i. After two hours with my computer guru, Steve the Wizard, it was clear that my inability to blog or reply to "mail" was neither the fault of my network or security system. The finger of suspicion pointed at Internet Explorer 8, which had taken possession of my computer around when my troubles began. (It had the time; it had the opportunity; all it lacked was motive.) I reported our suspicions to Red Room. Huntington Sharp promised to alert other bedeviled members and suggested I try another browser. Adele already had Firefox, so I seized the controls from her, and, lo and behold, the test "reply" I ventured was sent. I immediately down-loaded Firefox onto my computer, receiving its confirmatory icon. But when I clicked upon it, access was denied. This file, my machine told me, was "corrupt."
The struggle continues.
ii. The preliminary stages of a tentatively clung to writing project led me to the Boalt Hall library for the first time in two or three years. As is my custom, I sought to begin with "The Index to Legal Periodicals" to see the extent to which other scholars had scoped my subject. But I could not find it. The librarians were in a meeting. The fellow at the check-out counter could not have been less helpful had he been an elm tree. Nor could the young man shelving books or the three people whose studies I interrupted in the main reading room. I hung out until professional help arrived. She was terrific. First, she informed me, the "Index" was no more. It was all on-line. So, it turned out, were most of the periodicals it referenced. I stood stunned. Gone were the thrilling navigations down narrow aisles through the stacks' dim light. Lost were the heart-pounding moments of scanning the shelves, hoping that the volumes of desire still sat in place. Denied forever were the struggles to wrestle several breadloaf sized volumes simultaneously to one's desk on a higher floor. Before I had fully mourned these passings, she had searched out the decision I wanted and, it never having been officially reported, printed out a copy. Then she located the only law review article to discuss it and, it being 30 pages long, e-mailed it to my home for reading at my leisure.
iii. That evening we awaited a Comcast repairman. Several times in the past few months we have had sudden episodes where we have lost multiple channels entirely and/or had others blighted by "tiling," a term we had learned early in our ordeal.
The pattern has been this. We call. Comcast's central command sends out secret, invisible rays that disable all our stations for an hour or two but then restores them with all problems solved -- until the next time. It also schedules us for a repairman's visit two or three days later.
The repairman arrives. He checks our connections and reports them fit. He goes outside and comes back and says that is fine too. He tells us we must be receiving insufficient juice from the power box atop the telephone pole. He will report this. The next month's serviceman repeats this ritual -- but says nothing was ever reported about any power box. The next serviceman says the exact same thing.
So does our new serviceman. But he promises to report our box while we listen. After he has though, he confides that even if the visit from the specialist occurs, it will be useless unless our channels are malfunctioning at that time.
"But it only happens once a month," we say.
"What are the chances it will coincide when he is up our pole?"
"Not very good," he admits.
"So you're saying nothing can be done?"
"I'm not saying it's impossible."
How do you all feel about DISH?
Causes Bob Levin Supports
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, ACLU, PEN, Berkeley Emergency Food & Housing Project.