Friday, May 19, 2006

Wicked Good Time

In continuing the quest for culture, Paula and I attended the the hit musical Wicked at the Fox Theatre last night. It's critically acclaimed and has won a ton of awards - 3 Tony's, 3 Touring Broadway Awards and a bunch of others. It's pretty much impossible to get tickets; we purchased the tickets back in December, six months ago. Over the past couple of weeks have been excited for the event. And what an event it was.
As a man from northern Wyoming and with a staunch record of heterosexuality, I gotta say I loved it. Back in October, Paula and I went to Phantom of the Opera with Mark and Noelle. It was good. But this was better. I've already downloaded the soundtrack with this 7-day trial to Napster I received with the purchase of my MP3 player.
For those who've never heard of Wicked, it's a spin off of The Wizard of Oz. The story is pre-Dorothy and Toto and tells the story of the three witches of Oz - the Wicked's of East and West and the Good Witch. Anyway, the WW of the W and the GW are enemies at school, become friends and then get caught in a tangled web of love, lies and that other stuff. Basically, it was really funny, had good music, witty lines and great story line.
I HIGHLY recommend it; the score is great and as a man who enjoys Linkin Park, Click 5, Collective Soul and such, I am enjoying this music. Anyway, take it for what it's worth, this wicked-good musical is the best thing to happen since March 11. It was wicked good.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dr. Phil And Wildcats

I watch Dr. Phil.
There. I've said it. It's in the open.
It's funny what is borne of having only an antenna; I read more, have begun exercising, my wife and I have conversations, I haven't watched any NBA basketball all's incredible. One of these things is that Dr. Phil has entered my life. I get home from work at around 5pm and that's when the Dr. is on; nothing else worth watching over the antenna is on at that time. At least nothing I'd watch. But that's what I said about Phil.
Anyway, earlier this week Phil was talking to some guy who is overly demanding of his wife - everything has to be perfect and he never acknowledges her or anything. A demanding person who gives nothing back. The marriage is on the ropes, yada yada yada. Your basic dysfunctional marriage. Anyway, Big Phil had some women move into the house for three days and reverse the roles (being demanding, degrading and ungrateful). They bossed him around and stuff. One comment that was made regarded women and men being equal. This has made me think. Yeah, you're freaked out. Don't worry about it.
I'm not a fan of the Women's Lib movement. Not at all. I think it has done more to hurt women than help them. This isn't because I think women should be subserveant to their husbands or that men should never pick up a dish rag and clean. It's because it has blurred the line that should seperate men and women. Being equal is being interpretted as being the same. I don't think this should be. Case in point:
The Northwestern women's soccer team has been suspended from play because of recent photos that show 'hazing' or 'initiation'. A lot of inappropriate stuff going on. I haven't seen the pictures but I've read an article or two. People are shocked and upset at this. Why? Is this really that shocking, considering the bra-burning of Hanoi-Jane Fonda and CO. events which transpired to set the stage for this? In the name of equality and setting right past injustices, society has planted in women aspirations to be like men. I thought the women's lib movement was about progression, not digression. But in all seriousness, the virtues of manhood have been extolled and promoted while the negative realities and shortcomings the male track record over thousands of years has been minimized.
Since the beginning of time, when men have met in groups and have behaved badly: they get drunk, they get loud, they say stupid things and do bad things and if a female shows up, basic and degrading comments (and actions) occur. Anyone ever heard the phrase 'men behaving badly'? Yeah. The greatest deterant to this juvenile behavior has been the leveling influence of women.
As Jason Whitlock of's Page 2 said, "...why shouldn't we celebrate the fact that the Northwestern women's soccer team is doing the same thing (as men)? I'm serious. Why isn't this seen as progress? Women in large groups now behave just as poorly as men."
The reason people are upset is because deep down, we as a society don't want women to be the same as men. Why would we wish this on humanity? Why would a person want their daughter to be like this? Their girlfriend? Their wife? It's L-U-D-I-C-R-O-U-S. (That's the real spelling. The rapper's name is spelled incorrectly. Hopefully on purpose.) Seriously. A woman is more sensitive, more perceptive of people and feelings, more fashionable; they smell better, look better and less prone to violence than a man. Women aren't the same as men.
I hope they never are.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"We never stop [trying to nail] you"

