Hungry bread & butter hustle

"Eventually we will blanket the globe in wireless broadband connectivity."
~ranking Intel dude

Is it just me, or is there something really sinister about that? It's like, "Hey, I've seen movies where people say things like that and then the next thing you know agents are ransacking your house because you got passed a pamphlet by somebody you had Sunday School with about the idyllic era that existed before the internet swallowed our souls, and stormtroopers are standing on your head with jackboots that are covered in seemingly superfluous metal clasps and they're wearing gas masks for some reason and hitting you with cudgels in a really dank, shady prison that's all garish white tiles and fluorescent lights and a stainless steel toilet in the corner that's also the only source of drinking water and you seem to be literally the only prisoner because nobody else even thought of thinking of a time before this perfect world of totalitarian skullfuckery."

That said. I can't wait for this shit.

Yesterday I went to RadioShack, which is something I try to avoid doing at all costs, but I still haven't fixed my car, and Vista still won't work with my old wireless adapter, and I saw online that they had one on sale for $39.95. Of course, when I got there, the one that was on sale was out of stock. We can only assume it doesn't exist. So I was faced with a choice. Do I leave this horrible, shady hell of markups and cutrates, or do I suck it up and overpay for an inferior product? Because I swear to God, RadioShack managers go through every box after hours and install a tiny bomb in every gadget that is set to blow at 12:01 AM the day the return policy expires.

Let's weigh the options, now that the $40 modem has left the playing field. There's the $60 one, the $70 one, and the $80 one. And what's this? The $80 one is called the "RangeMax." It trumpets, "10X THE RANGE OF 801.22." And since I live in an extraordinarily tall building, and steal the internet mercilessly, visions of sugarplums start dancing in my head. Just imagine all the untapped internet connections, ripe for the plucking! Old women in retirement condos, young nurses who don't know what WEP is, middle-aged men who can't be bothered to learn passwords. And all of them able to afford the $47 that Comcast can somehow legally charge every month for a service that requires almost literally no upkeep!

So, like a sucker, I whip out my plastic and leave with the RangeMax. Walk home swinging the bag like a Gene Kelly umbrella. I am going to steal the shit out of some internet.

I get home. I install the driver. I plug that bitch into the USB slot.



Surely you saw that climax coming.

The great thing about spotty wireless coverage is that it gives you another sphere of life in which to make ridiculously ingenious discoveries that you instantly take for granted. Like how you eventually figure out that the radio will only turn on in your car if you punch the dashboard seven and only seven times to the rhythm of Paula Abdul's "Cold Hearted" and then crank down the window as fast as you can while turning the radio dial all the way to the right and saying "rubber baby buggy bumpers" without screwing up. You plug in your modem. You stand on a chair. You put books on a chair and then stand on those. You stand on one foot and get a bit of a signal, and then you start to hop and get a slightly better signal, so you keep hopping, but then the signal starts to fade and it takes you five minutes to realize that your standing on one foot and hopping had nothing to do with the improvement. Then you realize a cloud passed overhead at north-northeast traveling at 27 miles per hour so you do a raindance and get one more bar of reception. Then you start daisy-chaining USB extension cables together and hiding the modem in various places, and then running back to the computer to see if you've gained or lost bars. Then you forget where you hid it. Then you remember.

I eventually discovered that if I daisy-chain three extension cables, totaling 15 feet, and drape them over my bed, I can open the window and just manage to hang the adapter out of it, and get an only marginally worse signal than I would if I had a plate in my head. And it only drops, oh, say, every time a baby cries anywhere in the world. And then all I have to do is unplug it and plug it back in, which works one out of six times. The other five I have to reboot.

So thank you, Netgear, for making a wireless adapter that works significantly worse than the first generation Linksys monstrosity that I've been using for five years now. And thank you RadioShack, for making hovels of stores that are so dingy and unpleasant that I probably won't even have the heart to return it. And even if I did, there would probably be some clause in the contract I didn't know I signed that stipulates that since I don't have a first-born to offer in sacrifice, I am not qualified for a refund. And thank you, Intel, for working on the great American police state as slowly as possible, depriving me of live, up-to-the-minute sports scores and weather updates.

And they say we're an entitled generation. Piffle.


Sisyphus said...

Ooh, you're getting about the same quality of internet as the comcrap I pay for! Lucky you.

Sorry that it means they'll come after you and throw you in the dank shady prison with the stainless steel toilets.

But at least it's better than being sent to the Electric Waterboarding Suite, right right?

D said...

The real tragedy here is, the Electric Waterboard would make for an incredible musical instrument. It's not too late to hope, anyway -- McCain's making a run... I could end up in that suite yet.

I'm going to start sending Comcast employees rotten eggs in the mail. No, not even them. Their children. Who's with me?!

SenorStephenUrkelDaedalus said...

"Eventually we will blanket the globe in wireless broadband connectivity."

~ranking Intel dude

How hard would it really be right now for Google to turn everything into a dystopian nightmare world called the Googleplexus?

I'll leave that a rhetorical question. They have eyes, everywhere!

Dina said...

hey it's $67 out here. everything in california is better!

D said...

Stephen: It's going to be awesome when Google calls a press conference and a Google executive in a cape and cowl introduces the Google Annihilator and the people cheer wildly and then he shoots one with the Google Annihilator and he disintegrates and the crowd scatters and he hunts them down, one by one.

Deenzo: That is simply unjust. I demand satisfaction!