July 30, 2004

My Internet Connection is a Link to Hell

I'm sure it's just because I've just started and probably am inept at setting things up, but my internet connection is truly a piece. I won't mention the names of any companies until I've tried it out a bit longer, but so far I've had the pleasure of speaking to about 14 different people in a call center in India about the fact that I can't surf the internet. Each has given a different, totally useless solution. Last night, the lady said, "Do you have virus protection software?" I said not-so-very-calmly, "Yes! I downloaded it yesterday!!!" She said, "Well, have you run a full-system scan?" No. I did not run a full system scan. Partly because it took about two hours to download the program, but also because I know there were no viruses on the computer when I got it, and I haven't had internet until now. So unless they were in Norton's Virus program or unless they can travel through thin air... But I didn't say that. I just said "No." She sounded relieved (which I find odd) and said, "Oh, well that's it then. It's gotta be a virus. I mean, if you're just getting bootted off the internet, that's kind of strange. That sounds buggy to me." Because it certainly couldn't be anything wrong with their program or their POS server.

But OK. Fine. I started up the full-system scan and went to sleep. Got up this morning to check it. Full-system scan revealed....NO THREATS. So now I have to go home and call India AGAIN to talk about why they suck. Which will inevitiably somehow be turned around into why I suck. Maybe they should invenst in a technical writer and send some instructions with their software. I could do it; I could be looking for a different job. I could move to India. According to an MPR interview, supposedly you can live like a king on less of a salary. I could use a butler and a driver.

But then I'd have to work for them, and here's an example of their exemplary service. (After all, their hold message says it's "award winning.") I can't connect to the internet, so I call in, hold for half an hour, and finally talk to a guy who says, "You know, you can always check out our online support center where you can live chat with a technician." IF I COULD ACCESS THE INTERNET, WHICH I CAN'T! You kind of start to wonder why exactly you've bothered to call them at that point because critical thinking and logic were obviously not subjects they excelled in at school.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:35 AM | Comments (8)

July 28, 2004

Internet at Home

That's right. I'm now part of the current century again. Well, sort of. It's just dial up, but it's cheap and that's the most important thing to me right now. It is supposedly going to take an hour to download AOL Messenger, which I don't fully believe. It's almost half-way there, and it has only been about five minutes. I just don't think my internet version understands the extent of its own talents. And we just jumped from 50% to 97%. I love my computer. Anything that giggles when you shut it down just can't be wrong.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 22, 2004

Jib Jab

This Land was in my inbox this morning, and I had to share it with you. Be warned that it's music, so it will make noise. It's the funniest thing I've seen in quite awhile.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2004

Pointing Out the Obvious

One useless fact at a time.

Before Frequently Asked Questions was such a common phrase that it had an abbreviation (it used to be called "help," but people began discovering that this was a useless function, so they re-named it and put the information from it in the form of questions that have no index so that you have to read them all, which is so much more useful, I must say), my friends in HS used to write FAQ on things. Why? Well, because boys and girls, instead of saying (as in Seasame Street is brought to you today by the letters) F, A, and Q, say fa (as in falalalalalalalala) and then say Q (as in the letter). If you're at work, you may only want to say this metaphorically (or possibly in your head) and not while the boss man is around. And now it's on every website in the country. Way to be people. The Internet: Spreading four letter words across the globe, three letters at a time.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:03 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2004

Social Acceptance

I think I've decided that I'm going to take up smoking. Not neccessarily because I want to or because it's particularly healthy or because I have some false belief that I will somehow avoid dying from it or because it's particularly popular right now. No, I want to take up smoking more because it's socially unacceptable. It's becoming more and more socially unacceptable everyday. Sometimes, I just want to have a good excuse to go outside and do something defiant, and smoking is still more socially acceptable than screaming. Only psychopaths, lunatics, and the occasional banshee are allowed to scream in public, and all of these are regarded with fear and loathing, whereas a smoker is generally regarded with merely mild to severe disdain. A smoker outside is only hurting themselves, whereas no one is entirely sure who a screamer might hurt. It's a little sad that such a good, healthy burst of air is not more accepted, especially at educational facilities. I know a good number of people who would not have to retire nearly so early if they could just get a good yell in once or twice a day.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:01 AM | Comments (6)

July 16, 2004

Excuses, Excuses

It's always good to have a list of excuses handy because you never know when you're going to be asked to explain yourself. In light of that, I've compiled this list of excuses versatile enough to handle any kind questioning you might encounter.

