The Horrors of Moving

Horror movies had a character to give a warning to the would-be victims. Here are some moving stories to serve as warning for your own moving stories!

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Horror stories of old, and some of the new, come with a warning.

The most common interpretation of these warnings is to have the would-be victims stop at a gas station to fill up their vehicle with gas. As they wait for the tank to fill, an eerie-looking person will step out and approach them. He’ll give an ominous warning that the direction they plan to go will lead to chaos, and most likely death.

Moving can feel like a horror movie, which is why you should listen to horror stories of others and heed the Message from the Harbinger.

Here’s the familiar “Harbinger” scene from a recent classic, The Cabin in The Woods.


(If you haven’t seen The Cabin in The Woods yet, go watch it! Also, if you have seen it, go watch it again. I’m even reading the novelization!)

The Harbinger is meant to give the would-be victims an opportunity to try a different path or change course completely. In The Cabin in The Woods, and other horror classics like it, The Harbinger scene is the ominous foreboding of what’s to come if the would-be victims don’t heed his warning.

…They don’t.

If the would-be victims listened and changed, then there would be no story, no horror movie, and no victims.

Your moving story doesn’t have to end like theirs.

Take heed and listen to the following stories so you can save yourself from the same peril that befell these victims! (insert ghostly wailing)

Never Trust a Neighborhood

James (not his real name), had been in his new house for barely a full week. It was Sunday, and he opened the garage to pull out his wife’s car as they made ready to go to church. Sitting in the driveway was his work truck.

Something was missing!

The work truck was a Toyota Pre-Runner, with an open bed.

As a pest control technician, James would use an expensive leaf-blower with an attachment to spray treatment chemicals on lawns. It was brand new. Cost nearly $1000.

Moreover, it was gone!

The previous neighborhood James had lived in was rundown. Cars were parked on lawns, a few homes had windows boarded up, and some of the residents had questionable jobs. However, the truck sat out in the open with the leaf-blower in plain sight…no one touched it.

This new neighborhood, although nicer, was still being built. No one parked his or her car on the front lawn, all the windows were intact, and everyone had a job.

Yet, someone had stolen equipment that James didn’t even own.

However, he still had to help pay to replace, to the tune of $450.

The Warning

New neighborhoods, though they may look nice, can still hide secrets.

If you’re not familiar with the area, you can get information from those who do live there. Check out City-Data Forums to see what locals have to say. You can post a question about your neighborhood there and get answers.

Make a Checklist

Bob (not his real name) had moved into a lovely two-story home with his wife and kids. He’d set up a bundle package through a local home services provider, getting his internet, cable TV, and phone from one source. Bob liked the convenience of the single check, and he was finding that it saved him some money.

Six months after the move-in, however, he got a bill with late-charges, overdue fees, and about seven months of monthly charge.

For services on his previous home!

Bob had forgotten to cancel the internet service at his last house.

With those built-up charges, Bob had to do a payment plan, as well as work with his credit company to keep his credit score from taking a hit.

It would take years before Bob could pay down the bill.

The Warning

Make a checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything before you move out of your home. It may seem tedious, but when the moving process revs up, you’ll most likely be too busy to remember everything yourself. A simple piece of paper with the items listed can save you time, and in Bob’s case, money. You can even use the notes app on your smartphone to write out a list.

If you’re worried that you missed a crucial step, check out The Art of Happy Moving. The Art of Happy Moving has a checklist you can download. The checklist breaks down the timeline needed to get things ready for a smoother transition.

If you want to make a list yourself, that’s fine, but make sure you make a list.

However, most of all- don’t forget to cancel services at your old home!

Missing Pieces

On a Friday morning, Jack finally found time to start opening boxes that had piled up in his living room from the recent move. The process of moving had been bumpy, but so far, everything had smoothed out.

He’d hired movers to help, and they’d managed to get everything out of his apartment and storage unit, and into his new home in the time allotted.

