Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tech Support

A friend of mine recently blogged about a communication snafu between he and his wife. It reminded me of one of my favorites…

I was in an online chat session with Dell support to address a malfunctioning computer. Here is the conversation:

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. My name is Jayati and rep id is 114928. How may I assist you today?"

Dean Christensen: "Several weeks ago we had a laptop repaired. When it came back, there was a letter saying it needed a new AC adapter, but that it was back-ordered. I've heard nothing and would like to know the progress of this support ticket."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "Please let me know if the system working on AC adapter?"

Dean Christensen: "No! The AC adapter was broken and needed replacing. That's what Dell told me. They said that they would be sending one, but it's been several weeks now with no response."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "You need not worry at all, as I will resolve the issue for you."

Dean Christensen: "Okay, thank you."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "However, please confirm me if the light on the AC adapter stays solid green."

Dean Christensen: "You don't seem to understand... let me try again. The computer and AC adapter were sent to Dell for repair. They replaced the Mother Board because the AC connection on the board was faulty. They sent the computer back to me (repaired) and instructed me that the AC adapter was also bad, but a new one had been ordered. It has now been several weeks, and we have not seen that new adapter. I'm wanting to know the status of that ordered part .

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "Thank you for elaborating."

Dean Christensen: "I'm sorry if I wasn't clear in the beginning."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "That is fine."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "I will send you the AC adapter."

Now, I like to think of myself as a guy who is quite capable of multi-tasking. My wife says I should never attempt it, but I still try all the time. On this particular occasion, my wife’s instant message window popped up and she started talking to me about the house or kids or something that I don’t really remember right now. I do remember shifting windows back and forth many times between her and Jayati, the Dell support guy. Suddenly, as I was wrapping up my conversation with my wife, the conversation with Jayati went sideways…

Dean Christensen: "Okay, I love you."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "You what?”

Dean Christensen: "I love you, I’ll see you tonight."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "I’m Sorry?”

Dean Christensen: "Oh! No, I’m sorry, I was talking to my wife."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "Your wife?"

Dean Christensen: "Yes, you see, my wife was talking to me in another window on IM and… you’ll send the AC adapter then?"

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "You need not worry, I will make sure it is sent to you."

Dean Christensen: "Thank you so much for your help."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "Have all your issues been resolved? Are you satisfied with the level of support provided to you in this interaction?"

Dean Christensen: "Yes, thank you"

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "It was a great experience chatting with you. You have been really cooperative."

Dean Christensen: "You too."

Agent (Jayati_01114928): "It was a pleasure assisting you ;-)"

Dean Christensen: "Thanks again… goodbye"

Now, I have no idea what agent Jayati, the Indian support guy for Dell thought of our little chat session – and his little “wink” at the end freaked me out. But I think perhaps my wife is right… I shouldn’t try to multi-task.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Under the Influence

I grew up surrounded by music. My grandmother began teaching me to play piano at about 4 years old. One of my uncles had a Johnny Cash album that I loved listening to when I was at his house (loved “Ring of Fire). Another uncle gave my family a Kris Kristofferson record that was great (Jesus Was a Capricorn… loved the harmonies with him and Rita Coolidge).

The first album that was my very own left a mark though. I played it ‘til the grooves were going through the other side. That first album was Elton John’s 1974 release of his greatest hits. It was quickly followed with an earlier release simply called Elton John. My dad made fun of him, calling him Elton Toilet (you know, like “I gotta go to the John”), but I couldn’t get enough – and my playing began to take on Elton’s influence… that heavy bass line and the percussive right hand. (the old ladies in church never stopped complaining about my "banging on the piano")

Around that same time, I started listening to KINK radio here in Portland. On KINK, I discovered James Taylor and Jackson Browne. While they were primarily guitar players, they both left a bit of a folk-rock mark on me.

A couple years later I discovered Billy Joel. Now Billy was tough… a boxer… and a “piano man”. I was in high-school now and discovered that while all the guys thought playing the piano was gay, the girls loved it. Cool! I even wrote some “Just the Way You Are-esque” love songs (they’re horrible!) and added some of Billy’s chord progressions and voicings to my tool-kit . Billy’s signature dress was jeans with a sport coat and tennis shoes. I started dressing like him too.

In 1978 (the year I graduated high-school) I discovered a new sound. The Doobie Brothers had recently hired a replacement for their leader, Tom Johnston. His name was Michael McDonald. It was almost like I was hearing music for the first time. I quickly began acquiring every Michael McDonald recording I could find. I also began adding his percussive R&B rhythms to my playing. He was a god to me (not the greatest thing, but I guess we all do it). I made a comment to a mentor of mine about how cool it would be if Michael became a Christian and wrote Christian songs. He challenged me to pray for him. I started doing that. Slowly, over the years as I followed his career, I noticed his searching lyrics began including answers. In 2001 he released a Christmas album called “In the Spirit”. On it, the song “Peace” tells of his journey to Christ. He had become a Christian. He doesn’t know me, we’ve met… talked briefly… and he doesn’t know I prayed for him. But I’m convinced it worked. And one might even ask "who influenced whom?"

Anyway, those are the big musical influences in my life. Matt, you asked.

PS – I’ve never listened to a Keith Green album, so he isn’t one of the influences… sorry, Keith fans.