Technology Tragic

Google Checkout Suspended

I’m not a fan of Google anymore… they are becoming the new Microsoft. They’ve gotten so big that they no longer give you personal service and it seems impossible to even submit a simple help ticket that isn’t some sort of drill-down option that forces you to pick a problem that may or may not relate to your specific problem.

I setup Google Checkout for a client and then our account was suspended because Google was unable to verify our 501c3 account status. We faxed over the documentation and still 10 days later we still don’t have a resolution. Customers can’t register and I am frustrated with Google’s lack of response.

But it appears this is business as usual with Google.

See what others have had to say here:

Google checkout Account has been suspended

This is on Google’s own support forum.

So I could spend hours listing all the complaints, but the consensus is – DON’T USE GOOGLE CHECKOUT – and if you do, have a backup plan in place.

God Tragic

Binge Addiction | Struggling to Gain Control

“There are lots of reasons why stressed people might over eat or gamble or chase after hedonic rewards. Unfortunately this new result reveals another one,” said U-M psychology professor Kent Berridge. “People who feel bad during stress cope in part by overeating or pursuing other incentives.

“Now it turns out a stress chemical also activates the same brain mechanism that goes wrong in drug addiction to make us excessively want pleasurable things.” – (Click here to read full article)

While watching “Madea Goes to Jail” I heard a counselor on the show say, “She’s a binge addict, meaning she can go weeks, even a year without using and then suddenly start using as if she never stopped.”

When I heard this definition of Binge Addiction I realized that it describes me. I’m constantly under stress that is normally induced by overcommitting to employers, friends, family and myself. I have unrealistic expectations on myself and others and when I fail at meeting what is required of me, I go into a funk. These “Funks” normally last about a month and during that time I gain about 10 pounds. (What I need during these times is a nice place for  rehab where they understand that my privacy is important.)

I will finally get out of my funk and start an excruciatingly difficult routine that requires intense discipline in all areas of my life. I pull my crap together in such a way that for a short time I feel invincible. Things will be going swimmingly and invariably something happens. A few weeks ago it was getting hit in the eye with a racquetball racquet. It was a blow that not only rocked my face, it rocked my drive and determination. I was on the bench for three days and amazingly I bounced back. I got right back in the gym and started hitting the weights hard and running and doing my 3 hour workouts without fail. Things were going awesome and then 4 days into it I strained my back. CRIPES!

For 5 days I could barely walk without excruciating pain. Getting out of the car or off the couch took minutes instead of seconds and all I wanted to do was curse God and die.

I have to watch myself sometimes because I feel the pull to question God and ask him what in the world is going on? It’s like my whole life I was taught that if you ask God for something, “He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I’ve heard that sometimes his best answser is “no”, but I don’t feel that I am asking him for anything, I just need to stay healthy so I can accomplish some goals that are both physical and spiritual in nature.

I don’t think of myself as a whiny baby or someone that feels sorry for himself, but the number of times that I have been injured in the middle of trying to better myself is astounding. A broken foot 2 years ago, before that it was a couple of twisted ankles and then last year I hurt my back on a couple of occasions. During racquetball one day I hurt my wrist so bad I couldn’t turn the key in the ignition to start my car.

Last week I wasn’t feeling very good and so I laid down and woke up with a headache that had to be borderline migraine. I bought some medicine and it started to feel better and I couldn’t help but ask myself the question, “Why is this happening to me?”

I guess I wouldn’t mind these constant setbacks if there seemed to be a purpose. Do I need to be further broken? Humbled? Am i being taught some lesson?

The problem with my life is that everythin, obviously, is interlinked and connected. Things that cause me stress put a small chink in my armor – an armor that I have built up against the threat of myself. Perhaps its not gettng paid by a couple of clients that puts me in a financial bind or an injury, or something work related that I can’t seem to solve. Chink. Chink. Chink. And the walls come crumbling down. I’m defeated and deflated. I can’t cope and so I run to food and spending money to escape from the reality of life and the failures that seem to crush me like a flood.

I’m glad I finally have a name to go with my problem and perhaps now I can find healthy ways to deal with stress when things come into my life that cripple me and threaten to sweep me away on a tide of self-destrutction. But it’s a battle that I have been fighiting literally all my life and I’m tired, so tired of fighting the battle alone.

Stories Tragic

Table For One Please…

Tonight I went into On The Border for dinner. When you are out of town on business it is always hard to figure out what you will do for dinner. I walked in to the rather uncrowded restaurant with it’s big chain feel and explosion of spanish color and felt alone and awkward. This doesn’t normally happen to me and so  turned around and walked out.

I ventured further down the road and found a Casa Ole. This looked a little more independently owned and so I walked in with my head held high, book in hand, ready for some Mexican food.

“Just one?” The hostess said as she handed the menu to my waiter.

My waiter laughed and it prompted me to say, “Is something funny?” I felt a little perturbed because it was obvious that he was laughing about the fact that I was alone.

“Well, you are just the second guy in a row to come in and eat alone.”

“I don’t live here in Waco.” I replied, my voice stern. I don’t know why it annoyed me that he laughed. It was probably nothing, but for a moment I felt defensive, not for myself, but for all of the single people out there who get up and go it alone. We don’t have the commitment and responsibiities of married people, but often times we don’t have as much of a reason for living either.

