Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Correction.....About Panera

That awesome awesome awesome employee is at the Washtenaw store, I guess I go to Panera so often (or perhaps this is a sign that I don't go often enough) that it's all mixing in my brain.......

Oh, and the spell-checker doesn't like Panera -- the number one choice on the replacement menu is penury....funny, huh?

Panera Update

Panera customer service must have passed on my email to the Colonade store, because this afternoon I got a call from the store manager. She was very pleasant, and said that most people do in fact prefer the number delivery system. She said they did some kind of customer survey. I guess I am in the minority, (along with the people who were sitting and griping at the table next to us). She did however tell me that any customer is more than welcome to pick up their food. She said that sometimes the people working the number delivery tell folks "We will bring it out" because they think some customers don't know that's how it works there. She said if an employee said that to me, I can reply, "I prefer to pick it up myself."

So now you know.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Pat from Panera Bread's Response

April 24th 2005

Dear Christina,

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your kind words and your feedback. The number system is currently being tested in your area. We have received a few complaints regarding the older "pager system" and the "name system" that we have previously used. We are only looking at easier options for our customers, nothing is permanent. I will make sure to share your comments with the appropriate decision makers. Thanks again for your thoughts, we value your business and appreciate your comments.

Best regards,
Pat Customer Comment Coordinator

Biothane orange is NOT the new Solent green, and not it's not really our Last Kiss

Where, oh where, can my Sadie be? The Dusty took her away from Me. She's gone to Grandma's, so I've got to be good. So I can see my baby when I Leave San Juan.

We were out on a date in her daddy's car. We hadn't driven very far. There by the road, straight ahead, a squirrel was treed, and a possum was dead. I couldn't stop, so I swerved to the right. I'll never forget the sound that Night. The screamin' Charlie, his tail rolled up, the squirrels laughing hard and fast.

Oh where, oh where, can my Sadie be? the lord took her away from me. she's gone To Grandma's, so I've got to be good. so I can see my baby when I leave San Juan.

When I woke up the rain was pourin down. There were doggies spraying all around. Something warm flowing over my eyes. But somehow I forgave my baby that night. I closed her window, she looked at me and said. woof woof woof woof, just a littleWhile. I held her close, I kissed her our last kiss. I found the love that I Knew I had missed.Well now she's gone. Even though I hold her tight. I lost my love, up north, for a week.Oh where, oh where, can my Sadie be? Kodi took her away from me. she's gone To grandma's, so I've got to be good. So I can see my baby when I leave San Juan.

I don't think Dave Matthew has bought the rights yet. AFAIK the Stones haven't either. If you represent a major label, you should know that before shooting any music videos, the Sci-Fi channel must approve Sadie's contract to make sure it doesn't conflict with SG1's filming.

OK, OK, so it's only been 11 hours. How will I ever make it a week? Honestly, I could use a break, and it probably won't be that hard.

The pups should have fun too, after all, they're "dogs on vacation." While we're in San Jaun, I hope they don't run off on my parents like they have every other time they've been "dogs on vacation." With the lake having thawed, at least they can't prison break across it, like we suspected they did this March. If they do escape, As long as they stop at Breezy Pt. and don't decide to go overland to Florida, and then swim to Puerto Rico, well, we will all be happy.

I hope my parents appreciate that Charlie and Sadie are wearing orange hunting collars like those pictured above. What a wonderful product!

The Biothane Orange collar is perfect for swimming, running or just hanging out. The dogs don't get that awful lake Charlevoix (or Saline River) smell ground into their sweet puppy necks. Charlie says: "Buy some now!"

Your dog will love it, even if he is anti-gun. Charlie and Sadie, wish they could go hunting, but their

Daddy says "Not until you're 17!"

Sadie says:"But Dad...."

Charlie says "Guns hurt my ears, but not as much as that time the daddy rolled my tail up in the window."

Sadie Says:"At least you didn't loose any ear-flesh like the time the mommy didn't know I was there....I wanna gun, I wanna gun"

The Daddy Says "Guilt trips won't work."

At first telling your kids no may seem hard, but they will soon forgive anything, because in this fashionable attire, not even cool dogs named Trout can make fun of them.

These collars are not only reflective, but Sharpie works great for writing phone numbers on them. Charlie and Sadie have a multitude of numbers: my folks', uncle's, and their "other-daddy" Brad's. Unfortunately, or fortunately, our numbers on their tags will be the last one's called by the UPS lady after she lures them into her brown truck with tasty hot dogs......made out of hot dogs.

I highly recommend these for all dogs who spend time in nature, not only does it make them hopefully more visible during hunting season so they don't end up as SadieJerky, but the collars make a great conversation piece.
FYI: I have no issues with hunting when you eat what you kill. Just stick to permitted wildlife, please.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fatty McFatty gets a Muscle Biopsy

Some of you know that I am crazy - crazy for science. I took part in a University of Michigan medical experiment about sluggish behavior, obesity, and energy storage this past month. The folks involved in the experiment are awesome, but the blood draws, muscle biopsies, and compensation really suck. If I didn't care about science, boy would I have quit after the first trial. So many students have provided cheap labor for our dissertaions over the years, it's time to give a little back. I hope they find enough people so Nick can write up soon. I also believe we need more humans willing to take part in clinical trials. That said, $375 didn't nearly cover the time and pain -- perhaps the time alone or the pain alone, but not both together!

Dan was great support, holding my hand, talking about Charlie and Sadie, and refreshing my ice towel as they cut into me. So now I have three tiny scars on my upper thighs. Dr. Jeff feels pretty bad about the size of one of them, but it was my fault for jerking when I felt my blood trickling down. It was really surprising because I was so numb, I didn't feel the incision. The biopsy itself sucks, it was supposed to just be extreme pressure and cramping, but the only time I've felt more pain was getting an IUD placed, or maybe that time I broke my leg. The good thing is the pain only lasts about 30 seconds, and you go from screaming to laughing. I guess if you are a tough cookie, you just grunt and bear it. They actually do this to people without numbing, right after exercising in some studies, wow, those subjects must be hard-core.

While I was in the hospital, CNN ran a study that fat people may feel pain more, but all I can find is this link. I don't know if this is true, or if I screamed like a girl, well, because I am a girl. There was also talk about the non-dominate side hurting more. If I ever get a muscle biopsy again, I will only let them touch my right side. No way can they go near the left. Also, the compensation would have to be way higher than $375 for three overnight visits. When we crunched the numbers it worked out around $5 per hour. Although, I could do my own research while in the hospital, it wasn't the best work environment. In St. Louis it seems they pay much better for studies. But I guess you take what the grant will give.

Still, they do some really cool tests on you, like a bone density or dexa scan. My bones look awesome, but unfortunately I found out I am 50% fat.

One of the perks is that now I get to see the nutritionist. She set me up on fitday.com and things are going pretty well.

After 2.5 weeks I have lost 5lbs! I'm down to 155, Yeah.

Here are the summaries:

2.5 week average of RDA Goals (I'm not taking a vitamin yet, maybe I will, but right now I am against it)

Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Nutrient Units Intake RDA % RDA
Vitamin A mcg_RE 846.26 800 105.78
Vitamin D mcg 0.481 5 9.61
Vitamin E mg_ATE 4.39 8 54.91
Vitamin K mcg 63.51 65 97.7

Water-Soluble Vitamins
Nutrient Units Intake RDA % RDA
Vitamin C mg 81.03 60 135.05
Thiamin mg 1.19 1.1 108.41
Riboflavin mg 1.15 1.1 104.34
Vitamin B-6 mg 1.29 1.3 99.18
Vitamin B-12 mcg 2.45 2.4 102.24
Niacin mg 17.85 14 127.49
Folate mcg 267.74 400 66.93

Personal Goals set up by Sacha

Nutrient Units Intake Min Intake Goal Max Intake Goal
Calories kcal 1642.8 1400 1600
Total Fat g 63.27 50 60
Sat Fat g 21.21 13 17
Sodium mg 2954.4 2400 3000
Carb g 187.32 190 220
Fiber g 22.73 20 35
Protein g 75.64 50 80

So, I barely squeaked in under the Sodium and am slightly above my max intake goals for calories, fat, and saturated fat. Overall I feel like I am doing pretty well. As far as the multi-vitamin goes. I get my vitamin D from being outside, my blood seems to be clotting just fine, so I guess that leaves vitamin E and Folate to worry about. I don't know about E, but I don't plan on having any children soon such as before 2015 (if at all).

