February 19th, 2009


...And so on, and on, and...

No, the Comcast thing hasn't been 100% straightened out. We still have channels pixelating, missing channels, and so forth. We're working around it as much as we can.

I've also had the cable box crash at least 3 times in the last week. The CABLE box.

Roni's beyond mad now and has traveled that emotional curve all the way to disgusted. The one good thing about the switch (the ostensibly higher upload and download speeds) have given way to the harsh reality of a shared neighborhood connection (begging the question: Why wasn't this a problem under AP&T?).

Worse, the new streaming sites, like Hulu, or even the "old favorite" YouTube, are now stuttering during playback. Michele noticed it first, and I was able to confirm it myself. Actually, I noticed it, bitched to Michele about it, and she was relieved to discover it wasn't just her.

My speed testing has been lack luster, to say the least, so suddenly I've become a relative to the "Slowsky's", Comcasts "look, aren't these DSL user's CUTE in their old fashioned ways!" mascots, a married pair of tortoises who complain about things being too fast.* In other words, since I'm already stuck with AT&T for the iPhone, why not just snag some hard core DSL from them? At least the connection to the 'Net will allow me to stream video, unlike the oddly timed stuttering that allows you to view video, but feel somewhat twitchy by the end of 40 minutes.

And after crunching the number, even if all I do is drop the landline and Craptastic Cabal internet, I come out about 30 bucks a month ahead. Along with dropping the stupid cable DVR's and assorted other bizarreness, I could see over 1200 dollars a YEAR.

This is why custoemr service is so important kids. Why is Dell worth only a fifth of what Apple is now? They outsourced their customer service, it was crappy. Comcast is a dominant player, and yet has the weakest offerings (particularly in HD) and the WORST customer service (although I will sing the praises of the techs in the street always -- they're at least TRYING to get things working for us!).

All it takes is a thousand former AP&T customers doing this, and Comcrap is out 1.2 million.

While I seriously doubt that I, personally, will be able to convince 1000 people to do this, I've already gotten into talks with about 5 people, all of whom are Alameda residents formerly of AP&T forced into cable and internet from Comcast. A little education about the better over the air image quality (side by side OTA high-def beats the painfully over-compressed cable signal of the same station) and the fact that any standard analog TV antenna will pick up HD signals (that tends to be a surprise to people) tends to make them ponder. Since we're line of sight to Sutro Tower across the bay, they can experiment with freaking rabbit ears to start, and still get a lot more than they would expect.

I know, I've been ranting about this a lot lately, but considering all of the other stuff going on in my life, I really don't need the aggravation anymore. I'm also seeing it as a sign that I watch too much TV, something that I chatted with Roni about last night. I want to get back to wood working more. Reading. Hell, even playing the Wii with Roni would be a better thing to do with our nights.

Another reason for GOOD customer service: It distracts a customer from coming to the inevitable conclusion that they really don't NEED you when the pain exceeds the value of the service. I've gone out on that limb and stated that I don't believe that the current cable TV business model is sustainable beyond the next few years. This horribly botched switchover, on top of the less than stellar economic picture and the emergence of competing entertainment streams is a perfect store that will destroy the cable monopoly.

* Crap. I think I just stumbled into a "Rule 34" moment -- Slowsky Slash. I'm so sorry...

No, wait -- I'm not.
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Journal Goddess

Percussive Poly Pagan Pantheacon Prodigal

So, last Saturday Kim, Roni, Michele and I went to Pantheacon in San Jose.

We planned it as a day trip on my (mumble)th birthday. We actually got a decent early start so we were at the Double Tree (the last year the con will be held there... the end of an error!) before noon. Someone had finally realized that having the drum circle EARLIER meant more drummers and fewer noise complaints, so we could even work in a long overdue drumming session for me at the end of the day.

Being there with Michele was a lot of fun -- it was like walking with someone who had returned from being held hostage in some terrorist enclave. Double-takes, squawks, and squeals were common.

Oddly enough, it was also very educational in terms of my personal identity:
  • Apparently, after doing the first three Pantheacon programming guides, I had been "pushed out" by a cabal of con-volunteers affiliated with Joi Wolfwomyn. Considering that I had foolishly thought I had stepped aside voluntarily, this was a bit of a surprise. After three years of dealing with Ancient Ways at Harbin and P'Con programming wherein people did nothing but complain that the programs were done at the "last minute" somehow because that's how I CHOSE to do things (ignoring my pleas for getting their bio and program info in early enough so that it WASN'T a case of Glenn and myself working 18 hours straight the night before the Con), I was simply burnt out.

