Author Archives: Haltse

Decade in the Desert: A new user’s guide to haltse

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Filed under Anarchy from the UK, Arizona

2015

Updated for DEC 2015

Biggest changes in past two years.  Took a year ,plus off to watch daughter grow up,   bought a franchise which turned out to be bad timing re illness ,family matters ,etc so I ended up  going back to work, this time for  P.F. Chang’s / Pei Wei which  makes Asian-inspired food. It was nice to work for a company that most people don’t hate: Same kind of work Software Quality assurance but alas my position, along with several others, was ( redacted- )

Having just made contact again with the folks back home in the UK as they come on line with Facebook et all and find that I am still alive, still haven’t changed my name  to , well they don’t even know me as, haltse it’s been obvious that I needed an update post on the things that are interesting in the USA that haven’t made it over to the UK. There are people that are into Zombies that actually don’t know who Jonathan Coulton is,  I know, mind blown. :)

So here’s a quick list of what I’ve been up to since leaving Scotland back in 1997.

Moved to GA  70 mile NW of Atlanta   worked for 2 seasons at tax software co helping cheap people achieve things with hardware that was pushing obsolescence into itself , seriously I edited modem strings, printer files and more CLI DOS work than ever should be attempted with members of the public.

After GA moved to CA  on the eve of the millennium. Took 4 days to move.People in the UK , sorry it’s not a long way down to the chip chop, that’s peanuts to America:)

Yep everyone has been there and I don’t mean on vacation. Not to give it away but Californication was a nice couple of years working for a dot com that turned  b2c b2b  and b2b2c so quickly that it had to fail. Actually,it didn’t fail , people were paid, had jobs for a couple of years and had a lot of fun with nice people while doing it.

Became permanent resident,Marriage failed,  company above was bought by AOL  and I moved to Arizona where I managed to lose the friend I came here to be near ( I’m good at this it’s a motif for my life apparently )

Started working for GoDaddy.com  and lasted 11 years. Started as privately owned, which I liked, ok I only like it if I like the owner which in this case is a good match but  GD was sold to venture capitalists that changed the nature of the Co, and it was time to go. There’s little chance I could have achieved as much in the UK than I have here because,well to be blunt, it’s not a  wait till Friday to get  drunk and take Monday off kinda culture. ( not true, probably 1/3 of it is:) )

Met my wifelette, Erin,    spawned a Dobhran, and a Hatch, he’ll be Ten  in September 2015 and Hatch, our daughter,joined us July 2012.  We’ll be 9  or 10  cos I never get the anniversary right. :)

All the links to my photo sites, blogs and the like can be found through the sidebar but  just in case.

http://flickr.com/photos/haltse

Besides I’m  haltse everywhere that matters:)

That’s the precis.   And  just about all of it is contained somewhere in the posts to this blog.

New likes.

Ice Hockey. I’ve finally found a team sport that I appreciate,or did till I realized how shitty the customer service aspect was.  I still watch it but won’t pay to see the Phoenix Coyotes after they shafted us on playoff tickets.  I still like  watching tennis ( mainly the women’s:) ) US tv sucks for motorsport without chasing it down and paying for it. As such not really followed F1 or WSB for  a while.

Watches.    Mechanical,  limited  and free of marketing bullshit please. Ochs and Jnr   as well as F P Journe   are closest to where I want to be but for daily use it’s hard to beat Sinn.

Hawaii (  only been once, not enough)

Really good food.  Thai Food, Mediterranean food, slow food and I’ve upped my  heat capacity to stupid levels. www.extremefoods.com is my best friend:)  How bad is it?  Well I collect hot sauces now.

Really good cooking ( I do some things well, Erin does way more things well but )

Ghost in the Shell.  I want me some cyberisation:)

Photography ( again )

Maintain an interest in things deathy, 

Archery ( beginner)  Traditional bow.

Media, way too much. some highlights http://www.mariancall.com   a singer/songwriter that’s so good that I  donated monthly to  help pay for the recording of  the new album which is something I encourage everyone that cares about any form of art to do.

http://www.richardcheese.com seen him so many times live and it’s never gotten old,  his band kicks ass too. , www.mynameischance.com  ,www.freezepop.comhttp://www.amandapalmer.net/  white stripes and I started really liking the Proclaimers and  some weird www.slimcessnasautoclub.com.   Added Amy Macdonald,  found out that as much as I disliked Eminem first time around I realized it was more the people into him that I didn’t like at the time, Regina Spektor, Lindsay Stirling and Halestorm.

R K Morgan : Sci-fi  Altered carbon especially.

