Book Excerpt

I just finished reading Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay, the cover shouted at me in the used bookstore, “IF YOU LIKE HARLAN COBEN (I do,) YOU’LL LOVE LINWOOD BARCLAY.” So I picked it up. In the beginning it had that HC feeling, the plot was almost worthy of the statement, but in the end Linwood Barclay is no Harlan Coben. Not that I won’t read any more of his books, it was a mostly entertaining ride that is probably worth repeating.

As I went to color in the zero on page 101 (my way of ensuring I don’t pick up the same book more than once at our favorite used bookstore) I noticed that there was a page corner turned down. Ah, that’s right, I loved a little passage on page 182 that I wanted to share. Here you go.

In the years since she’d moved here from Hollywood, Ileana had gotten the small town college president’s-wife thing down pretty well. Expensive, but tasteful clothes, heels that were high but not towering and no longer made of clear plastic, a blouse unbuttoned far enough to draw your eye in, but not enough to give any real kind of show. But under all that upstate New York respectability there was still something of the tart about her. Like she was chewing invisible gum, making high-frequency snapping noises detectable only by the true hound dogs of my gender.

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I’m Glowing Again

Give Me A JayA confluence of events last week led me to purchase something that I’ve wanted for a while and had given up on after my last attempt.

I was catching up on reading some long neglected linkage on my sidebar when I ran into a post from August 26th on Darth Mojo. Wow this is what I was hoping for back in November of 2006, but that unit disappointed and didn’t get used too long before being exiled to a closet.

Then a day or so later I saw that very same keyboard listed in a Gadget & Gear Deals of the Day post on Lifehacker for a killer price, $55 with a twenty dollar rebate.

It arrived Wednesday. 

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That Was Unexpected

Not too long ago we finally replaced our old warhorse of an electric frying pan. Because it is just the two of us we didn't need anything too big, so we bought the only option we had in a 12" square size. It preformed wonderfully and the only problem is the markings on the temperature dial didn't last very long. After slightly overcooking something the weekend before last I surfed over to the manufacturer's web site looking for picture of the dial so I could take a felt tip pen and crudely recreate the markings. Not finding any help on the site, there is only one image of the thing on there, I found the contact page and left a note explaining my predicament asking for a photo of the dial.

Dear Brian,

Thank you for contacting Oster, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions. We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced with your SH12 and will be happy to help you.

Please respond via email with the exact date of purchase and a code located on the bottom of the unit or engraved on the outside of the metal prongs you plug into the wall to give the unit power. The metal prongs are located on the end of the power cord. This code should begin with one letter, followed by three numbers.

We appreciate your business and are happy to help if you have any further questions.

Jarden Consumer Solutions

I especially like that they told me where to find those tricky metal prongs you plug into the wall. I write back:


I have no earthly idea when the unit was purchased, I am not expecting a replacement under warranty, I would just like a high resolution or spec drawing of the temperature dial so I can remake my existing unit.

The number engraved on the plug is "A201J".

The label on the underside of the power section reads:
Model: TKSP-S008A-10
125Vac 60Hz 15A
E81296 (SP)

Thanks for any help you can give me,

The next day I get this reply:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for contacting Mr. Coffee, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions. We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced with your skillet and will be happy to help you.

We do have replacement options available for your SH12. Although we appreciate your willingness to repair the unit, we cannot send out internal components for both liability issues as well as certain patent concerns as many of our parts and schematics are considered proprietary company information.

Again, we do have replacement options available for your SH12. If you would like to discuss these options, please contact us at our toll-free number 1-800-334-0759. For your convenience we are available 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday - Friday, EST. Please have your electric skillet available when you call

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience. We appreciate your business and are happy to help if you have any further questions.


Jarden Consumer Solutions

At first I was a little miffed at the direction this was taking and then I noticed my poorly worded request. So I try one last time to get across that I just want a picture of the dial:

Holly, Jennifer or any other random CSR who gets this,

I believe I was misunderstood in my previous email because I said remake when I actually meant to say remark.

I just want an image of the temperature control dial so I can remark with a pen the missing settings, allowing me to be able tell what temperature I have it set at. I am not interested in a replacement part because it will, with shipping, handling and tax, probably end up costing more than if I were to drive to my nearest Walmart and purchase a whole new skillet. Which is exactly what I am going to do if you can not supply me with a picture, catalog image or hand sketch of said dial. And you can take a pretty good guess as to which brand I won't include in my decision making.

Thanks in advance for your consideration in this manner,

Frustrated Consumer

Figuring that I was going to get another polite email suggesting I call about replacement parts, I was totally floored with their reply the next day:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for contacting Oster, a brand of Jarden Consumer Solutions. We apologize for any inconvenience you have experienced with your SH12 and will be happy to help you.

Unfortunately, we do not have a scan to send you or a replacement temperature control. Therefore, I have placed an order for a SH12 that you will receive within 2-3 weeks.

You will receive an order confirmation, shortly as well as a shipping confirmation when our item leaves our warehouse.

Again, I apologize for any inconvenience. We appreciate your business and are happy to help if you have any further questions.


Jarden Consumer Solutions

Thanks Holly/Jarden Consumer Solutions/Oster/Mr. Coffee, really nice way to turn a possibly crummy situation into a win for everybody.

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Thanks Again Holly/Jarden Consumer Solutions/Oster/Mr. Coffe

Electric Skillet Temperature Knob

Our new replacement 12″ Oster Electric Skillet was sitting on our doorstep this evening. I want all my regular readers (all three of you) to down load this picture and save it on your PC in case I need it in the future. 

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Alone in the Dark

I like computer work while in the dark. That’s why I love lighted keyboards. At home the only things that give off light are the monitor, a small light behind the monitor pointed at the wall giving a nice ambiance and the previously mentioned keyboard.

At work I have removed the florescence tubes from as many fixtures as my coworkers will let me get away with, the room my cube is in holds four people. And I also have added a couple thicknesses of plotter paper to the ones that still have bulbs to dim them a couple notches too. I have two small florescent fixtures under the cabinets to each side of me that provide a nice bit of task lighting. It’s as good as I’m going to get here.

My other three roommates were not there for various reasons today, so I had the place to myself. About mid morning I got up, walked to the front wall and turned off all the lights. There was one fixture up front over near the door that always stays on for emergencies, but it is out of my line of sight. Queued up some light New Age/Ambient music and aaaahh, almost like home.

Trouble was the quiet didn’t last for long, as about half the front office staff pass through up front on their way to places and nearly everyone of them when confronted with the darkness had a reaction. They either had to a) walk back to my cube and ask if I wanted it that way, b) walk back to see if I was sleeping, c) walk by while shouting out asking if I was there or d) walk through and turn on the lights.

By after lunch everyone was used to the new darkness and I was pretty much left alone and I got quite a bit of work done.

Including making a Boss’s Day Card from a template I found on the web, love the retro business look. Here is the cover and the inside just said, “Happy Boss’s Day.”

Boss's Day Card
* You know, now that I look at it, it has a slight homo-erotic feel. Or maybe that is just me.

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Nowhere Man (& Woman)

Flagg Coal Company #75

Sunday by the numbers:
8 — O’clock wake up call
1 — Trip to the end of the driveway to get the paper
0 — Hours away from home
3 — Meals eaten in
0 — Caches found

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Modern Science

When we remodeled the bathrooms a year and a half ago we bought fancy new toilets and the nice nice lady at the plumbing supply house tossed in some Plain Jane seats for free. Well, you get what you pay for, the thin paint on the seats has allowed moisture to enter the wood and the undersides were starting to get ugly.

We went to Lowes the other day to buy new seats. There before us stood the giant wall of toilet seats ranging in price from $20 to $80. We eliminated half instantly because we needed oblong not round. Half again were eliminated when we dismissed ones costing more the $35. We further cut the nominees half again because they were painted wood. In the end we opted for the $20 one because it had the flatter top and touted it self as anti-bacterial or anti-fungal or anti-something.

To top it off, it is slow closing. Twenty bucks and it lowers itself slowly and magically down once you give it a gentle push. Isn’t modern science wonderful? 

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Cover Tunes

The other night as we sat in the Flying Pie in Newberry waiting for our pizza I was enjoying a song over their sound system and then the next one too. I hadn’t heard either tune before, but when they finished the DJ (do you still call them that?) mentioned the titles and that they were cover tunes. It was a satellite radio channel and we were in the middle of a Coffee Covers segment.

Usually if a song is real good, a cover of that song will be real good as well. It is pretty hard to ruin a great song (although most piped in grocery store music is the exception to this rule.) Sometimes the cover can be even better than the original, case in point, Gary Jules cover of a Tears For Fear song, Mad World from the Movie Donnie Darko or the Bangles cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade of Winter.

The new Lincoln car commercials are using cover tunes to plug their new MKX. I kind of like the redo of The Church’s Under The Milky Way, but I’m not too sure about the Blue Oyster Cult Burnin’ For You redo. 

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Talking Birds

1. This morning we stopped on the way to work to take some cash out of the ATM. Donna sat in the car, I walked up to the building and inserted my card into the machine. For every button I push on the ATM it emits a pleasant little beep.

Donna could hear some birds off to the right in a lie of hedges between the bank and a home. She also heard what she thought was a different bird coming from the big tree near the ATM where I stood.

Donna heard the birds on her right move over towards me and the other bird. At the same time, as I wound down my transaction, I heard a couple of very noisy birds so close that it sounded like they were in the ATM alcove with me.

The birds I heard were in the tree not the ATM alcove and the different bird she heard in the tree was my ATM button presses. So, did the beeping ATM talk those birds into moving from the hedge into the tree?

2. On our lunch time walk as we passed the car we could hear a crow in a tree in the pasture next to the plant, “Caw, caw. Caw, Caw.”

The Weather Channel was calling for a 30% chance of evening showers, so we had left the top down with the cockpit cover on, but the skies were now looking kind of dicey. As we walked, we discussed whether or not to just put the top up. I thought that it was probably going to be OK with it down as the clouds didn’t like like big rain producers, but I was not real certain.

As we neared the car on the way back, that same crow was still speaking loudly, “Caw Caw! Caw Caw!” It seemed like he was talking to us and it sounded like he was saying, “Top up! Top up!” So we put it up.

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Blogger’s Night Off

HHI Veteran's Memorial Park

Veteran’s Memorial Park on Hilton Head Island

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