Expensive…

So I believe I mentioned trying to get a better deal on Time Warner cable television. I went to their retail store in Mayfair Mall to see if I could sweet talk a salesperson. There were no salespeople there that day, of course. So I emailed them. The response I got was this:

———————————————————————————-
Dear Mr. Ratkowski:

Thanks for writing.

The Digipic 1000 package, at $51.99 plus equipment ($7.95 per TV) is not the minimal digital package. We offer the Digital Access package, with 150 of the most popular cable channels, the digital interactive cable guide, 46 digital music channels, and access to Movies on Demand and Free on Demand, for only $46.99 plus equipment.

Of course, we still offer the analog standard service of 75 channels, which doesn’t require a cable box, for only $46.10 per month.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us.

Kate
Time Warner Cable SE WI
Consumer Contact
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$46.10 for analog cable… yeesh. I don’t understand the difference between the Digital Access Package and the DigiPic1000 package (the Digital Access is not advertised on their site… so I can’t really tell). I looked at San Antonio, where I plan to move, and what seems to be the same as the $46.99 package costs $34.95. I guess that is part of the price you pay for living in a swanky high class city like Milwaukee. Oh wait, back in Chicago Comcast offers basic cable for a hair over $25. Hmmph.

I guess I’ll have to call up and try to sucker them down like $10 on the basic package. I don’t think I can go another football season without cable.

Monday off work = Bad TV time!

<p>Well, the woman and I went out for breakfast. I’m still full… way too much food. We went shopping for as long as we could stand. Now it’s barely into the afternoon and there’s nothing to do but watch Maury. I tried to stop in the Time Warner store and beg them for cheaper cable, but no sales people were there. Alas, there’s no choice but to watch the over the air junk. Nothing like a full hour of paternity tests. I guess it’s good to know that if I get a bunch of bad tattoos and start drinking malt liquor for breakfast I will have a place to go when some skanky girl I’ve never met comes after me for child support.</p>
<p><img align=”middle” src=”http://users.rcn.com/rayzrealm/doclib/notvcr.jpg” /></p>

Go Pack Go!

Well, the Packers lost again yesterday.  No big surprise.  They are going to have a rough year again.  The worst part about this season will certainly center around #4.  I was hoping last year would be it for him.  He had the dramatic exit winning against his old coach, handing the ball off to Aaron Rogers in the final minutes.  It was perfect… Instead, we have to watch him struggle through this season.  It is true, he can make a team better; a good team.  In the late 90’s he had an amazing team around him and he helped them win.  Now he has a rather mediocre team around him and he is making them worse.  Favre doesn’t seem to realize that you can’t throw the ball as far downfield as possible with no Javon Walker there to jump up and catch it.  You can’t throw bullets into double coverage if there’s no Robert Brooks with the hands to hang on.  So instead we just get interception after interception.  It’s a shame.  I guess we’ll have to wait until next year for the Packers to start getting good again.  If Favre retires after this season, then the new quarterback can finally break his way into the game and start developing the team around him.  Until then, the Colts are looking pretty good…

Fore!

Well I took a day off work yesterday and decided to go golfing.  Not long ago I realized I haven’t played Whitnall Park in years.  So rather than go to a nearby course I trecked out that way to play.  I was looking forward to it, as I’ve played Whitnall countless times and it’s almost always been a nice course.  Not today.  The greens were brown and the tee boxes had little to no grass on several holes.  It didn’t help that the greens were coated in fertilizer.  Putting was nearly impossible.  Weird thing was, if you chipped from close up the ball would roll clear across the green.  When putting, the greens were incredibly slow and required a lot of muscle to move the ball.  Anyway, I played pretty poorly on the front 9.  I’m pretty disappointed with myself for not getting out to play much this year.  I got a lot better on the back 9, but not great.  I’ve had a lot of trouble hitting my irons in the last year, not sure why.  For some reason I kept trying to get the ball up in the air and would make a divot behind the ball, and the shot would go nowhere.  That or I’d try to overhit and barely get the club into the ground.  I’ve been working on it, and made good strides hitting into the ground in front of the ball and had some very pretty iron shots.  My drives were pretty good, all 250-275 yards and most of them very straight.  Short game killed me, couldn’t chip from inside 20 yards and the putting, as I mentioned, was not happening.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get out and play a lot more before it gets too cold.

An open letter to retail customers

Hello, good morning, good afternoon, how do you do?  Are you familiar with any of these phrases?  It sure seems as though they are foreign to you.  I hope it does not come as too much of a shock, but I checked in to it and “I need” is not an acceptable greeting in any part of the world.  So before you bombard me with demands, take a deep breath and please acknowledge the fact that you are talking to a person, not a machine or giant clown with a speaker in its nose.  I don’t expect you to care about my day, as I surely don’t care about yours.  I merely request the simple courtesy of a “hello” before any further yelling commences.

 

Speaking of yelling, why must you shout so often?  This is not a football game, I did not leave my hearing aid at home; chances are I can hear what you need to say at conversation volume.  I understand you are angry (even though I likely am no direct cause for your anger), but try to control it.  Look at it this way, if we were out on the street and I wasn’t being paid to be nice to you, would you still be so quick to shout?  You’d likely be punched in the face.

 

Enough of this rambling though.  I wish to teach you a few things.  The first is the concept of a line.  In the retail world, a line is something that starts at a counter or registers and goes away from there.  It is not a cluster at that counter.  Also, keep in mind that if you are waiting in a line, there are people in front of you.  Unless you are at the front of the line, it is not your turn.  Let us go over that again.  If you are the third person inline, there are two people ahead of you.  That means that until those two people leave, you need to wait in line.  I know that you, the customer, are the most important person in the world; but right now, there are two people more important than you are.  Deal with it.

 

Now that we have that out of the way, can we get personal here?  I would prefer we did not.  I have yet to have you ask about my family or big business meeting, so why must I hear about yours?  I am sorry your grandma died, but that does not mean I will give you products at half price.  In addition, I am sorry you waited until the last minute to prepare for your meeting, but your procrastination really will not make me work any faster.  So with that in mind, can we stop using your personal tragedy as a means of getting a better deal?

 

Hmm, better deal… better deal… Why does that phrase bother me?  Oh, yes!  It bothers me because I am not running a rummage sale, yet you frequently feel the need to try to bargain prices with me.  If there’s a price clearly set, I am not the one who set it.  I did not just make a price up on the fly.  Furthermore, I cannot change said price because you are a cheapskate.  If you’re in a large chain store, that means that people much richer and more powerful than any of us came up with these prices, so you can either pay them or go somewhere else.  Fighting over prices is just wasting everybody’s time.

 

I think we are making progress here, do you not?  Wait, why are you ignoring me?  Is it because I am a simple peon working a register?  Ignore the fact that I likely have a much more involved role in the business than cashier, and this is simply a small part of it.  Or maybe the fact that I am just doing this while working my way up to better things outside of this business.  Forget all that, because I am behind a register and obviously my nametag says “moron” on it and nobody told me.  You must be right, I just cannot keep any of this straight because I am so incredibly stupid.  At least, that is the impression I constantly get from you and everybody like you.  You see me as some person who serves no purpose in the world but to smile and give you your receipt.  Forget the fact that I am being paid to do this.  If I somebody gave me a choice between going to a museum and dealing with customers all day, I would certainly not choose the customers.  It is a job, just as you have.  The only bad part about this job is that I have to deal with you.  I wonder though, if you were given an extra $8 an hour, would you begin treating people with respect and courtesy?  Even if you did not like that person?  That is all it takes for me, so can it work for you?  Or is it somehow programmed into our brains that when we engage the role of customer we automatically become self-centered, disrespecting nincompoops?  I truly hope that the latter is not the case.  I simply must be a misunderstanding.

 

Yes that is it!  It is all a big misunderstanding.  It must be.  I mean, clearly and civilized person would realize that they are having a service done for them and being treated respectfully in the process.  When you buy a large order of fries or a pair of sneakers or get an oil change, the person helping you doesn’t spit in your face or punch your pregnant wife in the stomach.  No, they usually do what they can to make you have a pleasant experience, in hopes of you returning with more money to spend in the future.  Since that level of respect is being displayed, it only makes sense for you to return the favor right?  I mean, anybody in this situation would certainly understand that another human being is at least pretending to care about his or her needs and it only makes sense to not treat them like dirt.  So there must just be a miscommunication, because you are obviously rather intelligent and know the difference between kindness and rudeness.  Don’t you?  Or was I flattering you too much?

 

At any rate; have a nice day, please stop back any time.

Your cat wants to kill you

Preface: I’m not a cat hater, I have owned cats and like cats.  This is not meant to be taken seriously.  It is more of an outline for a book I’d like to write.  The different paragraphs pretty much represent different chapters.  If this offends you, then you take life too seriously and should concentrate on real problems, like toenail fungus.

