Friday, October 21, 2005

Getting cable TV and internet

I made an appointment with the cable company to have internet and TV services installed on Tuesday. I’d read online that Mediaworks stinks (enough to warrant the nickname Mediaworst) and my first impression wasn’t great. They do not give you a four hour window; rather, the appointment is for ALL DAY. The technician can show up any time between 8 am and 6 pm.

To prepare for this day long wait-fest, I purchased season one of Lost on DVD. I’d heard all the buzz, but had not watched a single episode. (I felt I already watched too much TV as it was and didn’t want to add another series to the mix.) But being faced with 12 hours of nothing to do except read, I decided what the heck. For the price of 2 movie DVD’s, I could get 24 episodes of a reputedly great show. I thought it was a pretty basic premise: plane crashes on a tropical island, the survivors play Robinson Crusoe. How could that remain fresh for more than one or two episodes? Turns out it really is a great show. Very high production values, closer to a movie than your average TV program. I found the writing and acting to be stellar. The plot is riveting, and develops at a good pace. All the different characters have compelling back stories and the format of the show, with the flashbacks, is unique and keeps every episode fresh. The creepiness factor is relatively low overall, given the fantasy/sci-fi element, but when you're a single girl watching it alone in a dark, empty apartment, episode after episode after episode, that factor automatically doubles. Frankly, the creepiest part was the title sequence. The simplicity of a single word, blurred, off kilter, coming toward you...fantastically unsettling. Brilliant design. Bravo!

Now, of course, I want to watch Season Two, but I’ve missed the first five episodes. Enter iTunes, which conveniently just started selling episodes for $1.99 the day after they air! Score for Melissa!

Now, I had time to watch almost the entire season one because the cable guy never showed on Tuesday. Let me correct that. He did appear at my door, long enough to write on a door hanger that services were not installed because I failed to sign a key release and leave him a check. He neglected, however, to knock or ring the doorbell. See, Mediaworks serves the “multi-family industry,” i.e., apartment complexes, and I guess most people don’t have time to wait around 12 hours for some technician to stop by (go figure!) so they tell the front office to let the cable guy in and they leave a check on the TV. I didn’t want to do that. Not like my place is filled with valuables, being practically empty, but a) Comet is here, and b) I wanted to be here to explain where to set everything up (since it’s not obvious, again due to the emptiness). So I was here, all day, watching Lost, waiting patiently and expectantly. When I found that card on my front door I was furious!

An irate phone call to Mediaworks did nothing to remedy the situation. They asked, “Did you step out for a moment and possibly miss him?” Uh, no. I even checked out the window for the van before going to the bathroom for crying out loud! I said I wanted the technician to come back, since he’d left the card less than an hour prior to my finding it. I was told this was not possible, and the next appointment was two days later. I asked to speak to the manager and was put through to her voicemail. I did not receive a return call. Several hours later I called back, only to get cut off after being on hold for 10 minutes. (Mind you, this is all happening on my cell phone during peak hours.) Called back again, waited another ten minutes, and was told I had already been rescheduled for tomorrow. Interesting, since tomorrow was supposedly already booked. Whatever, I guess I’ll take it. I told the lady to make a note in my file that I would be home, and the tech must ring the bell. The next day, I put the same door hanger back on my doorknob, after writing on the back, “I AM HOME. Please ring doorbell multiple times if necessary.”

He arrived around noon, and did ring the bell. He was the nicest guy you could imagine. (I did not ask him if he was the same guy as before.) We chatted for probably an hour. He said I was his last call of the day! At noon! Anyway, my cable TV and internet were activated so I was a happy camper. Finally! I’m not thrilled with the cable boxes they have or the on-screen guide...both seem like they’re from a decade ago in terms of functionality. Comcast’s were much better, as were Time Warner’s. Time Warner does operate out here, but they don’t service my complex. Bummer. As for the internet, it’s not as fast as Comcast was in L.A., but it definitely will suffice. After not having my own reliable internet connection since Sept. 19, I’ll take pretty much anything better than dial up!

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