Oculartober

HAL 9000? Eye of Sauron? Nope. The last of the morning coffee.

Some people say I suffer from ocular rectitis — a condition that causes the nerves of eyeballs and asshole to switch roles, leading to a shitty outlook on life — but I knew that the PNM project PNM says it has not been doing in the arroyo for the past couple of weeks would eventually provide some entertainment around El Rancho Pendejo beyond the monotonous “beep beep beep” of heavy equipment in reverse.

So color me unsurprised when Herself texted me at the grocery to say our Internet had gone down as she was trying to do a bit of eBay bidness before heading out on her own errands.

Not a PNM project. We were never here. Now you gonna believe me or your lyin’ eyes?

Now, our elderly ActionTec modem takes a conniption from time to time. But I knew this time would be different. Just ’cause I got the ocular rectitis doesn’t mean I’m blind, y’know.

And sure enough, when I got home, the DSL indicator on the modem was bright red. And it stayed that way through three reboots.

So I step outside, stick my head over the back wall, and ask one of the hard hats, “You guys didn’t happen to clip a cable by any chance? Our DSL is down.”

And yea, all was revealed to me. The backhoe giveth, and the backhoe taketh away.

Neither PNM nor CenturyLink* could give a rat’s ass about our little predicament, so it seems we will be MacGyvering our online presence here for at least a week. An iPhone 13 makes a swell hotspot, but Lord, does that shit ever burn through a battery.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, Eric Idle isn’t dead yet. Cue the crucifixion scene. …

* Props to Raoul at CenturyLink for getting us back up in running in less than 24 hours, not the week-plus we had expected. He was down in a hole on a rainy day, which is a good deal more like work than cycling a DSL modem/router on and off while swearing a lot.

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24 Responses to “Oculartober”

  1. Jeff Cozad Says:

    Back when I was working for a living, I occasionally backed up the network availability folks. We referred to spring as “back hoe season”.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hoe hoe hoe … you jus’ know it’s gonna happen. Big ol’ boys and they big ol’ rigs digging up an arroyo in a late-Sixties neighborhood. I’m surprised they haven’t found Jimmy Hoffa, D.B. Cooper, and Judge Crater back there.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Oh my, Isn’t it something when the internet service goes out? I get a little panicky and start wondering when it will come back up. Questions start like, “Has one of the neighbors already called and reported it? How long should we wait before we call? Do we have emails to answer? Did you check the bank lately? What will we do with no TV tonight?” How dependent we have become on this modern life. That’s why the beer fridge is full, and why we keep our bluray player and a stock of classic movies on bluray and DVD. Yes, we still have a land line telephone. Your picture made me think of this.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Herself came up with the mobile-hotspot notion, which gives us enough oomph to check mail, browse the Innertubes, and even stream TV using the Apple TV box (last night it was “Counterpart,” a spy-fy Starz/Amazon series that’s strangely interesting).

      In all my years wandering the road for fun and profit I never had occasion to use my iPhone as a hotspot. There was always a coffeeshop nearby, and occasionally an unprotected network I could poach from the car. It’s magic, is what it is.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        It seems strange that a city with a university, an air force base, national laboratory, and a major league blogger doesn’t have high speed internet service from the cable TV provider. The back hoe probably also cut that cable or fiber optic bundle.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          O, lad, they cut all the cables. Looks like the snakes-in-the-tomb scene from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” down in that hole.

          There are options as regards Internet providers, but they are all bad. We stuck with CenturyLink when we moved here, reasoning that they were the devil we knew.

          And hey presto! Just like that, a CenturyLink tech turned up at my door this morning. Seems that between PNM’s contractors and my jousting with tech support we managed to get someone’s attention. I showed him the hole and he told me that this sort of thing happens every day here in The Duck! City. Job security, hey?

          • SAO' Says:

            I’ll hand it to CenturyLink: last three appointments, they showed up right on time.

