About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Tivo Challenge: Taking Back My Channels

There we were; poised to watch the finale we'd waited four months for.  It was Idol night, and tonight the winner would be crowned. 

I had a meeting so it would be Tivo'd until I could get home and zip through to the result.  Suddenly there was a mysterious text from my husband:
I tried to extend the recording, but there's no channel 2 in the guide!
Wha...?  But.. I was perplexed.  It was there yesterday.  Before I called in to Directv to inquire about a DVR upgrade, and said no when it came to the 2-year contract agreement that would be required.  And now all of my local network channels weren't accessible? 

Upon calling tech support, I learn that Tivo has issued a software upgrade that has left thousands of customers without their local programming.  "Our hands are tied!  It's Tivo's fault!" claimed the tech last night, as well as the young woman I spoke to today.  This is apparently happening with all Tivo subscribers, not just those with the satellite service guru.  After 'troubleshooting,' the conclusion was "We simply don't know when this issue will be resolved.  BUT!  Tivo is offering an HD receiver that doesn't have this problem, as well as the Directv DVR also is problem free.  All that's required is the HD service at only ten dollars extra per month and a 2 year service agreement!" 


We read about these things all the time - networks in negotiations that result in loss of programming with various providers, Tivo is notorious for outraging their subscribers by not catching the extra lingering minutes of important finales, and my favorite is how we buy these DVRs, thinking we now own a brand shiny new electronic, only to find out that 'purchase price' is merely a 'leasing fee.'  Terminate service and the equipment is obligated to be returned to the provider with no refund to the consumer. 

Meanwhile, we all pay astronomical monthly fees, even though we now have internet viewing and stream-to-tv options available.  But much of that technology is beyond the understanding of a growing-older generation who simply wants to sit down and watch a favorite show.  Seems to me that if I knew those options were becoming easier to latch on to, I'd take my chances in keeping my customers happy any way I possibly could. 

My demands are not unreasonable.  So, I pleaded my case of our 14 years of loyal service, to no avail.  No budging on the agreement. 

Well, Tivo, and Directv, I accept this challenge.  How many customers are you willing to lose to get that signature?

Directv:  (310) 535-5000, (310) 535-5225 fax
Michael D White, CEO
Ellen Filipiak, Senior Vice President Of Customer Care

Tivo: (408),519-9100, (408) 519-5330 fax
                Thomas S Rogers, CEO
                Dan Phillips, Senior Vice President, Engineering and Operations

Imagine my frustration when the Tivo/Directv DVR that we’ve owned for nearly eight years suddenly stopped functioning properly – we lost all of our local programming, on a night that our family had gathered around to watch a momentous television event – and when I call in to see what the issue is, was told that Tivo has sent out a ‘software update’ that has stripped many customers with all satellite or cable services of their local programming. 

We have done the troubleshooting by connecting the phone line, connecting to the Tivo service, rebooting the unit, etc, to no avail, and have been told it’s basically a waiting game.  This is unacceptable.  My work depends on things like the local news, and we pay for local channels for the main bulk of our viewing. 

The only options are, as I understand them, to sit and wait for Tivo to get around to fixing this issue they’ve created, as we continue to pay for service we’re not getting, or upgrade our receiver to the brand spanking new Tivo HD receiver, or the Directv promoted house brand HD receivers, both which require a programming service charge of ten dollars more per month than I already spend, in a time when we are trying to be as conservative as possible.  Coincidentally, I called in to inquire about these promotions only two days ago, but the breaking point that prevented us from doing the upgrade was the requirement of the two-year contract agreement.  Then, within hours, this happens.

I understand the policy for new customers, but frankly, our history should speak for itself.  My husband has been with Directv since 1998 – this screams loyalty.  We have sat by and watched year after year as new customers receive all sorts of free services that we have paid steadily for (NFL Package, et al).  But where is our reward? 

Here we are, facing what we as consumers have no control over, and our only way out is deprivation, or to be coerced into a two-year agreement that financially we do not feel secure in areeing to.  And we have given the company our service for 14 long years, despite all of the enticing ‘bundle’ offers that come our way.  I’ve done the comparisons, and yes, dollar for dollar it all equals about the same for television services – it’s the bundle of phone/internet where they beat out Directv.  And right now, to avoid this hassle, and feeling as though we have no appreciation for our loyalty, those companies are going to get a second look.  And likely our business as well, if this cannot be resolved to our satisfaction. 

