Communities within Los Angeles
United - We suck so hard - and it shows!
If you want to contact United Customer Care, basically what they have is a web page:
Or, you can mail them a postcard:
United Airlines, Inc.
900 Grand Plaza Drive NHCCR
Houston, TX 77067-4323
Or, you can leave a message:
Post-travel feedback line (voice mail inbox)
But, if you want to talk to a human at Customer Care, you have to call their main number:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 7 pm central time
And ask for customer care.
Big surprise, right?Categories:
Cost triples, delays mount for UC computer system upgrade
The timeline for a massive upgrade to the University of California's payroll and personnel system was extended again twice in the past two months, further delaying a project now expected to cost more than three times its original budget.
In February, the university pushed back its launch date at a first wave of sites to December from August; two subsequent phases of the rollout were then moved the following month, to July 2018 and December 2018, respectively.
That would ultimately put the payroll system, UCPath, more than four years behind schedule - longer that it was originally supposed to take.
In a statement, UC spokesman Ricardo Vazquez said the university postponed the initial launch again because "additional testing was needed in the most complex part of the work, which involves converting data from the old payroll systems into UCPath."
"Though the conversion cycle itself typically lasts only five weeks, the time needed for this extra test cycle pushed the project close to the university's annual Open Enrollment cycle" for health insurance, he said, "which would have added complexity and risk to this deployment effort."
UCPath - which stands for payroll, academic personnel, timekeeping and human resources - was formally launched in September 2011, with a 36-month timeline to combine UC's 195,000 employees into a single system. Budgeted at $156 million, university officials argued it was a necessary upgrade to outdated, 30-year-old payroll technology and would eventually save them more than $100 million per year.
But deadline after deadline has come and gone as UC struggled to integrate the business processes of its 10 campuses, five medical centers and central administration. Though 1,800 employees in the Office of the President have been receiving paychecks through the system since January 2016, UCPath has yet to go live at any of the other sites.
With the latest revision to its schedule, Vazquez said, the project is estimated to cost $504 million, including a $26 million contingency "to accommodate any unexpected large expenses in the final year of the project budget" that may not be used. The university has spent $327 million so far.
"Now that design has been completed and UCPath is into the testing phase, the university's ability to accurately project the total cost has improved," Vazquez said, citing additional staff as the primary contributor to the increase.
Michael Krigsman, an IT industry analyst at CXOTalk.com, said it's better for UC to delay the payroll system than be stuck unable to issue paychecks for months. But he questioned how the university had gotten so far off track and what it would do in the future to avoid repeating those mistakes.
"A project that is three times its original size either rests on very shaky foundation or they changed the plan along the way, which indicates a poor understanding of the problem it was trying to solve," he said. "That's a pretty lame excuse."Categories:
The War Room
The War Room
Occasionally, in a business, they will have a conference room called the "War Room", either officially or unofficially. I've been doing this for 27 years, and nothing come close to the battles...the war we're fighting now.
In the morning, we all fly in from the 4 corners of the earth. I land in LAX, unsure how to get out of the airport. Like...this isn't the dull, monotonous, flights that I've been taking into Ontario over the last 10 months. We're taking the fight to the clients now. We're bouncing from campus to campus like a ping-pong ball in a dryer.
So that, every week, I'm not sure where I'm flying to. Or why. I go to the airport, and catch the SouthWest flight to LAX. It leaves early...6:00 a.m. from a different gate than I'm used to. The flight is full, so I board the flight and just ignore the middle seat. We take off and when we get to the LA Basin, I'm watching real close to our approach. Trying to figure out what's different from the approach into Ontario.
I land at LAX and am not sure how to get out of the airport. I just follow everyone else. The signs are horrible. I make a few wrong turns and hit a few dead ends. I am not the only one.
I get outside, and I'm on the ground floor. Have to walk across the street now. Blazing with cars. Waiting for a crossing light that finally comes. Walk across to the parking garage, and up to the 3rd floor. This is where it gets interesting. Will my bike be here, where I left it on Thursday? Like...this is as crazy as it gets right here. Sure enough. The bike is there.
I stop by the bike, and start changing. PUlling on my riding pants and riding jacket. I keep my shoes in the rear Givi case. Now, I check my riding pants for the motorcycle key. It is there. There are so many things that could go wrong here. So may ways to fail.
I already have the address of UCLA programmed into my GPS. Now, I turn it on and pray that it is charged. It's 100% charged. So now, I have an 8 mile drive from LAX to UCLA. Just blindly following the GPS, I leave the airport. The LA traffic is a nightmare. As bad as you could ever imagine. And I'm rolling North, following the GPS. Fingers crossed that it takes me where I'm supposed to go.
Near the address, I managed to clip someone's sideview mirror with my left mirror. I turn right to lose them, and then get back on track. Now, I'm at the address, but not clear where to park. The man at the parking booth tells me several times that I can park in a spot that says "Wells Fargo - 15 minute parking only". He assures me that it is fine. I don't want to believe him, but finally, I relent and leave my bike there.