Daniel Keys Moran’s  Continuing time series

William Gibson ,   which I missed when I should have read it.

Neal Stephenson , particularly Snowcrash.

Robert Rankin.

G R R Martin  Game of Thrones series  (patiently waiting)

Grant Morrison ( Invisibles, The Filth and countless DC reinventions. )

Orson Scott Card’s  Ender series.

Heinlein,  yeah I was late to that party but am now in attendance:)

So much non-fiction that it hurts.   Omnivore’s dilemma was good and am currently reading  Life, Inc.

Seriously recommend  Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner and
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory

Still Likes.

motorbikes,firearms , tori, but not live too many shitty  experiences with bad venues. NIN, red headed women, Fish, Dick Dale , black pudding , cider  and things that are sharp or light up:)

Things that are meh:)

No more buffets,  fast food is the last choice , always. healthcare  in the US, they can’t think their way out of a problem.  Insurance is the wrong word, they don’t stop to think why an item is expensive , just that they should be able to afford it.

 

More in a bit:)

My new site Time to Win Me the watch contest site

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Filed under Arizona, Sites of interest, Social Media
Tagged as , ,

Greetings,

Long Time no see. I’ve been busy over at Time to Win ME  which is my watch contest aggregation site.  I try to find at least one watch, watch related or prize being offered by a watch company and then post it to the site,Twitter and Facebook.  Even if you’re not into watches it’s not a bad way to fill out your Christmas gift bag for those that do.

Time to Win Me

Till next Time.

Element update. stuck in the middle with you. Catch 22 , if the honda has a recall we can look, if it doesn’t it can’t be faulty ( Allstate’s logic)

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Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, Honda Element
Tagged as ,

Exhaust remidies for time-being with Honda cust care.   They say that they won’t comment on it, send a person to look or in general car unless the insurance company  claims the part is defective.  The dealer, Arrowhead Honda thinks the same which leaves me in the “good hands” of Allstate.

Allstate so far have proven to be useless. E.G they say that with0ut a recall on 09 there’s no reported brake issues.  Despite the fact I am a paying customer of theirs for years   we’re not, apparently, capable of reporting a dead braking system without warning.  Ergo they won’t investigate which was the case of our last phone call.

We’ve lost a lot of money , or will via the deductibe and increased rates, the car is now a salvage,  the car will lose money when we sell it. We have  failed to get anything remotely like the peace-of-mind that buying a low-milage certified vehicle.

an 09 Honda element may not stop when you want it to. Another certified failure.

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Filed under Arizona, Honda Element
Tagged as , ,

Seems like I didn’t learn my lesson.  A certified car is not a guarantee of a functioning car but of their promise to fix it after the fault shows.  Previously I bought a Honda Civic that was certified  which I had issues with as reported here     After that the car was fine so it came to pass that we bought another Honda, an 09 Element,with the same certification.

That’s nice if you get a chance to take it back to the dealer.

A couple of months old and our Honda Element suffered  a catastrophic brake failure  that resulted in an accident. No warning lights,  just a heavy pedal  on brake once, braked again, got really hard then on the next attempt  to the floor , no brakes and  we now have a sad element and  a sad owner of a CRV that  was the resting place for the Element.  Car hadn’t been back for a service since buying it , e.g., under 2000 miles.

After searching this topic we’ve seen a lot of traffic on  Google  re Accords and the prior year Elements failing in the same way. There’s no recall for 09, unless our car isn’t  really an 09 which would explain why a similar condition would happen to us .  09 Odyssey’s are not exempt from brake-failures  too. Odd that Toyota took so much bashing last year over  what amounted to nothing.

We’re at the start of this process but regardless of what  the dealer/ Honda say this < 2000 mile since certification vehicle was not fit for it’s intended use.

Apparently no one wants to sell me their otter art. Wholesale annoyance.

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Filed under Bad CS, General

Over the past three weeks I have been trying to get my Otterman Empire store  stocked. Primarily I’m looking for American, hand made  wherever possible art , any medium,any type of otter .  To date only one of the US  companies approached  re wholesale prices have contacted me, they  received  an order and then have failed to get back to me with final shipping cost/ ship date.

I.E.,  I have nothing new in stock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of the year Mini Bash or how to lose a sale by pissing off a customer.

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Filed under Bad CS, Family

Dear Mini,

I’m following up on an incident we had with our Mini Cooper S this month and the manner in which it was handled.

While you have the records in the customer service system I will briefly go over the issue. My wife left her key atop a gas pump and drove off. The car gave no warning and 20 miles later it was unable to start ,finally realizing that it didn’t have a key.

