DEAR DIARY, 12/4. Speeding across the Internet today when I noticed TCI's Web site. Skidded to a halt and left a nasty e-mail message to "Tardy Cable Installers," something like: Am I ever going to get my new expanded North Seattle channel lineup? Do you know what life is like without C-SPAN 2? Stop me before I Oprah again! Love, Rick. Ha ha.
The TCI computer mailed back and said it would have its people call my people.
Dear diary, 12/8. Bob, or John, maybe Ed it was, called today. Said he was from TCI. Got my mail. Had good news! First, my new channel lineup would be tre-mendous: old people (History Channel), yuppie people (MSNBC), weird people (Sci-Fi), even naked people (Spice) if I opted. He said my Expanded Basic would be Expanded even more—like 70 channels instead of the puny 40 now. And best of all: "Rick? Can I call you Rick? Rick, the word is Friday! You'll have your new lineup Friday!" No kidding? "We don't kid."
Dear diary, 12/11. Friday, diary! I bounced out of bed and put on my best TV-watching underwear. Got my coffee and sat in the radium glow of the boob tube. Click. Click. And click. Same ol' same ol'. Nobody old, yuppie, weird, or naked, other than Geraldo's guests. What the . . . ?
Dear diary, 12/12. Aha! The papers today say TCI has shamefully confessed to everything: They won't be keeping their promise to me or City Hall. Only a third of Seattle will have gotten Expanded by the end of next month—when the whole city was to have been upgraded. It'll be six to nine more months for the rest of us! Liars, liars, liars!
Dear diary, 12/13. Still sad and blue. Paying $40 a month for 40 channels. In W. Seattle they have 70 channels for $40. We should be at war! If they got two garbage cans on Alki for the price of one, Magnolia would launch its missiles! P.S. Please please today don't anyone tell me the ending to Starsky & Hutch. I taped it!
Dear diary, 12/14. City Council committee meets. Roughs up TCI, calls names, threatens fines, yadda yadda. I mean, what's in it for me? On TV, TCI guy says maybe they'll give out rebates for ripping us off. Or maybe not. Thinks he can take advantage—figures we're all a bunch of pinheads who watch TV 17 hours a day. Hey! . . . Oh wow, he looks like the guy who lived upstairs in Three's Company!
Dear diary, 12/15. Called TCI. "Penny" answers. Says, "What happened to your upgrade? Well, I don't know." Wishes she had maps. "I mean, there's 450 miles left to do!" Maybe I've been Expanded and don't know it. Tells me to turn my channel to 35. I do, TNT is on. "Nope, that should be Speed Vision." Speed what? "If you don't have Speed Vision, you don't have the upgrade." Duh. "Don't know what to tell you. Suggest once a week you turn to channel 35. If Speed Vision is on, you're upgraded." Well what about a credit or something? "Oh you saw the news article, huh? [Huffy] They've got to look at the fact that the city had all that time to give us permits to do the wiring upgrades, and didn't!" No comprendo. "It's the city's fault. The way people have been writing it up, it's like TCI has been . . . shabby." And the rebate? "The rebate?"
Dear diary, 12/24. Sorry. Have been too upset to write. Feeling better now, watching the Jerry Springer Celebrity Xmas Free for All. Heck, who needs more cable? The world's already at my fingertips. Oh man, can you believe Kathie Lee took Frank two out of three falls!