Okay, so I have to hand it to HP. A man called me this afternoon to address my situation. He apologized emphatically for all the screw ups, explained to me how they happened, and then asked me if I wanted to talk about anything else. I summed up my experiences, explaining to him that I know that foul-ups happen sometimes, but that it really would have made things a lot easier for me if someone had simply had the ability to call me and tell me that they couldn't meet their commitment. He also made me walk through exactly how I came to feel that I had a firm commitment from HP, and when he diagnosed where that mix-up occurred, he said he would definitely take steps to coach the customer service rep to prevent such happenings from occurring to other customers. He then, of his own accord, without any request from me, informed me that he would like to offer me some sort of compensation for having to deal with this and for taking the time to help him find ways to improve the process. After going through some options, I decided to take a $100 refund of my service charge.

I'm completely placated by this result. The man with whom I spoke today was extremely empathetic and willing to listen. He explained to me why things had happened the way they had, that I should never have received a firm commitment, but that since I had some remedy needed to occur. $100 is not the full price I paid for the service, but I don't really think I have any right to expect that I can receive free service simply because I had a bad experience. I feel right now that HP cares about me and is pleased that I selected their product. And since I feel so poor these days, having the $100 back makes me feel pretty good too.

Of course, Einstein taught us that the world is essentially a study in stasis, so of course, with good news comes bad.

I had two job interviews yesterday, one of which had nothing to do with talking about my experience or my capabilities. The interview was simply a conversation. As the interviewer explained, nearly every one of my classmates has the ability to perform marvelously at the job. He had come, he explained, to find people who would be a good fit with his firm, people who made the office a little more pleasant every day.

I have always felt like I do a good interview. My qualifications are solid, but I generally feel confident with interviews because I'm not a stuffy person. I enjoy joking around during interviews and smiling and generally conveying the fact that if you want to hire me, you have to understand that I will take steps to make my job as enjoyable as I can. I feel like I make this come across effortlessly; I've been called charismatic and adaptable, the type of person who can find common ground with anyone. I've never really had a clique because, to some extent, I'm a member of every single one. I can be a jock, a dork, or anywhere in between. Based on this and the fact that I have a strong academic record and a good background makes me feel like I often have a leg up on people with whom I compete for jobs.

My girlfriend interviewed for the same position (actually, we were both interviewing to land one of five or six available positions) and received an offer this morning, which leads me to believe that the other selectees have also received their offers. Nothing against my dear girlfriend at all; she's equally charismatic, if not more so, effervescent, intelligent and inspires confidence. She's exactly the type of person I would bring into my office to make everyone else enjoy their work a little bit more (and exactly the type of person I want in my life to make me happy, which she effortlessly accomplishes every day), the type of person who can do that and handle her responsibilities with efficiency and confidence. She has great ties to the local community and an intangible nature that exudes ability. I'm ecstatic that she got her offer. I have no doubt that the interviewer knew thirty seconds after talking to her yesterday that he would make her an offer. I don't begrudge her a thing. I'm excited for her and proud of her. She deserved it and she will do a great job. This will be a great opportunity for her to grow and start building a very promising future.

All the same time, I cannot help but think that I haven't received an offer because of some defect in myself. Maybe I'm not so charismatic or fun. Maybe I don't enhance the experiences of the people around me like I perhaps flatter myself into thinking I do. I'd have no problem dealing with a rejection based on the fact that someone else had received the opportunity because they had better skills or experience or the interview simply went better. But the fact that someone spoke with me at some length and decided that I would not bring the types of personal qualities to his environment becomes a very hard pill swallow. It undermines a lot of my confidence in my abilities as a candidate. Maybe I don't interview so well. But more encompassing is the thought that maybe I'm just not as likeable as I'd like to consider myself, and that has much greater implications that the fact that I couldn't get one job. I'm feeling very low on myself. This effort to try and find a job has not done good things for my confidence and my self esteem.

Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe if I had gotten this offer I would have taken it because I wouldn't have to move and I'd probably make really good money and I'd have a chance to spend a whole summer with my girlfriend and her son in a relatively stress-free mode. I'd have the opportunity to take a summer class and take vacations while still building myself for the future. I probably would have had a hard time turning this offer down. And maybe that's why it's better this way. Going to school and having all of our classes together puts, from time to time, enough strain on my relationship with my wonderful lady. Spending an entire summer working together probably wouldn't be the best thing for us. And to be perfectly honest, my relationship with her is far more important to me than any job. How's that for a silver lining?

