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Monday, August 21, 2000

As hard as I tried to hold onto the glow from yesterday, it didn't survive my trip to the bank and the post office this morning. By the time I got back, I felt as battered as any other Monday morning. And after I started opening the mail, I realized that that's exactly what this was.

However, I did get some of the pre-move phone calls made, and I even had some success in getting my points across to the fine telefolk punching up their computers on the other end of the line.

The woman from the Chronicle mumbled her name, so I couldn't write it down. I take copious notes when I'm making these calls, especially now that I'm a veteran at it. I just told her I was canceling my subscription as soon as possible, because I was getting ready to move.

She asked if I had any problems with the service, and I told her that I've had several missed deliveries and have never had a missed paper redelivered, even when I've called. She apologized, but there wasn't much she could do or say. They're mailing my refund for the unused balance of my subscription.

At AT&T Cable I talked to Kathy. She is apparently located in some remote corporate headquarters, because she had to punch up my zip code to know what my current service is. I asked for the lowest-priced basic service at the new place, and I told her why: I was unsatisfied with the channel lineup and the picture quality the cable brings out to the sticks where I live, and I'm seriously considering a satellite dish.

She asked what channels I wanted, and I named a few (ESPN2, FX, Bravo). She pushed a few more buttons and told me what I already knew: that those channels were not available, and that any upgrade was a few months off. So, until I do get a dish, I'll have only the over-the-air channels, but at least I won't miss anything important, like Touched by a Survivor, or Whose Big Brother Is It Anyway?

Rick at PG&E was efficient and businesslike. Apparently it's much easier to deliver gas and electricity than newspapers or cable.

And now all that's left is everything else. I should get started on the phone company, because they were the ones who screwed it up so badly the last time I moved, but there's probably nothing I can do to make sure they get it right. They repeated back to me everything I told them, and yet they still had to make three trips out here before I had full service.

I spent most of the afternoon, from the time I could legitimately quit working to the time I left for class, looking for something to do that required no concentration whatsoever. I had nothing left to offer, and I tend to obsess about new people and situations. So I pretty much wandered around the house, looking at all the boxes I've packed and all the stuff yet to pack. But not doing anything about it.

Going to the first class meeting was not itself traumatic, even though I did have to say a few words about myself. ("Hi, I'm Michael, stop looking at me.") But the teacher is intimidating, and his syllabus is frightening to the point of paralysis. I'm not sure I'm cut out for this web design stuff, and the homework load is probably more than I need to take on right now, with so much going on.

This guy is a former journalism major who has spent forty years in the field of design. He was in advertising, with his own agency for forty years, and designed some familiar logos (SweeTarts, Willy Wonka, and Pet evaporated milk were the ones he mentioned).

He's intense and humorless, at least at first meeting. His expectations seem high, and there are enough younger people in the class going for their Web design certificates that I feel out of my league.

So I'm quitting, right?

Hell, no.

I'll give it at least a week before I decide it's more than I want to try to handle right now. Then I'll quit. Or not.

Okay, let's try to get that good feeling back. Here's one more picture from Pac Bell Park yesterday.

Pacific Bell Park

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