If you heard a high-pitched ululating noise at about 0800 hours UTC, it was me going ballistic.
Let’s explore that term “going ballistic” — “Ballistics” is the science that deals with what happens to a projectile — bullet, artillery shell, large rock, arrow, ballistic missile, or any other handy object at rest that suddenly becomes an object in motion — between the “bang” and the “splat.” The only control you can exert over the projectile is deciding how big to make the bang and the direction the projectile is pointing when the bang happens. After that, Newton* rules.
The term “going ballistic” went vernacular during the cold war nuclear arms race as a result of the development (and proliferation) of the ballistic missile, which is essentially a glorified artillery shell. The “bang” is provided by a rocket engine that has just enough fuel on board to carry the missile to the required altitude. Course corrections in the missile’s trajectory can only be made until the rocket engine runs out of fuel. At that point, the missile has “gone ballistic” and, unless you can shoot it down before it reaches its target, all you can do is wait for the “splat.” When people “go ballistic” it is because some event or situation has provoked such intense anger that they lose their temper and behave in a wild and uncontrolled manner. They “go spare,” “lose it,” “flip out,” “freak out,” “blow a fuse” or to translate that into Southern American English, they are “madder than a wet hen.” (Apparently, this is a common practice in India, also.)
Now, if you’ve read this post and this one, then you’ve got the back story on the situation I referred to in the first sentence of this post. Last night at about 2 o’clock, I couldn’t get to sleep and decided I’d get my Kindle Fire out and read some Liaden stories I recently downloaded, but the Kindle Fire could not establish a WiFi connection. After a brief WTF? moment, and several tries, still no joy. I tried my Squeezebox. It could not establish a WiFi connection either. My blood pressure went up about 15 points and I flung back the covers. Kitties were bailing out off the bed in all directions. I stomped across the hall to my (newly cleaned, semi-sorted out) office, sat down at my desk and tried to get a WiFi signal on my Kindle Fire — and succeeded. I had another WTF? moment. Then I noticed that the signal strength reading at less than 2 feet from the brand new ATT modem was “Fair”! I got up and walked toward the hallway. Before I could even get to the bedroom door, my Kindle Fire dropped the signal!! Needless to say, I was madder than a wet hen — which probably explains why it was after 4 a.m. before I was able to simmer down and go to sleep.
So, this morning bright and early, I called ATT customer service and gave them yet another piece of my mind. Would you believe the techistani suggested that I go buy a wireless router to boost my signal?! That’s when I asked to speak to his supervisor. The upshot of that little hissy fit was that an ATT guy would be calling at my home “between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.” So, at 2:30, while her majesty was in the throne room attending to important matters of state, the phone rang. Caller ID said it was the ATT guy. I tried calling him back and got voicemail.
The white cat, who was already in my bad books for waking me up at 6:30 this morning (see above) by refunding a hairball on my bedroom carpet, was being his typical little diva self. Any dish containing fewer than 10 kibbles is empty as far as he’s concerned. So, just as I was about to pour the scoop of kibbles into the dish, he butts the hand that feeds him, and kibbles go everywhere. After I finally got his imperial majesty sorted and fresh water put down, the next task was to exchange the full “used litter” container on the Litter Maid for an empty one — I’m determined to use up the 30 or so “comes with” containers I’ve accumulated over the years before I modify this Litter Maid to use 20 gallon trash bags. After I’d seen to the Litter Maid, I needed to take out trash, take a bath and wash my hair, all before 4 o’clock.
As I headed to the laundry room, I thought, ‘You watch, the ATT guy will call again when I’m right in the middle of changing out the poop containers.” So, I grabbed my cordless phone from the living room en route. Sure enough, just as I was wrestling the container full of kitty poop out so I could put the clean one in, the phone rang. It was the ATT guy, it was 2:45, he was parked out front and was calling to see if I’m home! And there was I, hot, sweaty, and bra-less (hate’em!), with a container full of kitty poop. However, I can multitask. I let him in and as I finished changing the Litter Maid and vacuuming up the spilled litter, I gave the ATT guy an ear full. I aimed him at the modem, and went to wash my hands. He futzed with it, changed the settings, and consulted his whizbangometer, and apparently there’s some kind of signal interference from other wireless networks in the area, and he cannot boost the wireless signal to reach beyond my office. I told him that I am already paying ATT a goodly number of bucks a month, and I’m not about to go spend $60 or $70 on a wireless router just to make their equipment work the way it’s supposed to. I pointed out that even when the old modem was being recalcitrant about letting me onto the internet, I could still get a wireless signal from anywhere in the house. Turns out this new black job the guy brought out Friday is a 2Wire 120, and the old modem was a 2Wire 241. The upshot of our little discussion was that he went out to the truck and got a new 2Wire 241 modem, switched the modems out, and his whizbangometer showed a signal strength of 75%. — problem solved. Finally, after 4 months, 5 phone calls and two “in-home technician” visits, things seem to be back on an even keel once again (touch wood!).
So, now I’ve had my bath, washed my hair, had my supper, and after three solid days of high dudgeon, I’m exhausted. (Oh, and did I mention that Monday, my dainty little laptop mouse that is light and fits my hand so nicely developed terminal left button failure and died and I’ve had to use the honking great standard mouse that came with the computer?)
Hopefully, this is the final installment of what has turned out to be quite a lengthy jeremiad, and we can now get back to business as usual.