However, the very next morning he had to go back to work and the stacks of boxes in his living room sat there for several days.

Now he finally had time to get the unpacking done.

As items came out, he noticed a couple of his Bluetooth speakers were missing. He was sure he’d packed them in the right box, but they weren’t there. All the boxes had been taped up, so the movers couldn’t have opened them and helped themselves to some of Jack’s stuff before they left.

Where were they?!

After opening every box, and stacking the contents everywhere else, he was still sure the speakers were missing.

He headed back to his old apartment and asked the management if someone had turned them into the lost and found. The answer was “no.”

The next week Jack searched the boxes again, called friends who’d helped him move, and still couldn’t find them.

It wasn’t until he’d just about given up hope that he found his missing speakers- right next to his bed. He’d pulled the speakers out of the box before taping them up so that he could show a friend. The friend had put them on top of the boxes when they’d loaded up the moving truck. The movers had placed them next to his bed.

The Warning

You can inventory your entire house to avoid something like this. But then again, that would take a lot of time.

Apps, like Sortly, allow you to take pictures of your stuff and the app will create QR codes that you can print out to put on boxes. You can then scan the closed box to see what’s inside, or what should be inside. While this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of lost items, it can help you track your stuff and provide peace of mind.

Bad Movers

To get his stuff across the country, Vince hired movers who would pack his stuff, as well as his car, into containers. They’d agreed to deliver it to his new address and help him unpack.

Vince, being busy, flew to his new home and continued working until the movers showed up.

When they did show up, however, they demanded “extra fees” because of some trouble getting it across the country. While Vince hadn’t agreed on this stipulation, the movers had the keys to the truck.

Vince also noticed that his car wasn’t with the truck.

Since his stuff was held hostage, and his car was nowhere in sight, Vince had to walk to a nearby gas station to use their ATM. Then he had to walk back, hand over the money, and wait for them to unload all his belongings.

With that finally done, Vince had to then negotiate for his car.

Another trip the nearby ATM and he was given the keys and an address.

He didn’t know how to get there, so he had to plug in the address to his map and use public transportation to get there.

At last, Vince had found his car- it was in a paid parking space, and he had to pay the parking fee to get it out.

The Warning

Make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you’ve made with the moving company that you’ve hired.

Before doing this, check them out on the Better Business Bureau and Yelp. Moving companies who do lousy work will get reported. A simple search of the moving company name, plus the word “complaints,” will help you find out who’s been complaining about them.

More reputable moving companies, though they might be more pricey, will save you a headache and you won’t have to worry about your stuff being held for ransom. They may provide a written contract for you, but you should still make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you made with them.

Save the Jump Scares for the Movies

Horror movies, with their copious deaths and arterial blood spray, are the best place for scary things to happen.

Not your moving experience.

Although every problem can’t is avoidable, you can take some steps to eliminate problems or at least mitigate them. Things like a checklist, writing up a “mover agreement,” or taking inventory of your stuff can save you from a jump scare along the way.

There is one last thing you need to set up for your new home- setting up your new home services.

Home services, like energy utility, home security system, and internet service provider, can be set up before you move in. It’s highly likely you’ll be moving to a new neighborhood, one you’re not familiar with. You may not know who provides energy, or what ISPs are in the area.

Check out the best internet packages and deals from KonectEaze. Here you’ll find internet, cable TV, phone, home security, and in certain places, energy utilities. You can research providers here and find out what deals are available by merely searching your new zip code.

You can save yourself some time, headache, and cash all in one place.

Do you have a moving horror story? Share it in the comments below.

For news and updates on moving, home service providers, and horror stories, keep the browser open to On The Download.


Venom: Creepy Enough?

While I have yet to see Venom, I’m hoping what I’m hearing from critics is wrong. Then again, I’ve been disappointed by superhero films before. I’ve also been surprised. We’ll have to wait and see.

