Devil Teat

When last I mentioned my television/cable sitch, I was marveling over Jake Johnson’s ability to attract me with early 90s hair.

I had just had my beautiful DVR ripped from my bare hands (that might be overstating it a bit) and we were awash at proverbial sea with nothing but a Roku and a Blu-Ray player to entertain us. (If you do the math, it’s been about six weeks.)

The good news is, movies on Blu-Ray are still highly entertaining and satisfying to watch at home, especially if you have a decent stereo hookup. Still loving collecting movies and watching films in high def in the comfort and privacy of my own home.

no to hulu

“Hulu Plus is so gauche!”

The bad news is, despite trying super extra much to be won over by Netflix and Hulu Plus to fulfill our television needs, we simply were not. Watching Hulu Plus provoked quite the sourpuss reaction from both me and the dude.

We MIGHT have been able to eventually adjust to having to watch shows we wanted to see the next day and try to avoid any kind of buzz about them. But honestly, the biggest turnoff were all the ad jumps. They were more frequent than watching live television, despite the fact that you get to see how many more painful seconds you have to count down before you return to your show.

Oh but wait! They do TWO ninety second ads in a row each time.

Oh and also? The ads during each episode are ALWAYS THE SAME at every single advertising break. Hitting mute every three to four minutes is my idea of paradise not.

Moreover, we knew that the variety of shows we liked to watch weren’t all necessarily going to be available, which was a pretty big downer.

And while I don’t consider it a bad thing to turn off the tube and focus on other hobbies and activities, I basically stopped enjoying the TV experience altogether, as I actually missed being able to scroll through the channel guide to see what was on. Don’t get me wrong–I do love streaming a new TV show (hello, AWKWARD., my new friend)–but I discovered I also need the other half of television entertainment, as well. I need that haphazard stumble onto Legally Blonde playing on Sunday morning. I miss my standup comedy shows!

Last but certainly not least, watching live programs is not an option when you’re only contending with Netflix and Hulu Plus. Which of course is the whole point, because if you find something totally bitchen to stream, you get to compulsively watch a series or movie over and over if that is your choice. With Netflix, at least.

For Hulu Plus, we just couldn’t justify the cost, minimal though it may be. Regular Hulu is free, publishes tons of the most popular clips available, and you still suffer through the ads.

In the end, Netflix is staying, Hulu Plus was kicked out soundly on its ear, and we called the cable company to get a DVR box and our precious channels back post haste.

We really wanted to be the kind of couple who could stay away from supporting the villainous cable company. Truly, we did. In the end, we signed right back up for the Devil’s teat. It probably doesn’t make it sound any better to say that if we had our way, we’d choose DirecTV over a cable company, because essentially, they all operate similarly. But thems the facts.

I’m actually sleeping better at night knowing that when the fall lineup commences in a few weeks, our DVR will be at the ready.

Being wrong for supporting the devil cable company has never felt so right.

***

This post is dedicated to my sweet guy, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday, darling!

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Ghettoprise and Other Disappointments

This week has gone by rather quickly but has been kind of a doozy. It’s been marked by several incidents/occurrences but since not a single one would merit a blog post on its own, I decided to scrunch them all together.

Commence bitchfest.

1.     I had to rent a car for a day on Tuesday. We had a voucher for a free rental from Enterprise because they were douchewads last year when we had a long-term rental from them when our car was in the shop after an accident. The voucher was for a free Full Size rental for one day, which was perfect for my needs. Unfortunately, when I got there, the only cars the guy could give me were a Chevy Suburban, a minivan, or some little red compact car, which I later learned was a Chevy Aveo.

If you’re wondering what an Aveo looks like, it is this:

With the exception of the tint, that is what I drove. I chose not to go for the minivan because I loathe them entirely and I didn’t need such a roomy car. The Suburban was way too intimidating and I didn’t want to put a ton of gas into it just for a quick two-hour drive and back.

I was forced to go with the Aveo, which had nothing automatic in it except for the transmission. It had air conditioning, so there was that. I don’t remember the last time I drove a car with manual windows and locks – maybe when I was 16? It was really strange. Nice, cheap interior and though there was a CD player in it, it did not function. I was crushed because I’d made sure to bring my CD wallet with me. Luckily, Kevin is a genius and remembered the AUX cord so I was actually able to plug in my iPod for the trip, which was a real lifesaver. I had to crank up the tunes on the crappy speakers because the car made an absolute ton of noise going 70mph down the highway. It really made me appreciate the comfort of my own car (a Hyundai Sonata, if you care to know).

The entire experience of renting a car with Enterprise sucked all over again, including the too-salesy guy at the counter. He seemed to think Enterprise wouldn’t do something like data mining when he asked for my employer’s name and tried to upsell me on my insurance options. Kevin saved me the trouble of having to say no by asking, “What’s free?” Then I had to “waive” my right to the options by initialing everywhere.

It was an uneventful trip with the car but it totally reinforced my thought that Chevy is not a worthwhile investment. (Well…I should modify that – I’m not a fan of American cars in general.)

Enterprise (now fully dubbed Ghettoprise), I will never rent from you again as long as I can help it. They’re right up there with Super Shuttle, who crossed me in 2005 during the transit strike in NYC. Never again.

2.     Facebook recently changed their privacy options when it comes to status updates, links, etc. I obligingly went through their little “tutorial” on how to post a status update, as if I hadn’t had Facebook since 2004, and promptly forgot about it. This morning, I went to go post something and noticed that the default setting for my status updates was Public.

PUBLIC!

