Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Comcast- Complete and Total Incompetence

After writing this post, I was contacted by 3 different people at Comast (including Mark over in Comcast Cares) that all were calling to work with me to fix the problem. I appreciated the gesture and was happy to see the response, but I was worried that it wasn't going to be more than lip service.

Well, I got home that night around 9pm to find a guy working on the cable lines on the street outside of my house. He then came to tell me that he had found a couple of small problems that were causing the intermittent service and had fixed them.

As of today, we are back in service. I'm glad to see Mark and the others take such initiative to help me finally fix my problem (even if it did take forever for me and them to convince Comcast of what the problem was). I haven't seen my bill for the period of outage yet, so I can't comment on what happened there, but for now, Comcast actually did work hard to finally get me back up.


I'm writing this blog to blow off some steam and to hopefully let everyone else out there know the incompetence of Comcast. Bear with me.

I'm sure you saw my last blog post about my frustration with Comcast's reaction after the hurricane. Basically, the entire city has been fixed, but Comcast still can't get their stuff together.

I lost cable service on the morning of 9/13. Today is 10/28, and I still don't have cable or internet service thanks to Comcast. Service came on last week for 5 days and then this weekend for 3 more, but other than that, nothing. And for some reason, nothing is getting done about it. I've been assured that I won't be charged for my outage, but I'm pretty sure they're not even legally allowed to charge me for service that I don't receive, so that offer is more of a slap in the face than a real offer to own up to their failures.

Other than a few "we're sorry's," I've gotten nothing. No attempt to make it right other than putting me in the back of the line with anyone else. No even letting me talk to a manager. My one consolation has been Mark over at their online department, Comcast Cares, but unfortunately he seems to get swallowed up by the total failure that seems to be this company. As nice and helpful as he has been, my cable is still going out, and no one wants to fix the problem except to tell me a technician will come out, which isn't what I need, and the pattern repeats itself.

If you have any type of choice on your cable or internet service, consider yourself warned...don't use Comcast.

Now I'm going to sit in a hold queue and ask for my service to be fixed, only to have them tell me I don't have an outage in my area, wait 1-3 days for a technician that I don't need, who will order a crew to fix the line, who then gets cancelled because their is no outage in my area, so I have to call again to get a new tech....you get the idea.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Do Ants Stretch

My puppy Parker is so cute when she wakes up from a nap, hops off of the bed, and then spends the next 15 seconds or so doing various stretches. It is adorable.

Which leads to my question...Do ants stretch too?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Voicemail Messages

Is it just me, or is it a bit weird to have someone quote scripture on their voicemail message? I just called a woman, and she started with the standard, "you have reached blah blah, leave a message, blah blah..." but she finished by quoting scripture (something about making the best of every day, but I don't recall the exact words).

I'm all about being proud of your faith, but it just struck me as a bit odd. And don't get me wrong, I talk to hundreds of people a week, and I hear plenty "Have a blessed day[s] and other similar religious nods, but that's a pretty big step from actually quoting scripture. It just seems a bit over the top to me. Call me cynical I guess.

Update: So, I just called a guy, and I told him who I was and asked how he was doing, and his response was, "Blessed, blessed. I'm blessed." My response was, "Good, glad to hear it." How are you supposed to respond when someone tells you he's blessed? It sounded really weird to just respond by saying, "good."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Couldn't We Do Better Things with Our Money?

Both sides of the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment battle in CA have raised in the neighborhood of $20 million so far and will undoubtedly raise more money in the 3 weeks we have left into the election.

For what? To "save marriage?" Give me a break.

I don't live in Massachusetts, but I seem to remember that the state still exists, and gays haven't even taken over Boston yet. Besides that, marriage seems to be chugging along just fine over there. Hey, if Rush Limbaugh can blame the Democrats for destroying the economy by coming to power in 2006, we can certainly judge whether gay marriage has been a success or not in Massachusetts, and thankfully, not even the right wingers can claim it to have caused any real problems.

Can you imagine all of the millions (hundreds of millions?) of dollars we could have spent on far more important issues if this gay marriage absurdity weren't out there? How "moral" is it really to effectively take money from causes that need real help (feed the hungry, fight domestic violence, fund education, etc. etc.) for something like this? I think it might be time for these marriage amendment proponents to review their priorities.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Less Than Motivated--I Blame Comcast

So much to do, so little...motivation?

Is it possible that my lack of cable tv and internet at home has made me less motivated and productive? Here I am, going on week 5 after hurricane Ike and I still have no internet or cable service at home and nothing to show for it, either.

Somehow the city of Houston has managed to repair every broken traffic light in the entire city, is well on it's way to picking up all the downed tree limbs and other debris from the roadside, and Center Point energy has fixed every electricty outage in southeast Texas, yet Comcast cable still can't get cable or internet to my house.

Well, the problem is that they're still trying to claim that I have cable service, despite 4 visits from technicians between my neighbors and me, all resulting in us being told the obvious--that we don't have service, but there's nothing they can do because there's a line down in the neighborhood. So, they promise to get a crew out, tell us it'll be a few days, and then Comcast cancels the crew because their computers show no outage in our area. And the cycle repeats into week 5. I realize there was a hurricane, but this is just straight incompetence at this point. Remind me why cable is still not deregulated again...