In the meantime, I'm still available, so if anyone wants me, just let me know. I might have to start auctioning off my services on Ebay. That would probably make for interesting conversation in future interviews.

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Joe Millionaire and The Bachelorette both reached their respective ends this week. In the next few weeks, we will have the opportunity to watch more misled people try and find their soul mate in the embarrassing light of national television. More close to home, members of our own community, like the adorable Madison Slade (and isn’t that a great name?), wonder out loud why finding the right person seems at times like such an insurmountable challenge.

We get excited about meeting someone, we feel that they might be “the one,” we look a little down the road, and then something happens, things fall apart, and after we finally work through our sorrow, we sit alone at night and wonder how we could make such an egregious error in judgment, how that horrible asshole could make us think that we had finally found the one.

Ladies, I have a secret. You’re looking in the wrong place.

To find your perfect man, you need look no farther than the feet.

While those of you in the studio audience chuckle, indulge me for a moment. You can sum up the character of a man, what you can expect from him, from a thirty second perusal of his feet.

Give them an overall glance. Clean, well-groomed feet can tell you that you have a guy who cares about his appearance, who cares about keeping himself presentable. But look deeper. If his feet look too good, if the toenails are always short, never in need of a trim, never have a little dirt under them, then he just might be gay. Remember, we’re talking about guys here. A little dirt under the toenail, a little length on those toenails, a little toe jam between the digits: these phenomena should not overly disturb you. A man needs to keep himself a little edgy. If he’s too clean, he probably wears an apron when he cooks (and yes, I do that), he probably keeps his bathroom immaculate and buys Windex and Comet in bulk. You want a clean man. You might be the type of woman who does not want her man too clean. The shape in which a man keeps his feet will tell you an awful lot about the way he lives his life. Similarly, if his feel look grimy, if he’s growing his own culture under the big toe, if his toes are gnarly, unkempt, repulsive, be wary: you might be dating a frat boy who’s idea of décor consists of beer posters and neon Bud Light signs. Learn about your man’s cleanliness by looking at the state of his feet. Moreover, a cleanly guy frequently manages to keep the rest of his life in order, and if he’s conscious enough to think about his personal tidiness, he might just be considerate enough to give you that emotional support you need.

Toe nails can tell you a little more about the man than just if he’s a clean guy. Sweep a glance over his big toes. The lay person might not think about this, but guys like to damage their big toes. We drop things on them all the time: dumb bells, pony kegs, your furniture when we move you into your new apartment. It hurts like holy hell when it happens, but having purple marks or even a fully lost toe nail on a foot is something of a badge of honor for dudes. A busted toe nail tells you that we’re okay with doing guy stuff. Picking up heavy things, carrying them around, setting them down inadvertently on our own feet. Some of you may claim to want a guy without rough edges around the corner, someone who keeps their feet immaculate as described above. But let’s keep ourselves honest: the gorgeous Madison Slades among us want a nice clean guy, but not one who’s a complete nancy. Big toenails will go a long way to telling you which one your perspective guy is.

But is he a complete moron? Can he maintain a decent, engaging conversation? Articulate, intelligent, and above all, interesting? And even if he possesses all these qualities, will he be a total dud in the sack? Four inches of flaccid nothingness? A thirty-second special? Or can he make you exercise those lungs, build up that tension in your body before relieving it in fantastical fashion? Will he make you want to practice your Kegel exercises? I know you think you simply could not derive this information from his feet, but you have followed the wrong path. Leave it to your friendly neighborhood Hose Monster to enlighten you.

You probably didn’t know it, but index toes can convey a lot of information.

We’ll start with the right foot. Check the first digit in from the big toe. Does it just sort of sit there, part of a descending line running from the tip of your big piggy to that of your littlest piggy? Can you draw a relatively straight line the top of your big’n to the top of the next toe? Or does it even protrude above the big toe, standing out and declaring its prominence and beauty?

The index toe on your foot indicates your level of intelligence. A long index toe indicates an enhanced level of intelligence. Use this knowledge to assess yourself. Use this information to assess your potential mate. (Bear in mind, I wish not to suggest that if you have a short index toe that you feel off the dumb tree. The index toe phenomenon is not an either-or principle. A short toe does not equate to dumb. However, a long toe does strongly suggest intelligence. Ladies, use this new info to your advantage.

Let’s switch to the left toe. On the left toe, you will find a very important source of information. The index toe on your left foot is the revered Sex Toe.

