FreeCreditReport.com: Free?

I recently got a collections notice for an account I never had. Apparently, somebody else with my name stiffed Duke Energy for $141; Duke turned the account over to collections and the agency apparently got my name and address from the phone book, as I never lived at the service address! Nor have I ever heard of the car lot I supposedly ran. 🙂

Thinking this may be an instance of identity theft, I went to FreeCreditReport.com (the one with the “pirate hat” commercials). It asked for a credit card during my request for my free credit report, and I thought “what?” That just proves you have to read the fine print; that site does not charge you for your credit report but it will sign you up for a credit monitoring service. You have to call within 9 days to cancel the service or they will charge your card for the amount. So it appears that “free” is not really free.

I have a problem with things claiming to be free that actually aren’t. I’m a huge Linux fan (a “linux munky”, you might say! *laughs!*) and I’m used to downloading free programs for Linux. However, try to find a free program for Windows online and many of them will say “free” but the program must be registered and/or purchased before it will work. Only the download itself is free; the program is not. I think websites should be more clear about what exactly is free. 🙂

Incidentally, I ended up getting my credit report from annualcreditreport.com. It really is free. 🙂

Time to move to Florida!

We had a brief (48 hours) cold snap here in Lafayette.

Night:

Day:

It actually got colder than indicated; I think it hit -21 at some point that night.

The night before the cold snap hit, it got down to about 9 above. Our heat pump kept up with the temperature but it never quit running that night. So I switched it to emergency heat, which worked pretty well even at the coldest point outside.

I think our heat pump is scaring our neighbor. Every so often, the heat pump will switch to defrost mode, basically reversing itself to run hot fluid through the pump to melt any accumulated ice. When it defrosts, you’ll see steam rising from the pump, sometimes a lot of steam if it is really iced over. The night before I switched it to emergency heat, our neighbor walked from his front door to our heat pump (I could see the tracks in the snow). I think they’re seeing the steam and thinking it’s on fire or something; can’t say I blame them, as I was concerned when I first saw it after buying the house! *laughs!*

Merry Christmas from Comcast, part 2

I discovered that Comcast will be giving us the MLB Network (on channel 516), so I made the decision to add a third converter box to our setup. This has been one of the best customer service calls I have had with Comcast, ‘though it was not without its problems.

I’ll be the first to say that I’ve not been a fan of Comcast. I really loved Insight, but it switched to Comcast last year and the transition was not painless. We were fortunate that we didn’t have nearly the problems as other people, but it was annoying to have several rate increases before getting additional services/channels/etc.

I really got steamed every time I heard the “we have more high def that satellite” commercials (and we heard them quite frequently!) Up until a few weeks ago, we had a measly 13 HD channels, compared to my mothers 90+ on DirectTV. As we still can’t get our local/Indy channels on DirectTV, we were stuck with Comcast. So I did not expect the additional box changes to go smoothly or happen without gouging us with more fees.

I couldn’t justify getting a third DVR (at another $15/month) so I decided to stick with the standard digital box (at $7/month). I called Comcast and was told that they would charge an additional $40 for the service call/installation or they could mail me the box for $2. I asked if I could simply go pick the box up at the local office and was surprised to hear “yes” — I had previously been told we couldn’t do that anymore since the main office moved to Kokomo after the transition.

We went to the Lafayette office and picked up the standard box; ironically, she initially tried to give me the HD/DVR by mistake. I took the standard digital box home to set it up and then realized that it didn’t have an HDMI or Component Outputs, so that put a major crimp in my plans.

I called Comcast again to activate the box and talked to the nicest lady I’d ever have fortune to talk to — she looked at our bill and said “you are paying way too much money, let me see what I can do.” Long story short, she dropped our monthly bill $38, making it comparable with DirectTV and that includes the cable modem service. With that lower monthly amount, I could afford the HD/DVR box and solve all of my problems! 😉

We went back to our local office to exchange the boxes; after a decent wait (they were very busy today) we were able to swap the boxes out. They also sold me a decent HDMI cable for $11 — try getting it for that price at Best Buy! Even Walmart sells it for $19, so this was a bargain.

So I now have MLB Network in my office/mancave, along with our HD channels! Woot!

Comcast actually gave us more high-def

Comcast finally gave us more high-def channels; we’re now up to 42! Still have a way to go before we catch up to Mom’s 90+ on DirectTV.

Unfortunately, the rep I talked to said we won’t be getting the MLB Network anytime soon; why am I not surprised? UPDATED: We are getting MLB Network; in fact, it’s already on our system. Sweet!

