Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's Wrong With the Saturn Awards?

In 1997 I wrote an article about the Saturn Awards for Horror magazine. Horror folded before printing it, but my article was eventually published in my 2001 horror collection, Halloween Candy.

Back then I thought that the Saturn Award was the definitive horror film award. But times change. This past decade has seen a mushrooming of horror film festivals and awards, including the one I founded: the Tabloid Witch Awards.

With so many horror film awards around these days (a phenomenon that I discuss in my upcoming book), the Saturn is no longer so special.

Although dated, I now offer this article for free online, as a retrospective of the state of horror film awards in 1997.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Verizon Sucks: Steals Another $50 from Me

Despite my past problems with Verizon wireless billing, last December I made the mistake of upgrading to their new 4G network.

In late January, I asked Verizon to Suspend my 4G service (for a $15 fee, saving on the monthly $50 charges). Verizon told me my service was Suspended.

Then I got my bill. My 4G service was NOT Suspended. I was charged the full $50.

I called to complain, waited and waded through Verizon's robotic phone menu, and finally told my problem to a human being. She told me that she would fix the problem, crediting me back the money I should have saved.

On my next bill, I saw that I had only been partially credited. I was still overcharged $33. Feeling the futility of dealing with Verizon, I let it rest.

In early March I traveled again, so I un-Suspended my 4G service. In mid-March I asked to re-Suspend service. Verizon assured me they had done so.

Naturally, on my next bill, I saw this was NOT the case. I was charged the full $50.

I phoned again. This time Verizon told me that they offer the option of SUSPENSION WITHOUT BILLING or SUSPENSION WITH BILLING. Verizon had thought I wanted SUSPENSION WITH BILLING.


Who would want SUSPENSION WITH BILLING? What's the point of suspending your service if you're still going to be billed?

I finally told Verizon to disconnect the service, despite the ADDITIONAL $160 disconnection fee. The Verizon rep told me "What I can do is charge you the $50, and ask my supervisor to credit you with the $50 on your next bill."

But I knew from my previous dispute just how worthless Verizon's promises to "credit back" are.

I suppose I'll pay the $160 disconnect fee, and dispute the $50 fee on my credit card statement.

I still use Verizon landline and cell phone -- they're next to go. I've had it with Verizon.

PS: If you're wondering if Verizon's 4G broadband wireless is as fast and reliable as Verizon claims, well, it's faster than their 3G ... when it works. But their 4G is not as fast as home wifi.

And Verizon's 4G still has problems with "going dormant." If you stay on any webpage for a minute or so, the 4G will go dormant, and you can't click to another page. Sometimes, you'll have to disconnect and reconnect to get out of dormancy mode (i.e., to wake up the damn 4G modem).

Then there's the problem of the modem disconnecting on its own. That still happens.