Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

The never ending battles

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

As you may guess from my little piece last night I had another run-in with the ISP customer service department. This tech could find no record of the trouble ticket the previous tech was supposed to have written up. He apologized and promised he'd get back to me. Why am I dubious?

He said there was very little in the way of notes in my file. Gee, after spending a total of an hour with two techs, there should be something. I suspect that there's a lone entry to the effect that the customer is something that rhymes with "rich." When I have intermittent e-mail delivery issues from one service that's one thing, but from TWO? It's driving me up the wall.

So does that make me a fool for anxiously awaiting the install of their video service in two days? Perhaps, wabbit. In my zeal to ditch cable, I'm perfectly aware that I may be switching one set of problems for another. But dang. Blocked IP addresses are one thing, but intermittent delivery? From Gmail? From Yahoo? What is wrong with this picture?

The cold front finally pushed through as promised this morning, but with nary a drop of rain. Yesterday we were braced for strong storms, hail, damaging winds, the whole bit. Nada. On the other hand, it is 55F - the high today is expected to be 30 degrees cooler than last Tuesday. I can handle that.

Chris has been doing the TAKS test thing for the last few days. Since he's a junior this is the exit exam. If he fails one he'll hae to get remediation and try again. I really hate these tests. They're supposed to test minimum skills, but they're really only testing the ability to do word problems. And the word problems suck beets through a sock. I'm sorry, but if a parent with a college education (much less one with a journalism background) can't figure out what a passage is supposed to be about, how can they expect their children to do the same? If I turned crap like that in to an editor, not only would it come back dripping in red in, but the editor would demand to know what I sniffing when I wrote it.

You think I'm sniffing something funny already, don't you? Back when Chris was in elementary school they had weekly work to prepare them for the test. He couldn't make sense out of the stuff. Niether could I, or Paul. Or my neighbors with advanced college degrees. Yet I could show him a newspaper article written at a higher reading level and he had no problem figuring out what it was about. What is wrong with this picture? If it was just my kid I'd shrug and move on. I'm all for learning how to dig into a passage to find the meaning, but the meaning is not one sentence buried in the third paragraph. Actually, I wrote the following in another journal entry:

"See Spot. See Spot run."

What is the subject of the passage?

A. Spot
B. Jack, who watches Spot run
C. Running
D. Jane, watching Jack toss a stick at Spot and poke the dog's eye out

The answer will be D. It's written from Jane's point of view, can't you tell? Jack, Jane and the dog are, of course, of indeterminate multi-ethinic (or breed, in the case of Spot) origin. Jack would really like to wear Jane's dress, but we can't talk about that because this is Texas.

Yeah, I hate these things, but probably not as much as the students who are forced to take them.

Okay, it's picture time, and then I must repair to the back bedroom to clean. I've let things go for too long in one corner. I just pile stuff up there thinking I'll give it to charity. Now it's a big, hulking mass that has taken on a life of its own. I swear I can hear it breathing at night. I guess it's time to slay the beast.

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Filed under: House MD   Life   Technology       
5/30/2006 9:48:07 AM
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