Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Turkey Day!

Just wanted to throw out warm Thanksgiving wishes for everybody, even if you're not in this country. Hope you're all enjoying some warm turkey and stuffing, or at least a fine tasting turkey substitute.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Fun With Nitpicking

So I was watching CSI Miami last night, and something struck me as peculiar. It wasn't until much later that I realized just what it was.

Not to ruin the plot for those of you who have it Tivo'd at home, but basically the story involves one of those "broken heart" Private Investigator firms that allows the wife to hire a hooker to sleep with her possibly cheating husband, and then be angry when he does. That's not the peculiar part.

The twist in the ep has her falling in love with one of her "marks," and he falls in love with her. She's murdered. When they question her lover (now some woman's soon to be ex-husband) why the rape kit test tested positive for his man-juice, he says "it's because we just had sex yesterday. In her car."

Then I realized that's what bothered me. They showed her car earlier in the episode. It was a BMW Z4. In case you're not familiar with what one looks like, here's a picture of her car:

If this car is a-rockin, please dial 911, because there's something wrong and there's a good chance the engine is seizing.

Um, no. Writers? In case you haven't noticed, there's no backseat in this vehicle, and the front passenger seat has just enough legroom to allow someone to sit normally. Sex in that vehicle would be a feat suitable for a circus freak side-show.

So ha! CSI is not factual! Again! Nya nya boo boo.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Good Advice

It would seem that the idea that dressing people up in cat suits and having them do bad dialog is fairly universal:

"He’s just doing comedy sketches in a strange costume and makeup while stealing Charles Nelson Reilly’s voice."

Hint: Don't give a mic to a fanatic in a cat suit

Note: One of these things is not a movie review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


If you left a comment in the last Seussian thread, it is unacessable to me (and anyone else I know attempting to view it).

So please do me a favor and either email it to me (because I'm a comments junkie), or comment in this thread, as It should work here.

The Cash in the Hash

I'm not going to theaters
Not at least in this fall
I won't see the cat
Who's on shirts at the mall

I won't buy the soap
Or the cleaner or tissue
Because it's the license
Of which I take issue

There's plates and there's games
And plushies galore
You can even use Visa
When you buy out the store

For wood's holly has made
The Seuss nothing more
Than a marketed shill
Of which they will whore

First it was Grinch
Which made most of us cringe
And as it made money,
The producers did binge

And soon you will learn that
Part one has a part too
The Cat in the Hat?
Aw hell, he Comes Back.


Apologies to the original Dr. and to Sonnetblog, who started this crazy poet-blog thing

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Playing Wingman

Went to see Faust last night. While being the single best opera I've ever seen, I have to give it credit for inventing the Wingman technique, or at least throwing it into popular culture. Even if it's 1800's popular culture.

And when your wingman happens to be Mephistophelese, you're pretty much guaranteed to get some.

Mephistophelese. Too bad nobody used that handle in Top Gun.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Why I Need the Dash Cam

Traffic was heavy today just past the 90/94 toll heading into Chicago. The reason typically is just due to 8 lanes of rush-hour toll paying traffic trying to funnel into three lanes. Some days it's because of construction. Others, a traffic stop that everyone's rubber necking.

Today, it was because Chicago police were running some sort of pinching roadblock. One cop on our side had his car just pointed slightly into the right lane's traffic, forcing them to slow down and edge over, which forced everyone in general to slow down due to a cascading lane effect.

Evidently they were looking for someone, because on the Westbound side (I was on the Eastbound), there were three cops on the shoulder with their lights on.

Suddenly traffic in front of me stops as the cop on the right shoots across a lane and a half of traffic, pointed and parked diagonally across the middle and right lanes, and is pointing and yelling frantically at a car about three cars in front of mine.

I notice a black guy now hobbling in pain on the left shoulder (I was in the left lane) only about two cars up. His face is contorted in pain and he's having a hard time walking. His arms are pinned at his side. He manages to stumble, then hobble, and then eventually trot along, running inbetween lanes of traffic. If I wasn't on the phone at that exact second in time arranging a hair appointment, I could have taken his picture, as he ran right past my car. He was obviously hurt, and his leather jacket (which was unzipped) had been pulled down around his wrists behind his back. This is typically done by just grabbing the coat at the collar and pulling down fast and hard. Usually it creates a sort of cloth handcuffs that is really hard to get out of.