Go through the same index toe analysis described above and pray you find a long one. If you find yourself a man with a long Sex Toe, you’ve found yourself a tiger in the sack. You’ve found yourself a guy who knows his way around your body, who won’t twist your boobs as though he were trying to open a jar of peanut butter, but one who will caress them and lick them and make you moan from it. You’ve found yourself a guy with deft hands and a great rhythm. You’ve found yourself a guy who just might have a full nine and half inches of Third Leg. You found yourself a dedicated chauffeur to take you to Happy Orgasm Land. (Again, not an either-or principle. However, a great Sex Toe is more indicative of a great lover than its brother on the right foot. And just for the record, the index toe on my left foot has a whole quarter-inch on the big toe.

And the best thing about this foot analysis is that you have to wait for the right opportunity to employ it. Any good theorist needs to understand the pitfalls in his or her own theory. I recognize that most ladies cannot choose their perfect mate based on these four principles. But the beauty of the Foot Analysis is that every guy goes through a screening process with a woman before he ever makes it to a place where you, the beautiful Madison Slade or whoever you are, can surreptitiously make a foot assessment. Most of the time, you will not get yourself into a situation with a guy where bare feet come into play until you’ve spent some time with the gentleman, until you have allowed him the great privilege of buying you dinner a few times. The Foot Analysis usually waits until at least the third date.

This gives you time to perform an initial screening, to make sure that your potential guy has at least enough conversation to make it through a few nights with you, has the necessary smarts to know not to stare and that bitchy blonde with the huge boobs to your right. The Foot Analysis makes you wait until you get to a point where you think you might genuinely have an interest in the guy, a point where you wonder if he might be worthy of an investment of your emotions and your body. The Foot Analysis gives you a great way, unobtrusive of confirming your hopes and suspicions.

So all my lovely ladies, I share with you a great way to assess your man without his awareness. I share this with you freely, wanting only the best for you, and only ask in return that you use the Foot Analysis wisely and sparingly. And try not to share it too often. You wouldn’t want men out there to have a reason to start doctoring their feet in an attempt to jump your bones. Don’t let them effectively eliminate the viability of the Foot Analysis.

Yours in love,

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Today's Hose Monster love song: "Goodnight Elisabeth" by Counting Crows.

And hey, have any of you been watching "Ed" lately? Does it feel really weird to anyone else to try and watch the guy who played "Biff" in Back to the Future try and handle another role? I keep waiting for him to call his little principal girlfriend "Butthead."

Two posts in one day! Feels good to be back.

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Customer service is hard. I know this. One of my jobs had substantial customer service responsibilities. Moreover, I was a supervisor, so not only did I have to deal with irate people whose anger had grown because my employees could not manage the situation, but I had to find a way to solve the problem as well.

When you work customer service, no one calls you to thank you or tell you that they really enjoy your product or that they think your people are great. They call because they need something, because something broke, because they need something fixed, because they're angry and they want something to assuage their anger.

Great customer service reps are already halfway to earning their wings.

However, this in no way excuses bad customer service.

To be fair, when you call a customer line needing some help, you need to understand that the person with whom you're speaking probably does not have the ability to solve your problem directly. They may have the ability to schedule an appointment or send someone to help you out, but they don't normally have the leeway to solve your problem directly and remedy your situation when you have had to deal with egregious circumstances. So when you're all angry and talking to someone who unfortunately makes minimum wage on the other end, cut them some slack. They have a thankless job.

But they don't have a blank check to do their job poorly.

Let's talk about my computer. I own an Hewlett-Packard notebook that I bought, with the extended three-year warranty, over the summer in preparation for law school. It's a great computer, and while it has given me a number of headaches since last summer, on the whole I have been relatively pleased with the performance of the machine. Until the computer just suddenly stopped receiving AC power.

I place my call to HP and start get the ball rolling. After going through some questions with me, the rep tells me that I probably broke a pin on the connection and that I would have to send it in to a price tag of about $300. I tell her that I have the warranty package, and she responds that since this is physical damage that I caused by negligence, my warranty will not cover the situation. Yep, clearly this one was caused by negligence, especially when I baby my computer (since, as I learned over the last two and a half weeks, it seems the integral parts of my life wrap themselves to this machine). Moreover, the fact that I had spent over TWO HOURS working on my computer off AC power without moving it before it inexplicably went to battery clearly indicates I caused physical damage. Anyway, I argued about it with the rep for a while, but I understood her point when she said she had no way of verifying if my story was true. Shitty luck for me, but I really needed my computer, so after going through my options with her, I decided to send it in, principally because I knew they would have the expertise to fix the problem and the fact that she promised me it would be back in my hands within 3-5 business days. I later found that they had made a commitment to me to have it from my hands to them back to me within 72 hours. I did have to bite the bullet, but with a promise of that kind of rapid service, I decided to go for it.