            Only problem is, all three times I had canceled the appointment 48 hours out!

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          Thanks for the pic. That’s a major league fuck up right there. Looks like they were close to taking out your wall too!

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          My money was on the wall coming down. Dude was driving that backhoe the way Steve McQueen drove a 1968 Mustang GT.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          By the way, it’s raining heavily here with about 5 minutes of pea size hail a little while ago. We are blowing through 1/2 inch right now.

      • carl duellman Says:

        We thought ‘Counterpart’ was pretty good. It took me a while to get into it but by the second season I was hooked. Currently watching ‘Bad Sisters’. I’m withholding judgement at this point because we haven’t seen all the episodes but we’re sucked in. Apple has some pretty good shows.

  3. Michael Porter Says:

    My father called that condition anusopticitis.

    I once heard a fan at a baseball ⚾️ game yell at the umpire to turn around, bend over and use his good eye 👁 because he was upset with the calls. Peering through the ‘ol chocolate starfish, what an interesting concept. Too many people already have their head up their ass so it makes it more difficult

  4. John A Levy Says:

    Two weeks ago Centurylink sent a tech out to verify some 0f our fiberopticc cables. Dumb ass managed to reroute all sorts of traffic. No phone or internet call the tech support folks. All is well I am told. Went to the tech 200 yds away and asked is everything was okay cuz I had lost internet and phone. Call support again and end up with a new Modem and router for free.
    The next day another tech comes out pitches his tent and spends the day repairing the previous tech’s tests. Remember the days when we bitched about MA Bell (Mountain Bell). They were rocket scientists compared to the CenturyLInk clowns. The use of contractors is problematic because some are great and others well………
    I am in precess of upgrading Cell Service and phones so a hotspot well be in my future. Weel crap.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ho, ho. The party never stops, eh? Here’s a blast from the past — Aug. 15, 2008, to be precise — in which I discussed an experience with Qwest, which would be snatched up two years later by CenturyLink. I still have at least one of the modems that they carpet-bombed us with.

      Qwest for brains

      “Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain,” wrote Johann Christoph Friendrich von Schiller in “The Maid of Orleans.” He must have had Internet service from Qwest.

      We have had a land line and DSL service with Qwest for several years, and while the service and hardware both seemed overpriced, at least they mostly functioned as required. True, we had a few confusing chats with East Asian tech-support people early in the relationship, and blew up an ActionTec Wireless-Ready DSL Gateway modem a few gigabytes further down the road, but all went more or less swimmingly until the second ActionTec went south in the exact same fashion last week.

      That way, as the saying goes, lies madness.

      When the DSL went down on Thursday, Aug. 7, I called tech support. Dead modem, they diagnosed; we’re trying to get all those old ActionTecs out of customers’ hands anyway. We will send you, with all haste, the very latest in Qwest communications technology. Agreed. Deal done, I hung up.

      Then I was afflicted with an idea — as usual, a bad one. I called the Qwest folks back and said, cancel that delivery, I’ll just pop on by my local Qwest store and fetch home a new modem, save you the trouble and me the delay. We can’t be without high-speed Intertubes for 24 hours. There are words to be processed, libels to be transmitted. Right you are, sir, they replied, and off I went.

      My antennae should have tingled when it took three of the four boneheads working the Qwest kiosk at the Citadel Mall to find me a new modem and enter the appropriate data into their computer. Alarm bells should have begun clanging when one of these wankers proposed kicking my download speed up a few notches as long as I was standing around, flattening my feet and watching the parade of thugs, slugs and Repugs. Klaxons should have begun hooting when the checkout process took longer than the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

      But no. It had been a long week, and I was tired, cranky and in a hurry. All I wanted was to be able to get back to downloading choppy videos of Tijuana donkey shows and e-mailing them to Laura Bush. So I grabbed the new modem and fled.

      Setup was something of a bother; the instructions only covered Ethernetting a computer to the modem, and we’re an all-wireless family, so several chats with tech support ensued before I finally got things up and running again, just in time for happy hour.

