De Beers and Gold Rush
Friday, January 17 2014
Early this morning the Dish Network technician arrived. He was a little Englishman named Stewart, and I showed him how to get up to the solar deck through the laboratory. He soon determined why my attempts to repoint the dish had failed; the problem was in the DVR and not with the dish. Something inside it had blown and the whole thing would have to be replaced. That was an easy job, though for some reason Stewart took a long time to do it all. Along the way, he showed the customary fascination with my laboratory, particularly my five-monitor workstation. "I'm at the point of diminishing returns," I explained, adding, "as it now stands I have trouble finding my mouse." He said that back in the UK he'd done a little web work with Dreamweaver, though he claimed not to know much beyond simple HTML. I didn't ask what had made him come to the United States, but he said he was still developing familiarity with the various places and accents. Stewart sneakily managed to sell me a $30 powerstrip by asking me if I wanted one, and only after he was long gone and an email came saying we would be billed for it did I realize it wasn't just provided gratis along with the replacement DVR. I can't imagine how terrible Dish Network would be if they weren't in cut-throat competition with DirecTV.
Normally when a DVR is replaced, all the recordings are lost and all the timers have to be rebuilt manually. That would have taken a lot of error-prone manual effort, so instead I just removed the hard drive out of the failed DVR and swapped it into the new one.
Later Gretchen and I filled our cars with trash and recycling and made a run to the Hurley transfer station. As always, we turned the dogs loose and they got to be junk yard dogs for about twenty minutes. Neither were wearing their collars, so they looked a little like the kinds of dogs one sees scavenging third world garbage piles, though in this case the morsels of deliciousness were provided by the transfer station staff, members of which always have dog biscuits on hand and are delighted whenever dogs show up. As always, most of what we took to the transfer station was recycling. As for the non-recyclables, they were mostly lightweight materials and the dumping fee only amounted to $2.
Tonight when I watched my gold mining reality shows, I began to wonder if perhaps Gold Rush itself is secretly sponsored by the De Beers (the diamond cartel based in South Africa). The Hoffman Crew (a bunch of affable ignoramuses) keep failing to find any gold in their Guyana-based placer operations, though on rare occasions one of them finds a single diamond. By the end of today's show, Todd Hoffman had no gold and six diamonds, and we're led to believe that this is somehow a remarkable concentration of wealth. We're never told what the diamonds are worth, but Todd and the other numbnuts keep referring to them as "game changers." It's as though the entire Guyanese thread of the show is designed to further inflate the value of diamonds in the collective mind of the public, thereby helping De Beers with their perpetual goal of selling diamonds at inflated prices to people who have no actual use for them.
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