Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ticketmaster Stinks

It really does. If an idealistic professor at an American university ever needs the perfect example to illustrate why monopolies are a bad idea, all he/she has to do is hold up a ticket stub to the fill-in-the-blank concert. One look at the obscene service fees they charge per ticket, not to mention the horribly below-standard website that I bet is the cause of more smashed computers and multiple F-bomb &#%$ rants than anything short of a local news cut-in during the last five minutes of General Hospital -- on a Friday.

I tried getting tickets to one of 5 U2 concerts happening in October in NYC. I couldn't get 1 ticket -- not 1 ticket! -- to any of the shows. I have a cable modem so bandwidth isn't the problem -- the problem is a system that can't handle a high volume of traffic. That's the funny thing, though. How can the amount of traffic be suprising? Do they not expect fans of the world's most popular band to flood the Internet trying to get tickets? Maybe the higher ups at Ticketmaster feel their hefty profits are better spent earning interest than reinvested back into their infrastructure. After all, what are upset customers like myself going to do, stop using Ticketmaster and use another service?

Unless you like getting raped and pillaged by ticket brokers, that is not an option. Unbelievable. And I haven't mentioned Ticketmaster's phone service. This may sound like sour grapes, but the next time I score a pair of tickets over the phone on the day they go on sale, it will be the first. And I've been a concertgoer for 17 years.

What a great business. You operate in a field with steady demand, no competition, you can scrimp on customer service because your customers are held hostage by the lack of options, the government does nothing about it and the only people with the guts to take a stand were a grunge band (Pearl Jam) on the downslope of their popularity.

I don't know .. maybe instead of bashing them I should congratulate them on being brilliant businessmen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Has there ever been a show as addictive as '24?' Seriously, it's like the China White of television. Once you invest two hours, three at most, into it, the show gets its dramatic hooks into you and never lets go. Last night was no exception. Before the first commercial break we saw someone (Paul, Audrey's soon-to-be ex-husband) getting tortured for information (which is a well-known rite of passage for '24' characters), Jack kill 3 bad guys, and a bad guy commando unit arrive looking to kill both of them. All of this while L.A. is in the midst of a blackout caused by an EMP blast (don't ask; just go with it).

L.A. being L.A., a blackout means one thing -- looters! Which of course is used as a plot device to put Jack in a position to pad his body count, which after episode 13(?), is nearing the 2 dozen mark. Mr. Bauer resumed his body-bagging ways in a big way last night, after being noticeably merciful the past few weeks [Last week, he took down those 3 security guards using just his hands and head -- what, he couldn't have snapped at least one of their necks?].

Last night also was proof of another '24ism' -- bad things happen to people who hang around Jack. Poor Paul had a better chance of surviving the day if he would have been working with the terrorists.

I'm really enjoying Season 4 -- I know some people complain that the series doesn't have as many twists but they've really ramped up the action, so I think that's a good trade-off. Besides, I have no idea where the writers are taking us regarding the big storyline, so I'm happy.

But the best part of this season has been the focus on Jack & Tony's friendship. That has been the most well-developed aspect of the show during its history (aside from Jack's tortured existence) and Kiefer & Carlos have really shined in their scenes together. I just hope the bloodthirsty writers don't make Tony's redemption his swan song. Aside from Jack Bauer, Tony Almeida is the show's most well-developed character. But I wouldn't bet this month's mortgage payment on Tony living another day.

Now if only they would bring back Chloe ...