Adobe has the worst customer service

I pity anyone who has to get any type of help from Adobe. Unfortunately, they've taken over other software companies, so they've gotten too big and moronic.

Here's an example: I called up one time to simply ASK about some software they were offering, and got someone who was an outsourced robotic operator. She kept asking what my account number was, and I told her I didn't have one because I was a new customer, but she kept asking me as if she didn't understand what I was saying. It's as if they crammed some programmed information into her head, so all she could do was act like a parrot rather than answer my simple question.

Another example: they told me they would deliver an upgrade of some software that I ordered, and repeatedly asked me for documentation to prove that, even though I sent it a few times. Then they said that they were finally satisfied, and said they'd send me the upgrade.

That was five months ago. And now, they're acting like nothing ever happened.

If there is an option for Adobe products out there, feel free to compete because they have to be reminded that their customer service is awful, and they're bloated way beyond the size and capabilities they can handle.


I want to go to France

This year is almost done, and I think I'm going to make a trip to France one of my resolutions. I usually don't make New Year's Resolutions because they can be made at any time of the year, but I think France should be a priority because I've never been there! I've translated French into English, I've read a lot about French artists and have seen a lot of French art, so I want to go to the country that has it!

Unfortunately, my French friend who's lived in Chicago for a decade has gone AWOL, so I can't talk to him about good places to go. But I can still read up on a lot of stuff, and I live within walking distance of Alliance Française, so I can find out more there.

I'm thinking of doing an intense language study, but maybe I should just take a trip there. But I'll figure it out when 2009 rolls around.


Chinese boxing day

In the past, I've hung out with Mandarin speakers and have enjoyed tasty Chinese food around Christmastime. I don't understand what they're saying when they talk to each other, but it's interesting for me to listen to another language spoken by people who are still discovering American culture.

This year, instead of hanging out with the Chinese people on Christmas Eve or Christmas, we ended up getting together on Boxing Day, which really isn't celebrated in the US; I'm just linking the two events. Boxing Day, btw, is celebrated in England, Canada, and other parts of the Commonwealth, and while the exact origin isn't exactly known, the basic idea was that the day after Christmas, landowners and other highly-positioned people would give things to their workers and other people in the lower classes.

So since we got together today, I'm calling this Chinese Boxing Day. I'm full, but it was fun.


It's ready!

The book I've been putting together is done! There were several contributors, all of whom are talented writers and interesting people. They all wrote about life in cities throughout the world. See a preview here and purchase it in print or purchase cheap download here.

It will eventually be available at various online booksellers.


What kabuki looks like

I've seen the word "kabuki" everywhere, but when I saw it in Japanese, I didn't recognize it: 歌舞伎

I guess because I've seen it so often in English, it's odd to see what it really should look like.


House spoof

My friend was just telling me how much he hates the TV show "House" because the main character is such a jerk, which reminded me of this funny spoof.


Stay tuned!

Between doing radio stuff and working on other people's sites, I've been finishing up the upcoming anthology. It's going to be ready this week--in time for the holidays!


Recommended radio books

Corey Deitz, who started working in radio years before massive consolidation and syndication, has a list of books about radio that he recommends including:

"Cousin Brucie"
"The Pied Pipers of Rock ‘n’ Roll"
"Did You Whittinghill This Morning?"
"Have Mercy!"
"The Rush Limbaugh Story"
"Empire of the Air"

I haven't read any of them but I definitely want to check some out. I already read his book The Cash Cage, which I'm going to read again because now that I've been working in the biz, I'm sure I'll recognize familiar situations.


Remembering Elliot Judd

I found out today that Elliot Judd passed away. He was a linguistics professor at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and even though I never took a class with him, I did talk to him sometimes, and he was one of the few nice people in that department. He was helpful and was really passionate about language, teaching, and English acquisition, and even though he had a good job and was intelligent, he wasn't arrogant, and seemed to be truly interested in people.

Here is his bio from his university page:

Elliot Judd's major area of research is in language policy, especially in the United States. More specifically, he is interested in the socio-political factors that have shaped American language policy, both past and present, in the areas of teaching English to immigrants, teaching foreign language to native-born Americans, dialect usage, and policies that promote the maintenance or loss of languages other than Engllish, including programs dealing with bilingual education. He has also studied language policies and practices for English teaching in other countries around the world. Another area that he has written on is TESOL methodology, and curriculum and materials development for both adults and children. He has helped design materials and teacher-training programs for use in adult, community-based education programs, content-based mathematics for ESL elementary students, and in academic programs for adult ESL/EFL learners. Judd served as President of the International TESOL Association from 2006-07.


Too bad my Italian disappeared

I know a really great guy who's actually related to the multilingual teen (intelligence and talent runs in their family), who said I can stay at his place in Switzerland when he's away traveling. A great invite! But the only "problem" is that it's in the Italian area, and I haven't studied Italian in a while, which means I won't be able to speak it.

I shouldn't fret because I can always take a phrase book with me, but still--I'd like to be able to speak to people around there. And it only emphasizes the fact that I really want to know the language of wherever I go, which is an impossible task, of course :D


I can study languages for free!

I've been teaching ESL at a city college for almost three years, and I just found out that I could've started taking FREE classes a couple of years ago! I thought that teachers had to be full time or teach several hours per week to qualify, but my boss told me that I am eligible as well. So I'm probably going to take a foreign language, though I *should* learn more computer stuff.

Of course, some people might ask, "Why don't you just study on your own online or with a book?" I can do that, but having a class gives me structure and deadlines, and I can meet other people who like languages too.


Free English/Spanish bilingual book and CD

This is what's great about college: students can devote lots of time to creating projects. I found out about Fluenz.org, which is a site with FREE bilingual English and Spanish books and audio that you can download.

The students have given the project a political purpose by saying that "language is a human right," which I guess is a result of the ideology they learn with increased education, but I just see it as a good way to learn English or Spanish, and the practicality is obvious without having to attach some political significance to it.

The book is actually for native Spanish speakers because it has English transliterations, but if you want to learn basic Spanish, it's definitely worth the download.


I don't speak Chinese

Someone who's originally from China told me that they had a dream where I was speaking fluent Chinese with them. I wish! I've been negligent in my Japanese studies (even though I still go to a class almost every week), so trying to master Chinese would be very difficult at this point.

I'm taking an online course in addition to working weird hours and teaching, so my language study is not as intense as it once was. Anytime someone talks to me about language, I realize I miss it because I used to be very involved with it. So I really have to figure out a way to be more disciplined to improve my skills because I still love language!


Stargate trailer in German!

I know it's not a big deal to Germans, but it is to me. And the music is cool too!