Posts Tagged ‘AT&T’

AT&T and phone scams

January 30, 2012

Monday. A very nice AT&T technician came and quickly got me connected again. BUT. After he left, I found I could not access the internet without reinstalling my service and ten years or so after the fact, no way could I remember my password and ID and the page that popped up gave no way to get those provided. So, seeing as how I now had a phone line, I called high speed internet tech support, but what I kept getting connected to was U-verse sales. These people phone me all the time anyway though I keep asking them to take me off their call list since I live in a one-bedroom apartment with a single 12″ TV and have no use for their connect-all-your-television-sets-in-every-room program. It’s like I keep telling the finance companies that phone to harass me about refinancing my mortgage: I’m a renter. I have no mortgage. Finally, I got someone to connect me to California DSL support. And I’m on hold. Waiting. And waiting. And in the meantime I’m trying every old password I can think of, and it finally goes through. Then I get a guy on the line and he’s asking me all the details and we go through the whole story and I’m waiting to see if the operation now in progress for many minutes, resetting my modem, is working, and finally the guy tells me he’s in North Carolina and cannot assist a customer in California. Tell me why AT&T, a phone company, can’t get its phone lines straight.

I hang up and keep fooling with the website myself and now I’m back on-line. And maybe there’s a silver lining. I usually get several calls a day from a scam operator calling itself US Pharmacy about my order. Well, there is no order. There was never an order. I’m not going to give them my credit card. The callers always have a South Asian accent. I’ve told them not to call back. I’ve told them I understand they are just trying to make a living. (I have been looking for employment for two years now but I do draw the line at telemarketing. Which is too often falsely advertised. I’ve been a field interviewer for social service programs like HIV prevention. But these days, “field interviewer” too often means phoning people at night for bullshit consumer surveys. No!) I’ve told these callers that what they are doing is illegal. That gets them angry. I’ve told them I’ve reported them to the FCC and the FBI. (Yeah, right. My complaints get a boilerplate response that is entirely unresponsive.) But I haven’t yet heard from them today. Usually there’d be at least two calls by now. Maybe they got the erroneous disconnect notice and I’m finally off the list!

update: Feb 6 – I spoke (or wrote) too soon. The phone calls for US Online Pharmacy continue. Including one that woke me this morning.

Peripecias: On unforeseen ups and downs ( Notes on Chicago, Latin America, snowstorms, border closings, aflatoxins, cars accidents, and AT&T)

January 30, 2012

Well, I did want to post more about Chicago, about the two-faced stop signs that had me totally confused. (Glad I wasn’t driving. Thank you again, Stephanie Friedman.)

About the pleasure of being in buildings that unlike my apartment are heated! Walking around naked in the hotel room, feeling the warm air–ah!–on my skin. About Hector Aristiz√°bal’s performance of Nightwind. The grad student at the University of Chicago — I wish I knew her name — who talked about her work in Chile on theatre in Chile under Pinochet. We met at the brown bag lunch at the Center for Latin American Studies. One point she made struck me: she said during the repression, political statements were often made in theatre through very abstract devices and I wondered if that sort of experimental abstraction has carried over into the post-Pinochet era. Specifically, I’m thinking about Andrea Lagos and her solo show Un beso es un beso es un beso which I saw her perform at International Theatre Festival for Peace in Barrancabermeja, Colombia. Her performance was strange, startling and powerful, but I really didn’t understand what she meant in her commentary about it being a reflection of the continuing impact of the era of repression on her generation. Certainly, language in the piece is broken, partial, silenced. And her physicality at times grotesquely controlled. But maybe the abstract aspect is immediately understood as a political comment by people in Chile.

I want to write about the Friday snowstorm that made roads impassable so that I couldn’t make it to Or Chadash for my presentation there, and that left us all worried about whether Hector would get to O’Hare in time after his Awakening the Imagination for Social Justice workshop and whether his flight would get him to LAX for his connection for Guatemala. (I haven’t heard from him so I’m assuming he arrived OK. I think someone would have heard from him if he got stuck.) (And I guess snow disruptions in Chicago are not exactly unforeseen.)

