I am starting a new blog that will report on mass transit for San Bruno, CA. It is called San Bruno Streets. All the postings concerning SamTrans and Caltrain have been imported there. While the original postings will still be here, all new postings on those topics (and others of concern to San Bruno, CA). Simply put, I realized it was time to move that topic to another blog.
Thanksgiving is behind us but there many more days of feasting to come. Here is a video about what not to do with a turkey.
I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2012. Happy Holidays!
That time of year has come again, of pumpkins being carved into lanterns and all manner of scary decorations and costumes being put on display. Watching scary movies is part of Halloween and there are many to choose from. Night of the Living Dead usually appears somewhere on the dial. George Romero’s low budget flick delivers the goods. Seeing reanimated corpses feeding on the living has spawned countless imitators, most of them forgettable except the original Dawn of the Dead which still delivers. Dracula has spawned many movies too though few actually tell the original story. Most often the story is shortened, characters changed or deleted, and even the ending altered. That does not mean the movies are bad just telling the story in a different way.
Here is my list of favorite vampire movies (in no particular order):
1. F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922)
This classic silent was the first Dracula movie but due to legal issues, the script was rewritten with a different story and a different vampire (Count Orlock). Only Mina and Jonathan Harker remain. However Stoker’s widow sued and Prana Films went bankrupt as a result of the judgment. The negatives were ordered destroyed but bootleg copies were shown. It is now considered a film classic.
2. Dracula (1931) is famous for Bela Lugosi. Tod Browning changed the story (using the Renfield character for Jonathan Harker for one) but Lugosi fit the bill standing six feet tall with an aquiline nose and high cheekbones, and speaking with a thick accent since he was born near Transyvania. The movie cemented the depiction of cinematic Dracula with the cape and other features. For Lugosi, it typecasted him and his was never able to get past it (not unlike George Reeves of the Adventures of Superman).
3. The Horror of Dracula (1958)
Jimmy Sangster’s script for Hammer Films brought Dracula into technicolor and an erotic element where women want Dracula to kiss them. Christopher Lee became the new Dracula (and for several Hammer movies) depicting him as a tall, thin, and ruthless vampire. Once again the story is altered from the book but the story and acting quality is superb as is the ending. Peter Cushing plays Van Helsing becoming Dracula’s nemesis in a few other Hammer films. Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968) was a good sequel but nearly all the Hammer Dracula movies after that were not so good and mostly forgettable.
4. Love at First Bite (1979)
A comedic turn that became a success because it was funny. George Hamilton plays Dracula who is driven out of his castle by the Communists and heads to New York. There after some misadventures with his coffin, he meets Cindy Sondheim (Susan St. James). The Van Helsing character is portrayed by Richard Benjamin in the role of Dr. Rosenberg, a psychiatrist. He fumbles countering Dracula and Cindy ends up the count in the end. The movie has great lines like “Children of the night, shut up!”
5. Dracula (1979)
Frank Langella continues the notion from Horror of Dracula that the count seduces women and they accept it. Langella’s performance was pretty good in this regard though the movie was far from scary like other Dracula movies. Lavish in using actual locations in Cornwall, it has a mixed reviews among Dracula movie buffs. Many like the romantic Dracula while others find the movie boring and its ending unsatisfactory (Dracula is killed by sunlight after being hoisted above deck on the ship while trying to flee).
6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Francis Ford Coppola’s treatment connects Dracula with the historic Vlad Tepes who fought against the Turks. His wife dies falsely believing him dead in battle (due to a forged note) and commits suicide. Since she cannot be buried since it was suicide, Dracula renounces his faith and blasphemes God desecrating the chapel. His desecration results in blood coming out of a crucifix which he drinks turning him into a vampire. Mina Westenra is a reincarnation of his dead wife which explains his interest in her. Coppola depicts Dracula in a number of ways from the old man greeting Jonathan to the young one that meets and seduces Mina. We also see the very dark side where he appears as a wolf (to attack Lucy) and a demonic figure as well. Coppola uses special effects well to show Dracula’s many ways of getting about. One criticism is how Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) is depicted. Hopkins depicts him as slightly mad, eccentric, and the suggestion he lusted after Lucy. The death is different as well for Dracula.
7. The Lost Boys (1987)
This a good movie in which a relocated family finds themselves in Santa Carla where the boys are drawn to an amusement park where vampires also hang out. Michael, the oldest boy, ends up falling in love with a girl who is part of a vampire gang (though not yet one herself) while the other boy gets drawn into the anti-vampire crowd. The ending is great with a surprise twist as to who the head vampire really is.
8. Near Dark (1987)
Outlaw vampires traveling around the country and Adrian Pasdar meets one of them. They are a vicious gang and Adrian is not quite ready for it. The ending is good for him (and the girl who brought him in) and bad for the vampire gang.
9. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series, not movie)
The first three seasons, which deal with high school, are pretty good. A combination of horror, high school, and bits of comedy tossed in. The vampires and other monsters are generally scary and people die in the course of the show. Sunnydale is unlike any other place being a Hellmouth (where an entrance to that dimension exists) drawing all kinds of beasties. Buffy and her Scooby Gang are kept pretty busy. The college years (seasons 4-7) are not as good. It gets more dark, gothic, and in parts just plain boring. A few bright lights are Hush (perhaps the best horror episode ever and won an award) and Buffy vs. Dracula. When the show veered into an X-Files story arc (the government runs a secret program that seizes demons for study and an evil doctor is making her own monster from various demon parts) it went downhill but did get itself out of the mess but never recaptured what it achieved in the first three seasons.
10. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
An excellent movie starring John Malkovich as Frederich Wilhelm Murnau, the director of Nosferatu. Instead of just playing the vampire Count Orlock, Max Schreck (played by William Dafoe) is the real deal. At first most think he is just creepy and scary always wanting to appear in character. But Murnau made a deal with him to give him the actress at the end. It is a very interesting movie with scary moments (especially at the end). Worth watching.
Some honorable mentions:
1. Count Dracula (1978, BBC)
A mostly faithful adaptation of the Stoker story. Louis Jourdan plays Dracula but is miscast here. He is too old and does not fit the part. Likewise the special effects are not that good either. However it does show things the others did not, like Dracula’s brides feeding off a baby. The script and acting is decent building it up the way Stoker did.
3. Salem’s Lot (1979)
This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel has some generally scary moments. The vampire is different from the book (a nosferatu type) and changes to King’s story also are problems. James Mason is excellent as Straker, the vampire’s assistant.
Salem’s Lot (2004)
When the remake was planned by TNT, I hoped it would follow the book more closely that first. While having the tone of the book and Barlow (Rutger Hauer) done right, it is less scary and more suspenseful than the first. Major changes to the story as well (where it begins and ends) cause problems. However the special effects are better than the original. Also Donald Sutherland as Straker was a mistake. Straker comes across as a loon rather than the ruthless and cunning assistant to Barlow.
In short neither are great and just okay. If you want the scare, go with the first. Avoid the movie Return to Salem’s Lot. A terrible movie.
Well that is it for this year. Have more vampire movies you want to add? Send us your comments.
Ditching cable for Internet or Over-the-Air (OTA) only programming has been simmering for a while. The reason is simple: cost. Every year the rates go up for what is considered basic service on most services, which can be from 76 to 99 channels that include all local broadcast, the major cable networks, news, sports and entertainment to name a few. Premium channels (HBO, Showtime etc) are usually excluded along with HD programming. To compete with Netflix, many cable companies offer On Demand or Pay Per View services allowing you to order movies right from your cable box.
I come from the generation that remembers using antenna to get local ota programming. Back then you had the three major networks, PBS, and a smattering of local channels. Sometimes you had to fiddle with the horizontal or vertical to stabilize the signal. You had to actually turn a dial to change channels and weather could effect signal quality. Cable changed all that back in the 1970’s. I recall our first cable television and seeing pictures crisp and clear for the first time. We still got local channels but some far away ones as well. There were no cable news channels or MTV back then, but HBO and Showtime showed up by the time I was in high school.
Simpler times but the downside was there was no competition. It was either cable or ota. Most cities signed exclusive contracts with one cable provider so that was it. Today that has changed with satellite and Internet. Looking around my apartment complex, it is amazing the number of Dish or Direct TV satellite dishes on balconies pointing south to get the signal. Driving around my area you see a combination of both satellite and digital antennas. My local cable company, a rare municipal one, is losing customers and trying to win them back with specials. They tried a door-to-door approach that got lots of angry calls (mine being one of them) and now tries a softer approach to win back those who defected to the other guys.
The Internet provides streaming of movies and television shows (sometimes free or for a fee like Netflix or Hulu) that competes with cable. Yet it has not quite yet replaced cable television. Despite a lot of concern, cable is not being dumped but reduced. In my case, I decided not to pay $60+ for getting 99 channels most of which I never watched. I downsized to just getting local channels for $20 a month. I gave up watching a few channels I watched regularly and seeing S.F. Giant’s games that were shown exclusively on cable. Rather than pay for HD programming, I hook up an indoor antenna and get all the local HD channels for free. Netflix fills me in on the shows I missed on SyFY (Warehouse 13 and Eureka) and with free On-Demand I get to see a lot of cable shows such as The Next Food Network Star.
