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Keep Moving Please

Just testing another API for getting my blog posts out to Twitter and Facebook. The one I was previously using, Twitter Posts, doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

So, this is just a test. Nothing to see here. Please move on.

© 2010 – 2012, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


A Drop? Are You Kidding Me?

Channeling my inner Mora, I completely felt the same disbelief he had in 2001 when questioned about his team’s chances of making the NFL playoffs:

“Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs?”

For two weeks, I wrangled with Comcast after losing our service. The first (of many!) technician claimed that our “drop” — the line from the top of our driveway to the house — was bad and that we needed a new one. The drop would need to be ordered, so he filled out the paperwork with Mrs. Kharmin (since I was at the office) and left.

Unknown to the tech, we had already had a second drop made a few years earlier which was never connected. When I got home and saw the drop order, I called and canceled it. I requested that someone simply come out and hook up the existing secondary drop. This was on Thursday night and the earliest appointment was Monday.

Come Monday, I am again at work and Mrs. Kharmin at home. A different tech came out, surveyed the drop where it came down the driveway to a “pedestal” (those plastic obelisks you see in everyone’s yard) and informed Mrs. Kharmin that he could not use it as there were no wires. A phone call was made to me, and I spoke with the guy and told him that there had to be wires as someone tore up my yard to make that drop. He was insistent: no wires, no service. I asked him to do nothing and that I would contact a supervisor when I got home from work.

Monday evening after work, I opened the pedestal and lo! — therein I found two wires: one fat wire leading up toward the end of the driveway, and one thin wire leading toward the house. No wires indeed! There were two! I then called and spoke with a Customer Service Representative (CSR) who informed me that my account was showing a drop as scheduled to be made. A drop? No, I canceled that, I told her, and if it wasn’t then I asked her to please do so now. I then detailed the events thus far and asked to have someone come out on a day where I’d be home and could show them exactly what was what. An appointment was set up for Friday.

Friday, the appointment time passed and no technician had arrived. I called and spoke with a CSR to find out where my tech was and was told that no technician had been scheduled; rather a drop was ordered and until that happened no technician would be coming. A drop? Wait… didn’t I cancel that already? I canceled it again and asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor was unavailable (a common theme throughout this entire event) and would call me back “soon.”

As I waited for the call that never came, a contractor arrived and had begun to pace out the distance for a drop in my yard. I ran out and told him about the situation and that his service would not be required pending my conversation with the Comcast supervisor.

Saturday, I called again. Different CSR; same story. No information about a request for a supervisor call. No, instead they showed that I was being scheduled for a drop. Are you kidding me? A drop? Enough with the drop!! I canceled it, now for the third time. I implored the CSR to schedule someone, anyone, I didn’t care who to come out and have us physically show them what we had. They schedule a technician for Tuesday, and I coordinated with Mrs. Kharmin as she would be home that day. I showed her the wires in the pedestal and where they terminated and under no circumstances was a drop to be scheduled!

Sunday, we arrived home from church to find a Miss Utililty contractor spray painting lines in my grass. When asked, he told me that he was marking for the drop that Comcast had scheduled. Sigh.

Back on the phone, I was told by the CSR that no drop was scheduled. The Miss Utility contractor had been scheduled some time ago and had never been canceled. I was told not to worry and that come Tuesday, things would be straight.

Tuesday’s technician was shown the ropes by Mrs. Kharmin. He pulled the existing line from the ground by the house, hooked up his tester and determined that somewhere in the 300+ foot line it had been over-saturated with water and was no longer functional. We needed a new drop. Mrs. Kharmin interjected and asked that the secondary drop already in place be used. The technician told her that he didn’t know anything about that secondary drop and that it wasn’t activated so he couldn’t use it. He would have to have someone from the construction division come out and make a determination on that other line.

That night, I finally spoke with a supervisor. After canceling the drop he saw on our account (what’s this… five times I’ve canceled it now?), he listened attentively to our story and agreed with me that we needed someone else to come out and make a call on our secondary drop. In the meantime, he was going to schedule someone (at my request) to run a temporary line across our lawn just so that we could get service. They’d have someone out on Thursday.

My kingdom for some cable!

Wednesday night, I get a call from the contractor who I had found pacing my yard a week earlier. He called because he had just received a drop order from Comcast for our location. He remembered our conversation from his prior visit, and decided he’d better call before coming back out and dredging up our yard. Thankfully, someone with insight! No, I told him, Comcast was sending out the right people (hopefully) and if it was decided that we had to have a third drop, then we’d have him run it. He’d call me the day after the Comcast visit to see what, if anything, he needed to do for us.

