Not-Food


It’s January 10, 2015 and I’m coming back home and looking at a Comcast bill that is giving us nothing of what we were promised in December.

We called Comcast in December 2015. We called because:

1. We were being billed for a Arris cable modem we owned (see my previous Comcast article).
2. We wanted to get a cheaper plan (Bundle) than the one we currently had.

After some conversations with the billing agents, we had them check for how long we had been billed for our cable modem. It had been a year. We were promised a $115 rebate on our misbilling on our next bill.

Our next bill has arrived. No such rebate in sight.

The fellow who “fixed” our cable modem issue then set us up with a lady who promised a bundle that would have been about $20-$30 cheaper than the bundle we had at the time.

But looking at the bill, the plan we are on now is actually $30 more expensive.

This kind of incompetence has been “par for the course” over the last few days. The same lady who gave us a ‘cheaper plan’ set us up with a new DVR. But when calling about the DVR, Comcast said we had 5 devices in our house. No, we have 3. One in an upstairs bedroom, one in a living room, and one in a basement. If Comcast can’t keep straight what devices are in my house, how can they properly bill us?

This is going to be living hell. It will take many man hours to straighten out. If we don’t get the rebate we deserve and were promised, I’m thinking small claims court. Maybe if we sue the company, we can get part of the money they’ve taken from us without cause.

There was an Urbanspoon get together at Chai Pani recently, and Grant Goggans of Marie Let’s Eat started teasing me that he’s 500 views from passing me on the Urbanspoon rankings. If he does, more power to him. I’m at a point where between either having a very high stress job situation or no job at all (my present circumstance), I haven’t had the time to eat as I once did. That I’ll get passed is inevitable.

