Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Of Skunks and Cable TV; a Personal Rant

       I was told recently that I ought to write more personal posts, so, since all I feel like doing is venting anyway, here goes!  (I'm obviously going to get almost nothing done today!)
       First, skunks.  Last night I dreamed I was in a department store with a crowd of people and a broad expanse of plate glass windows across the front.  We started smelling horrible skunk odor.  I remarked that I sure hoped the skunk didn't get inside.  Then we could see the skunk through the big window and it was at least two feet long and it was a spotted skunk, not a striped skunk (have you seen that PBS Nature program on skunks? -- fascinating!).  Then suddenly there the skunk was inside.  It just wandered around and didn't make any attempt to spray, but, boy, did it stink! 
       Then I woke up and it seemed like I could still smell skunk just slightly.  I could almost taste it.  And I wondered if I had been smelling skunk while I was asleep and that had stimulated the dream. 
       Then after I got up, I went out to bring in my newspaper and lo and behold!  There in the middle of the street was a dead skunk, quite a large one but properly striped!  So I guess I WAS smelling skunk in my sleep.  My house is a few blocks from a municipal golf course and so we often get wildlife wandering around.  I'll even see a fox occasionally trotting purposefully down the sidewalk like he owned the neighborhood.  But I hadn't had any skunks in a long time.  I had to call the Street Dept. to come pick up the carcass.  They evidently did so, because it has now  disappeared.
       Do any of you ever have dreams that include vivid smells?  Smell-o-vision dreams?
       Second, cable.  About three weeks ago, my HD died.  I was trying to get over the broken rib and I just didn't feel like hassling with Comcast over the phone  -- press this, press that, do this, do that, we'll do this, blah-blah-blah.  The picture simply had expanded so that everybody looked like they weighed 300 lbs. and the edges of the pictures were cut off, so anything near the edge was not there.  This was true whether you used the 16:9 fomat or the 4:3 format.  4:3 gave things the right proportion, but the edges were still cut off.  TV can be viewed that way, but I'm paying for HD so I was really steamed.
       So today I decided to tackle the problem.  The trouble is, I use mainly my landline and I don't have a phone with a cord that reaches to the front of the TV.  (I may have an extra-long phone cord stashed somewhere, but I can't find it.)  So I use my cordless phone, but the sound is mushy and I can never understand what people are saying.  Most of them mumble and talk too fast anyway.  After an infinite amount of "press this-press that" I got a live person and we went through a rigamarole of questions and she said that they would fix it remotely and for me to leave the set on and it should be fixed after 45 minutes.  Then she said if that didn't work, I could go to the local Concast store and get a new box.  I said, I didn't drive any longer and if I got a new box, I wouldn't know how to install it, anyway, and couldn't they just send out a damned cable man (I actually didn't say damned but I thought it).  So we settled on waiting 45 minutes.
       So I took a walk.  At least that was something positive I accomplished this morning!
       An hour and a half later -- still not fixed.  So I called again.  Whole same rigamarole -- different woman -- repeat everything ad nauseum.  She starts to ask me questions -- and the phone went dead!  The rest of the phones were working!  And certainly my cordless phone was fully charged!  Steam was coming out of my ears!
       So I turned my TV around so I could see it using one of my corded phones. (In case you're wondering why I don't use my cell phone, it's even mushier and more liable to cut off that the cordless phone.)   Same routine, same explanations -- and then this particular woman said, "On the remote there is a button at the lower right called 'HD ZOOM.'  Try pressing that."
       I pressed it -- and it fixed it!  Who knew?  I've never paid any attention to that button, but it must have accidentally gotten pressed about three weeks ago (that's entirely possible because I'll sometimes drop the remote in the chair or even on the floor), and that caused the picture to look wrong ever since.  I said to this woman, "Well, for god's sake, tell all your co-workers there about this button, because it sure would save time and hassle when the next person calls with this same complaint!"  She laughed and said she would.  What a bunch of ignoramuses!  They're supposed to be customer-service experts on cable and they don't know any more than I do!  I don't even know why such a button would be on there!  What would it be used for?
       So I wasted a good half of my morning -- it certainly could have been spent more productively!
        Do any of you have stories about either cable or dish aggravations?
       Btw, there's a new review of The Termite Queen, v.1, at the website of E.C. Ambrose.  It's also on Goodreads.  Hasn't showed up on Amazon yet.  I want to remind people that you won't get a full impression of TQ until you read v.2, because it's basically one novel.  The only reason I didn't publish it as one physical volume is that it was too long.


  1. Lol, loved the cable story! We can all relate to that one. And the skunk story is eery.

    1. Thought you'd like it! :-) Re wildlife in the neighborhood, last summer I had to have my roof repaired because a racoon had clawed a big hole in it! They all live over on the golf course.