No cash? God takes electronic payments

OMG. The ole alma-mater. ...Dearborn Divine Child High School, DCHS, crazy, crazy. This is pretty amazing. I thought it was pretty awful of my parents to drop their payments in bi-annually. If they are going to get the same amount of money regardless, would they rather have it in smaller installments weekly? Hmmmm. Still it's nice to see technology keeping up with tithing. I wonder if this has reached Olathe yet?


Letter to Panera Customer Service

Dear Panera

We love your products and try to eat at your stores a lot. We even own stock because we think you are a great company. I have been to all of the franchises in Ann Arbor, all the ones in St. Louis, most of the ones in Champaign-Urbana, one in Overland Park, KS, and some on the way to Florida. I ask for your gift-cards for all occasions. When we lived in Clayton on Concordia Ln. just across the street from your head quarters, I ate at your store almost daily. The point I am trying to make is that I do have a sense of how things differ regionally.

I have been a little disappointed with my Ann Arbor experiences, most especially at the Colonade Store. The food is still great, and the service is very personable, but they have decided to use those number cards to deliver the meals to your table. Some people may like this, but it drives me crazy. I admit that I am a slightly impatient person, but part of the Panera appeal for me, is the quickness in receiving higher quality food. It is a great place to go and do work because of the Wi-Fi. I like being able to order, go fill my drink cup and get napkins, and then have my buzzer go off soon after. It is very appealing to be able to grab my food, get a table, and then settle into eating, discussing, or doing business.

Today, your store was quite busy, and this is good for a stock-holder to see, but the lag between food ordering and delivery was a little long. Your food prep people were just as fast as usual, but when I went to the counter, which is the method at every other franchise I have been to, a worker politely scolded me, and said I would have to wait and that he would bring it out. Because we had two orders, and they are personalized by the sides, and I know your menu front to back, I knew that ours were ready. I think he was worried that I would grab someone else's order, or perhaps that he would get in trouble for not doing his job. Well, I decided to go back to the table and not make a fuss. I could have saved your worker time picking it up myself, and the toasted sandwich wouldn't have arrived with cold bread in the five minutes he took to get through the backlog of other people's orders.

I will still eat at this location, but I wonder if the "cafe" atmosphere is really helped by the number-card system. I much prefer the buzzer, or even having names called.

Your Jackson Rd. store is my favorite in Ann Arbor, and you have an awesome staff there! One woman who always works the cashier is especially great (I feel bad that I haven't noted her name, because she certainly deserves to be employee of the month on cheerfulness/helpfulness alone....she is a little older..50/60ish and wears a lot of those charity color coded i.e., pink for breast cancer, yellow for troops bracelets.)

I also like your store on Washtenaw by Whole Foods. There they do have a little more confusion about substitutions, but they always fix it.

All three stores in Ann Arbor seem to be doing a hopping business, which is wonderful! Though it is more of a drive, I think I will be visiting the Jackson store more, unless I am at Barnes and Noble or Whole Foods. My husband still likes the drive to the Colonade store, but I am too often frustrated there so given my druthers, I would choose to go to the other two.

Sorry for the ramble, but I guess my question is..does the number system and employee bringing the food to the table really help the Colonade Store? I realize it must be a franchise by franchise decision, but the Colonade store is the only one I've see do it, and I am not in favor of it. It would be interesting if your company had stats on the stores that do this vs. the others. I guess if the average customer enjoys it and it increases sales at locations, then it is probably the way to go, if not, you might consider passing this opinion on to the franchises that use the number-card/food delivery.

Thank you for your time
Christina ****

Saturday, April 22, 2006

CBS Poll on Religion, Evolution, and Politics.