I’ve never wanted to be the conversation around food in this town. I’ve been quite happy just being a part of it. If I can still be a part of that conversation, that’s enough. If I’ve held the ranking for some time, it’s a tribute to the difficulties of the Atlanta commute. I ate in part to deal with the time it took to commute back and forth from work.

~~~

Ok, I’ve been between jobs – still are actually – and I had a job offer last week. In celebration, I decided to do something about those costly cable bills, as my wife had a tech say we could cut the bills. One approach was Comcast Triple play, which would allow us to eliminate phone service bills and the long distance bill. We decided to go that route. So I headed to Grayson kast Saturday, and got a deal, which went something like this:

1. About a $60 reduction in cost once the new service was added. New price good for a year.
2. All my old shows plus HBO.
3. Twice the Internet speed.
4. A service tech to come out this Wednesday to install the phone.
5. I was going to purchase my own cable modem to support, which would be installed this Monday.

So it’s Monday. The modem has arrived, an Arris TM822G. I don’t need more modem, because I have a wifi router behind it. I only need a phone jack for a base set, and we have receivers all around the house.

It’s not easy getting in. I call, find the right spot in the queue, and they offer a call back service, to call me back within “eight to twelve minutes”. Saying yes at this point was my first mistake. After waiting half an hour without any callback whatsoever, I call again and stay on the line, and finally get a tech. So we begin the process of adding the new modem, which in general should be seamless and take about five minutes.

Except of course, she can’t add the modem to the system. She can’t add the modem to the system..

because without informing me, my order was cancelled on Sunday, the day after I made it.

She can’t add my order back because she can’t port my phone number, so I get transferred to Sales. supposedly. The transfer goes on for about 5 minutes and then disconnects. This sets the tone for about two more hours of hell. I call in and get disconnected. I call in and get someone like my first lady, they encounter the same issues, and they transfer me to Sales, and I get disconnected. This goes on and on and on, totalling five disconnections in all.

Finally I call upgrades directly. I get another lady who goes through the same process. At this point, my five minute modem swap has cost me two and a half hours, almost all of it in queue. Then she asks, “did they start the port of the phone number on Saturday?”

“Yes, they did.”

I then go on to say I was called on Sunday to validate that I really wanted my phone number switched.

“Then that’s the problem. We use a third party verification service, and they take 24 to 72 hours to get the confirmation back to us. We’re not going to be able to proceed until that is done.”

Ok, so that’s why the order was cancelled. The phone number transfer wasn’t validated. But it also means I’m in limbo. My new job starts in December. And if this runaround continues, Comcast won’t be able to put in the new phone number until I’m just starting my new job. And out where I live, there is a fair chance that the tech won’t even show, a 100% chance if you schedule them in the evenings.

But the take home for me is that the provisioning system for Comcast is hopelessly broken. The modem add, which should have taken five minutes (and note, while I was on the phone and the new modem connected, my daughter started watching Netflix over our Internet. The modem was working just fine), ended up taking a couple hours and we had to swap back to the old one because the new one couldn’t be added to the system. A software flaw cost me at least two hours.

No one informed me my service order had been cancelled. What if I had taken leave on Wednesday in anticipation of a tech showing up?

Now I’ve lost the appointment I was going to have. The new one? I suspect I’ll get this all set up in December, something that will cost me work time on a brand new job, and if the past is any indication, it will take 2-3 attempts for the tech to even show. As the change nets me $60 a month, this sheer incompetence on Comcast’s part makes them money.

I live tweeted all this. DISH was making offers via twitter as this happened. If I had a satellite view at home, I might have gone that route.

It  has just started, and this is what my front porch looks like tonight:

 

Since my tweeting this would only be seen by  a few people, grats to Jimmy of Eat It Atlanta on his recent engagement. May this lead to many decades of happiness.

 

My phone was getting old, perhaps 5 years old, so I had it replaced – replaced all the phones in my family. My daughter noted we hadn’t replaced phones in 5 years. We got her one with a touch screen and all. No web, but unlimited text, and my new phone, a Samsung Smiley, is quite a deft messaging phone. It was hard to miss that BuHi has been eating near where I work and tweeting about it. That and Chloe’s use of text was enough to want to move into the texting realm and dare stick my nose on Twitter. So I’m out there, fumbling along, as FoodNSnellville.

My blog volume is very different this December than last. Last year because of all the San Francisco posts, I was picked up by an aggregation site and they drove some daily volumes to record highs. This season it’s rather been mediocre. Maybe its the exceptional cold, the season, families preparing to head home. I can’t blame anyone really.

To note, a new blog on the side bar, Tim the Cheese Man, who hails out of Star Provisions. Terrific read. His tastes are different from mine, but mine surely are more ad hoc than his. In the world of cheese, I’m largely an autodidact.

If I don’t post my thoughts, OU for U is quite good. Excellent breads. Hopefully I will get out a post tomorrow. And maybe one of the blogging folks will be thinking about lunch roughly in the Dunwoodies some Thursday (fingers crossed).

FnS.

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Christmas is upon us and it isn’t even Halloween yet. Don’t believe me? Walk into any Best Buy and look at how the GPS devices are positioned and priced, how the televisions are  positioned and priced. Not that this is anything new. Back when I was young enough to be a stock boy at a dollar store, we would start preparing for Christmas sales in August.

My family has been talking about traveling Arabia Mountain Trail for some time, but until the pollen counts grew low enough that my wife could comfortably ride, we’ve been patiently waiting. But this weekend, the weather was cool enough and the poillen mild enough for the whole family to get outside and enjoy the ride. Arabia Mountain Trail has paths that circle the north end of Stonecrest Mall, so it was at Stonecrest that we joined the trail, and traveled about 6-7 miles down it and back.

