Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Faily McFail

So, a couple of weeks ago, this chick was canvassing the neighborhood for CenturyTel, offering to bundle our phone, Internet, and TV together for one magically low price!

"Wow!" I said, "I truly hate Mediacom's (our current provider) practices, the way they raise rates and remove channels at the same time! I'd love to hear about your deal! What? It costs less? I get more channels? AND I get a DVR? And my Internet will be just as fast? And...again...it costs less???"
K came home and got the information.

"Sign us up!" we shouted, high to the heavens, happy to be able to give Mediacom the virtual finger. Now, if there was actually a way to give them the finger and not change companies, I might have just done that. But, meh. I liked this whole "Microsoft Digital TV" idea...more channels and a DVR for less. I don't give a flying greasy rodent's derrier what company supplies me with the bits and bytes, so long as I can adequately outsnipe the other bastard in TF2. I mean, I'm badass and all, but I can't do much with a high ping time.

So we set up an appointment for yesterday for all this and bid the traveling technology chick farewell.

Then we get a call. A technician had come out and determined that we were too far out and could not get the digital television. CenturyTel told us they would call us back.

So yesterday comes and goes...no phone call, no person coming to the house. Me, in my infinite laziness and "fuck them" attitude, I tell K to just wait for them to call or come out. I don't see why we should have to expend our energy because they are just two brain cells higher than a primate.

So I come home for lunch and notice a CenturyTel thingy hanging on our door. "Service is active" it says. What? How can the service be active? Nobody even came into our house to set anything up! Oh, I get it! It's active because they say it is. Okay, then. I'm fucking rich!

Dammit, that doesn't work! And I don't know who Rich is anyway. (rimshot)

So K calls and basically calls off the whole deal, telling them that it's stupid for us to pay two days of Internet access we didn't...nay...couldn't use, especially since nobody even showed up yesterday to set it up! I know some things in life aren't tangible, but why should we pay for yesterday when they didn't even show up until today? And they never even supplied us with any actual equipment!

So, yeah, we basically told them that they need to get their facts straight before they waste time and money sending out people to sell "theoretically existing services", then telling people CenturyTel can't actually deliver said products. We told them we are not interested, but that we want to keep our basic phone service, which we've had through CenturyTel since they bought out whatever loser had our phone service prior.

And, predictably so, our phone service has been somehow turned off.

Fucking geniuses.


Also, I left them a nasty complaint on their website--as nasty as 500 characters would allow.

For you to return into my life

Monday, June 29, 2009

Technology has me in its clutches

So, to most people who know me, my love for technology is apparent. No, I am not usually an early-adopter of bleeding edge gadgets, but I do tend to drool over them from time to time. I enjoy browsing geekologie and engadget and checking out the cool things they offer. If I had the chance to install a cybernetic eyelash in myself, I'd probably do it.

For example, I now carry my iPhone when I run and it logs all sorts of useful information for me, which I can then view on the web. Here is an example. It's not real clear, but it basically shows me every path I took, how many feet I ascended, calories burned, pace per mile, average pace, distance, what I had for dinner...well, basically everything. I love it!


So it's not surprise that I'm currently in love with my iPhone. It has taken me t0 new heights of geekiness that even I could not have fathomed in the depth of my own twisted imagination, where dogs and cats live together. I don't know how much of my iPhone is actually useful, but it gets used. The other day I went looking at blenders. Our supposedly "good quality" blender apparently started sending up smoke signals (yes, real smoke) and we were too afraid to plug it back in to use it.

Anyhoo, I'm at the store looking at them, not wanting to get a total junker but also not wanting to spend millions of dollars on a blender. "Aha!" I think to myself. "I can use this iPhone thingy to find user reviews of these blenders!" And so it was done. I told this story to K and she gave me the requisite eye roll...to which I am extremely accustomed--I think the first one I got was when I showed her my very first network. It was all downhill from there. If I had footage of all the eyerolls, I'd probably have a really long montage. All I'd need to do is find some hilarious music. Yakkety Sax, maybe.

Anyway, onto bigger and better things...