Here is a poll from earlier this month conducted by CBS. It might be old news to you, but I found it sort of interesting. Their sample size was fairly low 899 I think, and probably did not include those of us in a unique demographic: "CELL PHONE ONLY HOUSEHOLDS" (though I could be wrong).


It looks like a lot a people (82%) believe in God or a Universal Spirit (9%), those who attend church most regularly tend to be Republicans who approve of the President's handling the country, and religious people feel they are discriminated against.

What blew me away was the % that reported that they attended services regularly (weekly?). It was 40%.

I also found, the question that they asked folks about how they saw religion, God, evolution, and science (complimentary, exclusive or non-applicable to each other) fairly interesting.

Finally, do I discriminate against the religious? I would like to think not. I don't particularly like those who feel it is in their religion's doctrine to persecute others, and even though I believe most speech, regardless how awful is protected, people should not be able to receive funds for their student club from the university (and perhaps should not receive recognition for their club at the university level either). The strange thing I have found about some of the really religious I have met, is their inability to live and let live, to turn the other cheek, to practice Jesus' message of love. Yes they may say they love the sinner and hate the sin, but no, they really do hate the sinner.

I try to live and let live, I don't know if I would like to go to a physician who didn't believe in evolution. If she followed protocol with diagnoses, treatment options, if she knew all about the latest tests and prescriptions, read all the new journal articles, and bought into micro-evolution, THEN it is possible I wouldn't fear for my life. If I had been happy with my doctor, and only had minor things wrong with me, and it came out that she thought humans were designed 10000 years ago, would I stay with her? I just don't know.

I was reading What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frankin at my doctor's office in Ann Arbor, and my Physician said "You're awfully brave to be reading that on this campus. It's nice to see." I don't think she knew what it was about, she just saw the big elephant on the cover. Maybe she leans left, and thought I leaned right and was applauding my strength in the bastion of liberalism. At that moment I had a different feeling, like she thought I was to the right of center and so was she. Who can ever really know what's in a stranger's, or a friend's, mind?

I had a moment's pause wondering if I wanted to continue to see her, but she's a great doctor and I could care less what her leanings are, if she does her job competently. That moment's pause was mostly in regards to birth-control, but I immediately thought "she works for the university so she has to be fairly open." I have seen her quite a few times, and she has been very easy to talk to about my concerns, I feel like she has recommended what is in my best health, after discussing all the various methods of birth-control out there.

I have yet to ask her about the Hot Bath method, though.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'd rather be down 3 minutes than up 1

Ok, so we all had a wunderbar time bowling. Go Team. For those of you who couldn't make it, or those in attendance who somehow missed the smack talk: Dan and I have a *little* competition.

Each week, the point spread is converted into minutes and then favors are paid for time owed. FAVORS! Like cleaning the bathroom, or something nicer like a massage.

In answer to tonight's Qs:

"No, having nookie is not a chore, but it is nice to have a little incentive to bowl my best."

"Although, I did clean the bathtub in the nude, it was in no way sexual. It really did take me the 40 minutes owed. No, I wasn't soaking in the tub. Yes, it was that nasty, since it hadn't been cleaned since moving-in in August.

Tasks and favors can be mixed and matched in any agreed upon way. Balances can carry over into the next week, and bargaining does occur. Some things just cost more and others are only worth what someone is willing to pay.

So tonight I owe three minutes. This is way better than winning one minute like when I came ahead last Sunday. That sure was a bummer.... I was down 60 points in the first game. Then I began to rock. Doofy-rue husband, couldn't let me win though could he? No, when I do well, inevitably he does too. In the end, I came back to triumph with 61 points in games 2-4. This sucks, because I sure don't want a one minute massage.

Dan should enjoy his three minutes this week.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Caption Contest Take

There is a caption contest for this cartoon over at http://r2000.blogspot.com/. Looks like the main competition is at http://pazziebuini.blogspot.com , but there are some heavy contenders among the comments too.

Here’s my take.

And no, I don't know if these actors are practicing the hot-bath-method of birth-control.

