Category Archives: Original Writing

Better black bean burgers?

I think I may have stumbled on a really good black bean burger recipe! I tried making this one, since it’s vegan, but I used beans straight out of the oven instead of canned ones. Even though I didn’t add the crumbled bread, and added some extra oil, the patties held together better than ground beef ones and produced a nice crispy crust when cooked. Admittedly, the flavor is a bit lacking with only beans and onions, but I’m going to try and replicate/extend my results next time I make a batch.

I served them with these, by the way. Best recipe for fries that I’ve seen!

T-Mobile doesn’t want my keypresses.

(For background, you may want to read about the time I’ve spent trying to get my T-Mobile account working as expected.)

Today I tried to pay my phone bill and noticed that the T-Mobile website account associated with my current number had been deleted (presumably this happened when my plan was cancelled). This was unexpected, but only mildly frustrating. I went through the registration process, generated a new password in my password safe, and pasted it into the field.

Nothing happened. They were preventing pasting, presumably as some kind of demented ‘security’ measure. Read more »

T-Mobile doesn’t want my money.

(A brief coda to this story can be found here.)

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to win a Nexus One through a Twitter contest run by whatthetrend. Unfortunately, the phone was incompatible with my previous network. I ended up joining the phone nerd flock and going with the most popular option of the era: signing up for an all-inclusive T-Mobile smartphone bundle, then requesting some esoteric modifications over the phone, resulting in a cheaper plan not normally offered to consumers.

I felt pretty silly a few months later when I realized that even when I did leave home I was rarely far from a wireless connection. I didn’t feel like throwing any more money down the drain, so I decided to switch to T-Mobile’s FlexAccount (prepaid) system. After a relatively pleasant phone call, their representative fulfilled my request. I answered some questions about why I had chosen to cancel and went on my way.

 

 

Except no.

Read more »

Sometimes it pays to be late

My plans for the next few years are murky at best, but in the short term, an option I’m considering is to take a trip out to California (it would be my first!). Here’s the Greyhound schedule for that journey:

This schedule is so streamlined that the longest layover isn’t even enough time to catch a movie. It’s an absurd display of modern efficiency: even for someone without physical limitations it would be a stressful, unpleasant journey.

But what of the alternative? Buy your tickets for the same set of dates, but as two separate purchases (NYC to Denver and then from Denver to LA), and the price shoots up from $126 to $199. In other words, saying that I’d like to sleep in a hotel for at least one night on a cross-country journey will add to the hotel and taxi a surcharge for the privilege of splitting my bus trip into two legs.

I assume that the average consumer would be fairly offended if they noticed this pricing disparity. But I find it humorous for a reason that only frequent Greyhound travelers are likely to know: you can use tickets on any day after they were originally purchased! By not paying for a ticket in the expected way you can take the same route – that is, the very same bus - for less money than if you told them you were coming.

Now, having set up the joke, so here’s the punchline: buying a ticket does not guarantee you a seat on that bus on that time slot in the first place! Here’s hoping you didn’t already know that – I had to learn it the hard way.

(Disclaimer: As long as the route is running that day and the bus is not full, it won’t be a problem. However, I have never been able to get a straight answer as to their policy about this, and if you get turned down at the gate it’s not my fault.)