 

 

 

Your cat wants to kill you.  Really, it does.  Before you laugh this all off, stop and think for just a moment.  It’s true.  Now just try to stay with me for a while, because I can prove it.

 

People have all of these set conceptions and ideas about how cats work, but it’s really a scam.  I once heard an old man warn that your cat uses your electrical appliances while you sleep.  This is probably true.  They are trying to understand all of our technology so they can use it against us.  That brings up another point, you know why most old people die?  It’s because they get cats, and cats get the best of them.  As we get older, we can’t defend against their powers, but this is all something to be discussed later.

 

Let’s start with kittens.  If you know anything about cats, you know they can’t be sold until they are about 8 weeks old.  That’s because during this early, crucial period, the parent cats teach the kittens everything about tricking humans.  Some are better than others.  You can tell the craftier kittens because those are the ones you’ll buy.  This means you’ve been tricked.  It’s okay, they’re tough to pass up.  They’re too good.  I suppose I should warn you of their tricks, not like it’ll help.  The classic and most effective ploy is the ball of yarn.  The little ball of fluff, legs and big yellow eyes usually rolls on it’s little back and looks as if it’s struggling to pick up the ball.  It’s really no struggle at all.  That sweet little kitten could pick up that ball and toss it hard enough to knock you unconscious.  Another classic trick is when they lay on the purring.  The balls sets the hook, the purring reels you in.  This little trick makes you think the cat is showing affection.  Wrong.  After these little displays, you’re probably writing a check and taking the kitten home.

 

Now that you’re a cat owner, you’re changed forever.  All of your furniture will probably be covered with sheets, you can forget about that leather chair.  You’ll have more scratching posts than you’d ever imagine and your kitchen and laundry room will turn into a kitty diner/bathroom.  That’s no even the worst part yet.  Soon you’ll realize that your cat is eating better than you.  You’ll begin to know when your cat wants to eat and adjust your schedule to fit its needs.  If your cat wants to be fed at 3AM, you’ll do it or else your cat will hold a grudge.  You don’t want that.  Your cat is already going to kill you, you don’t want to give it a reason to torture you.

 

Once your vat begins growing up, the leash it keeps you on will start growing shorter.  I mentioned some of the things this encompasses before.  You’re now a “cat person.”  This means that your cat will “wear the pants” in your household.  There are two major categories of cat people.  One is the type that will go around constantly talking about their cat… let’s call this person a “type A” cat person.  The next type, which we’ll call “type B,” does not go out, because they are constantly tending to their pet… or family member, as it usually becomes.

 

Type A cat owners are usually very superficial and egotistical people.  If that offended you, and you own a cat, you’re probably type A.  They are the types that live through their cats.  This may sound foolish, but it’s quite reasonable (many parents who feel unsuccessful live through their kid’s fame in a sport for example).  Type A cat owners will make up for their more modest lifestyle by buying their cat scratch post skyscrapers and premium cat-nip.  Their cat will probably be better groomed and wear more expensive jewelry around their necks than the owner.  Type A owners will sometimes enter their animals in pet shows, purely for self-gratification.  They usually buy their cat luxurious things to make up for the small amount of time they spend with their pet.  The cat prefers this.  They also buy lots of presents for bragging rights.  If you’ve ever started a sentence with “well MY cat…,” you’re a type A owner and your cat has you whipped.  A type A person will be the one who gives Christmas presents, “from Snuffles, or Boo Boo, or Mr. Fluffs.”  This is their way of saying “ha ha, my cat got people presents and your dog didn’t buy anyone a thing.”  Cats Singing the Hits is a big CD with type A cat people as well.  In general, type A owners are very annoying and the faster they disappear, the better.  The cats are doing us a favor in this instance.

 

Type B owners are completely different.  They are usually the cat owners you never hear about until something happens to them.  They will usually live alone and have multiple cats.  These people are generally old, but can be younger too.  They usually have sad existences, living only for the companionship of their furry friend.  Type B owners usually develop mental defects due to their seclusion.  Many times they will be paranoid or delusional, constantly spying on neighbors though their blinds or curtains.  Severe cases can involve covering walls with aluminum foil and wearing garden hoses.  These are the people who you usually skip when taking your kids trick-or-treating.