DTE ENERGY is overestimating us out of house and home

Have you ever actually looked at your utility bill? I mean, really in depth, looked at it? Like kissy face, mhwhh mhwhh, Oh DTE, I wanna marry you and have your little gaseous electrobunny babies? Most people don't give the bill the attention it deserves. Are you one of them? Do you merely cringe, and go online to pay it (or break out the old fashion checkbook and stamp)?

Regardless, it is very important to make sure that A) your readings are actual, or B) if they are estimated, then that the company is doing a fair and balanced projection. Otherwise THEY are winning and you should just piss your money down the drain. For those like us, who move around yearly, and are never in one place long enough for the company to use our previous year's usage to estimate the current season's, well we are just SOL.

Below see the story of two graduate students who move yearly or bi-yearly and how DTE energy hopes to skate by, and sort of does, then sort of doesn't.

My husband and I are super super cheap when it comes to energy. We never set the thermostat above 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, and sometimes not above 45. We put on sweaters and cuddle dogs.

This year I have had to call DTE at least 8 times to correct our overestimated bill.

You can enter your own meter reading online. If, however, you miss the target deadline for meter-entering you have to contact DTE directly because there is a window of about 5 days during which you can enter your own reading. Contacting them directly, especially sucks when your cell phone does not work in your semi-subterranean concrete-as-all-get-out apartment complex.

Have I mentioned that A) we don't have a land line and B) we get all our energy bills online now. So to place a call to DTE I have to take my laptop outside (because you need your friggen account number), stand by the meter to read the current number (unless you were smarter than me and wrote it down, or typed it up on the open MSword file), and press a multitude of numbers on your phone to finally get a person. No, dear automated caller system, I am not calling to find out how much I owe. I will not press 1!!! I know how much I owe and it is incorrect!

After 6 calls, silly me finally discovered how to email customer service. Not nearly as satisfying as a real person, but what the hey. I can't believe this took me so long since my preferred method of communication is email.

Let's backtrack for a moment however, and go back to the start of September, when the first call (after the initial to set up service) to DTE was placed.

Call 1 to DTE (Call's 2-6 pretty similar, but with mounting snarkism and frustration):

Me: "Hi, I'm calling to report my reading because you have over-estimated my bill."

DTE: "Why don't you go ahead and give me your reading." pause click click "OK, your new amount is 35.00."
Me: "Thanks for fixing that."
DTE:"Is there anything else I can do for you?"
Me: "Why yes there is. You see we just moved from St. Louis. My husband and I use a lot less energy than most people. In St. Louis I had to call a lot to get my bill fixed, they finally gave me postage paid slips to mail in with my reading. Do you have something similar?"
DTE:"You can enter a reading online. But you know, if you just let it go for a month it will get fixed the next time they read."
Me:"Well, I don't like to overpay my bills. Do you think they will be reading regularly?"
DTE:"I can't guarantee anything" click click pause click "But I'm not certain why they've estimated your complex, it looks like they should be out there once a month."
Me:"Thanks for the help."

After 8 months, this situation is still ongoing. If they never took a reading I would put the date on my calendar and be sure to enter my own reading. The problem is, that they take enough readings (about every 2 months) for me to forget to read. It's not worth my while to stay on top of the date and read, then enter it within the "window of opportunity." So by the time the bill comes and we've used 0-5ccfs, they have us estimated for 20-70. WTF? WTF?

Finally in frustration, I emailed my representatives SenLBrater@senate.michigan.gov, chriskolb@house.mi.gov. They recommended filing a complaint with the PSC at http://michigan.gov/mpsc/0,1607,7-159-16368---,00.html (there is a complaint link along the left-hand side).

After filing my complaint, a very personable representative from DTE contacted me and "investigated" the problem. She found that the readers were coming out but for some reason the company wasn't using the readings. Go figure? I sure don't get it! She has designated our address as a "hot spot" and hopes the problem is fixed. We'll see next month.

On the aside summary you can see in red everytime I had to call and the credit given to my account for overestimation. You can also get your yucks off if you're into looking at how much gas a person uses (like none for many of the winter months).