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While I have yet to see Venom, I’m hoping what I’m hearing from critics is wrong. Then again, I’ve been disappointed by superhero films before. I’ve also been surprised.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Best of the Bad

I’ve always liked the character of Venom. He was one of those unique villains, the ones you loved to hate and root against. However, you didn’t want them to die away completely.

You know, villains like Dr. Doom, Magneto, and Apocalypse.

Victor Von Doom, who would later become Dr. Doom, was a megalomaniac bent on world domination. He wanted to be 'The One Ruler of the Whole World.'

Then we have Magneto. As a Holocaust survivor, he’s seen the worst side of humanity. Being on the receiving end of that hatred led him to believe that humans are not fit to rule the planet, nor are they capable of even taking care of themselves. What’s a metal-bending mutant to do? Take over the world, of course.

We also have Apocalypse. (Not to the movie version. He was weak)

The comic book version was much more terrifying; He was born in ancient Egypt…let that sink in for a second.

This guy’s mutant power allowed him to live for millennia. He was born with grey skin and random blue lines. This terrified his tribe. As a result, they sought to kill him. Thanks to this lack of understanding, Apocalypse, known as En Sabbah Nur at the time, decided humans must be subjugated. Moreover, who better to do that than himself?

A theme among all these bad guys is the wounds, both physical and emotional, received from small-minded people. Instead of understanding that it was small-mindedness that caused this, they’ve decided ALL of humanity must pay. That anger becomes hatred, and that hatred is what drives them to do great and terrible things.

This drive also makes them scary.

Venom gets put in the same category as these guys.

Not because he wants to rule the world. In truth, Venom could care less who’s in charge of the world.

He wants only one thing- to eat.

Moreover, humans are the tastiest of foods available on the planet.

Venom


In his original debut, Venom was an alien symbiote. He’s not a mutant or something created in a lab. Well, in the Ultimate Universe he was, but that’s beside the point.

The point is, he didn’t come from earth. He just showed up.

Now, the symbiotes are different in that they need a host to survive. They bond with a nearby host, or they’ll most likely die. The Venom Symbiote bonded with the nearest candidate, and that was Spider-Man. However, thanks to Spidey’s strength of will and cunning, he separated himself from the thing.

Eddie Brock--arrogant, angry, forever scarred by an abusive father--was nearby and ended up bonding with the symbiote.

While I’m not sure how the movie handles it, and I’ve heard they could have done a better job, that’s the basic gist of how Brock bonded with Venom.

The two have been a pair for much of the character’s history. There were times when Venom was a good guy. There were times when he was tearing through cities and was nigh unstoppable.

Also, there was a time when an Anti-Venom existed. He was the opposite, even in color, to Venom.

Throughout it all, however, Venom wasn’t to be trusted. He could do good things from time to time, yet there was this feeling that he was just *this* close to losing it and tearing things up again.

While Tom Hardy was a great choice to play Eddie Brock/Venom, it remains to be seen if this incarnation will live on in the movies. If that happens then, by all means, keep Hardy. If not, then I suggest Scott Eastwood.

There is plenty of comic book fodder here to keep Venom going, even if it’s just the symbiotes themselves.

You see, Venom wasn’t alone.

A rare trait of this alien species was that they could reproduce asexually- meaning they merely “hatched” another symbiote.

Carnage

When Venom did hatch another symbiote, that one did the same thing and looked for a host to bond to.

The problem was that it bonded with Cletus Kasaday.

Cletus was a cellmate of Brock’s. When the Venom symbiote came to bust him out, it left something behind. That something bonded with Cletus.

Cletus, unlike Brock, was an unstable serial killer.

The pairing of the two led to a real problem for the Marvel Universe.

Instead of a symbiote that could be persuaded to be good, from time to time, Carnage was never interested in doing anything for the good of others. Cletus loved to kill people. Carnage wanted to eat. Carnage could eat while also equipping Cletus with a unique way of murdering others.

