Mar 12, 2007

My Left Foot


I had my second Austin Bunionectomy done on Friday, March 9th at 7:30am at Framingham Metro west Hospital. Overall, everything went very well aside from one small hiccup: I woke up during the surgery and could hear the saw. I asked the anesthesiologist to "...give me more juice" and away I went. Good thing I couldn't feel anything because the sound just about freaked me out. (Also a good thing that this was my last foot surgery because I don't think I could have gone through this again knowing what a saw hitting my bone actually sounds like!)
Unlike the first surgery in July 2006, my doctor had to give me a little extra metal. The screw wasn't holding as firmly as he would have liked so he added a few permanent staples in there for good measure. I don't know if that's why it hurt so much post-op, but I felt the pain much earlier than last time. But Percoset is a wonderful medication.
Spencer drove me home and I immediately took my Percoset and went to bed. That's pretty much all I've been doing since Friday. Sleeping and taking drugs. You're supposed to ice the foot all the time and make sure to elevate it. This has been difficult because I've had to sleep on my back. I'm a stomach sleeper and I miss flipping over. But the pills certainly help.
My foot just aches and throbs. I was concerned about my follow-up appointment this morning with Dr. Parlon because something didn't feel right down there. Being that my foot was all bandaged up, I couldn't really unwrap it for inspection. However, the good news is all is well. I did have a lot of post-operative bleeding and the foot is very swollen, but nothing out of the ordinary. I go back to his office on March 19th for the suture removal and then a follow up visit in six weeks. I'll be hobbling around in my bootie for a while, but the worst is over.
I joke about wearing sandals and flip-flops this Summer, but really what I'm looking forward to is being pain free. I'm hoping to become more active after having both bunions removed and being able to walk long distances without the stabbing pain. I couldn't care less about strapping on high heels. I'm just not that kind of chick.
If you're interested in seeing what my foot looked like from the first surgery, send me an email at KimPerry@gmail.com and I'll forward you an invite to my Kodak Easy Share Gallery that contains photos of my right foot after surgery. Also, the link above will show you an animated video of the surgery I just had done. If you know of anyone considering having their bunions removed and have questions--send them my way. I strangely love to talk about the surgery because the whole experience has been very positive and not at all what I would have expected. I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there surrounding having the surgery done and I'd love to dispel the myths based on my first hand experience.

Mar 3, 2007

Driving LED Emoticon

You knew it was coming. Some technological device that would allow you to share your thoughts and feelings (aka Road Rage) with your fellow highway denizens with the use of 4 AA batteries.

Surf on over to one of my favorite websites-ThinkGeek.com-and spend a mere $29.99 to tell someone in a nerdy way to Back The F*@CK Off. You actually have five official message choices: smiling face, frowning face, "Thanks", "Back Off" and "Idiot".

Right now Massachusetts doesn't ban cell phones in cars, but I'm not sure if a device like this can be used. I suppose there's one way to find out. Just buy this awesome little gadget and shoot an LED Smiling Face at a State Trooper to see his reaction.

If it results in a ticket, let me know. I'm waiting to place my order.

Meez


Surfing the net in your pajamas on a lazy Saturday afternoon can be very dangerous. I jumped on the computer to check my inbox and Six Degrees of Separation later, I created a Meez.

Yup, that's my online 3-D Avatar. I've got the Bose QC-3 headphones on and clearly you can see how happy I am in the field of sunflowers typing away on my tricked-out notebook wearing the bunny slippers and beige Capri pants. My chosen t-shirt says something about me blogging, but you can't really see the details from this vantage point.

But you've got to try creating a Meez if you have about 30 minutes to waste. It's totally addictive just like creating a Mii on the Nintendo Wii. One of the drawbacks right now with Meez is you can't really customize your facial features to resemble YOU. They didn't have glasses for me to wear and their face shapes left a little to be desired. But the upside is I'm much cuter online, than in person, which isn't so bad.

There are so many more choices when it comes to choosing backgrounds, themes, animations and accessories. You almost saw me in an 80's Roller Disco rink wearing a thong and sporting a sexy black mesh top that I would never dare wear out in public.

