Monday, June 30, 2008

Devendra Banhart at Hollywood Bowl

Saw Devendra Banhart, who opened for Gilberto Gil, yesterday at the Hollywood Bowl. First time at the bowl since the remodel of the shell. i really don't enjoy watching a concert there because of the uphill walk to the bowl. of course, i had to walk even more of an uphill since i sneaked in the residential area and park there. i was sweaty and tired by the time i got to my seat. it wasn't even that hot of a day. i'm glad i wasn't carrying food or wine. i like the prepared food at pinot (marketplace) cafe, but it can be pricey. i purchased 2 small bottles of beers for $6 each. i sat in the bench section (section F) behind the box section. it was hard to see anything from there so i just watched the 2 large screens near our seats. binoculars are necessary at the bowl if you are sitting in any bench seating and don't want to watch the large side screens.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nintendo Wii Fit Refunded

i only used the wii fit once to try it out and never used it again. for me, it was one of those products that would probably just end up collecting dust somewhere in your home. i put all parts back in the packaging the same way it came in as best i could. since i had purchased my wii fit at target, i had assumed the return policy was the same as everything else (90 days). not so. the target employees' gave me a hard time since it was considered an electronic item. it was practically unreturnable since i had used it once (how else was i suppose to know if i liked it or not?) the large sign the employee pointed to stated "some items cannot be returned if opened...". some items? of course, the wii fit was not explicitly stated on their return policy. the employee said that they would not be able to resell it (which i did not believe since it was in practically new condition and a very in demand product). the employee called the manager who he said would be able to make the final decision. a manager came and asked the employee if all parts were inside and if so, to give me a refund. thank goodness. i really didn't see them having a problem reselling it. whew!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EBay to Strengthen PayPal’s Anti-Fraud Provisions - NY Times article

hmmmm... very interesting. especially after what happened to me earlier this week with paypal. ebay/paypal supposedly offers buyers coverage currently but apparently it does not apply to me since paypal cannot recover funds from the seller account. i certainly did not get the item i paid for and it has been nearly 4 weeks since the auction ended, but apparently there's nothing i nor paypal can do about it since the seller withdrew all her funds before the dispute ended.

NY Times article

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- EBay Inc. hopes to attract more online traders by expanding the protections available to people who use its PayPal payment service for transactions on eBay's Internet marketplaces.

EBay executives said Thursday at the company's annual user conference that buyers who pay for items with PayPal will be eligible for full refunds, with no cap, if a seller fails to deliver an item as promised. Previously a buyer's coverage was capped at $200, or $2,000 if the item's seller enjoyed a particularly good reputation on eBay.

EBay sellers who accept PayPal as a payment method -- as nearly all of them do -- will also get unlimited protection against a charge being reversed. Such reversals can happen if a buyer claims not to get an item, or if a payment is fraudulently made. Previously sellers' coverage had an annual limit of $5,000, and applied only for shipments to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

PayPal spokeswoman Sara Gorman said the changes, due to take effect this fall, reflect the service's increasing confidence in its ability to spot and block many fraudulent transactions before they occur.

The steps come as eBay is trying several measures aimed at making its auctions and fixed-price listings easier and safer to use. Recently eBay revamped its feedback mechanisms and introduced new incentives for frequent sellers.

However, an earlier attempt to drive use of PayPal has encountered friction. The company recently postponed plans to require PayPal on all transactions in Australia after that nation's antitrust regulator raised objections.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ebay / Paypal Dispute System Sucks

