March 2005


Back in December of 2003 I spent 5 weeks working field for the Dean campaign in Iowa. I was in region two – affectionately called “The Deuce” – which covered the southeast area of the state, and I organized Henry and Washington Counties. One of the towns I was responsible for in Washington County was Riverside.

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The remarkable thing about Riverside is the big model of the starship Enterprise in the center of town. Years ago, someone in town decided that Riverside would be the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk from Star Trek. They have been milking it ever since. Despite this bizarre claim to fame, the people of Riverside were really nice – of course, I still giggled everytime I drove past the big spaceship.

Well, the folks of Riverside may want to forget they ever heard of Captain Kirk. This week on Spike TV, William Shatner visits the site of his most famous character’s future birth in Invasion Iowa. Bill and film crew go to Riverside on the premise that they are there to film a sci-fi movie. Only they aren’t. It’s all a big practical joke on the unsuspecting and Shatner-crazy town.

The producers are the same ones responsible for Joe Shmoe – an equally hysterical show. Invasion runs for two more nights and I am having a lot of fun pointing out all the places in town where I met with Dean supporters. So far I haven’t seen anyone I know, which is probably just as well, since I already feel a little conflicted watching these folks get punk’d.

And I still giggle everytime I see the spaceship.

It is March Madness at my house.

Maybe it’s because I want to an arts school for college, or maybe it’s because I have always just focused on the Redskins, but I have a little trouble understanding the whole thing. I think this frustrates Mike greatly, although he valiantly tries to explain it, repeatedly, and I try my best to understand.

When I am not focusing on understanding, I find myself really enjoying the games. Like just now, the University of Vermont beat Syracuse University in a HUGE upset.

Ok, I don’t really know how much of an upset it really was — something about high seed and low seed and brackets — but it was a really awesome, dramatic, impossible-shot-from-center-court in overtime close to a game.

So, I don’t really know who UV plays next, or if they will win (cause of their low seed you know, or is it high seed?) but no doubt I will watching them and cheering along, whatever happens.

Just when I was thinking that nothing could ruin this beautiful Lyle Lovett day in Texas, I get an email from your favorite company and mine – verizon.

Actually, to be fair, it was from my bank, telling me I have a new bill from verizon (for twice what it should be). Like any good child of the new millenium I go the website and sign into my online verizon account to look at the bill.

What do I find? “JPOWERS1970, your online account has been disabled. If you need assistance, please contact us.”

This has gone beyond verizon sucking, I am now beginning to believe they are crazy. I know – a corporation, an entity, a big-ass company, cannot be crazy. And still, I really really think that, in this case, they are. I am almost beginning to feel sorry for them actually.

Here I am in Austin, Texas for 48 hours on business. What a great city – lilac bushes in bloom, everyone is laid back and really nice. And then, this morning, I am at Las Manitas for breakfast with Garrett, Mike and Tim, and who should walk in and sit down but Lyle Lovett.

Lyle Lovett.

Walked in. To this tiny little diner place. With the best migas con quesos anywhere.

LYLE LOVETT.

There were probably only 10 other people in the whole place. I couldn’t be so uncool as to walk over and talk to him and ask for his autograph or anything, I mean the man should be able to eat his migas in peace (I am pretty sure he ordered migas, but his back was to me, so I can’t be 100% sure) So I just sat there, stunned.

Mike pointed out that Paul Reiser was with Lyle – but who cares really? “Mad About You” is so 90’s.

Lyle Lovett.

I swear that I am done forever with Verizon posts after this – but I have just one last thing to say on the matter.

Today, March 7, I finally got DSL. 47 days after placing my “Move” order with Verizon, 28 days after my phone turned on, 21 days after my original Verizon “DSL Service Ready” date, 10 days after I freaked out, cancelled Verizon and ordered Earthlink – I finally have DSL.

Ok, I admit it, I cried. Yes I did. When I came home and saw those glorious, solid green lights smiling at me from the back of my home, I cried big huge tears of utter and complete joy. I had called Earthlink today to check on my status, since the “online order status” report was telling me it wasn’t working yet. The woman said she was sure it would be on by midnight tonight, which I didn’t believe, and said I could call back tomorrow if it wasn’t.

But here is the reason for this post. The woman I spoke with today also said that the “provisional team” was working with Verizon on some technical problem. When I heard this I figured there was no chance I would ever get DSL, that I was doomed to dial-up and the whim of nearby wireless networks. She said the Verizon team came out last week to deal with the issue.

So, here is the thing: one of the many times I spoke with Verizon, I was told there were “load coils” on my line, which is what was causing the problem, and that they would have to be removed in order to get the DSL working. The technician who told me this said that there was “no way” this could all get done before March 15.

So here we are at March 7, problem solved, my DSL on. Does this mean that Verizon has better customer service for its competition than it does for its own customers? Somehow my hysterical calls to Verizon in the last few weeks didn’t move one single person to get a technician to my house to fix the problem, but Earthlink makes one call and the THE NEXT DAY a Verizon team is at my house doing what needs to be done for Earthlink to provide me with the service I have been begging for from Verizon.

Not that I am complaining mind you – I finally have my DSL. Verizon’s pathetic customer service just doesn’t make any sense to me at all. But then, Verizon hasn’t made any sense to me for at least 47 days.

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