    I note, with no small degree of smugness, that those early programs still look better than the one's that were there this year. Makes me consider volunteering my services again, if only to watch people's heads explode.

  • Several people whom I thought disliked or were actively avoiding me were thinking the same about me towards them. Or something like that. Another case where my self assessment was far harsher than anything y'all could provide. Gestures were made and accepted, though now the tune of "John Jacob Jinglemyer Schmidt" is stuck in my head with the words "Bi Pagan Poly Gamer Geek".

  • That long black coat I scored at last year's Con? Still incredibly cool. Still turns heads in the right ways.

  • I do not drum enough. Nearly two hours of drumming was a mere percussion appetite suppressant.

  • I really MISS ancient ways. There's nothing like being singled out as one of the "Old School" that people want to come back.  The fact that there WILL be fire pits and drumming until our hands bleed makes me want to go even more. The fact that Roni is an incredibly hot dancer whilst wearing one of those coin encrusted bras (a purchase that took her *5 years* to make!) and a cloak only helps. Going with a "tribe" also makes it easier to contemplate. My days of solo festival attendance are long gone. Stone City is in the East Bay, and has all the amenities, but non of the shush nazies. Just based on the discussion during the Ancient Ways "Meet and Greet" it sounds a lot like DragonFest in Colorado (or at least as it had been in '92. Damn, when did that become a generation ago??).
Kim got to pet another snake (an albino boa. HUGE snake), Roni scored an athame, and I realized I really, REALLY miss rituals. A lot. I'm thinking of checking out the "Come As You Are" (CAYA) coven/rituals that are in the East Bay.

The only bummer about the day was completely and utterly failing to find Esther, who was working the Con. Paka was in hospitality at least one of the times I dropped in, and thought she was sleeping int he room. FOr some reason I failed to get the room number, so I wasn't able to check in with her before leaving.

Normally I score a steak dinner at Outback on my birthday. Say what you want -- I love their steaks. And their salads, strangely enough. Of course, normally I celebrate the birthday on the weekend before or after. Except V-Day was on a Saturday.

We called ahead to Milpitas and Campbell, the closest locations, to see what the wait times were like. Campbell was 90 minutes, and Milpitas (the Great Mall location) was quoting 2 and a half hours.

I was thinking that we would hit Pasta Pomadoro in Union City as a fallback when I was inspired to try the Outback in Fremont. While they were quoting 45-55 minute waits (already a LOT better!) we vultured a booth by the bar within 5 minutes. As it turned out, I was paying the bill and over-tipping our fabulous waitress before the people who walked in behind us were being seated.

It t'were a VERY good day. I'm hoping for more of those.
Yo Flips Out

That's NOT What I Meant By "Pussy Whipped!"

Wow, three posts in one day?

Well, there are times when my faith in humanity is restored. After elfs noted that there has been an upsurge in sex negative groups attacking those of us who think it's none of their goddamn business, I was feeling a bit bummed. But then I heard about this in eleri's LJ about a cat named Dusty.

The shocking thing is that one of the most disgusting sites on the internet, 4chan, is at the root of the protect against horrific animal cruelty. Freaks and immature types all.

But there was still a line you just don't cross, no matter how freaky and weird you are. The image gallery of images condemning the freaks is heart warming. One of the great lines on the site:
Then phone calls start being made. First to the Mother, who confirmed that she had a son named Kenny and that he had a cat named Dusty. The Anonymous calling the mother explained what happened and the mother replied with that she would take away his dirtbike.
His DIRTBIKE? Really??

I disagree that they should be tried as adults (that's applying an unequal standard, in my opinion -- if they don't have adult rights, then saddling them with adult penalties seems capricious, at best), but they do need some serious fucking help. These are the kind of kids that graduate to the Oh, So Hilarious "M-80 up a cat's ass and lit" stunts.*

This is why regulating the internet is a waste of time -- we know what's really important here.

Remember kids -- pussies are for LOLS, not for whipping!

* To make this 100% clear -- anyone guilty of doing that to an animal should be force fed beans, made to wait an hour, and THEN have the same thing done to them. I'm hoping for a synergystic effect from methane production, but would settle for them shitting themselves as their ass explodes.
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