My Beef with Comcast

Wow, has it really been 6 months? I need to update more often. I know, I know, I feel like I say that (to myself at least) every time I update, but there really hasn’t been much happening to write about.

It seems to me that everywhere I look, someone is complaining about Comcast or Verizon and their terrible customer service. I know that “the squeaky wheel gets the most …” blah blah blah, but I’m curious what their ratio of satisfied to unsatisfied customers is. Because really, there are alternatives. Not so much for cable or phone, depending on where you are, but with mobile phones at least there’s really not a whole lot of reason to stick with your current provider if you’re unhappy, and yet somehow these companies remain in business – they must be keeping someone happy.

Now, part of the problem seems to be that people call support for stupid reasons. If your cable goes out at 2am, call support but don’t be too mad if it doesn’t get “fixed” for a couple of hours, because chances are they were doing maintenance while most of their area was asleep. It sucks for those of us that are online at 2am because of our schedules, but we’re statistically few. On the other hand, if it goes out every day at 2am, that’s a good reason to call and start complaining.

My interactions have been minimal. In the last year I have been the owner of a Comcast Account, I have called them twice. The first was a year ago, to set up my account and get online with my purchased modem. The second was today, when I called to upgrade my account to add TV service. Both occasions were relatively quick, I was given the information I needed to make an informed decision (combined with research earlier in the day), and so far I’m happy. They were a little pushy for a couple of addon services that I neither can afford nor have desire for, but their goal is to make money. The tech is coming out to get us set up for TV on Friday and I’ll update if that doesn’t go well.

Am I in the minority? Are there really so few of us that have positive interactions with these large, terrible companies? Really, my only major complaint in this situation is that I had to call to make the change. Comcast’s website knows that there is an active account at my address when I enter it in looking for deals, but then it just tells me there are no deals and that it can’t find my address in the system to make changes to the service. That, to me, is the epitome of frustrating.

In closing, Comcast, please fix your website’s backend so that people like myself don’t have to call to make changes to our service. Let the customer service team know that they did well on at least these two occasions. And if you want to reward me for giving you a good review, you can always lower my bill a few dollars a month. You really don’t have to though, for now I’m a satisfied customer and expect to stay happy until we move to a location that forces us to switch provider.

Five

moiI didn’t note the day or the month, or even the year, for that matter. We say “when we were twelve” because that’s our best guess (though she probably remembers better than I).

It doesn’t really matter, the specific date, or even the year. What matters is that we met, and talked for a while one random, long-forgotten night. And then again another night, and another.

It was lost for a while, changes in life, adjustments in time zone, we didn’t connect at all and eventually lost touch completely. Until another random, long-forgotten night, when I decided to clean out my contacts list. She happened to be online, so I asked who she was. We talked some more, and eventually made a connection to an event we both remembered (something about underwear and pyromania).

Even for this, it doesn’t really matter, the specific date or time that we found each other again. What matters is that we did, and that we talked again, and again, and again, and then some more.

312570_10150300651507539_1218378609_nTime went by, and the story evolved in the way so many do. Boy meets girl, boy decides he likes girl and girl decides she likes boy, they get together and make the best of it. But that’s where we are a little different, because we are so far separated. Not in a Romeo/Juliet kind of way, our families didn’t hate each other – they didn’t even know each other. We faced a different challenge: isolation. I lived in Wellington, New Zealand, she lived in a small town somewhere in Virginia.

Somehow, though, we made it work. Through plane tickets and immigration paperwork and moving and money and more immigration paperwork, we made it work. And so here we are. Today marks five years since we committed to what we had in front of friends and family, what we had essentially committed to a few months before that by beginning the application process to USCIS, what we had almost committed to just by stepping foot on the planes the very first time, flying to meet the other, meeting the friends and family, seeing the home towns and environs.

Kelly, I love you. Here is to another five years, and then another five, and another five after that, until how long it has been doesn’t really matter anymore, until what matters is that we met that random, long forgotten night, so many years ago. You were, are, and maybe always will be the best decision I ever made – to ask who you were, and not to just hit “Delete.”

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Changing Timezones

Changing timezone without moving anywhere. It’s a tough assignment, but I’ve been able to do it.

Since September 2010 I’ve been working for Rosetta Stone’s test lab on the second shift, generally working somewhere in the vicinity of 5pm-midnight. In the last few days I was asked if I would be interested in swapping positions with a member of the day shift team who needed to move for personal/family reasons.

I elected to think about it, and later accepted. As of yesterday (and everyone I work with is now aware of this, so I can tell the world in full), I am a member of day shift working “normal people” hours! I’m still officially part time, so there is no change in my 35 hour limit. The only change in pay has been a result of my regular company raise (also received that notice today!) so really all that changes for me is starting in the morning and finishing in the evening, and not the other way around..

New Home

Since the inception of this blog, it’s been hosted at WordPress.com. It was a logical choice for several reasons, predominantly because at the time I didn’t have a reliable web host and also because I wasn’t sure I would be able to commit to making regular updates.

As it turns out I’ve made a number of posts over the last four years and things I wanted to be able to do were being restricted by using a hosting service.

And so we have this new home: http://blog.i-al.net/. Much like the old one, but hosted by me. If it’s broken, blame me.