Then what I assumed was an undercover cop runs past my car as he and the uniformed officer easily catch up to the "suspect" and apprehend him, carry him across the two lanes of traffic back to the shoulder, and I'm sure eventually arrested him.

Afterwards, I managed to piece together what had actually happened.

The cops were looking for the black guy, and when they found his car in traffic (which they were intentionally pinching to slow everyone down), they tried to get in front of him. The suspect then exited his vehicle (three cars ahead of mine), and began running along the shoulder (the furthest point away from the cop). The car which was two in front of me was a yellow Lexus IS, and the driver either pulled a 48 Hours move and slammed his door open into the guy, or merely exited his vehicle and slammed the guy into the retaining wall. While the suspect was momentarily stunned, the driver pulled the suspect's jacket down over his wrists to keep him from fighting back. Then he pursued him on foot and helped the cop apprehend him.

I thought the guy who had exited the Lexus was an undercover cop, but evidently he was either some sort of rich cop on his day off, or was simply some sort of martial arts/self defense expert, and had decided (daringly) to assist the police in apprehending the guy. The only reason I'm guessing he wasn't a cop was because

A). Cops don't drive Lexuses (Lexi?)
B). I saw him driving on the highway later, meaning he had helped the cop to cuff the suspect, and then immediately ran back to his car and drove away. I was only a few miles down the road from the incident, and he managed to catch back up, so he must have left the scene immediately after assisting the officer.

So at any rate, WOW. Not something you see everyday, and I would have gotten it all on tape had I the Dash Cam installed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I Don't Think So

From a Top Ten List of Most Overpayed Jobs in the U.S. :

9) Pilots for major airlines

While American and United pilots recently took pay cuts, senior captains earn as much as $250,000 a year at Delta, and their counterparts at other major airlines still earn about $150,000 to $215,000 - several times pilot pay at regional carriers - for a job that technology has made almost fully automated.

By comparison, senior pilots make up to 40 percent less at low-fare carriers like Jet Blue and Southwest, though some enjoy favorable perks like stock options. That helps explain why their employers are profitable while several of the majors are still teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

The pilot's unions are the most powerful in the industry. They demand premium pay as if still in the glory days of long-gone Pan Am and TWA, rather than the cutthroat, deregulated market of under-$200 coast-to-coast roundtrips. Because we entrust our lives to them, consumers accept the excessive sums paid them, when it's airplane mechanics who really hold our fate in their hands.

I don't think so, buddy. A friend of mine - who's technically been working for American for over two years now - finally got his dream job flying for American two years ago. After going through training, he was assigned to a "puddle jumper" (a two engined prop plane that holds about as many people as a sardine can), and now makes about as much money as a guy working two jobs at McDonalds. To fly a plane.

These "overpaid" pilots also typically have to maintain a room dubbed the "crash pad" in another city, sometimes in another country, where they will sleep in a bed that another pilot slept in the night before in an undecorated apartment overnight while they wait to pilot their plane on its return trip home. So, in effect, they're paying for two apartments, even if the second one is dirt cheap (and in a crappy neighborhood, usually).

This kind of "overpaid" life goes on for years (sometimes twenty to thirty), only slightly improving as they move up the corporate ladder into bigger and better planes, until they've eventually worked their way up the corporate totem pole and get to make the "bloated" salary of $200,000 to fly the big jets across the pond to Europe. This guy should try flying a plane for twelve hours a day, and then having to land successfully afterwards, day after day after day. I wonder what he'd say that was worth?

And who in the hell said flying a plane was automated? Sure, once they get it up to the altitude they want to fly at, you can turn on the autopilot, but I'd like to see this guy just once try and land a plane correctly. Even just in a simulator. After he crashed the 777 every single time he'd have some respect for the guy who's worked his whole life for the right to carry the lives of 200 plus people safely to their destination. I don't think it's too much to ask that these guys get paid well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Holy Crap

My piece over at GGA on Getting Girl Gamers was just Slashdotted today.

