Round One: I came home from Lake Ann Camp ready and eager to see my family and my pets and my house and my books and all of the other awesome things that are there, but there was one decidedly less-than-awesome thing I was not excited to see at all: our dial-up Internet. We have a begrudgingly love/hate relationship, the dial-up and I. After all, it’s the only way for me to keep in touch with my friends and, of course, to keep my blog updated while I’m at home, so I’m glad we have it, but it’s so interminably slow that it’s almost not worth the effort. You have to log in, wait three minutes for it to make a connection, type in the address of the site you want to check, wait five minutes for it to load, click something, wait five minutes, click, wait, rinse, repeat. Despite this frustration, I can usually get it to do what I say, so the score so far stands at Tim: 1, Internet: 0
Round 2: Three important things to note about dial-up is that 1) it is a sore loser, 2) it is vengeful, and 3) it has connections (bad puns run in the family; you can blame my dad and his genes for that gem), so when it caught wind of the Newton clan’s plot to replace it with broadband, it pulled a devastating one-two punch. The dial-up had a little chat with the broadband, and when the broadband installation guy showed up at our house, he delivered the sad news that we could not get a signal unless we installed a forty-foot tower in our yard. Then the dial-up decided to play dead. It still connected, but it would follow that up a very confusing error message and a complete refusal to navigate to any page. Period. The sweet promise of high-speed Internet, dangled inches away from my ethernet jack, was ripped away and not even the dial-up stepped in to fill the hole. I was Internetless. Score – Tim: 1, Internet: 1
Round 3: I decided to fight fire with fire. If dial-up decided to leave me, I was going to leave dial-up. Unfortunately, I underestimated our dial-up’s cunning and influence in the area Internet world. I fled to a nearby McDonald’s only to find that their Wi-Fi was on the fritz. Fortunately, some other nearby business had free Wi-Fi that was working. Problem #1: it was just as slow as the dial-up. Problem #2: after about fifteen minutes, it cut out entirely and refused to come back. Well played, dial-up. Well played. Score – Tim: 1, Internet: 2
Round 4: Not ready to give up just yet, I fled to another McDonalds even further away, where I was sure dial-up couldn’t reach me. As soon as I stepped into its neon-colored, retro-flavored interior I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Somehow, I knew that this was a safe place, a happy place, a place where, like James Brown crooned on the radio, I feel good, and I knew that I would. Sure enough, I opened up my computer and the Wi-Fi snapped right into action. In moments I was sitting on a groovy turquoise stool and surfing the web at blistering speeds, a Dr. Pepper by my side and a song in my heart. The backed-up email, the dormant blog, the pile of Facebook messages, I could finally rectify them all with time to spare. I downloaded some new music, caught up on the Bronyville podcast, and even loaded up some production vlogs from the set of The Hobbit to bring home to my Tolkien-loving family. Score – Tim: 2, Internet: 2, and I hear that someone in the area is looking to sell their forty-foot-tall tower. Take that, Internet. Victory shall be mine.