My Obligatory Star Wars Post

While I would love to update the world on my recent trip to Antwerp, I’m no fool. I know that my words will be drowned out by the drum beat of Star Wars fans populating the internet with reviews, images, etc. Thus, I’ll share a personal story from an experience about a decade ago.

I had a trip planned to New York that was to coincide with one of the “new” Star Wars movies. I don’t remember the title or the year, and frankly those details aren’t important. This was in the days before Uber and Airtrain from JFK to the subway. The economical option was a shuttle service to take me to my hotel after my flight arrived. For those who don’t know, I am one of those people who suffer from motion-sickness. I know how to mediate it, but one of the hallmarks of this malaise is yelling “shotgun” every time one gets into a multi-passenger vehicle. This doesn’t work in public places, but instead I do my utmost to sit upfront to see out the windshield. This is how I ended up directly behind the driver when I got into the van.

For those who have never had the unpleasant experience of suffering along in a hotel shuttle to Manhattan, the van starts its drop offs at one end of the island and makes its way up VERY SLOWLY. If you are staying anywhere near Midtown, it’s going to be some time before you’re out. Get ready for a long and jerky ride from hotel to hotel. You will also find yourself alone with the driver eventually. This is what happened in my situation.

As we approached Midtown, traffic came to a crawl. The driver was doing his best to take the least congested route. We ended up on a one way side street that happened to be near a theater where one of the new Star Wars movies was to premier soon. I’m a fan but I’m not a super nerd. I chuckled as we saw the various people dressed up and camping out in tents along the side of the building. I shook my head as we crept along, then eventually stopped. “WHAT NOW?” I thought as my patience was coming to an end. My journey seemed like it was never going to end.

Traffic was halted and there didn’t appear to be any reason. The light ahead was green, so what was the hold up? As I peered from behind the driver, I saw two storm troopers approaching either side of the van. It seemed like they were making up their own traffic control.GREAT. I had NO desire to be drawn into any more fan nonsense than I had already seen. Now I was getting irritated. Yes, it’s a common theme in my life.

The driver was getting frustrated as well and he wanted to figure out what was going on. He rolled down his window (remember doing that?), and looked at the approaching centurions. He started to ask them why they weren’t letting traffic through.

Now sometimes I come with a quick retort that is completely appropriate for the situation at hand. This was one of those moments. I leaned in behind the driver’s head and sternly said to the storm troopers,

“These are not the droids you’re looking for.”

The men in costume looked at each other and waved us on.There was a collective sigh of relief in the van. A few minutes later I was able to FINALLY reach my destination. Needless to say, the driver was grateful for my intervention.

And THAT is my Star Wars story folks! We will return to our regularly scheduled program of Femdom Discussion in our next episode…

VQ

 

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ATT Can Go To Hell

I am old enough to remember when ATT was Pacific Bell here in California. I also remember when there was ONE area code for the entire Sf Bay Area. I have held onto a home phone line through every technological change. Why? The popular argument was that “you need it for emergencies like when THE BIG ONE HITS.” Heck, I used to not only have one home phone line, but TWO. One was for business and one for home use. I tried out Caller Id when it first was advertised. Unique ringing? You betcha. Voicemail without an answering machine? Yup, I had it. Then as time passed and that thing called the Internet came into being, I signed up. Dial up at 14.4, then 28.8 and then 56k OH MY! I jumped on the DSL bandwagon when I heard about faster connection speeds. You mean I don’t need ISDN or a T1 line? I was hooked.

I was perfectly happy with ATT for a long period of time. My internet didn’t have connection issues, my phones worked perfectly, and customer service was great. Then something began to change. All of those “extra services” I had on my phone line started to add up. My bill started to creep higher and higher. I wasn’t really getting any deals from ATT. I started to remove services as I acquired a cell phone (yes I still call them that), and I no longer needed their voice mail, etc.

Then my beloved internet was no longer as great as it once was. Even though I was paying for what I THOUGHT was the fastest DSL ATT had available, my speed tests were showing otherwise. I started to have disconnects at 1:30 AM. I am a stickler for trends and data and it seemed odd that almost EVERY night I was having fifteen minutes of down time. This was unacceptable, but I put up with it because what other choice did I have? At the time, Comcast was it, and I wanted to go back to giving them money like I wanted a hole in the head (I had transitioned from cable to satellite tv years before). Something had to give.

After some careful research on the DSL Reports forums, I found out why my connection speeds had degraded.  ATT had systematically oversold their network, and connection speeds were suffering as a result. Too many people wanted a piece of the internet pie, and thus everyone was going to suffer. I was able to find a local company that had their own network and divorce myself from ATT completely. It felt wonderful to call them up and tell them goodbye…

Since then, a few years have passed and I was recently down to only having one home phone line. This was my “earthquake phone” for when the GIANT emergency was going to happen in my life. I decided that I didn’t need to pay ATT anything more than the bare minimum so I requested that my service be reduced to measured rate. That is the bottom of the barrel that they offer. Guess what? It’s still over $20 a month with fees!!! Ridiculous huh? It’s funny how almost immediately after requesting this change in service, my dial-tone ceased to exist. I became aware of this when the receiver got knocked off the phone by the cat. I contacted ATT about sending out a repairman. The date and time were set. Unfortunately, ATT hasn’t gotten with the program that other large companies have figured out for service calls. I was given a window from 8 am – 7 pm ON A SATURDAY!!!! Are you kidding me? There wasn’t any system in place of, “our repair representative will call you within one hour of arriving at your address.” There wasn’t a four hour window. No. I was supposed to be under house arrest all day while I waited for someone to show up at my door. Great. Like I didn’t have anything better to do with my time.

So that morning I set my alarm and woke up early. Then I waited. I configured my entire day to be near my front door. I worked in the yard. I did this. I did that. I WANTED to take a shower, but I couldn’t. What if someone showed up then? I gave up at 7 pm because I wanted to do something else with my day. I figured I would call ATT the next day and read them the riot act. I just didn’t have the energy that Saturday, and to be honest, I wanted them to dig their own grave.

The next morning. ON A SUNDAY, there is a guy at my door at 8:30 am. That was when I decided to tell ATT where to stick it. I informed him that I was ending my home service so there wasn’t any reason to look at my home line.

I have since ended my last relationship with ATT. They were unapologetic and didn’t make any effort to keep me as a customer. Instead I am now using Sprint Home Connect.

I used to be concerned about 911 calls, a power outage, and mobile phone networks being down after an emergency. Times have changed though. I have a separate charger for all of my devices that will keep them full of juice for days. The unit that comes with my Home Connect kit has a GPS in it so it will transmit my location WHEREVER I am. It has a multiple day charge to it as well. I can plug in an old-fashioned rotary phone that doesn’t need power and take it with me. My reasoning is that ALL of the mobile networks won’t be out of commission in a disaster. I will just figure out where there IS one that works with this device and roam onto it. What really makes me smile is that I get unlimited local and long distance calls, caller ID, and voice mail FOR LESS THAN ATT’s SHITTY REGULATED HOME SERVICE.
I’m sorry if you’re still using Uverse or whatever crappy internet solution ATT has now. I’m sorry if you still are paying ATT any type of money. Yes, large corporations are basically all the same, but some can actually behave like they give a slight damn about keeping you as a customer. ATT is one of the worst I have ever dealt with. I’m sure Alexander Graham Bell is rolling in his grave.