mincing words

Having TiVo is great, but it’s also an unexpected obligation. When you’ve got 20hrs of programming sitting on a hard drive – you feel somewhat bound to watch it. I liken this desire to “clear” the TiVo to a Scientologist’s yen to “clear” their soul of sticky body thetans. But rather than cash-money, which Scientologists use to rid themselves of thetans implanted into their soul 75 million years ago when the evil intergalactic overlord Xenu exploded an H-bomb in a volcano on the planet Teegeeack, TiVo owners are obliged to waste their time by “clearing” the many hours of CSI, OC, Desperate Housewives, and Daily Shows from their hard drives. Luckily, these shows were not “implanted” into our hard drives by evil space aliens – they were, in fact, chosen by us! TiVo owners, hear me now: Only you can liberate yourselves from the hours and hours of Aqua Teens and Family Guys, only you have the power! Drop that remote, cancel those season passes, free your time from the bonds of PVR. Oh, hang on, I gotta go – I got an episode of Dateline to watch where they talk about BTK… peace out.

You wanna know what really burns me? I’ve had AT&T as my wireless carrier for nigh on five years now. Recently, they were bought out by Cingular. No big deal really… as I didn’t see any changes other than the neon above the local AT&T store. Then today, I decide it’s time for a new phone, as mine’s getting real old-‘n’-busted looking. So, I go down to the AT&T Cingular store to have a peek. I perused the offerings, and decided on a cool little Nokia cameraphone with video and bluetooth capabilities. Talking to the rep, he mentioned that no more phones were being sold under AT&T plans: all new phones are Cingular. No problem, I’ll just switch over to Cingular – I mean they bought AT&T so it was inevitable anyway. That means I have to switch my wife’s phone too, which is under the same account. Again, no biggie… let’s do it. Wait… the only Cingular plan that’s close to my current AT&T plan costs $10 more per month. That sucks. But here’s what really bugged me: there’s an $18 charge per phone to “migrate” the service from AT&T to Cingular.

Let me get this straight: Cingular buys AT&T, makes it so any new/upgraded phone bought by a former AT&T customer has to be bought under a Cingular account, and then charges me $18 for the compulsory switch. Is that legal? To me, it sounds like Cingular is passing off the cost of acquiring AT&T onto their customers. For AT&T customers, every phone in the store costs $18 more than it does for an existing Cingular or new customer. I might expect some kind of migration fee were I really choosing to switch providers… but I have no choice here. I did ask the rep how long I could keep my AT&T phones/plans, and he said indefinitely. While that’s some small comfort, since I like my cheaper AT&T plan better than anything Cingular offers, there will come a day when I want to or have to get a new phone. I tried to rationalize this by equating it to a hypothetical situation in which AT&T just ceased to exist or went out of business, but realized I’d then be the same as any no-wireless-havin’ Joe off the street – and wouldn’t have to pay a fee to “migrate” from anything. Monopolizing punks.

I can remember in college, being quite the little pirate wannabe. I would horde illegal copies of applications, serial number and key generators, program patches, etc. I think going to work for a high tech company made me realize that I didn’t want to steal software anymore. So, I bought what I needed, and went freeware/open-source for everything else. I don’t have a single piece of pirated software on my machines anymore, I even got legit copies of Windows. I’m also a lot less forgiving of other forms of piracy: I pay for my DirecTV and go to the movie theater. For some reason though, I still download music like it was the college heyday of Napster free-music love. I don’t know why my late-blooming morality hasn’t extended to MP3s, there’s really no explanation I have. I mean, I’ve tried in the past to justify the habit by the concert revenue and at-show CD sales I generate for the artists – but my plain-out stealing outpaces the the money I give back at the ticket counter. I dunno, maybe it’s my last bastion of reckless youth.

It’s not like I haven’t ever filled the music industry’s coffers… I own thousands of CDs which I bought with my own hard-earned cash. But nowadays the only CDs I buy are at concerts, where, for some reason, I’ve got the idea that more of the money actually goes into the artists’ pocket (a regular philanthropist, ain’t I?). Beyond that, I continue to download new music and listen without guilt. What is that? I can justify it in some ways, like if I’ve actually purchased the music at some point – perhaps in another form of media. I think that, once I’ve paid for the right to listen to something, I should be able to listen to it whenever and however I want – even if that means downloading a copy of it. As for the stealing of music I’ve never owned… I’m at a loss to describe how I justify it. Perhaps my conscious will eventually catch up with me, and I’ll sign up for iTunes or something.

I get my haircut at a place at a local place in town that only has two Singaporean employees working it’s eight chairs. It’s usually not that busy, which I like because I can get in and out quickly. My regular guy doesn’t speak too much English, and never remembers what number guard to use on my fade. In the past, he’s made the comment, “not much to cut” while trimming up the top. He also tends to mix up his method every once in a while, to keep my on my toes. He’ll clip the top with scissors sometimes, using the traditional knuckle-and-comb method; other times he wont even use scissors, just use a comb and the clippers. Today I realized, if you take these things together, they makes a strong case for my regular dude being a bad barber. Then, while I was sitting in the chair for my clip today, the guy actually burped into my hair. Offering no apology, he just kept on trimming. The guy burped onto my head. As I was leaving, I noticed that the pen they had chained to the counter was actually a stolen from some hotel. I guess when your sole qualifications for a barber are fast and cheap, it should come as no surprise that your $15 gets you a pretty ghetto experience.

Andy Wilderotter sucks balls. Goodnight.

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One Reply to “mincing words”

  1. See, if you go to Great Clips they have your profile stored in their system and know how you get your haircut before you even sit in the chair. Granted, it doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzy of supporting a mom and pop operation where they know you by name and remember how you like your hair cut (which apparently they dont at the Singaporean place either) but at least you get consistency. I sleep well at night knowing that I will not have to pick pieces of the McGriddle my barber just ate, out of my hair unless it’s listed as a preference in my profile.

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