(For anything. It doesn't matter, really, as these seem to be the top 20 excuses as to why anything a) didn't get done or b) isn't *anyone's* fault.)

20) Well, you see, there were these weapons of mass destruction...

19) I mean, I had intelligence that there were weapons of mass destruction that were going to be put into the hands of terrorists.

18) Well, I didn't have any actual agents on the ground, but there was definitely the means to create weapons of mass destruction.

17) I meant the capability to create weapons of mass destruction.

16) What I actually said was that there was the possibility for the capability of creating weapons of mass destruction that could have potentially ended up in the hands of terrorists.

15) Maybe.

14) Sort of.

13) There was a threat, I tell you! A THREAT!

12) I believed there were weapons of mass destruction that could end up in the hands of terrorists.

11) Well... at least... I thought about potential weapons of mass destruction ending up in the hands of terrorists.

10) I'm honoring the memory of those who went looking for the weapons of mass destruction.

9) You should be doing that too, instead of asking me about the weapons.

8) It doesn't matter where the weapons are; you're not being very patriotic.

7) You don't support our troops!

6) You're against the American people!!

5) You must not feel bad about 9-11!!!

4) Why don't you just move to France?

3) Are you a terrorist?

2) Shall we take a look at what you've checked out of the library lately??

1) Maybe you have the weapons of mass destruction.

This should effectively deflect all attention away from you, making you free to return to your usual business. In a worst case scenario, you can always accuse the questioning individual of not being a good Christian or of not adhering to a moral standard equal to your own.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2004

The Best I've Discovered Lately

These are the best things entertainment-wise that I've discovered this year (so far and since January). This does not mean that they were released this year. It just means that I didn't find them until this year.

My lists are better than the list books on Amazon for this reason: My opinions are free.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is also quite funny so far, but I haven't finished it yet.

Movie At the Theater:
Spiderman 2
(I'm not linking to things that you should all be aware of by now. If you don't know what Spiderman 2 is about, you should just stop reading now.)

Mystic River
(Dark and creepy and very provacative.)
Close second: The Rundown

Movie Someone Else Owns (as in, don't neccessarily pay money, but if someone you know owns this, you should definately borrow it):

Alias and firefly
(This is an unbreakable tie. I'm sorry if you have strong feelings one way or the other, but you are obviously wrong.)

Maroon 5 Songs About Jane
Seriously, you must go buy this now. Every song is excellent.

Caspian Bistro in Minneapolis
Mmmm. Greek food.

Weblog article:
New Christian FAQ

Nation States
Create your own country. Run it any way you like. There is nothing quite like absolute power to get you started in the morning.

Settlers of Catan and Once Upon a Time
(Again, unbreakable tie. This is a tie because they are two totally different styles of games, and they are both awesome.)

"Oh, yes, [...] I knew your mother." (from the latest Harry Potter movie)

Ice Cream:
Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Crunch

(You can add this to any word to make that word an adjective. Try it; it's fun!)

(I got the coolest shoes on earth here.)
Close second: The Nordstrom Rack
(Cheap and work-esque)

Central Park in Roseville
(Mostly because of the preserve across Dale with the wetlands and the floating (scarey) bridges.)

Song (today only; changes daily):
"Theme from Summer" (All Star United)

Biggest entertainment disapointment this year:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(Sorry, I couldn't resist taking one final pot shot at this movie before I "never" speak of it again.)(In and of itself, it's not a bad movie. When you consider the fact that it is actually based on a rather good book, then you must come to terms with the fact that it can't hold a plot line together. You should still go see it, but I found it really disappointing.)

I highly reccommend that you do/try/watch/read/etc. anything/everything on this list.

Posted by LoWriter at 08:53 AM | Comments (5)

July 04, 2004

The Class of 1998

So, I know you've all been holding your breath in anticipation of the reunion report, so here it is: There was a reunion and it was good. And bad. It was both, really. (And yes, there was some ugly, too, although most of that was happening in classes below mine. ;) ).