What I am requesting is this:  Either Tivo replaces our receiver, at no cost to us (because ultimately we will not own the equipment), to compensate for this ‘software issue,’ and we will resume our Directv service, or we go through the proper equipment upgrades with Directv, but the two-year agreement is waived. 

Anything less is unacceptable, and we will walk away.  I hope that our history with both companies will be taken into consideration, and that this will be handled promptly as we are in one of the two biggest months of television programming in terms of locals/networks. 

Very sincerely,

Kymberlie Ingalls   *   Neuroticy.com, Founder

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Much Ado About A Hoodie

“I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was. You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta, you’re going to be a gangsta-wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace." - Geraldo Rivera

What was your first reaction?  Yeah, mine too.  But then I dug a little deeper within myself.  Rivera’s not entirely wrong, and it’s because we are not entirely right. 

Boys don’t deserve to be shot because they’re wearing a hoodie and packing a box of Skittles. Girls don’t deserve to be assaulted because they wore a mini-skirt. 

I didn’t deserve to have my hair cut off because for trying to look pretty one day when I was thirteen years old.  Didn’t deserve a beating at age seven because I wouldn’t tattle on my brother.  I certainly didn’t deserve to become a date-rape statistic because I was drunk.

Many would disagree. 

Here’s my truth:  If I see someone skulking around in a hoodie, with the low-slung jeans, acting suspicious in any way, it makes me think a little harder about where I am, how well lit the area is, and what I’m doing.  What I do not look at is the color of their skin.  It’s about behavior, and yes, appearance, but not race.  I’ve also been skirmish around people who might be dressed in fine formal wear but still act like they’re tweeked out on drugs and looking for a fight. 
"If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word. Remember Elvis’ ‘In the ghetto’? or that old Johnny Cash song about not taking ‘your guns to town son, leave your guns at home Bill, don’t take your guns to town?’"
Perception is everything.

Go to Youtube, do a search on armed robberies, watch the security videos, come back here and tell me what you see.  Geraldo Rivera didn’t pull this out of his ass in complete ignorance.  What he is doing is perpetuating the idea that image dictates how we should be treated by society.  Not everyone wearing a hoodie is a “gansta.”  Not every pretty girl is a mean one.  Not everyone wearing a trucker hat is a redneck.


I’m not even going to touch the gulty/not issue.  In this country, the rules say a jury decides that.  Of course, one has to be arrested and tried first. 

In this country, rules are also served up best when broken.

My friend Anthony is a great guy.  He’s funny, handsome, and could charm the pants off anyone even if they were nailed on.  He’s a minister, and very passionate about his work.  Anthony has a charisma that worked for him in broadcasting – always had a broad following to every station he went to.  Clear, succinct and educated. 

It was when people came to the live broadcasts that they were shocked; Anthony was black.  “You’d never know it to listen to him!”  In the same breath that he tells this story with a grin on his face, the laughter falters as he then relates a tale of being pulled over by police for doing nothing more than driving through a bad neighborhood in his conspicuously red van.  The memory of indignant, helpless fear is plain to see.

Too many crimes are about color.  Race.  Hate.  What is this world coming to? 

It’s coming to a world we created.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, meaning near to Oakland and Richmond, racism has never been a foreign concept to me.  I grew up on the “white” side of town.  Never thought much about it until I transferred across town in high school, where the kids were bussed in from the lower income nearby town.  I promptly came home and announced that I wouldn’t be returning to a school where suddenly I was the minority.  But, stuck there I was, and in the end was all the richer for it. 

If only we could all embrace colors.  Life would be a ding-a-derryand the sun’ll come out tomorrow too – honest Injun.

©  Kymberlie Ingalls, March 24, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time Keeps On Slipping...

"On Monday morning I’m going to drive to the airport, check in for my flight to New York, then head to the airport bookstore for a stack of magazines to read on the plane. I’ll do this reluctantly because I will carry both an Amazon Kindle and an Apple iPad packed full of reading material in my bag.  I need the paper products because Federal Aviation Administration rules state that I cannot use these digital reading devices on an airplane during taxi, take-off or landing." - Nick Bilton

I don't like to fly, for a number of reasons.  First, there's that whole "crash and burn" thing.  "But it hardly ever happens, realistically!" Realistically, it only takes once.  I don't like to test the odds. 