All this, and you'd think I'd be more productive at home than usual. You know, no tv or internet to distract me from doing work around the house, reading, working out, etc. etc. But I've actually found myself dipping into some sort of low grade depression. I was calling it the "Ike effect" but I think I'm going to call it the "Comcast effect" here soon. All I want to do is not have to watch network television while cooking dinner. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gay Marriage--Take 3!

Connecticut's Supreme Court has paved the way for that state to be the 3rd state to legalize gay marriage.

Pretty cool stuff.

Now the question, as some of the commenters over at Box Turtle Bulletin have posed, is whether the timing of this is going to lead to some sort of backlash in the upcoming election.

I see the point, but we really don't have Presidential candidate that is running on a platform to take advantage of this like Bush did. Even the conservative side of the ticket, Sarah Palin shyed away from the gay union rights question when pressed.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Matthew Shepard: 10 Years Later

10 years ago today, Matthew Shepard was found tied to a fence next to a rural bike path near Laramie, Wyoming. Matt was in a comatose state, barely breathing, and had been left out in the cold for 18 hours before he was found. One of the women that found him reported that the only areas on his face that were not covered with blood were two trails from his tears.

I wasn't out when Matthew Shepard died, and while I remember hearing about the story and watching the news coverage, I can't say that I remember being profoundly impacted at the time. I was a sophomore in college then, getting used to a new dorm and a new semester, and for some reason this terrible tragedy just didn't hit me like I know it would have today.

That's not to say that it didn't impact a lot of other people, though, and that's not to say that I didn't feel sorrow back then...I just didn't relate to it for some reason.

As much as we talk about gay rights and gay marriage and hate crimes and all of that other political stuff, it really takes a tragedy like this to put it all into perspective. In a perfect world, even if we disagreed about gay rights and all that comes with it, we could at least rest assured knowing that lives weren't on the line. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world, and our words and actions have meanings.

I'm not trying to imply that people that fight against anti-gay marriage or hate crimes bills or anything like that are to blame for unconscionable acts of violence like Matthew Shepard's murder, but I do know that unfortunately it takes something like this to bring their theoretic view of politics into the realm of personal. That's really always been my complaint...that my life is directly impacted by the gay rights debate, and I end up arguing against/debating with people that have no real vested interest in the issue at all...they're arguing in the theoretical, and I'm arguing in the personal. So, I'm impassioned, and I get angry, and sometimes even a little consumed, but it's because it's my life we're talking about here, not some sort of political theory that sounds great in talking points.

Nothing good ever comes out of violence like Matt's murder, but sometimes it forces people into the personal level of an issue to finally see what they hadn't been able to previously.

The Advocate has an "oral history" type of article up about Matthew Shepard's final days. It's worth reading if nothing else to remember how far things have come. It takes the memories of a dozen or so people close to Matthew, or the case, to piece together what happened and how their lives have changed since.

Moises Kaufman, director of The Laramie Project is quoted in the article and talks about why a violent attack hits so closely to home for so many gay people, even those of us that have never had to deal with violence or taunting personally, saying "people have spoken about how we as gay people feel attacked, injured, constantly in our culture. And that image of that boy tied to the fence spoke to so many of us about our pain and about our sense of how we fit into the landscape of this country. The impact of seeing what this was doing to the country." In a way, Matthew Shepard's murder was a realization that the fears, the worries, the concerns were all well-founded, no matter how safe we'd felt. And, even if for a little while, it forced a lot of straight people to feel our fears and worries too.

But, most compelling to me were the words of the Laramie police chief at the time, Dave O'Malley. It's through his words that I saw how dramatically things can change when a political issue gets taken from the theoretical to the personal, no matter who you are. In his quote, O'Malley remembers how his own view of the world changed back then, saying "I wasn’t hugely homophobic, but I was mean-spirited. I bought into the jokes and the myths and stereotypes of the gay community. Because of what happened, I was forced to interact with that community. Quite frankly, I started losing my ignorance. Did I reevaluate my beliefs in that first week? In the old country we’d call that a no-shitter. It didn’t take very long at all for me to realize that I was dead wrong." Views change. My own dad's views have changed (for the most part at least), but not because someone argued with him about how gay marriage could become legal, but because he saw on a personal level what it all meant. Luckily, his personal view was a positive one, but sometimes the bad ones make headway too.

O'Malley goes on to express how his views of hate crimes changed as a result of the Shepard case. He went from having the common conservative view that "every crime was a hate crime" to realizing that all crimes simply aren't the same. He remembers how he "saw the difference with what happened to Matt,: and goes saying, "we had kids moving out of Laramie, transferring to other colleges. There was a huge amount of terror and fear -- I hadn’t seen that before. There are people killed during liquor store robberies every day in this country, but I never think twice about going to the liquor store. It’s a different kind of a motivation and a different kind of impact. I’ve now been to Washington to speak about hate-crimes legislation on seven occasions. It’s something I believe in, and I’m going to keep working at it."

So, 10 years after this country, gay and straight alike, were dealing with Matthew Shepard's death, I hope people keep remembering that political issues like these really do impact lives. We're talking about personal issues here, not just theoretical ones.