Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

An Internet-Free Weekend And My Good News

So, I was all in the mood for updating and internet surfing and all that fun stuff when I arrived home from work on Friday afternoon, but there was no internet to be had in my humble abode. The computer monitor just stared at me blankly, shrugged its shoulders, and muttered phrases like "action cancelled" and "page cannot be displayed" and other such junk. I shut down the computer and restarted it. I crawled under the table and turned the modem off for thirty seconds and then on again. Nothing. I crawled under the table again and turned the modem off for five minutes and then on again. Still nothing. I called my internet provider and spent a good deal of time on the telephone with a technical representative who had me accessing all kinds of areas in my computer that I had no previous knowledge of, using commands like "ipconfig /all". He was thoroughly confused about what could be causing the disconnect, so he hung up, called me back, hung up again, then called me back again, and then referred my problem to another department for diagnostic testing. Whenever someone mentions anything like diagnostics, I know things are getting serious. While I was waiting for them to call, I switched cords with the telephone to see if it was a physical cord problem. It wasn’t. I made sure that all the appropriate cords were plugged into the appropriate holes. I looked through all kinds of folders I have never looked through before on the computer. This, of course, was a fruitless endeavour, because I know nothing about anything when it comes to understanding how my computer works. So, I found myself back under the table, staring helplessly at a sea of cords. I took to jiggling things, which signalled my rising sense of desperation. When I called my internet provider to, you know, urge things along, they said “didn’t we already send your problem to diagnostics?” “Yes, sir, you did,” I replied sheepishly. “It could take ‘til Monday to get you back up and running,” he informed me. “Yes, sir,” I said, and hung up.
I realized then that I had spent more of my Saturday sitting under a table than I had spent doing anything else. I thought, surely there are things to do in life other than surf? I cast my eyes about the apartment. Television was not much of an option, because we have no cable, our reception is terrible, and Saturday television in my neck of the woods is deplorable. Reading somehow didn’t feel active enough, not when so much internet activity had been nipped in the bud by god knows what. A walk seemed like a good idea until I noticed that it was still fucking raining for the umpteenth day in a row. I was antsy, and I needed an outlet fast.
My desperation must have been more severe than I thought, because I took to cleaning to expend my anxious energy. Cleaning, people. I did all the dishes that I could find scattered around the apartment, I wiped the counters down, I cleaned out the coffeemaker and the toaster, and I even got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor. Then I crawled back under the computer table to jiggle wires and turn things on and off to no avail. I drummed my fingers on the hardwood… a-ha! I did two loads of laundry, and while the machines were running, I cleared out the front entry, swept the floor, beat the dirt out of the mat, hosed the mat down, and mopped the floor. It looked brilliant. Had the hardwood always been that colour? A quick dive under the table to check the modem only proved what I already knew to be true – no internet would be had by me that weekend.
A weary sense of defeat settled upon me as I quietly hand-washed my delicates. I sniffed while dusting at wistful thoughts of the links that could have been had, the e-mails that could have been sent, and the Fiery One’s blog updates from Australia that I was probably missing. I sighed as I gathered up five bags of refuse and dragged them down the stairs to the alley below.
Truly, folks, I was the epitome of pitiful. Until Saturday, I had not known the depths of my internet addiction, and I have grown as a result. My apartment is relatively clean! All it took to lift myself out of the squalid confines I call home was the turning off of my access to the internet. By the time Sunday afternoon rolled around not only had I cleaned, but I had also delved into two books (one of which was The Silent Takeover by Noreena Hertz), gone over some of my old writing, written two poems, and located my lost keys.
I also spent an hour or two entertaining an internet fix-it guy two weeks from retirement who eventually figured out the source of my problem and fixed it. It took a lot of his making phone calls while sitting around on one of my kitchen chairs and me trying to get him and his telephone buddies to listen to my theory. It turns out that I was right. Apparently, when I cancelled the installation of a nearly useless cable/high-speed internet package we were offered, they disconnected my internet access altogether. We received a new modem as a peace offering. I’m glad that he gave us the new modem, because he totally didn’t appreciate my über-strong coffee. Now, if I could only arrange for my internet provider to disconnect me from service for two weekends a month, I might discover the potentiality of my human existence. (Okay, well, maybe not, but I would at least do my dishes once in a while).

Oh, hey, didn’t I promise to tell you what my good news was? Well, here it is. It is actually a milder variety of good news, so relax those shoulders and breathe normally. I got a new job within this institution I work for, so I will no longer be in my present position as of the 28th of this month! I am thoroughly fucking thrilled at this turn of events. No longer will I have to stand behind a counter explaining why you can’t return your textbooks and muttering how I don’t give a good goddamn whether or not you can afford to eat, because if you were really so desperate you would have returned them three days ago before your time ran out. No longer will I have to suffer the occasional silent treatment from petty co-workers. No longer will my morning greeting to the Dark Overlord be met with grunts. My retail days are nearly behind me! Let us rejoice and be glad!

Victims of Quorn. (found via Finslippy)

I have begun reading a second blog out of Baghdad.

I like you, so here are three presents for you to enjoy (all found at Kill Rock Stars):

  • Elliott Smith’s "Some Song"
  • Sleater-Kinney’s "Oh!"
  • The Decemberists' "The Soldiering Life"

    Here is the American Sign Language alphabet with really great illustrative photos.

    Wal-Mart’s evil, this I know, for an infomediary told me so.

    Hundreds of prisoners have been released today from Abu Ghraib.

    James Joyce’s grandson, Stephen Joyce, seems to have a big old pole up his butt, seeing as he even puts a stop to public readings of his grandfather’s works.

    “The US-led coalition plans to keep between 4,000 and 5,000 prisoners in its custody after the return of sovereignty to Iraq later this month…”

    United States’ president George W. Bush’s foreign policy is being attacked from within.

    I wonder if we have this kind of thing here in Canada. It turns out that there is proper etiquette to follow when disposing of an American flag. (See Canadian and American flag etiquette sites for more scintillating info on the subject).

    “Have you heard the one about c(m+n0)/p?” Scientists have come up with an equation to measure the perfect joke.

    Courtney Cox Arquette named her daughter Coco. That’s all that needs to be said.

    Everyone knows this already, but I thought I’d pass it along – Ray Charles is dead at the age of 73.

  • Oops I Did It Again, A Stupid Conversation, And Frances

    Clutter, Clutter, Clutter, Must Be Clutter, For This Ill-Kempt Girl (And Goodbye Grapefruit And I've Got A Secret)