In the bucolic setting that I chose, I could have added my Beagle Minnie to the meadow or an overweight Fluffy, but I decided to keep it simple. Flowers and technology at it's best. I wonder where I'm getting the WiFi connection in these Fields of Gold?

The site gives you lots of cool things to do with your Meez. You don't have to settle on just one. You can store up to five unique looks in your albums so there's lots of opportunity to have fun. (Don't worry, I didn't save the thong-wearing Roller Disco Kim) The profile page has all the standard information boxes, but it also includes a little chat box if you're into that scene.

There's just so much to do with your 3D ID once you create it. You can export it as a link to put on My Space or your Blog, you can get an Img Tag to use in Forum posts or a simple URL to link to your Meez. Want to send it to your phone? Easy. Just pony up $1.99 with their partner Zaptophone and you can send it as wallpaper to a cellphone. If you don't want to bother with all those fancy options, you can simply download your Meez as a .GIF file and cut/paste it anywhere you'd like.

I also tried their Add to Email option and was surprised to see a link to yet another one of their partners Gigya. It's a Beta email program that is being marketed to users of My Space. It's no surprise who their demographic is with features such as these options in their 'Fun Tab': Layouts, Graphics, Videos, Words, Smiles, Icons, Glitters, Photos, Tools & Toys and Games.

I'm hooked. I signed up for a free email account and easily imported my Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail contacts with a click of a button. Another interesting feature if you like Widgets is the ability to post any html code from anywhere on the web and make it public so other Gigya users can add it to their emails. I'm really liking what I'm seeing so far.

It's nearly 11:30 am and my Saturday morning is coming to an end. Time to get showered, dressed, walk Minnie and get out into the real world.

I miss my meadow already.

Knork


I found a really cool utensil that is kind of like a Spork, but seemingly more refined. It's called a Knork.

I'm one of those annoying people who has to eat Pizza with a knife and a fork because I don't like messy eating. I find it obscene to just stuff a big honking slice of double-cheese into my mouth and have the grease and strings of cheese drip down my chin. Yuck.

Mike Miller feels my pain. He invented the Knork to help me out. Well, not me personally but you get the drift. If you visit his website, there's lots of information about the Knork and how it works.

The Knork is sold at retail establishments, but for any of us living in New England we're out of luck. You'll have to buy yours from the online store. But there's so many choices. He sells them in plastic and steel. You can get fancy packaging or just a Knork in a plastic tube. I'd love to buy these as gifts so it's nice to have the packaging. The Knork is reasonably priced at $5-$6 for one made out of steel, however the shipping is a bit expensive: $6.71 via UPS.

But what the heck. I bought one to try out. And you should, too. It would make a really unique addition to a loved one's Easter basket this year. Or perhaps you could buy one to give with a gift card to Papa Ginos?

Mar 2, 2007

Rotten Apple

I ordered two personalized iPod (2nd generation) shuffles in mid-November from the Apple Store. One for me and one for my sister-in-law Katie as a Christmas gift. Personalization was free and each cost a mere $79. I was excited to have something as small as a matchbook to hold 240 of the most bass-thumping rap songs possible for when I started going to the gym.

Predictably the gym thing didn't happen. I finally got around to opening my shuffle at the end of January to load it up with some songs and discovered my laptop wouldn't recognize it. (I also own two other iPods so I was pretty comfortable with all the trouble-shooting techniques using it with a PC vs. a Mac.) I tried for days to get it to work and no amount of trobleshooting worked. I finally broke down and called Apple Support.

I was on hold for 15 minutes before I got to speak with an Apple Representative. I explained that I had done all the recommended steps, but she chose to have me do them all over again. Frustrating. She requested that I plug the Shuffle into each and every USB port to see if it recognized the Shuffle explaining that this second generation Shuffle had a known issue with power supply on USB 2.0 ports. You don't say.

I explained to her that I thought the dock might be defective because in doing some online research I saw lots of people describing the very same problem I was having with the Shuffle.

Once the USB port tests didn't work, she asked me if I had another computer to plug the Shuffle into to test it out. I did have another computer and I'm not joking when I tell you we went through all the same steps with my second computer. I became argumentative. Why couldn't she just send me a replacement?