We can’t switch to DirectTV because we still don’t get local channels; every county around us can get the Indy channels, but our local CBS affiliate is somehow blocking all locals in our county. I’ve written to my state Congress reps; a single station should not be able to block all locals. If we could receive the Indy channels, we’d switch today — I was concerned about losing WHMB, but LeSea does have a channel on DirectTV, so that would be fine. Now the only thing keeping us with Comcast is the local channels issue.

As much as I really dislike Comcast, I’ve got to admit that I love their “Bill won’t change” commercial — I don’t know why, but I find that really funny. 🙂

Another Yankees acquisition

The Yankees have just signed Mark Teixeira (for an amazing 8-year $108M deal) so we know have a great switch-hitter and a Golden Glove first baseman. I’m sorry to see Giambi go, but if this is his replacement, sweet!

With this last acquisition, we know have a possibly incredible lineup (posted on mlb.com):

1. Johnny Damon LF
2. Derek Jeter SS
3. Alex Rodriguez 3B
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Jorge Posada C
6. Hideki Matsui DH
7. Xavier Nady RF
8. Robinson Cano 2B
9. Brett Gardner CF

I’d like to see Posada catching this year; he’s a great catcher with a good bat, but I’m not sure how healthy he’ll stay. I thought Molina had a great year last year; wonder if he’s still a Yankee?

I’d like to see Melky in center, if his bat improves. Then again, at his lowest, he was still had a better average than Gardner (who is absolutely amazing on the bases).

Man, I can’t wait ’til season starts this year!

Yankees off-season updates

The Yankees have been busy this month. We’ve signed both CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett to help bolster our starting pitching rotation, and it sounds like we are serious about pursuing Mark Teixeira. It also looks like Andy Petitte will be back. But the Moose is gone; Mike announced his retirement in November.

I’m surprised by Sabathia — he wanted to stay in the National League, but I guess the $162 million dollar contract was enough to sway him. 🙂

I’m a bit concerned about Burnett; he has a history of getting injured, but I am hopeful he’ll work out.

With the new additions and Wang and Joba getting healthy, our pitching should do very well next year!

I was afraid Melky was going to be traded to the Brewers, but it looks like that deal has fallen apart. I think Melky is a better player than he showed last year; if you’ll remember, he hit well early in the season and he’s a great outfielder. He is doing well in the Dominican Winter League with a .304 average. So I’m hopeful he’ll be in center field next season. And even if he isn’t, I’ll still wear my “Got Melky?” shirts with pride! 🙂

Are you ready for some football? Apparently not…

I’m having a lot of difficulty getting into football this year. I really enjoyed baseball season and I wasn’t ready for it to end in October (especially with the Yankees out of the postseason). Purdue’s football team has had a rough season and the Colts started out very slow.

Now Purdue’s season will end tomorrow after the IU game and I can’t say that I’m not ready for it to be over. UPDATE: Wow! Purdue wins! 62-10! Where was this team earlier this year? 🙂

Maybe the Colts will start playing better (we’re 6-4 now, I think) so maybe I can salvage part of the season.

I may actually watch college basketball this year; Purdue is supposed to have a good team. I’m not so sure about Kentucky; North Carolina beat up on them pretty good this week.

Is it too early to be ready for baseball season yet? 🙂

TDTESS: Remake madness

It’s commonly said that Hollywood has lost all originality, but in the case of the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, that doesn’t seem to be the problem.

The original 1951 version of TDTESS is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I had hopes that the remake would remain faithful to the original movie while bringing the story into the modern era. However, after seeing the trailers for the remake those hopes are gone. The remake appears to be a “re-imaging” of the original, so expect to see a lot of CGI battles/scenes of random destruction.

Maybe the trailers aren’t doing the new movie justice; maybe it will be better than it appears in the trailers. Maybe I’ll just watch my original DVD. 🙂

I can look on the bright side though; the money that I would have spent at the movies can be put to better use. *laughs!*

SWCW: Worst episode ever!

I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised with the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes now playing on Cartoon Network. At least, until this week…

Why on earth would they devote an entire episode to Jar Jar? The character was a nasty stereotype in Phantom Menace and instead of being amusing he’s often quite annoying (my wife says “worst character ever, even worse than Towlie”). This week’s Clone Wars episode was a continuation of his Phantom Menace “antics” and not at all enjoyable — I found myself wanting to turn it off half-way through the episode but I’m stubborn. Then when I finished it, I wondered why I bothered. 🙂

And yes, I am well aware of the irony of running to the computer to express my dislike for the episode on the Internet (at least I’m a lot thinner than Comic Book Guy!) *grin!*

BTW, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually like Towlie!
“I have no idea what’s going on…” *laughs!*