Summer is here and we all know what that means. It’s that special season where all Netflix addicts hang extra thick curtains in the windows to block out the natural light. Thankfully, I didn’t take my window treatments down last summer so all I had to do was update them a bit for the new year. (Rubberstamp Madness magazine has some great tips on how to spice up last year’s window treatments, if you haven’t seen the latest issue yet!)
One of the best parts about being a Netflix member is how fast the service is evolving. I feel like I am a part of movie distribution history. I’m no Rosa Parks but by adding my voice to the chorus of other Netflix members’ voices, I feel like movies will continue to arrive to me in unique and varying ways. This is empowering. It might just be the biggest social movement I’m ever apart of. Today it is through the mail, tomorrow it will be downloaded. In five years, I’m pretty sure I will be Netflixing Woody Allen’s DNA and just creating the movies for myself in my centrifuge.
But the absolute best part of being a Netflix member is the goal we all share, the one thing that brings all of us members together; our insufferable desire to scam, scrimp, rob, cheat, copy, burn, and screw over Netflix. By god, we really make them earn that $20 a month, don’t we! I’ll be damned if I ever have to put a movie on my queue twice. No, I would rather buy a hundred hard-drives, a thousand blank dvds, and laboriously spend hours following the hacking career of Jon Lech Johansen than reorder my fucking queue! All to squeeze every last movie I can out of the service!
OK, I am not joking anymore. I will tell you some of the things I have done in the past to prove my point.
1. Bought a DVD burner, blank DVD discs, and got the software for my mac from an illegal file-sharing network in order to burn a copy of every Netflix that arrived. Total cost: $150 and possibly my freedom. I was going to build a personal library that would rival Netflix’s own collection. This lasted about 2 months. None of the burned DVDs play now. Apparently, human breath scratches a blank DVD. Eventually, I realized Netflix is the library. I am just paying for my library card. And with all the new movies that they offer, I rarely want to rewatch a movie I’ve already Netflix’d.
2. Entered into a movie sharing pact with two friends who were also Netflix members to “pool our queues” if you will. That way, we wouldn’t have to all get the big blockbusters that we all wanted to see, just one of us would get it and then share it around. Total cost: $0. Total number of days this lasted: 3. My friend sat on the movie I gave her and didn’t watch it or return it, therefore effectively logjamming my precious queue for almost a week in Netflix time*. (*Netflix time is defined as regular time + the amount of time it takes to receive the next movie in your queue after you put the old movie in the mailbox.)
3. I’ve tried it all concerning the Netflix envelope. I’ve shoved three movies in one, one movie in three, and everything in between. I drop them in boxes all over Brooklyn, fold them, tear them, and write on them. I’ve soaked them in water, burnt off their edges, and every once in awhile I even find one that is two years old and I’ll stuff a disc in there and send it back. At this point, I am just fucking with the people at Netflix. I want to get in their heads. I am not a number baby!
Yet time after time, my new DVD arrives in the mail just the same. I’m convinced that without junk mail and Netflix, the postal service would have been abolished just minutes after email was invented. Before Netflix, I would only get one piece of mail a year and that is the birthday check from Grandma (that $25 is always appreciated, Gigi!) so I probably wouldn’t even have been the wiser had it been shuttered. But now I sit and wait for the mailman like he is delivering my college admissions acceptance letter, all in the name of quick turnaround.
Despite all this praise, I have found one person who can’t join the Netflix revolution. I bring it up now because, invariably, I know Netflix is listening and is poised to solve my friend’s dilemma. You see, he is a touring musician without a stable address. He can’t reliably have movies mailed to him. But I think I have come up with a solution. Think of an airplane flying a time sensitive mission over a very long distance. Classic scenario for a little aerial refueling also called air-to-air refueling. In the same spirit, I want to see a fleet of Netflix vehicles that roam the highways and byways performing vehicle-to-vehicle Netflix transfers.
“Sir, I see on your myspace page that you’ll be playing in Vermont tonight. I’ll be pulling up along side you shortly as you make your way to the venue and I was wondering if you had any last minute changes to your top three choices on your rental queue this evening?”
Knowing Netflix, the fleet is already being gassed up as I type this. We are making movie distribution history after all.