      And then, at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, the DSL croaked again. This was not the third bum modem — it was Qwest, shutting off my old high-speed service in preparation for starting up my new high-speed service. This apparently can take as long as three business days, a downside to the service upgrade that nobody discussed with me, though they did manage to sell me the wrong modem for the new service — and deliver me two more just like it — before finally shipping the proper model.

      In the meantime, I am shouting down various tech-support and customer-service wells and getting a different tale each time. That 2Wire Gateway modem should work. No, it won’t. Your service will be up and running Tuesday. No, Thursday. No, Wednesday. Sorry, we cannot compensate you for your time spent decoding our outrageous fucktardery, mendacity and apathy. OK, we’ll give you a free modem for your trouble. No, thanks, I already have four of the god-damned things and a free modem was part of the original deal! Yaaaaaarrrrrghhhh!!!

      Long story short, after two days during which I grew a callus on one ear from being on hold, where a soothing voice told me over and over again how awesome Qwest was and how important I was to Qwest, we finally have our DSL up and running again.

      Well, kind of. None of our “Classic”-OS Macs can use the new modem, and Herself is on the horn with tech support at Brother, trying to figure out how to make her MFC-885CW printer-scanner-fax combo work with the sonofabitch.

      But at least Laura’s finally gonna get that donkey video.

  5. Jeff Cozad Says:

    Having an FCC tariffed carrier is a huge plus. They have to make certain service requirements or they shell out the big elephant dollars. The cable folks just credit you for the time you’re without service.

    Before we got glass to the house, I remember having our CenturyLink service go out. Given I yelled at Telcos for a living and routinely got to roll their VPs out of bed, I was right at home. The folks on the other end of the phone knew they were dealing with someone that knew what was going on. I was getting hourly status call, a call when service was restored, and a call the next day to see if all was still good. Ah… the good old days…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      This was a pretty seamless deal we had here. Back up and running in under 24 hours is just fine with me. Against my will I was impressed.

      Think of all the poor sods in Florida who are digging through the muck trying to find their proud-ofs. A little hotspot time in the high desert is easy peasy lemon-squeezy.

  6. Shawn Says:

    One of the big cable companies that suck dollar bills from my fingers contacted me a while back and said they had a new bigger, better, faster modem for me that would make my life better. Sure, send it out to me. After more time then I wanted to spend setting up and resetting all my wireless gadgets with no success, my short term attention span decided that the ole’ modem was just fine as it was. So long as Mr. McQueen keeps the motorcycle below the fence line all should be well with our minimalist internet viewing.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Our CenturyLink-branded ActionTec C1000A modem is at least 10 years old and probably more. It’s on CL’s “retirement” list. But it still works, albeit with an occasional hiccup that requires a reboot, and so I’ve resisted upgrading.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      We are Cox Cable prisoners down here. I have to say that they are reliable, and I keep getting speed boosts for free. Basic high speed internet is now 250mbs. But, the router/modem pitches keep coming from Cox. No thanks. Modem from Staples, and the can have my Airport Extreme when the pry it from my cold dead fingers. That and my Pi Hole ad blocker.

  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    We dumped cable totally for Verizon internet (cellular) and it blows away our old ATT cable. Half the cost. We ain’t even getting 5g yet and up/download speeds are faster and more stable. Wireless IS the future and it’s here now. Hookup was so easy and incorporation into our cell phone bill dropped overall cost big time. My son in law having similar experience with tMobile for his internet.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Herb old scout, we were pretty impressed with how well our Verizon iPhones handled the hotspot load. We were both doing the usual computer stuff — browsing, collecting email, and whatnot — plus streaming video onto The Big Screen via the Apple TV.

      And mind you, this is with all of two bars on the phones because we squat in the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the ’Burque boonies. Not bad. Not bad at all. We may have to look into the Verizon Innertubes.

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