Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Fuck the Spurs. The refs handed them that fucking game. There's a good goddamn reason the fans in Salt Lake chanted, "Refs you suck," on more than one occasion. Anyone who watched that game and can say with a straight face the refs called a fair game is a dirty, lying, son of a bitch. Deron Williams is going to be (if not already) one of the best point guards in the league, and he can be hammered on his way to the rim without the refs blowing the whistle. Yet Manu Ginobli goes to the basket leading with his knee, and the refs call a foul on the defender? Bullshit. The Spurs, the refs, and anyone who apologizes for their behavior can go straight to hell. If I was Jerry Sloan, I'd tell my players not to play to win in the next game, but to play to destroy. San Antonio may move on to the Finals, but they'd pay a hefty fucking price.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

50 Questions. 50 Answers. Because I Can.

1. Elaborate on your default icon.

It's me, in greyscale, looking badass. I took that picture about a year and a half ago, when I still had a full beard. I've since shaved it all off, regrew a chinstrap, and then shaved that too. I like the pic, and I like the way I look with a beard, but I also like the way I look clean shaven. So yeah. What was the question again?

2. What's your current relationship status?

Single and not looking. And I'm perfectly fucking happy with that.

3. Ever have a near-death experience?

Can't say I have.

4. Name an obvious quality you have.

I'm an asshole. If that's not obvious, I don't know what is.

5. What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?

All of This, by Shaimus. It's featured in Guitar Hero, and is an awesome song. Go check it out:

6. Any celeb you would marry?

Nope. Fuck, yes, marry, no.

7. Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?

If they have, I don't remember what they said.

8. Do you wear a watch? What kind?

Yes, an Armitron analog "dress" watch that my sister bought me for my 22nd birthday. I had to replace the battery once, but it's still ticking.

9. Do you have anything pierced?

Both ears. Two in the left, one in the right.

10. Do you have any tattoos?

No, but I want to get one (or some). I think I'll make a tat my present for finally paying off my debt.

11. Do you like pain?

Not really. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, but I can't say I like it.

12. Do you like to shop?

On the internet, sure. In actual B&M stores, not at all. In and out, as quickly as possible.

13. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?

Dinner with my folks on Mother's Day.

14. What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card?

Two tickets for 28 Weeks Later, because the line at the box office was 50 feet deep with jackasses wanting to see Shrek.

15. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

Some coworker. I talk on the phone all day at work, you see.

16. What is on your desktop background?

A hot picture of Kristen Bell. It's been there for a while, and I've been meaning to change it, but now that Veronica Mars has been canceled, I can't bring myself to.

17. What is the background on your cell phone?

A default sunset at the beach picture. It's pretty.

18. Do you like redheads?


19. Do you know any twins?

I may have at one point in school, but that was a long time ago, I don't really remember.

20. Do you have any weird relatives?

I have relatives that believe the Bible is the literal word of God. So...that's affirmative.

21. What was the last movie you watched?

28 Weeks Later. That movie kicked ass. Not quite as good as the first one, but still one of the best zombie movies ever made.

22. What was the last book you read?

I'm currently reading World War Z, by Max Brooks. Before that, it, probably Harry Potter 6.

23. Is there such a thing as love at first sight, or it is more likely to be "lust at first sight"?

Since I've never experienced it, I'm going to say no.

24. What's your favourite novel?

I don't really have one. I like Terry Pratchett's books, I've re-read those a few times. Other than that, I really like Watchmen, but that's a graphic novel.

25. Do you read your horoscope?

No. Horoscopes are bullshit.

26. Who's your favourite of the seven dwarves?

Uh, I don't know. Angry? Grumpy? The asshole one.

27. When was the last time you googled your own name?

You mean besides right before I answered? Probably about 6 months ago. What the hell do you know, I'm the first hit. Tensided, baby!

28. What was your favourite subject at school?

Science. My 8th grade science teacher was a badass.

29. What was your least favourite subject at school?

Does PE count? PE sucked. Basketball was fun, but everything else was absolute ass, especially running laps.

30. Do you like having your photograph taken?

I don't hate it, but it's not my favorite thing, either. I'm on the fence.

31. What time were you born?

Around 9:30 pm.

32. Ever seriously questioned your sanity?

Only insane people think they're perfectly sane. Or something like that.

33. How many phone numbers do you have remembered and can say off the top of your head?

2 or 3. My cell phone stores all the numbers I need, so I don't need to remember any.

34. Can you Limbo?

I doubt it.