so i bid on a pair of new jeans which ended on memorial day, 5/26 for $57 ($51 plus $6 shipping). on the auction description, the seller stated that the item would be mailed via priority mail which takes 2-3 days. paid via paypal immediately after auction ended. paypal withdrew the money from my bank account. i didn't hear from the seller after 3 emails to her in over a week and assumed she might have sent the item already. i did not receive the item the following week either and no response from her, so my only option was to file a dispute with paypal. ebay/paypal make you wait 10 days to file a dispute and then you have to wait another 10 days for them to resolve the issue after they notify the seller to respond. what a drag. i just wanted my money back. she finally contacted me on 6/13 (almost 3 weeks later) stating that she sent the item on 5/30 and she hadn't had time to respond because she was busy with school. it was a sorry, unbelievable excuse. whatever. i told her i would wait one more week and she agreed that she would give me a refund if i didn't receive the item by then. she told me that paypal's dispute system only allows her, the seller to either refund the money or submit tracking info, which she did not have, and asked me to cancel the dispute because they were going to automatically withdraw money out of her account and refund it to me. she didn't want to refund the money because she claims she sent them and i would be receiving it any day now. i told her i was not going to cancel the claim because i wanted to protect myself and if money was withdrawn from her account, i would mail her a check if i ever did receive the jeans. apparently, she withdrew all her money from the account before the paypal dispute ended so paypal would not be able to withdraw money. here is paypal's email response i got:
After careful review, we have concluded our investigation of the Buyer
Complaint described below.

We have decided in your favor, however, we were unable to recover any funds
from the seller's account. As stated in the PayPal User Agreement, recovery
of funds associated with a Buyer Complaint cannot be guaranteed.

Please know that we will make our best effort to recover the funds in
question if they become available in the seller's account in the future and
will take appropriate action against the seller. Such action may include
issuing a warning, a temporary restriction, or terminating the account.
Keep in mind that PayPal uses a number of factors to determine when to take
action, including member complaints. Due to privacy laws, we cannot discuss
the details of any action taken. We hope you understand our policy and that
it assures you that you are safe using PayPal.
So basically, i may never get my money back. thank goodness this wasn't a more expensive item. lesson learned here: always pay with your credit card and let paypal charge your credit card instead of withdraw from your bank account.
at least you have some protection with your credit card. i also don't think paypal's punishment of issuing a warning, temporary restriction, or terminating the account is harsh enough.

Seoul Garden on Olympic (2 blocks east of Alvarado on Bonnie Brae)

korean shabu shabu (genghis khan). i love this place. it's $23.99 per person for the standard shabu shabu (meat). mostly korean clientele and the servers speak very little english, but enough to serve someone who doesn't speak korean. they give tons of thin sliced (very marbled) meat with separate plate of a mound of vegetables. one pot is shared among the entire table. a small salad and traditional korean side dishes are served as well (kimchee, etc). you cook the meat with the accompanying vegetables in the pot. after you are done eating the meat and vegetables, a server comes by with a small side of noodles and adds it to your remaining broth. when you are done eating the noodles, rice is then added to the remaining broth along with sesame oil and seaweed flakes. a refreshing sweet rice tea is served at the end as well. so yummy. i got there around 6 pm and we were seated right away, but at the end of our meal, we were rushed out and there was a wait.

free valet parking behind the restaurant (enter on bonnie brae). very easy to miss.

1833 w. olympic blvd. (at bonnie brae)
los angeles, ca 90006

Hollywood and Highland

Does anyone actually go here to shop? i can only imagine going shopping there or watching a movie if i lived near by or wanted to take out of town guests. yesterday, i went to exchange a $20 item at The Gap for a different size that i had put on hold. crowded as usual and heavy traffic and it was a tuesday night. i can only imagine what a nightmare it is on the weekend. i was too cheap to park inside ($2 for 4 hours) since i only wanted to run in and exchange the item and it was only $20. i drove around looking for parking and finally found one after 20 minutes 5 blocks away (i probably ended up wasting more money in terms of gas). although the area is supposedly getting better in terms of higher end stores moving into the area, i find the area still in need of much improvement. i walked about 5 blocks and there was either a homeless person on every block either asking for change or talking to himself out loud. i did not feel safe, even with the presence of cops driving by. i was constantly watching behind me to see if anyone was going to attack me from behind. i'm not going to be cheap about parking next time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fridgidaire Refrigerator Warranty

