort of religious zealot and therefore deserved a good tongue-lashing at either Thanksgiving or Christmas celebrations - or both. I have walked out on such before and don't even want to put myself in the position of having to do so again. I didn't start preaching to them, either, I didn't even bring up the subject, THEY did.

So what to do? Write him back and ask some blunt questions. WHY do you want us to come to your house for Christmas? What's going to happen when we get there? Are you going to start s*** again? If so, I can stay home with my doggies, cook a Christmas meal and be as content and happy as a bug in a rug. I have a large end Standing Rib Roast in the freezer, just itching to be taken out, cooked and eaten. And so it will be, just deciding when.

Anonymous said...

Onto other things. In the last week, I have left my son messages about helping me get the car in to the shop. I am not going to drive the thing over there and then pay $40 to get at taxi home, which was included in those messages.

He never returned the calls. I thought, well, who cares then, leave the car sit and I will do nothing with it. I called him up again, no answer as was the case with the other calls, this time I just let it loose: Since you don't seem to care one way or the other if you have a car to drive, I don't either, the thing is going to sit there and rot, or, I will get it fixed and sell it for whatever I can get out of it.

I dunno, I guess if I have to get rotten about it, I will. He calls back, this time, in about 20 minute's time. Yeah, yeah, I'll help you get it there tomorrow afternoon. Ohhh? Why didn't you return my other calls? He had no answer. I wanted to know. I mean, this is for HIM, not for me. I can drive MY car and it won't bother me one way or the other. He blamed his phone. Another whatever moment.

Limited chance of success in Afghanistan. That's the new reports out. I'll say it again: Let's get the bleep OUT of that country and let them kill themselves. They have been doing it for centuries, why get OUR troops killed along with them? Is this a matter of pride or something? Like, "we're America, we can't lose!". Who CARES. This is a worthless war, imo, it's time to LEAVE. It would be helpful if we had a president who actually had some kind of respect from other nations and who could stand up and put the gauntlet down, but, that's not going to happen with this chap that's in the Oval office.

If the tax cut thing didn't have such serious ramifications, it would be hilarious just watching these politicians mouthing off all over the place. I'm just sorta running around the news. I mean, I don't want my taxes raised, I want the government to live within it's means. It gets enough money, DEAL WITH IT.

Work day is here. Not much to do in the truck routing system. The closer we get to Christmas the more it will slow down. In between Christmas and New Year's is almost always very slow. Yeah, not much fun.

Anyway, I'm outta here.

G'day.

ben