35. Have you ever killed your own dinner?


36. What phobias do you have?

Heights and death. Since a fall from a height usually leads to death, you could sort of say there's just the one.

37. What's your ideal breakfast?

Toast, eggs, and bacon.

38. Where are you right now?

At my computer at home.

39. What book or movie title best summarises your personality?

Shit, I don't know. You Can't Kill Rock n Roll by Ozzy Osbourne?

40. If you could suddenly get the skill to play any single musical instrument, which would you choose?

Bass guitar. Lead guitarists may get a lot of chicks, but the bassist gets quality trim, too.

41. Why do you blog?

Cause I got shit to say and this is a place to say it.

42. Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge?

I hate stupid people. But it's kind of hard to tell a stupid person by just looking at them, so I guess it's not really a prejudice.

43. What would you call your autobiography?

I'm Heath Wheeler, And You're Not.

44. What's the longest time you've stayed out of the country/where?

I've never been out of the country.

45. Do you use ICQ, AOL Buddy list etc..?

Yeah, but usually just at work for work stuff.

46. Do you have nightmares frequently?

No, I don't dream a lot, and when I do, it's usually not nightmares.

47. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?

What kind of dumbass question is that? If I was another person? I don't want to be another person, I want to be me. Maybe some emo fuckers would say, "Oh, meh, I wouldn't like me very much if I wasn't me." Fuck that, I like me just fine, and anyone who doesn't can go suck a dick.

48. What are you listening to right now?

End Over End, by the Foo Fighters.

49. Do you have any plans for the weekend?

It's Memorial Day Weekend this weekend, so I'll probably do some Q-ing.

50. How much cash is currently in your wallet?


Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I don't even feel like ranting about fucking Microsoft. Not only did I not get a call back on Friday, but when I called them to find out why I didn't, they told me I'd get a call Monday or Tuesday. Guess what? No call. At this point, I'm pretty much done with Xbox Customer Support. Even if they do finally agree to send my refund (and really, what's the problem with that, anyway? Why am I still dealing with them when all they had to say the first time I called was, "We're sorry you didn't get your refund, another check is on the way." It's now a week and a half later and I still haven't heard those words from them.), it'll take 6-8 weeks to get it.

So what I'm going to do instead is call my credit card company and dispute the charge. I've done it before when I've gotten screwed on online auctions, and they've came through for me. Plus, they have a guaranteed 30 day turnaround time. That's a lot faster than Microsoft. Plus, I bet that'll really piss those fuckers off. Oh, you don't wanna give me my money back? Well, I'll just sic the credit card company on your ass. They'll give me my money back, and then they'll come collecting from you. Have fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Double Sigh

What the hell is wrong with this world? I really want to know.

First, I got a call from Xbox Customer Support this morning. It was after I'd already started work, of course, but luckily, I wasn't on a call, so I just logged out and took it. I spoke with Wayne, and the first thing out of his mouth after his greeting was, "My team's been trying to get ahold of you for the past few days." No shit, Sherlock, it would help if you didn't keep calling me at work. I explained that fact to him (in kinder terms), and that I was, in fact, at work at the moment. He started to say we could do it another time, but I quashed that with, "Let's get this taken care of right now." He then proceeded to ask me what the problem with my refund was. "Uh, I don't have it." His response was, "You never got your refund?" Oh. My. God. Are you fucking kidding me? You mean I've been dealing with you assholes for almost a solid week now, and you still don't know that I didn't get my fucking refund? Seriously, are you fucking kidding me?

Frankly, I was too stunned to say anything like that, so I responded with, "No. No, I sent in my 360 last October, paid for the out of warranty repairs, and then was told in December I'd get a refund check since the warranty had been retroactively extended. I never got the check." To this, Wayne said, "Oh, ok. Well, I need to escalate this, then. What's a good time I can call you back?" At this point, we were queuing, and I didn't have the time or inclination to yell at him, so I said, "Anytime before 10:30." Wayne assured me I'd get a call around 9 am tomorrow. I bet I'll get a call around 11. Fucking idiots.

Second, Veronica Mars got canceled. For poor ratings. The best show on television for the past three years, and one of the best TV shows of all time (in fact, I'd say it's in my top 5, right behind Buffy, Angel, and Firefly), canceled by the dumb fucks at the CW. That's retarded.

What's more retarded is what's still on the network, and what new shows they're adding. Look at the shows they're bringing back.

