We're Baaack! - online that is.

SUBHEAD: As the Beatles said on the White album "Baack in the US - Back in the US - Back in the USSR".  

By Juan Wilson on 11 June 2011 for Island Breath -  

Image above: View from a terminal pod at Dulles International Airport in DC. Photo by Juan Wilson.  

Wilted Lettuce On the morning of our flight from Kauai to the mainland I tweated:
"We're flying Kauai HI to San Francisco CA to Washington DC, to Buffalo NY. For most a gradient from good to bad. But we love Chautauqua." (http://twitter.com/#!/IslandBreath)
Chautauqua is the westernmost county in New York state and just a little bit bigger than Kauai. It has about twice as many people on gently rolling green hills with lots of woodland. I have been going there all my life my wife Linda Pascatore grew up there and has her family there. In June the air is usually as crisp as a granny smith apple. Our flight arrived in San Francisco shortly after dark and it the sun was not back up until long after crossing the Mississippi. I noticed when there was enough light that you couldn't see the ground.

There was a brownish haze everywhere I looked. It didn't go away as the sun rose and the plane began it's descent into DC. The air had the look of the bad old days of the late 60's before the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water & Clean Air Acts. It made you glad to move from the air-conditioned plane, through and air-conditioned jetway and on into the refrigerated terminal.

I have to say, Dulles International Airport has got to be one of the ugliest airports in the world. In the 1960s it was transformed by architect Eero Saarinen into a concept piece. Saarinen was just of building the gull-wing TWA terminal at Idlewild Aiport (now JFK) in NYC. He built a flying wing of a building with a space age control tower. The terminal used rolling waiting areas to take out to the planes. They were sort of jetways not permanently to either the plane or terminal. A bad one - but at least a new idea.

Anyway since the 60's the terminal has been growing like an aggressive cancer. It has that Soviet ugliness. I really did not taste the air until after leaving DC. We flew north towards Buffalo - hazy all the way. Buffalo has a new sporty terminal that sings by comparison to Dulles. I didn't taste the air until getting out of the Buffalo baggage claim area. It was gritty and sour. It was not really hot and muggy. Chautauqua had its usual cool green June going - but it wasn't crisp - more like wilted lettuce forgotten in the back of the crisper. It's enough to get me looking more seriously into chemtrails and HAARP conspiracies.  

Windstream - Forgotten know-how
 The reason its taken three days to get back on line is a dance between high-tech convenience and cluelessness. Windstream is a phone company that three years ago took over Allegany Telephone Company (Altel). Windstream comes out of Georgia and seems to want to project the fast modern flow of information rather than a history as a crusty old telephone company.

 I called them weeks in advance to set things up so the phone and DLS internet access would be running when I hit the ground. I had used them in 2008 on my last trip and even still had the Siemen's 4200 moden ready to go. Well windstream told me I'd have to get a newer model modem for $50 (after the a $50 rebate). Reluctantly I went for it. Only one little problem. Just before I arrived in New York they sent the modem to my Hawaiian address on a slow boat to China.

This meant that by the time I get back to Hawaii it will be working its way back to the sender in Georgia. I tried hooking up the old modem anyway. It would jump trough all the hurdles through the setup procedure until the last step and then fail. The tech people told me the old 4200 should be compatible. After a day and a half I drove the 15 miles and got the shiny new $100 4300 model.

Needless to day - that did the exact same thing the 4200 did. After another day they had gone up two levels of tech experts and were actually sending out a specialist to my home in the boondocks to test the site. About an hour before the the specialist was to arrive someone in Georgia found the right knob or switch and I was back on the internets.

Whoooeee! If this is how America looks, smells and acts - I want to get back to Hawaii sooner than later.

 See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: A Heads Up 6/6/11 .

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