Scifi Pictures Presents "Mutant Chronicles"

If I am correct, then this is Scifi's attempt to create a movie that is almost solely for DVD and Blu-Ray channels. Sure, they showed it on their own network but, directly after the movie ended, they had an ad for it and announced it was availalbe in both formats. More on this later.

So, anyway, this movie stars Ron Perlman and, to my surprise, John Malkovich. Yes...John F'ing Malkovich. "What the hell is John F'ing Malkovich doing in a Scifi movie?" you ask? That's a really f'ing good question. I have no answer for you. But he's following in the footsteps of Isabella Rosselini and Christopher Lee. So why, you ask, do I say that? Both Isabella and Christopher were silly enough to be in a Scifi movie...and they also both died off very quickly. I assume it must have been in their contracts: "Okay, I'll do your crappy-ass movie because my son/nephew/dog works at your company. But you have to promise me you'll kill off my character quickly."

And, thus, Malkovich is off'd rather quickly. Hopefully he quickly left the set to go on and do good movies. But that's neither here nor there.

This movie is set in an anachronistic world--the year is 2707 (if I recall correctly) and five corporations own the world. Of course, these corporations are fighting each other in a style that looks very World War II'ish, but they have bigass weapons and even bigger cannons. Oh, and man has also colonized other planets. All this and they can't spare the money on attire other than WWII-era junk. Okely dokely.

So the plot...giant machine fell from space and created savage mutants out of dead and dying people. Basically, this is what I call "The High School Machine." It turns normally sane individuals into lunatics. The only difference is that the mutants do less foolish things than highschoolers, for the most part. So, yeah, these religious dudes work real hard to seal up the machine under the ground, never to be reopened again...

...That is, until these bozos fighting this silly war let loose with this giant-ass cannon and accidentally break the seal. Then the mutants are free once again to romp and frolic in blood and gore, happily eviscerating everyone in sight and dragging them back to become one of their own. I also think there was a tea party involved, but I might have also fallen asleep.

A plan is hatched that involves an ancient device--you guessed it, a bomb-- and an elite cadre of dumbasses...er...soldiers is chosen to sneak in and blow the place up, therefore handing the asses of the mutants to said mutants. Then there might be some ice cream. The plan goes horribly wrong and people make lots of stupid decisions. Some things happen that don't make a whole lot of sense and then...wait...the movie is still on? Scifi movies only last two hours, but this one is still on?

K lost interest at the two hour mark but I was determined to see how long the movie would continue. Our Internet access was acting very slow so I couldn't check the running time...no, I had to sit and watch the whole damn thing. I'll never forgive my ISP for that. Never. When all was said and done, it clocked in at two hours and thirty minutes...prime for DVD and Blu-Ray. But it really wasn't a very good movie to begin with. In fact, it took just under an hour for anything real to happen, other than a pointless battle at the beginning. So let's just get to the

Drive-In Totals:
Pointless side excursions: 2
Overwhelming religious overtones: The whole damn movie
Hot chick soldiers: 2
Hot chick soldiers living at the end of the movie: 0
Hitler look-alikes: 1/2
Sword-fu
Mutant claw-fu
Decapitations
Eviscerations
Taste sensations

2 1/2 stars

It can happen to you

Friday, June 26, 2009

Random Acts of Observation

This morning I was sitting in my car on the way to work, at a stoplight, zoning out in a morning haze. I normally don't pay much attention to anyone around me on the morning drive--the only peoplewatching I do is in my rearview mirror to observe the strange things people do while at stoplights. Sometimes I find a gem. Today, I looked over to my right to see a dude on a little red scooter...with flames on it! For some reason, that cracks me up. I'm guessing the flames make it go faster. Now why didn't car companies latch onto that strategy a long time ago?

I'm finally working at a place where my geeky t-shirts are appreciated. Today I've gotten two comments on my shirt this morning already (I'm wearing my super snazzy "Etch-A-Sketch Tech Support" t-shirt). I always forget which shirt I'm actually wearing and have to look at myself as a reminder.

