We Live!…Kind Of

So…sure has been a while, eh? Seems that last time either of us wrote something it was July 11th. It’s now July 21st. I’d say I was sorry for the quiet time, but honestly, I’d be lying if I were to do that.

Carin still exists but not around here so much, and to be honest, the reading and writing stuff part of my brain was starting to burn out a little and I was thinking of taking a bit of a break anyway. I hadn’t decided when and for how long, but Rogers, the lovely folks who handle our TV and internet service, kindly helped me out on that score by forcing the issue.

What a story that is.

As we talked about, I wrote things on the 11th of July. On the 12th I woke up to a massive headache. It sucked, but with the weird weather we’ve been having around here all year, it’s not unusual. So there went the next 2 days. Then we had a weekend that saw Carin leave for California for a few days. She may or may not write about it sometime. I, meanwhile, was getting ready to kinda sorta resume whatever counts as normal operations around here come Monday.

For a while, all was going well. I was reading the news, looking for ideas, ploughing through a gazillion emails, all that fun stuff. I decided to take a little break for a while to have lunch and do a couple of other things. When I came back, there was no internet. A bit of investigation (walking across the room and hitting a couple of buttons) revealed that there was no digital cable television, either. Uh-oh.

Uh-oh, but not tragic. This has happened before. Stuff goes down, you wait a few hours, stuff comes back. Besides, I thought, I’m not really feeling this day anyway. Good excuse to relax. So that I did. Only crappy part is that it was waaaaay too damn hot to do anything outside that didn’t absolutely have to be done. Same went for Tuesday, which was even worse. Hottest day of the year that broke a record that had stood since 1916, in fact.

Ahh yes, Tuesday. By Monday night, our Rogers service still hadn’t risen from the dead. I decided that if by the time I woke up Tuesday morning it was still MIA, I’d be calling them.

The thought of this was not a pleasant one. I hate calling Rogers for anything, especially support. It usually consists of waiting on hold for a long time, only to be greeted by somebody you either can’t understand, isn’t entirely sure what he’s doing, doesn’t get the concept of blind person or some combination of the three. Oh, and they sometimes try to sell you stuff you don’t want. I know that’s hardly exclusive Rogers territory, but considering how much they bombard us with advertising at the best of times I don’t really feel all that bad singling them out. But a general note to all companies: When something is wrong and I’m calling you to help me, offering me new things that will cost me more money is a poor plan. Maybe it works on somebody, but I’ve never met that person and he certainly isn’t me. It actually makes me seriously consider scaling things back. Please stop.

Naturally, things were still broken when I got up the next day. So after some tea, a few minutes to do the resets Rogers was going to ask me to do anyway and a bit of cursing, guess who was on the phone.

Thankfully things didn’t go too bad, which considering what you’re about to red should tell you everything you need to know about how things with Rogers generally play out. I got a nice lady I could understand and who was mostly easy to talk to. I did have to explain blind though, and this is where things went a little sideways. Another note to everybody, company or not: When I tell you I’m blind, the correct response is not “oh, I’m so sorry to hear that!” It is also poor form to follow that up with “when I go, I’m going to donate my eyes to help poor people like you.” Oh, and cheerleading and telling me how excellent and amazing I am because I can pull a plug out of something, also unhelpful and unnecessary. Luckily for this woman I have a good grip on my emotions, or somebody would have learned several new words that day.

And speaking of learning several new words, when doing all the stuff I had already done failed as expected, it was time to send a technician to VC World HQ to set things right. Keep in mind this is Tuesday morning just after 9, so I’m thinking later today, or perhaps Wednesday morning at the latest.

Um…how about no?

“We have Friday between 11 and 2, Friday between…”

At this point, all of the words she was saying became an unintelligible mess. I think they were appointment windows even more absurd than Friday between 11 and 2 sounded at 9 A.M. on a Tuesday.

