Direct TV Billing Dispute

Direct TV
Attn: Billing Disputes
P.O. Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO 80155

Account Info:
Account Number: 123456
ph: 123.456.7890


I have been a Direct TV customer for over 10 years. A little over a year ago (08/28/08), my Tivo DVR was having problems and I considered switching to Cable. Someone in your retention group convinced me to stick with Direct TV – they said they would throw in a Free HD DVR. I specifically asked if there was an addition contract commitment and they said there was not. I called to cancel my Direct TV today, and the 3 people I spoke with said that there would be a nearly $200 charge if I canceled now. I WOULD NOT have remained a Direct TV customer in 2008 if I had been told that there was a 2 year commitment involved – the technology changes too fast for any commitment longer than a year.

At this point I am switching to Cable for my TV viewing with a 1 year commitment. In a year I plan to investigate U-verse and satellite again, but if we can not resolve this billing dispute, Direct TV will not be considered.

James Hofer

p.s. I will be posting a copy of this letter on my Blog and on Facebook along with your response.

X-MEN: Last Stand (X-MEN 3) — Review

I will agree with Brother Mike that the latest installment in the X-Men series isn’t nearly as good as the previous two, but I would disagree that it is as bad as Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (Nothing can hold a stench next to that turd).

The original plan was for me to take Justin and Danielle to the 4:50 showing of X3 at the Galaxy Theater using two free passes Brenda had.  That would have worked, had the show not been sold out.  The theater gave me a third free pass, so the three of us had free tickets to the 7:35 showing.  We killed time by going to Faust park and playing on their new playground equipment (which is one of the best playgrounds I have seen).  The kids were nearly eaten by a ferocious mutant caterpillar (fitting since we were going to see a movie about mutants).

When we got back to the theater, it was surprisingly packed.  I didn’t think X-men would be popular this late into it’s run on a Thursday night.  Perhaps it is just run-off from the Superman Returns crowd.  The show started a little late, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but it did mean that the kids were going to be up pretty late.  The previews for Pirates 2 and My Super ex-girlfriend looked pretty good.

Anyway, about the movie…

If you didn’t already have knowledge of who the new characters were based on, the movie was watchable, but the characters would seem very flat (almost no character development for any of the key mutants).  If you DID have prior knowledge to give the characters depth, you might be offended at how badly the characters were portrayed/used.  This brings me to my biggest complaint about the movie — length.  In the age of 3 hours movies, an hour and fourty-five minutes doesn’t cut it.  They could have/should have added twenty to thirty minutes of character development and plot twists.  Like Mike said, the movie is very predictable and linear.  The only surprises were the sheer number of major mutants they killed off.

If you are looking for mindless, action packed, entertainment, the movie would probably work for you.  The dialog was poor, but again, not nearly as bad as Star Wars III.  I asked the kids what they thought, and they rated the movie as okay, but not great, so either the story wasn’t to their liking, or they were looking forward to more than just special effects.  They liked the first two X-men movies better as well, so obviously this one was missing something.

Caution spoilers follow,

My biggest complaint is probably the story lines, and again this could go back to the movie length.  The two main story lines, a cure for mutants, and the return of Jean Grey could have been their own stories.  The problem is, the storiesdidn’t intertwine, and neither was developed enough.  The cure for mutants could have been a lot deeper topic – they barely touched the surface of why some mutants might want to give up their powers and why others would be offended.  They touched on the ethical points of forced cures, but not enough.  Basically they didn’t focus on the story enough to see where it would take them.

The return of Jean Grey as the Phoenix was a complete waste.  They barely touched on her power and she just sat back during the first major battle.  She could have and should have destroyed most of San Francisco in a fit of rage.  She was far to big a menace with far too much potential for the short cut solution they came up with. 

In summary,

The viewers were cheated out of two good stories.  The movie had potential that was never realized.  Hopefully they will do better for X4 (and yes, they probably will do an X4).

A good option

There is an inmate on death row in Indiana who wants to donate his liver to his sister (no, she doesn’t want it as a souvenir, she needs a transplant).  I think all death row inmates should have the option of donating organs.  I don’t know how many people are put to death each year, but any additional kidneys, livers, hearts, etc. would probably be welcome.  I’m thinking you put them under for surgery, remove everything of value and they never wake up.  Moving to extremes, you could place them in a persistive vegitative state, only harvesting organs as you need them (although this may be cost prohibitive).

I’m sure there are groups that would have a problem with this, but it would be the inmates option, and I doubt too many people waiting for a transplant are going to care where the organs were harvested from.

Swing State Broadcasting

I guess since Missouri is a swing state in the upcoming presidential election, and St. Louis is the largest city in Missouri, we will not aloud to view the tribute to the 533 (and counting) soldiers killed in Iraq.  Is it possible that this show is politically motivated? Certainly.  But don’t the soldiers who have died in action deserve more than anonymity for their sacrifice?

In truth, I wasn’t planning on watching Nightline tonight anyway.

Submitted by Kristen at 4/30/2004 12:32:56 PM
    In light of our position and in basic concept, this denial makes me completely ill and more angry than ever.

Submitted by Diana at 4/30/2004 4:11:16 PM
Ok, I’ll be the bad guy.
For God’s sake, don’t you have anything better to do on a Friday night than sit and watch the litany of the killed in action? What makes me sick is that this would be aired anywhere. Try going to church and praying for these kids who have died and their families who are grieving. Why make their deaths the newest reality tv show?


I remember in the late 80’s when Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) brought attention to the problem of teens dieing in alcohol related car wrecks. I believe the campaign has been successful, but I haven’t checked the numbers.

I think because of MADD, most teens now know that drinking and driving is a really bad idea (yes, we don’t want you to Drink, but we REALLY don’t want you to drink and drive).

In the late 80’s / early 90’s, we had another problem that we still have today — teens/early twenties getting pregnant or getting STD’s. Back then, as now, parents are wondering how to talk to their children about ‘you know what’. I overheard one parent this weekend saying, “we had always planned on telling them about it when they asked, but they never asked,” to which another replied, “I think you are a day late there.”

So where am I going with all this?

I’m wondering why there isn’t a Parents Against Unsafe Sexual Encounters or PAUSE. PAUSE could do the same thing for teen sex that MADD did for teen drinking — we don’t think you should be having sex, but we REALLY don’t want you to have sex without a condom.


I have a feeling that this is one of those post that my wife would have preferred I not do. As Rosen always says – “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission”

Submitted by ReviewGuru at 4/19/2004 1:11:12 PM
    I think PAUSE is a great idea, with a nice catchy name.
    I am curious as to why your wife may not want you to make such a post…
Submitted by jim at 4/19/2004 1:50:35 PM

    This has the air of controversy. Brenda doesn’t like controversy.
Submitted by Diana at 4/20/2004 9:34:11 AM

    I kinda like PAUSE too, of course Patrick is a little tired of me telling him if he makes me a grandma anytime soon I’ll kill him. And he REALLY didn’t like it when I told him Planned Parenthood had cheap condoms! (I think he was shocked that I said that word in front of him)
    I’m thinking the controversial part would be spreading the word about John’s thoughts on asking permission.