Friday, February 05, 2016

Ever Outwards, Into The Fields Of Suck

So we got back from Florida on Sunday evening, a trip so uneventful1 that I couldn't be arsed to post about it.

I returned to work on the following Tuesday, to discover that there was still no hot water on my floor, and that inexplicably no-one had burned the place to the ground so we could be relocated to One World Trade Center2. A quick e-mail to facilities re: the hot water situation and it was "spend all day emptying my e-mail inbox, flooded with automated messages from some vendor software monitoring tool and therefore unable to send on some crucial business e-mails to me while I was on vacation, so my e-mail would start working again time".

I'd told my employer that I would be out of e-mail range and therefore unable to work while on holiday (a philosophical stance to which I hold firmly) but I'm not so callous as to leave the stand-by guy with no safety net. I had arranged for three of the most important confirmation mailings sent out by scheduled jobs to be forwarded to my own e-mail address, and checked it on a daily basis when I had net access so I could, in an emergency, offer Mr J. On-the-spot some sage advice on where to start looking for holes to plug. I had seen no e-mails at all.

This is because when the vendor-supplied monitoring thing sent a blizzard of useless e-mails to me, each the size of a telephone directory, it filled my meagre in-box probably in hours. The default action in these circumstances is to still accept incoming mail, indeed, to exacerbate the space problem by launching daily "your mailbox is full" mailings from the Administrator, but to shut down outgoing mailings. This had cut off a) me from the information stream and 2) my employers nose from his face.

Now we have an archival "Vault" that is supposed to take the body of these mailings and store them somewhere vast and roomy, leaving only a linking mail in the inbox, but perplexingly it doesn't trigger on a full inbox condition, only on the age of the mailings themselves. Not only that, telling the vault to archive a mailing takes almost 12 hours to actually action the request, so archiving everything for safety was not an option. The metaphor I need here would involve adding a pair of ears to the severed nose lying at my employer's feet by deft self-use of a straight razor.

Given the obstacles placed in my way preventing the job being done the right way, I took my own sweet time figuring out what could be deleted forever.

Wednesday dawned and I was invited to join everyone in celebrating the Chinese Lunar Year by partaking of a luncheon. The group putting this on called for everyone on the umptytump floors to arrive on a staggered schedule. Naturally, everyone but my group went at noon with the result that the line for what was an excellent buffet-style lunch was longer than that I suffered to experience the Despicable Me ride in Universal Studios only a week before.

Work over, I arrived in Wyandanch, perl of the east, in the pouring rain that evening and drove home. There I discovered that sometime during the day an "unhooked phone" situation had developed in Chateau Stevie's voice comms infrastructure. Re-seating each phone didn't fix the problem. Unplugging all the phones didn't isolate the problem. Neither did disconnecting the alarm system from the phone line, once I remembered that was a possible source of problems.

It was all very annoying.

I decamped to the Basement of Crap Storage and traced the place where the one phone line becomes a star topology of individual cables branching all over the house. I'd installed that about twenty years ago using parts from Radio Shack and it had worked flawlessly since. My plan was to disconnect the feed line from the outside of the house and install a jack into which I could plug a phone in order to test the line. Naturally this meant excavating several metric tonnes of crap so I could reach the junction box.

The issue is that the phone company now only takes responsibility for the phone line that arrives at the wall of Chateau Stevie, leaving all internal wiring to Yours Truly. I wanted to get a head start on the inevitable "Not at the pole, your problem" argument that was sure to be used by the phone company technicians by demonstrating that there was no line problem inside the house, or in the event there were, to deal with it quickly.

It was around that time when I remembered that Radio Shack, my go-to source for the little plugs, sockets, wire and so forth I'd need to enact plan Install Another Phone Connection Point To The Outside Line And Demonstrate That All Is Well Inside Chateau Stevie, was no longer in business, at least around me, and that every retail store they'd operated in my locale was a distant memory.

Additionally, although the phone company had been called, and although they had assigned the case to their Ultimate Galactic Top Emergency Awooga Awooga classification, they wouldn't actually have anyone at Chateau Stevie before noon Sunday, and that was before the snow complication.

For late last night it began snowing, and it was snowing even harder this morning when I fired up the fabulous Steviemobile and began what is certain to become a commute I will end up regretting.

I began well by finding I had forgotten my cell phone just as the train began leaving the station with me in it. I didn't think to panic at first, but then the reality set in that the phones at Chateau Stevie are hors de combat and I can't remember anyone's cell phone numbers because I use the autodialer in my cell phone to call them and I don't want to talk aboiut that any more. Then I did the Bonehaed Dance and used some well-chosen Class Two Words of Power (I'd have used Class Threes but there were women present).

Thus reduced to the same levels of family support I'd had in 19843 I would have to hope that the Steviemobile's traction control and a folding snowshovel would suffice to get me home, and that the Bloody Long Island Railroad cound be relied upon to deliver me back to Wyandanch in a reasonable time-frame.

I'm bleeping doomed.

  1. Bar the usual unpleasantness at the entrance to the Goethals Bridge courtesy of one's fellow drivers and the usual Sunday evening traffic jam on the Belt Carpark Parkway courtesy rubbernecking dolts who can't pass even the flashing runway approach lights at JFK without slowing down for a look and apparently have never seen anyone digging their car out of a snowbank with a snowshovel of all things. Thank you bleeping New York Hicks
  2. You leave them one job ...
  3. Nil

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