~~~I do believe there's no such thing as bad writing—it's all a work in progress waiting for the write expression.~~~

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Product Features that Actually Don't Exist

I’m not a big on ranting, but the purpose of having a blog is to put thoughts/opinions & experiences, etc., out there so that someone may find it and agree—maybe even find some solace in the fact that someone else experienced the same thing.

And this is really, really nuts and is causing a mini melt down, so I need to rant. I am talking products that list features on the box and even in the manual but it’s no esta aqui on the actual product. It’s never happened to me before, so I figure it must be a new trend for 2011 and Lord have Mercy if it is.

I am reporting on 2 totally different products that I just happen to open on the same day: the Coby cxcd400blk mini hi-fi dual cassette deck stereo system and H&R Block’s (formerly TaxCut, but it will always be taxcut to me) Deluxe home edition for 2010, including DeductionPro.

Exhibit A
The stereo system feature reported online, on the box and even in the manual is a dual cassette deck for recording tape to tape, but there is only one cassette deck. Granted, the picture of the product does show only the one tape deck, but I figured the 2nd one was maybe on the side or something. But noooo. I finally did find one customer report that fact on amazon, so silly me for not doing an advance search for potential problems.

(Side note: I actually got it through Walmart, which was a little cheaper and had free ship to store shipping. Plus, it can be returned to the store—something I find appealing since making an amazon return has turned into a hassle, but that’s another rant...)

Exhibit B
I have been using taxcut for years and every year you get the cd, pop it in and it had installing DeductionPro as a separate option. This year, nada. Okay, I thought, maybe it’s accessed directly in the program as opposed to being installed as a separate software program like before. But noooo! Even though it’s listed on the box as a feature for the deluxe and premium editions, it is no where to be found on the cd or in the program. Oh, wait, it does list importing your deductionpro file as an option.

After trying to find out what the deal is on the H&R Block site and finding nothing, I finally broke down and called the 1800 number. After about 15 minutes of being put on hold while George tries to find the answer to my query, I am told that I can go to deductionpro.com and download it from there. Why is it still listed on the box as being part of the program and doesn’t say anything anywhere about deductionpro.com? That required another 5 minutes on hold before George informed me that they decided not to include it this year, but the boxes had already been printed and released before that decision was made.

(Side note: there is no download option at deductionpro.com. You can run it and use it online (yeah right, like I want all charitable giving on the net on an unsecured site.)

So having gone through all that, I decided to take some of my precious weekend time to rant rather then starting my taxes because, well, I do have this blog and I actually do feel a little—but just a little—better. I got it off my chest and there is some small satisfaction that someday, someone will do an extensive google search for the Coby stereo system and/or taxcut 2010 and know they’re not alone...

(No product boxes, manuals or purchase receipts were harmed during the production of this post because I might still want to return them.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"The Man on the Moon Can Sometimes Cry" (poetry)

I watch the tears fall from the sky
The man on the moon can sometimes cry
And the night folds into my soul
The day is gone, having taken its toll

Candle flame
I trace my name
Along the reaches of you heart
Where I knew from the start

I always go for the little things
The tiny bells that barely ring
The hurts you thought no one knew
I can feel too

Any door closed makes me curious
Don't tell me where I can't go—makes me furious
And the darkness can always tell how the candle likes to burn
In every little tear, there's something new to learn

And don't walk away from one more try
The man on the moon can sometimes cry
But no one bothers to stop and see
Except maybe me

(55. twenty-something/collage years, it’s still one of my favorites.)
~~~The entire chronology of poetry (aka the manuscript, “Chronologically Filed Stanzas”) is available as a pdf on my website or you can email me directly.

(No candles, tiny bells or closed doors were harmed during the production of this post.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Second Chances

How do I paint this garden I’ve destroyed green?
(Seal, “People Asking Why” from Seal 2)

Yes indeed, how do you—especially when the garden gate is locked and all you can do is stand there lamenting the damage and hope the person will come around? In other words, especially when all you have is email and you have no idea if they’ve been reading your emails of apology (3 total over several months so as not to be a pest but still trying to make amends) or are they just being automatically deleted without a glance?

Even just a short reply saying, “you’re forgiven," would be great; kind of like a handshake across the gate with nothing more to say, but a second chance would be the ultimate. If I could get back in with them and work to make the garden green again. Of course it would never be the same, but something good—maybe even better—always comes out of second chances.

However, as it stands now, my email inbox feels like a locked gate and the garden is abandoned.

Back to the how: I’d like to believe this is where Mercy and Grace come in. Mercy in that some day you’ll cross electronic paths again (like maybe they’ll stumble upon this blog...?) and Grace that you’re right there ready to make amends at the opportune moment. It’s all I’ve got and I’d like to think God’s Grace is the best thing to have anyway.

Why should I care and keep trying? How could I not? You break something, you pay for it, you hurt someone, you try to make it better—even if it was accidental and you had no clue what you wrote was going to shred the garden to pieces. That’s also why it’s so important to be clear on what you are communicating and how it might be taken (writing rule #3—but that’s for another bloggish muse—and second chances are a part of life rule #3).

Anyway, I will always have my bucket of garden green paint at a hand and will always hope for a second chance...

Okay, gotta go check my inbox again.

(No Seal CDs, green paint or my inbox were harmed during the production of this post.)