So why do I keep cable? Well I do not have broadband yet (it is coming!) and while I get strong reception on the digital antenna, signals drop for all kinds of reasons. So while it works 80% of the time, I can and do lose the signal to atmospherics, the station switching to a backup while main transmitter is being fixed, or on the weaker stations when my neighbor upstairs is playing with his litle kid. HD programming looks great but on just ordinary programming does not add much. Okay, take that back. Local news reporters and anchors like Darya Folsom, Julie Haener or Gasia Mikaelian look good in HD.
The folks over internetserviceproviders.org sent me a list of the “100 Sites That Can Replace Your Cable TV Service.” The list is interesting showing what content is available online. So if you are thinking about downsizing your cable (or going ota), the Internet offers a lot to fill in the gaps. And you do not have to pay a princely sum for it either.
Today was to be the end of ReplayTV. Users were notified weeks ago that the electronic programming guide service (epg) would be discontinued on 31 July. “After this date, owners of ReplayTV DVR units will still be able to manually record analog TV programs, but will not have the benefit of access to the interactive program guide,” said the announcement. Replay users were outraged. Complaints to DNNA met with little comfort. Pansonic which sold Showstoppers using Replay technology said little except the usual “thanks for your inquiry and we are looking into the matter” statements. Some wrote letters to state attorney generals hoping for some intercession.
In the meantime the scramble went forth to replace DNNA service. Tech savvy folks already had a way but it required setting up PC server to make it work. For those who neither had the time, the money, or used a Mac that was not a option. So some of those folks got together to put together a service for the rest of us, a dial-up service so that Replay users could dial-up and update the epg. It was by no means easy to do. Servers had to be made ready and software configured. Then getting a provider of the tv schedules had to be set up. The initial fee would be $7.00 per month, per model (some people have more than one Replay unit in their homes). Not a bad price to continue the service.
As the deadline drew near, the Replay board at AVS Forum was busy with people posting info and asking questions. Likewise at the other forum, Planet Replay. Then out of the blue came the announcement on Friday (29 Jul):
After the announced shutdown of the ReplayTV programming guide service, we have had many positive, enthusiastic comments about the ReplayTV DVR products and services. In light of this response, ReplayTV and its parent company Digital Networks North America, Inc. have decided to continue the electronic programming guide service pursuant to the terms of your service activation agreement. We thank you very much for all of your support and enthusiasm over the many years these products have been sold.
Suddenly everything ground to a halt when that message appeared on units updated that day. Everyone was stunned. It was so sudden that the customer service people had no idea it had happened. It was confirmed and everyone stood back. Everyone was pleased but questions lingered. Why did DNNA back off? Speculation was rampant and so far little facts are known. Panasonic might have been angry since they were not notified and nothing offered to replace the service. And it is possible someone either at the state or federal level said exactly the same thing.
And that was the problem right from the start. DNNA offered nothing to replace the the discontinued service. Once the guide ran out (around 7 Aug), you were on your own. With no ability to set the clock and no epg, manual recording was going to be a chore. You would have to manually hit record and stop when done. So much for recording when your are sleeping or at work Tivo offered special deals to Replay users but many have no desire to switch. Lifetime users were even more out in the cold than monthly users. When lifetime users bought those units (at a premium), many assumed they were buying for the lifetime of the unit or service. Lawyers for DNNA argue that the actual lifetime service is one year under California law.
Many though are skeptical and even hostile to DNNA. Some have already transitioned away from DNNA using the Internet option and not likely to return. The message from DNNA also said the following:
As we have said previously, the analog programming that the ReplayTV units are capable of recording is in fact likely to be converted to digital signals in the very near future at which point the ReplayTV units will no longer be able to record such programming.
This is misleading. Since the conversion to digital, all Replay units get cable using a cable box. The cable box provides the conversion necessary for them. My television has a digital tuner but cannot unscramble the programming from my cable company. Hence the cable box (which my cable service provides for free). So this statement is not accurate except that way down the road the need for cable boxes will diminish as computers are integrated with television (meaning the computers will have dvr capacity in them).
We encourage our users to consider digital video recorders that have this digital recording capability as well as additional technological advances which are not a part of the ReplayTV units (all of which were end of lifed by 2006).
This is illuminating and the line most Replay users in the forums focused on. It tells them DNNA wants them to go elsewhere. Just go. Okay we will provide you with a service but we would prefer that you leave. Like the hotel manager said to Ryan O’Neill’s character in the movie What’s Up Doc? about when he should check out, the manager (played by John Hillerman) said yesterday. The last line told lifetime service people that they would be paying a fee for the epg service. The good news is that Replay users have gotten a reprieve.
For how long is the next question. I speculate six months to a year at most. ReplayTV units are no longer being manufactured but there are units still being sold but by now the inventory is getting low. Since ReplayTV is no longer marketed, there is a finite number using them right now. In short, a no growth sector. So DNNA sees little reason to continue paying the costs associated with maintaining the epg for little profit. They have to pay for the digital schedule, tech and customer support, and other costs associated with the service. So for them, there is no incentive to keep it going.
