I have always had weird luck.
Last Thursday, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Phoenix Networks about my long-awaited DSL service. Specifically, they said someone would arrive at my condo to install everything at 4pm the following Monday (today)! This stunned me! Two and a half years of waiting for this, with an expectation of having to wait until sometime in May, when suddenly I get a call that in just a few days I will be cruising the Internet at speeds I've grown accustomed to working with at my job!
Ah! The sheer bliss! I could work from home occasionally. Downloads would practially blister their way into my computer. I could explore technologies I currently only dream of exploring.
The only snagged seemed to involve this little issue of working on Monday... and of that day requiring a particular sense of caution and care, as we had some very special stuff going on for that particular day. Still, after a brief exchange of e-mail with my boss and some care taken over the weekend, I managed to secure a bit of time off Monday after three to receive this bit of manna from digital heaven.
It all hinged on everything working smoothly at work.
Of course, things did not go smoothly at work. We had a particularly nasty event take place right up to the last moment. I began to despair of getting home in time to welcome the Angel of DSL Installation. However, after a little bit of evil voodoo coding magic (namely, ignoring some scholastic conventions we trounced) I became freed to drive at break-neck speeds to my condo.
Ever paranoid, I upon walking into my humble dwelling, I checked to see if anyone had tried to contact me sometime in the day. Sure enough, the Angle of DSL Installation had called! I checked the message...
"Hey, can I use that message? It's great! I hate advertisers, too. Um, listen, I'm right outside your door right now. It's 8:30am, and I'm here to install your DSL stuff. You can call me at [phone number] when you get in. Good luck!"
I had absolutely no doubt that the installation should have occured around 4pm, not 8am! I mean, after two years of waiting for something like this, you do not get your dates and times wrong. I had even check my message twice to be sure I had the right information.
Frantically, I dialed the number. After a couple of rings, I heard the same voice that I heard on the answering service:
"Yes! Hi.. I'm Joseph Van Riper, the guy you went to visit around 8:30am? I was told you'd be in around 4pm."
"Oh, really? Heh.. man, that's funny."
I didn't quite see it that way.
He continued, "I guess someone told either you or me the wrong time. Well, uh, I can come by a little after 5pm, if that's alright with you.. but there's a problem."
"Uh.. what kind of problem?"
"Well, I can install the router and stuff, but it won't work. The CO doesn't have the switch set."
Basically, to cut out a lot of horrid geek-speak, he could install the stuff I'd need for DSL here at my condo, but it wouldn't do me any good because the phone company's central office needed to throw a switch somewhere to enable my service.
"Well, if it's no trouble, I went to quite a bit of effort to make sure I could get home today."
"Oh, no, it's no problem. Let me check with my office, and I'll call back."
Eventually, he called back, and said he would be over as soon as he finished his current job.
When he got here, this gaunt man walked in with some telephone equipment and a laptop. He hooked a little router up to his laptop, threw some bits into it, played with some of my phone wiring, and hooked everything up for me. He then gave me my IP information, told me what to look for when the phone company flipped their switch (probably in a couple of days), and he took off.
I could swear the man had, at least at one time, a serious love for cannabis. But I didn't venture to ask; it really isn't any of my business.
So... I have this nifty DSL modem sitting on my of my computers with a flashing light that tells me that I still don't have DSL.
And so, I have enjoyed another bottle of hard cider.
Otherwise, this past weekend, I managed to visit with friends. One had a birthday last Friday, so we wanted to get together to celebrate it. I admit, Melvin and I had a strong desire to sleep in, but fortunately we went anyway. We eventually had brunch and settled to chatting in a loud and obnoxious coffee house in Dupont (within D.C.). We wanted to chat in another place, but it seems everyone else wanted to as well; we couldn't find a seat.
Prior to that, we visited the Phillips museum, who had a showing of Honorè Daullier's work.
Many scholastics remember Daullier as the first person to draw political characateurs. His political drawings and sculptures revealed a strong concern for the working man. Unfortunately, it also got him in a lot of hot water.
He eventually had to turn away from lampooning political figures, because the government started to levy severe punishments against folks who created the sort of work he became well known for. He turned instead to lampooning the bourgeois instead.
Although most of the drawings in the museum had translations for the French that appeared below them, one of them did not. This one featured a lady with a rather large nose, looking at a picture of herself as drawn by some artist she had commissioned. The artist had kindly fixed her nose in the picture. She has a friend standing next to her. It's truly a pity it hadn't been translated, because I managed to figure out what the text below the picture said:
"He caught me as I was writing my memoirs: 'Vapors Of My Love.' But I don't think my nose looks right in that picture." (Her friend says:)"No, it's not a good representation."
Another amusing picture showed two lawyers prior to court, assembling their court attire:
"I think you could use the argument I used last week. I shall use the response you used against me. If we should forget our lines, we can prompt each other!"
I could write more about all this, but frankly you should read up on Daullier yourself.
Even as I should finish this and send it off.