Wiped, tapped, done, and sorry for the shortness here. I did a Diner, though, so there’s that for Friday eventually - I’ll post the embed in the afternoon, so stop back. And there was a Bleat yesterday; the upload didn’t go through for some reason. Here is where I describe my system of aliases and automated things and other stuff that was crafted to make life easier, and fails. Or here is where I don’t.

It was hard to do a Diner for a while, because I kept thinking of the episode with the wolves and the ghost dogs. But now I’m better. Now there is a new dog who is a delightful little guy, more so with each day, but there’s not a moment’s peace. What is he biting? Eating? Chewing? Doing? A potent mix of energy, curiosity, and ignorance, which is just great, especially combined with a nocturnal temperament. Well, I knew it would be like this. Except Jasper, you gave him a stick, he walked around the house for half an hour worrying about something, either the end of the stick’s existence once it was done, or whether he should obey the Bury Imperative. For a while we gave him pig’s ears, which he loved, but I think they gave him an upset stomach; he would carry them around for an hour, making sounds of distress, before he set down to chew them up and suffer the delicious consequences.

Right now Scout is in the backyard - at 11:05 PM - working on a stick he buried a while ago. It has been filth-cured and is now extra delicious, possibly because it has a tang of squirrel urine.

Last night I was signing up for an airline’s frequent flier program, even though it’s doubtful I’ll use them much. Still, there’s nothing like getting Special Deals every other day in your inbox, and bi-weekly offers for credit cards, which, if used for every possible purchase, might get me an upgrade to Business Plus after I’ve put $47,000 on the card. Enrollment was easy, and I was emailed my site Login ID. Nine numbers. The email said I would need this to sign into the site. I went to the site after a few minutes; tried the number. WRONG

Waited a while. Tried again. WRONG

I was informed that the account would be locked if I had a third erroneous attempt. If this happened, I should call customer service. So I’m teetering on the razor’s edge of danger here: go with my original login - the email address - and hope that takes, or risk getting locked out, and ruining everything? Because I’ll be switched if I call up the airline and sit through the menu, which I’m sure has changed so I should listen carefully.

Tried my email. It worked. The nine-number thing was nonsense. Does anyone actually test these systems? I know lileks.com has its busted links here and there, but I didn’t spent $100 million on a big fat fancy website that choked on the most elemental and necessary part of the customer experience. (Tried the 9-number login the next day, just in case. WRONG)

But it’s nothing compared to the Norwegian Cruise Line website, which is A) beautiful and B) makes you want to wish norovirus on the site’s designers. You want to buy the dining package so you can eat at the nice restaurants? Here you go. You want to make reservations at the restaurants? Here, click on this link, where you can buy individual reservations. What’s that? You bought the dining package? News to me, the Website! So you go to the page that has all your purchases. There it is. Dining package. Click on the link that says “Dining Package.” Well, what do you know: a list of all the restaurants, with options to buy individual reservations.

I ended up phoning the 1-800 number, and got a throaty-chuckle smoker who sounded like she was handling calls out of her kitchen for extra money, and she noted that a lot of people called because the website was “Confusing.” At the end of the call I was offered the opportunity to participate in a survey, and boy howdy did I want to participate. She transferred me; click; silence; one ring; dee-dee-dee! If you’d like to make a call

Here’s the point. I have made four calls to NCL to compensate for the deficiencies of their beautiful show-pony function-impaired website. In each case I have agreed to participate in the survey. In each case the call was dropped.

Surely someone in the Customer Survey Satisfaction Department is looking at the results, and wondering why the number of people who have participated is Zero.

By now I’m annoyed that I can’t tell them what I think, and I actually go to the website to look for someone I can email, because I want to participate in a survey and it won’t let me. I know full well that even if I did participate, my high negatives would probably be regarded as anomalous, a goatish whinny from someone who uses AOL and has a desktop with 127 icons. But it’s become a duel, a matter of honor: I demand satisfaction.

Here’s the deep paranoid part: in each phone call, I’ve told the operator A) I have been confounded or annoyed by the website, noting also that I have been on the internet since they plugged it in and have designed upwards of five thousand pages, so. Also B) I tell the operator that I wish to participate in the survey, and keep getting disconnected. Also C) I tell the operator that I will praise them highly, because they’ve been very helpful.

It is possible that a higher power is listening in, hears my complaints about the website, and thinks: jeez, that’s the 124th one today, I’m going to get a bad performance review if we don’t get the “very satisfied” states up to 95%, I’m going to dump this call before it gets to the survey.

And that’s what they mean by “calls may be monitored for quality assurance.”

Can’t wait to take a cab to the ship in November and find my towels have been knotted with care by the steward into a perfect shape of a turd. Just so I know they know.

Well, that wasn’t short at all, was it? That’s because the dog is up and so am I.



Now, this week's batch of "Couple Next Door" cues, taken - I believe - from the depthless CBS EZ Cue music library. The story continues to explore Italy this week, from Venice to Pisa and south.

CND Cue #423 My Goodness! Hectic calamity music, but a very minor calamity. Or a squirrel going up a tree and falling out.

CND Cue #424 This may be the ultimate mocking wah-wah cue ever composed.

CND Cue #425 This may be the ultimate mocking wah-wah cue ever composed.

CND Cue #426 Never heard this before, although the general shape of the melody is familiar. The aspirin reference pertains to an ongoing, overarching concern in the show: toothaches.


More X-Minus 1.

X-Minus 1 Cue #27 More of the pseudo-Ravel, or Aaron Copland if he wanted to write like Ravel.

X-Minus 1 Cue #28 The bumptious tuba-tune that always reminds me of Holst’s “Uranus” - but here I’ve put two pieces together to flesh out the theme a bit more. (Bonus “Listen” bonus: the episode starred Alan Bunce, co-star of the Couple Next Door.)

X-Minus 1 Cue #29 A good title would be “Mounting Horror on the Insect Planet.”

X-Minus 1 Cue #30 If you’re dramatizing a story about castaway astronauts, or “Castronauts,” trudging through a desert, here you go.

X-Minus 1 Cue #31 Well, that’s nice of him. Proof that anything sounds like second-rate John Barry if you stretch it out long enough. By the way, the actor is familiar to anyone who saw “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” which was perhaps his most famous performance. He did a lot of X-Minus One episodes, usually playing bitter, sarcastic young men with an exaggerated sense of themselves. William Redfield.

X-Minus 1 Cue #32 Again, something that sounds like it could be used for a Monty Python chat-show intro.

X-Minus 1 Cue #33 The most noir cue ever used in Sci-Fi radio in 1959. And I mean that.

X-Minus 1 Cue #34 And this could be the second most noirist.

X-Minus 1 / CND We end with a synthesis: a CND cue used on X-Minus 1. That ties the post together nicely.



As they say on the Internet: well, that escalated quickly.

Start saving.

That brings our week to a close. I thank you for your patronage and apologize for whatever I didn't get around to doing. Patriotica ads - bonus pages this week, since apparently I forgot to add last week's, or lost track of which ones I uploaded, or something. Revel! Enjoy! And I hope to have the Diner link added by late afternoon.


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