He continues to be a problem, mostly for Spider-Man. A few other heroes have had run-ins with the deranged hunter-killer as well. Now and then it looks as though they’ve captured him and put him away, but he always finds a way to escape.

When they do debut Carnage on the big screen, and they need to do it soon, I suggest Toby Kebbell for the role.

Interestingly enough, when it came time for Carnage to hatch another symbiote, he ended up picking someone who was almost his complete opposite.

Toxin

Patrick Mulligan was a New York City Police Officer and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Carnage, looking to offload his new symbiote, placed it in Mulligan, and left, thinking the problem was solved. If that were true, then there’d be no story and no reason to keep reading the comic. Luckily for the readers, and not Cletus, there was a problem.

When the symbiote hatched, Patrick did all that he could to keep the thing from going on a rampage. Unlike Brock, who was scared by an abusive father and Cletus, who enjoyed killing people, Patrick had a sense of justice and didn’t want to hurt anyone.

That sense of justice caused problems with the symbiote who came to be named Toxin.

Of the three symbiotes out there, Toxin is, by far, the most interesting.

When they do finally get around to casting a Patrick Mulligan, Liam Hemsworth would be great in that part.

After all, his brother Chris has done a stellar job as Thor, so why not let the younger brother have a shot at being a Marvel superhero?

Well, maybe not a superhero, but a highly conflicted anti-superhero.

Which One is Best?

While Eddie does have some sense of right and wrong, he’s ultimately a thug with a unique weapon. Whatever conflict there is minimal. This doesn’t degrade Venom as a character. Instead, he’s someone trying to wrestle with morality. The problem is that the “bad” side is constantly tapping at Eddie’s brain and making him feel hungry. Thus, Eddie usually gives in to Venom’s demands.

Carnage, on the other hand, is a straight-up sociopath.

While Lecter may use medical instruments to kill his victims, and Leatherface a chainsaw, Cletus has a suit that warps into blades and other sharp things. What more could a serial killer want?

For Cletus, the argument of right versus wrong is moot. He knows what’s right and what’s wrong, but he does not care.

Toxin is where it gets interesting.

Patrick feels beholden to justice; there is right, and there is wrong. For Patrick, it’s up to him to bring offenders to justice.

However, there’s this thing that keeps tapping at his brain, causing hunger in his throat, and that crawling sensation under his skin.

It will not go away.

So what’s a good guy to do?

And therein lies an intriguing conflict.

Until we get that movie, Venom will have to do. When it does hit streaming, make sure you’re hooked up with the best internet deals in your area. Just saying...

Between now and then, catch up on all your reading by heading over to Marvel Unlimited. This way you can stream the comics to your favorite device. You’ll be able to catch up on your reading whenever you have a free moment. You’ll also learn more about the characters as well.

The best part about this is you can form your own opinion about Venom, Carnage, and Toxin.

Who do you think is the best symbiote? When someone finally makes a movie about them, which actors would you cast?

For more news on upcoming films, provider reviews, and streaming technology, keep your browser open to On The Download.


Should Netflix Have Content Quotas?

Netflix provides a lot of content. But should a percentage of that content come from a specific geographic region?

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Roughly 90% of what I watch, I stream through Netflix. If I’m not streaming through my TV, then I’m streaming it through the Netflix app.

I consume my content this way because of convenience. It's easy, it's right there, and there are no commercials! Yes, I'm admitting I’m lazy. It’s something that I’m working on. Netflix is also enabling me.

Despite Netflix enabling of my apathy, I enjoy the content offered. It also helps that I checked out the best internet deals and packages.

Not everything I find there is something I want to watch though.

I would prefer, every now and then, to partake in content that’s centered around my hometown of San Antonio, TX. Not southern California dolled up to look like San Antonio. Instead, I'd prefer a more realistic facsimile.