It really makes me wilt when I wake up in the morning and look out the window to see...condensation...on the window. I'm not a big fan of humidity. In fact, if I was at a concert where humidity was the headlining band, and they said "Are you ready to rock??" I'd reply "No! Get off the damn stage you hippy jerkface!" I'm not a big fan of summer in general, actually, but it's a necessary evil. Until you get through summer, you can't have autumn. And autumn makes it all worthwhile. Trust me.

So I'm late to the party, but I've started playing Mass Effect on the Xbox 360. I got it used on the cheap, so I figured it was probably worth the purchase. So far I have not been disappointed but, I must admit, it has started off rather slowly. There is quite a bit of exposition and plot-gathering and not a whole lot of action. Couple that with the fact that I can't figure out where the Hell I am or where the Hell I am going, and it definitely makes for a slow start. I feel like I'm this great hero, running around trying to get out of a bathroom stall. How does this latch thingy work? Where can I wash my hands? Oops, I just sucked myself out an airlock. My bad.

But I've just now gotten past the main boring part and have moved on to some actual other boring parts where, hopefully, I'll get to put my non-peaceful skills to use and vaporize some jerks! Wait, did I say I wasn't disappointed? Then why am I complaining?

See, the game started out well--there was lots of action and a mystery to be solved! To the Mystery Machine, gang! So I fought some dudes, found a clue or two, fought more dudes etc. But once that honeymoon was over, I found myself basically doing administrative work and picking up little crappy quests from a bunch of whiners who said their problems were urgent. But, like I said, I've moved off that particular space station and have pushed forth into actual plot that matters...I hope.

Move on back to squares

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Toybox of Goodness

One day, after light graced the Earth, a father was born. And there was much rejoicing. As the crowd gathered 'round to hear his first words, they waited in anticipation. And then he spoke.

"Let there be a day devoted entirely to me," he said. And it was done. And the father proceeded to do whatever he wanted, as long as it did not involve cutting the grass.

So Father's Day has come and gone and it was a nice one. We did not do anything particularly special or awesome. The girls ended up entertaining themselves for almost the entire day so my plans of playing some games (and maybe some Rock Band) were shelved in favor of the "quiet, peaceful Sunday" plan. Nobody was disappointed.

When I woke up (around 10), the girls showered me with presents they had made and wrapped. This means that a lot of trees died to bring me the paper required for these presents, but I love each and every one of them. I'm rather surprised the girls went so long without accidentally telling me what they had made me. I now have many decorations for my barren walls here at work. I'm not sure I actually have enough wall space to display everything!

We were going to go to our favorite Thai restaurant for dinner but failed to check to see if said restaurant was actually open. You see, it's difficult to eat food at an establishment that is not only not cooking any food, but isn't letting you into the building. Rather than bust down the door like an angry mob, we opted for "Plan B", which was the "what other restaurants are nearby?" plan. It wasn't Thai, but it was good, and all was right with the world.

Below is a pic of what K got me for Father's Day. I had seen these at Art in the Park a few weeks ago and fell in love. The balloon itself is actually an old light bulb with wire and paint around it (no, it does not light up). I now must figure some place to hang it where it won't get destroyed.


As a small aside, I did ask the artist what he was going to do when standard incandescent bulbs were no longer available due to the compact flourescent craze. He smiled, but had no answer. I assume he's stockpiled billions of lightbulbs for his craft.

I opted to skip the Scifi Saturday movie and instead went to a friend's house to play games. I'm sure you're sad.

So satisfied I'm on my way

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Week in Review

This week was my first five days at my new job. Having completed the first five days, I can honestly say that this is probably the best company I've ever worked for. It's more stable than some, and is more relaxed than any other previous job I've had. There is definitely work to be done, and we are a 24/7 company, but everyone is easy-going most of the time.

Another important fact: I'm back among "my people"--people who aren't the straight-laced, uptight masses. I'm back working among people who play videogames and talk about what would happen if you jumped into a black hole from a speeding spaceship. Yeah, those people. Very geeky but, well, that's me!

I absolutely despise learning the ropes. I feel confident that I have the technical and logical knowledge to do most anything that is required of me, but I know nothing about the processes and unique software my new company uses. The only way to learn it is to use it and follow others around, but it's still very disconcerting. I feel quite a bit out of my element.

