After a few weeks of radio silence, I finally have consistent home access to the mother of all time-sucks.
I went with Current, that company that somehow squeezes Internet access from the electric lines. I have no idea how they do it, but they do, and so far the service has been, um, serviceable. Every now and then I have to wait a while for a page to load, but I'm learning to think of those short interruptions at built-in break times, perfect for refilling my coffee cup or plucking my eyebrows.
The ease of setup is impressive. The photo above shows the contents of my installation kit (including a handsome mouse pad). The modem is the transformer-sized black thing on the left. I plugged it into the wall, connected the Ethernet cable to it and the computer, and signed in to the Current website. That was it!
I wonder if I'll miss reading books ...
UPDATE. I think I figured out the reason for the occasional stutters in service: I was plugging in to a faulty socket. With some rearranging of plugs, the issue seems to be resolved.