with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

We’re back online – I think

After much tearing apart the trailer to figure out which of the many cable lines we have running through the trailer are the ones for the cable television input, only to find out that the problem wasn’t in the trailer but outside on the connection at the post, we finally got the television on and hooked to cable. Then we had to connect the cable modem so we have DSL. That was more complicated and I’m still working on it. But we are back on the Internet…sorta.

After some messing around, I’ve got the computer connected to the modem but the wireless router isn’t up yet. I’m still working on it. But I did get a chance to tear apart the trailer again in the search for wires and cables and how they flow through the trailer.

Originally there was one input to the trailer for the cable, but we didn’t have a television. Oh, we did but it was a little tiny handheld, slightly larger than my Palm handheld computer. With a 2 inch screen, you could hear the show and make out the fact that people were moving across the screen, if you got decent reception, and it worked well enough for the little things we wanted to watch. Okay, it worked well for the little things “I” wanted to watch. Brent wasn’t interested in it at all. When my mother came to visit, she and I crowded around the little TV to watch Ellen announce she was gay on her television show, just to get a piece of history. But it was a struggle to see.

In Greensboro, I finally splurged and bought a used Dish Network satellite system from a neighbor and a new television. I got to use it for barely six months when we moved to Israel. It went into storage in Tulsa and we unburied it three weeks ago. Since we were not happy with the service from Dish Network in any way shape or form, and they still owe us a LOT of money (and I’m seriously still thinking of suing them, the shits), we decided to leave it all in storage, collecting dust. Maybe I’ll try to sell it, but it stays in the storage unit for now.

To make the satellite system work, we had to put all the pieces somewhere. Brent figured out how to put the VCR over the refrigerator along with the car stereo we got for a radio and CD player in the trailer. We strung cable from the cable/electrical inlet to the VCR and then back through the trailer. Then I strung more cable around the trailer to connect to the television sitting on the “shelf” storage unit behind the couch. Okay, partly on the back of the couch in the corner. It was quite the setup but it worked, over time.

When the new refrigerator went in, it was taller and we lost the space for the VCR, though the radio could stay. With Comcast, we don’t need a whole bunch of connections running in and out of the trailer for the satellite, but we do have a jungle of cables to mess around with.

The poor Comcast guy went through the trailer testing all the cables to find one that worked. When we couldn’t find one that worked, I started tearing the low cupboards apart, tracing the cables back to the inlet. While pulling out drawers and cleaning supplies, he said he wanted to check something outside. He went out and I started unscrewing the power panel to get in behind where the cable came in and out of the trailer to check there. Then I went outside to check the connection from the outside.

He turned from the outside pole where the cable connection was and said, “I figured it out. The problem was here. Sorry about that.”

What could I say. I now had 30 minutes or more to put everything back together again (comes out faster than goes in, as with everything) and the problem wasn’t in the trailer. He came back in and we found the right cable, connected the television, and bingo, I have cable TV.

Cable TV might not be very exciting for you, but for me, the opportunity to actually watch TV, especially the SCIFI channel, and everything is pretty much in English, I’m thrilled. Almost all my television watching has been via downloads from peer-to-peer file sharing while living overseas for the past five years.

Then came the problems hooking up the modem, but eventually we figured it out. It took some time with the Comcast guy to figure out that I couldn’t connect to the wireless router directly. I have to connect directly to the Internet through the DSL modem first, and then set up the router. Here are the Linksys directions for setting up the DSL modem from Comcast with the Linksys Wireless Router or search Linksys Support for Comcast.

So we are online as of late today and I’ll start dealing with the vast piles of email tomorrow…or the next day. I’m still trying to unbury things around me, and I have to split my time between the computer and the cleaning up, fixing and repairing, and cleaning up again, or this will never get done. Actually, I think I’m doing pretty good for being a week and a half into this move. With no one bothering me, no invites out to lunch or for walks, and little or no interruption, I’m actually get a lot done. Hopefully the same will apply when I start writing. I have to curb all my gregariousness and concentrate on making the fingers and thoughts fly into my computer.

Oh, the shippers called today in the middle of the Comcast trauma. Our stuff has arrived in New York. We have to pay the final installment of our almost $3000 USD shipping costs, AND the glorious news that, of course, our container was picked by the wonderful and over enthusiastic Homeland Security Idiots to be searched for weapons of mass destruction. Since they couldn’t find any in Iraq, I doubt their ability to find anything in my container of crap from Israel. I’m sure the 1929 Singer sewing machine will get their attention, though. Anyway, the rule is that if our container is picked by the government customs agents, we have to pay for the inspection. This is the part that sucks – big time sucks.

According to the woman who called me from the shipping company, that particular terminal charges between $370 – 400 USD to check a container. The fee is split among the container’s contents and we will probably have to pay about $50-100 USD for the inspection. Pigs.

I really believe that if the US government wants these things inspected, they should just pay for it themselves. Honestly. It’s for the protection of the citizens, then the taxes the citizens pay should pay for such inspections. It is ridiculous to be penalized as an individual, whether I’m a citizen or not, for something I don’t buy or choose. Creeps.

Anyway, she told me that the stuff should be arriving in Tulsa in January but she’ll have more details in a week or so after the security check.

Nothing we do is easy.
Mobile, Alabama—–

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