Have you ever been so shocked or surprised by something you’ve just heard that what’s going on in your brain is the exact opposite of what winds up coming out of your mouth? That happened to me at that moment. While my brain is thinking “what the fucking fuck are you on about with this Friday retardity, woman? What do you have, like 2 techs for the whole goddamn province,” my mouth is saying “ok, I’ll take 11 to 2 on Friday.” I’ll give myself a bit of a pass since I was so tired from sleeping like complete garbage, but I should have fought for something better than that, because it really was ridiculous. I gave a moment’s thought to calling them back, but I thought better of it because this is Rogers, and I’ll either end up with 2 techs or no techs at all and the last thing we need is more of a mess.

So days pass and Friday arrives. the Rogers guy, much to my surprise and to his credit, shows up near the beginning of the window rather than after it’s been over for a half hour. This is where it gets fun. He takes his little metre thing and tests our connection. Completely dead.

“I’m going to the top floor,” he says. “I bet I know what the problem is.”

Carin, because she’s smart and because she beat me to it, thinks to ask what that would be. And oh what a tale we were told.

“This happens a lot here,” we were somewhat reluctantly informed. “With the 2 buildings right across from each other, sometimes the guys get bogged down and confused and they go into the wrong one and disconnect the right address, but in the wrong place. I’ll bet that’s what happened, I’ll be back in a minute.”

And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened and we were back up and running again in a total of about 5 minutes.

Good help in the cable industry must be really hard to find. I get something like this happening once. I’ll even allow for once a year. Even people who live here or come here a lot walk into the wrong building for a second, then realize the mistake and walk over to the right one. But it happens all the time? Really? And it happens to people who’s job it is, in theory at least, to get things right and make life easier for people?

Yes, you bet your ass we called to tell our story and to ask about a discount. Our tech even said we should. He told us to wait a few hours because he’d be filing a report about what happened and it would probably have hit the system by then. And when we called, we didn’t even had to get angry. Our story, amazingly enough, was more than sufficient to get the billing rep at Rogers upset on our behalf. We ended up getting $38 in credit for the 4 day outage, plus 50% off on our cable TV for the next 2 years. You read that correctly, the next 2 years!

So even though this all began due to incompetence and it was inconvenient as shit especially with Carin out of the country, I’d probably go through it again if it meant saving that much money in the end.

So that was my week in technology. I’m glad I tend to download a lot of podcasts and such and then not listen to them forever. That really helped pass the time when it was melting weather. I think I could literally go a year on all the stuff I have stashed on this system, so it was good to clear some of it out.

By the way, Ontario’s corn on the cob is amazing this year. Amazing, and way earlier than usual. Our new Garden Fresh Box had a half dozen of them in it, and the Shoe Thief and I enjoyed them outside with a football game.

That reminds me, battery powered radios rule the earth. They spruce up the outdoors on nice days, and make it possible to listen to baseball while all but making out with your air conditioner on others.

That’s the update from here. Not sure when you’ll hear from me again. Even with the forced downtime I’m still not feeling recharged or at all like myself, so there’s that. I’m also going to a barbecue tomorrow to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday, an event at which no one will have to worry about going hungry. When grandpa throws a dinner party, he doesn’t screw around. He told me yesterday that not only would there be hamburgers, sausage, a bunch of salads and possibly hotdogs, but that he was also going to fry one of the turkeys he’s been saving. I’m guessing there will also be cake, or at least icecream of some kind. Including little kids who don’t eat much, there may be 22 people at this thing on the high end. I hope he likes leftovers.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this thought. The guy who wrote the dialogue for the Polkaroo had the easiest job there has ever been.

and while I’m thinking about it, have this page of TV Ontario kid’s show theme songs from the 70’s and 80’s. Get ready to feel really, really old. I know I do.

With that, I’m off to try to get the damn Harriet’s Magic Hats song out of my head.

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2 comments
  1. Thanks for the link to the page of TV Ontario theme songs, and they’re in mp3 format, sweet!

    Also, do you know how to get the shows in TV O’s public archive to play when using a screenreader?

    1. I was so happy when I saw they were mp3 downloads rather than something streaming. I need to take a few minutes and grab them all.

      I’ve never actually tried the TVO archive, believe it or not. I should do that and let you know what I find. But judging from past experience with online tv players, the news may not be good. If you can get them to play at all, good luck manipulating any controls.

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