Not only that, the program should present the city of San Antonio as it truly is. The representation should be based on current trends and not what people in Hollywood assume it is- some uber-conservative town steeped in old thinking (San Antonio is quite progressive, and I should know, I live here).

Can I find this on Netflix?

No, not at all.

Should it be a near-accurate representation of San Antonio in both image and sociological makeup?

I would say, “Yes.”

And can I require Netflix to create that show just for me?

Given my laziness—yes, absolutely I should!

Is it the right way to create content?

…hmmm.

Content Quotas

Although I might have some influence—something like 0.000000000000000001% influence—I highly doubt Netflix will scramble to make my dream become a reality.

Why?

Because they’re not even doing that for the European Union.

Recently, the EU took to changing up the rules they impose on outside entertainment services. Part of that rewrite includes demanding that Netflix allot 30% of their catalog to content centered on European works.

Netflix, understandably, balked at the maneuver.

I can see where the EU is coming from though.

They want to see more and more content that reflects the socioeconomic, ethnic, and regional background of their viewers. This will lead to less alienation, and hopefully, more confidence in oneself. Or maybe they’re just looking to provide opportunities to the content creators themselves? I’m inferring those last two points.

Anyway, this move could backfire.

You’ve heard the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

The road to hell can start with these good intentions.

By holding Netflix responsible for creating content specifically geared towards a subset of their audience, Netflix gets hamstrung. They need to figure out what types of programs those viewers like to watch, bring in producers for it, and create the appropriate content. This ties up money and creative powers.

Sure, it helps those specific content creators.

But are they going to create something worth watching for the wider audience? It's possible.

Ethics aside, forcing the many to watch something that appeals to the few will end up alienating the larger group in the end.

And if there’s a quota to meet, then quality will get sacrificed so that Netflix can say, “Hey, we met the quota, so what are you complaining about?”

A Different Tact

Is it more advantageous to create content aimed at specific sub-groups?

Sure. Why not?

As I mentioned earlier, I demand a program centered on San Antonio that doesn’t involve someone butchering a Texas accent, or making all Texans look ignorant.

But forcing Netflix to create that just for me will end up alienating viewers from Dallas, Houston, and the hipsters up the road in Austin. Soon they’ll get their own shows too. When that happens, I’ll refuse to watch them based on principle. This will drive overall viewership down and put Netflix in a bind. They could end up losing money on this content.

This solution is bad.

To solve this problem I’m required to (sigh) get up and do something about it.

If I desire to watch content about San Antonio that represents it honestly, then I need to go out there and make it myself. And if it’s no good, then Netflix can pass on the project. This will, in turn, force me to work harder to create content that’s of quality and will appeal to the mass audience.

And it will involve…sigh…work.

For those who want to have content that better reflects who they are, they’ll have to go out and create it themselves. Or get on board with a project.

Others Can Help

Given how much Netflix is pouring into their content creation, they probably can accommodate new content from creators from specific areas. If the content is approved, Netflix can add it into their catalog and appeal to that specific sub-category whilst still putting out content for the larger audiences. Netflix will handle the distribution while the creators handle the production end.

Another option would be for local and regional governments to offer incentives to content creators. For example; the San Antonio Film Commission offers a 7.5% incentive on film and television project with at least $100,000 of approved San Antonio spending (check the details at filmsanantonio.com). This is to help content creators secure locations and equipment in San Antonio for their projects.

With this kind of assistance, burgeoning projects can find a place to shoot their film in and around San Antonio. They can avoid straining their budget and keep an authentic look. Once filming is wrapped, they can move forward with presenting it to distribution outlets, like Netflix.

It serves as a better motivation for content creators, as opposed to making Netflix go and find content creators. While it sounds a little elitist, this keeps sub-par content from getting distribution.

In the end, it will work out better for Netflix, the greater viewing audience, and even me!


Save the MCU's Continuity with Bishop

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing to grow, how can we keep up with it all? For this we call in Bishop, a character who can save the continuity!

