Saturday, August 20, 2011
  Sometimes an unexpected is just an unexpected



By contrast to previous item, here's a tiny little event that's truly unexpected. Nobody could have seen it coming.

Been connected to Comcast since 2000. The cable ran through the branches of an apricot tree to the nearest pole.

Every time a serious wind came along, I expected the tree to snap the cable. Nope, never broke.

Last winter most of that tree crashed to the ground under heavy snow. I expected the cable to be brought down with it. Nope, the cable was just above the part that crashed.

In April of this year, I finally had that tree cut down, along with the other Wood Weapons, and since then I haven't expected anything to happen to the cable. It's perfectly open and untouched from the house to the pole.

Today, for no reason at all, the roof-level attachment of the cable came loose, letting the cable dangle low from the next anchor point.

No real wind since June, no rain since June. Only beautiful and ever-so-welcome warmth. Not even especially hot for Spokane. We've bumped 90 a few times but never got near 100, so it can't be an expansion thing. Why did the wire finally decide to come down today with exactly zero visible cause?

Genuinely unexpected.

It's still connected and working, so no big deal. Provided I don't get stupid and walk into it, all will be fine until Comcast gets around to fixing it. I scheduled a repair call online, for Monday between 8 and 10 AM.

= = = = = Update Monday:

The repair guy got here at exactly 8 AM! That's also unprecedented for Cable Guys. Normally, 8 to 10 AM means 4:59 PM in Cable Standard Time. So we have two unprecedenteds in one little incident.

... Today's cable guy took longer than the basic task should have needed, but it turns out he wasn't working slowly. After looking closely at his work, I see he did something interesting and worthy of appreciation.

The original 2000 installation was grounded to a deep old spike that had been around for a long time, probably dating from a TV antenna lightning arrestor in the '50s. Sometime around 2003, Comcast put a lot of publicity and money into a strange unexplained 're-grounding' project on all houses in town. At that time they actually de-grounded the cable, hooking it to nothing more than the steel siding. Very bad idea. Basically turned the siding into an antenna for 60 cycle buzz. A year later, without any publicity, they re-re-grounded the line to the electrical entrance box, which was a little better.

Today's technician (I think his name was Randolph) rearranged the whole setup from scratch, finding a better physical anchor point and clamping the ground back to the solid spike after carefully cleaning off the tarnished old copper. That's where it should have been, and that's where he put it.

Randolph also paid close attention to esthetics, arranging the pattern so the cable was nearly invisible against the house. Kept the horizontal part under the lap of the steel siding, and ran the vertical part behind a downspout. That's not just craft, it's ART!
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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