Not much else to say other than that. I think all of the changes in our household are finally coming to a close, for which I am thankful.

Welcome home

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Proceed to Next Page

So, since Friday was my last day with my previous employer, I decided to have a go at it, and crack open the Gummy Bacon. Yes, it's not just a legend, it's real! And, man, is it nasty!! It tasted like plastic dipped in ass, wrapped in nausea, sprinkled with pure hate and brushed with just a touch of strawberry. Suffice to say that it did not live up to the hype...or maybe it did. I suspect it depends on which hype you believe.

Alright, onto other things...

Scifi Saturday Presents: "Star Runners"

This movie has it all--a shifty space government, space criminals, space revolutionaries, and a mysterious space girl. What more could you ask for? Wait...you want giant, killer space bugs too? Well, okay, we'll throw those in for free! Now, what can I do to get you to watch this movie? What if I told you it stars James Kyson Lee? You know, "Unspecial Ando" from "Heroes". Deal? Okay, okay...0% financing for 60 months. But I absolutely cannot go lower than that. Alright, well, maybe I can throw in my dog...but that's really a bonus for me.

So, yeah. Two ne'er-do-wells get the chance to wipe the slate clean by returning the space government's space crate to them. Inside said space crate is the space girl who is mysterious, senile, and...naked! She was cryogenically frozen, blah blah...I think they just wanted an excuse to have a naked chick in the movie.

The two scountrels and the chick board a space transit ship but get attacked by another ship, jump blindly into uncharted space and crash land (along with some passengers) on a desolate planet which, they soon find out, is inhabited by the giant, hungry, space bugs.

As you well know, giant space bugs and humans seldom get along. This situation is no different. Once they discover each other, much running, screaming, whining, doublecrossery, and head-chomping mayhem results as the silly humans are picked off one at a time by the hungry creepy-crawlies.

And can you blame the bugs? I mean, they've been stuck on a planet of rocks--there are no space 7-11's, no space takeout, no space drive-thru's--just rocks and bugs. So when stupid humans enter the picture, you expect a wily feast. Of course there are many misunderstood bugs who perish in the onslaught, but some of them eat really well and die fat and happy.

As I mentioned, there is the usual doublecrossery and silly plotline about the mysterious space girl having mystical abilities due to horrible space genocide by the space federation but it's easily overlooked. It's all a load of crap. Despite all of that lousy exposition, the movie is quite enjoyable.

Let's get to the Drive-In Totals:
Architypical Characters: All of them
Loads of Malarchy: 3
Space Bugs: Lots and lots
Ammo: Seemingly unlimited (even though the comment many times about how little they have)
Pincer-fu
Exploding Pistol-fu
Solar Flare-fu
Decapitations
Leg-munching

3 1/2 stars

I put the pedal down to make some time

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Last of the Great Changes

T has been potty training this week. Both girls are at the grandparents' house having lots of fun while K and I have some time without children. It's a win-win-win situation. There is probably another "win" that can be inserted in there somewhere, but let's not go overboard.

The change of scenery coupled with the "big girl" mentality and the "we don't have any more diapers" lie have brought this change upon us. This aids all facets of life. It's good for the environment, it's good for our wallets, and it's good for us, because we're tired of changing diapers. So we're ecstatic. Hopefully the trend will continue when the girls return home.

So today is my last day with my current employer. The move is purely monetary--no hard feelings on anyone's end. The new job will pay better and offers better benefits--some of which are simply nice, others will actually lower some of our bills. When I was in danger of getting the job offer it quickly became apparent that it was the right move.

There is something to be said for staying at the same company and working your way up the ladder. Eventually you will make the kind of money you want to, even if you don't get promoted. It equals out; I simply got tired of waiting for that day while struggling through life in general.

It doesn't hurt that I can once again show up at work wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I can hang up the "business casual" outfits finally. This is a good thing, because my shirts were looking tired and my shoes almost have holes in them. So now they can all hibernate for a while until I pull them out for the occasional "dress nicely, but not that nicely" event.