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With Captain Marvel set to premiere soon, the events of Avengers: Infinity War to contend with, and Disney buying out most of Fox Entertainment’s assets, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting rather large and unwieldy. To solve this problem, the MCU needs to bring in Bishop. For those who are not familiar with the Marvel character, hold tight, we’ll get to him soon. First, here’s the problem that he’s got to solve.

Continuity

BishopMarvel and any successful comic book publisher had a handful of titles to start with. When those took off, they created years and years of backstory. With the X-Men, Avengers, Spider-Man, and similar titles, that history turned into decades worth of material. It didn’t stop there though. Characters were introduced and given their own series. And then more characters, some of them getting their own series too. Then came new teams. And then new lineups with old team names. Superheroes died, resurrected, died again, and then came back to life…again. Sometimes someone would die and another hero would take up their superhero alter ego. And when the original one came back to life—well—how do you tell the difference? This was all well and good for someone who was there from the beginning. If you got sick and missed a few issues, you had some reading to catch up on. Then there were those who wanted to jump on long after the series got started. You had to go find the first issues, read those, and catch up on the history. Or, in my case, my girlfriend needed to understand why I was so engrossed with these comic books. I was about to make her sit down and read them all, but she refused. To preserve our relationship, I relented and gave a quick synopsis to catch her up. And then we got married. And I stopped reading comic books. When I try to read a comic book these days, I just accept that I’ll be lost when it comes to backstory.

The MCU

When Marvel finally got their act together and made a decent superhero movie with Iron Man, they started simple enough. You just had one movie to track. Then came The Incredible Hulk. Soon the MCU had the same problem their source material had- continuity. While each movie does a good job of being self-contained, there’s still the larger MCU to contend with. Fans, both comic readers and non-comic readers, have a difficult time keeping track of all the storylines. Not to mention also keeping up with other responsibilities of life- jobs, families, basic hygiene and whatnot. As much as I would like to appear “above it all,” there’s part of me that wants to watch all the movies to keep track of all that’s going on. No matter how mature I claim to be, the comic-reading-kid inside me refuses to be ignored. For the time-being, I get by reading synopses. Don’t judge me. I’m not proud of it, but we all make mistakes in life. This is how I know what happened in Avengers: Infinity War without ever seeing it. Again, I’m not proud of what I’ve done, but rest assured, I have to deal with this shame every day of my life. Throughout all of this, I’m concerned with the continuity issues that are now popping up all over the MCU. There is also the possibility, however remote, that the X-Men will finally get to be involved with the greater MCU and stop being quarantined to their own little universe. If that were to finally happen, there would be a lot more continuity issues to handle. Will the MCU become too big to be sustainable? Then I remember that there’s someone who can help us with this.

Bishop

Lucas Bishop has been, and will always be, a man outside of time. Hailing from Aborigine ancestry, all the way from Australia, Bishop was born a mutant in some future from an alternate dimension. Being a mutant, he was branded with an “M” over his left eye. Although meant to forever brand him as an outsider, it actually gave him a cool character trait. Anyway, this mutant grew up hearing stories of the mighty X-Men and wanted to one day resurrect the hero team. It wasn’t for him, for the millions of oppressed mutants of his time. Long story short- he joined a law-enforcement organization from his time and began pursuing a criminal named Fitzroy. Fitzroy gained control of a device that allowed him not just to travel through time, but across dimensions. Bishop, ever the determined one, pursued him through his own means. Once he caught him, however, both men lost their ability to jump through time and space. Now Bishop was stuck in the “normal” universe.

The Continuity Saver

BishopWith Lucas Bishop as the guy who knew about various other dimensions, the character can serve a unique purpose- bridging the gap between universes. It also wouldn’t hurt to have him jump in and out of the other Avenger’s storylines. This would serve two purposes; 1) Get a quick refresher on what’s going on, 2) Serve as a starting point for newcomers. Think of it; an Avengers-style movie with all the big names, albeit in smaller roles than normal, getting to meet Bishop and tying together all the storylines in a less convoluted story. And best yet, there will be minimal effect on the other all continuity! It’s a win-win-win etc.

