I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

June 12, 2016 - 1:57 p.m.

Tara, Jim, and Customer Support

Late start to writing today but I'm fed and caffeinated so I have no excuses to be less than great. Way to put pressure on myself.

I had another full day yesterday so should have lots to write about. When my phone broke I got a cheap replacement. It was not adequate; it didn't have enough memory so my use of apps was limited. I couldn't install many that I use often. It then hit me that I could buy a used Galaxy S III for not a lot of money. I was totally happy with my old one till it got water damage and the guy that fixed it broke something else and then it got more water damage. So I went online and got a used phone I could afford and it was delivered on Thursday. I of course had anxiety about activating it but did it yesterday morning. I know how to use the phone so I knew what to do. I went to settings and right to "Activate Phone." Except when I tried to do it I got an error message saying there was a problem and I had to call Boost Mobile Customer Service. So I used the phone I had been using and called them. That's when the fun begins. I have called them before and knew how to short-circuit the menu choices and talk to a person, an option it never actually gives you but is there. This is an abbreviated version of how that went.

I had called on my phone but thought I might need to be on the land line. I didn't start on that as it's not my house and I would have to go downstairs and asks my hosts if they were on the phone and if it was OK that I tied up the line for a bit. So the first thing I asked after telling her that I had a problem activating the phone was if it was a problem that I was calling on the phone number that I was trying to activate. I figured it would be unless there were steps I could do to set up the activation and then I could hang up and activate it without her help. She said, "It's not a problem." I asked her four more times during our conversation and each time she said it wasn't a problem. You know where that's leading. During the course of setting things up I had to turn the phone off and back on. Each time I did this she'd say, "Now do … " and I'd have to say, "The phone isn't on yet. It takes time to turn on." By the third time I said, "Don't you know it takes time for the phone to turn on? Have you been listening to me? Do you know how the phone works?" And yes she did it again after that. She apparently thinks you can turn on the phone and it is on instantly. She had an accent, fairly certain Indian, and some of the problems might be language related. Of course that doesn't make her any more suited for the job.

After going through many steps she said, OK I deactivated your old phone and activated the new one. I said, "I'm on my old phone, how can it be deactivated? It still took her a few minutes to understand what was going on and she said that I should give her the number for another phone so she could call me back. I told her that I had asked her about that five times and each time she said it wasn't a problem. She said that she didn't understand that I was talking on the phone I was trying to replace. That is exactly what I told her. What did she think I was asking about? If she didn't understand she should have asked till it was clear as it was something I was so concerned about I kept asking. I asked to speak to her supervisor as I had no faith in her. I didn't know if she didn't know her job or just couldn't understand English properly. She said that her supervisor was at lunch. It wasn't till she hung up that I realized that she was in India so it was not lunch time, it was late at night. She just didn't want me to talk to her supervisor and have him hear how she screwed up.

I went downstairs and asked my host if I could use the phone and she said of course. She heard the rest of the conversation and burst out laughing on several occasions as it sounded like a Saturday Night Live skit about dealing with bad customer service.

She really did turn off my old phone and activated the new phone. I had to turn the phone off and on and of course she expected it to go instantly on. Then when it was on and the activation screen eventually came on it got struck on "Finding Location." It said City Island, which is right, but didn't move on. I told her that she said, "it's activating. A few minutes later it was still on that screen and said, "It's still stuck on that screen," and she said, "Don't touch anything it's activating." A few minutes later it was still stuck there and I told her again that it was still stuck on "Finding Location" and she said, "What does the screen show?" I said, "I've told you four times, Finding Location." That's where my host started laughing. She says she never heard me so frustrated. The customer service person said, "Try another piece?" What the hell? A piece of what? I thought maybe there was something I was supposed to put on the phone but that made no sense. I asked her to repeat what she said, "Try another piece." I asked her what she meant and she said, "Move to another piece." She said piece for place. That was not her accent, she got the word wrong. I moved over to the window and it finally activated. There were some more miscommunications but I finally got it working. The hardest part was when she asked me to call another number and test it. I don't know anyone's number; my phones do that for me. I then called the one number I remember, Carey's work number that he's had since 1983, before I had a phone with memory. That was good as I knew he wasn't there so I didn't have to bother anyone. So it worked.

Wow this is going to be a long edition of Wise Madness; 1122 words in and it's just early afternoon and I haven't left the house yet.

