Monday, September 21, 2009

Fidelity Investments Can't Count Money

Fidelity Investments is a pretty frustrating stockbroker to use. They keep finding new and inventive ways to prevent you investing your money.

Today's example is something of a classic..

Enough said.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Views of the Sky

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the sunroof in the oversized, behemoth of a truck is functional and fully slidey-back-and-forthy.

At the used car dealer, the sunroof looked bad. It was covered in duct tape. The shade inside wouldn't slide. The dishonest car dealer informed us that the previous owner found it was leaking and so taped it over.

The real reason it was leaking was because the glass wasn't in one piece any more. It was shattered into a million little pieces. These glass shards were not in evidence inside the car, but the were pretty much packed into every raceway, slider track, crevice and corner of the sunroof mechanism.

This wasn't clear until the duct tape and bailing wire cover was removed and I climbed on a ladder to get a view from above. Obviously I wasn't going to remove the cover until the replacement glass came in, since it was that that was keeping the rain out. So by that time the money had changed hands for the truck and we were back on the other side of town.

I'm not bitter. The price was right.

So Thursday, the $400 bit of glass arrived in the mail from a wrecking yard in Nebraska. Filthy and dusty, but in one piece. Of course, shortly thereafter, anyone who set eyes on it proclaimed that I should have gone to so-and-so's yard and talked to so-and-so. They could have got me a better deal. This is all very well, but until such a time as they get off their behind and put their automotive parts on Ebay, Craiglist or something I can find with google, they don't get the sale. This Nebraka wrecking yard not only put the thing up on the web to be found, but included which models and years it fits into. Thus proof that information is not only power, but it gets the sale as well, especially when it is posted on Ebay.

I expect all the physicists, computer scientists and information theorists out there to wince a little, since you know full well that information = a measure of disorder = entropy = heat energy not available to do work. It certainly isn't power in the work*time sense, but bear with me, I'm writing for a lay audience.

Back to the point. Yesterday was spent on a ladder with tweezers, pulling out every bit of glass I could find. I would clear them out, get in the car and move the sunroof back and forth. Each time it would move a little further and push another pile of glass bits into view before locking up. Repeat ad nauseum and after an eternity (time runs more slowly when on the top of a ladder with the neighbor peering on) it started to lumpily slide all the way back and forth. After some more fiddling, it slid almost smoothly, but no more glass to pull out was appearing.

A bucketful of goof off was employed to remove the duct tape glue from around the seal line and the new glass was screwed in. Another half hour of fiddling with the position and it would sit in its hole correctly.

This morning, right on time, the sky's opened and rain, the big, blatty, wet sort or rain came down. So back into the truck for a look-see and yay, it doesn't leak.

So I now have a fully functional sunroof through which I can see the rain and cloudy sky.

Celebrations were held at the McMenamins Oak Hills Brewpub. Wifey had the black bean, tortilla dip thing. I had the hamburger, to go with my new truck driving image. Nestled under the menus and specials was a small slip of blue paper advertising Penney's Gin. McMenamins are doing their own gin now. A G&T was ordered and it turned out to be quite good. Very fruity. Not quite Hendricks, but you can't expect miracles. Kudos to McMenamins for not fluffing it up, like most gin vendors do.