And I'll actually be working just down the street from two other buildings in which I used to work (one of them twice). So the neighborhood is familiar, and it's closer to home, so I should be able to come home for lunch occasionally. Mostly, this means that I can stop taking a crappy, packed lunch to work and eating it at my desk. I'm looking forward to that.

So, yeah. Things are definitely looking up. I have zero motivation to do anything remotely work-related (even though I've been busy for the last hour). So I think I'll just sit here, zone out, and listen to some tunes to carry me through the day.

Time to say it, goodbye

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oddities

So I went running around my favorite park the other day. My iPod had previously crapped out so my tunes were absent and I was forced to listen to relative silence for the better part of an hour. It's not really so bad, but I'd rather have the option to listen to music if I want. Ah well.

So I'm running along, minding my own business, and this dude is running the opposite direction. He's tall, he's lanky, and he's just recently put his hand in the air for a high-five from me.

What? Why? Who? I don't know this dude and I don't know why I'm now obligated to high-five him. Is this a "Whoohoo! Running!" high-five? Or did he just storm the beach at Normandy? Was it possibly a "Whoohoo! I just used my hand to wipe my ass!" high-five? Regardless, time was running out as we neared each other. Rather than leave him hanging, I high-fived him. Then I spent the rest of my run rather puzzled and snickering.

I've seen some strange people while running...strange people doing strange things. There are also annoying people doing strange or annoying things. Here are just a few:

1. The Person who, while walking, talks on their cell phone incessantly. This person is almost always female and walks at a 1 mph pace. She is not getting any real exercise, and it is a mystery to me as to why she bothers pretending. Every so often, she might accidentally stray off the path, dangerously close to tumbling down a weed-covered hill. But I bet she probably wouldn't notice.

2. Person walking dog...on a 500-yard leash. This person is quite a nuiscance. They walk their tiny dog on a retractable leash that seems to stretch to the sun...and back. This dog may as well not be on a leash at all, since it has free reign to go poopy anywhere it wants. And it usually does...and the owner never picks up after it. But the most annoying feature about this duo is that said dog is never reeled in, causing me to either have to run way around the animal or vault over the leash. I prefer the latter because it scares the shit out of the dog owner.

3. Person carrying dog. Honestly, why take your dog with you if you are going to carry the beast? True, these pups are usually smaller dogs who eventually tire. Honestly, it just looks funny. But at least it keeps the person from talking on their cell phone while walking.

4. This one's usually a group--people who like to take up all the space they can on the sidewalk/trail. It doesn't have to be a group...it could consist of one person walking in the middle of the surface, arms akimbo...or just a really large person traveling in the center. Either way, these people usually don't move for anything. I either have to ask a few times or just run around them, which I find rather irritating. These people aren't humorous. They're just rather lazy.

What this all boils down to is this--I want my tunes back! Stupid iPod.

Is it way too much to ask

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wiikend (See what I did thar?)

Honestly, this has much more to do with the actual weekend than it does with anything having to do with the Wii. But first things first.

At one point I posed the idea to K that we should think about getting a Wii for the kids for Christmas. We both kind of stewed on this idea for a while, letting it percolate in the back of our noggins until it produced perhaps the best braincoffee ever. I have not brought up the subject since.

So E3 came and went and I paid a little attention to the Nintendo lineup. And I've decided that getting a Wii is about as tempting as sticking my hand in a shredder, dipping it in alcohol, and then perhaps eating a rat or two. But maybe that's a little harsh. Let's just say that I can't stand the 1980's graphics and they honestly have not created one damn game that I find appealing. Not one.

Now you might be saying "but, seriously, you're wanting to get it for your kids!! So why are you being such a naysaying, cynical ninny?" That's a good question. See, I already own an Xbox 360, and Xbox games are so much better that they basically have their way with Wii games' mothers. I usually have to lock mine up to keep them from prowling the neighborhood at night.

In all seriosity, There are a ton of child-themed games for the Xbox 360 and, during E3, Microsoft introduced "Project Natal: which, despite sounding like something that goes on in the hospital involving one or more babies, is a motion-sensing app for the 360 which, get this, apparently requires no controller! So while I think Nintendo's vision for the Wii's revolutionary control was quite...well, revolutionary, I just don't think they have the game to back it up. 'Nuff said.

