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Journal mcgrew's Journal: A Pretty Good Friday

For the last several years my Easter routine has been a three day celebration. On Good Friday I find somewhere to have Walleye for lunch, which isn't hard. Most places have it every Friday. Friday nights I like to find a bunch of Christians (not hard, most bars are filled with Christians) and get drunk with them on the blood of the lamb.

Saturdays I watch the only R-rated religious film ever made, The Passion of the Christ. Easter Sunday I attend church, where the services are so good that if it were a secular thing people would pay fifty bucks a ticket.

But yesterday was different. I'd gotten some snail spam from Xfinity/Comcast offering internet for twenty five bucks a month. I've been on AT&T for years, with only one complaint: they keep jacking up the price. It's risen from 24 to 51.

There was a box on my porch: Nobots. It was OK so I released it to the bookstores, it's supposed to show up in stores in six to eight weeks. The cover is slightly different from the copies you guys bought, those books will be worth something in a decade or two.

The cable guy, who wasn't Larry, seeing as how he not only wasn't a redneck, he was black, showed up fifteen minutes early.

I felt sorry for the fellow, because the whole exercise was a corporate bureaucratic clusterfuck. He asked what equipment was giving me trouble. "It's a new installation," I said. So he had to call the office to clear that up.

"It says here you have some Comcast equipment," he said. "Yeah, I replied, digging through a pile of electronic junk. "I had cable a few years ago and they never came to get the cable box. Here."

"It says here you have another piece of equipment."

"No, unless it's cabling or something. On the phone again he couldn't find out what the equipment was supposed to be. Considering they sent him with a repair ticket rather than an installation ticket, my guess was a clerical error. I have to call them and clear it up, I am NOT looking forward to it.

So he gets out a modem/router, which he calls a "Dory" or "Dorie" or something that sounded like that and plugs it in to the cable and my router and fires it up. The Linux box is running, playing oggs and MP3s so I pull up Firefox. "Looks like it's working," I say.

"Huh? That's impossible! I haven't activated the modem yet!"

The DSL modem was still running. Duh!

His "Dory" didn't work. So he unplugged the cable and plugged it into a piece of test equipment. "No signal," he says. He goes out back behind the house to change the connectors and test the signal there. He comes back in. "There's no signal going into your house. I have to climb up the pole anyway, I'll be back in a few minutes."

When he got back he announced that it had been disconnected at the pole. He hooked his gizmo up and announced that he had a signal.

But the modem still wouldn't work. "Darn," I said. "I was going to have some fish at Suzy-Q'a." By then it was noon; what should have been a routine installation taking no more than half an hour had placed roadblock after roadblock in front of the poor technician.

He said to go ahead, it would take a while to get hold of his supervisor, who was at lunch. He'd sit in the truck and try to figure it out.

I'd placed my order over the phone, so when I got there it was not only done, but had cooled enough to eat without burning myself.

When I got back, the installer said he'd found the problem, that I'd gotten the wrong modem and he had to go back to the shop but would only be gone a little while. I told him I'd probably be sitting on the porch with a beer when he got back. "Man," he said, "I'm sure looking forward to that!"

"After the day you've had? I'll bet! I know what it's like, man." He left to get a different modem.

Two Comcast trucks showed up, he and his supervisor, a nerdy looking fat white guy who wanted to know where the "start" menu was. "Right where it's supposed to be," I said, taking the mouse and clicking. "Oh," he said. "The icon's different."

He putzed around in its internet settings and couldn't make heads or tails of it. I told him I'd never had to mess with it, it's not like Windows. In Linux, you just plug it in and it works. He plugged his laptop in and couldn't get on the internet with it, either. So he went for the different modem, which was exactly like the first one. This one worked, except for the button that's supposed to bypass the wifi password. No problem, the password is on the bottom of the modem.

They got done about three. I guess I have to go down to AT&T to cancel my DSL, it was impossible over the phone.

Too big to fail? Too big to operate with any efficiency whatever is more like it. I feel sorry for their employees.

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A Pretty Good Friday

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