I got my computer back earlier this week, two and a half weeks after I sent it to HP.

On the fourth business day, after the 72 hour period had passed, I called HP to ask where the hell my computer was. The young man with whom I talked informed me that HP had a ship date of 2/7, which had already passed, and he gave me a FedEx tracking number and said if I had a problem I would need to take it up with FedEx. The tracking number he had given me was for the package I sent to HP. Not the return package. So I call back the next day, more that a little miffed. This time the guy took the time to actually look at my records and figure out where my computer sat.

Problem was, he couldn't find that out. He didn't know where my computer sat or what the status of the repair was.

Noting that the commitment date for HP to return my machine to me had long passed, he told me would file a certain form that would, in his terms, light a fire under some one to find it, fix it and get it back to me. At this point however, I'm really not too happy. I understand this man is not to blame, but I want to trace the problem to a source. I want to know why I have spent the last week sitting in the computer lab every night working on my motion until midnight instead of working in the relaxed confines of my apartment. I want to know the reason why I had to continue postponing sending letters to local employers in search of a job.(Just for the record, I got two responses to my very late letters today; both firms had recently filled their summer positions.) So I ask this guy how I find out the reason for the dealy when HP fills out this action report and answers for the responsibility of getting my machine back to me. He responds that he needs to file this report and that report will cause someone to go figure out the problem. So I rephrase my question, stating that I understand someone has to file this report, but that once someone filled out the report, I should have a way to find out the disposition of the report. He responds that he has to file this report. We do this dance another time or two before he says this to me:

Listen, you have to listen to me. You're not paying attention to what I'm saying. Blah blah...-

I immediately jumped all over him. You see, you don't insult a customer. Ever. Even if he's a friggin' moron. The customer is NOT always right, but he's never wrong either. The guy then spent the rest of the time trying to recover, claiming that sometimes he just speaks like that. I was unconvinced. And he still couldn't answer my question about how I could find out what had happened to my computer. Finally, after I had been on the phone with him for about 45 minutes, I just couldn't take it any more and gave up.

That night I went back to the computer lab to finish my paper and to send a few emails to HP expressing my extreme dissatisfaction. One to the general customer service address, one to the CEO of HP. In both emails I explained that I understand things go wrong sometimes and when this happens we don't always have the immediate ability to remedy the situation. However, I also understand that in customer service, you NEVER make a promise to a customer unless you have a strong certainty that you can meet this promise. And under no circumstances is it permissible to make a promise, renege on a promise, and not notify the customer that this foul up has happen. You simply don't do it. Given that HP had made a promise to me on which I depended when making my decision to send them my computer and pay them a hefty sum to fix it, that they had not met their promise, and most egregiously, that they had taken no efforts to notify me of their inability to meet their responsibility, I felt justified in requesting that HP refund the service fee to my credit card.

The customer service email address answered me first, claiming that they were very sorry this had happened and that the person writing (whose name escapes me) had taken a personal interest in my situation and would personally see that my computer was expeditiously fixed and shipped. Unfortunately, the email said, HP could not refund my money. The email concluded that if I had any more questions, to respond to the email and the sender would respond personally. I responded by saying I understood and I appreciated this interest, and while perhaps refunding my money might be a little much, I still feel that given the poor treatment I had received and HP's clear disregard of my customer satisfaction that HP needed to remedy my situation in some other way than an apology.

In the week since I sent this, I have received no response.

I have my computer back, it works, and I have pretty much put my life back in order. I had a job interview today and three more in the next week, so that's looking up.

But HP, this isn't over. I'm not going to roll over that easily. You cannot ignore me like this. The first thing I'm going to do is publish for all my readers to see what a shitty job of customer service you've done. Then I'm going to call your ass up this weekend, when my life finally gives me a reprieve, and take it to task until someone gives me an adequate response.

Wait for it, bitch. Wait for it.

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Well, it seems that just as I get my computer back, my Internet connection in my apartment goes down and the tech cannot fix the problem without "a crew," whatever that means. It seems my lifelong quest for irony has met with great success lately.