I’m sorry but when did Facebook suddenly turn into Google+? And with G+, you always know when you’re putting something out to the public. I did not appreciate this shady move by M. Zuckerberg. I had to go through about eight prior links and status messages, changing them back to what I previously had my settings on in the first place. Hopefully, since Facebook is copying off of G+’s paper, the settings will stick since they were my last used ones.

I understand programs need to roll with the times but it doesn’t instill confidence that the people running Facebook thought their product was just fine. It screams that they were honestly worried that G+ was suddenly going to steal all 800 million of its users in a single bound.

So honestly, I was rather ticked at this latest maneuver. There is a reason I have a Limited Profile list, number one. Number two is that while it may seem ironic of me to say this, there ARE things I want kept private or at least limited to a certain group of people on the interwebs. I know it’s the World Wide Web and that so many people think it just means it’s a free-for-all on any information published, but if I wanted Naomi Strawn in Utah to know my business, I’d friend her. That’s all I’m saying.

3.      I had Part I of a two-part root canal done on Thursday. It wasn’t fun. Apparently I was so anxious and tense about having my mouth shot up with needles, that the doctor suggested I take a prescription medication before the next appointment which will totally relax me. I will need a driver and that person to stay for the whole appointment because “sometimes” the medication can cause “amnesia” in certain patients.

What??

The root canal was actually a redo from one I got in 2008. It became infected and lo and behold, during Part I, the doctor found a whole root that the dentist had missed. Terrific. I go back in November for Part II of Scary Dental Times.

For now, I’m in enough pain that I can’t fully chew on that side of my jaw where the procedure was done. My snacks are all the kind that babies can eat. Except for cookies dunked in coffee, I’m pretty sure babies don’t eat that.

4.     I have been waiting a while for the movie Something Borrowed to come out on DVD so I could finally see what the fuss is all about, and it was sold out at Red Box.

I blame Netflix.

If they hadn’t jacked up their prices, causing me to choose between streaming and DVDs, I wouldn’t have had to wait and wait for it to hit a Red Box station, only to find out that it was sold out.

Jerks.

Not everything about this week was bad, and in fact there was one very bright spot to it. But that will have to be a story for another time. Today, it was all about 99 Problems…

The Netflix “Crisis”

Until I saw this video from Funny or Die this morning, I hadn’t really put into perspective just how tragic people find the recent Netflix price hike to be, nor how shallow it is in comparison to actual problems. And it’s not like I haven’t been dealing with my own share of issues. The Netflix price increase was, for me at least, kind of the icing on the cake to what I have dubbed the “Summer Blues.”

In any case, to paraphrase, the video makes a great point about an issue that is affecting millions of white people across America, deadpanned by the great Jason Alexander.

What’s interesting, however, is that my boyfriend and I have discussed this issue at length, with the most recent stint occurring last night before dinner; in this way, we definitely lived up to the stereotype that it’s all “anybody” can talk about – for days at a time. I sat at my computer, reading Netflix’s Facebook Page Wall (that’s a mouthful) and combing through the thousands of messages people have been leaving for them, while Kevin looked through various news articles on his laptop. We sat there comparing notes and tsking and figuratively shaking our fists in the air at this nonsense.

The bottom line is, people are outraged that Netflix is jacking up the price by 60% without discussing it with their millions of loyal customers first. I’m a little torn because I can see both the company’s perspective and the one of being the huffy consumer. (Aside: one woman wrote a scathing comment on the Netflix FB Page and several people proceeded to jump on her, making her out to be a screeching, mindless woman who had no right to be upset. It was pretty brutal.) Quite frankly, I just don’t want to have to choose between the discs or streaming. I want to have both! But I am unwilling to pay $15.99 a month for the privilege. It used to be that that price would get you three movies at a time, something which I never had the luxury of affording. I’m a one-at-a-time gal.

I do think it would have been nice to have some kind of survey or something sent out, or even a price hike in the range of say, $3.00, to continue enjoying new movies on DVD and streaming older (sometimes crappy) movies and lots of television shows. We don’t stream on more than one device at a time but many have left since Netflix has begun enforcing its streaming policy. Apparently Netflix only wants to allow you to stream on the same basis of how many discs you take out at a time, which really negates “Unlimited” streaming but also, what happens when you go to the all streaming plan?

I was thinking about how electronic subscriptions differ from say, magazine subscriptions. Netflix caught on to the fact that people were sharing their log-on information with family/friends and so to keep people from “stealing,” they are cracking down on multiple device streaming. Granted, I don’t own or run a billion dollar company, but if I have a subscription to Vogue and I give all my copies to a friend to read when I’m done, how is this different? Is that person “stealing,” too? Is this really a problem for Netflix when they have ousted a lot of its competition (namely, physical DVD rental places) and they are highly profitable?

The only other troublesome thing is that I think many people would have stayed on if Netflix had newer releases available to stream, at least, instead of the B movies of yesteryear. Granted, I have loved catching up on some older television shows, but when I want to watch something new that came out that I was unable to see in the movie theater, I believe I should be able to do that if I am paying a monthly subscription fee.

RedBox has gone through the roof with new customers. Blockbuster immediately set up a plan to soothe the wounded from Netflix. They offer hard disc rentals, streaming, games, and even Blu-Ray discs at no extra charge and are offering a 30-day free trial to the scorned. Check out all the details here. I don’t want to like Blockbuster. They used to charge $4.99 to rent a DVD for two nights. I can’t even say how much money my parents and myself spent in the 90s and early 2000s renting movies and games from them. Netflix was the solution! But this latest blow does give me cause to reconsider my options. While I believe I will probably try out the streaming-only plan come September, I can’t guarantee I won’t jump ship.

It’s hard not to think that Netflix only cares about the bottom dollar and now that they have eleven years in to this business, no longer care about Joe American Movie Watcher.

I’m on the fence. What will you do?