October 26, 2011

Dear Citizens Bank

I closed my account this afternoon. You gave me my $24.97, and thanked me and said good-bye. One might think that you would have some process or form that asked the question "Why are you leaving us?" - but you did not.

So, for the record. I opened up a "Totally Free Checking" account a bunch of years ago. That account started costing me $17.50 a month at some point in the past year. There was no announcement, no notification, and you made no attempt to slot me into another low cost account ($4.99 a month, free with a minimum balance or five monthly transactions). You just switched me.

In the process of being pissed off about the $17.50 fee, I found another bank with actual free checking, which coincidentally has branch offices that are more convenient to both my home and one of my workplaces.

I hope this clears things up.

October 18, 2011

Four Plastic Bins

I've had four plastic bins piled in a corner, under a table, for years. They have moved from house to house, for the past decade. Each is labeled with an ugly chapter in my life - and the paperwork and detritus of each has been loosely gathered therein.

The labels: Divorce (circa 1992), 12 Geddes (a house that I was upside down in for years, and that nearly got foreclosed upon in the late 90s), IRS (some problems circa 1997-2000), and Bankrupcty (mid 00's). Most of that is well behind me, but the IRS stuff lingers.

I've recently been doing some deep cleansing - cleaning and organizing, tossing and recycling, taking care of old messes. I'm in the process of cleaning up that old IRS mess, which has been hanging over my head for the last decade. So I pulled the bins out this morning.

I tossed a lot of errata - faxes, correspondence, blank forms, information paperwork, etc. and consolidated the things I need to keep into one single bin - joined with my last full time job's separation files (I'm actually vested in a small pension), my condo purchase information, my transition stuff. Eventually, I'll clean this stuff up for good and find a permanent home in a safe or metal box.

It feels good, I've felt kind of stuck and lethargic for the past few months - it's as if I've been digging really deep, and cleaning up some really deep pain and loss.

My friend Cheryl has been visiting, taking advantage of my spare room when she needs to be up in the area early - and noted my newly cleaned room, saying "It looks like you are getting ready for something"

And that's what it feels like. What that something is - not sure. But I'm getting ready....

October 10, 2011

Dear Netflix....

Two words - SPELL CHECK. In Reed's "An Explanation and Some Reflections", you blew "streeaming". And in today's retraction email, "DVDs will be staying at netflix.com" you bring us "..in other words, no Qwwikster." This in spite of spelling it Qwikster in the initial email.

Seriously. I am getting the feeling you are making this stuff up after a couple of drinks too many, and hitting SEND before someone changes their mind....

October 06, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

In retrospect, not a surprise. Steve's fight with cancer has been much discussed, and his step back from Apple was as much a portent as anything. But still, a bit of a shock and some unexpected sadness as I learned the news last night, while poking around Facebook on my iPad.

I'm an apple-come-lately kind of girl myself. As a techie I've been PC savvy since the early days - cutting my teeth on an HP workstation (something like a glorified calculator with a full keyboard, tiny CRT, and HP-Basic), then graduating to office PCs. I've dabbled in CP/M. But mostly I've grown up along the IBM / DOS / PC / Windows channel because so much of my professional software and applications were PC-only.

Also, as a notorious skinflint, a MAC was just never within reach.

As a musician, one might think that the iPod might have caught my attention. But I've never been much of an earbud person, preferring live music, the car (where CDs are perfectly serviceable) and the home as listening environments, and NPR to music most of the time anyway.

That all changed with the iPhone. I was charmed by the original iPhone but it was still a bit pricey. When the iPod Touch came out, however, I bit. My love affair was short-lived; I left the touch on the back of a vehicle while ballooning and drove off; it was never found. But I was hooked, and it was not long before I traded up to an iPhone 3G.

And last spring, as I turned to corner at 50, I treated myself to an iPad which has remained a favorite tool/toy.

Steve was my generation, my people. The Apple II came out when I was in college, a few of the more well off and geekier engineering students had them in the dorm. I remember marveling at early versions of flight simulator. Steve and Woz and Apple were protoypes of what an engineer could do with his/her life. So to lose him, relatively young and inordinantly privileged, demonstrates that we are all slaves to time and the capriciousness of health and vitality; technology, health care, none of it can save us.

Thanks for the tools and the toys, Steve. Thanks for the changes your visions have wrought on this world. Hopefully you've planted enough seeds and infected enough of us to carry your work into the future.