Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just what I didn't expect from Time Warner

Well, it's off. I called TWC today and had them disconnect my cable TV. I was all tingly with anticipation of some run-around phone call with multiple "supervisors" offering new promotions, and do you know what I got?

Really Good Customer Service.

DAMN!!! Are you frikkin' kidding me?!?! I wanted the shenanigans. I wanted the antics. I wanted the hard sell, the soft sell, the up-sell. The seashells. I wanted all of that stuff so I'd have this unbelievable funny blog entry. And what did I get?

Really Good Customer Service.

A pleasant-mannered customer service agent named "Kitty" helped me discontinue my service, gave me my new broadband only monthly charges, and helped me arrange a time for the TW techs to come to pick up my cable box.

PPshht! Where was the fun in that? Stupid Time Warner with there stupid good customer service agent...

So anyway the TV's off. Nyah!

By the way, I also called Tivo and asked them to cancel my Tivo contract. And guess what I got there? Yeah.. Yeah.. it was really good customer service, again. But, you kind of expect that from Tivo. They just understand. BUT! A customer service agent there named "Scott" suggested that rather than cancel my contract - he'd recommend that I just "suspend" my service for a period of time. He suspended my billing for a few months, and said it'd automatically restart at the end of September. He also let me know that even though my service was suspended, I still had access to many of the broadband features like Amazon's download service and the Live365 music channels.

Thank you, Tivo, for getting it right (again).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sorry i haven't blogged in a while but i have had a long week.

So to start, i had a soccer tournament in Carmel, Indiana this weekend. I rode up with my best friend and her mom, which was fun. we won our first game 4-0 and our second game 1-0. to make it to the semis we had to win. we ended up losing which was a bummer...but overall it was really a great tournament for our whole team.

we end our season this week with 2 games...then(ugh!) soccer tryouts the following week. soccer tryouts are interesting when you are watching all the players that think they are the best when my cat could fake them out trying to win the ball...teehee(:

On the other side of my life...(school) things are going great. I cant believe there is only 8 more days of school left.

i will try to keep you posted more.

p.s. im trying to change up the whole color thing(:


this past weekend.

So, over memorial weekend i had a soccer tournament in dayton. It was a longgggggggggggggg weekend. my team was 1-1-1. My grandma came to watch a few of my games. But after all my games were done and we got that sad news that we failed to get into the finals, we decided to go to the dayton air force museum. (which, if i do say so myself, WAS FREAKING AWESOME!) We saw a whole bunch of planes obviously. But my favorite one i saw was the something something peacemaker. Dad was telling me all about it. This is what i asked him:

Katie:"why do they call it the (something i forget) peacemaker?
Katie: "it's more of the 'blow everyone up with a bomb forcing them to make peace with you maker'."
Dad: haha

Over all the weekend was fun. except for the almost unbearable heat and uncontrollable hiccups in the museum(very embarassing). haha.

Family Fun: National Museum of the US Air Force

If your kids are into planes or if you are a big kid that used to be (and secretly still is) into planes, you simply have to visit the US Air Force Museum near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio.

Kate and I spent the weekend in Dayton at the Adidas Warrior Classic Soccer tournament. A large, well-run soccer tournament, the Warrior Classic was a great tourney to wrap up our spring season. Coincidentally, my mother lives reasonably close to Dayton, so it was a great chance to bring Grandma out to the soccer park to watch Kate's team.

Our tourney ended after the Sunday morning game, and we were only a few blocks away from the USAF museum. I suggested that since it was still early, a quick jaunt through the exhibits might be fun. Grandma was up for it, so we dropped in.

It's been a few years since I'd gone through the museum, but I remembered leaving the last time thinking how unbelievable the place was. Here's a quick list of the displays that are there now.

  1. The Early Years -- From the Wright Brothers first flight up to the early WW I planes, this hangar has your head on a swivel trying to take in all of the different restorations.
  2. The WW II Era -- Flying Tigers, Spitfires, and a Messerschmidt 262 were among the planes displayed in this hanger.
  3. Modern Flight (Asia Pacific Wars) -- Walk inside a B-29, or just stand back and look up at the B52 with your jaw hanging open like bomb bay doors. They also have an F22 Raptor and one of those "Predators" we hear so much about lately.
  4. Cold War Exhibit -- This was one of the more interesting exhibits for both Kate and I as I tried (clumsily) to explain the Cold War to her. She wrote a blog entry about the conversation. The plane she is referring to is the CONVAIR B-36J PEACEMAKER -- but, no matter, as you can see, she got the gist of it.
  5. Missile & Space Gallery -- Frankly, after 3 very large hangars FULL of planes, we ran out of steam before getting to the Missile & Space gallery. It opened with the Apollo 15 command capsule (and that was amazing enough!) We'll start in this area next time.
  6. In addition, the museum had a nice section remembering Bob Hope's contributions to the military which was unexpected but after some consideration seemed very appropriate for this weekend.