Moreover, the normally reliable Haloscan comments have been very in and out, and I'm sure that's the only possible reason why no one has commented on my brilliant post about the need for a good female oral sex word.

I swear, in the last six months, I've had such shitty luck with computers that I am seriously considering tossing this thing in the can and buying myself an abacus. So sorry, kids, my gripe about poor customer service, along with other posts that at least try to catch you interest, will resume soon.

However, I do have some good news to report. We have a definitive answer to the question of "Who is that hottie?" An anonymous person posted in that comment that the mysterious hottie was Alesandra Ambrosio, but after all of us immediately went to Google and plugged her name in, we immediately decided that Mr. Anonymous was wrong. However, it turns out that this anonymous person was in fact right. Here's the site that convinced me (courtesy of a reader named PJ; thanks so much), and this picture pretty much confirms it. Check out the facial similarities. And I'm such a sucker for dark purple lingerie. Mmm.

That's all I've got tonight. Meanwhile, spend the time visiting my boy Alfred's either new or temporary blog, A Dog Named Clipper.

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By some amazing miracle, I got my computer back this afternoon. Man, do I have a customer service story for you. I'll post it tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm going to spend the time getting my life, which sadly is inextricably imbedded in my notebook, back in order and figuring out how much money I have in my bank account. Definitely good times.

I'm also going to take this moment to tell you if you're interested in the non-ESPN side of sports and you're not reading Eric McErlain's Off Wing Opinion, then you need to start doing so today. I emailed Eric with a question last night, and not only did he respond to me with great rapidity today, but he asked me questions on how I was doing and how things were going. This is also the same person who, when my grandmother died late last year, sent me an email expressing his condolences. Class. Absolute class. Anyway, go reward his class with a read when you get a chance.

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Today's Hose Monster love song:"The Freshman" by the Verve Pipe. But not the version that they played on the radio. For it to be a true HM love song, it has to be the slow version where it's mostly just the lead singer's vocals and a drum beat.

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This has troubled me for some time: why don't we have a viable and not offensive noun for cunnilingus like we have "blow job" for fellatio?

Seriously, think about it: walk around a college dinner table some night and if you give yourself enouhg time, you will probably find "blow job" thrown into conversation without hesitation. Frat boys will be talking about Will got Lindsay to give him a blow job last night, and Tom will respond that when Tracy went down on him last week, it was a blow job from the gods.

Blow job blow job blow job blow job blow job. You can say it repeatedly and you don't sound dumb, you don't offend anyone's sensibilities. And if "blow job" offends your sensibilites, not to be overly haughty or anything, but for god's sake, sit down, have a cup of tea and relax. It's just a blow job. BLOW JOB.

On the other hand, seriously, where's a suitable colloquial noun for going down on a girl? Spend the same amount of time walking around meals when only women are present, and I wager you will have a hell of a time trying to catch a conversation where Lindsay says something like "Oh man, Will gave me the best muff dive last night" and no way in hell is Tracy going to answer, "seriously, I love the dive. When Tom munched the rug last weekend, it was all I could do not to scream out, 'God, that was the greatest tongue bath ever!'"

I know, that was a little crude. Which perfectly illustrates my point. BLOW JOB = useful noun. You can ask for a blow job or say you got a great blow job and no big deal. MUFF DIVE/RUG MUNCH/TONGUE BATH = unacceptable. Guys will not offer these things. Girls will not ask for them. No one will offer or request a little cunnilingus; it's sex, not a grammar exercise. And "oral sex" is so passé some times. Saying something like "going down" is just fine, but I want a noun. I don't want subject words for oral sex to be the the exclusive purvey of the male species.

And bullshit on you for calling me out on the fact that girls are the more refined sex and thus don't have a good oral sex noun that can compete with "blow job." Yes, women are better than men in every possible way imaginable, but that does not deprive them of the right to have a good noun for that thing that makes them scream out your name, draw blood from your shoulders and bruise your nose with the up thursts of their pelvis (not that I know anything about that or anything). Not many girls that I know (and obviously my experience translate to everyone's) have a problem with "blow job," so shouldn't they similarly have no problem with a good descriptive noun for oral sex for them? I'm not volunteering "muff dive" or any of the above phrases because they really are quite crude and overly graphic. "Blow job" does not actually describe anything that really goes on during an actual blow job. So all we need is something similarly lucid and yet not crass to jump in there.

Any suggestions?

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