Onto other things in a different paradigm.

This weekend was one of those "this was the best weekend ever" weekends. On Saturday, the family went to Art in the Park which is held in what could be my favorite park (it's where I frequently go running). The weather was perfect and fun was had by the whole family. Nobody lost their balloons to the evil wind this year and I even found a few different vendors selling pieces that I very much liked. That being said, I find it rather difficult to spend the amount of money they are asking on something that simply "looks nice." I'm more drawn to the functional and useful--items I can actually do something with. Sure, art is functional in that it keeps dust from falling onto the ground by collecting it. A miraculous invention!!!

I went back to the park later that day (stomach still full of brick-like pizza substance) and ran around for a while. I was fortunate enough to be able to turn off my iPod for a little while and listen to one of my favorite local bands, the Hillary Scot Band, while running around the outer area.

After Art in the Park, we went for an impromptu lunch at CiCi's pizza (home of the ultra-cheap but still mostly tasty pizza!). G, for some reason, suggested Subway but was quickly derailed and moved onto the proper track--a track that was not headed for sandwich disaster. The rest of the day was peaceful and strife-free as the girls both played together and had a blast with minimal oversight from us parental units.

Sunday, the womenfolk all headed for the grandparents' house while I chilled, bachelor style. "Bachelor style" means that I went out, stole a traffic cone, and woke up next to a creek. But I'm feeling much better now.

I saw "Up". I was originally going to see this with the girls but the grandparents were taking them instead, so I flew solo. Loved it. I'm also glad I didn't have to pay the silly fee for the 3D, since this particular theater does not have 3D equipment. I couldn't care less about 3D but will totally step over peoples' dead bodies to see movies in 4D. Seriously. I'm so there.

Actually, I went back to the park to run some more but my iPod crapped out after just one lap. In my frustration, I went home, only to have it start working about an hour later. This makes me yearn even harder for the iPhone I'm so gonna get just to show my current iPod who's boss. That's right, inanimate object! You heard me! Or did you? Nevermind.

And now I just got the news that the grandparents are going to keep the children until the end of next weekend! Huzzah!!

Sorry, there is no Scifi Saturday movie to review. They showed "Ultraviolet" and, well, we just couldn't bring ourselves to watch that piece of shit. Even we have our standards. They're low, but they exist somewhere in the ether.

It's freaking me out that I didn't see

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Throwing Darts at a Wall

E3, the cornucopia of electronic bliss for gamers, has been going strong all week. Many very cool things have been announced. Some have been mind-blowing, life-altering endeavors that have given game fanatics new life and something to save their money for. Others have been...rather confusing. So when Nintendo announced it's vitality sensor, it should come as no surprise that the collective world stopped, quietly, and pondered the device during one big "WTF" moment. I expect the "Wii toilet seat" next year. Nintendo, don't disappoint me!

G and T are off on a citywide adventure today with their grandmother. Today is "ride the city bus day"! Now, I cannot profess to fathom the allure of such an activity, but I am also neither six years old, nor three years old. If it gets the girls out of the house for a morning then I suppose I should shut my trap and just go with the proverbial flow. It is Summer, after all, and free time flows like a raging river when the Winter snows melt. So anything that keeps young, energy-filled children occupied for any length of time is good with me.

I will be switching jobs fairly soon--an activity that I am not altogether very fond of. It's much like taking a brush to a wet dog. It's painful for everyone involved, it smells a little, and it's generally unpleasant. But, in the end, everyone benefits...until said dog goes outside and rolls in filth the next day.

I am very much looking forward to the new job. My main problem is that it always feels like the first day of school--no matter how much knowledge you have on the subject, you are relegated to the status of "stupid nOOb" and have to be shown where everything is. If you're lucky, the people in charge might actually feed and change you on the first day!

I am hoping this is the last job switch I'll have to make for quite a while. I would prefer to find a job and company that I like and simply stay put. If all works out, this will be that golden nugget of goodness hidden within a giant pile of crap.

I don't want to cause no fuss