Before the entire activating the phone adventure I got a call from Jim. He and his wife Alice were having lunch on City Island and he wanted to know if I wanted to join them. I told him that I had just eaten but I'd love to see them afterward, maybe we could get ice cream. He said he'd call me after they finished. Less than a minute after I hung up with customer service my new phone rang, it was Jim. They walked down from the restaurant to where I lived and I met them on the corner. We went to the ice cream place I discovered the other day. Too bad I'm an idiot. We walked past it, by about 5 blocks. It was actually less than a block away. Alice's feet were tired and she took the bus home. I figured out what happened and Jim and I turned around and went back to the ice cream place. They had egg creams and ice cream so I ordered an ice cream soda figuring they had to have them. The young woman had no idea what I meant. She said, "a root beer float?" I explained that it's basically an egg cream with ice cream in it. She came back a minute later and said, "We don't do that." I dealt with this very well and told her to make me a root beer float. It was delicious and refreshing. So was my conversation with Jim. We talked for hours. I didn't realize how long it was till he said he had to go and we checked the bus time. Jim uses the same app I use. I then realized I had to leave soon too so I left him at the stop and raced home to get some things I needed then raced back to the bus stop. I just missed the bus. I called Jim and told him that he should have acted like he as disabled and slowed the bus down so I could make it. I missed it by about a minute.

Now we are finally getting to music. Oh right I didn't mention I was going to music but I thought you'd figure that out. it's me, it's Saturday night and I'm in a place with public transportation. I went to see Tara O'Grady at the New York Irish Center in Long Island City. That's in Queens but just one stop from Grand Central Station on the so it's not hard to get it. The station is on the same block as the center. I got there early and grabbed a seat front row center. Then I went down to the lounge/library, hooked up to the Wi-Fi and loaded apps onto my phone. I am still getting it up to speed. Then I went back up for the show.

I had been seeing Tara regularly at the NYLO hotel where she played every Monday but that gig ended. The last time I saw her might have been the Christmas show she did with The Kennedys. No I think the NYLO was after that. But I haven't seen her in a regular concert in ages and she's one of my favorites. She is from Queens and her parents and their friends were there. It was very much a home game for her.

As usual she was fantastic. She had new songs. She redid her Irish gay wedding song, Oh Mo Chroi as jazz, the original was pop. The jazz is even better. And now I realized that the NYLO was well after Christmas as that song came out for Valentine's Day.

On one song the crowd is supposed to clap along. The band starts them off. I of course clap but I had my eyes closed. I heard something strange going on, half, maybe more, of the claps were 180° out of sync. Yes, they were clapping on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4 even though the band was there to give them guidance. I'm rhythmically challenged but still managed to stay on the beat. When the song was over Tara said, "You are very white" do the crowd. I was so happy that she said exactly what I was thinking.

I had one concern about the show; making the last bus to City Island at 11:53. Google Maps said I had to leave at 10:44. My plan was to leave at 10:40 just to make sure. The last song ended at 10:39. There might have been an encore but I was out of there. I told Tara in the intermission that if I run out it's not because I don't love her. I always got to talk to Tara at the NYLO shows and I miss that as well as the music. So I got to do both last night.

Nope, I'm not done. There's one more adventure. I got to Grand Central station at the time where if I caught the I'd make it just in time for the last bus, if there were no delays. But I took the which would catch up to the previous before it got to 125th street so I had a safety margin. That is till the train started to go slowly. I was standing in the front and I saw it was because there were people doing track work. The train stopped at one point because the workers couldn't get off the track in time. Then shortly after it started moving there was a loud bang! Hitting a person wouldn't be so loud but we hit something or something snapped on the train. Now the train stopped and the conductors had to do a walk around the train checking what happened. As I was right up front by the cab I could hear what they were telling the motorman. She was a woman but I say she's still a motorman. We stopped for quite some time and then finally started moving. We actually lost no more time than if I had just taken the the entire way. But unfortunately when I got on the it was a few minutes behind schedule. If it were on schedule I'd just make the bus, two minutes later means I miss it. But then I looked at my bus app and saw there was another bus. On Saturday nights only there are busses till 12:53. I had to wait 25 minutes but there was a bus home. Whew.

This is my longest entry in forever, 2219 words. I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing it.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile June 12, 2016
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