The other good news is that the alternative dial-up service that was in beta testing (called Laho meaning Last Hope) can be further refined. DNNA ought to work with those at Laho so that dial-up users could migrate there in that period of time. They could also offer some deals with Tivo if people want to go there (or coupons for free dvr service from the local cable company). In other words, offer something tangible other than shutting off the service and telling everyone to push manual record. To sum up DNNA can:
(1) Work with LaHo to create a viable, working alternative dial-up for ReplayTv users;
(2) Offer deals with other dvr units (Tivo, Moxie);
(3) Offer coupons for free rental of cable company dvr’s.
Also, as a last option, consider some sort of buy back for recycling of parts. Some may want to junk their units and those parts (and the metal) have value.
The ball is in your court DNNA. If you are determined to phase out the service, do it smartly.
Each year we celebrate the 4th of July. We watch parades, listen to patriotic music, grill food in the summer sun, and take in a ballgame. We celebrate this date because in 1776 men tired of English domination decided on a radical and dangerous course of action. They decided to declare independence from the premiere powers of the day—Great Britain.
This was no small thing to do. They realized the British would respond by sending in the army to crush them. And all of them who signed that document knew their lives were on the line. They believed in something important, liberty. And so began the War for Independence. It was not easy and fraught with many twists and turns. But in the end the rebels won. Today many have forgotten exactly why they rebelled. Even the president forgets to include words in the famous Declaration of Independence. There are even some who believe the Communist Manifesto of 1848 is the founding document of our country.
So here is the document, in its entirety (except the signatures). Take the time to read it and understand why the forefathers of this country decided to rebel against the British. And why this document is so important to understanding the unique and exceptional character of the United States of America.
IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
Replay users got a shocking message yesterday when they turned on their televisions and checked the program guide:
The ReplayTV Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) Service will be permanently discontinued on July 31, 2011. After this date, owners of ReplayTV DVR units will still be able to manually record analog TV programs, but will not have the benefit of access to the interactive program guide. Effective immediately, monthly billing for the ReplayTV service to remaining customers has been suspended.
The industry conversion to HDTV is complete and ReplayTV DVRs are unable to take advantage of the wealth of HDTV programming. Please contact your service provider for current offerings.
Needless to say the reaction from Replay users was shock, dismay, anger, and resignation. Many said they knew this day would come. Replay was once the leader in the digital video recorder industry and considered better than Tivo at the time. Through mismanagement and bad marketing campaigns, Replay fell behind while Tivo became a verb (to tivo). The company changed hands several times and gradually the brand faded into the niche legacy market. Replay has its fans though. Lots of them who love their units and despair at how such a good product ended up being left behind.
But the question today for Replay users is how to use the units after 31 Jul 2011. Without a channel guide, the unit is pretty much just a hunk of metal sitting on the shelf. PC users have some options using third party software to download schedules but Mac users are out in the cold here. Worse though comes information that the entire Replay operation is being shut down from servers, tech support and the website. A posting on the AVS site and Planet Replay relates the grim news when someone called up to find out the details:
“Here is what I learned: Everything is closing down on 7/31- Despite what the official word was to users, there will be no way for the units to do anything once the system shuts down for good. No clock the servers, tech support, the website. No servers means no clock or channels, and you will not be able to choose a provider. The blaster codes are on the hard drive of the units, so if you manually enter a channel, it can send it to the cable box. You will not be able to choose a provider, so you will not be able to get channels, or a blank channel guide. All recording setups will disappear. Any on-going (record every week, etc), will be gone. They have no idea how anyone will even be able to manually record since you will need the clock to be in sync and channels (which cannot be manually entered since you have to get them via a provider) to do this. They hope to get clarification on this later.”
In short, the message to Replay users is you have scrap metal. There will be no ability to manually record anything since the unit needs to have both a clock set and channels downloaded based upon the provider. Unless you can use third party software that can feed the information to the unit, your Replay unit will do nothing. For those who bought lifetime service (like me) it is really bad news. We paid upfront to avoid a monthly fee. Even if lawyers get the company to cough up money, it will not be much.
No doubt many will find creative ways to keep their units going but for most it will mean the end of a great dvr.
There is hope though that some will pool resources together and buy the rights to keep ReplayTV going. They would set up the necessary servers and then allow the service to continue. It might be limited with only a few telephone numbers and a fee charged for the service (perhaps with discounted plans if you purchase for a set number of years) but for many Replay users it would be worth it. Most have no desire to go that other dvr with a T in it. Moxi is too expensive and has mixed reviews.
And so the story is not quite over yet. Hope still exists but in the short term come 31 July ReplayTV service as we knew it comes to an abrupt end.