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The day I was mistakenly charged $27,500 on my Amex

Now I can chuckle at it but back then, it wasn't nice. One of the big brouhahas yesterday was that Dreamhost, a popular web site hosting service, made a pretty stupid billing error that caused their customers to be erroneously billed millions of dollars.

Macbook Air and other new toys

I can remember a time when just the thought of an ultra-thin, light, elegant laptop like the Macbook Air would have had me running for my wallet to pull out my credit card as fast as possible. But since I'm saving up for a Big Lifechanging Event (which I'll write about here when I'm ready to) and have been watching my spending, I only had a mild upwards blip of the heartrate.

It's sexy, yes. That it supports Touch technology is what made my heart flutter a bit (besides the form factor), though I guess we have to see how well applications will utilize it. It has no Firewire which is a bummer. It would be great if I spent a lot of time hanging out at coffee shops or on grassy campuses. (I can see it doing great amongst students.) I'm going to stick to my plans for a new Macbook Pro soon though.

Really not as cool as you think

In the things-that-made-me-chuckle department, from this page:

Dear person in their 20's who thinks that having a tattoo, listening to Imogen Heap, wearing Converses, and collecting Absolut paraphenalia makes you different:

You're not. Everyone under 30 has a tattoo. Everyone listens to Imogen Heap. Everyone wears Converses. Everyone loves the Absolut bottle. When I go out at night, I can't spit in the air without hitting a Scene Kid who wears his mama's leggings and flat-irons his hair for the sake of "indiviuality." Imagine a kid in the 1980's who thinks that his moussed hair and loud neon shirts make him stand out in the crowd. That's you--you're the 2008 version of him.

And as another poster says on the same page, it's not just people in their 20s either.

How to cancel something on the phone in minimal time

It's the 10th day of the new year, and I'm deep into a satisfying process of decluttering my life. Besides getting rid of two jumbo bags of unwanted clothes (those funny conference giveaway t-shirts must multiply like bunnies in the closet) I've also called up and cancelled a number of subscriptions and services that I don't really want to continue.

It's quite annoying that so many places want you to call them to cancel, when they let you sign up oh-so-easily online. But of course they do so in the hope that the customer service rep can try to talk you out of cancelling.

When I make the effort to call a number to cancel, my mind is firmly made up that I am not going to renew or whatever under any circumstances. On the other hand, I don't want to get into a protracted argument with the rep person, who is after all only doing her job.

Getting fit with Wii Sports is a big fat delusion (updated)

If you're thinking of getting a Wii to get fit, think again, for now anyway.(See updates at the end.)

For Christmas, I finally got a Wii. Yes I'm quite behind the times, but I'm not really one who likes to jump on new stuff as soon as it comes out. I prefer to get the version 2s.

This is the first gaming console I've ever gotten. I've never been tempted by other consoles, ever. I do play the occasional PC game, but a dedicated machine for gaming? Nah.

What lured me to the Wii was the promise that somehow, it would help me to exercise.

The bad thing about it-Bay orrent-Tay

The ability to download whatever one wants with no restrictions has its disadvantages.

Looking back a little and forward a lot

Happy New Year!

2007 was quite an eventful year, which ended on a very sad note around here. I have so many mixed feelings about the passing of Martha...she was a lovely lady, but also very tradtionally minded. She was after all born in the 1920s, and had only been out of the country once in her life. I remember vividly one time when we were discussing our new neighbors. She was marveling at how 'international' the village was becoming - Frau T. was from northern Italy, and Frau S. was from the Ticino!

Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg passed away on Sunday, at the young age of 56, of prostate cancer. At one time, in my teens specifically, his kind of music - bittersweet folk songs - was my favorite, whether in English or Japanese, which was sort of unusual since I wasn't of music-cogniscant age during their real heyday of the early '70s or so.

Christoph Blocher out, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf in

As I said previously, I rarely talk about politics but the last couple of days have been just, well, exciting.

The charismatic leader of the far-right SVP (People's Party), Christoph Blocher, and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who was a member of the SVP (but of the rather more tolerant Grisons section) is in as the Justice Minister. The SVP has thrown her, and the other party member who was elected to the Bundesrat, out of the party, and the SVP itself has pulled out of the government in protest. There's infighting going on within the party, and the news media here are calling it the biggest shakeup in Swiss government in 50 years and things like that.

I was going to write a whole thing about this to explain it to non-Swiss residents, but the SwissGuy has done it far better than I could.

It's not comfortable as a non-white person to live in a country where a small but very vocal minority with xenophobic and racist and protectionist views is prominent. Sure I may look harmless but, and I am, but still. I had to pass by those black sheep posters all the time. I ain't no black sheep! (I could be a cuddly light brown one maybe.)

In any case, this is really great news and I hope it does signal a turn in another direction for this really otherwise nice country.

Wow, they threw out Blocher. I hope it sticks.

I rarely, rarely talk about politics, here on the blog or in real life. I am the most apolitical person I know. I hate politics.

Still, today's news is quite amazing and exciting: Christoph Blocher has been ousted as a Cabinet member.

Things are not settled yet, but do I ever hope all the political maneuverings will succeed in throwing the old bastard out forever.

Maybe the tide is turning, finally, against the racist, xenophobic, sexist, paranoid views of the SVP.

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