But also because of the having to arrive at the airport early, wade through security like bovine through a mousehole, only to be subjected to the real mile-high club - the prices designed to take slutty advantage of our boredom - while we sit and wait.. and wait... the entire process to me is something I find hard to label 'convenient.'  Give me a good old fashioned road trip any day. 

There is all sorts of talk about the degradation of society today and how our attention span has gone the way of the dinosaur.  It makes great fodder for a comedic look at ourselves, but as with anything funny there is a kernel of truth at the base of the joke.  We are like overgrown teenagers who must have the latest gadget, the latest service or convenience, and we must have it now.  It's bad enough to subject us to waiting, and airplane-cabin fever, but take away our cell phones and the Angry Birds and suddenly our civil rights have been violated in a very big way.

True, the FAA and airline regulations may be outdated, as is discussed in Bilton's article, but really what is the big loss that we can't use our electronics for a half hour at take off and another half hour at landing?  For centuries now, we've managed to function without texting or calling while driving, with reading an old-fashioned book versus a digital screen, we survived relying on basic instincts.  Let's face it, we can't even leave the world behind for five minutes of quality toilet-time. 
Three-fourths of Americans with mobile phones report they use their phones in the bathroom.  Americans are texting, emailing, and yes – as you may have heard – talking on the phone in the bathroom.  Approximately one quarter of Americans report they don’t go into the bathroom without their phone. The new report, “IT in the Toilet,” uses the “bathroom benchmark” to examine just how connected we have become.
We claim to be always thinking, always forging ahead in these modern times, but if you ask me, I think we're more afraid to be alone with our thoughts than we want to admit.  Looking to the past, the graveyards are chock full of great thinkers; that number has declined rapidly with the mainstreaming of the computer.  I dare say that information overload has in fact had the opposite effect and is the biggest contributor to our dumbing down. 

And frankly, if there is even one smidgen of truth to the idea that a cell phone could take down a plane full of people, that's not a chance I'm super comfortable with.  See above - it only takes once, folks.

It's almost conceivable to keep hope alive that some rules stay in place.  At least this one makes sense, as opposed to taking away our rights to be fat and happy.  Is it really a bad thing to have to sever our Blackberrys and iPads from our fingertips for mere minutes? 

The apocalypse is coming, fellow citizens .. and it ain't gonna be pretty - the Oompa Loompas will be laughing a great deal, I suspect, as we fall down the hatch.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Limbaugh?

"Limbaugh has apologized to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law school student whom he insulted. "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir," Limbaugh said. "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." Limbaugh owned up to his mistake and behaved as any gentleman should." - Mark Whittington, Yahoo Contributor Network.

Is he serious?  A gentleman...?  If that nitwit commentator is serious, I hope his mama slaps him across the face for being so damn dumb. 

If Whittington thinks that Rush meant a single word of his apology, he needs a crash course in how the real world works.  In order to collect his big, fat paycheck, Rush needs to bring in the ratings - therefore being the blowhard he is pays off.  Ratings = lots of advertising bucks.  Loss of advertisers = Rush Limbaugh can be the bigshot ass that he gets off on all he wants to, but at the end of the day he has to carry his balls in his hand the same as anyone else who is reliant upon someone else for a paycheck. 

There is nothing "gentlemanly" about humility.  My guess is that Rush Limbaugh's apology was dripping with snake oil coated insincerity. 

And to compare the guy to Bill Maher is just apples and oranges.  Maher is where he is, likely because I can't remember a time he's ever apologized for anything he's said.  Even if his bosses told him to, I firmly suspect that he'd tell them to lick his buttcrack and smile for the cameras while doing it. 

At the very least, Maher may be a raving maniac, but he is an informed maniac.  Limbaugh can't even be bothered to get the name right of the person he's raking over the coals.  Furthermore, he likes to rant over issues that exist only in his own head.  Sandra Fluke wasn't ever asking the government to subsidize her sex life.  She was challenging the policies of parochial schools. 

Limbaugh has every right to disagree with her, as Maher does with Palin or anyone in the United States does with each other.  But if the best argument you can come up with involves second-grade insults and ignorance on the issue at hand, it doesn't deserve the attention the public has given. 