 

As I mentioned, type B owners are usually old.  If you remember, I said old people die mainly because they get cats.  That’s right, your great granny Milly didn’t die because she was 107, it was because she had that cat.  The way it works is like this:  When people start getting old, they aren’t as sociable and smell funny, so it’s hard to have companionship.  Acquiring a cat rectifies this problem.  Now there are many new problems.  Old people aren’t as quick whitedwitted due to the natural decay of brain cells, they can easily be tricked.  They may fall down some stairs or slip on a wet kitchen floor… whatever it is, it’s no accident.  This is all the cat.  Maybe the cat will run in front of the victim on the way down the stairs, or spill some water from a dish onto a tile floor.  This is all well within reason.  So next time the grandparents’ birthday comes around, think about some slippers instead of a new pet.

 

Old people tend to borrow bragging traits from type A cat people, but I never said you were strictly A or B.  They brag because they have nothing else to talk about.  Just one example of how you can cross the boundaries of the main types of cat people.

 

By now, you’ve spent a lot of time reading this.  Your cat has probably planned your demise while you were doing so.  Don’t worry, you still have ample time.  I think now is the perfect opportunity to discuss how you can be spared.  Something I didn’t mention before, for fear of feline persecution, is that your cat can be stopped.  Here’s how…

 

Feeding your cat is the first place to start.  Don’t let your cat treat you like a servant.  Invest in one of those automatic-feeding machines that will dispense food on set intervals.  Do the same with the water, that way your cat will think it has you beat while you’re barely lifting a finger.  Also, never get you cat that premium canned food.  This is a cat, not the queen of England, it can deal with the pellets.  If you’re wondering if your cat deserves treats, ask yourself these question; “does my cat… clean it’s own litter box, repair the claw damages in my couch, file my taxes, pay my taxes?”  If you could answer yes to these, on then does your cat deserve treats.  This is not abuse.  There are plenty of ways to show your love and affection for your cat without over-feeding it kitty junk food.

 

Cat toys are essential controlling your pet.  Don’t fall for the bells and squeaky things, those will only annoy YOU.  Get catnip toys, and lots of them.  You want your cat to be so heavily sedated that it couldn’t harm a fly.  I also recommend putting catnip where the animal sleeps, that will keep a constant supply available.

 

Your pet’s sleeping area is important too.  Twenty-three hours a day your cat is sleeping, they cause a lot of damage in that one hour.  You want to make your cat so comfortable that it will sleep an extra half-hour or more.  You only want your cat getting up when it needs food, water or to use the bathroom.  This extra laziness helps keep the cat’s muscles small and it’s stomach fat, making it less dangerous.

 

I suppose I don’t have much more help to offer.  Cats can be great pets, but they are a health risk if you’re not careful.  Maybe now that you have this knowledge you can survive cat ownership, but probably not.

Pemberton McNimble

One fine April 15th good old Pemberton McNimble woke up at 3PM (like every day) and started to go about his business. He, of course, skipped his shower. He ate the slice of pizza that had been stuck to the floor for the past week. Orange strands of carpeting were embedded in the crust. The cheese was hard, like rubber used for tires. Even the pepperoni had some unknown life form attached to it, which resembled wild mushrooms. Pemberton didn’t care, he devoured the slice in a few bites. He tried to turn on the television, but it didn’t work. Pemberton didn’t pay his cable or electric bill, so his power was turned off. He wandered into his kitchen and checked out his fridge. There was a thin coating of moss on the inside of the refrigerator. He grabbed the red cardboard carton of milk and tried taking a drink. He was not surprised to find the milk had again solidified in the carton. He tossed the milk back in the fridge next to a carton of eggs so old, that they could probably hatch chickens. Pemberton stepped outside to check his mail. He had received two things. The first was a postcard from the post office saying that his mail would not be delivered until he cleared a path through the garbage that cluttered his front lawn. “Great,” he thought, “No more bills.” The second piece of mail was a final notice on his water bill. Pemberton mumbled some obscenities to himself and tossed both pieces of mail into the heap of trash on his yard. Pemberton then returned to his couch and his slumber.

Pemberton was awaken about 9 hours later by a megaphone blaring thing directed towards him. As he regained consciousness he heard the following; “Pemberton McNimble, this is the IRS, it’s 12:01AM and your income taxes are officially late!” “Oh crap!” exclaimed Pemberton, “I knew something like that was coming up soon.” Suddenly, at least 10 men with black clothes and Kevlar vests began firing automatic weapons into Pemberton’s windows. These “˜warning shots’ nearly killed Pemberton on the spot. He had to act fast. Suddenly he came up with a desperate stroke of brilliance. The rotten eggs in the fridge, he could use them as a weapon. Pemberton quickly retrieved the eggs and began hurling them at the IRS hit men. The profuse stench caused many agents to vomit, forcing a retreat. Pemberton fought the law and won. He then went back to sleep.