Now if only I actually read the /.

You'll have to go back to the main page and find it in the "Game" section to see the comments they're leaving. One of my favorites (properly scored as flamebait) labelled me a feminist.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Pot Meet Kettle, Part 872

So I just got sucked into that "I Love the 80's: The 80's Strikes Back" TV crack VH1 was re-airing this weekend.

I only have one thing to say about it: When you look like a psychotic clown cenobite's worst nightmare who had an accidental run-in with an airbrush, 40 oz. of glitter product from Lil' Deb'n'aire, and a bottle of Heryshey's chocolate syrup, you have no room to criticize 80's culture.

Boy George, I'm looking at you.

[Update: I could take looking at his ugly freakazoid mug any longer, and moved the two images to links in the line above. Oh the pain, the pain.]

Friday, November 07, 2003

I'm Lame

Since I haven't posted anything new for like, a week, and since I haven't posted anything really worth chewing on at GGA in forever, go check out the article I just put up on Game Girl Advance:

Getting Grrl Gamers: The Future of Gaming

I may also put up a lengthy screed ripping a certain individual's Revolutions review. But only if people want me to. I actually got halfway through it and threw it out because I'm tired (today at least) of being bitchy.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Killing Links

Now that I've had to basically re-find all of my "Favorites" sites manually on two machines (my work PC I keep at home just died on me, thank you very much. I think there's an epidemic going around my house now), I've once again become aquainted with the ordeal of trying to destroy the "Links" folder in the "Favorites" in IE.

Every time you delete the folder, there it is again. Sometimes it comes back at the top, and other times it attempts to just sort of sit quietly at the bottom of the stack hoping you won't notice that it showed up again after you've now kicked it to the curb eight times.

Why does Microsoft continue to do this? Is it there to annoy me? Because it's working!

Seriously, there was a time when back in '95 that they kept throwing out this "My Network Places" thing on my desktop (or whatever it was called at the time) and wouldn't let you remove it. Here I am screaming "I'm not on a fucking god-damned network, and never will be, so I don't want it on my desktop!!!" to a customer service rep over the phone. If memory serves me, they also forced their proprietary email piece of crap down your throat as well, not allowing it to be removed from the desktop, either (there was some double super-secret probation technique that the tech told me to do to remove it, and it worked, however).

So now almost ten years later, I actually have a network in my house, and can make use of this "my network places." In ten years, is there going to be some way to make use of that "Links" folder that I'm unaware of presently? Right now there are probably tens of corporations using this little known feature of IE to expedite business proceedures all over the world, shaking their heads at my tiny, feeble mind.

But until they divulge their secret, I just want to kill that god-damned Links folder dead.

Forward, Together Forward

Went to the Huskies game today, and it was a walk down memory lane. And let me just say that the memories are even sweeter after seeing the NIU campus reborn.

When we left the school ten years ago, it was promising to be "the second big school in Illinois." I remember being angry at them for attempting this, because they were spending current students' tuition and room and board dollars to basically make the campus better for future students. This didn't seem a fair use of my then increased tuition. Besides, nobody believed that this inept university could ever amount to much of anything other than a suitcase college.

But upon our return, we noticed some changes. For one, the campus has been significantly beautified. There are gorgeous stone and rought iron gates sprinkled around campus which hark back to the original building on campus, Altgeld Hall, aka "The Castle." They've built a new auditorium (with tons of additional seating) called the Convocation Center and now have national touring acts stopping by in addition to the NCAA basketball and volleyball events. The East Stands in the Huskies Stadium are now just as big as the West stands (the only real seats to speak of in the past), and they're selling out every game. The football team is winning and has consistantly been in the AP Top 25 all year (they haven't been in the top 25 since, well, I have no idea. It's been decades). They've made it safer for students to walk to class by closing a major road that ran inbetween the East dorms and turning it into a student pedway, complete with red and black brick pavers in an elegant design. Even the dorms are completely redone, with the cafeteria now sporting travertine surrounds and a line-up of quick-order store-fronts that make you think you're in a mall food court.

