Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, August 21, 2017

Can't say I'm unhappy to see this week wind it's way to a close. The week started off with blistering migraines because of the weather, progressed to an epiphany about the migraine medication I used, careened out of control into a complete ISP/modem meltdown, a couple of 3 hour tech calls to Bell Canada, a small fix I came up with myself, another migraine and … now. Hang on .. you might want to grab an espresso before reading on.

 The week was already dodgy with the weather induced migraines. I have medication but it is so horrendous, I actually found myself debating “how bad is this headache?” I finally gave in and took it. My gawd it’s horrible stuff. I usually look at the ingredients, but for some reason didn’t with this one. While I was in the bathroom washing out my mouth I read the ingredients … 3 separate sweeteners. Why in hell is aspartame, sucralose and one other sweetener in a migraine medication? That explains why it’s so sickly sweet it’s nearly impossible to take. I guess they are marketing to the Gummy Bear Generation who can’t even take a vitamin unless it’s loaded down with artificial colours and sweeteners.

I really can’t express how truly disgusting the medication is. I’m going to go back and ask for a different medication. I simply can't handle it.

My little ISP meltdown was actually epic. Monday, our connection was a bit wonky and a little slow. I didn’t call in about it because it takes a monumental effort to deal with ISP support. On Tues our internet became flaky in the extreme. You’ve been there – connection… no connection … connection .. no connection. We’d be up for about 15 min and then down for 5. Called Bell and they resolved some of the errors but our speed topped out at .07 ms <- I’ve had dialup connections that were faster. Bell bumped me up a level and tech support found more line errors. About 3 hours later, they had the line stabilized but not particularly fast. They arranged to send a tech out to check the lines and our modem.

On Wed. a tech with the gnarliest beard I’ve ever seen arrived with a smile and a solution. He did more tests, cleared up more line errors and replaced my modem. He figured the modem was too old and causing it’s own set of issues. I’d agitated with Bell for a new modem for over a year. The one I had was a first generation, not terribly reliable modem. But, Bell wanted to charge me for the modem and I refused to pay $200 for it. I’ve gotten a bit pig headed over time. Their issues, they can solve them. Bell already gets a healthy chunk of my monthly budget. So now I have a shiny new Sagecom that pushes the wireless through our concrete walls and a 5G wifi network to boot. That’s nerd talk for “wow”. Best part? Because of all the issues, I am not being charged for the replacement modem.

Gnarly beard dude setup everything, we had our blistering speed back and all was happy.

Well, for an hour...

I had to go out and run some errands. Came back an hour later and guess what? No internet connection. It was up and down, up and down .. then gone. Turns out Bell was having Internet issues. When they cleared up, we were still having connection problems.   Called Bell again… connected to their second tier of support, again. We spent 2.5 hrs on the line trying to get the modem working. We did everything but stand on our heads spitting nickels. After 2 hours the last fix did something odd – we could no longer see the wireless connection. Nope, not there. More fixes, no wifi signal. Two laptops and a cell couldn’t see the connection, but my Surface tablet connected just fine. More fixes. After another ½ I had a bolt of understanding. I rebooted the modem. That’s it. After all the changes, it simply needed a reboot. Bingo … up and running, fast and stable. Sometimes the obvious fix isn’t so obvious, especially to a group of techies.

I put my mom onto the 5G wifi network by herself and she’s been happily playing Farmville since then. Yea, I know, 5G just for Farmville? Hell, why not? What’s the sense in having speed if you don’t do something silly with it. Besides, my printer doesn’t connect to 5G.

When I was back online, there was a message from a rather cranky customer complaining about work not done. Ah, but I had done the work – a week ago. I played passive aggressive at this point and didn’t respond. Part to make them stew, part to prevent myself from firing off a blistering “DID YOU FUCKING CHECK YOUR INBOX” response. I knew they had the work, because they asked a question last week about one part of the job. They referenced the work in their query. Ah the life of a free lance worker. They made up for their mildly obnoxious email last night. Sometimes it’s best not to respond in haste.

The migraine has never fully left. It’s lurking in the corners, irritating the crap out of me. So, I’m here, in a café thanking my lucky stars espresso doesn’t trigger migraines. I think I’d lose my will to live if that happened. I have 5 more articles to finish up and post, a customer with email issues (they are locked out of their email) to help tonight, 2 people to talk to about new laptops, a shredder to price, and a visit to a customer who has a cheque for work done. I’ve expended far too much energy dealing with badly behaving technology this week. Think I’ll go read a trashy book for an hour or two.

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"Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life."

- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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