Folks seriously, in a few hours we maybe saw 25% of these exhibits and skipped an entire hangar full as well as all the exhibits outside. It was just overwhelming, and upon leaving I repeated the same endorsement that I give every time I go there. This is absolutely the best family museum day trip in Ohio, possibly the nation. By the way, if the economy has you watching your pennies -- no worries -- admission is FREE. No seriously, it is FREE. So pack up your young aviators, and get there this summer.

One last thing,

After a long weekend of soccer in high heat, Grandma, Kate and I wandered back to the entrance. The museum was busy and I'd parked a fair distance away so I had them find a seat in the shade while I made the long hike to the car. I found a sidewalk that made it's way through a shady lawn area as it headed out to the car. I soon realized that this area was, in fact, the museum's Memorial Park where there were many, many markers and commemorative displays dedicated to all of those men and women who chose to serve and gave all they had. As I passed these markers, it struck me that what started as a little bit of family fun had turned into one of the best celebrations of Memorial Day that I could have imagined.

Happy Memorial Day,

Weekly Status: Go Time!

As Rafiki once said to Simba who upon being reunited with Nala had to look within himself to discover the meaning of his heritage as the true Lion King and inheritor of Mufasa's throne, "Eet eez time."

Funny though, how the original family shoulder shrugs and dismissive agreements turned into stammering "but...but..but..s" this week at the suggestion of calling my friends at Time Warner and having them pull the plug.

But.. nevertheless.. a deal is a deal. Tomorrow it goes off.

I've been considering for a few days how this call might go. Will Time Warner sigh and regretfully say "So long." to me, their long time loyal customer? Will they offer me such jeweled gifts as a free, barely functional, sad excuse for a digital video recorder? Or perhaps, 50% off my next overpriced pay-per-view purchase? Will they nervously laugh and tell me the $87 was just a joke, and that they actually meant $57 dollars? Will they try to convince me that broadband internet REQUIRES digital cable television service? It's really anyone's guess.

In any case, I expect the call to go about the same as many of my other interactions with the Time Warner folks - flat goofy. The truth will reveal itself tomorrow.

I'll let you know.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Well, panic hit the girls and I last night when Mike said to us "Is Idol over?" The three of us looked at each other and started naming other shows we watch, panicing to come up with one that wasn't already done with the season finale...Of course Mike was standing in the doorway with a smile on his face. We must have looked defeated as we blurted out names of TV shows...

What now, well, got a sick cat that needs some extra care and an upcoming soccer tournament that will keep all of us busy, but come Monday, who knows.... Hopefully the cat will be better and the girls tired from soccer tournament. But then what ? I can think of a million things to do, maybe not all fun, but things to keep from getting bored. We'll have to see how the girls respond, but I think in time, it will be just fine.

Myself, I've got about 6 books started in the last year that I haven't had time to finish. Now I just got to find where I placed them ?! I also have this cross stitch project I started about 20 years ago that I was going to give Mike for his 30th birthday and maybe if I.....oh, I may have to pay someone to finish that one.....

I'm looking forward to this.....

P.S. Moved the chair in the family room infront of the TV.....cats like the new's the small changes that count too..

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekly Status: Week T-1

So, LOST wrapped up this week. I'm glad I have it on Tivo, because in the immortal words of John Locke, "We're going to have to watch that, again." Various other season finales are scheduled for this week, so the cut-off time is quickly approaching.

I expect the final throwing of the switch to be somewhat anti-climactic since we've already cut off all but the family room set, and that room is rarely visited anyway. We're already settling into the new approach.

Soccer season is wrapping up which gives us a little more time on our hands. This weekend was the first in a few weeks where we weren't wall-to-wall with soccer games. Kate had a 4:00pm Saturday game (a brilliant win if we do say so ourselves), and that was it.

So, given that we've had a little taste of the future, I'll tell you already when I miss it the most. It's the little quiet times after the day has run it's course just prior to sacking in for the night. Those 30 or so minutes between finishing that last task and slipping into bed when you check tomorrow's weather or watch the monologue for The Daily Show. That little time frame is when I found myself asking "Well,.. now what?" What daily ritual will need to replace that unwinding time?

I've got it! It's something I've always wanted to do. I can use this time to treat my soul to some quiet, inward-looking meditation. You know? I could really get in touch with my inner, peaceful self.

HA! HA! Ha! Ha!... I almost managed to say that with a straight face...

Monday, May 11, 2009

camping in zaleski...

some info you may want to know if you are going to go camping in Zaleski State Park:

1. pack a sleeping bag that "fits" you, or the right size.

i got lost in my sleeping bag, while daddy had trouble getting into his.

2. don't turn your back on the jetboil.

dad went to get silverware and the water started boiling over like crrrraaaaazzzzzyyyy.

3. back 2 large bottles of water

so you don't have to drink your own urine. HAHA (we never had to. we are just kidding around)

4. don't look into one of those lights that people wear when they go into caves.

dad about blinded me. not funny.

5. tie a belt around a tree and then hook your bag to it.

(it's an old indian trick an old guy taught me. ;) haha , dad.)

6. watch out for turkey hunters.

we passed one and the guy scared the crap out of me. NO JOKE.


Family Fun: Zaleski State Forest Backpack Overnight

If you're going to kill your TV - you'd better find something else to do. So, in addition to the status updates, we'll try to include family fun stuff that filled those hours that we've previously spent slack-jawed and drooling in front of the idiot box.

This weekend Kate and I went for a walk in the woods in Zaleski State Forest. On Friday night, I packed up our two-man tent, two sleeping bags, the JetBoil, and some other bare essentials, and off we went for a overnight backpacking adventure.

We left the trail head bound for the campsite that was 4.8 miles away according to the trail map (6.0 miles according to my quadriceps-o-meter). There was a point in the trail that we could have chosen to go to a closer camp, but I convinced Kate that we should "Go big, or stay home!" She reminded me of this moment later when we were about 4 miles into the journey heading up a very steep grade. I was breathing a little too much like Darth Vader after Luke took his helmet off, and she was looking a little worried about the prospects of her college funding. In any event, we arrived at camp only a little worse for the wear.

We made some grade-A camp food (I cooked, she did dishes), an ill-fated attempt to get a campfire going (the recent rain had dampened the kindling), and some less than tasteful jokes about the need to possibly drink our own urine (which elicited simultaneous "EEeewww"s from us both).

The next morning the sun was up early, and we plodded back from whence we came confident in the knowledge that we had faced mother nature's ( late-spring, calm, clear, and dominated by high pressure) worst. On the way home, I introduced my daughter to a fine old backpacking tradition; "The Celebratory Milkshake".

The Good:
  • Zaleski is a great out-of-the-way park for overnight trips or longer day hikes.
  • No mosquitoes and only a handful of other winged insects at this time of the year.
  • JetBoil - if you backpack, get one; even if you already have a stove.
  • Zaleski's primitive campsites have trucked-in water available.

The Bad:
  • Some of the trails have standing water - waterproof over-the-ankle boots are required.
  • The campsite had more folks (10-20) in it than I would have liked. I think the word is getting around.

The Ugly:
  • After duly convincing my daughter that I might have a little "backwoods game", I plunged my left boot into about 18 inches of sucking mud/quick sand while attempting to cross the last creek on the way to the car. This elicited yet another set of simultaneous "EEEeeewwww"s.

Weekly Status: Week T-2(?) Wait.. What?

Okay.. Okay.. Okay...

So last week I said we were ON!. But there's been some last minute negotiations. Momma and I want to wait for the "LOST" season finale (May 13th). Kate wants to outlast the end of "Survivor" (May 17th), and Shortie would be crushed if her "American Idol" dreams go unfulfilled (May 20th). So, let's say that we're going through a little pilot period here, but we are still in agreement that once some of these loose ends are tied - we are a GO!.

I unplugged the cable from our living room television. This seemed to go almost without notice. Even I was surprised at how little we missed it. A few times the set was unconsciously clicked on, but the empty blue screen shook us out of TV zombie mode and it was clicked off and forgotten. We still have bedroom TV and family room TV connected. This will be the week that bedroom TV goes away.

Other loose ends:
A few folks have asked for explanations of rules.
Is the TIVO going, too? What about DVDs? Video Games? What about the Internet? All of these are good questions. Answers:

TIVO: - Time-shifted TV is still TV in my mind. I can't see the difference. [OUT!]
DVDs: - Movie watching in the theatres or in the family room seems OK to me. [IN!]
Video Games: It's hard for me to distinguish a family-oriented Monopoly-fest from a good "Mario Cart" and popcorn night. [IN!]
Internet: - Hmmm... That's a tough one. Is watching video on considered television? How about episodes of Heroes? What about weather broadcasts? [Undecided!] We'll have to play that one by ear. Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


When Mike first told me "i'm thinking about going TV free this summer," I did panic a bit. I wondered if he was going to wait till CSI and Lost season finales were over. As of right now, we still have the TV in the basement that we will watch CSI and Lost till the very end when the plug gets pulled.

I normally don't watch too much TV anyways but will definitely miss the CSI re-runs when I do decide to sit down and relax. I guess we will have to pull out a board game or deck of cards.

I am looking forward to more family time and the peace and quite and not having to yell to get the girls attention as they are buried in the TV.

I'll let you know how it's going.


I dont know whats in store....?

So if you havent found out yet, my dad is turing off the TV for the summer. I like this idea because I think that my sister and I watch too much TV, and I admit that. But it is aslo going to get hard as the pool gets more boring each day. I'm kinda worried about my sister though,because right when she gets home from school the TV goes straight on. On the other hand I think that after a while( or a long while) she will get over it. I will keep you updated on my piont of veiw and some of my sisters actions.


worth a try... i think. :/

First of all (dad),

when i said hang out and go ride bikes with my friends, i ment with just my friends. NOT particularly with "boys." unless they are really my friends.

second of all,

why couldn't we just wait until Survivor is over?

and last but not least,

i'm not sure how this is going to end up, but i'm willing to give it a try. If it is a complete disaster, I'm blaming YOU DAD! just kidding. (:

it's purple. hehe

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What do you say, gang? Who's with me?

The other day I was paying bills and I noticed an increase in my cable bill. It seems my cable company, who shall be nameless (HINT: It rhymes with "Time Warner"), decided that after 7 years of service, I had reached the end of some mystical promotion. My cable bill (which includes TV & Internet) went from $86 a month -- to $113 a month. I called them, perturbed.

The first rep I reached struggled to read the English script that I'm sure was displayed on the computer screen in front of him. This was not because English was his second language. He was just plain old illiterate. "The economies are bad, sir, so your TV is more expensive, too."

The second rep I reached told me about the end of my 12-month promotion. "When did this promotion start?", I asked. "3 years ago.", she (sort of) explained.

So, the third rep I reached told me that they had a new promotion. "Is this promotion the 12-month kind or the 3-year kind?", I asked. She hesitated and probably blinked a couple times, but went on to reduce my cable bill to $87 a month.

Well, it got me sort of thinking about that $87 a month. Do I really get $87 a month worth of value from these guys? What was the last really good thing that I watched on TV? OK, it was "LOST" -- what was the second to last?

A few days later, I was talking to my daughters who were sitting in the living room in front of our TV. Well, in truth, I was talking at them. They were engrossed in the Disney Channel or the Family Channel, or the Disney Family Channel, or one of family of Disney family channels for families. Aaannywho... they weren't listening.

Now I've got two very smart, athletic daughters (No, they weren't adopted!). But, I wonder how much more athletic they would be if they skipped the TV viewing. I wonder how much smarter they would be without the educational content? (That's the content that comes between the ads for "Shamwow" and "Male Enhancement".)

Somewhere along the line, out of exasperation, almost out of pure spite, I thought, "We should just shut it off." The more I thought about the idea, the more I liked it. What was required was a good old fashion change. That was it. It was done. I had decided that's the way it was going to be... as long as everyone else agreed.

I queried the wife first, "What would you think if I...". She agreed immediately. "I hate that stupid thing!", she said. But, I wonder whether she'll still have this seething hatred after a few weeks without CSI, CSI:Miami, and CSI:New York. Will there be a crime scene in our living room?

I queried Sara next. "Sure.", she replied. I'm not sure if that was confidence, indifference, or the fact that she might have been watching the Disney channel when I asked. Either way that was two out of three.

Last was Kate. Frankly, I thought Kate might be a problem. I asked, and waited. First, came a flash of disbelief across her face. A flash that said, "I just know that I'm adopted." But, then after a few questions, she actually acquiesced. She rationalized, "I have plenty of other things to do in the summer. I can visit, ride bikes, hang out at the pool." It would have been better had I not mentally added "...with boys" after each thing that she said, but that's probably on me, not her.

So here we sit -- a family in agreement. We're going to just "Shut it off". We're going to try to go the entire summer without cable television. It'll be great. We'll learn to have fun together as a family, to communicate better, and we'll find new and better ways to entertain ourselves.

So I'm going to call Time Warner cable and tell them "No, Thanks. Please, Shut off my television!" --- Just as soon as "LOST" goes into re-runs.