All I know now is that I'm supposed to be somewhere on the 8th floor. So, I go into the elevator and go to the 8th floor, like a pro. They have two offices on the 8th floor. Pretty much no one is in year. I get into the office at about 8:30 a.m. PDT.
There is a lady sort of cleaning up the rooms, apologizing for the smell of the cleaner as she cleans the dusty monitors. I'm not sure where to go. There are 2 training rooms. I sit in the back of the largest training room with a view of the LA skyline. Eventually, they tell me that I have to leave, and I go sit on the 5th floor. No idea why. But, then, as people start showing up, they're filtering into the Training Room 1 on the 8th floor. So, eventually, I go up there.
A woman comes around giving us free parking passes. I tell her several times that I'm on a motorcycle and don't need one.
Then, as the room fills up, eventually, they tell us we have to go down to the 6th floor.
So, we sit at a large conference room on the 6th floor. There is a teleconference. I just ignore everything that is said. Asok takes a bottle of water off of the table behind him. I motion that i need one. So, we're sitting here sipping bottled water, listening to some nonsense on a conference call phone.
Like...this is information overload.
They're bringing us lunch at noon.
They tell us lunch is on the 5th floor. But then, the 5th floor says it's on the 6th floor. There's no food. Just a vicious cycle of going up and down the stairwells and elevators in a quixotic quest for a lunch that doesn't exist.
And, we're all bouncing between the 5th and 6th floors, like pachinko balls. Looking for the food. Finally, we intercept the caterers pushing our lunch around in carts on the 6th floor. We follow them down to the 5th floor, where they unceremoniously strip the aluminum foil covers from our banquet. I shovel up a plate of food and go outside to choke it down over my motorcycle, like a rabid rat in a stairwell.
The Madness in the Stairwells
For some reason, the bathrooms are all locked. So, people are always begging for the keys to the bathrooms. Why? I have no clue.
I'm on the phone with a technical developer in a different time zone. I'm walking the halls, trying to have a communication with someone. And, every door keeps popping open or shut and people are coming and going and I can't even find a place to have a conversation with him about my defect. I can't even make a coherent sentence, stumbling htrough the halls. I left the conference room because there were countless people in there and I couldn't talk in that room, of course.
Who thought of this? Who thought this made sense? I pray that we would all just fall down the stairwell to our deaths. This is the height of stupidity. A confederacy of dunces.Categories:
Rights for Bumped Passengers (United Airlines Sucks)
I wake up in the morning and I hit snooze a few times.
But I've got to fly to Kalifornia to pay the bills. I mean, really, I'm lucky to have a place to go, really.
I'm not sure what else I would do with my time but lay in bed and feed the cats. So, I get up and I fly to Kalifornia.
I do this every Monday. Not that it makes sense. But it's what I do.
Now, keep in mind that I've been on this project for 9 months.
Always, before, we mostly worked in Riverside. Or in Oakland. But now....now we're mixing things up a bit.
Now, we're going out on site to different locations for about 10 weeks or so.
So now, every week is a stretch. Now, you have to really figure out....which airport will I fly into? How will I get my motorcycle there? Etc.
Now, it takes some planning. Some mental gymnastics.
This week, we're going to be working in Pomona. So, I have my KTM in short term parking at the Ontario Airport. (I recently switched from long term parking to short term parking because, why not really? I mean...it's not like I'm paying in either case.
So, this morning, I'm flying to Ontario, and always, the biggest decision is which side of the plane to sit on. Do I want 2A? or 2F?
(I have a little scam that I run that allows me to board the plane first, but I won't go into that here.)
I have another scam that I use to keep people from sitting in the middle seat, but that flight is full today, so that scam doesn't work. That scam is pretty simple. When you check in, you ask "How full is this flight?"
And, if they say, "there's 50 empty seats," then i pull down the middle tray and turn to the guy beside me on the aisle and I say "The middle seat is taken...she's in the bathroom", and then I put on my headphones, and he tells everyone that asks that someone is in the middle seat and she's in the bathroom. Then, when we take off, I put the tray up and, if he says anything, I say "I guess she sat somewhere else."
So, today, I sit on the side of the plane so i can see my house when I fly over it and I can't really sleep, for whatever reason. So, I watch the Desert Southwest scroll by and I take some shots. Such a beautiful montage of deserts.
I know the runways when we take off in Denver(26) and the runways when we land in Riverside (26L)
I can point to my neighborhood from the plane when we fly over.
We land at Riverside at Gate 307 and I'm upset about the gate choice (it should be 403).
Once we stop, I retrieve my helmet from the overhead bin. Doubelcheck my seat to make sure I'm not leaving anything, and I bolt from the plane.
Walk outside, and make sure all of the cop cars are empty. They park thee decoy cop cars at the Riverside airport so there's an illusion of security.