  • Girlfriends and The Game. Racist comedies. Great.
  • Beauty and the Geek. Braindead reality TV. It doesn't get any lower than that.
  • America's Next Top Model. Completely vapid, dumbass anorexic bitches, all wrapped up in a reality TV bow. This piece of shit airs twice a week. For an hour. Jesus Christ.
  • Pussycat Dolls Present. Reality TV with skanky bitches who can't sing. No thanks.
  • Smallville. Why the hell is this show so popular? This is fucking Dawson's Creek with superpowers, for chrissakes.
  • One Tree Hill. Hey, it's Dawson's Creek. Fan-fucking-tastic.
  • Friday Night Smackdown. Come on. Pro Wrestling? Really.

And here's the new shows they're starting next season.

  • Aliens in America. Another racist comedy. Except, instead of making fun of black people, this one makes fun of brown people. Woohoo!
  • Gossip Girl. More Dawson's Creek. What the hell is it with this shit?
  • CW Now and Online Nation. The CW's version of Extra or Entertainment Tonight or all those other shitty celeb-worship info-tainment pieces of shit. I'll pass.
  • Life is Wild. I don't fucking care what this is, it's an hour of wasted time.
  • Crowned: The Mother of all Pageants. What?
  • Farmer Wants a Wife. You gotta be fucking kidding me.

The only thing worth watching on the CW now is Supernatural. And possibly Reaper, a new show about a young grim reaper. How I wish someone else would pick up Veronica Mars. Maybe a cable network. That would rock. Or maybe they'll make a movie. Hey, if the DVDs sell well enough...Excuse me, I've gotta go to Amazon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Microsoft/Kaiser Permanente Customer Service Comparison

I just got off the phone with Xbox Customer Support. Despite what I was told by Alec, I did not receive a call tonight. Actually, I've received three calls from them since I spoke with them on Friday. One call I got while I was at dinner with my folks on Sunday evening. Needless to say, I didn't answer. I called them back later, and was told I had to wait for another call back. I got the second call while I was at work on Monday afternoon. I couldn't answer that one, either. I got another call Tuesday morning, again, while I was at work.

So rather than wait for them to call me back tonight (like they said they would, but didn't), I called them. The rep I spoke with was nice enough, but she still couldn't help me. Apparently, Xbox Customer Support has a special escalated queue for these types of issues (i.e. a simple refund) that doesn't accept incoming calls, they only make outbound calls. Nina advised me tonight that the queue closes at 7 pm. That's just great, since that's when I get off work. I asked if they could call before I went to work, and she said that's possible. So I should get a call between 9 and 11:30 tomorrow morning. Of course, since I start work at 10:30, they've gotta call sometime between 9 and 10 or I won't be able to answer for the fourth time. Oi.

What I wanted to do with this post, besides the update, is list a comparison between Xbox Customer Support (XCS) and Kaiser Member Services (KMS). Let's see who wins.

Round 1: Ease of IVR
How easy is it to use and navigate the automated phone tree system?
  • XCS has a voice activated IVR that can help with a variety of issues, and if not, connects you with a CSR.
  • KMS has a touch-tone activated IVR that can help with a variety of issues, and if not, connects you with a CSR.
Winner: XCS, just barely. Voice activation for teh win.

Round 2: Hold Time for CSR
How quickly is the caller connected with a CSR after getting through the IVR?
  • XCS has an average hold time of 2.5 minutes (for my three calls over the past 5 days, anyway).
  • KMS has an average hold time of under 30 seconds.
Winner: KMS. We face heavy fines if 80% of our calls aren't answered in 30 seconds or less, so you can damn well bet we answer 80% of our calls in under 30 seconds.

Round 3: Average Idle Time
What's the average hold time per call?
  • XCS puts the caller on hold for everything. I don't know if the CSRs I've talked to are all new, or if they have no authority whatsoever, but they can't do anything without placing me on hold (and presumably speaking with a supervisor). I would estimate my average idle time per call with XCS was around 15 minutes.
  • KMS puts the caller on hold when they can't find or don't know the answer, and calls the Health Plan Service Specialist team. As an HPSS, my average call time is about a minute. Extrapolating that into idle time means the average for KMS is most likely no more than 90 seconds.
Winner: KMS. When I was a CSR, my average idle time was about 20 seconds, and that wasn't spectacular.

Round 4: Average Talk Time
What's the average amount of time each call takes from start to finish?
  • XCS doesn't do anything fast. What with placing callers on hold, and going back and forth from customer to supervisor to accomplish what should be a simple task can easily take 20 minutes or more. My average talk time per call with XCS was around 35 minutes.
  • KMS requires an average talk time of under 6 minutes for seasoned reps (i.e. over 6 months experience). Call center wide, average talk time is probably around 5.5 minutes.
Winner: KMS. When I was a CSR, my average talk time was around 5 minutes, and that wasn't anywhere near the best in the call center.

Round 5: First Call Resolution
Are issues resolved during the first contact between customer and CSR?
  • XCS doesn't solve anything on the first call. The first time my Xbox died took multiple calls. The second time my Xbox died took multiple calls. My refund has taken 3 calls so far, and it's still not resolved.
  • KMS has a first call resolution policy, meaning the CSR attempts to resolve every single issue during the first call the member makes to the call center. Call center wide, first call resolution is about 85%.
Winner: KMS. For the 15% of the time when issues can't be resolved on the first call, our CSRs call the member back, multiple times and at different times of day if necessary, to resolve the issue while trying to prevent the member from having to call back into the call center. It was rare for a case of mine to be open for more than a few days. My refund case with XCS will have been open for 6 days as of tomorrow, and I've made two more calls since my initial contact.

Champion: Kaiser Member Services. Am I biased? Maybe, but I don't think so. What should be simple issues with Xbox Customer Support haven't been, and I worked as a CSR long enough to know that simple issues don't take this amount of time and work. If they do, something is seriously wrong.

God, Microsoft sucks so hard.

Jazz Win Again!

Fuck yeah! Beating the 8 seed might not ordinarily be something to get excited about, but when that 8 seed beat the 1 seed, it sort of is. Not to mention that by doing so, Utah moves on to the Western Conference Finals. Whether they play the Spurs or the Suns, it'll be a challenge, but it's one I think they can meet. Who knows? Maybe this is Utah's year to win it all. I know I'll be watching every game.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Halfway There

I just spent over half an hour on the phone with Xbox Customer Support. The first guy I talked to, Billy, was real helpful. He canceled my Live account for me. He also kept checking back while he had me on hold, so that was nice. He seemed like a typical gamer guy, or at least, that was his phone persona. No complaints about him or his service.

Since Billy only handled Live accounts, he transfered me to James in Hardware for info on my missing refund check. James wasn't a dick, but he wasn't that great, either. He put me on hold as soon as I started talking to him. He checked back a few times since he was speaking with a supervisor to ask me some questions. As in, did I receive a refund check (of course not, why would I be calling if I had?), and if I had moved since I paid for the repair (that question does make sense, as if I had moved, I wouldn't have thought to make sure Microsoft got my forwarding address). I answered no to both questions, and James eventually transferred me to the supervisor, Alec.

Alec was kind of a douche. For a supervisor, he used the terms "cool," "awesome," and "right on" way too much. I get it, you're supposed to be into games, but you're a goddamn supervisor who's talking with a customer. Be professional, dick. He also didn't do anything for me. I guess sending out a refund check was too hard for him or something, as he told me I'd receive a call back from Xbox Customer Support next Wednesday night "to get things squared away." I didn't want to talk to Alec anymore at that point, so I agreed. If the rep that calls on Wednesday doesn't issue my refund right then, however, Xbox Customer Support and I are going to have a problem.

On a side note, I got a call while I was speaking with those fine gentlemen from a blocked number. It went to voice mail, and the fucking morons decided to leave a barely intelligible, utterly retarded message. I don't know if it was a prank call, or just a wrong number dialed by idiots who couldn't understand from my outbound message they got the wrong number, but either way, it's kind of a shame. Don't punk-ass kids have anything better to do now? Go play on the highway, jackasses.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'll Be Damned

Apparently, even after I've washed my hands of Microsoft, they've still got their grubby mitts on me. When I try to take action, I can't. Allow me to explain.

I signed up for Xbox Live back when I got my 360. I opted for the year in advance option for 50 bucks. You really can't beat about 4 bucks a month for online gaming. Trouble is, my Xbox 360 died twice in the span of a month and a half, and rather than continue to deal with bullshit, I got rid of it. That was back in November, when I still had about 6 months left on the contract. I figured since I still had my original Xbox, I could play that online. I didn't, but that's ok. Now, however, MS sent me an email stating that my account will automatically be renewed for another year in a few days. I tried to see if I could cancel online, but I can't. I've gotta call 1-800-4MY-XBOX to talk to a rep. Fantastic.

By calling, however, I can kill two birds with one stone. Cancel my Xbox Live account (seeing as how I don't have a 360 anymore and don't play my Xbox online or at all), and ask where the hell my refund check was for the out-of-warranty repair that was actually in-warranty due to the retroactive extension of said warranty. They said back in December it would arrive within 10 weeks. It's been about 20. I think I've given them the benefit of the doubt.