Last year, i had gotten a new fridgidaire fridge on 6/13/07 (18 cu. ft, energy star). i did notice that my dwp electric bill went down about $20-30 per 2 month cycle since then. bottom fridge recently would not close right and fridge started to make slight noises. luckily for me, my fridge was still under a 1 year warranty. i called fridgidaire and they gave me the telephone numbers of 3 fridge repair companies that they have contracts with near my area to set up an appt. a repairman came out yesterday from Check Appliances. this repair guy knew his stuff. he said the irregular noise i was hearing was from the doors not being completely sealed. apparently, outside air was getting inside causing more frost/ice particles to build up in the freezer, so the fan has to work extra hard. ice particles also get stuck inside the fan/timer causing the noise. when the ice breaks off of the fan, the fridge is quiet again. the bottom fridge door was not closing properly because it was not screwed on properly. thus, gravity was pulling it forward. he re-adjusted the door as well. all is well again. the 'fan' i refer to is not the correct fridge terminology, but you get the picture. he says those go out all the time and i recall having that same problem with my prior fridge. the sound was louder and for longer periods of time, but i overlooked it.

he advised me to get the extended warranty for $39/year. he said house calls for his company are $150 minimum per visit.

update 7/11/08. just purchased an extended warranty over the phone at 800-374-4432. i was informed that i would be able to purchase another extended warranty before the current one runs out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

24 Hour Fitness - Yoga Classes

i've now tried almost every yoga class (except 2 instructors) at the 24 hour fitness in hollywood in a 1 month period.

i prefer some instructors more so than others mostly based on clear instruction and description of poses. a lot depends on the intensity also. sometimes i'm not in the mood for intense yoga workout which most of the classes i tried were. i did try debbie's class last saturday which i enjoyed - she was a good instructor and i liked her because she did all the poses with the class. since i've only tried 1 of her classes, i don't know if all her classes less intense than other classes i've tried there so far.
i definitely liked trevor's class (his class is on friday at 6 pm and sunday at noon). i've tried not to miss it since i started doing yoga again. i also thought melanie was good too (6 am on monday and wednesday) but it's difficult for me to get up that early to make it to her classes plus i'm so sore right after trevor's sunday class which makes it even more difficult for me to go to her monday 6 am class. The classes are only 1 hour, so i'm in and out. i only wished i started using my 24 hour fitness membership years ago.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sex and The City - The Movie

Went to see Sex and the City on saturday. first checked online to see if i could purchase tix online at the grove or arclight around 3 pm. apparently, all shows were sold out until midnight. luckily for me, los feliz 3 (has updated seats and much more leg room than before, but only about 100 seats) was showing it at 5:45 pm and 8 pm. although buying tix online is so convenient, i'm glad you can't buy tix online for these types of instances. got there around 5:15 pm and only 5 people waiting and they let us in immediately. it was sold out by the time the movie started. it was a feel good movie and i definitely enjoyed it. It was just one really long episode.

Woo Lae Oak on La Cienaga

Yesterday I went to woo lae oak for dinner having not been there in over a year. i got there at 5:50 pm. they have a new happy hour from 4-6 pm every day, so i got there right in time to try it out. $3 small beers (ob, hite). $6 specialty martini (lychee-tini, sake, grape-tini). $5 red or white wine. $5 appetizers (tempura, spinach leaf wrapped around real crab meat (their specialty according to the waiter), baby back ribs, bbq skewers, jap chae (glass noodles), chicken wings, mandu (wontons).

i had the lychee-tini (very tasty and sweet). i also decided to order the shrimp mandu (wontons), tempura, spinach wrapped around crab meat, chicken wings. they were out of the bbq baby back ribs unfortunately. portions were small except for the shrimp/vegetable tempura (only 2 chicken wings of white meat part, 3 spinach/crap meat pieces about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch diameter, 4 small wonton pieces). i glanced at the real menu and notice the spinach-crabmeat crepes were normally $14 which probably is served as a larger portion. i felt like it was still a good deal regardless of the small portions since i was able to try a variety of foods. i will definitely go there again.

i also ordered the kalbi ($28) and bulgogi ($24) - bbq beef comes with unlimited rice, small salad, kim chee, thin slices of daikon and broccoli/sprouts lightly seasoned. i guess i felt like splurging just because i hadn't been there in so long.