She told me I could take the Shuffle to an Apple Store for them to test it out, but was quick to caution if it was the actual unit (and not the dock) they couldn't just give me another one because my Shuffle was personalized. There isn't an Apple Store near my home nor where I work. The closest one is in Chestnut Hill! Why should I have to drive that far out of my way when they could just send me another one in the mail?

I was asked if I knew anyone who owned a Shuffle so I could try out their docking station. No way was I going to tell them my sister-in-law had one and she lived down the street from me. At this point, I was really pissed at Apple's customer service.

She said that before she could issue a replacement, she wanted me to try out the Shuffle on my laptop at work. I know...I know... why did I even tell her I had a work laptop? I'm sooo stupid. I continued to argue with her that I couldn't believe for a $79 unit they couldn't just send me another one out the very same day.

So I took the annoying Shuffle to work and of course it didn't work. I called Customer Service again and requested a replacement. No problem--except that I had to provide a credit card in case I decided to gyp Apple by not sending back my original Shuffle. I was told to expect the replacement in five to seven business days.

I called Apple back on February 12th letting them know that my replacement was MIA. The Customer Service rep. looked at my repair record and explained that there was a block on my replacement request and that's why it hadn't shipped. She cheerfully removed the block and I angrily demanded my replacement be sent UPS Next Day Air. She agreed and noted this expedited request.

At this point I had come to the sad realization that as much as I wanted someday to own an iMac, it wouldn't happen unless it was a gift. This arrogant company made me bend over backwards to prove to them that their crappy $79 Shuffle was defective and now I couldn't even get the replacement when promised.

You can guess what's coming next, right? The Shuffle never arrived via Next Day Air. I called back a few days later only to be told that there wasn't any notation in my file to ship it NDA and currently there was a known backlog of Shuffles in Shanghai. Why Shanghai? Well, apparently they were replacing my Shuffle with another personalized one and this required it being made overseas.

I fumed and raised my voice. I asked to speak to a supervisor, but that wasn't possible because any escalated issues had to be forwarded to a Help Desk and the current wait was about ten minutes. I was dumbfounded. So I played the game and was eventually connected to the escalation Help Desk. I insisted that they ship a Shuffle out for delivery the next day. Apple explained they could do that, but since a confirmation number had already been assigned to my repair order I had a better chance of getting the personalized Shuffle sooner than the replacement. It was explained that there was bad weather in Pennsylvania that day and a non-personalized replacement might not get shipped out due to inclement weather conditions.

Disgusted with the whole experience, I simply gave up. I figured eventually I would receive it. Several days passed and the Shuffle didn't come. I'd check online entering my repair number only to see the canned notation "Replacement pending".

I phoned Apple one more time on February 28th to check on the status and was relieved to receive a FedEx tracking number. The Shuffle was expected to arrive by March 5th. Apple apologized for the delay and threw in the excuse about a backlog of Shuffles in the factory and additional delays due to Chinese New Year. Yea, Yea. I know all about Chinese New Year. I work in Manufacturing.

As I write this blog, today is March 2nd and FedEx delivered my Shuffle. I opened the box and there it was-my little silver jewel. I flipped it over to see my name in lights and guess what? It wasn't personalized with "Kim Marie Perry", but with the following:

NDR 1/21/73
It took Apple a whole month to personalized my Shuffle with that? How nice! Tonight after posting this, I'm going to try to use my brandy-new Shuffle. I'm prepared for utter disappointment and will be pleasantly surprised if this replacement actually works like it should. I can move on from their personalization screw-up because I bought a metallic pink slipcover for it and it will cover up the NDR 1/21/73.
But here's the rub. After my very first call to Apple, they were Johnny-On-The-Spot about emailing me with a customer service survey about my Apple Experience, yet it took them over a month to replace an MP3 player that probably costs the company a few dollars to make.
I've never worked so hard to get such poor customer service. So beware if you buy any Apple products. They may be ranked in Business Week as #18 in Top 25 Customer Satisfaction Champs, but based on my experience they wouldn't make the list. I'm not here to advocate Microsoft vs. Apple or PC vs. Mac. What I am saying is if they can't do right by me for a $79 Shuffle, why would I ever expect them to take care of me with an expensive $1800 computer?