A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

20 August 2006

The DVD Conspiracy

I had a dilemma I faced a while back...if you've kept up with my blogs you're going to hear it again for the benefit of those of you who haven't. The story goes a little like this: I never watched The X-Files when they first came out...by the time I wanted to, too many people were gaga over it and it would seem like I was going along with them all...like I was just another donkey going around in circles turning that millstone. So, I bade my time hearing my friends say they had to be home by whatever time and day it came on so they didn't miss the next episode. One by one my buddy list on my computer would trickle down to just one or two...talk about "spooky".

Years passed...and what I thought was just a passing fancy didn't pass...in fact it attracted even more people to it...it was like a horrible accident...people just had to stop and look. One day I thought I'd find out what all this fervor was about...I tuned in to an episode. All I can say is that it must have been the "Jersey Devil" one...because there was just no intrigue. THIS is what's been captivating the public for years now? THIS? I turned it off never to turn it back on until the Sci-Fi channel had it on a couple years ago. "Eh...why not...I've already seen the "Megastructures" show on The History Channel...let me have a quick looksie." I wasn't going anywhere...I was now hooked...only the dilemma I spoke of earlier reared its ugly head. The imdb stated that it ran for nine seasons...I looked up the one I was watching and it was smack in the middle somewhere. But wait!...FOX is also running their shows...and so is that TBS channel! This is great! Or IS it? Oh...season five at midnite, season two at 1:00 a.m...and season eight at 2:00-5:00? I'll NEVER be able to figure it out this way...maybe I can just buy them all? No, not at $90.00 a seasonal pop. Then someone suggested Netflix to me...I checked and for a mere fraction of the cost I could have them delivered to me and I could play them when I wanted and I'd have the added bonus of being able to watch the show for the first time without any influence of anyone saying I "have to watch"...and now I could be the one to disappear mysteriously off buddy lists. Payback time...and all for the low price of $17.99 a month for 3 dvd's out at any one time...most delivered to you the following day. Or so they claim...

So...I fill out all the little online forms and I'm going to get my three dvd's in the mail the next day! And lo and behold they come...The X-Files - Season 1 - disc 1, 2 and 3. This rules! I send them back...in the prepaid envelope they enclose (clever design by the way) to my "Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" - in my case this means Birmingham, Alabama. By my calculations...given the fact that I could watch at least one of these 4-show dvd's in one night...and return it the next day...I could be finished viewing all 69 dvd's in...uh...well...did I mention the return envelopes were designed really niftily?

Now, please keep in mind these shows have a reason for the way they were released...one episode after the other...as they follow a plot and timeline (or at least 85% of their shows do)...so the one thing that you don't want to do...is watch them out of order. So, what's the first problem with Netflix that I encounter? They said they shipped the next disc, let's call it "disc 4" for the sake of easy identification purposes...to be due to me on Tuesday...and then I return disc 2 on Monday...which supposedly will allow the next disc on my list, disc 5 to be sent when they receive disc 2. I wait. Tuesday comes and goes...no disc 4...Wednesday...no disc 4...now I send out disc 3...and what comes in the mail? You got it...disc 5 on Thursday. Sill no sign of disc 4 by Friday and it's been sent out prior (supposedly) to disc 5. Netflix offices don't mail anything out on weekends...I am at a stalemate...I have the whole weekend and with no disc 4 to watch, I am not going to jump the gun and watch disc 5 out of order. Hmmm...a mail problem or done on purpose? I am from Jersey...we're skeptical there...so naturally I opt for the "on purpose" reason.

The following week disc 4 shows up...but this already has put a delay in the whole "watch a disc...send it back...we send the next one to you the next business day" process. But, perhaps it is an isolated event...I will go against my better judgment and give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they couldn't do this to everyone all the time and get away with it, right? Things start going again smoothly...for a little while...and then a disc I've returned to them goes missing. Then one they've sent to me does. By this time I'm figuring they are doing this on purpose...sure, it's one silly disc to me...but you multiply that by a million discs running around there across the country and X amount of customers...that's a whole lot of delay that adds up. Adds up nicely in their favour. So, I get on my "bud list" and query some people..."Do you have Netflix? You do? Has THIS ever happened to you?" The response I get is overwhelming...anywhere from missing discs to "at least one wrong disc appearing a month". Oh sure, they are nice about "rectifying" the situation...they send you out a replacement one...the correct one they should have sent all along - but they don't take in account the time delay. One time I had a broken disc sent to me - it was a clearly done from their end...the envelope was pristine...the disc wasn't. It's reminds me of that old joke about the guy who buys a broken vase very cheaply for a friend...thinking his friend will assume it was broken in the mail...so he tells the merchant he'll take it anyway and here's the address to send it to. His friend calls a few days later and tells him about the broken vase. "Oh, my...that's awful...can't trust the mail, can you?" His friend agrees that is indeed so true...but it was very nice of them to wrap each broken piece individually. Busted! The vase AND him. Same here with the broken dvd...no way I'm going to believe there was not the slightest indentation, the slightest bit of tear or wrinkle on the envelope - but the dvd inside is nearly cleaved in two.

So...even with claims of "throttling" going on and a class-action lawsuit, Netflix continues to maintain their innocence...even tho they did agree to "settle" by "upping everyone to the next level for a month". Wow...let's see...so instead of getting my typical 3 dvd's late a month...I'll get 5?? Wow! What a great deal, guys!


  1. LOL-Love it!!! I experienced that with "series" also, so I am now careful to space them out so I will hopefully get them in the right order. Worked fine with "Carnivale".

    And the broken discs, and missing discs...I have gotten a few of those too, but they are usually very good about it. The only problems I have really had is "The green Beret" incident I am having now and then "The Haunting"--they kept sending me the re-make when I wanted to see the original...

    all in all, I would say my experience has been good.

    But this blog made me laugh anyways

  2. Took four years but I finally got a comment to this blog. ;)