In short, they've done it. They're well on their way to making NIU the second "big school" to go to in Illinois. Instead of dread and derision, I'm filled with pride and hope for a school which I've scorned for ten years now. I've gone from saying "they'll never see another dime of my money" to "I think I'd really like to send my kids here."

And that takes a lot. Especially if you're talking about old curmudgeon over here. Don't look at me. I'm talking about that other guy.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

You Say You Want a Revolution

I think Apple is finally onto something.

For years they've been (at least for me, and I know that opinions and personal preference vary) the undisputable reliable and user-friendly king of personal computing. The downside to their business plan is that they are priced and marketed to an "elite" core of users. This wouldn't be a bad thing, if people knew how to use PCs like they know how to use cars.

Unfortunately, the price-point and the fact that the majority of people out there don't know how to use PCs or are at the very least nervous and uncomfortable about PC use don't really combine to be a huge system seller.

So, if you're a struggling personal computing company that knows you have a superior product to offer, but can't get it in the hands of consumers, what do you do?

You try and give them a similar product that showcases how great your original product is at a more affordable price-point that they can't live without.

They tried it once before, but failed miserably. The Newton was the very first PDA on the market, but unfortunately due to a myriad of reasons, it bombed.

So today we have the iPod, and I think it's safe to say that it's roxxoring the casbah. Everybody has one, and those who don't (read: me) want one. Whether they actually buy one or not is irrelevant. The fact remains that people are positively falling over themselves in praising this device.

Following quickly on the heels of the iPod, Mac releases iTunes, a piece of software that works on both Macs and PCs. People flock to it, not only because it will automatically sort your music for you into manageable stacks (and this is certainly a herculean feat if you've seen my completely disorganized pile of .mp3s I just threw into a folder), but because of the incredible ease-of-use and features such as downloading new music straight through the player.

Also, people are beginning to notice the Apple flat-screen displays. They marvel at how it works for both Macs and PCs. Is anyone else but me noticing this trend? They're starting to make stuff for IBM boxes that works better than the stuff that you can buy through traditional PC outlets. Software, hardware, it doesn't matter. Apple has finally figured out how to appeal to the PC owner:

Show them firsthand that this stuff rocks on their own machine.

And I have to admit, it's working. While my original computer (a PC Jr.) was an IBM box (and I mean IBM in the very literal sense that it was made and sold by IBM; something you don't see much anymore today), my first real true love was a Mac Classic. I taught myself how to become truly literate on working personal computers (both software and hardware) on a Mac, and I really miss the experience.

I've mainly stayed away from using Macs because they were either A). too expensive, or B). didn't have any games I wanted to play on them.

Now that I'm reaching a bit more of an "elite" stage in my life, I'm finding that I've got more room for a Mac. I want something to be a dedicated art/editing machine, and I don't want it to ever fail. I'm tired of dealing with catastrophic failures (almost had both my PC boxes die on me this week), and I want something comfortable for the upcoming kid to have to work on. I want something that's truly plug and play; something that I don't have to worry about compatability options on if I plug in a new device. I want a damn computer that I can depend on, and one that can effortlessly handle all of my entertainment media.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is this:

Hey Apple: it's working. I'm going to buy a Mac.

Just not right this second. Give me about another six months or so to come up with the coinage.

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Since my home machine suddenly and unexpectedly decided to up and keel over on me, I got paranoid that maybe I had been hacked (which is unlikely, as I'm sitting behind a physical/hardware firewall, and not a software/hackable firewall), so I thought maybe I'd update the work PC with all of the Win XP security and OS updates available or otherwise known to man.

I realized this would be an epic endeavor, so I had it get/install them automatically while the wife and I (and an old college buddy) took in an NIU football game.

Seven hours later (it's still not done; it's waiting on me to say "okay" to something that I'm really not all that "okay" with), I come home to an error message that says basically this:

Warning: The software you have requested to install is not Windows XP certified, and so it will not be installed.

So basically, Windows XP just automatically downloaded some software from the Microsoft website to be installed patch-style into Windows XP which wasn't actually compliant, and therefore didn't install it.


And I wonder why I have Mac lust.

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