Who Will Be Bishop?

The only real issue will be casting the character himself. For those who’ve seen Bishop, you know not just any actor will do. I, personally, would vote for Denzel Washington. But if he’s too expensive, then there’s Sterling Brown, Michael B. Jordan, and Daniel Kaluuya. I’m sure there are more qualified actors for the role, but these three have already proven their skill in physical acting. Not to mention they pull off the gritty toughness that Bishop is known for. He’s not a carefree and aloof mutant who easily spouts sarcastic quips. BishopHe’s a serious man who says little. Casting decisions aside, the MCU should now have the rights to Bishop since Disney bought most of the entertainment assets from Fox Entertainment. So all that’s left to ask is- when are going to see the X-Men, and by extension, Bishop, show up in the Avenger’s storylines? Maybe I’m stating what others already have or asking a question that’s already been asked? But if more and more people are asking, then Marvel will have to give us a reality-hopping flick centered on Bishop. Right? Either way, I’ll have to make do with catching up on Marvel movies when I have the time. As soon as they show up on Netflix, I put it on my queue, or when they get put on the streaming option. You’ll have to do the same. But make sure that you’ve got the best internet deals and packages. This way catching up on all things Marvel will be a little more cost-efficient. In the meantime, what’s the best way to approach a Bishop movie? How would you write that story?

Strategy and Spectrum

Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well. They have a strategy in place for growth, even if there are a few major obstacles.

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Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well, all things considered.

True, the State of New York is waffling on whether to allow the merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner to stand. And they’re also working to oust the cable provider from the state itself.

This comes after the state’s Public Service Commission declared that Charter was moving too slowly in fulfilling its promises.

As a result, they slapped the ISP (internet service provider) with a hefty fine and declared they had thirty days to move out of the state. While this may seem extreme, Charter is still in New York as the wheels of politics are slow at best. On August 21st, 2018, it was declared they had a two-week extension. No new news has surfaced after that.

As the dispute drags out, frustrating Spectrum customers, the company itself, and still raising questions over the Time Warner-Charter Communications merger, we can look to an odd source for guidance in this situation.

The game of Risk.

World Domination in Two Dimensions

Risk is a classic board game that allows players to attempt to take over the world. The first edition of the game was your basic map of the world. Most of the countries and nations were simplified into general territories. Each continent was turned into its own entity and there were set paths for entrance.

The goal was simple- control as much of the board as possible. Take out your “friends,” and make sure your armies were everywhere.

Risk has taken on many different versions over the years.

Variations

The ones that I’m most fond of are the Lord of the Rings, Halo, and Legacy editions. These take the basic concept of Risk and apply it to a new map with a few exclusive perks.

For example; Risk: Legacy had some of the oddest armies involved, such as the Enclave of the Bear. This army of genetically altered humans looked the Doth Raki from Game of Thrones. But they came with a unique bonus. More than that, bonuses could be added during each game.

Every time you played Risk: Legacy, the board changed. It would remain that way for the next game and change some more.

One principle remained in all versions of the game- dice rolling.

For each attack, the attacking player got up to three dice. This is where it got tricky for me- if I had more than three armies, I got three die. Two armies= two dice, and one army= one die. In the heat of trying to take a country, I usually forgot this and just kept throwing dice.

The defender, if that person had two armies, got two dice. And, of course, one die= one army.

Both sides would roll.

Your highest dice roll would be matched up the highest dice roll of your opponent. The second-highest to their second highest.

If you had higher dice rolls than theirs, then you won that attack. They’d lose two armies and you’d roll again until you either decimated them, or you were decimated.

It was a little confusing for me at first, and to be honest, it still is. I need constant reminders when I play.