Photo Friday: Lonely

 

This was one of the last things I photographed in New Zealand, taken just a couple of weeks before I moved. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a duck or a chicken, but it was sitting out in the rain close to the Wellington Airport.

I had decided to take a couple of days and just drive around, driving in no particular planned direction, just to see where I ended up and discover new things, as well as remembering old things.

The Drive Around the Bays is one I have done many times with my friends Sue and Amber, usually after church on a Sunday evening. We’d drive into Wellington and then do the loop around the bays (if you find a map of Wellington, it was basically a road that went all the way around the knob bit to the east of the airport). We’d stop somewhere and eat dinner – usually McDonalds or KFC, and then drive home. It was also a great time to talk about all kinds of things.

It’s certainly a downside here, not having the people to go with (it’d be fun to just drive somewhere with Kelly, but that was part of the fun of Sunday nights, being with friends I didn’t live with), and not really having the same kind of places to go.

 

John William Polidori

… was a man who lived in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and was the personal physician to Lord Byron. As well as a doctor, he was also a writer.

In June of 1816, after being a part of a group who all read aloud from a particular collection of horror stories, it was suggested that they should each write a ghost story.

It is because of this, primarily, that we were invited to visit with friends in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend. Every 6 months or so there is a group who meet and share their creative written works, completed or otherwise, for the rest of the group. The general rules are an unwritten limit on time (ie, 10 page readings are generally frowned upon), an expectation that it is a new work (the idea being that it was written that day, or in the day or two beforehand), and a general air of support and positivity. It isn’t so much a place to critique works (although that can be performed later), as to simply share ideas with each other.

Before reading your piece, you have the opportunity to make a disclaimer. In my case, I am not a fiction writer. I’m not good at making up stories. Typically, my best opportunity is to take a real event and either try to adjust it or totally change it so that it works but is not the same. In this specific story, I have to concede that neither the original story, nor the idea utilized in it are totally mine: I’ve read three similar stories in a book several years ago, and decided to try my hand at the idea. I also apologize to anyone who understands banking a lot better than I do.

This is the story I wrote and shared on Saturday:

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his wealth.

And unto one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent; to every man according to his previous performance; and straightway joined the great queue that was for airport security, where he did wait upwards of forty five minutes.

Then he that had received the five talents went and traded on the stock market with the same, and made them other five talents.

And likewise he that had received two talents, he also gained other two talents.

But he that had received but one talent went and deposited in a local savings bank, with a minimal interest return, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

And so he that had received five talents came, saying, “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five more.”

His lord said unto him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

He also that had received two talents came, and said, “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two talents other beside them.”

His lord said unto him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Then he which had received one talent came and said, “My master, how was thine flight? I trust the staff did treat you well and granted unto thee many blessings of food and wine.”

His lord interjected his blathering and said unto him, “The flight was fine, the food, I have had worse. Now, where is that which I entrusted unto thee? I wish to see what thou hast done with mine wealth.”

“Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and I was uncertain of the stock market and how it doth worketh, and went and hid thy talent in the local savings bank, with minimal interest return: lo, there thou hast that is thine.”

His lord answered and said unto him, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to bonds with a good history, or gold, or perhaps put it unto reliable enterprises who grant dividends, and then at my coming-”

And he did stop speaking, for he was distracted by the sudden weeping and gnashing of teeth from those who had doubled their moneys, and asked of them what was wrong.

And they did look up from their intelligent telephones, with looks of great horror, for they had just seen the news.

And they did share the news with their master, for he was looking at them expectantly.

And they said “It has just been reported that the companies in which we had bought stock are failing, and the value of our shares has dropped unprecedentedly.”

Their lord opened the drawer of his desk and withdrew a bottle and four small glasses.

And he said unto them, “Well, I suppose we can ask the government for an bail out..”

Quotable Monday: Revolution

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Have you ever read the United States Declaration of Independence? It’s an interesting read if you can get through it.

I realize I have clipped a section for my purposes, but I strongly encourage you to read it in it’s entirety for context.

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

As a quick backstory, for the non-Americans (or those who have forgotten), the United States was born of people who migrated from England (among other parts of Europe) and was initially an English Colony. King George III was being somewhat of a douche towards the colonists. After much agony inflicted by the King, they decided to separate, to declare their independence.

They outline their complaints against the King and his government: refusing to approve laws believed to be for the common good, forcing his government into accepting his will, dissolving the government on multiple occasions for refusing to accept his views, for placing armed troops among them [the colonists] and protecting them from trial for any murders they commit, cutting off trade, imposing taxes without consent, depriving the right to a trial by jury, etc, etc.

The point is, at some point, the common belief of the people becomes that the government has long ceased to meet their needs, and that change needs to happen. When the government has long proven it’s unwillingness to listen to the people, then according to the Declaration of Independence, it is the duty of the people to rise up against the government and replace it with a more suitable form.

I’m not suggesting a violent overthrow of the government as it stands, I’m certainly not suggesting that the current system of government is being nearly as oppressive as King George III was all those years ago, but I think the United States is long overdue for a discussion on the purpose of government, the duty of government, what the people want and expect from the government, and then action to create a government that is of the people, by the people, for the people.

After watching what is going on in the Occupy movements, I see a group of people who are wanting to start the discussion, but none of the right people are listening. It’s time they stood down their security forces and listened to what their constituency are peacefully requesting. After all, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy