My Canadian passport expires in January of 2009 (lets hear it for the Canadian passport’s 5-year lifespan compared to the US passport’s 10-year life), so I’m in the process of filling out and sending in a new passport application.

After I receive my new passport, I will also have to update my NEXUS information – actually, when anything used as part of the NEXUS system changes (driver’s license, credit card, etc.) you have to update the information or risk losing your NEXUS status. No big deal, I thought, until I started looking up details on how I have to update the information and found that part of the process would entail using GOES, brought to you as part of that organization we all love to hate, known as the Department of Homeland Stupidity Security.

As you may recall from this entry, I hadn’t used the Global Online Enrollment System after I registered there and gave up on the clusterfuck that was their version of the NEXUS application because they asked for my car’s VIN, which I didn’t have handy because they hadn’t warned me I’d need it. However, I usually do not fight the weather and while I was able to get around the original application snag, it looked as if GOES was the only way to go this time.

I accessed the GOES site and, of course, realized that I didn’t remember my username (though I could make some educated guesses) or my password (which, because of their insane requirements, wasn’t going to be anything remotely like the passwords I generally create). No problem, I’ll just click the “Forgot Password” link…

…only to wait 5 minutes while the website decided that their server wasn’t available.

Sigh.

After trying a few more times I managed to make it to the page only to be confronted with a plethora of tasks including 3 security questions and a CAPTCHA. As someone who doesn’t tend to take many vacations, I was stumped on how to answer the query regarding my favourite vacation spot (I’m guessing that “anywhere I don’t have to deal with DHS fucktardedry” isn’t an option). I guessed wrong the first time (out of 3 tries before the account is locked) and when I tried it again, it took so long that I was told my session had timed out.

I went for what I thought was Round Two…

…and I guess the timeout counted as my second try because after another attempt I was informed that my account was locked.

At least the password reset link appeared to be dead simple – oh, hell, I spoke too soon, as it became clear that GOES and Safari (my browser of choice) weren’t going to play nice since GOES asked me to enter the state/province I was born in, which I had already done. Okay, I’ll just try this in a different browser and see how it GOES (sorry). Next up…Opera!

Nope, still had the same bug where it thinks I haven’t entered the state. What would happen if I use the RESET button and entered the information again? Success, it seems to have accepted it but hey wait a minute now I’m back at the GOES home page and I have no idea what just happened what the everloving fuck?

Another sigh. By this point I’m beginning to think the reason this website is more fucked than a 2 dollar hooker is because any money that should have been spent on computer hardware was instead spent on the new TSA uniforms.

Of course, it didn’t occur to me until after I’d gotten locked out of my account that I might have a copy of my GOES information archived somewhere. Sure enough, a quick search for the keyword “NEXUS” takes me to a folder with my GOES username (which was nothing like I expected) and my funky password.

I was tired of sighing by then and was considering bashing my head against the keyboard; I decided against this course of action because, while I do have another keyboard, I don’t want to spend the rest of the evening picking broken keys out of my forehead. Besides, it’s not the keyboard’s fault (is it?).

Just to see what would happen, I tried logging in with the correct name and password. GOES accepted it (the fuh? I thought my account was locked?)and told me that my password needed to be changed because it was too old (okay, I created the account last year so that makes sense) but when I entered a new password (twice) and clicked the button to make the change, I was told the password couldn’t be changed because my account was locked.

I think the people who designed this furshlugginer website are the same people who write software for ATMs where it waits until after you’ve entered all your information, including the banking you want to do, before you’re told you entered your PIN wrong.

Tomorrow morning I shall try calling the toll-free number for GOES “Customer Service” (I fully expect there’ll be a separate rant about that) and if it isn’t available from Canada, I’ll try contacting them through the provided email address.

Pray for me.

UPDATE 10/14/08: The toll-free numbers works in Canada, and after spending about 5 minutes on hold I was connected to a very helpful CSR who reset my account; I was able to log in and replace the temp password he gave me, and everything is working for now.

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