July 8th, 2011

New Tilley Hat

Catch up: Verizon, Green Lantern, X-Men

Post-Convergence, Carole and I have caught up, a little, in our movie watching. We had watched, through Netflix, last year's Academy Award nominees/winners 127 Hours and The King's Speech. We thought both were fine films, but not really great films. Oh well. Another knock on the Academy Awards. They are increasingly meaningless.

Saw Green Lantern in 3D. Not horrible, and I liked most of the changes they made from the comics origin, but not all that great either. Maybe I was expecting a bit more now that computers can actually do the graphics. But the plot seemed stitched together. When people get thrown across a room and hit the wall, getting up without more than a hint of pain just takes me out of the movie. Still, it ended well (stay until at least the middle of the credits).

X-Men: First Class was a pleasant surprise. No longer with a 3D option, and we didn't miss it. While I think the first X-Men was the best, this is the second best. They actually used the "okay, we know you know how this is going to end" aspect of a prequel to great effect. The characters were believable and the plot, while episodic, worked rather well.

Interestingly (at least to me), Both The King's Speech and X-Men: First Class used real historical events as backdrop. The former is based on a true story while the latter isn't, but still: both felt like real people were acting in the moment, aware that their actions would have consequences but unsure of exactly what.

Of the movies I've seen that came out this year, X-Men is head of the class. This is a small sample and not necessarily high praise for moviemaking. Hey, this is the year that Hangover 2 was the highest grossing comedy release ever. Sometimes, I grieve for the republic.

13+ months ago, I bought $100 worth of minutes from Verizon for a cell phone I only use for travel and emergencies. That hundred bucks was only good for a year.

Why are the minutes only good for a year? Airline miles are continuously good. Pre-paid phone cards are good until you use them up. What kind of scam are the phone companies trying to pull, and why do we let them get away with it? But I digress.

After a year, I had $70.50 left from my C-Note.

At the end of May, I went to the Verizon store down the street, where I bought the minutes in the first place. I asked what the least amount of money I could put in that would roll over my minutes for the next year. They told me $1, and I duly paid for another dollar.

At Convergence, in July, my phone was out of money.

To make a very long story short, I spent more time on the phone to Verizon (on a land line) than I ever have on a cell phone. I've spent more time in Verizon stores/kiosks than I ever have on a cell phone. Verizon told me at least three different stories about how time would be extended at what cost. Finally, today I spoke with a supervisor. I had added $1 to the account yesterday. She was able to re-establish the minutes, and as a "courtesy" extended the time for two entire months (not just one) to August.

Gee thanks. You've still lost a customer, Verizon. I'll go back every month and add a dollar to extend another month until the money is used up, then pffft. Carole has her phone (for which she pays more per month that I use in a year), and that should hold us.

In the meantime, the new phone number that came with Comcast's Triple Play continues to get spam. No one actually knows the number except wayward capitalists. No wonder Comcast was so insistent on Triple Play, and why they lowered the costs: Selling the lists must be a major money maker. (You can pay more and get an unlisted number...)

Anyway, if you want our fourth phone option, it's "Jill's RV" in my current area code. It will take messages and caller ID and all that. I'm kind of waiting for the need for 3-way calling.