a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Bad Internet Connections Cause Sleepless Nights, or Spiders Got Ears!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bad Internet Connections Cause Sleepless Nights, or Spiders Got Ears!

SUMMARY: In which damaged technology and neglected cynology don't mix. Plus spiders. (Fair warning. At the end.)
This was supposed to be a very short post because I already wrote a paragraph in response to Team Small Dog's Internet fixing post. Somehow, as usual, it got away from me.

Storm remember

Remember we had a big storm last Tuesday? (How could you forget, I made, like 500 blog posts about it.) The Storm Of The Part of Half A Century Or So. Guess what happened to my internet connection. Yes. Flake city.

Imagine your crappy internet

Imagine sitting with your fingers on the keyboard, staring staring staring at the little "DSL" and "Internet" lights on the gateway, one of which is now red and the other blinking, and wait for that moment when both are green so that you can REALLY QUICKLY try to post something on Facebook, or maybe upload a photo to Taj MuttHall, or say download a 900-MB file that you need for work, or pick up your email, and DAGNABBIT the photo started to upload but then the Internet light turned red again and hte little "working" is now spinning spinning spinning.

Calling the AT&T

Wednesday when I called the AT&T about my internet connection waxing and waning, I discovered that I had an excessively generous quantity of static on the line, which can really hose a delicate data connection. It took me 40 minutes (really, I timed it) of looking things up on the web and dialling numbers and keying in my 9-digit phone number 5 different times and talking to various people and being on hold before I got someone who, when we connected, had a conversation with me like this:

* Person who knows what they're doing: How can I help you?
* Me: My internet connection has been flaky since the storm and...
* PWKWTD: ...and you have a lot of static on your line, which can really hose a delicate data connection.
* Me: Yes.

40 minutes. For a 14-second technical conversation.

After which he said maybe someone can come out next tuesday. I argued that I can't work in an environment where I can't even reliably get or send email. They argued that tough shit. Only he phrased it like, "we're very busy right now [duhhh (that's mycomment about the storm)] and Tuesday's the earliest anyone can come out."

Gone gone gone I've been gone so long.

So I kind of expected that eventually they would tell me WHEN on tuesday. But I can't work with no reliable internet (try downloading a gig of data with a connection that drops every minute or two), so I started commuting (gasp) to Mountain View every day. This means about 15 minutes every morning of packing up and getting ready to go, a 40-minute drive there, an 8-hour work day, and 40 minutes drive home again.

Plus Monday I had an emergency dental appointment, so take me out of the house for an additional 2 and a half hours, and yesterday I had an emergency chiropractic appoinment, so take me out of the house for an additional hour and a half. Make that gone 12 hours Monday, 11 hours yesterday.

Imagine your dogs

Imagine you have two active driven agility dogs who are used to you being home all day and taking occasional breaks to throw the toy and maybe walk for a mile or two and even do some weave pole proofing.

Now imagine that all you've done for 2 days is throw the ball for 5 minutes.

Now imagine trying to sleep at night while the dogs are restless, stand up, lie down, move around, chew on the foot, scratch behind the ear, sniff at your face to see if you're awake, get off the bed, get on the bed, get off the bed, go into the crate, rearrange the bedding in the crate, get back on the bed. In various combinations all night.

Appointment? Not really.

So anyway, yesterday morning I called the AT&T to find out when they'd be here, and they (AT&T being plural) said that I had signed up for a 12-hour window. I said that I certainly wouldn't have signed up for a 12-hour window if someone had asked me about it, and I can't sit here for 12 hours with no internet, so do I have to actually be here when they show up?

The said it would be nice if someone would be here but most of the time they can fix it outside the house and they guaranteed to have it resolved by 8:00 that night but if it isn't resolved ("guaranteed"? huh.) then I can call back and sign up for a one-hour window at some other time.

So I commuted to Mtn View again. When I got home well after 8:00 at night, I appeared to have a new, steady relationship with my internet, and an urgent phone message from the repair guy on my home line, and an urgent message from the repair guy on my office line, and the repair guy's business card stuck in my door telling me urgently to call him ASAP underlined. I guess I should call him to tell him that apparently he fixed it outside the house and I appreciate that.

Imagine gouging your eyes out

And all I had to do was to tear my hair out for almost a week and gouge out my eyes with the dull end of my mouse while trying to download huge files or even post to facebook. But at least I didn't have to open up any walls or any junction boxes and stare numbly at all the wires and try to remember what I did the last time I played with phone wires back in the summer of I think 1826 or so.

Happy endings

I felt so good about having a working internet that I took the dogs for a nice mile and a half walk around the neighborhood in the dark until Boost got to where she wasn't playing tug of war and flying back and forth hanging onto the end of the leash full tilt and had calmed to where she was merely trotting eagerly.

They slept better last night than before, but still. Not perfect.

Spider warning for arachnophobes. But this one won't bite, guaranteed. If it does, I'll call you back Tuesday.

Today, work at home, do some more weave pole proofing. And finally get around to taking photos of the cool Basic California Garden Spider whose lovely web is on my back porch and greets me in the morning when I let the dogs out. For those scientifically minded folks who want to know how big the spider is, I quickly grabbed a ruler and measured his body, and so you know: It is about 2 picas long. Oops. Guess I picked up the wrong ruler. So for you non-type-layout sorts of people, there are 6 picas to an inch, 2.4 cm to an inch--the rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

It was tough taking the photo at times because while I was standing on the bench trying to do macro photography, Tika stood on the porch near me and every time some molecule somewhere popped an electron, Tika would let out with a huge BARK! and the spider would jerk into an erect spider posture with his legs sticking out in the air and the web would vibrate (and so would my head). So apparently spiders can hear BARK!

And here he is (yay, can haz uploaded photos!):


  1. Ooh! Pretty, pretty spider! Poor web seems to have suffered a bit.

    I'm SO glad your Interweb is back. How be your fangs?

  2. Tooth seems to be fine. Soldered it back into place (so to speak) and we're happy now.

  3. Very cool spider. Looks like he (she?) is rolling a guppy up! :) Glad you're back online.

  4. Yeah, whatever she had was big, but too wrapped up for me to tell what it is.

    Interesting thing is, she has strung a much better web (with only one messed-up spot) as of this morning, but I can't get the right lighting this time around. I'll keep trying. Because the "worse for wear" spots were all web, not dust or debris like you might think. Like she got confused when spinning.

  5. Wow, what an ordeal. Sure helps you appreciate when things are going right, thanks for that! :)

  6. OMG, this arachnophobe made the mistake of clicking on the spider photo to see it in big. What was I thinking!?!

    Glad you're back online. Withdrawal sucks!

  7. Yeah, what WERE you thinking? She's a pretty spider though, really.

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