I have safely returned from the beautiful San Juan Island, complete with renewed zest for life and a bad case of the post-vacation blues. It was a wonderful trip, and I enjoyed immensely seeing everyone, and the SCUBA diving was fantastic, and I want to write all about it, but… despite my missing Hurricane Isabel directly, I am still feeling the after-effects of her fury. We never lost power, but we did lose our internet connection, which is still out, as far as I know. Why? Because Comcast is the worst company ever. I understand that they were hit by an unavoidable and severe storm, but since I signed on with them I have experienced nothing but constant service interruptions, horrible customer relations, busy signals because they don’t have enough staff to handle call volumes (even during non-hurricane periods), and an absolutely useless homepage (I won’t even link to it, because I refuse to send them any traffic). If you do happen to visit their page, I challenge you to try to find any useful information about local service interruptions, their efforts after the hurricane, anticipated fix dates, or anything that a customer without service might find interesting or useful. Go ahead and try. The up-shot of this little rant, of course, is that I have to relegate my internet time to lunch at work, or I have to stay late and type from the office, and because of our corporate firewall, I have lost all access to my shell account. Comcast sucks.

I do wish to note, however, that as the children in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events mature, so do the books. The silliness of the previous books is much diminished (though not absent) in Book the Tenth: The Slippery Slope, but we learn lessons in privacy and decency, as well as something about C. P. Snow, Algernon Charles Swinburne, and Friedrich Nietzsche. If I had to choose three authors who most helped me survive during graduate school, that would be the list. Add to that that Lemony Snicket plays the accordion for the Magnetic Fields, and you may begin to see why I’m such a fan of his work. Or maybe you don’t. Eh.

NP: The Magnetic Fields, Long-Forgotten Fairytale