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Lamester | The Bleat.

It’s a sad fact, but true: no matter how magnificent your backup strategy, or how elegantly organized your computer is, no one gives a tin krep. At best they’ll be impressed for 3 or 4 seconds, and then there’s either pity or envy. No better proof of virtue being its own reward. Except for helping orphans in other countries. But they don’t care either. And after all you’ve done for them.

My parents “adopted” a kid through one of those church charities when I was a kid; we got occasional letters, written on thin paper, thanking us for the things we sent. I wondered if he was a sort-of brother now. Wonder what happened to him. Which brings us to . . .

Well, wait. Later. There was something else I was going to talk about. Oh: Netflix. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cool, nifty, successful company screw the pooch with such vigor before. It’s not the price hike – that happens. It wasn’t the changes to the plan, whereby you had to choose streaming or old-style ancient boring physical media or both, because as far as I could tell nothing changed. But spinning off the DVD service? The minute you announce you’ve done that, people think: so I can’t go to the same website for my stuff? Do I have to create another account? Another login? Another password? I can’t bear to do that. Every day I have to do that just to finish the most elemental tasks online, it seems. I want to join something, and there’s an enormous form, and when it asks me to choose my country there’s a drop-down list that STARTS AT AFGHANISTAN, and then I have to wait for a confirmation email, and click on that, and then I’m in, and three months later I’m getting emails from this thing and I don’t remember what it was in the first place.

Some people think: there’s probably a way to get it all together in one place, but it involves that Facebook, so to hell with that.

Anyway. I understand why they did it; more lucre in streaming, no physical inventory, hence no warehouses, hence no distribution centers. Let someone else do it. Hell, let George do it. That was a phrase I heard in my early youth, and had no idea what it meant. Turns out it was a radio show about a private eye, George Valentine, played by Bob Bailey. I’d say the cultural reference is completely forgotten, but if you type LET GEO into the Google search field, the first result is Let George Do It, not “Let Geocaching Die as a Hipster Conceit” or “Let George Clooney paint his Lake Como villa purple and plaid for all I care” or any other matter of pressing concern. So if someone else handles the DVD subscription business, fine. Maybe I’ll be a customer. Maybe I won’t. I use Netflix for the occasional new movie, but mostly for old stuff. I can probably fill the gap with TCM. Ta; ta.

Streaming? I love streaming. They need more stuff. They have a lot of stuff. They need more. I can always find something, but my wife, who requires – nay, demands – new fresh entertainment, is frustrated by the selection. So the company cleaves in twain at the worst moment for both models, then. But that’s not my objection.

It’s the name.

Quickster.

Let me just state for the record that I hate with every whirling atom of my being the suffix -ster. It’s as if they wanted something smirky and insincere with that deadpan “hey awesome dude” tone that isn’t really serious about it being awesome at all.

There is no one in the world who would be excited to be a part of something called Quickster.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to the novel. Finished the big Cleveland chapter. Can’t wait to revise this one. I hardly knew the main characters when I started, and now I know them much better. Tics and traits, likes and secrets – when you know these things you have to go back and seed the writing. The idea is still the same: Sherlock Holmes in a hard-boiled 40s detective novel set in a newspaper. I’m 24,000 words away from the Shocking Conclusion. Here’s what makes it interesting: the events in this book influence the plot of the fifth book in the series, and while I have the ending to that one, the where and how, I only have half the why. So I have to set up an idea I got two years ago.

But there’s more. The Casablanca Bar exists, in one form or another, in every one of the five novels. (Or eight, if I decide to retrofit three others for electronic publication.) It’s a dingy joint in the first, a punk club in the second (that novel will be written early next year, and man, I can’t wait: it’s the music novel about the end of punk / new wave), a 1947 music lounge on the slide in the third, a faded piano bar in the fourth, and a parking lot in the fifth.

Anyway. Here’s a little thing, offered without commentary.

In the twenties pulp mags would run “Missing” columns, where people could send a note into the great wide world asking whatever happened to such-and-such. There’s a novel in each one of these entries. Go HERE. Enjoy!

 

76 Responses to Lamester

  1. Chas C-Q says:

    Disintermediation is the order of the day. The operators of Netflix/Qwikster are taking their cue from the Current Occupant (to borrow an expression) and “managing the decline.”

  2. Joe Miller says:

    Wasn’t Qwikster the Batman villain who cheated at Scrabble?

  3. hpoulter says:

    OK, I give up – what is Cinester? I recommended CafeDVD as an alternative for classic movie fans.

  4. @hpoulter. A joke name, get it, Netflix could call their “new” service “Cinester” because they are so evil.

    :D oh, I crack myself up.

  5. swschrad says:

    @bgbear: isn’t it so fun to be easily amused? for instance, I’m trying to type in the shed while keeping the cat from crawling out of my lap and onto the keyboard.

    the overall problem with NetPhux, frankly, is they have been streaming dead-slow lame Flash ads in pop-under for a good 10 years. I have hated them, thus, for a good 10 years. evil, twisted little trolls. maybe with the split and fall from grace on Wail Street, this will end.

    can’t be a moment too soon.

  6. shesnailie says:

    _@_v – and interesting lost and found…

    http://citynoise.org/article/10097

    posting of a postcard is found by the offspring of the people who sent it/got it…

  7. kitty just wants to comfort you during your convalescence or, keep warm with someone who can’t move around too much.