Anyway, you may have a ton of armies, but a few bad dice rolls may derail any visions of swift and decisive victory.

I can recall the ONE time that I won at Risk.

My ONE Victory

It was 2010 and I was still looking for a steady job. My best friend still had the Lord of the Rings Risk that he had “borrowed” from another friend back in college.

About four of us came to his apartment on a Saturday and instead of just watching TV all day, we decided to play Risk.

Up to that point, I had lost every time I played. Most of the time it was a solid and humiliating defeat. But being the good sport that I am, I decided I would play yet again. After all, I was among friends and they so enjoyed the feeling of success when they soundly pummeled me in a game that had no real-life application.

But I read more books than them, so I’m the real winner here.

Anyway, the game got started as it usually did and I worked my normal strategy- expand as fast as possible. In hindsight, this is a severely flawed strategy. No matter how much space you occupy on the board, you leave yourself open to attack from multiple fronts. Then again, if you fortify and make them come to you, you don’t expand and score more territories. You just spend the game sitting in a corner and waiting for someone to come to play with you.

In this specific instance, I had the dice rolls on my side. I won a few early victories. These victories lead to control of key regions. And with these regions, I got the extra armies I always so desperately needed.

With the extra armies, I was able to ride out a few losses and keep expanding.

Soon the board was controlled by a vastly more intelligent and benevolent ruler.

Me.

This day has been marked in history so that none of my friends forget it. I also make sure to remind my wife regularly as well.

Now, if only I could take what I’d learned in this game and apply it to real-life somehow?

Risk and Spectrum

Okay, so let’s apply this analogy to Spectrum.

They’re working to expand their footprint everywhere in the nation. They’re not some army bent on controlling the world. No, instead they’re working hard to connect as many people as possible.

To do this they need to move into new territories and establish roots.

So, in a sense, they do act like the little figurines in a game of Risk.

As they work to move into a new space, they’re essentially rolling die to see how smoothly the process goes. The defender die could be anything from bureaucratic red tape to rival companies trying to force them out.

In the case of New York State, they didn’t have the dice rolls on their side.

Now they’re having to retreat.

Risk and the Bigger Picture

I admit this is a simplistic way of looking at the current state of ISPs, especially Spectrum.

It does make it easier for me to figure out what’s going on though.

Anyway, Spectrum is working to resolve the issue with New York State, as well as ensure that the merger with Time Warner stands. With those two obstacles holding them up, Spectrum is going to have trouble implementing other initiatives that could help more and more customers.

That’s kind of ironic when you think about it.

It’s also frustrating when you realize that Spectrum is one of the better ISPs out there.

By the Numbers

Spectrum is one of the faster providers out there.

This is proven thanks to the Netflix ISP speed index.

Netflix regularly monitors the various ISPs they partner with. During peak viewing hours, that is, the hours between 5 pm and 10 pm, Netflix is monitoring how fast ISPs can stream their content.

From August 2017 to August 2018, Spectrum averaged 3.95 Mbps.

That’s a good number.

Even better is that, despite having issues in New York, Spectrum is available in 48 states, and 9,179 zip codes across the nation. This puts them in the second spot for largest ISP in the nation.

Spectrum, like many other ISPs, offers internet through cable and fiber. They also have voice and cable TV services as well.

So make sure to check out Spectrum internet and cable deals. Not only are they a fast and reliable ISP, but they can also bundle a lot of services for you. This will, in turn, save you money and time.

Winning the Game of Risk

While Spectrum works to resolve the issue with New York, that still leaves about 47 states that they can still help. Which is good news for most of the country.

If you’re in New York though, sorry.

They might get it cleared up soon enough and you can see if they provide internet to your home.

In the meantime, pull out your Risk board game and get playing.

If you don’t have one, then you need to get to your nearest retailer and get one. I’m not saying this because I get a cut of the profits. Instead, I’m advising you to play a game that’s a lot of fun and just once, just once, you might get the chance to rule the world.