Sunday night, I was enjoying (via my DVD player) the 1983 documentary Unknown Chaplin—which, if my memory hasn’t been playing tricks on me, I hadn’t seen since its appearance on PBS’ American Masters back in the 1980s. I had just finished a delicious bachelor dinner of bacon and frozen waffles…and life couldn’t possibly better be.
Then came a clap o’thunder…and a flash of lightning. I look over at the big honkin’ black box on the wall that provides my phone and internet access, and it starts giving off sparks. Then it makes a noise that I was not aware of outside of MAD Magazine:
Thus my box (and not long after that, the cable modem that I stupidly purchased from Charter.net for $49.95) expired and trotted off into the great unknown. The ironic thing was that my cable television connection emerged from the BZZZAPness completely unscathed. A bit of a setback to be sure, but I figured it would be sorted out easily enough. Alas, I had severely underestimated the powers of incompetency possessed by my new cable/phone/internet provider.
As much as I have maligned Bombast in the past, I will say this for them: any time I experienced downtime from not being able to access the Internet; they would bust their tuchuses (a word I picked up from Mr. Elisson) to make sure things were up and running ASAP. Charter, unfortunately, does not share this work ethic. I called Monday morning to report the problem and they were able to send someone out around 4:30 to look at the problem; he was able to restore the phone service but was stymied by the fact that I couldn’t connect to the Internet. He said the trouble was in the main line, and when he returned the next morning with a laptop it appeared his guess was on the money since he couldn’t connect with that computer either. He then tells me he’s going back to inform the supervisor of the trouble, and…that’s the last I hear from him.
Wednesday afternoon, I call Charter again…and when I’m finally able to reach a human being, she informs me there are no outages in the area. Since neither I nor the last technician can access the Internet from my humble domain, I ask her to check on this. She then proceeds to do the same troubleshooting the technician did previously, and when I point this out to her in the interest of saving time, she pointedly tells me she has to do this to eliminate any possible problems. Satisfied that all the I’s have been crossed and the T’s dotted, she says she can have a guy out on Friday morning between 8 and 10am.
At 10:45am Friday, another technician and a trainee show up. The tech tells me that what Charter did was make adjustments to the system Sunday and apparently what resulted was a snafu that knocked out a goodly percentage of their customers’ computers. (So much for the “we have no outages in the area” theory.) What it did was mess with the DHCP protocol, preventing the computer from obtaining an IP address. He says a third guy is outside fixing the problem, and finally, he is able to get his laptop to connect. My computer, however (a desktop), still stubbornly refuses to cooperate.
So it is decided that the trouble is in my computer, or, as a friend of my sister’s remarks: “Loosely translated, this means ‘We can’t locate the problem, and we’re too lazy to look for it.’” I have been informed that the tech and the trainee’s supervisor will call me later this week to see if he can be any assistance…but it looks like I might have to consult an outside party who, oh, I don’t know, knows something about computers. To say that I’m a bit put out by all this would be the mildest of understatements; I’m a patient man as a rule but a) I don’t like being lied to and b) I don’t like being dicked around. The most aggravating part of this scenario was that I had to use my sister’s laptop and Net access to finish an FGRA project today…and I hate using a laptop.
So, here’s where we stand: I’ll be “dog sitting” for Kat until Wednesday or so which means I’ll have plenty of free time to watch a few movies on her satellite system (she gets the Fox Movie Channel, which is showing both Blood Money  and Up the River  this week) and discuss my viewing experiences. I got around to seeing Clerks II (2006) last night and while there were some engaging moments (actress Rosario Dawson, who plays the love interest, was stupendously good) a lot of the movie fell flat (the film’s climax—if you’ll pardon the pun—is shoehorned into the plot to provide an outrageous “shock” moment like the dead guy in the convenience store bathroom in the first movie) and had none of the first Clerks’ gleefully profane hilarity.