Thursday, one of the supervisors from the construction division arrived. I gave him the recap of everything you’ve read so far. He looked at the drop and commented, “I think I’m the one who installed this drop. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Geez. We looked in the pedestal and I showed him the wires (remember… the two wires that the technician told us weren’t there?). He said, “Oh, you just need a tap here.” A tap. What’s a tap? It is the thingy that connects the large, fat wire to the small, thin wire. He said that he’d check back at the office to verify that the drop could indeed be used and that he’d have someone out later that day.

Later, a technician shows up. I tell him what the construction guy said, and asked if he would at least run my temporary line to get me running. Full of great customer service, this technician was very accommodating. He unloaded a brand new spool and ran a line across my yard (the whole 300+ feet) and terminated both ends. He tested and connected it and waited for me to test my services to make sure that everything was working. Finally! WE HAVE CONNECTION!

Just as I was about to sign off on his work order, I noticed a Comcast bucket truck at the end of my driveway (right where we just placed the temporary line). We walked to the truck and found the drop technician (for lack of a better title?) was there and getting ready to install the tap.

The missing piece… a tap!

The two of them talked for about 40 seconds in Comcast-ese and it was decided that the first tech would wait for the second tech to install the tap. Once done, the first tech could finish the install from the tap to the house.

They were done in less than an hour.

Had Comcast sent someone more knowledgeable after the first confusing visit, we would not have had to cancel an un-necessary drop multiple times and spend countless time on the phone and taking days off of work. The entire episode was more than frustrating as you well may imagine.

So, that’s the story. Sorry for the delay in getting it to you, but as you can see there was a lot to tell.

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


The Bloom (or Bloob) is off the Rose

I know… many of you who follow me on Facebook were expecting my long dissertation on our latest Comcast debacle. It’s coming; it’s just a long write. In the mean time, I offer you this gem.

First, a small segue (and no, I don’t mean one of those two-wheeled sidewalk riding things that Paul Blart used–that would be a Segway).

Right. Moving on.

Several months ago my daughter wanted to show me something. She curled herself into a small ball, still on her feet with her head buried in her knees and her arms curled around her legs. “Look, Daddy, I’m a seed…,” then she stood up and thrust her arms out over her head, “…now I’m a bloom!”. In her excitement, I heard her say, “Now I’m a bloob!” This term has now worked its way into our family lexicon and describes someone who is just plain being silly. I would tease her to which she’d retort, “Oh Daddy, you’re just being a bloob.”

Ok, the main event. This week has seen another milestone in our daughter’s life: kindergarten. Day one, she was raring to go, all dressed in her new going to school dress and new tenny-runners (tennis shoes). Lunch bag and backpack clutched, she was waiting for me by the door, eyes aglow with the excitement that only a 5½ year old could have for going to school.

That evening, all manner of new things were discussed. New teachers, items in the classroom, the rules (so many to remember!) and so on. Day two was much the same.

Day three…

I wished her a good day at school, but she seemed less enthusiastic than she had been all week. So, I asked, “Don’t you like your new school?”

“Yes, I do like my new school,” she replied, “I just don’t want to go every day.”

My, my. Already the experience has lost it’s appeal–the bloom had fallen off of the rose. I hadn’t the heart to tell her that she had 13 more years to go! So, I kissed her and sent her on her way, telling her that I was sure that things would be fun and that she’d enjoy herself.

She didn’t seem adversely affected by her morning’s despair and by the time she got home everything seemed in order. We had dinner, talked about her day at school and were none the wiser about her statement earlier in the day. Has the bloom really fallen off? We think not; rather, it was just the reality of the new changes to her daily routine starting to set in.

Tomorrow, she will buy her lunch for the first time–chocolate milk and all. If that doesn’t help to turn her attitude around….

© 2010 – 2013, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


But Wait… There’s More!

Yeah, yeah, I’ve been absent for the summer and I know that many of you have just been dying for me to start posting and/or blogging again. Have faith and fear not! I will be posting once again very soon with the same fervor and wit to which you have been accustomed.

Now, where did I place my muse?