It was bad because it brought up a lot of memories that I would just as soon forget, which is in fact why I haven't seen most of my class for six years. It was hard to be back in Plummer.

But in other ways, it was really really good, and I am very glad I went.

I went to the street dances on both Friday and Saturday night. Friday night, I only saw a couple people, but Saturday, I saw about 10 of my 17 classmates. And they were genuinely glad to see me. They all told me how good I look and how much I've changed. One who I'd really wanted to see had brought his girlfriend who is so sweet and he was standing there laughing and I was like, "What?" He goes, "Nothing, I'm just really glad to see you." He's a writing major, and she's a communications/English major now. I'm so happy that he has found someone so wonderful because he is one of those people who showed me genuine kindness when I really needed it, so I feel he deserves the best in the universe and she's it for him; I can just tell. They're talking about moving to the Cities, and I hope they do because they're both fabulous. And everyone pretty much felt the same as he did. They were sad that I had disappeared for six years, and I discovered that I was sad, too. I didn't know that until now. One of my classmates was actually mad at me over it, I think, but mostly, we were all glad to see each other. One guy even complimented me on my graduation speech. (I wrote about what made each of us a valuable part of the class. There were only 17 of us, so it didn't take forever. Basically, I got to get up at graduation and say one good thing about everybody before we left in front of all their friends and family. The guy this weekend said, "You gave the best graduation speech ever. You pegged everyone exactly right!" I'm taking it with a grain of salt because he was thoroughly drunk, but he was still thinking about it after six years.) I've really only seen my best friend since graduation, but I found that I had missed these people more than I realized.

I'm not sorry that I did what I did and left it all behind six years ago. I desperately needed a fresh start when I left school. There were several reasons for this, and I don't regret the decision to leave and start over. But coming back with six years' distance between me and that time in my life has made me see that it wasn't that people didn't care, it was that they didn't know how to show me that they cared. I think they were really all genuinely pleased that I had come back this weekend. I was happy to see them, too. I was happy to hear about their new lives. In some ways, it's weird because some people haven't changed at all, and yet they've changed in every possible way. I'm glad I went, especially because I'm a different person with a different perspective on life. I see now that I have been missing these people since I left.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:50 PM | Comments (2)

July 01, 2004


If you haven't yet heard, these are sad times for the Twin Cities literary scene. The Ruminator is going out of business. My friend Megan and I went last night to pay our last respects. I gotta say I felt guilty, having never been there before, about turning up for the wake. I always think that if all the people who flock to the store when it's closing would have done that while it was trying to stay afloat then it wouldn't need to be closing at all. I wish I had made the trip down there earlier in my time in the Twin Cities. I spend enough time down on Grand Avenue that I should have made a point to go. The store and the people were both charming. They had time to help me, offered to help me, and they were good at helping me (unlike at the good old Barnes and Noble where I sometimes want to crawl over the counter and search their computer myself) even though they were packed with people and clearly busy.

The owner is 62 years old and owes something like $1 million to various creditors/Macalester College. I feel bad for him to have to a) lose something that he quite obviously loved a lot and b) start completely over now. I wish someone would set up a benefit fund. (And if you know of one, let me know and I'll contribute and post a link to it. I couldn't find one online.)

It's not that I don't understand progress and commercialization and capitalism at its finest. It's not even that I don't approve of these things (even though I don't entirely approve of these things). I love my Barnes and Noble fix as much as the next person, but it still makes me sad to see it take over the market. I love B&N in the same way that I love my Caribou on County C, but sometimes, I like to go to the Ginkgo coffee shop and feel like I belong to a community that isn't trying to rush the next number in line out the door. I feel like as a country (maybe even as a planet), we are losing our connections to each other. I may love my big booksellers because they are so big and vast, but I love my community stores in a different way. I'm sad to see them disappearing and to see chain stores taking over so that everything looks the same everywhere you go. I love independent stores because they're small and personal and each has it's own flavour that I can't get anywhere else. I love that they embrace the individuality that has historically been an integral part of the American identity. I love small stores because they mean something to the people that shop in them. I can go there when I'm homesick.

Posted by LoWriter at 11:50 AM | Comments (5)