Our main bones with dte: What does the basic service entail if not a meter read once a month? We don't live in the boonies but in the middle of Ann Arbor. I also shouldn't be out the time, energy (no pun intended), and emotional drainage this situation has caused. Who has an extra $100 (or $400) for them to catch up with you eventually? I sure don't. What other service do we pay for that we don't use? If you are having problems like this, I urge you to contact State officials to let them know, and work for a more fair system for the consumers. Practices like these should frankly be illegal.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sometimes you think your shifty

OK, the whole world doesn't revolve around me. I know this to be true, but let's give credit where its due.

I also knew that email to Neal Conan was from my husband.

I'll take the Full Monty with pintos and chicken, but hold the chicken

So today we went to Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch. I like their bean taco, but am trying to cut down on fats so I didn't want the guac or sour cream. They have three taco options: the Other Lewinsky - beans, meat, salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream$2.99; the Full Monty beans, meat, salsa, lettuce $2.29; and the Ugly naked guy beans, salsa, lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream $2.39.

Me: "I'd Iike the full monty with just pinto beans no meat."
Moe's Counter Gal:"That's called the Ugly Naked Guy."
Me: "Yes, I know, but I don't want the sour cream and guacamole."
MCG " Well tell the next guy, it's still the Ugly naked guy."
Me: "Yes, but I want to save ten cents."

MCG rolls her eyes, and writes down Ugly naked guy.
Now we wait 2 minutes between stations for the counter staff to catch up on a called in order.

Moe's Counter Guy: "Would you like everything on your Ugly Naked Guy?"
Me: "No sour cream, and no Guac"
And since they pride themselves on personability, and making stupid ass jokes
MCG: "Can I have your sour cream and Guac."
Now I'm frustrated and don't want to get into the price difference
Me: "Sure."

We wait 2 minutes to get to the next station, while they top the called-in orders they are behind on. Dan is behind me. Since I am passive aggressive, I make conversation with him to let the dude know we are together and top his friggen burrito, so we can pay.

Me: "What did you get?"
Dan: "Just one of their burritos."
Me: "Sounds tasty."

Moe's Counter Guy gets Dan's topping order, and turns to the Moe's Cashier Guy.

Moe's Counter Guy: "These are for here and I think they are together" Looks up at our sullen faces, mumble under his breath "Or maybe not."

Moe's Cashier Guy: "Just these two?"
Me: "Yes"
MCG: "Would you like anything to drink?"
Dan: "One Fountain Drink."
MCG: "Just One?"
Me: "Just One" as I raise my pointer finger.

We pay and sit down.

As to the counter guy's, gal's, and cashier's sniffs and looks of sadness that we didn't play along with their banter, and only ordered one drink, I'd say (if I wasn't so passive, and if I had been pushed over the day's pettyline): "I'm hungry and it took forever to fill my order, you didn't fill it the way I wanted, and we only filled our cup once with iced-tea, not like some single coke-guzzling piggy-pigs" As an added bonus, cashier and counter guys now know irrefutably that we are either together, or that one of us does not drink while eating, (strange as it may sound my sister-in-law was once on a diet that required this).

OK, why the rant? After all, it's only ten cents. IT'S THE PRINCIPLE. Next time, I may just get the chicken or try ordering it with chicken hold the chicken. I am not a vegetarian any more, and even when I was I picked around the meat when I had to. I guess no meat is a 60 cent discount already, but no guac and sour cream is a 70 cent discount off the Other Lewinsky. All I want is another 10 cents.

Finally, if you hate beans and try to get the Full Monty with just chicken, does the MCG give you a hard time?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Don't sweat the small stuff on ebay

Have you ever left negative feedback on ebay for someone? She totally deserved it. The woman didn't ship my panty-hose for 3 weeks, because she overlooked my payment. When I contacted her, she apologized and said that she would be leaving me a freebie in the envelope. So I withheld judgment til my package arrived. No freebie arrived. I left totally honest feedback, and she responded with "Told buyer my father is dying in the hospital from Cancer." How's that for smearing someone's reputation? Well, my feedback is perfect and hers is not.