Cloister Commentary, Day 173: Extraction

I completed my on-line notary public profile, which can help folks who need me find me. In the process, I studied my seven steps to good notarization and explored Missouri’s new legislation regarding RON: “remote on-line notaries.” I don’t trust much our ledge passes, but this looks decent. Should I or shouldn’t I?

My Stephens College colleague, the legendary art history prof Jim Terry, invited me to judge his annual Punctuation Day Celebration, which of course I accepted. He may feel sorry for me that I don’t have a class, and this in fact will make me smile.

I took a gander at my young friend Benjamin Ruffin’s current rough draft and passed along some feedback. He has sights on being an architect, and he’d be a great one.

A few years back, we paid a guy a very reasonable fee to powerwash the house and stain our deck, and he was fast and skilled. I tried in vain to locate him, so we have need of someone new. Any suggestions?

I have mentioned this in a past entry, but I am reading and loving Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia. It’s a less annoying Catcher in the Rye, very much updated to post-Sexual Revolution (is that capitalized?) social living and transplanted to just-post-punk Eighties London. I bring it up again for people who think everything ever filmed is streaming. Sammy & Rosie Get Laid, for which Kureishi wrote what must be a very similar screenplay, is not streaming. It is not available on DVD; it never made it to DVD. Used VHSes run in the $80-100 range; I tried to Christian a guy down to a decent price for his copy on eBay, but got denied. Word to the wise from a dude that still likes physical media.

I resumed my battle against corporate labyrinths in trying to settle minor affairs in the wake of Dad’s death, this time against an old dragon, AT&T. They had promised to send my mom a paper bill–they did not. They sent her instead a form letter seeming to imply that she had to participate in their AutoPay program (she does not). Also, they owe her $14.99 but that can’t be deducted from her phone bill because it’s from her old internet bill, which is under their auspices. Hammering a way for 70 minutes, I actually wore down a chat agent to do the unthinkable and start sending her a paper bill and cut her a check for the amount, even though I was initially unable to breach Fort Knocks with a passcode I couldn’t remember (I knew all 15 of the other secret digital handshakes). My dad also had paid for an accidental death policy with a company that, after six contacts with them, has not moved to act (for example, mailing me paperwork), though they have acknowledged the policy is in effect. I literally did scream when they, again, did not “call in one to two business days.” These a-holes are terrific at extracting; stingy when it comes to being extracted from. The American Way. Nicole brought me a spearmint candy and I quieted down.

The day ended on a great note, with a classic double-overtime clash between two teams I love, the Raptors and the Celtics, leading to a Game 7 that should be equally classic, and an episode of The Indian Doctor in which an amoral kleptocrat gets his (it’s a fantasy series).

Streaming for Strivers:

I need something catchy, funny, smart, weird, and absurd sometimes, don’t you?

Cloister Commentary, Day 146: Fumes and Futility

Some mornings, I find these difficult to write.

Yesterday started out great. Nicole and I went on an early morning walk, and that’s always restorative. But I then proceeded to spend around two hours carefully watching an initially unmasked telecom tech install a new system for Mom, then about an hour emailing a benefits analyst with documentation about something involving my late father’s pension that’s moving like very molten lava, then around two hours on the phone with an excellent AT&T tech who after seeming like she was going to solve an ongoing posthumous problem for the first 3/4ths of the call found her own hands tied at the end.

Let me be clear: I’m happy to take on these tasks–it’s a part of life and death that we will all have to face, and since among my few actual skills is being able to communicate, I refuse to leave my talent buried. But after we realized the telecom tech didn’t leave a hard-copy program guide or program in the correct digital channel guide, and after watching the clock hands spin to no avail as I spent the afternoon with my smartphone, I was depleted. Music and books are my fuel, my food, my inspiration; in fact, records are like my holy texts–I listen to them as if they’re testimony about the truth of the world from all quarters. And I didn’t listen to a song or read a page (well, I squeezed in a two-page Liz Moore story just before bedtime) so I finished the day running on thin fumes. We’d hoped to watch Grand Hotel on Turner Movie Classics–that would have helped–but Mom’s new streaming package does not include that channel.

But guess what? The sun’s just come up. And I hear Lori McKenna‘s clear voice and resonant words in my headphones.

Streaming for Survivors:

This Book of the Musical Bible is–shhhh!–a peaceful, calming one.