There is a lot of stopping and starting, waiting at corners of roads in the beginning,  but then it begins to open up and the views can be impressive, especially the bridges.

There are farmhouses and barns along the way as well, and portions of the  trail so quiet and wild I could reach out and almost touch the deer alongside the trail.

Next time we’ll bring food and water with us. The trail has a lot of shallow dips and rises, but after a few miles of this, it’s wearying for people like us, just starting out any kind of organized riding. But the sights, the quiet, the possibility of seeing others enjoying the path is pretty refreshing for a pleasant September day. I suspect we’ll be back, and I’ll be wearing a backpack with supplies next time.

Relatives are arriving, so though I have material for reviews and some nice new pics of the “Grand Opening” of the Snellville Farmer’s Market, I don’t have time to post them yet. My wife has us all working hard in preparation. Many apologies, and once the relatives are here, the madness may calm enough for me to post a photo or review or two.

I will say this. Relatives arrive around 6pm at Hartsfield. We can get them home and put up things by perhaps 7:30pm. Most places will be packed with Father’s Day eaters. So what’s a good place to eat circa 8pm (or even 9) on a day like this? I’ll be happy to check out any suggestions.

Tomatoes have been producing well (surprising how they can do that potted but not in the soil of my yard), the Japanese eggplant is fruiting, and for the first time, my sole boonie pepper is flowering.

The first item of note is that I’m having some serious foot issues, and until they are resolved, new reviews will be coming slower, if at all. The second item of note has been provided by Vicki Sabo, who raises Tibetan Spaniels OTP, and as far as I know, is the only Tibetan Spaniel breeder in the state of Georgia. Our dog is a Tibbie, as they are called, and we’ve come to know Vicki as we bought our animal from her.

She has an animal she’s rescued, and I’m going to report her recent letter about the dog Bowie:

HI friends,

I’ve had a rescued Tibetan Spaniel in my home for the past 7 weeks.  This poor boy (I call him “Bowie”) has a sad story.  I had met his owner at dog shows a few years ago. We became friendly and discussed traveling to shows together the falling spring to save expenses and have companionship.  However, she developed leukemia that winter (a result of chemo as a child) and died that winter.  The husband had not been real involved with the dogs, but now had 16 plus an elderly aunt that lived with them.  He put the 6 male dogs (not neutered, I assume, as this boy wasn’t until recently) in the basement during the day.  A couple of the dogs were large, and Bowie was “picked on” by the other dogs.

Eventually neighbors called animal control on this man, as there is a limit of 3 dogs in his county.  The animal control supervisor lives one block away and has kept pressure on him reducing down to 3 dogs.  Only two of the dogs were tibbies, and he kept the female one.  He contacted me (I had offered to help him) and brought Bowie over.  Bowie had a severe flea reaction and had lost most the hair on his back end (although bathed the night before, he was still covered in fleas).  He was also rather skinny.  But the main help this dog needed was LOVE…he was terrified and very skiddish.  In fact, the dog was in my backyard (half-acre) when the man left, and I could not get him to come in, he just kept running from me.  I had to have the man come back!  I kept the dog on collar and leash for the next several days until I was sure he would come to me.

Fortunately, it only took a couple days for this dog to bond to me, he was so appreciative of attention and affection.  He really enjoys the company of my dogs except for my boys who were aggressive to him once they discovered he was intact.  He is now a happy, healthy, very handsome dog.  He was well-bred and could have finished his championship.  However, he had a severe marking habit that few people could tolerate, so he was neutered.  Just one week after neutering, his marking behavior has curtailed greatly, and I will continue to work with him with hopes of eliminating that entirely.

Other than initial shyness and marking, he is the perfect pet.  He loves to take walks, will ride in the car quietly, does not object to crating at night in my room, and plays all day with other dogs here.  He likes toys and has some cute quirks.  He is very gentle and sweet and is in excellent health.  I am asking for reimbursement of expenses only-neutering, shot, etc.

Let me know if you can’t open the photos,  It gave me a funny error message that I ignored and was able to see them when I checked.

Oh,BTW, he is just turning 4 years old and is about 15 lbs.

Your friend in dogs,

Vicki Sabo

PS The ideal home would be able to keep him inside in a gated area with no carpet until he loses the desire to mark.  He will potty on papers if needed.  He uses the dog door here to go outside.  You would need to devote the first couple days to making him comfortable.  Your house and yard MUST be escape-proof as Bowie may be very skiddish again in a new situation and would be impossible to catch.  He must be pottied on a leash the first days to prevent having to catch him.  Trust me, this dog is worth this early inconvenience.

If this dog interests you, and you need Vicki’s contact information,it can be found in the breeder’s list of the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America.

If there is one thing to be said about the AJC food staff, love or hate them, it is that they are professionally trained, know how to write and can write. Sometimes they write beautifully, the kind of prose you want to read over and over. It sure would be nice if there were a search tool that allowed access to, oh, all articles by Meredith Ford from 2005 inclusive. You know, a nice text field were you could say something like “author=Meredith Ford, year= 2005, subject=food” and go for it. Instead we’re faced with the interface of Access Atlanta.

Access Atlanta is more a dream for advertisers than readers. The interface is cramped, the interface is slow. The whole site acts as if was never seriously tested with the target audience that would try to use it most. More so, Access Atlanta doesn’t seem to be able to keep food articles that were once there. The hundreds of broken Access Atlanta links around the internet are proof of that. The number of lost articles that can’t be recovered, even by searching on the site, is proof of that.

Access Atlanta is the La Brea tar pit of food articles; articles check in, and soon are lost forever. Contrast that state of affairs with the New York Times, where it’s not all that hard to use a web search and find an article dating to the 19th century. It’s a waste of the AJC’s greatest culinary resource, its long history of excellent food writing over the years. It’s a crime to the authors of the work, it’s a crime perpetrated on readers like me.

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