Do any of you use 'The Network'? The Network…HA! A network of lies and deciept! Ah, the tangled webs of lies woven by Verizon Wireless have ensnared this once steadfast customer into a trap of fallacy and deception. As darkness falls I am haunted by a spectacled specter; the incessant chant of this smirking wraith’s sextupling lexis echo in my mind. How did I become entrenched in such a precarious predicament? I shall tell you the tale.
I have auto draft set up for my cell phone and am notified when a bill is scheduled to be paid. Upon reading said email, I was shocked to find my bill had skyrocketed from the usual $40-45 to over $170. Bewildered as to how this could have happened, a thorough examination of the call history commenced, exposing a 735 minute (12 ¼ hours) phone call to my parents home phone. The erroneous indictment purported the call began at 10:13am on April 5, 2006; said phone call would have taken ended at 10:28pm, encompassing the whole day. Ludicrous.
Immediately I called *611 and told Chad there had been an inaccuracy on my bill. He examined it, only to inform me it was a valid charge. Remaining composed and restrained – an epitome of cool, calm and relaxed – I assured him it was not. What could I talk to my parents about for over 12 hours straight? In the middle of a workday? Preposterous.
Requesting to speak to a manager, Chad asked me to hold. He returned to the line, and informed me a manager was not available, but he had been authorized to take twenty percent off the bill. I scoffed at the proposal; my bill still tripled the accurate monthly charge. Thanking Chad for his time, I told him I’d call back.
Sending an email to Verizon I outlined points verifying my claim. The following are excerpts:

“Until April 10th my office was a project room located in the basement of the ING offices at 5780 Powers Ferry Road in Atlanta, GA. This prohibited my cell phone from even receiving signal or making calls before 4pm. Examination of my bill supports this. (Indeed, upon examining my bill since January 1, only two calls totaling 4 minutes have been made from 8am-4pm)

My supervisor, Sarelle Gunter, can confirm I was in the office from 7:45am to 4:30pm that day, only leaving to the cafeteria at noon for lunch.

No one’s at my parent’s during that time of day. Both parents are educators and have to be at work prior to 10:13am EDT (8:13am MDT)

If I were to talk to my parents for a significant amount of time during peak hours, it would have been via the Verizon cell phone they use (208-351-2882)”

A response to my email was proffered by Rosalina. She pledged to me she would contact the billing department and contact me in 72 hours. Rosalina was true to her word…and the news was grim:

“I appreciate your patience in awaiting my response. I have received a response from the Billing Department in regards to your 04/09/06 statement. I pologize
for the inconvenience; however they have discovered there are no billing errors
on you statement.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this email at any time, and I will be happy to assist you.

We value you business and appreciate the opportunity to continue as your wireless provider. Thank you for using Verizon Wireless products and services.”

Feeling used, manipulated and betrayed, I responded to Rosalina. The rejoinder was masterful, penned with intelligence and exactness; ‘twas such an oratorio as to be weighed against the likes of Adams, Pope, Locke, Burke, Cicero. Submitted for your enjoyment:

Thank you for your efforts. It is regrettable the billing department has chosen to brush aside the claims of an exemplary customer, a customer who has never paid a bill late and has never called to complain in over a year and a half of service. Additionally, it is unfortunate the billing department will not take a serious look at the facts I had laid out in my initial email – facts which clearly substantiate my claim – or consider an error has been made on part of Verizon. While it is a pity people cannot be trusted, it is understandable due to the world we live in.

Obtaining a service and not paying for it is dishonest and contrary to my beliefs; therefore, a payment to Verizon Wireless will be made in the amount of $52.28. This will cover my monthly billing charge, Verizon and government surcharges, as well as other taxes and fees. The remaining $121.05 will not be paid, as it is an erroneous
charge and as a matter of principle it will not be paid. Subsequent to this payment, I will be cancelling my service with Verizon Wireless via phone call to a management-level official tomorrow, May 4th.

I cannot and will not be a patron of a company that so blatantly and callously refuses to look at the track record, payment habits and calling patterns of a customer and admit an error has been made on their part. Rosalina, I thank you for your assistance in this matter. I would appreciate you passing this along to your superiors.”

And thus it is. Barring any last minute change of heart, as sayeth Poe, I shall be a Verizon Wireless customer ‘nevermore, nevermore.’ Parting is such sweet sorrow. A portion of my soul aches at the knowledge this previously advantageous union has twisted into such a disarray of suspicion and exploitation. Nevertheless and notwithstanding the melancholy nature of this divorce, I shall persevere…and I shall flourish.