i've been dying to get some bike time ever since it started snowing beginning sunday night. first stop was star market, where they had a sale on aquafresh toothpaste. as a kid i was amazed by a toothpaste that came in not just one color but three, and i've recently developed a nostalgic craving for the magical multi-colored mashup.1 trying out a new shortcut behind star market, i went to my second stop of rite aid where they had a sale on dove chocolate. finally, some groceries at market basket. i don't know why i insist on locking my bike out on the sidewalk when there's a bike rack next to the supermarket entrance.

at the cafe i was on the phone with comcast for at least half an hour, trying to get them to switch the business-class gateway modem/router to a spare residential cablemodem we had lying around.2 the technician at first said it couldn't be done (even though when i called over the weekend the guy i spoke to said it was okay, and i've done it twice before at my parents' and at my own place), then said i had to get a repairman to come by and swap out the modem for me (comcast would of course charge me for this "service"). but i was pretty calm throughout the whole conversation, and since i've done it before, i knew it was possible.

finally (after consulting with his superiors) he did make the switch. unfortunately i had to switch back to the gateway minutes later because the spare cablemodem was actually an old comcast modem, and technically was supposed to go back to the cable company once the original term of service was over. although the initial switch was successful (i managed to surf the web with the computer connected directly to the modem), comcast could one day decide to shut down all their orphaned modems. so my technician didn't want to do it because he couldn't guarantee uninterrupted service, at least that was his excuse.

the guy on the phone used every conceivable way he could to block me from making the switch3, and basically wanted to just send a repairman. what he didn't know is i have another spare cablemodem, one that i bought off of craig's list a while back, and that one is legitimate. he gave me his private number so i could directly call him tomorrow afternoon to try switching out the modem again. despite the fact that he wasn't making my life any easier, we had a very cordial chat over the phone. he even gave me a few pointers as to how to set up the wireless webcam when i told him what i was doing. afterwards i went back home before my own comcast repairman arrived.

the more i ride, the more biking skills i pick. for instance, i almost never look behind me now, unless i'm making a left turn (which i hate) or i need to swerve out onto the road (to avoid ice patches or whatnot). this is something very different from riding a motorcycle, where i'm always looking in the rear-view mirrors. i have a little bike mirror that attaches to my glasses but i haven't used it in a while. i just have to assume that the cars behind me will see me and avoid hitting me. statistically, most accidents happen in the front left side of a bicycle. rear collisions are rare. as long as i ride straight and in a predictable fashion, cars should be able to steer clear.

the comcast repairman arrived before 5:00 (he called first asking for directions). comcast is such a big bureaucracy and they do things that defy logic in their inefficiency. from the comcast technician on the phone who took forever to help me switch out the cablemodem at the cafe, to the comcast repairman they sent to my house to check on my bad cable reception. he basically stripped the coaxial cables and put on some connectors. when that didn't work, he said it might have something to do with my wall plate, and proceeded to pry it from the wall, snapping a plastic bracket in the process. when that failed as well, he finally switched out the cablebox, which was what i originally thought the problem might be. that seemed to fix it. when he finally left - leaving a mess of wet shoe prints all over my living room floor and carpet - he also forgot a wire cutter tool that fell behind my tv when he was working on the cables. don't know if he'll come back for it, but knowing comcast, he probably has spares. a souvenir for me!

a simple ham and mustard sandwich on whole wheat bread for lunch, followed by some oven-baked buffalo wings for dinner (store-bought, not homemade). i had a big bowl of blue cheese sauce, which did a number on me later in the evening (damn you, lactose intolerance!).

1 also as a kid i used to make my own aquafresh when i couldn't get the real stuff by layering different colors of toothpaste on top of each other.

2 the spare cablemodem was from a family friend.

3 why switch at all? the main reason is to not use the comcast gateway, which seems to be blocking incoming port calls despite the fact that comcast told me they weren't doing that. another reason is to save money, because then i'm not renting any equipment from them (although i think for a business class customer, the gateway modem/router itself is free).