The manual states that it will not start without the key being inside it. The dealer, the phone line and the manager this was eventually escalated too all accept that the car starts with the key outside the car. The Mini helpline email address was not helpful (incident 1-1641681520) and referred us to the dealer. The dealer had referred us to Mini so I called.

The first helpline operator I spoke with suggested I read the manual. I did, again, and it says, in unambiguous terms ,that this shouldn’t happen.

He didn’t meet my expectations of customer service ,having run helplines of this nature I’m pretty critical, then again being made to feel like it’s my fault for not knowing how the car operates does that to me. Maybe you can pull the tape and listen?

clip_image001

I called back, had a productive E.G., the antithesis of my first contact and  I was passed onto Anthony. I relayed my concerns that what is apparently a commonly known fact at Mini wasn’t passed on to the owners. The car starts with the transponder several feet away contrary to the manual. He correctly asked what I wanted from this process. I wanted Mini to consider replacing the key or providing it at cost due to what I consider a serious flaw in the implementation of the comfort access feature. The car gave no audible or visual warning that the key wasn’t within range as she drove off.

Anthony got back to us within a couple of days to tell us that Mini would not consider a free key or any consideration re this incident. I thanked him for trying and noted that it seemed very strange and puzzling that a good faith offer from Mini allowing me to buy a key at cost was unavailable to me. To be turned from advocate to adversary over what I see as your product failing to work as described is frustrating. Yes my wife made a mistake but it’s one that should not have been possible had the car functioned per the manual. This was during the day thankfully but it could have been so much worse than losing the $300 for the new key.

I thought that maybe Mini semi-believed it’s motoring family shtick but came away feeling very much chastened by Mini N Scottsdale and the initial phone call to the mini hotline for daring to have a problem with the car. Tack on your poor email response and I have to say that I’ve been underwhelmed by your public facing service.

How does it harm Mini to help us? I know that we liked the Mini so much I sold a great car I really liked to get it. I planned on selling our second one when the Countryman was released but now that’s very unlikely to occur. I’d still like to talk about this because I am curious as to why a key safety feature of your vehicle would deviate so far from the manual’s description.

Regards

clap clap clap

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Filed under General
clap clap clap

clap clap clap,
originally uploaded by Angela Pardo.

Today’s otter of the day comes from Moss Landing near where I used to live in CA and an excellent place to catch rafting otters.

Terribly short test

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Filed under General

Sorry about that usually I take this off to the side but I am in a hurry

Mini Cooper kept mum. So what if our manual is incorrect. no keys for you

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Filed under Anarchy from the UK, Arizona, Bad CS, General
Tagged as

Alas the possibility that a car company could do anything other than suck at customer relations remains as rare as rocking-horse poop.While everyone understands our position and regrets they can’t do more  the fact is the Mini Cooper manual says that the car can’t start without the keys in it.

Mini dealers and the Mini helpline say it can.  Ergo you lost they key and you need to buy a new one.  No one is concerned that the car starts without a key in it which is rather alarming. It’s not alarming the car didn’t give a warning that there was no key.

So what we have here is  a car that can be started sans keys  in the car. It looks like any elevation of the key greatly increases the distance at which the car can be unlocked and driven away and the sun roof is likely a big factor. So for fun some experiments will follow.

P.S. Letting us buy the key at cost was rejected. Ok  so for the sake of losing NO money. Result. That’s one less 2012 Clubman sold plus  way more public noise about their customer relations being poor.  Nice going  Mini.

This family thing, it’s a brand.  while they hadn’t fooled me with their story I would have expected they’d at least pretend that they were able to do anything than quote manuals ( incorrectly ) 😛  to me.

PPS Anthony’s managers  You have no fucking brains. Seriously  what the hell makes it in your interest to deny a reasonable request ( key replacement at cost) based on your erroneous manual which   some telephone dick told me to go read and understand.  What happened to, ah  I see that’s in error , let me find out rather than being a total  cock about it?

an Inconvenient access truth. More about mini cooper s FOB :

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Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, General
Tagged as

First they tell me to read the manual,  you know cos I’m not as cute,or as fast, as a Mini and am more likely to be in error. Well let’s look around page 24-25 ( close to it)

mini manual

Is there any doubt here that the car should not start when the  key is not in the car, when the key is  five feet away from the car?  Well the helpline , I eventually got to a manager, and asked them to consider that they could be owe me a new key / serious price break on the $300 item because their car is not working as stated. 

That was a few days ago.  

An interesting time with the Mini Cooper’s “convenience” key

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Filed under Arizona, Bad CS, General
Tagged as

The last car we bought was a Mini Cooper S which I see as the car that makes up for all the regular Minis I drove,you know the ones with a fixed L shaped seat, rusting sills, 10” wheels  sliding mirrors, no heater worth a damn etc.

The “new” car ,a 2007 Cooper S, came with a remote key and what’s called a convenience feature in which you do not have to put your key into the slot to start it. E.G.,It can stay in your pocket , your bag or attached to a purse.

Common belief is that the car won’t start without the key being inside the car.  Sadly , as we found out this weekend, that is not the case.  My wife left her purse atop the pump, got in ,  door closed, started car and drove off.   ( ended up having to get a ride then break into the house)

The car gave zero warning that key wasn’t within the car and  20 miles later, car turned off and couldn’t start it again.

No keys , no movement , no nothing!   This is not the behavior I want from a car so I called the local Mini dealer, 2 days after they failed to return my wife’s call , to find out what the parameters of the  keyless start are.  I also sent a note to Mini asking the same.

So far nothing from Mini and an unhelpful  “you’re the only one in 3000-4000 customers to have this problem.”  from the dealer  and an offer to look at it which I will have to take them up  on.

I really want to know why the car wont let you lock it with the key inside, assumption that it knows where the key is in relation to the car, yet will let it drive off without one being present. Surely that’s not that  hard a question for the  people that sell it/ make it?  

   Couple that to the Airbag system that can be harmed just by moving your seat back and it looks like the  LUCAS lord of darkness joke re the state of UK auto electrical  systems has jumped over into the BMW made Mini.

Yes there are things that have fallen down the memory hole

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Filed under General

Posts are missing yes.While the legal process moves forward nothing relating to the joy that was the end of June will be posted

 

In the meantime…

 

Ya_Dun_Goofed

Marian Call. House concert in Chandler 23 Jun 2010.

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Filed under Arizona, Culture-internet, Marian Call

Here’s a hint.

I am so late doing this I’m practically ashamed.  E.G,   The house only holds about 40 people and , well you think hell 40 people that’s easy Probably so easy that telling everyone would lead to a lot of disappointed folks which I’m still aiming for:)

 

49to50-Announcement

Marian Call delivers whimsical Alaskan folk funk for the Coffee Counter-Culture. She sounds a little like Joni Mitchell & Regina Spektor raising the child of Jason Mraz & Erin McKeown. Call’s sound is always soulful, honest, and clever, loved by all types — computer geeks, church ladies, teenage thugs, NPR listeners, and urban hipsters worldwide. Marian is currently touring all 50 states and hopes to play for you soon — find more information at http://mariancall.com.

If you like what you hear  then how about hearing it live, like two days from now?

Reading Cyrano

When we originally requested a house concert it seemed plausible. laughably in hindsight, that we could accommodate this at our house.  Thankfully friend and  fellow fan Mandi stepped in to save the day and for this Phoenix and surrounding areas  all you have to do is leave your house on a Wednesday night and come out for live music. 

 

RSVP to

mandi  AT neuroticbynature.com

For details on where to go, what to bring and how much fun you are going to have.

Otter sans hotsauce

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Filed under General
Otter

Otter,
originally uploaded by Ian Press Photography.

Today’s otter shot of the day is a tasteful reminder that the central question of existence is not who am I? or What am I? but where shall we have lunch.

Raising hell in Arizona.

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Filed under Demon Haunted World, rants, state gone wild, You have nothing to fear

While I’m not a fan of a particular side be they tea partier, coffee clubber or orchata orgiest I am a fan of removing emotional bullshit from arguments relating to  Arizona’s new immigration law that makes it illegal to er be illegal. 

There seems to be a problem requiring people to adhere to the very thing that we immigrants have knowingly signed up for. Not a fan of it but it’s the price of admission I pay to play here.  It’s a nice conceit to think that you can wander around sans state or federal ID but seemingly the very thing I’ve had to live with doing for nearly a decade now, carry my card and have it available for inspection, is problematic because the police will somehow act like jerks in a way that’s different from their usual M.O:)  The funny part is that people are crying to the Fed Gov to protect them from the near word for word rendition a federal law that which they find  outlandish, racist and fascist to jackboot when AZ restated it.

“Permanent Resident Card
The Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, is issued to all Permanent Residents as evidence of alien registration and their permanent status in the US. The card must be in your possession at all times. This requirement means that you are not only required to have a currently valid Form I-551 at all times, but also that you must carry your currently valid Form I-551 on your person at all times.”

The part of the law that is egregious I will get into later .