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


Chasing Rainbows

Some insightful commentary from one of my favorite musicians, Fish, that I received in an email newsletter to which I subscribe. I felt that I had to share his thoughts as I, too, understand the feelings contained therein:

“There’s a rainbow outside my window and I wish sometimes, of a moment, I could only find the pot of gold at the end of it to solve so many existing problems and provide some sort of security for others I know.

But do I really need to as it is such a beautiful rainbow to appreciate, over such a beautiful array of hills, on such a beautiful night from such a beautiful home that I can only feel humbled by my surroundings and grateful to have a healthy and relatively peaceful life with friends and family close by. The wealth, the pot of gold, is in the ability to perceive the value of that and what is before you in all the majesty of the moment.

The crock doesn’t and has never existed and that is why only fools chase it so.”

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


Tastes Like Chicken

Last Saturday, Mrs. Kharmin, our daughter and I piled into the Tahoe and headed to my parents’ house for the day.  The granddaughter was most excited to spend the day with her grandparents and her cousin who would be there as well.

I was looking forward to the steaks.

Earlier in the week, when discussing the Saturday plans with my mom, steak on the grill was the menu du jour.  Vernal equinox, after a long snow-filled winter, practically called for a cookout especially since the day called for loads of sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures.  Coupled with a cold brew, what could go wrong?

Dinner-time came and you probably guessed it… no steaks.  Buh? Instead, we had some chicken glazed with peaches and almonds.  I asked, “What happened to the steaks?”

“Well,” my mother replied, “your brother and sister-in-law were over last night and we had the steaks with them.”

The chicken dish was actually quite good, but try as I might it just didn’t taste like steak… and it wasn’t for lack of effort.

But I did get the last of her prized Blastin’ Berry Cherry Kool-aid which she and I both enjoy but can no longer find in the supermarkets so the day wasn’t a total loss.  Maybe,  if I play my cards right, I might score a chocolate pie on my next visit as it is my brother’s favorite.

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


RIP Peter Graves

I just saw the news today on Yahoo! that actor Peter Graves has died. Known best for his role as Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible (the series, not the Tom Cruise hack movies) Mr. Graves also worked in notable feature films like Stalag 17 and Airplane!

The Airplane! film is where I remember him most, for it is one of my favorite movies. Mr. Graves played Clarence Oveur, the pilot of Flight 209 to Chicago with some of the most memorable lines of the film:

Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9′er, you are cleared for take-off.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: L.A. departure frequency, 123 point 9′er.
Captain Oveur: Roger!
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Victor Basta: Request vector, over.
Captain Oveur: What?
Tower voice: Flight 2-0-9′er cleared for vector 324.
Roger Murdock: We have clearance, Clarence.
Captain Oveur: Roger, Roger. What’s our vector, Victor?
Tower voice: Tower’s radio clearance, over!
Captain Oveur: That’s Clarence Oveur. Over.
Tower voice: Over.
Captain Oveur: Roger.
Roger Murdock: Huh?
Tower voice: Roger, over!
Roger Murdock: What?
Captain Oveur: Huh?
Victor Basta: Who?

It was said that actor Leslie Neilsen was having difficulty in finding his character (Dr. Rumack) of the film as the comedy made no real sense. It was Mr. Graves who let him in on the secret: “We’re the comedy, Leslie.” And a cult-classic movie was made.

Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?
Captain Oveur: I can’t tell.
Rumack: You can tell me. I’m a doctor.
Captain Oveur: No. I mean I’m just not sure.
Rumack: Well, can’t you take a guess?
Captain Oveur: Well, not for another two hours.
Rumack: You can’t take a guess for another two hours?

Clear flying, Mr. Graves. You have clearance, Clarence.

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.


A Rose By Any Other Name…

Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this picture?


This is a screen capture of the website that I attempted to use to find the status of my Windows 7 Upgrade from the HP laptop that we purchased at work back in November 2009. In case the writing is too small, it says, “You must use Internet Explorer as your browser…” See the problem now?

Um… I am using Internet Explorer. So, what do you want from me? IE is IE … I can’t call it anything else.

So, I ended up calling their 877 number and connecting to someone in Pakistan or wherever who was difficult to understand but nonetheless quite helpful. She took all of the information from the order (we found the suite number for our office was written as “sweet 400″ rather than “Suite 400″) and is scheduling a re-order to be expedited to me.

Hopefully, we’ll have better luck this time.

© 2010, Kharmin's Small Piece of the 'Net. All rights reserved.