I don’t have kids to feed or a wife to please, it’s just me and while this simplicity is bliss at times it is hell at others.

But I’m determined not to sulk or to get down on myself. Life is too short to whine about your circumstances, instead you have to do what you can to change them. I made this bed and I’m quite comfortable lying in it… even if for now it is all by myself.

Stories Tragic

Manufacturing Confusion

I came across an article recently in Wired Magazine called Manufacturing Confusion. It is in the February issue on page 38, written by Clive Thompson.

In the article Clive talks about how there is often a purposeful manufacturing of misinformation. “Is Global Warming caused by Humans? Is Barack Obama a Christian, is evolution a well-supported theory?” He opens the article with these questions and then continues to expound on the fact that we as Americans have heard so many differing opinions on the same subject that we no longer choose a side but instead we just block out what we hear and become indifferent and even ignorant to the truth.

Cigarette cause cancer, Beef – it’s whats for dinner, Atkins Low-Carb diet, Fat Free Diets, Milk Does a Body Good – as consumers we have so many advertisements thrown at us that we don’t know what is fact or ficiton anymore.

One of the most recent attempts at misinformation is those new commercials about High Fructose Corn Syrup. Obviously it is in almost everything we eat and it isn’t harmful to you… or is it? The problem with genetically modified foods is in how your body processes them and while nutritionally HFCS is the same as sugar, your body doesn’t recognize it the same as sugar.

HFCS, in my opinion, is most harmful in snack cakes, candy bars and any food where the first ingredient listed is High Fructose Corn Syrup. In these products we often will over consume because our bodies don’t realize how much sugar we are putting into our bodies.

Ever had a piece of really rich cake with homemade icing? It is so sweet that after one piece you satisfied and sometimes it is so sweet that you don’t even want to finish the whole piece. However, you can drink a 32 oz Dr. Pepper filled with High Fructose Corn Syrup that has 3 times the amount of sugar as that piece of cake and you will still want more.

My favorite quote from the aforementioned Wired article is this: “People always assume that if someone doesn’t know something that they haven’t paid attention or haven’t yet figured it out. But ignorance also comes from people literally surpressing truth – or drowing it out – or trying to make it so confusing that people stop caring about what is true and what is not.”

In the end it is up to us as consumers to do our homework and find out what is true and what is not. We cannot throw up our hands and plop down on the couch and do nothing, instead we have to start using common sense in some areas and a little trial and error in others.

Stories Tragic

Foolish Pride

On Friday I ran out of gas. At work. In the parking lot.

I was devestated. I started to push the car back into the parking space but the Honda Pilot is heavy and I was having a great deal of difficulty. A co-worker came to my rescue and I was at least somewhat happy that it was a male co-worker that wouldn’t later make fun of me for the rest of my career at TI when he passed me in the hallway.

“Eddie you need some help?” Chris asked with genuine concern.

“Yeah, I think I ran out of gas.” I said miserably with a chuckle of embarrassment. “This has never happened to me before.”

The truth is I’ve ran out of gas a number of times in my life, but not once in the last 10 years.  When I was younger I had a truck that had a broken gas gauge and it left me stranded numerous times. My main reason for not filling up is because I AM LAZY. Gas is a pain in the butt to stop and buy. It costs money and eats up precious minutes that I could be using to something productive, like eating malt vinegar chips and swilling soda while watching HGTV.

“Do you need a ride somewhere?” Chris asked.

“Well, I live really close by and so if you could run me home that would be great.”

I had friends coming over for a dinner and game night and I had much to do before their arrival.

I got home and pondered how I was going to make my last minute grocery store purchases without a car? I decided to just ride my bike to the grocery store and then when one of my guests asked, “Where’s your car?” I said, “Oh, I left it at work so I would be forced to ride my bike around town this weekend.” The lie came easily because I HAD REHEARSED IT. Can you believe it. How dumb and I?

Saturday morning I woke up and wondered how funny I would look if I was carrying a gas can to my office. Just two miles from my house it wouldn’t be a long walk. My brain processed all the possible options: Call Roger and Jes, Ask my next door neighbor, ride my bike with the gas can, wait until dark and then make the trek to my office building. I finally decided to disquise the gas can with plastic trash bags and ride my bike to the office. It worked flawlessly. The bags made it look like I had made  a grocery run. It was still so early in the morning that there were few cars on the street and although the gas can contained about 3 gallons of gas in it, I was able to balance it rather easily on the left side of the bike handle.

Lastly, I needed a funnel for the gas. What to do, what to do. I emptied out a bottle of Mrs. Meyers lavender fabric softener, cut the end off it and washed it thoroughly, bam!- homemade funnel created.

I got my Honda running with little effort after I filled the tank with abotu 2 gallons of gas. I immediately drove to the nearest gas station and filled up the tank and was delighted to find that gas was only $2.99 a gallon! Sweet.

So I got my car running without having to call on anyone (other than my co-worker Chris) for help, something I’ve resigned myself not to do. I don’t like being needy and sometimes it’s good to just figure things out on your own.