To Charter Communications: transparent bills get paid faster

Charter Communications, our local co-axial monopoly and recent bankruptee, sent a technician out to our house today, to hook up our new net connection.  As is almost always the case, the tech was friendly, helpful and generally knowledgeable, in stark contrast to just about anybody you can ever get on the phone if you call the company.  The customer service people are like robots.  Sometimes, like robots with buggy firmware.  They are, quite literally, running a program written by someone at Charter, codified in a choose-your-own-adventure style script booklet or web application.  They seem to have no intrinsic knowledge of the business they work for, or the systems they are meant to support.  Honestly, I wish Charter (and other such companies) would just put these resources on the web directly, so I can page through them on my own without having to be on hold first.  They probably won’t do this, at least not in full, because one of the most important jobs this script/program does is to retain as much of their customer’s money as possible, whether or not they’re really supposed to have it, and to direct people into more lucrative service contracts, aggressively if need be.

Continue reading To Charter Communications: transparent bills get paid faster

Autumn is Here

Fall arrived today, not officially, and not to stay, but for sure it’s now begun.  And it’s not just the shit-slinging monkeys running for public office that tips you off.  We didn’t need the fan last night.  We kept the windows closed.  The breeze at home is cool even at 3:45pm.  I wanted to wear long sleeves.  I didn’t want iced coffee.  The shadow of the shade cloth is falling on the planters in the courtyard, and the light has that golden hue.  The middle of the day is disappearing, and edges are rushing in, changing the feeling of solar time as we tilt away from the sun.

I’m sure it’ll get hot again.  The offical weather reports don’t even seem to admit that it’s cooled off now (highs are supposedly still above 30°C… but they sure don’t feel like it).  It can be 40°C in October here.  But the blinding and oppressive light that summer wields is weakening.  The darkness is coming back.  The safe and enveloping darkness we can hide in.  The sun that grows broccoli and chard and peas and mustard greens, but puts habañeros to sleep.  The gray marine morning.

Parkwood Tomatocide

I give up. The tomatoes just aren’t tomatoing. The three cherry tomatoes on the S. side of the back house in 5 gallon pots just won’t stay wet enough with my attention span. They’re crispy. The fruits they have made are leathery and dry, so out they go. The 2 year old Cherokee Purple is likewise fruitless, and turning itself into an arbor crossing the already very narrow walkway. I pruned it back to just the new green growth coming out of the stumps. I think I’ll move the habañros over there now.

There’s definitely a psychological pattern with the garden. So far anyway. Excitement early on, with rapid new green growth, and then confusion. Am I doing this right? Am i overwatering? Is there something wrong? And then less watering. But maybe too much less. And somehow, the plants take it – they put up with it anyway. It seems to take a lot to actually get them to wilt. once they’re a little woody. But maybe it’s enough to keep them from fruiting? And now despair. Something terribly wrong. 40 tomato plants and 10 tomatoes.