Saturday, August 15, 2009

Calling AT&T on Saturday (in Real Time)

August 15th, 2009
1:28 p.m.

I sigh and pick up the phone, prepared to do battle.

Automated guy robot voice answers my call and immediately short circuits:

"Thank you for calling AT &--"

"I'm sorry, I didn't..."

"I'm sorry I am having so much trou--"

"Please enter your phone number--"

"Please hold while I connect you with someone who can help--"

1:30 p.m.
Real person answers phone She is perfectly nice and tells me how we can go about disconnecting my land line, but with one caveat:

"We need to get you connected with the Disconnect Department. Please hold."

1:33-1:39 p.m.
Static-y hold music that sounds like it's being played underwater. The love theme from "St. Elmo's Fire" plays in its entirety and I find myself getting choked up.

1:40-1:53 p.m.
I become somewhat well acquainted with a very nice woman named Denise (name changed to protect her) in the Retention Dept.--maybe nicest person I've met at AT&T. I picture us grabbing a drink together after work and howling about stupid men. Then she drops the bomb on me: "It says here you are not eligible to upgrade your DSL to a high speed. In fact, if you do this the way we are planning, your DSL speed will *drop*." She sounds incredulous too.

But, wait, don't I have that middle speed? "Well, yes." Then how can I not have it suddenly if I ditch the land line? "Um, I am not sure."

Me: "So I am getting punished, essentially, for having been a good customer?"

Her: "Well... Sadly, yes... It kind of seems that way, but--"

"I see."

"I am just trying to be honest with you, sir."

"Really, I appreciate that. Seriously."

"Let's clarify: YOU are eligible for the higher speed, but your address is not."

i.e., I do not live in a rich enough neighborhood? Which makes no sense since I live 2 blocks from Hancock Park.

"Well, it's complicated," Denise says. "Our friend Verizon is also available in that area and we only have access to certain pockets, so some people are eligible for higher speeds and some are not. One of your neighbors might be using a really high speed from them or something..."

Note to self: Call Verizon.

2:04 p.m.
I am told how I can look online at the Measure Rate service re: my phone line. The wheeling and dealing begins, because Denise knows 2 things very well now:

1. I am mad.
2. I am not stupid.

The result? My land line bill cut 60%. My DSL bill cut 50% for at least 6 months.

2:09 p.m.
I still really, really want higher speed DSL, god damn it. But at least in the meantime I am paying much much less for what I am stuck with (and which was never explained to me in any way that doesn't sound vaguely illegal).

I suddenly miss the days when all I had was access to one rotary phone. Communication is hard.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Sound Assemblages: A Mix as Seen Through Thought Process

It's a work in progress as I stitch together styles, tones, and running times: A glimpse into my annoyingly nerdy process of making mixes for people and why it sometimes takes too long. First I find the intention (is it fun? a mix of up and down? flat out weird? Or should it all be pop?); the rest is almost like storyboarding. Eventually it takes shape or gets trashed and I start again:

1. Bar-B-Q - Wendy Rene (or "100 Days" from below)

2. Cherry Bomb - The Runaways

3. Velvet - The Big Pink (maybe replace with "Too Young to Love")

4. William's Blood - Grace Jones (old song instead?)

5. Jumping Jack - Tune-Yards (listen to flow of "Sunlight" and "News" instead/move?)
Incidental something

6. French Navy - Camera Obscura

7. You Saved My Life - Cass McCombs (too slow for here? makes block of slow songs later, maybe)

8. The Neighbors - St. Vincent vs. Actor Out of Work

9. Crooked - Kristin Hersh (outro/instrumental splits list here)
Incidental something (OMD's "ABC Auto Industry"?)

10.Sincerely, Jane - Janelle Monae(too awk. after KH?)

11. I Need You - Eurythmics (put before Janelle Monae?)

12. Oh Darlin' - Magentophone (maybe starting song instead)

13. 100 Days, 100 Nights - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

14. Let Me Be the One - Expose

15. Perfect Beats selection (listen to Vol. 3 for the right song)

16. Young Hearts Run Free - Candi Stanton (more disco or pop? like "Bette Davis Eyes")

17. Random? "End of Freedom" by Wilderness or "4 Men" by Kitchens of Distinction vs. something like Dinah Washington or Joan Armatrading(circle back around with soul/R&B)

18. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman

End with something more slow or fast? New vs. old. Reverse order and listen to flow.
Brainstorm title ideas. Cut out images for cover.