So I was all set to call tonight, talk to the rep, cancel my account, receive an apology for the refund check not being sent, and have that refund applied directly to the credit card they charged me on 7 months ago. The customer service line now has an IVR with some asshole named "Max." I went through the voice prompts (he only "didn't catch what I said" twice), and finally reached the cancel my Xbox Live account tree. Max then said, "Please call back during business hours. Our reps are here to help you from 6 am to 10 pm Pacific Time. Thanks for calling. Bye," and hung up. Fucking bullshit. If they're not going to be open 24 hours, I should be able to get my shit done online, whenever the fuck I want to. Now I've gotta call back tomorrow and waste the time I could be spending by hanging out with friends or going out to dinner or whatever the hell I could otherwise be doing.

I had been thinking about rebuying a 360 when they fixed the problems with it. Even if that happens, the problems with Microsoft won't be fixed, so I think I'll stay away. Far, far away. At this point, I might pick up a PS3 before I get a 360. At least then I could help cure cancer.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Not Long Enough

That's what my three day weekend was, not long enough. I did do some cool stuff, though.

I made a new comic for Tensided, after taking a break from it last week. That's still fun, and from what I can tell, it's still funny.

Got some gaming in, but not too much. Little DS here, little Wii there. Both solid purchases that I'm not disappointed with.

Saw Spider-Man 3. Not bad. As with most movies, I think it could have been cut by 20 minutes and been better. Seems like there are quite a few haters out there on the net. Not sure why. It's Spider-Man. If you don't like Spidey, why did you buy a ticket? That said, I don't think it had quite the emotional impact as the previous two films did. Or maybe I'm all emotioned out, not sure. Anyway, I enjoyed it, and so did my folks, and that's all that really matters.

The Jazz won tonight, which was awesome. Hell of a game, too, although I missed Heroes because of it. The Western conference is just so much better than the Eastern conference, it's not funny. I think any one of the four teams remaining in the West could beat the best the East has to offer.

Now that the TV season is coming to an end, I'm looking for new stuff to watch on DVD. I've added a bunch of things to my Netflix queue, and I've been jonesing to rewatch Buffy and Angel. So it's safe to say my summer is taken care of. Not to mention all those badass movies coming out.

It's still early tonight, so I think I'll start on Season 2 of Dead Like Me.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jazz Win!

The Utah Jazz are moving on, and now have home court advantage for their series against the Golden State Warriors. That's awesome. Tracy McGrady might have said it was on him whether the Rockets won or lost, but I disagree. It was Carlos Boozer's power game, Andrei Kirilenko's stifling defense, Mehmet Okur's clutch threes, Deron Williams' selflessness, Matt Harpring's tenacity, and Derek Fisher's experience, not to mention Jerry Sloan's gameplan, that beat the Rockets.

So suck on that, Houston. What the fuck was all that "Utah Sucks" chanting, anyway? Your team was losing, so you decided to declare the other team sucked? Fuck you. Utah may be filled with religion peddling, polygamous Mormon bastards, but they're no worse than the uptight, fundie redneck assholes that populate Houston.

Bring on the Warriors! We believe too, bitches.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Random Shit

Jesus Christ, it's May already? Where the hell did the first third of 2007 go? Goddamn.

I have a three day weekend this weekend. That's good, because I need some time to just fucking veg out, and not think about anything. I've been pissed off for the past two weeks or so, I need to clear my head. Maybe I'll take my folks to see Spider-Man 3 on Monday. That seems like a solid 2 hours of not having to deal with bullshit.

The network TV season is winding down, and I'm excited. Heroes really has me geeked, and so would Veronica Mars if I knew it was definitely coming back for a fourth season.

The Raiders took JaMarcus Russell, got rid of Randy "Crybaby" Moss, picked up a few good receivers, a solid running back, and a couple of offensive linemen. I'm not predicting a Super Bowl or even the playoffs next year, but I'll say this: the Raiders will do better than 2-14, and will not be last in the AFC West for the fourth year in a row.

Here's hoping Utah can win a game on the road and get out of the first round. Plus, that would mean Tracy McGrady still won't have won a playoff series. Ha ha. Oh, and how about those Warriors? Eat it, Mark Cuban. Unfortunately, the Jazz have to play them if they get past the Rockets. Shit.

Finally, Drive got canned by FUX after four episodes over 9 days. Why do I even bother?