Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

At war with Columbia House records

It doesn’t look like my new update program is working that well now – it mysteriously got confused and started creating 0 length files out of some journal pages. I think I fixed it, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to modify it a bit more so it makes a backup of stuff before it starts destroying things.

I spent a lot of last night either trying to fix the above program, or trying to get to the end of Tetris Plus. I think I’m about 4 levels away from finishing. But the last time I said that was when I was on vacation and thought I’d cleared the four worlds on the map. Then, Atlantis and another 20 levels magically appeared, and each level has been tremendously difficult. I’ve probably burned through 6 sets of batteries on my Game Boy trying to beat this thing. While waiting in O’Hare, I went through one set of batteries on one level, playing it over and over. An addiction – it isn’t heroin, but it will probably burn out my eyes over time.

I’m at war with Columbia House records. About two months ago, they sent me a “we want you back” offer saying I could get 15 CDs for free, WITH NO SHIPPING, and then I’d have to buy 4 more and quit. I get this kind of thing all the time, but not with free shipping – that’s like $40. So I signed up (but not with the little stamps they gave me – I dug out my A-Z catalog and ordered a bunch of jazz stuff that never appears in their fliers) and I waited. And waited. That was on 10/7. With 6-8 weeks of postal malady, they’d be here by now, right? This Saturday, I got my first “return this or we’ll send you the new Madonna album or something else horrible”. OK, it had a membership number and everything, so that meant that either the stuff got crossed, since they send CDs 4th class and mailings second class, or someone took all of my CDs from the rental office and sold them for methadone. More waiting. Last night I got like 6 hangups on my answering machine while I was playing GameBoy (if your name doesn’t show up in caller ID, you talk to the little black box). I answered on the 7th, thinking maybe I’d won some German lottery, or my girlfriend was at a payphone with her kidney missing or something. It was… Columbia House. Some poor kid was reading off a notecard and asking me if I wanted to come back to Columbia House. After his canned speech, I told him I THOUGHT I WAS A MEMBER. He gave me an 800 number to call from 8am-10pm Indiana time (of course it was 7:01PM, aka 10:01 Indiana time). I called thismorning, and they didn’t know where the CDs were, although they sent them out on 10/22. But, they were nice enough to re-send all of the CDs to me and I didn’t even have to threaten them with bodily harm. (They run this club out of Bloomington – I could probably fly to Indiana, buy a flamethrower and an AK-47, and get my 15 CDs the hard way). Anyway, maybe my stuff will show up in another 2 months. Maybe I’ll get both shipments and I can sell one set of CDs.

My sister Monica bought a 98 Saturn, so I no longer have the newest car in the family. Maybe after I get rid of my Escort, I could buy the oldest car in the family. Come to think of it, that wouldn’t work – my mom’s husband has a bunch of 55 57 chevys.