I wanted to post about the writing for social justice workshop at the Graham School–such enthusiastic and willing participants (including Stephanie Friedman and Naty Vesga)


and the trip up to Barrington to work with the Barrington Writers Workshop thanks to Tamara Tabel whose work I was so happy to read and my friend, Natalie Pepa who recommended me. Someone take note and publish Natalie’s tango memoir! and her funny, sad, evocative short pieces about Buenos Aires.

Natalie’s pareja (we agreed English lacks a good word for in a couple regardless of marital status) is Dennis, a scientist who works with, among other things, toxin-binding clays that protect livestock from aflatoxins, fungal infections that grow on grains, especially corn. In the fields, the aflatoxins protect the plant from being eaten, but after harvest, especially if the corn is stored in a warm and humid area, the stuff grows and spreads and can make livestock sick. For animal feed, you add specific clay to the feed. It coats the toxins so the bad stuff passes right through the animal’s body and causes no harm. There are many kinds of toxins and a different kind of clay is best suited to deal with each. Even under a microscope, all clay crystals look alike, so you need more elaborate instrumentation to identify what you’ve got.

But right now, I’m not sure when any of this will be posted. It’s been crazy here. First, a minor car accident on Wednesday en route to Moorpark, dealing with insurance, etc.

Today, Saturday, turns out the border between Argentina and Bolivia is closed due to some controversy over the gas fields, so mi compa Silvana Gariboldi, with whom I was going to collaborate in Bolivia, can’t get there. Edson Quezada, of Educar es fiesta, the organization we–or now I–will work with warns me that as I’m arriving in Bolivia on Sunday, the buses may not keep to their schedule–which may affect my 8 or so hour ride from La Paz to Cochabamba. Arriving in Cochabamba, I’m to phone him. Apparently not a good safe idea to get into a taxi alone. And I’m bringing a sleeping bag and will sleep on the floor of the office. But maybe that will mean internet access which is more than what I’ve got now.

Phone line dead. Internet dead. Without phone or internet, I couldn’t call for service, but I saw the AT&T van in the street and spoke to the repairman. He was working in a neighbor’s apartment and agreed to see what my problem was when he finished with her. I kept going out to see how he was doing, and all of a sudden his ladder was gone and so was his van. Used neighbor Claudia’s cell phone to call AT&T and went through one of their ridiculous phone trees which required me to specify either landline or internet. Of course I’ve lost both. But I chose landline as the internet is accessed via the landline. But the phone tree switched me over to internet as a choice. Whatever. I had to leave Claudia’s as a contact # and the recorded message said a repair person would come by 6:00 on Monday.

What joy. The other party to the car accident thought I was lying about my phone number when she tried to call it and it didn’t ring in my pocketbook or car.¬† It’s ringing at home, I said. She wanted the number for my cell phone and didn’t want to believe I don’t have one. Well, if she tries to call my phone now, she’s not going to get through. I didn’t plan it this way!!!! (The people at Safeco, my insurance company, have been calm, friendly, reassuring, and very nice.)

And I commented on our “peripecias”* in an email to Bolivia and Argentina–the unforeseen sudden accidents or complications to our plans — but now it seems that’s a Mexican word and I’m not sure I was understood. Ah, one more unforeseen complication.

PS My cat, being female, I refer to her as “gata” but Natalie Pepa told me in some countries–and I can’t remember which–the word means “prostitute.” To avoid any misunderstanding and potential peripecias, I will transgender my Desi–mi gato–while traveling.

* Peripecias – it sounded familiar. It’s not in my standard Spanish dictionary, only in the Mexican dictionary. Then I realized, I know it from Oedipus. peripeteia — Greek word — reversal of fortune. Though I understand that today in Greek it means adventure. Appropriate?