Rush is Rush.  He is paid to piss people off - namely women and Democrats - on a regular basis.  If we didn't have Rush around to hate, it'd be somebody else sitting in his seat.  It's great that the show has lost seven major sponsors in the last few days as a reaction to the anger of the general public, but get back to me a month from now with an updated scorecard after the fire has gone down. 

When I was a kid, my big brother would pick on me constantly, because he knew that sooner or later I'd start hollering at him, crying and carrying on, which would inevitably get me in trouble for being the noisy one while he sat by with the face of an angel while swishing his pointed tail behind him.  Finally my mother explained to me that if I simply ignored him, he would stop.  Well, he never stopped in the last forty years, but I have learned that by ignoring him it's my best revenge because he can't handle it.  Suddenly he's behaving like a kid in Sunday School. 

Villains act the way they do because they can.  They get away with it.  But we will never ignore Rush Limbaugh because sadly, too many others think just the same, therefore they feed his ego and encourage his behavior. 

I wasn't offended as a woman by Limbaugh's words.  I don't care for his opinions, therefore don't listen to the shows, or pay any mind to other media coverage of his antics.  It's a blip on my radar.  I was annoyed, as a person, and my gender had nothing to do with it.  He won't stop because I ignore him, he'll keep trying to get my listenership.  It was Mark Whittington who challenged me to write this opinionation today.  It's like watching someone walk around all night with spinach in their teeth or toilet paper trailing from their pants.  A person deserves to be told when their naivete is showing.

Never apologize and never explain - it's a sign of weakness.” - John Wayne

Friday, January 13, 2012

If I Only Had A Prayer

“I’d unravel every riddle for any individ’le in trouble or in pain.  I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry, if I only had a brain…” 

My brain rarely has answers, but it sure comes up with a lot of questions.  It asks, then I sit, and it thinks. 

I don’t understand the church of football.  It’s not a game I can sink my teeth in to, but my husband is a devout worshipper, especially after his hometown team, the Green Bay Packers, won the Super Bowl (compare to the Holy Grail) last year.  There are few things that truly excite him, so I have to believe there’s some merit to these men running around in their girlish spandex uniforms, making up amendments to rules every time something goes wrong, pretending they’re not divas and drama queens with shoulder pads.  I’ve seen some of them throw down like Krystal and Alexis on any given day. 

It’s a brutal sport, so I figure that’s the appeal.  Then, along comes a gentle lion named Tim Tebow, and he’s getting a whole lot of attention.  He’s like the little Christian that could, chugging to the end zone before dropping to his knees in prayer.  Apparently, a good chunk of Americans believe he’s got angel wings under that jersey.  According to a telephone survey conducted Tuesday by the website Poll Position, 43.3 percent of people believe Tebow's accomplishments on the field can be attributed to divine intervention. The poll surveyed 1,056 people, and of the 756 who said they were familiar with Tebow, roughly 327 of them said they believe God plays a role in the second-year NFL quarterback's success.”

Which led to a debate I stumbled upon online, led by Brian Copeland, a San Francisco news personality.

It’s all about the learning, and the growing.  Evil exists so that we might know right from wrong.  Challenging me to think about such things is only preaching to the choir, Carol, but I’m always thankful for a reminder memo. 

Does God have a hand in all things, big and small?  If I were to believe in the Christian God, I’d like to think that he doesn’t play favorites.  He is the Almighty, and a title such as that comes with responsibilities.  A parent can’t only be there for the child’s biggest traumas; parenting requires also dealing with the little sniffles, the small heartbreaks and the triumphs of all sizes. 

So how do we compare a small victory like a winning touchdown to the horrors we witness across the globe?  Is it really apples and oranges?  I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but I have my theories that help me sleep at night. 

My dear friend Anthony sure gets on my nerves at times.  He is a good soul, albeit a small soul in a big pond, and believes anything God has to say to him, but I don’t think God’s given an answer yet as to why Anthony’s been battling cancer for the past year. 

Maybe He’s been too busy helping Tim Tebow get through the season.

“I’m pushing an elephant up the stairs, I’m tossin’ out punchlines that were never there.  Over my shoulder a piano falls, crashing to the ground.  I’m breakin’ through, I’m bending spoons, I’m keeping flowers in full bloom.  I’m lookin’ for answers from the great beyond…”

© Kymberlie Ingalls, January 13, 2012

If I Only Had A Brain / The Wizard Of Oz Official Soundtrack
The Great Beyond / R.E.M.


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