  8. hpoulter says:

    It’s a gift to be easily amused. ;-)

  9. jamcool says:

    “Qwikster” is very close to the name “Quixtar”, which was what Amway briefly renamed their US “pyramid” operations. (sinced renamed to Amway Global)

    So Netflix wants to sell you soap along with DVDs?

  10. jwilson says:

    Took me a minute to get it.Re,”delivering frosty cold glasses of choclate and strawberry milk” LOL, thanks Kevin.
    Shipped back in a crate!? I take heart in beleiving that all these souls have been reunited on the other side of this life.

  11. swschrad says:

    @jamcool: very good, missed that. I’m sure the Amway legal staff won’t. Want DVD/Blue-Ray entertainment really fast, overnight? Let us draw the circles for you. Fun for the whole family, and a great source of pride and income! yeah, I can see the marketing now.

    first 50 subscribers will be state attorneys general.

  12. swschrad says:

    not to denegrate the products made in USA by Amway and divisions. had a buddy who had a couple organizations for a few years. made bupkis overall but the stuff was good, with an added layer of profit going to the uplines.

  13. Pilgrim says:

    MISSING: “There’s a novel in each one.” A while ago, someone suggested that my wife write a book on her observations and viewpoints on child-rearing, education, etc. My wife responded that she was already writing two books called “Elizabeth” and “Amy”.

  14. DryOwlTacos says:

    @ExGeeEye: My sincerest condolences to you and your sister and best wishes for a swift resolution to the work that lies ahead.

    I like to “rent movies” occasionally and watch them on my Blu-Ray player. I do not do this often enough to justify a Netflix/Quikster/Blockbuster subscription. I’m a PPV type of consumer. I hope the local Hastings Entertainment store will keep its rental video section open for me and the rest of us Luddites.

  15. DryOwlTacos says:

    And I currently drive a 2002 Crate. It uses a little oil but otherwise gives good service.

  16. Jan says:

    James – upon it’s premiere, “Missing” is already beloved.

  17. S.T. Mum says:

    My condolences, also, to ExGeeEye.

    On the -ster ending: It’s become so overused, it IS annoying. “Quikster” sounds like a nudge, nudge, wink, wink “aren’t we so clever?” type name.

  18. Sonny Moon says:

    Instead of “Qwikster,” how about “The Qor”? I hear its up for grabs.

  19. Will says:

    The part of the Netflix/Qwikster thing that mystifies me is the separation into two companies, with two separate accounts. Why? My single Amazon login allows me to buy real books, kindle books, toasters, mp3s, CDs, DVDs, and watch streaming video, among about ninety thousand other things. Why on earth should someone who wants both streaming and DVD rentals have to curate two queues, two credit card bills, two sets of ratings and recommendations, etc?

  20. BeckoningChasm says:

    My problem with the new Netflix is that, while streaming is convenient, it turns out most of what I want to see from them isn’t available online. So I’ll burn through what I can’t get physically (“The Keep” for example) and go to a DVD-only plan.

  21. lettucefactory says:

    Yes, exactly. I didn’t bat an eye when Netflix changed its prices and I was compelled to choose a new plan. It happens. I chose DVD-only because, like your wife, I demand fresh media and their streaming service just doesn’t deliver much of it.

    I thought this was all peachy.

    Until a few weeks later, I get an email from the Netflix CEO telling me that he is dumping me as a customer.

    Which is exactly what it is. They’ve clearly decided that DVDs are dinosaurs, and thus too are the people who subscribe to them. They don’t even want us associated with their precious Netflix name.

    The two charges on the credit card was the thing that really nailed that coffin. Netflix is not just separating its services. It is actively disassociating from DVD customers.

    I’ve reliably given Netflix money every month for years now, and they’re dumping me. I am not used to companies responding to my offers of cash in this way.

  22. Wiz says:

    Wow, what’s with the Geocaching hatred? I’m as anti-hipster as it’s possible to get — major computer and gadget geek — but it’s a fun little hobby. It’s like mini treasure hunts I take the kids on, and they love it. The 12-year-old thinks GPS receivers and electronic gadgets are cool, the 7-year-old loves finding hidden things, we all get out of the house…

    Hipsters would no doubt find it boring, passe, and pedestrian.

  23. persnickety says:

    @wiz, yes. Geocaching gets you out of the house and often to new little parks and historical areas and natural oddities you would never have otherwise discovered.

    Beats all heck out of watching a Sarah Silverman or others of her ilk.

  24. strychnine says:

    Re: “Missing”, a google return for our Mr. Hugh W. Terrill (missing 1921, aged 27), last seen near Boston, turns up a death in Vermont of a man of the same name, a year later, same age.

    spooky

  25. Joanna says:

    Re: missing announcements – So terribly depressing! In many cases, so many years had already passed, so what were the odds of finding a person in a pre-computerized era? They didn’t even have SSNs to go by yet, so there was no way to find out if a person was working anywhere else in the country.

    I especially feel bad for all those orphans, and from those, particularly the boy whose father remarried and was sent to a home. Nice stepmother!

  26. Peter Bismire says:

    The Interwebs never forget -

    Patrick Webb Major
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1821&dat=19280423&id=T0stAAAAIBAJ&sjid=cZ8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1611,4843840

    Born – 21 March 1885, South Carolina
    Died – 26 May 1954, San Diego, California.

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