If you read my blog regularly, you'll know what I think of cellphones. Sadly the time is approaching where I'm going to need one - mostly for work. I've been shopping around and I've found the widely unpublished bottom-of-the-line service that T-Mobile offer. It's still nauseatingly expensive - 30 bucks a month. The interesting thing is trying to find out exactly what the "extra fees and taxes" are that get added on. None of the cellphone companies advertise what they are, but I spent a while digging around on the net and as far as I can gather, this is how it's going to pan out:
Basic plan = $29.99
Federal regulatory fee (fixed) = $0.86
Federal excise tax (3.00%) = $0.90
Federal universal service fee (9.20%) = $2.76
Charge for state universal service fund (1.00%) = $0.30
State and local sales taxes (6.60%) = $1.98
Utah uniform service fund (0.34%) = $0.10
Utility franchise fee (6.00%) = $1.80
911 service fee (fixed) = $0.53
Poison control (fixed) = $0.07
Telecommunications relay services (fixed) = $0.10
Total taxes = $9.40
Total monthly bill = $39.39
Nearly 10 bucks more in fees and taxes for basically $40 a month. It's a pity I can't get the company to plump for it because $40 a month for a cellphone is a fucking ripoff. Still - if I'm going to have to cough up that much every 30 days I'm at least going to have a half-decent phone. Pity I can't get a half-decent one that has no camera. Why does nobody just make a phone?
It's finally finished! The basement is done. All painted, all cleared up. A bit more vacuuming and dusting, some blinds to put back up and stuff to move back down from upstairs. But all the construction, deconstruction, wiring, plumbing, painting and otherwise disruptive work is all finished. We have our house back! Yay!
We've been catching up on a series on TV called '30 Days' - the brainchild of Morgan Spurlock (the guy who did Supersize Me). The idea is that someone from one walk of life or with one point of view, volunteers to go and live with people from the diametrically opposite life or point of view for 30 days. The most intriguing one so far was where an atheist volunteered to go and live with a Christian fundamentalist family. The wife of the family was relatively open-minded but holy shit - the husband. He was so arrogant and so blinkered I don't know how he manages to live his life. He absolutely refused to believe there was anything other than the Bible's point of view. He couldn't (or wouldn't) accept that people could live their lives without having a (as he put it) reference manuscript (ie. the Bible). The atheist was quite happy to let others have their own views, but this guy was so damned arrogant he refused to let the atheist have any say in anything. He couldn't (or wouldn't) accept that science and nature and evolution existed, and insisted that everything was God's way. At one point he was preaching how his point of view was to not simply blindly follow and believe published literature "like scientists do". But when he was challenged as to why he blindly followed and believed The Bible, he clammed up and left the room.
That man is seriously fucked up. He has based his life so strongly on a work of fiction that he refuses to believe anything else exists.
I repainted the office today, and tonight, finally got to start moving all the stuff back downstairs. I'm typing this from my PC, sitting in my office. Rather than sitting cross-legged in the guest bedroom, squinting to see the screen on the other side of the room, jammed between a dresser and the bed :-)