Now, I program the address of Cal Poly Pomona into the GPS, and snap the GPS into the mount on the bike, and I'm off. I'm on I-10 heading west. It's 10:00 a.m., and I've missed most of rush hour. Now, a motorcycle comes up behind me and I wave him around. Now, we're lane splitting at 100 mph and, I know that I'm not going to live forever. I may not live until lunch time, at these speeds. But, we're lane splitting at triple digits and I'm just following the GPS. I've been to Pomona before. But I think that we were only there for a day or two.
By the time I get to Riverside, I'm drowning in adrenaline.
I'm not really sure where to go, so I just go to the same place we met at last time.
Like...this part is kind of fun. Like...I'm not even really sure where I'm supposed to be, so I just go to the same conference room we were in last year and park my bike.
I sea Sean driving a sports car with Arizona plates. It's a strange world we live in. "Where in the hell did you get a car with AZ plates?"
"I dunno...I rented it here..."
So now, I'm trying to get a parking pass and find a place to park my bike. They give me a parking pass and show me where to park my bike in a gated section of the parking lot.
Now, we go in and basically sit down and start trying to plan for next week. So now, I'm trying to find a place to stay next week. The plan is that, on Thursday, I have to drive my bike to LAX, and I fly out of LAX on Thursday. Then, on Monday, I fly back into LAX, and my bike will be there. I make a reservation in Los Angeles for the next two weeks on AirBnB.
So now, I've got a place to stay for next week. And I've already re-arrangled my plane reservations.
Now, we're trying to get situated in the conference rooms at Pomona. I sit in one room. Then move to another. Trying to sort of find a place that's not too crowded or too loud. My boss is emailing me asking what I'm going to do this week and I'm like...seriously?
Like...how about nothing?
But, he has some ideas that I should do some work this week. So, I'm trying to sign in and do some work.
But now, it's time for lunch, so we go into the lunch room and they serve us a free, semi-decent lunch.
Now, back into the conference rooms, and I'm concerned that I need to do a presentation tomorrow. THen, I see it's really Wednesday. Then, my boss tells me it's been pushed out a month or two. Woohoo!!!
So, really, I have precious little to do now. He has some assignments for me, so I'm trying to work on these.
At some point, I realize that I can't find my glasses. Like...I have 2 pair of glasses....my regular glasses and my readers.
But now, for whatever reason, my glasses case is gone. So, all I have is my readers. And, my regular glasses and the case has disappeared like snow in the springtime.
I check, over and over, my riding pants, riding jacket, my CC Filson handbag/suitcase. Nada. I can't find them anywhere. I keep checking the same places over and over but nothing will make them magically appear. I go to the Lost and Found, but they don't have them.
And, now, this is the hard part. Because, without a memory, they're just sort of here, or they're not here. And, if they're gone, I'm pretty much screwed. Like...I can't ride my bike without them. So then, I think...how did I get here? If I drove my motorcycle from Ontario to Pomona, then I must have had my regular glasses on (not my readers). And then, when I got to work, I must have put my readers on. So, my glasses must be here somewhere in the his building. I check all 3 rooms. I check with lost and found. I've got nothing. I keep coming up empty.
And, it makes no sense, if you think about it. I must have had them on to drive here from the Ontario airport. Christ, I was lanesplitting at triple digits. I must have had them on there. And then, I'm pretty sure I remember changing glasses once I got here. So, they must be here somewhere on this campus. I check with Lost and Found, but they don't have them. Lord God.
And, this sucks.
I have some contacts I can wear as a backup, but, if I don't have my glasses, then it sort of means that I can't do this any more. Like....I'm about 1 step away from retirement at this point.
If I can't travel, and keep all of this gear together, then this way of life is over for me. And, don't get me wrong, it's not easy. It's not easy for anyone doing this....living this lifestyle. I'm flying twice a week, and I have to have, when I land, keys for each time zone. Riding gear. Parking receipts. Credit cards. Cash. Helmet. Gloves. Riding pants. Riding jacket. Office keys. House keys for house in Riverside. House keys for house in CO. Car keys for car in CO. Passport.
Like...I have to have all of this stuff, all of them time. So, it aint easy. And maybe my days are numbers. Maybe my time is up. If I can't keep it together, then maybe it's time to let the younger kids come in and take over.
Despondent, I go to Riverside for dinner and a beer. Like, I love the old downtown in Riverside, and especially the old Mission Inn in Riverside. I discovered the Mission Inn at the end of last year (2016), but last week, John and Sapna took me all through the Inn and I was just blown away. So I figure I'll stop in for a beer.
So, I'm eating dinner and drinking a beer, pondering my future, and somehow, when I look down into my suitcase at the Proabition Restaurant, I see my glasses case. They're stuck down into some little pseudo-compartment that I'd never really noticed before. I have my freaking glasses back. Woohoo!!Categories: