Sunday, December 16, 2007

Online fraud??

Ok, this has nothing to do with movies, entertainment or guy stuff. But after all the crap I went through with, I wanted to pass this information along to anyone who stops by here. Because this is completely unreal. Supposedly legitimate companies are overcharging us for online purchases every day. Think it hasn't happened to you? Do you live in a state where there is a tax on shipping and handling? Because even if there isn't, you're probably paying it.

No, this isn't an urban legend, and it didn't happen to my cousin's neighbor's dog. LOL. During my recent battles with TMobile, I finally got to the point where I thought everything was settled. The sequence of events was:

1. I ordered a prepaid phone from the TMobile website on November 15, and paid $11.99 for overnight shipping.
2. It was Thursday night, so I didn't get the phone until Monday anyway.
3. The speaker didn't work. No matter what I did, I couldn't get any sound out of the phone other than the little key beeps.
4. I danced around with their customer service people in the form of a moebius loop of attempts to e-mail them, an absolutely clueless dolt on their chat help thing, and then I finally got someone on the phone who knew what I should do.
5. Phone guy told me there was a return shipping label in the box, and that I should tape it up, stick it on, and send it back. Then I could re-order. The first purchase would be credited to me when they received the phone. Ok, good.
6. Ran out and found UPS drop box, got the thing there in time for last pickup.
7. Ordered replacement phone, paid $11.99 for overnight shipping again, but since it was now the day before Thanksgiving, I wouldn't get it until Friday.
8. Got phone. Phone works. Yay!
9. All is well until I looked at my Paypal balance a couple days ago. I paid for both phones using my Paypal debit card. According to Paypal, I was charged $54.58 for each phone purchase. $39.99 for the phone, $11.99 for the shipping, and $2.60 sales tax. My refund was for $41.99. WTF??
10. I check the "order status" link for the first phone, and find out that TMobile has changed my order date to December 6, even though the shipping date is listed as November 16. And suddenly the order total only shows $41.99, as if they never charged me shipping in the first place! Again, WTF??
11. So I sent Midgey a screencap of my Paypal, and said "am I hallucinating?" She said, no, I was not. They refunded me for the phone, and for $2.00 worth of sales tax.
12. It occurs to me that they must have charged tax on the shipping fee! No way can that be right!
13. Google is my friend. It is illegal to charge sales tax on shipping and handling in Massachusetts. So no, it wasn't right. And I never would have caught it if they hadn't sent me a defective phone and then refused to refund the shipping fee.
14. TMobile has now received a polite(ish) e-mail from me requesting a refund of $13.19. This covers the $11.99 shipping, and the two $.60 tax overcharges. I also helpfully sent them a link to the channel 7 story, in case they wanted to clear up any misconceptions. And I am SO calling up channel 7 if I don't get my refund! Yeah, it's only $.60 each, but it still makes me mad. And frankly, since we are poor enough to get reduced price school lunch, $1.20 will feed one of my kids school lunch for 3 days.

I will be posting this information in several places. Feel free to link to it, or to relate the story. And by all means Check Your Tax Charges! On a large purchase, it could really add up.

I'll be back soon with the actual post I intended to make, but I need to rest my carpal tunnel(s). LOL.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


This is my first not-just-personal blog, so bear with me. LOL.

So I've read one too many articles about how I'm supposed to like movies like Steel Magnolias or Bridges of Madison County. I haven't seen either of them, and they're not on my to-do list. Actually, I couldn't even bring myself to watch Titanic. Depressing. Yawn.
If I want to be depressed, I'll watch the news. If I want to be entertained, I'm going with Lord of the Rings every time. Armor, swords, and a wizard who gets to use one! Woo-hoo! I still haven't gotten over Gary Gygax's prohibitions on weapons and armor.

Now I know I'm not the only female person who likes guy movies. How do I know this? My friends likes them, too. So, in the spirit of letting people know what makes a good Guy Movie for Girls who Watch Guy Movies, I'm going to list some of my favorites. Mostly just the ones I happen to think of right now as I'm typing.

  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Best Movies Ever, made out of My Favorite Books of All Time. Peter Jackson is my hero. I'm still a little unsettled about what he did to Faramir, but other than that... perfect. Unbelievably, stunningly, perfect. I went to see Fellowship with my kids. We sat in the dark for howevermany hours long the movie was, and at the end, my then 9-year-old son said, "is that it? There's supposed to be a battle. Where's the battle?" We could have sat there another three hours.
  • Star Wars: Oh, such a complicated yet beloved thing. I was a month shy of my 8th birthday when I saw the original Star Wars back in 1977. I was blown away and completely overwhelmed. I still remember sitting there in awe as the story unfolded. I was a freshman in high school when Jedi came out. And I have to say that being a girl, the giant teddy bears didn't bother me. In fact, they made up for some of the "aww" factor that is normally absent in a movie I can stay awake through. So, the first three are landmark brilliance to me. Phantom Menace suffers from a horrible abundance of Jake Lloyd. "Yippee!" Right. I hope someone has gotten the kid acting lessons since then. He was even worse than JarJar, and that's saying a lot. And don't even get me started on midichlorians. Props for Samuel Jackson and Liam Neeson, though. Awesome casting. I wonder how they got in there? Clones and Sith were better, but still suffered from largely bad casting. But you know, even for all the faults of Eps I - III, you can't not love Star Wars. So they all stay on the list.
  • Star Trek: Oh dear gods am I a Trek Geek or what? I know Spock's blood type. (T-) I'm going to pretty much lump the entire Trek-verse in here together, because none of it was bad. I haven't seen Enterprise, though, so I'm leaving them off expect to say I loved Scott Bakula in Quantum Leap. My favorite Trek movie... tie between Khan and the whales. I'm going to go with Khan just because I hated that cetacean biologist lady. Shallow boring character. Lose her. But for my favorite series, I'm going to have to go with TNG. I love TOS, but it's so... 60s. It's got hippies! Jeez. I love it anyway, but still. All fellow Trek Geeks need to go check out New Voyages and Of Gods and Men. New Trek continuing the 5-year mission, done by fans and former writers and cast members. They get better with every episode. I love these guys!
  • Anything with Vampires - Ok, not technically a movie title, but still. Stick some fangs on someone and I'll have a hard time not loving it. Both Underworlds, All three Blades, Lost Boys, Interview with the Vampire, Bram Stoker's Dracula (even with Keanu's wooden acting). And after resisting for many years, I finally found out that I totally love Buffy and Angel. I can't even believe it. I went from thinking "stupid girly thing" to owning all seven seasons of Buffy and all five of Angel. So for anyone who hasn't watched it, don't let the apparent stupidness stop you. Or the horrifyingly dull movie (dull vampires?? yep). The shows aren't like that. They're girlier than, say, Blade, but they're really good stuff. Funny, moving, and yet full of weapons and slaying. But do skip the movie unless you're watching it for the sake of completeness. Which I have done for you. You're not missing anything. It's not stupid humor like it seems it might be. It's just a yawnfest.
  • Terminators: I seriously love all three of those. Arnold needs to quit his day job and go back to Terminating.
  • Riddick: Yep. Although I may be one of the very few people who liked Chronicles better than Pitch Black. But both are good. I now own the regular and director's cuts of Chronicles on DVD. Yay, me!
  • X-Men: Damn, I love the casting in these! Mostly. Well I love most of the guys, and I love Halle and Rebecca, anyway. Plus anything with both Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan has to be good. I'll also add that I like the vast majority of Marvel movies. Hulk sucked, and I skipped Spiderman 3, but I even liked FF/Silver Surfer more or less.
  • Die Hards: Not so much the middle one, but 1 & 3 rocked.
  • Jaws: I consider this to be the first seriously good movie ever. Before Jaws, there were some decent movies, but none were like this. I even forgive the couple of scenes where you can't even pretend the shark is real. And I feel really badly for the actors out there in the ocean off Nantucket in June. Do you have any idea how COLD the water is in New England at that time of year?? I have reservations about going in there in late August. My feet turn blue and go numb. It's not pretty.
  • Indiana Jones: because duh. Much fun and Harrison Ford. What else is there, really?
  • Lethal Weapons: All four. Who doesn't like those?
  • The One: Jet Li is so cool in that movie.
Ok, that's all I'm coming up with at the moment. There are lots of others I love, but those are the favorites that spring to mind. In all fairness, I have to admit that I have a weakness for (good) Disney and Pixar movies. So I can get through, and even like not-guy-movies. But there will be no chick flicks for me. The only girl movie I can think of that I liked was Thelma and Louise. And I'm not sure if that counts since there are explosions and guns. Is The Descent a girl movie? It's got all women in it. It's gorier than my normal fare, but that didn't faze me at all. Loved it. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Occasionally the local drive-in sneaks in a Boring Movie among Things I want to See, so I have seen a few more of the boring variety. I saw While You Were Sleeping. Awful. I saw My Best Friend's Wedding. I swear, if it wasn't for her gay friend being pretty entertaining, I might have gone postal right there in the parking lot. I hated everyone else in that movie a lot. I have been very careful to wait the drive-in out lately, so I don't get stuck seeing crap. I tend to sit through those movies going "is that seriously the worst thing that ever happened to you??" Well... yeah. Apparently it is.

Anyway, the future will (with any luck) bring me talking about old movies, new movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, horror, mutants, that sort of thing. And probably what I'm reading. I've been catching up on Bradbury and Clarke lately. There's a reason those two are Masters of the Genre. Great stuff. I might even get around to finishing King's Dark Tower series. I've read almost everything he's written, and he's got some fantastic stuff, but I have yet to get around to the last two DT books. I just have this bad feeling that they'll be more like Wizard and Glass (boring) than like The Wastelands (couldn't put it down). And if I get really ambitious, I might even read some of the D&D books my son has lying around here. I never made it past 1st edition, so I'm feeling like Thac0 from the Goblins comic. (Go read this thing. Awesome. And read Order of the Stick too, while you're at it.)

Until next time...