Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finally Heading Home

Epic Journey Yields Rest and New Employment...

It turns out that we've missed most of the month of March on the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River because we left town March 4th and haven't been north of Greenville, SC since.

After 17 days I'm ready to go home and read some mail and make a few bank deposits.

This trip has been a HUGE success, as we've enjoyed glorious late winter/early spring weather (it only rained three days), spent time on beaches on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and covered five southern states (Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina) in the process.

Did I mention winning second place in a Chili cookoff March 7th?

Of course the real success of this journey has been my ability to negotiate long term consulting agreements with not one but TWO separate Green Energy companies here in the Greenville area to do development and marketing work over the next year--hopefully extending over the next five years.

After two and one half months of uncertainty since Lambert Engineers "downsized" I find myself comfortably back in the independent consulting engineering business with a steady work flow and clients eager to pay me to do clearly defined projects which very likely will grow exponentially--resulting in having the opportunity to build and run larger teams of engineers and designers supporting our efforts as we move the projects out of the R&D and Pilot Plant phases into commercial operation.

I'm tempted to continue to thumb my nose at the President and the usual suspects in Washington as they flounder around in the News headlines, but to be honest I must admit that, while I've gone out and found the work on my own by using my thirty plus year old network of friends and associates from my college days at Georgia Tech, when the economic dust settles our new endeavors most definitely benefit from the coming "Carbon Tax/Cap & Trade Program" and possibly from funding resulting from the "stimulus bill."

So now it's time to do a little more Internet news reading, cook breakfast for four, load Missy the Turbo Pup's lockers and sea chests into the car, and make the three and one half hour hop back across the Smokey Mountians through Asheville to Knoxtown.

See y'all later (and wish us a safe trip...If you will...)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Doesn't Has To Be A Resident...To Be Da President?

Political Insanity Continues...

I stayed at the Condo and worked "from home (away from home)" yesterday.

I also watched the circus they called a "hearing" on Capitol Hill where the clowns we call Senators and Representatives put on a little skit for public consumption on TV.

The poor bastard that's getting paid $1 this year to run the mess the government's made over at AIG sat there and let the usual suspects like Bawney Frank lispingly slap him around.

I say that it's a good thing these idiots have Secret Service Security surrounding them else they wouldn't last three minutes the next time they appeared in "public."

Of course if I'd been at that hearing and they were treating me like they were treating Ed Liddy I'd have jumped out of my seat and done a little bitch slapping of some puffy pasty democratic faces...dropped my trousers, and mooned the camera before exiting the facility screaming obscenities.

I guess that's why it's safer that I'm sitting here in South Carolina this morning doing Injuneering instead of running Insurance companies in NY and DC.

Time to make the coffee and get at it again...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Danger...Danger...Will Robinson...

Paypal "Security" Full Of Shit...

I guess when I look in the mirror I'm just a smug, stupid, naive, web consumer this morning.

You see, over the past few years I've grown more and more confident in my ability to shop and spend money on the Internet to get things I can't find within walking distance five miles of my house in Knoxtown.

Last Christmas I did all my Christmas shopping on the Internet...EARLY...and got free shipping and saved money and never left my computer keyboard in the process.

So any way...yesterday morning when I arrived at my new "office away from home" and fired up my computer on the company network the first thing I got was an E-mail from Paypal saying they had approved a purchase for THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY TWO CENTS.

Funny thing, but it was shipping to:

duyen nguyen
2625 Stevens Ave South. # 305
Minneapolis, MN 55408
United States

Anyone but me notice that my name isn't "duyen nguyen"?

Anyone but me notice that I didn't go to college with or otherwise know anyone named "duyen nguyen in "Minneapolis, MN"?

Now here's what ended up pissing me off and opened my eyes to how full of shit useless all of Paypal's "security guarantees" and reasoning for charging people money to do business through their website are.

The first thing I did was call Paypal and tell them that I had been notified of a "pending transaction" which I did not make and demanded that they stop the FRAUDULENT transaction from going through.

You know what they did/said?

They said that they could do NOTHING, and that I'd have to call the merchant in order to stop the transaction.

Even though I gave them their "transaction number" which they sent me in THEIR E-Mail they could do nothing but watch it FRAUDULENTLY go through against my checking account, then jack around for their obligatory 14 DAYS investigating the situation and then and only then would they refund my money if the FRAUDULENT transaction I was talking about went through.

Next I called my bank credit union in Knoxtown and was told that there was nothing they could do about the situation except charge me FIFTY DOLLARS for a "stop payment" and attempt to intercept the transaction, but if the amount was one penny less or more than THREE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS AND FIFTY TWO CENTS or the "ACH transaction code" was different then I would be out the FIFTY Dollars and either be overdrawn or still lose the money until their after-the-fact "FRAUD" investigation at Paypal and their institution was competed in the next TEN to FOURTEEN days.

Finally, I called the vendor (who's name will remain un-named until they finish their work today) and told them about the situation and in spite of having a hard time communicating with them because I didn't have a "customer number" or an "order number" (because I didn't actually place the order) I still have hope of them stopping the transaction because as of the close of business yesterday the equipment was still in their hands.

In the mean time I'm still faced with not only not being able to close my Paypal account, but also being unable to remove my debit card from their payment authorization records because I still have a payment "pending."

I was able to delete the other two credit cards from their clutches, but I'll probably have to spend another two hours today arguing with people in India who can barely speak English.

Not only should this situation be a lesson to me, but I hope that by telling you about the inane process I've been through in the past twenty two hours you will evaluate and reconsider your own relationship with Internet vendors and Companies like PAYPAL that promise the world and then deliver virtually nothing in return for their charges and fees.

In short, I say that PAYPAL SUCKS.

Paypal currently has my official designation of "BLACK HOLE OF THE INTERNET", and their "customer non-service department" SUCKS TOO.

That will be all...for now...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

New Engineering Work In Hand...

Looks like we'll be extending our stay here in SC until Friday, then it's back to Knoxtown for the weekend and back to Florida on business again the middle of next week.

I hate it...NOT!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Five States In Twelve Days

The Turbo Pup's Big Adventure...

I'm pleased to report that through the use of modern satellite pictures, NOAA websites, and the Weather Channel, yesterday we were able to execute the fourth leg of our never ending journey through the southern US without getting blown off the roadway or washed into the adjacent rivers and streams.

After delaying our departure from lower Alabama by about two hours, we traversed past Auburn University, Atlanta, GA and arrived at the home of my my old GT roommate's home in Greenville, SC about dinner time.

Today's meetings with various and sundry persons and parties will determine not only the schedule for the balance of this week, but also the goings on at the international headquarters of Industrial Energy Systems for the next three to six months.

That said, it's time to go walk the Turbo Pup, grab a shower, and head into the days meetings.

Wish me luck...if you will...