Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday night in times of crisis

So this week I had to fix part of my roof due to the heavy rains that fell in San Felipe.  New leaks appeared out of nowhere....  So the roofer guy, whatever it was I could find in such short notice toward the end of the year as all those who are not drowning are spending their end of year "utilidades", hit the Direct TV  dish.  Not much but enough to lose signal.  That, of course, on a Friday afternoon.

After a dozen options I finally reach an operator and Direct TV takes a report but refuses to admit to me that I am going to stay at least a week off.  So I suspend my service until the tech guy comes.  To my great surprise this morning at 9 AM as I am driving off for some light shopping and the papers they called me for an appointment at 10:30.  I rush and I am home by 10 AM.  At 5 PM none had come, no one answered the number left on my cel phone, a day wasted in waiting...

Not wanting to start any major project as I wait, I decided to take several naps in between watching a pirated copy of Mad Men.  Yes, I have season 1 and 2 of Mad Men that I paid a ridiculous low amount of money since even if I wanted to buy original I could not find them anywhere.  While I watch episode after episode, I am getting dizzy because of the cool, breezeless humid air the smell of my neighbor painting some iron fences creeps inside my house no matter what I try to do to vent.  I wonder if my nap needs in spite of a good night sleep have something to do with that chemical scent.

I finish season 1 at 5 PM and I understand now why so many people talk so much about it.  It is really, really good, and I remember some of that left over era early in my childhood.  We were always a tad late to follow "el norte".  The smoking and the drinking when I was young was not as bad as Mad Men but not that far.....  Smoking started relenting some only in the 70ies in Venezuela.  Drinking keeps apace.  Watch it if you can!

So, resigned that for sure I will have no TV until Monday now, I take my tea pot reading the newspapers.  Water everywhere still, roads to Caracas in trouble, good thing I do not need to go.  I skip the wikileaks section.

Diner time and I decide to start season 2.  Soon I realize that something is amiss, that some data is not falling together.  I check out Wikipedia and realize that sure enough there are 13 chapters per season and that I have only 12.  In both seasons.  Why?  Pirated DVD have room for three chapters only so they simply cut out the last installment rather than charging us for an additional DVD!!!!!!!!!  It is just so much more convenient to sell two packs with 2 DVD each for 12 episodes....  who needs to watch the cliffhanger season finale?

By then upset at the service, upset at the chemical smell, upset at the wasted day, I pour myself a drink and start playing facebook games to forget that I live in country where it has become routine that whatever can go wrong, will do..


  1. Hi there...avid reader from Seattle. Perhaps for seasons 3 and 4, you should try using torrents instead of pirated DVDs. The quality will probably be better and you can have a season downloaded pretty quickly (less than a couple of hours, assuming you have broadband internet).

    Good luck getting your Direct TV restored...LOVE the blog!

  2. Island Canuck1:13 PM

    Daniel the DirecTV dish isn't difficult to adjust if it's in a location that doesn't risk your life to do it. It probably isn't that far off kilter anyway.

    Just go to the main menu of your DirecTV decoder & you will find the setup page. It emits a tone that gets loud when you are lined up correctly. Just turn up the TV volume, open the window & go for it.

  3. Island

    The dish is not in the best position for me to reset. The thought has crossed my mind but I would rather watch it first being fixed, for future reference.

  4. Ryan

    Two flaws in your plan:

    1) where I live there s no good broadband, only wireless one and it has the bad habit of logging off suddenly for no reason.

    2) if i buy a movie from the net i need to pay in US dollars and CADIVI does not allow me access to those funds.

    I am forced, FORCED, to buy pirated stuff which fortunately they tend to do of a decent quality. That is, the Mad Men I have has been recorded directly from some broadcast, Spanish subtitle included. I cannot suspend them which is annoying. And still way, way cheaper than subscribing to HBO or equivalent. In my experience the choice of movies is not very good (I am not into commercial Hollywood), and I always miss the movies I want to watch because they rarely fall in a convenient schedule for me, I forget to record them, etc, etc...

  5. Daniel

    One tiny consolation might be that in these things you are not alone. Even here in NC where we have broad band everywhere, loads of service options and friendly technicians,we too have break downs, waits, irritations etc.That is the nature of the technological beast.Yesterday I awoke to find my internet gone , which meant I had no vonage( telephone), which meant no movies, no email, no nothing.God I hate my dependence on this stuff....

    I send you this most humorous video on the subject.It is a must see( in Spanish) :

    I rarely watch TV but I do have a ROKU and can download movies and TV series for free...thanks for the recommendation.I'll try it out!

  6. I have mixed feelings with this post Daniel. On the one hand I found it funny and interesting, on the other hand, after reading the stories of people that are in climatic emergency (see for instance, here:)

    I have the feeling that you are a spoiled brat..complaining about not getting Direct TV and not being able to get the last episode of whatever it is you were watching...

  7. bruni

    that is exactly the point!

    there is nothing i can do personally to help with the floods, not even sending supplies or money because i do not want it mishandled by the regime ( i already had trouble sending my haiti help, and happy to do what i did because official regime help through pdval was rejected by haiti as those creeps at pdval sent rotten food).

    so i try to keep a normal life, fixing my roof at my own expense because there is no help for me there. and yet i cannot live normally because i cannot rent at blockbuster, i cannot have a simple dish repair take place (last time i checked direct tv repair people we not drafted to fix flooded areas satellite dishes), i cannot have broadband or TV to follow the news and write about it, etc....

    if my life is already complicated enough, even though i have the means to pay, that i cannot live as a spoiled kid how can i trust that the regime is able to help the people that really need help?

    think about that for a minute......

  8. Daniel,
    All the TV and movies you'll ever want. It's a reputable site, and of course, free of charge:


  9. Roger8:45 PM

    As DirectTV goes, Im sure there are a lot of kids around who can tweek in a dish while Papa watches the signal level screen and yells "mas" to them. Crillo Engineering, they can't afford to call a service tech to adjust their dish.
    The World is Flat only if you have Broadband. Most countries are working hard to provide the best connections everywhere in their countries. This ain't just about watching movies or business. Even now you can do microscopic biology with beta Iphone adapters that can identify all tropical diseases! Just as important, you can provide information on how to produce food in a cost effective manner and not just import it. I don't agree with Dra.B for me lack of communication anywhere in the world is a handicap not a luxury!


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