Thursday, August 14, 2008

Well, Poo!

And I was so close to not blaming Comcast for ruining my week.

Remember the aforementioned catastrophically badass storms that blew through Chicago a week and a half or so ago? Yes, the one that blew out the power at Camp Swanky and cost me $100 in wasted groceries. That one. Com Ed finally restored power to my pad 36 hours later, at which time Luke and I returned home to further assess the interior damage.

Luke received his cousin Jake's used XBox and a slew of games when Jake got the new XBox 360 this summer. Since then, Luke's been mastering the Halo series of games, and just generally indulging in his video game playing passion in between making nifty homemade movies for YouTube. Very sadly, the lightning from the storm must have really struck really close to, if not on, our house. Even though our electronics were all plugged into surge suppressors, Mother Nature smoked out Luke's XBox entirely, now permanently stuck with a game belonging to the Park Ridge Library. The poor boy cried in hysterics for literally 2 hours as a result, in between blaming me for the power outage and cursing the clouds.

*Spoiler Alert: The story I'm about to tell is really, really boring.*

My computer is also connected to a separate surge suppressor, and the storm fried what I originally thought was just my leased Comcast cable modem. Using my superhuman tech savvy, I swapped the leased modem with one that I owned that was just sitting in a box to see if that would allow me internet access, but the problem was slightly more complicated. I deduced that the issue could be with the computer's ethernet card, so I set out to Best Buy to get a new one.

Best Buy featured the Linksys EtherFast 10/100 PCI adapter for the reasonable price of $27.99. A bargain, considering I'd budgeted $50 for the new part. I paid cash, checked out, threw the bag in my car and ran across to Target for some other sundries. Puttering around the electronics department at Target, I came upon the very same Linksys ethernet adapter. Absolutely the same model....for $11.99. Holy price difference, ya'll! Of course, I bought it and planned to zip back to Best Buy to return the first one, only to notice that the girl at the checkout at Best Buy failed to provide me with a receipt. Since only 20 minutes had passed since the purchase, I felt fairly confident that Best Buy Girl would still recognize me, so I approached her register to get a duplicate copy of my sales receipt. She reluctantly printed one out for me, after which I promptly used to return that ethernet card and get my $28 and change back. Yay, me!

Comcast won't add an owned modem to your account until you return their crappy leased modem, which requires a visit to the nearest Comcast service center. Luke and I schlepped there yesterday afternoon, where we were assisted by a very friendly customer service lady who was listening intently to a story Luke was regaling about his vacation in Colorado last weekend. The Comcast lady couldn't believe her eyes when she looked up and saw a little 8-year old boy who tells stories like a 65-year old man. She commented on his eloquence and verbosity, took care of my modem stuff, and off we went.

Once you add or replace a modem, Comcast has to program it and add it to your account over the phone at home. No biggie, that all took all of 10 minutes. Yippee, the internet finally worked again at home. Smooooooooth sailing. For a few hours, at least.

Boom--I started having the same modem problems which necessitated the swap in the first place, despite the new modem and ethernet card. No more internet. Another call to Comcast to troubleshoot. After 1/2 hour, Comcast held fast that the problem had nothing to do with either my modem or their network. Once again utilizing my superhuman tech savvy, I opened the motherboard back up and tried to ascertain if the root problem was the actual internal slot that holds the ethernet card. 'Twas indeed. Another 10 minutes of slot swapping and cursing again at the fact that I keep forgetting to buy compressed air to blow into and clean out the motherboard's innards. But connected at last! Happy dance!

I was so surprisingly not pissed at Comcast this week that I briefly considering taking the entirety of the organization on a picnic by the lake this weekend.

Until tonight.

I have a suckariffic, impromptu solo Thursday night, since my beau had to spend the evening consoling a college friend because another friend of a friend of theirs (or something like that) from college suddenly died. I'm so used to my dance card being filled on a Thursday that I grew antsy from the bevy of free time tonight. I spent about 45 minutes shopping at Trader Joe's and then came home to clean Luke's room and the downstairs bathroom. The birds were also fed and cleaned, and I was in my pajamas by 10pm.

I was poised to spend from 10pm to 1am watching 1983's TV movie, "The Day After" on the Sci-Fi channel. Nothing perks up a boring Thursday night like an incredibly dated, cheesy interpretation of a nuclear attack on the United States.

For some reason, I was receiving the audio on the channel but not the video. Whatever images I did receive were hopelessly pixelated, so the movie watching adventure was short lived. So here I sit. Tanks fer nushin, Comcast!

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