Sunday, July 31, 2005


Picture the Scene.

Paulius is sitting in front of his TV, as usual. It’s late night. Sounds of crickets fill the air.

Paulius turns up the sound on his TV to drown out the bloody crickets.

Suddenly, the picture on the TV screen changes. A man, instantly nicknamed ‘Botox Accident’, due to the total lack of expression or movement on his face, fills the screen. In fact, it looks as though his face is completely frozen. He also looks slightly constipated.

“If you have been injured, and it’s not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation…”

Paulius tunes out. The next ad appears.

This man, earning himself the nickname ‘Massive Coronary’ due to the fact that he’s ridiculously fat (not just fat, he has gravity, you get the feeling if you push him in any direction, he’ll just rock back and forth) also begins to speak:

“If you, or anyone you know has taken Biox, Flobox or Globox, and had negative effects, you may be entitled to compensation.”

Again, Paulius tunes out. The next ad appears:

This man, who appears to be having his eyebrows controlled by tiny wires off screen, also begins to speak:

“Have you recently fallen or had an injury? You may be entitled to a large cash award!”

At this point, Paulius just barely resists the urge to fling the remote at the screen, and showing incredible restraint, manages to simply turn the TV off.

Now, I’m not old by any means (I’m 24), but I remember a time when people actually didn’t sue each other at the drop of a hat.

There are reasonable reasons to sue someone. For example, if I got a bad electric shock from a computer at work, which left me unable to work for a long period of time, I’d be within my rights to sue for loss of earnings. After all, I wouldn’t have got the shock if my employer had taken adequate precautions.

If I injured myself gravely due to inadequate safety equipment, or badly maintained property, I’d be in my rights to sue.

However, we appear to be at a point today where anyone will sue anyone for any reason.

There used to be reason and a process.

For example, if I went into a shop and bought something that turned out not to work, I’d take it back and complain. If they refused to replace it or refund my money, I’d write to the head office. If that didn’t work, then I’d consider legal action.

You see, the idea of suing is based on compensation. You’ve been harmed, so you need compensating for it. If you’re unable to work, you sue for lost wages. If you need treatment, you sue for your medical bills.

However, things that you can claim ‘compensation’ for are very vague.

People no longer sue for what they’re owed. People sue because they want a lot of money, quickly, and for free. It’s greed. I’m not saying that there aren’t valid, reasonable and just cases for compensation, but plenty of people take the piss.

A guy in England once attempted to sue Virgin Trains…simply because he couldn’t get a signal on his mobile phone while on the train.

A guy attempted to sue ESPN, because he was offended by Janet Jackson’s nipple slip at the Superbowl.

A woman attempted to sue a department store, because her own child knocked her over. Apparently, the store staff should have had him under better control.

See what I mean?

People no longer put things in perspective.

Another guy in England attempted to sue the City Council, because he tripped on uneven pavement and twisted his ankle. Now if you look at that like a normal person, you’d ask why a healthy male had problems traversing a cracked sidewalk. A human being is essentially an ‘all terrain vehicle’, but now it’s not actually our fault if a half inch raised section of sidewalk trips us up.

Even if we look at this from the legal perspective, it’s still stupid. It’s true, the council are responsible for the city’s sidewalks, so someone tripping on a poorly maintained strip of concrete is technically their fault. However, is a twisted ankle really worth $10,000? You hurt your ankle, so you need about 6 months wages?

Not too long ago, a person would simply say a swear word, limp for a few hours, then complain about the state of the sidewalks to the council.

Nowadays, a simple sprained ankle is worth $10,000 dollars. Despite the face that the injury does not stop you doing anything, just causes a little pain, and makes you uncomfortable for a while.

People have attempted to sue people for such minor things as someone stepping on their toes.

Take the 85 year old lady who recently tried to sue Rockstar Games over the ‘Hot Coffee’ scandal. Why did she sue? She bought it for her 14 year old grandson. She ‘wouldn’t have bought it if she knew about the sex scenes’.

Again, when I was a kid, the worst Rockstar could have expected was a strongly worded letter. However, despite the fact that the 85 year old bought a game rated for 17 year olds for her 14 year old grandson…she believes she’s entitled to some sort of cash award?

What for? You buy an M rated game for a 14 year old. Hear in the newspapers about the current scandal… “Hmm, I could get some cash out of this!”

Under my new ‘Stupidity Law’, she would be behind bars right now, on the grounds that she’s a greedy, money grabbing moron.

That brings me to the stupidity question. Like the guy who sued Winnebago because he was driving down the freeway, turned on the cruise control, and went into the back to make coffee. He won his case, as the owner’s manual didn’t state clearly enough that cruise control simply maintained the vehicle’s speed…and did not steer for you.

This guy got a nice cash award and a brand new Winnebago. He got paid for being as dumb as a box of rocks, thick as a submarine door, and as dense as armor plating.

Now many of you probably think ‘What’s the big deal?’

I’ll tell you what the big deal is. Where do you think all this compensation money is coming from? Companies have to hire teams of lawyers to make sure their safety statements are air tight. If I decide to make toast in the shower, and the toaster’s manual does not specifically state not to get it wet, I have a case. So how do these companies pay for these lawyers and legal costs? They charge us, their consumers.

Also, once a company has been successfully sued, their insurance goes through the roof…and that cost is passed on to us. That’s one of the reasons why it costs so much to see a doctor. Their insurance costs are ridiculous.

The other problem is once someone successfully sues, thousands of other people crawl out the woodwork. Some have real grievances, others just want cash. For example, A few years ago, someone got injured by a Daisy BB gun. They ‘thought it was empty’.

In other words, they didn’t pay attention, and completely ignored the 10 gun safety rules (IE never point a gun at something you don’t intend to shoot, even if you believe the gun to be unloaded), and shot themselves.

He won his case as it was decided that the gravity feed magazine was unsafe. Despite the fact that you can hear the BBs rattle with a quick shake of the gun, despite the fact that he should’ve had it pointed in a safe direction. Despite the fact the manual states specifically not to point the gun at yourself, others or animals.

In other words, some idiot decided to dick around with a weapon. Now, BB guns are not specifically dangerous, but a weapon is a weapon and should be treated with care and respect at all times.

However, some guy gets thousands in compensation because he decided to play with a loaded gun.

It’s the equivalent of me smacking myself in the face with a shovel…then suing the manufacturer because the manual didn’t say “Do not whack yourself upside the head with this product.”

Another candidate for imprisonment, on two counts of being bloody stupid.

I’m sorry, but I kinda expect adults to have a little common sense.

After the Daisy BB gun case, literally thousands of people sued. Some of them well into adulthood, all because they dicked around and shot themselves when they were 6.

That’s right, they lived normal, productive lives for decades, but now need $10,000 for a minor, self-inflicted injury that they suffered decades ago.

Anyone will sue anyone. It’s true. If you put up something less than complimentary about someone on your site, they won’t email and respectfully ask you remove it. You’ll get an email entitled “Im going to sue U!”

It all comes down to honesty and common sense. Common sense should tell you that a cup of coffee in the groin will hurt, so you should be careful. Common sense should tell you that pointing a gun at someone, even if you think it’s not loaded is a bad idea. Common sense should tell you that you don’t really deserve $10,000 for a twisted ankle.

As for honesty…there’s very little honesty in the world. Especially when a lie will land you with the big bucks.

That’s why those ads for lawyer’s offices piss me off so much. Allow me to translate what they really mean:

“Are you thick as pigshit? Have you misused a common product in such a way that caused you injury? Are you an amoral liar and want to get rich? Sue a blameless person and get your hands on their cash today!

Call screwem, fleecem and smyle. We too want to get rich of your stupidity!”

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cracking a Cynic's Shell

I'm a cynic.

It's true, I know you would hardly have guessed from my posts here, but I really am cynical.

However, once in a while, something happens that restores my faith in the human race.

At the end of yesterday's post, I cynically joked that maybe someone wanted to send me some Gamecube games, for free. Let me be totally clear on this, I was joking, not even half serious. After all, it would never happen. No one gives anything to anyone else for free, especially not just for the sake of it. My cynical viewpoint tells me that 9 times out of 10, if someone does you a good deed, chances are it's because they want something.

So, this morning, before I hit the hay, I decided to check my new email address, the one I set up purely for this blog.

I was surprised and astonished to find an email from Mike (Check out his blog, it's one of my favourites), that simply said he got some free Gamecube games from work, and his other half Cindy, (The author of another of my favourite blogs) can get free shipping through her work, so would I like them?

What I found even more amazing is that this email was sent on Wednesday, two days before my last post. In other words, it was completely out of the blue. I didn't ask Mike for anything...he just offered.

Now sending someone something you got for free, when shipping is free as well, might not seem like a hell of a lot to some people. However, bear in mind that I only know Mike and Cindy through their blogs...they only know me through mine.

It means one hell of a lot to me.

The fact that someone is willing to put themselves out to do a big favour for a virtual stranger, just because they think it's a nice thing to do, really does restore my faith in the human race.

I may seem to be going a little over the top here, but it's a nice thing to know that, in this cynical world we live in, there are still people who are willing to do things for people, just because they want to.

Well, Mike and Cindy, if I ever find myself in LA, the beers are on me!

Curse You, Feeble Brain!

I tried to write a decent post today, but my brain refused to co-operate.

You know that feeling, you have a good idea for a post, yet no matter how hard you try, it comes out like incoherent, disjointed babble. Well, after the third attempt, my post still flowed as easily as set concrete attempting to flow I gave up.

(See, I can't even come up with a decent metaphor).

So instead, I'll just fill you in on a bit of completely irrelevant and uninteresting news:

Remember Padme? Our new kitten? Well I found her yesterday, reclining(which is a polite way to say that she was lying on her back with her legs in the air) on the loveseat.

Now that might now seem particularly strange.

However, she was displaying a brand new pair of 'Kitty Balls'.

Yep, turns out that little Padme is actually a little Anakin. 'She' is really a 'He'.

Unfortunately, he's already learned his name. So now we have a tomcat with a girls name, and no-one can get out of the habit of calling him 'her' or 'she'.

...and I let him sleep on my chest.

I feel so used and dirty. Hoodwinked by a feline ladyboy.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in the shower.

On another note. I'm bored. If anyone has any used Gamecube games that they want to give me for free. Drop me an email.

Oh, and your firstborn, if you have one....oh oh oh! and the deed to your house. And your car.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

My Final Words on Video Game Controversy...I Promise!

I had a thought today.

Now that the whole GTA ‘Hot Coffee’ scandal has reached epic proportions, I started to think. What actually makes a game, movie or TV show ‘controversial’?

I mean, after all, GTA features violence, theft, murder and prostitution. Basically, if there’s a crime that can be committed, it’s in the game. So why is it that a little sexual content is the thing that has the parents groups, politicians and do-gooders getting hot under the collar?

The GTA series has always been a little controversial, but apparently, a mini-game that shows sex between two consenting adults is much worse than the fact you can carjack a car, then use that car to run over the original owner.

Hmm…vehicular homicide is bad, but sex is much worse!

It’s strange the things that the politicians and parents groups flip out over. Some are understandable, others…not so much.

I think the original ‘Doom’ was the first game that caused mainstream controversy. This was because it was the first incredibly popular game that you got to shoot things from a first-person perspective. In other words, it was realistic.

However, ‘realistic’ has to be used as a very loose term. The visuals, while incredible at the time, are simply laughable now. It was played ‘through the character’s eyes’, but it was about as realistic as a comic book.

Unfortunately, the first person perspective put Doom in the ‘simulation’ category for a lot of people. Whereas it was fine to control a character in a side or top-down view and blast aliens, the first person perspective (called ‘virtual reality’ by a lot of the papers at the time), made things all too realistic for the parents groups and politicians. (Including our friend Jake Thomas, who won a case where apparently a young boy ‘trained’ on Doom to become a more ‘efficient killer’)

Now to the video game layman, this made a lit of sense. They’d read the papers, and a young boy had played a ‘killing simulation’, then went on to kill. It’s logical. It makes sense.

Of course, to actual gamers, it was ridiculous. Using the keyboard’s cursor keys to move, and the ctrl key to fire, is not exactly ‘weapons training’. From my own personal experience, I played Doom a hell of a lot back in the 90’s, yet when I moved to the USA, and had an opportunity to fire a real rifle…I didn’t have the first clue how to use it. I knew the principles, but someone had to show me how to load, cock, take of the safety and fire the weapon.

My poor performance also showed that years of playing first person shooters had not improved my aim one tiny little bit.

In other words, parents found themselves in a tricky position. They could either agree, and blame Doom for everything…or disagree and be branded ‘irresponsible’.

They also entirely missed the point. The ‘Doom’ connection was only established by the fast that the boy had owned the game. The ‘evidence’ was completely contrived and entirely circumstantial. Blaming this murder on ‘Doom’, is like blaming a ‘jump’ suicide, on the fact that the jumper had seen ‘Superman’ and thought he could fly.

Like I said, the entire point was missed. Thomas was so busy pointing his finger at ‘Doom’, that her forgot to ask one simple question:

Where in the hell did a young boy get his hands on a gun? He couldn’t have bought it!

There’s only one reasonable explanation. His parents were irresponsible gun owners, who owned a firearm, and didn’t keep it in a safe location, with the ammunition locked up.

If a child got hold of my gun, and used it to shoot someone, I’d expect fingers to be leveled directly at me, not at the child’s X-Box.

The game’s to blame. Not the parent who allowed his child to take his gun and use it on another person.

First person shooters are not the only games to cause controversy. After Doom, the second game to cause major controversy in the mainstream was ‘Mortal Kombat’.

This was a side view fighting game. Now, there had been other fighting games before this, but they had slipped entirely under the parent groups radar. This was basically because, before Mortal Kombat, you controlled characters that looked like cartoons. There was also no blood or gore.

Mortal Kombat, however, was different. The characters you controlled were real people. Actors had been videotaped, and their images digitized. (I should point out that the result wasn’t as realistic as it sounds. The characters were extremely blocky).

There was also a lot of blood, including very graphic and ‘over-the-top’ deaths. (You could pull people’s hearts out, punch their heads off or impale them on a spike.)

Now I’ll be the first person to admit that the reaction to this game was, if not entirely justified, at least reasonable. While entirely unrealistic, not many people wanted their children playing a game where a single punch would result in a huge splash of blood. This game gave birth to the ESRB, which functions to give games a rating system, pretty much identical to the rating system in place for movies.

A rating system for games was inevitable. At first, computer hardware was not powerful enough to render realistic visuals. Therefore, nothing considered ‘graphic’ could be shown. As video games became more sophisticated, with visuals bordering on photo realistic, it was inevitable that games, at some point, would have to be age rated.

This is something that has caused the major problems for the videogame industry today. People still assume computer games are solely for children. To most people, an adult who plays games is childish and ‘refuses to grow up’.

The result is a child asks his parents for a video game, and the parent buys it. Computer games are for children, so there’s no need to pay close attention. The parent goes into the games store, tells the clerk what game he wants, and for what system, and then the clerk hands it over. After all, why wouldn’t he?

The law states that it is illegal to sell M-rated games to children, not to make sure that a parent isn’t mistakenly buying an M-rated game for a child.

The video game industry’s responsibility ends the second the game leaves the store. After that, it’s parent country.

So the parent takes the game, puts it into a bag and takes it home. They don’t stop to look at the rating, they don’t read the back of the case to see what content the game has. Many parents don’t even know games have a rating system…because, again, games are for children.

Then the controversy breaks in the news and the parent recognizes the name of the game. Then he confiscates it, shouts at his child for playing it, then the parent’s group battle cry rings out:

“Who are these sick perverts peddling this filth to children?!?”…Which makes about as much sense as blaming the Auto industry when you leave your 6 year old unattended in your car, who then takes off the parking brake, and rolls into the front of your house. The fault would be with the parent. Not the auto industry for not fitting the car with a child-proof parking brake.

Parents groups basically complain because companies don’t do their jobs for them. They won’t be happy until they don’t have to watch their kids at all. The TV and games console should do all the parenting for them.

I’ve had personal experience of this. I once went to a cousin’s house, and found my 15 year old cousin playing GTA 3. His exact words were “This game is great, you can pick up a prozzie, do ‘er in your car, then kill her and get your money back!”

I told my Uncle that the game was unsuitable, and got the reply “What?” (Shrug). “It’s only a game!”

Now I have enough faith in my own family to know that my uncle knows that playing a game is not going to turn his son into a psychopathic hooker-slaying killer, but his attitude is matched by countless parents worldwide. Parents who will demand that the games they bought for their children are banned the next time a big controversy comes along.

Now I’ve stated that ‘realism’ is one of the main problems with game controversy. I mean, Space Invaders involves a lot of death and destruction, but it’s hard to get worked up about it, because the spaceships being destroyed are made from about 8 pixels, and don’t look very realistic at all.

That’s the part I don’t understand. It’s backwards. What’s more likely to confuse children? A fighting game where you can get the crap kicked out of you, and not get so much as a bruise? Or a game that shows graphically what happens if someone actually does slash you with a sword.

It’s all complete fantasy. You see, it’s not actually possible to punch someone in the chest and rip out their heart. It’s not actually possible to jump 20 feet into the air and land 20 punches before you land, unharmed. Games that supposedly corrupt and teach kids to kill, are so over the top, they couldn’t even begin to be called ‘instructional’. If a child actually attempted to jump 50 feet into the air, and kick someone while upside down, they’re in for a surprise.

Children are children…they’re not brain-dead morons.

In fact, I remember reading a review of ‘Medal of Honour’, a World War II first person shooter. The reviewer, commenting on the realism, said “If this game teaches you one thing, it’s this: never go to real war…ever.”

The ‘realism’ argument is flawed. I’ve played Splinter Cell extensively, and did very well at it. However, drop me in enemy territory with a bunch of gadgets and a silenced pistol…and see how long I actually survive.

However, when it comes to ‘realistic’ games, I’ve discovered quite a large hypocrisy.

A few years ago, a First Person Shooter, labeled as ‘hyper-realistic’ hit the market.

It was realistic in the way that you could kill enemies with only one or two shots, the visuals and in-game physics were incredibly close to life. Now while I would still say that it was a long way off being a ‘killing simulator’ (using simulation in the true sense of the word), it was as close as a game could get.

Instead of the guns being ‘point and shoot’, you had to take things like windage and bullet drop into account. You also weren’t slaying demons from hell or aliens either. You were shooting other human beings. You followed real world tactics, using real world weapons, in real world settings.

Now If I described this game to a parents group or a politician, their eyes would light up with law-suit ‘make a name for myself’ glee. After all, it is a game that comes very close to actually teaching you to kill. The weapons aren’t sci-fi plasma cannons, they’re normal, everyday guns.

So now the politicians have worked themselves up into a frenzy, I will release the name of this ‘killing simulator’:

It’s called ‘America’s Army’, and was commissioned and paid for by the United States Government.

‘America’s Army’, while being fairly entertaining, was nothing but a badly camouflaged Army recruitment tool. The game was full of links to the US Army website. The general feel of the game was “If you think this is fun, why not give us a call and try it for real?”

Of course, it didn’t work. You see, most gamers like to confine their ‘killing’ to the PC, in a place where you can ‘kill’ someone, and them still be around to laugh about it later. A place where if you get killed, you just wait a few minutes and respawn.

There’s the hypocrisy for you.

A game where you get to play a hero, saving the world from rampaging monsters with fantasy weapons is bad. A game where you control an 8 foot tall, bright green skinned, orange haired hulk-lookalike is bad.

A game that is actually trying to encourage you to join the Army and shoot people for real is just fine.

I will end today with something I wrote a paper on for Media Studies class at college.

If computer games, movies and TV shows will turn you into a rampaging killer, why aren’t the censors all maniacs? After all, their full time job is to watch and play unrated games and movies. They get subjected to the worst the media has to offer.

If there is a valid link between Movie, TV and Video game violence and real world violence…why aren’t they all psycho-killer rapists?

...and you thought YOU had problems.

Have you ever noticed that some people will actively look for the worse in any situation?

I caught myself, a little while ago, thinking something that almost made me laugh out loud, and if I was someone else…I’d punch me in the face for even thinking it. (But I let myself off, I’ve had a major headache all day, and therefore a little cranky).

Let me explain.

Recently, my wife bought me a Gamecube (I cannot stress enough how happy this has made me. After a 14 month gaming exile, it’s like an amateur astronomer being given a seat on a space shuttle). We also received an offer to upgrade our basic cable to digital (Including all the movie channels and On-Demand), for only an extra $5 a month until December.

In short, life is sweet. Playing Splinter Cell and Spiderman 2, followed by some good movies. (Stir Crazy was on last night…in my opinion, one of the finest comedies ever made).

However, because my wife actually paid for all this, I tend to give her first choice on what to watch on TV during the day. Also, unless she’s asleep or reading, I don’t even consider turning the Gamecube on when she’s home. She pays the bills, and I have 8 hours while she’s at work to play the Gamecube or do watch whatever I damn well please!

In short, it’s only fair to let her have her way, without argument, during the day.

So my problem for the past few months was, quite simply, I had sod all to do. Now I have digital cable and a Gamecube. A veritable cornucopia of entertainment options.

So tonight, Sunny headed off for work. I looked through the TV Guide, and found not one, but two movies I want to watch. I also want to play Splinter Cell. Unfortunately, the two movies I want to watch are on at the same time. Also, if I watch the movie, I can’t play the Gamecube afterwards, because there’s something else I want to watch after that.

Too many things I want to do…and not enough time.

Some problem, huh?

I actually heard myself think:

“This sucks! I really wanna play Splinter Cell, and I really wanna watch those movies…Even if I watch one of the movies, and play the Gamecube later, I’ll still miss the other movie!”

Well, boo f**king hoo! Yeah, I REALLY have problems.

Two weeks ago, I complained because I had nothing to do. Now I complain because I’ve got so much to do, I can’t so it all at once.

It’s a strange feeling to want to kick yourself in the balls for being a whiny bastard…and that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

In my own defense, entertainment is the only thing I can multitask at.

Back in England, where I had a sweet setup, it was not unknown for me to play a PC game, while watching a movie, while reading a book at the same time…seriously. I’d play my game, while listening to the movie, and reading my book during load times.

Also, in my own defense, at least I know I’m being a spoiled, ignorant prick, and am quite rightly ashamed of myself.

Of course, when I thought all this, I got that tingle down my spine that tells me that there’s a ‘blog coming on’. Bloggers know that feeling. Your muse pays you a visit, and you think “Now there’s an idea for a post!”

You see, no matter how successful, rich or powerful we are, we can always find something to bitch about. The people above us on the social ladder will sympathize, while those below us will think: “Yeah, right, I just wish I had those problems!”

For example, I remember watching the interview with Jack Osbourne when he got back from rehab. He actually had the sheer brass nerve to say: “I got into drugs because my life was just so stressful.”

Whatever, Jack.

I mean, I understand the stress of being in the public eye and all, but I’m sure daddy’s millions make it a little more bearable. Living in that huge house, being able to afford pretty much anything you want. Not to mention that you’re getting women that are WAY out of your league, just because of your surname.

Yup, I wish I had your problems.

However, I once had the pleasure of listening to someone complain who had no earthly right to: Tamara Beckwith.

Now my readers in the USA will have no clue who that is. Well, think the British Paris Hilton, without the looks.

She’s a socialite ‘celebrity’. You know the type. Huge trust fund, and famous just for being famous. Enough cash to get into the big celebrity parties, and got photographed enough times to become well known.

Well, some bright spark decided it would be a good idea to follow her around with a camera, so people would get to ‘know her’. I can describe her with a single sentence. If you met her, it would be like talking to a lamp-post with a large bank account.

In an attempt to ‘relate’ to her adoring public, she attempted to show she had problems to. As if to say ‘I’m just a regular person to, my life isn’t easy!”

Instead, she managed to completely alienate about 99.9% of the nation.

What she actually said was:

“People think I’m just a party girl, but parties need organizing, then I have to decide what to wear! My schedule is jam packed!”

Wow. I’m convinced. It must be terrible to have to go to a high-profile party every night.

What she said next, however, made me shoot coffee right across the room (which is damn good distance through your nose):

“People think I’m rich and don’t have to worry about money, but I only get an allowance of 20,000 a month…and that’s not a lot!”

(Bear in mind that that’s 20,000GBP, roughly $40,000 USD).

Awww! You poor baby! I’m convinced you’re just a normal person with worries and cares. How do you manage?

You’d have thought that someone would have told her that complaining that you only receive 20,000 a month, more than a lot of people earn in a year, and get it free and clear, without actually having to work for it…will not win you a sympathy vote.

Note to any celebrities: When your wardrobe is worth more than a lot of people’s homes…you have sweet FA to complain about.

So this got me thinking.

Why do we always see ourselves as having problems? Why do we even seem to create imaginary problems when we don’t actually have any?

It’s an interesting thought. Are we, in the western world, so spoiled and insulated from the ‘real world’ that we consider the most minor things to be big problems?

I mean, even what I just wrote about Jack and Tamara. Basically, I said “You think you have problems? Try walking a mile in my shoes!”

When you think about it, there’s millions of people who could say the same thing about me.

We’re insulated. Plain and simple. We complain because we don’t like our jobs, we feel hard done by because our neighbors have an 80” Plasma screen TV, while we only have a 28” CRT. We complain because we have to make do with a crappy car, when we know we deserve a ’98 corvette.

Problems like that don’t seem so bad if you’re wondering where your next meal is coming from. We’re insulated from real problems. Starvation only happens to other people. We don’t have to worry about dying from a simple disease. What we consider ‘problems’ wouldn’t even be worth thinking twice about to a lot of people.

I don’t want to get preachy on this. I’m not shilling for charities, or calling anyone a bad person because they spend $40,000 on a new car when ‘there are people starving in the world’. My opinion is that, if you work for it, you can spend your money on anything you damn well please. Being successful is not a crime, and no one should feel guilty because they have more than someone else.

I just find that I feel a lot happier when I appreciate everything I have, and don’t dwell on what I want.

Back in the ‘90’s I read a book that I can honestly say changed my life. It wasn’t religious, it wasn’t a self-help book, it didn’t promise to give me a new outlook, or make me a millionaire in two years or less. It was the true story of a British SAS patrol during the Gulf War. It’s called Bravo Two Zero, and I highly recommend it.

Basically, an 8 man patrol went behind enemy lines in Iraq, and some of them got captured, including Andy McNabb, the book’s author. Of course, he got tortured. Broken bones, had some of his teeth pulled out, whipped with a hose…you name it, he took it.

At the end of the book, he talks about how his experience changed him. I may paraphrase a little:

“Nowadays, I don’t sweat the small stuff. A glass of red wine spilled on the white living room carpet, not being able to find my car keys, someone turning up late…those things don’t bother me nearly as much as they used to.”

Basically, it’s hard to get annoyed over spilled wine when you’ve had your teeth broken with the butt of a rifle, then twisted around with a pair of pliers. When you know how bad life can be, normal day to day annoyances don’t seem all that bad.

I read that book when I was in college. At the time, I was stressed, not sleeping and letting the stress of exams really get to me. I came close to leaving. I was certain I’d failed an exam, and swore that if it was a choice of re-sit or leave…I was going to leave. I just couldn’t face going through all the study, revising and all nighters again. After two years of study, I was willing to throw in the towel, and waste all the work I’d put in. I was just that stressed out. Luckily, I scraped a pass.

After reading that book, I changed my outlook.

Nowadays, I look at a problem and think: “Will this problem kill me, make me starve or leave me homeless? No? Then I’m not going to worry about it.”

It works.

I drove people nuts at University, they would be running around like headless chickens, and would always be surprised at how calm, collected and laid back I was.

“How can you be so calm? This exam is worth 70% of our final grade!”

My answer?

‘The more I worry, stress and get nervous, the more likely I am to make a stupid mistake and fail. I’ve studied and revised as hard as I can…I’ll do my best, and if I fail, I fail…worrying isn’t going to do me a damn bit of good.”

Long story short, I think everyone would be a whole lot happier if they had a good look around at what they have, and didn’t put as much stock in what they want and don’t have…and, especially didn’t sweat the small stuff.

Is someone cutting in front of you while you’re driving, really worth spoiling your whole day? Is not getting the promotion really worth losing sleep over?

I’m not saying ‘just be happy with what you have, and don’t bother trying to do better’, I’m simply saying don’t make what you don’t have your whole life.

Me? Right now, I have a beautiful wife that loves me, a roof over my head and food in the fridge.

Anything else is a bonus.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Super Nightime Sleepy Snoozy Snooze

Today’s post is going to be a little shorter than usual. I’m literally fighting to stay awake, and I’ve no idea why.

Sleep is a strange thing. You never actually want to go to bed ‘early’ (especially when you’re a child), but when the alarm goes off in the morning, you’d sell your own mother for an extra hour.

In other words, getting into bed is the last thing you want to do, but once you’re in bed, the last thing you want to do is get out.

Now, many of you may look at the timestamp on this post and say: “No idea why he’s tired? It’s 1.30am for f**k’s sake! This guy is obviously on crack, insane, and possibly a sex offender.”

Well, as most of my regular readers will know, I’m currently living a nocturnal lifestyle. I get up at around 2pm, and go to bed at around 7am. You see, Sunny works nights, and after $40,000 and a 2 year visa process, I tend to stay up all night to avoid getting into a situation where I sleep while she’s awake, and I get out of bed while she’s getting in.

Basically, we didn’t go through everything we did to only see each other for an hour per day.

In other words, my body clock is screwed. Completely and utterly jiggered. My circadian rhythm is about as rhythmic as Evander Holyfield on ‘Dancing With The Stars’.

I suppose it doesn’t help either that the weather has been between 95 and 103 degrees for the past few weeks, so in order to prevent our living room from turning into a blast furnace, we keep the curtains drawn all day.

I think I’ve seen the Sun a grand total of two or three times over the past 2 weeks.

I don’t think I’ve slept like a normal person since I was 18.

When I turned 18, I got a job as a bartender. I’d be at Uni for most of the day, come home, grab something to eat, then head off to work. I’d get home at around 3am, and as any bartender will tell you, you need a good couple of hours ‘winding down’ time after a hectic shift. If I had to be at uni at 9am the following morning…well you can see the situation I was in.

Basically, I now walk around all day in a fog, and only start to actually wake up and come alive once the sun goes down.

It also doesn’t help that I suffer from frequent bouts of insane-level insomnia. There’s nothing more frustrating than being absolutely exhausted, but every time you actually lie down and close your eyes, sleep becomes more elusive than a particularly clever turkey at Christmas time.

(Before I get my usual response to stating I have insomnia…yes, I’ve tried a sleep-aid, yes, I’ve cut out everything caffeinated and no, I’m not stressed about anything. I can sleep like a baby for weeks, then suddenly have a week or so where I only get about 20 minutes sleep a day).

Basically, since I turned 18, my sleep habits have not been what you’d call ‘normal’. Two hours a night for a couple of days, then a normal nights sleep, then another couple of days with little sleep…It won’t be long before the little men that live in my head and run my body go on strike.

My other weird sleep habit is the length of time I sleep.

I can function perfectly well on 2-3 hours sleep a night. I can function on 12 hours+ a night. However, anything between that, and it feels like I haven’t slept at all. In other words, the mythical 8 hours doesn’t do me a damn bit of good.

I think it’s because during my Uni days, those were the time-lengths I slept. If I was working, I’d get about 2 hours sleep. Then when I finally got a day off, I’d sleep for as long as possible to catch up.

Anyway, I’ve just re-read what I wrote, and I’m just rambling and not making a whole lot of sense…so I’ll actually go to bed.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You're Naked Under All Those Clothes! POLICE!!!

Ever played ‘The Sims’?

Many of you probably have, after all, it is the highest selling video game of all time.

Well, thanks to that frigging idiot Mr. Thompson (That’s right, the same idiot at the center of the GTA ‘Hot coffee’ scandal). ‘The Sims’ is now facing a controversy all it’s own.


Because, apparently, Mr. Thompson has decided that it’s actually MUCH worse that GTA San Andreas, because it shows ‘full frontal nudity’, including, and I quote, ‘genitalia, including nipples, penises and vaginas’.

Mr. Thompson, following his usual form by completely missing the point, not doing any research whatsoever, and being a complete fucking idiot; is apparently bored of surfing his current moral panic, and has decided to create his own.

Forget the fact he’s never actually played the game, or bothered to find out what a ‘Mod’ is, he’s just steaming ahead and having another go at his own game:

“Make a name for myself and lots and lots of cash by suing anyone I can for frivolous reasons.”

Now, for the three people out there who’ve never played ‘The Sims’, let me explain the game.

Basically, you create a family, and completely micro-manage their lives. You have to get them jobs, decorate their house, tell them when to eat, sleep, relax, study, watch TV, learn to play a musical instrument etc. Basically, you control every aspect of their lives.

As well as being incredibly entertaining, it involves a lot of thought and forward planning. You get your Sim a job, and have to make sure he or she improves in the skills he needs for the job. You also need to make sure he relaxes enough, keeps a social life going etc.

In other words, the game is pseudo-educational. A case could be made to show that it teaches kids the value of study and hard work, while teaching them time-management and other useful life skills…and that case would actually be, at least loosely, based in fact.

The problem Mr. Thompson has with this game is you have to tell them to shower, bathe and get into bed.

Of course, no one showers fully clothed, so the Sims get naked.

Now before you join Mr. Thompson on his crusade, any nudity in the Sims is blurred out. That’s right, blurred out, just like they do to people’s faces on ‘Cops’. You can’t see a damn thing. Thompson saying it’s pornographic makes about as much sense as me suijng someone for ‘being naked underneath their clothes’.

I should also point out that the actual character models to not actually have any genitalia, nipples or otherwise. If you took the blur away, you’d be looking at something as graphic as a naked Barbie or Ken.

Unless you’re a sentient GI Joe, there’s not much there to get excited about.

So what has Thompson’s knickers in a twist this time?

Those crazy hackers, of course.

You see, some bright spark with a bit of computing know-how, released a ‘naked sims’ patch on the internet.

Again, for the three people who don’t know what a patch is: A patch is a computer program that alters an existing program in some way. Many games producers release them for games in order to fix bugs and problems that aren’t discovered until the game has been released.

However, patches can be released by absolutely anyone who knows how to write one. They can also alter or fix any computer program, not just games.

In other words, if you download the ‘naked sims’ patch, and run it, it will alter the game, giving the characters wedding tackle and removing the ‘modesty blur’.

Long story short, some guy somewhere, who obviously is either very lonely, bored, or both, decided it would be fun to see some naked Sim booty. Once he had completed his masterpiece, he decided to share it with the world.

However, Mr. Thompson doesn’t see it this way. He’s complete disregarded the fact that the ‘naked’ patch is third party, and not condoned, supported or authorized by the game’s creator in anyway.

In his mind, there is only one place to point the finger:

Electronic Arts, the creators of ‘The Sims’, of course.

Apparently, Mr. Thompson believes that if you release something, and someone takes it upon themselves to alter it, you should be held liable. This completely ignores the fact that unless you ship a chaperone with every game, to make sure you do not alter it in any way, it’s absolutely impossible to prevent.

What Mr. Thompson expects of games companies, is like expecting book publishers to make it impossible to take scissors to a book, and rearrange the letters to form dirty words.

In short, Mr. Thompson is a complete and utter ringpiece.

So, according to Mr. Thompson’s logic, I could download a picture of him off the internet, run it through photoshop so it looks like he’s waving his cock at a donkey, then post it on the internet. I wouldn’t be liable in any way, shape or form, and everyone else could sue him for obscenity.

After all, he actually created the picture, so it’s his responsibility. The fact that I was able to alter it is his fault, because he should have safeguarded against it. Screw the fact that it’s not possible.

Mr. Thompson, I hope there’s a law against stupidity, because you’re guilty of multiple counts of being a ‘Fucking Idiot in the First Degree’.

But, you know what? I wish lots of luck to Mr. Thompson and all of his cronies.

You see, the gaming community has precedent on our side. It’s not illegal to release any adult media as long as it’s rated as such. Also, a game producer can not be held liable if a private citizen alters a non-adult game, making it ‘pornographic’.

What Mr. Thompson fails to realize is that the gamer demographic is one of the most important in the world right now, and that computer games are a billion dollar industry. The world, and especially government, runs on money. No government is going to restrict an industry that pays millions in taxes every year.

Oh, Oh, Oh! Mr. Thompson! While I remember: The X-Box console is evil as well! You can get GTA San Andreas on it now! Make sure you take them to court next! They actually specialize in mature rated games!

I wouldn’t worry, Mr. Thompson. The X-Box name is only owned by a small little company, it’s called Microsoft. They’ll be a push over in court, and winning against them will bring the gaming world to its knees! It’s not like Bill Gates’ army of billion dollar lawyers will bitch-slap you around the courtroom until you cry like a baby girl!

Mr. Thompson, I hate to tell you this, but you’ve become the viral-marketing poster boy.

Thanks to the media frenzy you whipped up over Grand Theft Auto, copies of the game are literally flying off the shelves. Stores simply can’t keep up with demand.

All you’ve done is given Rockstar games a whole butt-load of free publicity. Worldwide media coverage! you just can’t buy that kind of publicity! People who would normally have no interest in the game are buying it, simply to see what all the fuss is about.

I’m pretty sure Electronic Arts are simply rubbing their hands with glee right now. You’ve made the computer game moral panic a real hot-button issue right, and the world’s media are just salivating over the next story you throw their way. If EA and The Sims fall into that slot, they can look forward to shifting about a million more copies of their game.

In fact, Mr. Thompson, despite the fact that everything I’ve written here is my opinion, and therefore protected against any libel or slander suit under US law, could you please try and sue me over it?

I could put up some Google ads and never have to work again.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I Foresee That You Are Going To Give Me All Your Money

Have you ever seen ‘Most Haunted’ on TV?

What a pile of complete and utter crap.

For those who’ve not seen it, ‘Most Haunted’ is a show that takes a selection of psychics and so-called other ‘experts’, around some of the most haunted places in the world. They stay overnight and have encounters with ghosts.

The only problem is, the show consists of ‘experts’ insisting that every noise is a ghost, and usually ends with a ‘psychic’ being possessed.

Now I absolutely detest psychics. To me, they’re nothing but psychological rapists who get rich by playing on people’s emotions.

Now this is the point where a lot of you say: “But my Aunt Martha saw a psychic and he knew she’d recently lost her husband and guessed her sister’s name!”

Ok, time for a little explanation.

So called ‘psychics’ use a method called ‘cold reading’. In other words, they use a series of vague generalizations, and use them to home in on more specific details. They also use a much older method of learning about people.

They cheat.

Let me give an example. Let’s start with psychic ‘shows’, delivered to a group of people.

Usually, there are a couple of stooges milling around before the performance. They’ll start conversations like “I lost my Billy two months ago, I hope the psychic can let me talk to him. How about you?”

Then they pop off, and tell the psychic that the guy in the red shirt in row B recently lost a family member.

If you don’t believe me, you don’t have to. Psychics don’t actually have to use stooges. Let me explain how a cold reading works in this situation.

Let’s say the psychic is performing in front of 50 people.

“I’m getting a message. Is there someone called John here?”

50 people, and a very common name. That pretty much guarantees a hit. However, if it doesn’t:

“Oh, wait, my spirit guide isn’t looking for someone here called John, I have a message for a John that isn’t here. Does anyone here know someone called John?”

Ok, 50 people. 50 people with family and friends. Even if we forget friends and just include everyone’s parents and siblings, we’re looking for a ‘John’ among roughly 200 people. In other words, we have a selection of at least 200 people, in the hope that one of them has a very common name. Even if that doesn’t work:

“I’m sorry. It’s not John. It’s Joan/James/Jenny.”

Then we come to the message:

“I’m seeing a woman. She says to tell John that she’s alright.”

Woman? Anyone reading this that hasn’t had a female family member die? Grandmother, Great Grandmother? Also, depending on the age of the person being ‘read’ it’s easy to guess the chances of their parents having died. It’s less likely for a 20 year old to have lost a parent than it is for a 60 year old.

Think of it this way. The psychic can supposedly speak to the dead.

Imagine if you, yourself died, and wanted to give a message to a loved one. What would you do? Give cryptic references to jewellery, your spouse’s initials, or tell the psychic that you used to like to go fishing?

No, you wouldn’t. You’d give your full name, address, mention a birthmark…you’d be as clear and specific as possible


“This is someone whose first initial is P, I want to talk to someone who had a nickname beginning with S when she was 5. I used to occasionally watch TV.”


But Paulius! I hear you cry. That explains how fakers work a crowd, but what about one on one readings?

Simple. It’s just another version of cold calling.

The ‘psychic’ can gain a lot of information just by looking at you. A wedding ring tells his that you’re married. Scars tell of accidents. What clothes you wear can tell how rich you are.

Also, if you’re paying good money to visit a psychic, he doesn’t need to be ‘told’ by the spirits that you recently lost someone, or that you’re in need of guidance. It’s like a police officer ‘miraculously’ knowing that the person who just ran into the police station, covered in blood, was recently attacked. Plus, by the fact you’re actually there, you obviously believe in psychic powers, and the one thing everyone who believes in psychics wants to believe is that they’re a little psychic themselves. That’s a psychic favourite. They tell the ‘customer’ that they’re a little psychic themselves.

Usually they’ll mention the old chestnut “I bet you’ve thought of someone, and within seconds, the phone has rang, and it was them.”

Let me take a little aside to explain this. You think of, say, your mother, and seconds later, the phone rings, and lo and behold, it’s your mother. Miraculous, no?

Well, actually, no. Think of how many times you think of your family members and the phone doesn’t ring. Think of how many times you have and will talk to your mother over the phone. The laws of probability state that at some point over the course of your life, you will be thinking of your mother, and she’ll call you at the same time. It would actually be more remarkable if this never happened.

It’s easier to think of it this way: If you were playing poker and got a perfect royal flush three times on the run, you’d be astonished. However, think of how many games of poker are played worldwide each day. The chances of three royal flushes on the run happening are million to one, but considering there are billions of poker games being played yearly…it’s more unlikely that this won’t happen sooner or later.


So here’s the reading. Bear in mind that I can’t see you, and you didn’t come here you actually get a reading, so this won’t be nearly as accurate as I could do face to face, but let me try.

“You’re a very sensitive person, but you may not like advertise that fact to everyone. You sometimes feel that you’re misunderstood. School wasn’t the easiest thing in the world for you. You would like to travel and there may be travel in store for you in the future. You sometimes wish you could be a little more assertive or outgoing. Money is an issue for you. You have a scar on your left knee.”

Ok, there are a couple of the basics, and a lot of you may be surprised at how closely that describes you. Let me explain:

Sensitivity. Everyone feels that they’re a good sensitive person, even when they’re not. As for not advertising it, everyone hides their feelings to a certain degree. Everyone has been in a position where someone has said something that hurt them, but not shown it.

‘School wasn’t the easiest for you.” Sounds specific, doesn’t it? Fortunately for the psychic, it applies to everyone. If you were unpopular, it was hard in the social sense. If you were popular, there was probably a subject you found difficult. If you were a genius, you probably got teased a little for being a swot or brainiac. Notice the wording as well. ‘wasn’t the easiest’. Either the psychic is understating the worst period of your life, or is accurately describing how you found it a little difficult.

Travel is a psychic staple. Travel can mean anything from moving to a new job, to going on vacation. Most people go on vacation at least once a year, even if it’s just a 2 hour drive to the coast. That it’s in the ‘future’ is wonderfully vague. The person being read, by this point is thinking “That’s right! I just booked a vacation/I’m visiting relatives next year!/I was considering going on a trip.” The truth is, everyone who has a job wants to go on vacation.

Being more assertive or outgoing. Most people wish that they’d told their boss to shove it, told them they were not going to work late. Almost everyone wishes they were more outgoing and assertive.

‘Money is an issue for you’. This is pretty self explanatory. Money is an issue for everyone! 90% of people struggle with bills or wish they had more money. If you’re rich as Donald Trump, investments, and money management is an issue.

‘You have a scar on your left knee.’ Now this one is different, isn’t it? Very specific, and how could the psychic know? Well this is just one of those weird statistics. About 60-70% of people have a scar on their left knee, playing all the time when you were four left a mark. It’s also useful because even if you didn’t, if you look hard enough, you’ll find something that at least looks like a scar. It’s one of those things, like if you ask a male to think of a playing card, he’s likely to pick the Ace of Spades or the Jack of Clubs, whereas women are most likely to think of the Queen of Hearts. The same as if you ask someone to think of a number between 1 and 4, most people choose 3.

Of course, if it is a total miss, you’re already so astounded by all the others, it’s easily dismissed.

The main thing is that people who visit psychics, want to beleive. They will desperately try to make whatever the psychic says work. It’s human nature.

I once saw a TV show where they took a group of people and gave them psychic readings. 15 people were ‘read’, and each and every one of them was astounded at how accurate the psychic was. It was, however, a set up. The psychic had no psychic powers whatsoever, and gave each and every one of them exactly the same reading.

Their answer? “She must have psychic powers and not know about it.” Despite the fact she was reading from a script.

“To those who believe, no explanation is necessary. To those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice.”

People want to believe, and these psychological rapists use people’s vulnerabilities to get rich. It’s as simple as that.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

My Brain Hurts.

Hey everyone!

Quick post today, as the headache fairy has paid me a visit, and the headache goblins are currenty testing firecrackers inside my skull.

To keep you all entertained (I know how all of you look forward to reading my genius-level outpourings, and would jump off a building if I stopped blogging completely), I'm going to give you one of my famous survey questions to keep you all occupied.

I want you to imagine that you're famous. Famous but not rich.

Someone approaches you to endorse a product, and offers you 5 million for a TV appearance, where you'll tell the world how great the product is.

Unfortunately, the product is about as much use as a one-wheeled skateboard.

Do you:

a) Take the money, despite the fact you know you're endorsing crap.

b) Turn them down. Your credibility isn't for sale.

So there you go.

As an aside, some of you mentioned you forgot about my story competition, or weren't aware of it. I'd still be interested in reading them, so why not post them on your own blogs?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

We Have A Winner!

Ladies and Gentlemen. The Great ‘Life, What The Hell Is Going On?” True Story Competition is officially over.

It was a hell of a ride! Daily sifting through the entries, spending hours categorizing, rating and scrutinizing them.

In the end, I judged both entries to be excellent, but considering one was from my wife, who disqualified herself instantly from eligibility, there can be only one winner.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, here is the story, written by the insuppressible Serendipity:

The scene is set with a nine year old Serendipity, sitting at the back of her social studies class, stifling a yawn while our teacher Mr. Grizzly waxes lyrical about the Vikings.Or maybe it was the Normans? Who cares I wasn't paying much attention. I was far more interested in the whispered conversation I was having with my friend about her new boyfriend.

We called him Mr Grizzly because he was huge (or seemed so to us when we were so small) and he had the bushiest beard you have ever seen, combined with a very bad combover covering his advanced stag of balding. Try and remember we were only nine years old so all the names we had for our teachers were far from imaginative. He was one of the luckier ones. One poor woman got stuck with Miss PooFace.

Anyway, it was just after Christmas and the aforementioned boyfriend had bought my friend a bottle of perfume. I'm not talking Chanel here, we were only nine years old. I vividly remember it was called "Fashion" and it came in a pink and white box. It probably cost him two or three weeks pocket money though, so my friend was utterly delighted, and of course assumed that they were in later years to be married and have children.

My friend was doodling a love heart on her note book with the initials of herself and her boyfriend drawn inside. Not to be outdone (and feeling jealous of her apparent good fortune) I added my own love heart with my initials and those of the boy I had my eye on.
Knowing which boy the initials I had written referred to, and clearly not approving of my choice my friend let out a snort of derision, which to my young ears sounded like a pig at the trough. It was too funny not to laugh at and I let out an involuntary giggle. Mr Grizzly immediately looked up and stating walking towards us. The laughing stopped and that awful childish sense of dread set in.

It was like watching in slow motion as he walked the three strides over to our desk and ordered us to stand up. Heads lowered with what I now know to be embarrassment, we stood and were marched to the front of the class. He held our note books in his hand and took a seat back at his desk. We remained standing, the eyes of everyone on us. Mr Grizzly was staring at the front page of my friends note book where we had been writing up our affections. His next words were quite unbelievable.
" I didn't know I had two slags in my classroom"
Erm, excuse me? Did you just call two nine year old girls slags? We had heard him correctly and even at such a young age we knew it was a bad word. For anyone who doesn't know what it means - it is just another word commonly used in the UK in place of the word 'slut'

I was mortified. My friend burst into tears, and sniggers were heard all around the room.
I don't remember what happened next, the day passed in something of a blur until I could get home and tell my mum what had happened.
I walked through the back door and my mum was in the process of blow drying the hair of one of her customers. I should point out that my mum is a hairdresser and almost all of her customers are pensioners. This day was no different. A well spoken, white haired, poodle permed old lady was sitting in the chair as I walked in and yelled:
"Mum......Mr Grizzly called me and my friend SLAGS!"
My mums face went through the range of emotions in the space of a few seconds. Shock, horror, upset, and finally pure rage.
"How dare he!" she yelled.
Then a moment of suspicion as she asked what I had been doing to provoke his comment. I don't want to imagine what she thought I might have been doing to provoke the use of such a word, but as I innocently relayed what had happened, her face began to go purple with temper. Her customers hair was getting teased to within an inch of its thin and frail life and the poor lady was fidgeting around in obvious discomfort.
"Get your coat we are going back to school." Mum told me.
Her tone brooked no argument, and as the nice old lady hurriedly paid for her now bouffant hairdo, I put my coat back on and waited sheepishly by the door.
I was marched back up the street to the school where she walked straight into the headmasters office (without knocking) and demanded to know what kind of people they employed at their school. Nickname of the headmaster? ........'The Frog' He was short, with big bulging eyes and huge glasses which made them seem even bigger. He tried telling my mum that she would need to leave and make an appointment if she wanted to speak with him but anyone who knows my mum will know that was never a possibility.
"No. We are going to talk about this right here and right now!"
He didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter as my mum launched into a description of what had taken place and demanded that Mr Grizzly be brought before her "right now this very second" The Frog didn't have much option but to comply and Mr Grizzly was sent for.

It was as he stood virtually quivering in the face on my mums wrath that he became less scary to me. His explanation for why he had called two nine year old girls such a nasty name was priceless.
"I didn't mean it the way you think. I was referring to a slagheap. You know, like a pile of rubbish."
My mum was by no means satisfied with his ridiculous explanation and the shouting that ensued must have been heard two towns over.
"So, you are telling me that you called my nine year old daughter a pile of rubbish? Answer me!.."
Mr Grizzly appeared to shrink to the size of a gnat as he tried and failed to dig himself out of the hole he had dug for himself.
The whole time this was happening The Frog was sat behind his desk, looking on, presumably unable to speak. Whether out of fear or bemusement at this huge man being verbally shredded by my mum who is only 5'7" and doesn't look remotely scary (most of the time)

The result? Mr Grizzly was ordered to apologise to my friend and I, in front of the same class who had witnessed him humiliate us.

I spent another 3 years at that school, and Mr Grizzly was nothing but nice to me the whole time.

After leaving that school it was another 6 years before I saw him again. I was 18 years years old and was going to watch my younger brother in a play at the same school. He was stood at the back of the auditorium as I walked in and started looking for an empty seat. I saw him before he saw me and smirked to myself. He must have mistaken the smirk for a smile and was halfway over to me before recognition dawned. He actually stopped short and turned right around and walked off in the other direction.

I made it my point to go over to him after the show and ask what he thought of my brothers performance. He looked so uncomfortable that it more than made up for having been called such an offensive name in my younger years. I couldn't help but remind him of the little episode too, and comment that on my mums behalf I "sincerely hoped he was being nice to my little brother".

The moral of this story? Firstly, it doesn't pay to be a bully. Secondly - what goes around comes around!

There you have it!

Serendipity will receive 1000 Blogshares in this Blog, as well as a link!

Thank you, and goodnight!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Oww! There's a Splinter In My Cell!!!

Anyone who also reads my wife’s blog will know she had surgery on her wrist yesterday.

Well, she’s doing fine, and enjoying the license her new cast gives her to do bugger all around the house.

Well, unfortunately for me, she has to take some pretty damn powerful painkillers for the next few days. (The type that give you a conversation with the pink elephant while bitch-slapping Aspirin and Tylenol for being sissies). Well, anyway, the downside is she’s off in sleepy la la land within minutes of taking them.

Result? She’s sleeping like she’s taken an extra large dose of ‘Super Sleepy Nighttime Sleepy Snoozy Snooze’, while I sit on the couch, bored, and unable to watch TV or anything in case I wake her.

(I know, I know…poor baby! His wife had to have surgery, and now he’s bored! What a trooper!)

Anyway, desperately in need of entertainment, I checked my wallet and found that I had an extra $10. My brain ticked for a few moments, and I thought that I might be able to find something in the pre-played section at EB Games. Maybe, just maybe, I could find something that my ancient Pentium II would run. (It can just about run ‘The Sims’.)

Well, anyway, we had chores to day today anyway, so after running our errands, we arrived at EB Games.

“Pre-Owned Nintendo Gamecubes - $60!!!” The sign said.

It also happened to be a happy coincidence that today is payday, and a few days ago, my wife got her vacation paycheck. We had some money to spare!

Of course, I didn’t say anything outright. Just dropped a few hints along the lines of “Wow! That’s really cheap!”

In the end, I just had to say one word. ‘Zelda’…The game my wife got hooked on, on her old N64.

Long story short, we’re now the proud owners of a shiny new(ish) Nintendo Gamecube.

Now before the gamers out there start ragging me about it. Yes, I know it’s not the most powerful console out there. No, it’s not the newest, fastest or shiniest console on the block. However, it works, and can run games that were made after 1992.

All I know, is after a 14 month Hiatus, I have a current gen console. (Yes, monsieur Gamer, I know that some next gen consoles are coming out this year…I don’t care…once I get working, I’m buying a gaming PC, and ALL consoles can suck my balls).

So basically, I spent all afternoon playing Splinter Cell.

Let’s just say after being stuck playing Bejewelled and Tetris for over a year, it was great. Like a 100 pack a day smoker, who’s spent a terrible year giving up, then finds out that they’ve invented ‘cancer frees’, and are selling them for 2 cents a pack.

In short. WOO HOOOO!!!!

Now, Splinter Cell was one of those games that I’d heard about, but never played until today. I’m not usually into ‘stealth’ based games.

However, I had to say I was really impressed. I’ve played it, and pronounced it ‘stealth-tastic’, ‘Sam Fisher-iffic’, and ‘Night Vision-licious’.

However, as I’m a nitpicking bar-steward, I had to find everything wrong with it that I could.

So in that spirit, I give you:

If Life Were Like Splinter Cell:

1) Your Night Vision Goggles would glow vividly in the dark, while making a high pitched whistle. However, any enemies would completely miss three glowing circles in the dark, and would not hear the whistle.
2) A mission that cost millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours to plan would instantly be cancelled if an alarm went off…Regardless if the mission could still be carried out.
3) People would be instantly be knocked out by a blow to the head if caught by surprise. However, the exact same blow would have almost no effect if they saw it coming.
4) You could grab someone and put them in a headlock, and they would make no noise. Despite the fact that help is literally feet away.
5) Crouching in a shadow would make you invisible, even if your enemy was a foot away, and looking for you.
6) Security guards would not find it strange that security cameras would fail inexplicably, in sequence, at the same interval of time it would take someone to sneak between them. Apparently, it’s not unusual for every security camera in the building to fail, one after another.
7) Guards would find a trail of smashed light bulbs, when no-one was meant to be in the building, and not find this suspicious in any way. This is true, even if a light bulb is shot out directly in front of them.
8) A man would be able to jump up between two, closely spaced walls, do the splits to hold himself up in the air, and hold that position indefinitely. He would not get groin strain, or even groan slightly after landing back on the floor.
9) If a security guard sees an intruder, who then runs away, they will look for the intruder for about a minute and a half, before going back to their normal beat, completely unconcerned.
10) All computers could be hacked in less than 5 seconds, using only one hand.

So there you have it.

Of course, I understand computer games aren’t meant to be 100% realistic, and have to sacrifice a little realism for the sake of fun. I mean, imagine if life was exactly like video games!

People born in the 80’s (the Pacman Era) would spend all their time in dark rooms, munching pills, while listening to repetitive music!


Monday, July 18, 2005


We’ve all been there. Picture the scene, it’s 9am on a Sunday morning, you’re sitting at the breakfast table, reading the newspaper. Suddenly, your partner says:

“So. What do you think?”

“Huh?” You answer back.

Cue argument, screaming and lots of things flying through the air at your head.

Well, fellas, if you don’t hear what your wife says, because you’re reading the paper, watching the game, or have just got into the habit of tuning her out…this is not your fault.

You have a disease. That’s right. An actual disease.

It’s called SHDD, Selective Hearing Deficit Disorder.

Let me show you a letter I read in this month’s Reader’s Digest:

“Mary Roach perfectly describes Selective Hearing Deficit Disorder in her piece about non-communication between couples (My Planet : “Can You Hear Me Now?”). According to the latest research from the Texas Institute of Non-responsibility (TIN), 90% of married couples suffer this ailment. This serious condition is destroying the foundation of society – namely, marriage and family. Like any modern day ailment SHDD has a culprit – which is not us. Research shows that people with SHDD were exposed to nagging mothers, talkative wives/husbands, and engrossing newspapers. A class-action lawsuit is being considered to remedy the suffering of countless couples who are unable to maintain the family unit. If you are a newspaper subscriber, and you don’t hear what your partner has to say, you may be entitled to compensation – Ricardo Schulz, Fort Worth, Texas.”

People, I swear on my life, my marriage and everything I hold dear that this is not a joke. Apparently, not only is tuning your partner out, or just plain ignoring their nagging a disease, you can actually sue and get compensation for it.

I’m not sure what I find more disturbing here, the fact that there are actually people who are willing to swallow this shit, or that there is actually an institute of ‘non-responsibility’.

First of all, if you don’t hear your partner while reading a paper, it’s not a sickness, you’re just focusing on something and they didn’t manage to get your attention. If you’re just tuning them out, it isn’t an ailment, you’ve just got sick of their nagging.

As for ‘being unable to maintain the family unit’, here’s an idea. If you don’t hear your wife the first time, actually show some manners and PUT THE NEWSPAPER DOWN!

The ‘Institute of Non-responsibility’ scares me even more. The fact that there’s a whole institute that’s job it is to come up with bullshit reasons why we’re not responsible for our actions just makes me be sad to be human.

It’s happening all over the world. People do stupid shit, and sue other people or blame someone else for it.

For example, the guy who shot his wife in the head with a rifle while she slept…then blamed it on the fact that he fell off a roof a few years earlier and hit his head.


The fact that there’s an official organization out there who specialize in coming up with reasons to take responsibility away from people for the shit they get up to is just plain pathetic.

What are they going to churn out next? After all, it appears you can invent a disease or blame something to explain just about anything. Today, you’re not fat because you eat cream straight from the can all day, you have a hormone imbalance. It can’t possibly by YOUR fault, can it?

It’s easy, here’s one off the top of my head:

Let’s see…ok… Men don’t leave the toilet seat up because they forget to put it down, they suffer from PSSS or ‘Patriarchal Society Superiority Syndrome’. They are continually bombarded with Male superiority through the media, so subconsciously, they resent having to lower the seat for the sake of women. It’s not their fault. Society has conditioned men to leave the toilet seat up

What a load of crap.

That’s another thing. ‘Society’ is blamed for everything these days. But what is ‘society’?

I’ll tell you. Society is people. So blaming society is the equivalent of saying “Everyone does bad things because of everyone else.” IE, everyone can blame everyone else for the shit they do wrong.

That letter cracks me up because of the way the guy casually mentions ‘engrossing newspapers’ as a major cause of this made up ‘disease’, and says that if you have a newspaper subscription, you may be entitled to compensation…or in other words, you can sue the newspaper for giving you SHDD.

I think this will be the first time a publication will be sued for being too good and interesting.

I’m pretty certain that Mr. Schulz is a lawyer. He takes an interesting article about couples communicating, and uses it as an excuse to let people know that they can make some money out of being a bad partner. I also love the way that he describes not listening to your partner, something that has probably happened at some point to all married couples since the beginning of time, as ‘Destroying the foundation of society’

Let me translate his letter from Lawyer-speak:

“Here at Scrooem, Fleecem and Smyle, we’re always on the lookout for bullshit things that you can sue over. You see, if we can convince you that you’ve been wronged, or even just point out that you can get a shit load of money for doing Sweet Fanny Adams…maybe you’ll let us represent you, so we can then take a nice big slice of your completely undeserved, bullshit award. You see, we don’t actually care about common sense and actual justice, we just want to make a shit load of money off of you.

Of course, blaming something stupid on this new ‘disease’, SHDD, (which is obviously completely official and on the up-and-up, because it has the lot of big words and ‘disorder’ in the title, and even had its own acronym!)… is not quite enough.

You see, in order get you money that you don’t deserve or need, we have to first take money from people who actually work hard and earn it. In other words, to pay you, the people who are obscenely greedy, and have all the moral fortitude of a starfish… or so dumb you make everyone on the short bus look like Einstein…we first need someone to sue.

What we intend to do, is blame the fact that you can’t be bothered listening to your wife on newspapers. That’s right, newspapers. After all, if those vicious, evil bastards didn’t make their work so enlightening, interesting and engrossing, you wouldn’t read it, and might actually listen to your wife for once. Forget the fact that you could actually show some manners, self-control and consideration and just put the paper down. This is the type of thing a normal human being would do, someone who actually has some social skills and isn’t completely self centered, which as you’re trying to sue someone for a bullshit reason, obviously isn’t you.

No, the newspaper people are being completely irresponsible. They should produce unreadable crap, so you won’t actually have to exercise any sort of self control. Self control, taking responsibility for your own actions and any shred of common sense, are not the way to get rich off other people’s hard work.

Remember, in bullshit lawsuits, common sense, responsibility and any form of morality is the enemy. They should be avoided at all costs.

Also, completely forget the fact than anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that this whole ‘disease’ is about as likely and rational as expecting a half eaten, tapdancing lemon to become the next President. After all, what has common sense ever had to do with law?

Here at Scrooem, Fleecem and Smyle, we don’t think you should actually have to work for your money. We don’t think that it’s immoral or wrong in any way to sue the shit out of someone, just because you don’t feel like taking responsibility for anything you do; And even if we did think it was immoral, we wouldn’t care. You don’t get rich off morals! After all, you’re a self centered, idiotic prick, who would probably try to blame your parents not getting you that GI-Joe for Christmas 1963, for you robbing a gas station.

We live in an idiotic time when you can sue anyone for just about anything, even if you’ve never come into contact with them, so why should you actually go to work, when you can get rich by taking money of the people who actually earned it?

Incidentally, if your wife complains about your farts, have you considered suing your favourite restaurant? After all, if their food wasn’t so delicious, you wouldn’t eat their and produce any gas whatsoever! (Please ignore the fact you have to eat to live.)

Call the offices of Scrooem, Fleecem and Smyle Today!

Scrooem, Fleecem and Smyle – We’ll get you paid.”

Jesus Christ, people.

We actually live in a time when it is possible to sue a newspaper because you don’t listen to your husband or wife. If you can sue for that, you can sue for anything.

Hmm, now I come to think about it, I’m under incredible stress trying to make this blog interesting and readable for you.

I have all your IP addresses…you’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

How To Beat Pensioners With A Frozen Ham

Well, today was a fun day.

You see, the wife’s vacation paycheck arrived (Woo hoo! Extra check! There’s a trip to Carowinds or Six Flags in our near future).

Of course, there was more important business to take care of first. Namely picking up the reserved copy of the new Harry Potter book.

Now our usual routine is, she goes to work at 10.30pm, gets home at around 8am, then we sleep until about 2pm, then go do whatever we need to do.

Not today.

You see, I’d describe myself as a Harry Potter fan. My wife is a slavering fan-girl. It’s pretty much all she’s talked about for the past two weeks. So we (read ‘she’) decides that she’ll come home, pick me up, and off we’ll go to the Haywood mall.

I agreed, not that I had much choice, because I wanted to go to Walmart and buy a printer. (Lexmark 4400dpi printer for $20, what a deal!…yeah, I know I’ll get totally shafted on ink later on, but it’s better than the steam powered, dot matrix tank I normally use).

However, before we can do any of this, the wife needs her paycheck cashed, first.

Now it’s Saturday, and the banks aren’t open, so we head to the Bi-lo. Their check cashing service doesn’t open until 9am. We have an hour to wait.

So we try Ingles. The sign on the door says, and I quote:

“We are happy to cash payroll checks with a purchase and two forms of ID!”

Great! I think. We can buy a pack of gum, and off we go!

Unfortunately, it turns out that the people at Ingles are, and this is a technical term, complete and utter lying bastards.

They are, indeed, happy to cash your check, but they will only cash it if we spend a certain (large) amount of the check in the store. In other words, if we buy all our groceries there, they’re willing to give us about $10 change.

Se we head home, wait for an hour, and go back to Bi-Lo.

Now this next part passes pretty much without incident. We get the check cashed, pick up the book, grab a bite to eat and head to Walmart.


Have you ever been to Walmart on a Saturday?

Imagine 50lbs of humanity in a 2lb box. It’s crammed in there! Anyway, I pull a small boy’s arm off to use as a bludgeon to fight my way through the crowd, grab my printer off the shelf and head to the checkout.

Now the checkout at Walmart is truly a sight to behold. There’s hundreds of them, three deep, enough checkout capacity to deal with a fairly large continent at once.

However, they only ever staff about three of them.

You walk up, see the myriad checkout stations gleaming before you, full of promise…before noticing that only two or three of them are staffed, apparently with shaved monkeys.

Now I’m not going to use the old cliché here. You know the one:

‘Why is the line you’re in always the slowest, and if you change lanes, the one you were in starts moving a lot quicker!”

I won’t use this, because it isn’t true. It just seems that way. You only notice waiting when you’re actually waiting. When you just dart in and out, it doesn’t register.

No, what I want to know is why every single time I’m in a checkout queue, the person ahead of me wants to pay with a check, and appears to have the mental capacity of a small slice of fruitcake…without the fruit…or the cake.

The other thing is, if I’m in a queue, and have an entire months groceries in my cart, and the person behind me has a pack of gum and a Pepsi, I’ll let them cut in ahead of me. It’s my good deed for the day, and whereas I’ll keep him waiting for 15 minutes, he’ll only keep me waiting for less than a minute.

I am the only person in the world who appears to do this.

This also highlights the rest of my fellow queue-dwellers complete lack of basic mathematic skills.

I once had an old lady go absolutely ballistic because I let the person directly behind me ahead of me. Despite the fact the there were still the same number of people ahead of her, with the same number of items, I had apparently committed an atrocity. Unfortunately, I am also a polite person, so try to explain the situation, rather than scream “Shut the f**k up, you old, daft bitch!”…which is what I really want to do.

However, trying to explain anything to someone like that is like trying to teach advanced calculus to a puppy…there’s no point, and just annoys both of you.

Now myself, being a rational, almost normal human being, therefore owning more than a single brain cell and more than one functioning synapse, would use the following protocol if I was paying with a check.

While waiting in the line, I would take out my checkbook. I would then proceed to fill out the check, with the name of the store and my signature. I would find my check card, and have it ready.

That way, when I am informed of the price of my purchases, all I have to do is write in the amount, and be on my way.

Rational, no?

However, the actual process used seems to be as follows:

1) Wait in line while complaining in a very loud voice about how long everything is taking.
2) Be facing entirely the wrong way, talking into a mobile phone when the checkout becomes free.
3) Completely ignore the murderous stares of the rest of the queue dwellers, as you continue to talk on the phone, while absent mindedly emptying your buggy one item at a time, averaging about 2 items per minute. Everyone else can just wait, talking to Maureen about HRT is important!
4) Make the cashier tell you the price about thirty times, while still talking on the phone.
5) Challenge the price, while quoting a 50% off sale that ended some time in 1973. Don’t pay any attention to logic, and the fact that the coupon you’re brandishing has “SALE ENDS 10.10.1973”, doesn’t enter into it. Feel free to accuse the store of racism, ageism, sexism and just plain trying to rip you off.
6) Demand to see the manager.
7) Argue with manager. Clutch your coupon like it’s a life-raft, and completely ignore anything that puts you in the wrong. If it doesn’t agree with you, it’s wrong and doesn’t exist.
8) Make everyone wait, as the entire order is voided and has to be restarted, because despite the fact you claim to personally know the Head Manager, the President and Almighty God, who will definitely fire the manager if he doesn’t give you your way, has put his foot down.
9) Smirk as the pissed off sales assistant has to carry the 87” Wide-Screen High Def TV, that you argued only cost 17 cents, back to the shelf.
10) Take another phone call.
11) Search purse for checkbook, making sure that you instantly put ever bit of crap you pull out of your purse directly back in. Pull the same pieces of crap out multiple times..
12) Get asked for check card. Argue for 15 minutes that you don’t need a check card, and say ‘I’ve never need a checkcard before!’ Do this, even if you have your check card in your hand. After all, they don’t really need it. The cashier on minimum wage just likes to argue. They are just trying to inconvenience you, and are quite capable of accepting your out-of-state, third party check without any form of ID whatsoever!
13) Demand to speak to manager.
14) Argue with manager for 20 minutes, while still holding a conversation on the phone.
15) Search for check card, while still insisting you don’t need it. Feel free to call the Manager a Racist, Sexist bastard…even if he or she is that same race and sex as you.
16) Search for reading glasses to fill out check.
17) Write check, make mistake, write another check…being sure to take a further 20 minutes to log in checkbook that the previous check was destroyed…never, ever just write new check and wait to log the destroyed check in the car. Everyone can wait, the cashier gets paid for it, and everyone else is obviously a whole lot less important than you.
18) Put everything back in purse, exposing large wad of cash, that could have saved a lot of time and trouble.
19) Spend a further 20 minutes arguing with the cashier about the ‘terrible service’
20) Demand to see the manager.
21) Argue with manager about terrible service.
22) Demand Cashier be fired and a 99% discount on all your purchases. After all, they had the sheer audacity to charge you the correct amount for your purchases, and follow state law
23) Tear up check, leave your buggy in the aisle and stamp out of the shop in disgust.
24) Try and make it to your car, before everyone in the queue behind you beats you to death with a selection of frozen meats.
25) Go home and wait for your spouse to finally snap and beat you to death with your own shoes.

Now imagine going through that, when you haven’t slept for over 24 hours.

I heard a story once about a friend of my step-sons, who finally had enough in a fast food place (where he worked) and hurled a 70oz drink at a customer.

I can completely understand why he did it.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

GTA Bandwagon Jumping - Update

Well, there's new information in the GTA San Andreas debate.

Apparently, Jack Thompson, the gentleman who allegedly 'coached' Hilary Clinton on GTA San Andreas, has shown his amazing knowledge of computers and computer games by accidentally emailing a letter meant for the District Attorney of Minnesota, to one of the many people who emailed him to complain about his recent open letter to the ESA.

His email, entitled 'Probable Criminal Sale of Sexual Material Harmful to Minors by Best Buy and Target in Hennepin County in Violation of Minnesota Statute 617.291, et
sequitur', also shows that this idiot, along with Hilary Clinton doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

Bandwagon jumping, anyone? As for him 'coaching' Hilary, I've never seen a bigger case of 'the blind leading the blind' in all my life.

His email is laughable. Here are some choice excerpts:

"I write to inform you of a flagrant breach of the rules... It involves the knowing theft of the innocence of hundreds of thousands of children in the Twin Cities and around the country...Senator Clinton decried the ongoing distribution across the nation of a violent video game entitled Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which sales are resulting in the viewing of sexually explicit material by minors."

Now get this, not only is San Andreas immoral, and involves the 'theft of innocence' from children...GTA is, in fact, part of a criminal conspiracy! Here's the excerpt:

"it would appear that there is probable cause that Best Buy and Target are at their highest corporate levels involved in the criminal distribution and/or conspiracy to
distribute sexual material harmful to minors in violation of Minnesota Statute 617.291 et sequitur."

A criminal conspiracy! Jesus H. Fucking Christ.

What's next Mr. Thompson? Forcing everyone to wear tinfoil hats to stop the commie aliens from stealing our brain waves? Wearing lead underwear so computer-game evil doesn't make you sterile?

Oh my God, I hope you're sterile. The fact you may reproduce terrifies me.

Why stop there? Why not try to start the capture and incarceration of all Homesexuals, just in case they give our children 'gay'? Why not ban anyone foreign from entering the country, because they'll corrupt our children with their evil foreign ways? Oh, and don't forget to band curvy table legs in case they 'inflame young men's desires', and send them off on a rape spree!

Anything else? Ban bright colours? Loud noises?

For someone who appears to have an such amazing knowledge of the law, you're as dumb as a box of rocks, thick as a submarine door and if stupidity were bricks, you'd be the great wall of china. Conversely, if brains were gasoline, you wouldn't have enough to power an ants motorcycle around the outside of a penny.

If ignroance and stupidity ever go for $2 a barrel, I want drilling rights on your head.

You missed one minor thing, Mr. Thompson, one small but crucial thing...the huge effing 'M' on the box that says 'For Mature Audiences Only'.

Let me be absolutely clear. IT'S A GAME FOR ADULTS, YOU IGNORANT PRICK! Best Buy and Target are not part of a 'Criminal Conspiracy' to 'steal children's innocence'. They're selling extremely tame 'adult material' to adults.

That should solve your worries. Unless of course, you're just trying to force your beliefs on other people in general. You know, trying to tell other adults what they can and can't watch, read or view. I'm sure that there may be one or two little things in the US Constitution about doing that.

Now you may be wondering what has got me so fired up. Basically, I read the correspondence between Mr. Thompson, and a gamer that was posted on a forum. Despite the fact that Thompson has set himself up as the moral and intellectual expert on these matters, he apparently beleives that the correct responce to a very polite email giving the other point of view is 'Get Lost'.

He also says in his emails:

"I'm not interested in gamers' thoughts, as that phrase constitutes the
latest oxymoron. If you want to stop playing your pixel fantasies for a
year so your brain can recover, thus allowing you to be rational, then get
back to me then. Blessings, Jack Thompson"

So, apparently, all gamers are stupid. I wish someone told me! I wouldn't have bothered getting that degree in English if I realised I was stupid! The 'be rational' part actually made me laugh out loud. Accusing two major electronics retailers of being part of a criminal conspiracy, because they sell an M rated game, is rational. The fact that the 'sex scene' in the game has to be unlocked with specialist software doesn't come into it.

This is guy who took a case to court, saying that a child 'trained on Doom', which caused him to be a better killer. That's strange, I played 'Doom' for months...yet after arriving in the USA, I didn't have the first clue how to load, cock and fire a gun. By his 'rational' reasoning, I should have picked up a rifle, and instantly been a crack shot.

I'm not going to labour my point. If you want to see what a weird, psycho idiot that this guy is, read this thread on the RBA Forums

Oh, and just in case you actually read this, Mr. Thompson, and given your ability to completely miss the obvious, before you get 'lawyer happy', and try to sue me...I'd just like to save you a little bit of time and remind you that under US Law, a person's OPINION delivered in any public forum, can not be construed as libel or slander.

Oh, and in my opinion, you couldn't find your ass with both hands and a map, and you're a complete and utter dildo.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Does The Bandwagon Stop Here? I Want To Jump On It

Now this is going to be a gaming related post, but if you don’t play video games, I’ll ask you to keep reading, chances are you’ll find this interesting.

Well, it turns out those evil, evil people from Rockstar Games, are yet again, destroying young children’s minds.

Let me explain.

A foreign gamer discovered hidden code in ‘Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas’, the ultra controversial ‘crime-based’ game.

This hidden code contained… now brace yourself…Sex!!!

Oh my god! Quick! Build a moat around your home, install those iron shutters and buy a shotgun. It won’t be long before we’re murdered in our beds!

Now let me be perfectly clear. This ‘sex mini-game’ doesn’t actually show anything. I mean no nudity, no hardcore action. Basically, you get treated to two, fully clothed, adult game characters ‘pretending’ to do the nasty. Honestly, I’ve seen more explicit material in exercise equipment commercials.

I must also be clear that this isn’t a ‘hidden bonus’ on the game, and was discovered completely by accident when someone started poking around in the code. For example, without specialized software (Namely the PS2 Action Replay CD for the PS2, or a downloadable patch from the internet for the PC), it’s completely impossible to get to. In other words, there’s no chance on little Timmy accidentally stumbling across it.

The current thinking is that Rockstar were going to include it as part of the game, but realized the amount of controversy that it would stir up with the majority idiots of the world, and decided not to include it. The ‘trigger’ that starts this part of the game was removed, but for whatever reason, the actual code was left in. Basically it was a way to make the content inaccessible, without having to spend expensive weeks to remove it.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the politicians and do-gooders from jumping on the bandwagon. That’s right, the lunatics who believe that just because you play a violent video game, you’re going to instantly transform into a master criminal and start shooting up your neighborhood while raping everyone you see, are screaming for blood.

(As an aside, I see absolutely no merit in this idea. I play violent computer games, and I actually find them to be a fun and safe way of getting out any excess aggression. If someone pisses me off, I don’t start a fight or scream at them, I just come home and beat up simulated people with simulated fists. I get rid of my aggression in a healthy way, and no one (including me) gets hurt. The same way that some people will beat the crap out a punch bag or go to the gym to work out their aggression. That’s my theory, violent video games reduce actual violence, not encourage it).

Anyway, the politicians are on the warpath. You see, GTA SA is very controversial anyway, (you play as a gang member and steal cars and the like), but they all seem to be missing one minor point.

The ENTIRE GTA series are M-Rated titles. That’s right, in order to buy or play this game, you’re supposed to be 18. If a young child plays it, there’s only one person to point the finger at, and that’s the parents. Don’t blame the games company because you allowed your child to play a game that was rated for a mature audience. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The TV and Game Console are NOT babysitters.

Believe it or not, parents, while you raise little Timmy, you’re actually supposed to do some actual parenting. It’s an unusual concept, I know, but it’s true!

This whole hoo haa is caused by the mistaken idea by most people who assume that computer games are for children, when in fact the average age for gamers is between 20 to 28, and the upper end of the age range is rising all the time.

Very few get mad when a violent movie is released, because that’s for adults. Apparently, games are just for kids.

Anyway, I’m going over old ground here, so I’ll get to the funny part.

Guess who the latest politician is who has ‘condemned’ GTA San Andreas? Someone who is so incensed that she has not just asked, but DEMANDED that the people responsible for this filth are brought to justice?


That’s right, the woman whose husband, the then President of the United States of America, caused one of the greatest sex scandals the world has ever known.

What did she say at the time? That she will ‘support her husband’.

So let me get this straight. This sex scene is in a game that is:

a) Less explicit than something shown on cable TV at 9pm.

b) Involves fully clothed characters made up of polygons (they aren’t even real, for Christ’s sake)

c) In a video game designed, aimed at and sold only to adults


d) Can’t even be accessed without specific and detailed computer knowledge.

However, this game, to Hilary, is evil, obscene and is the result of people with no regard for the future of morals in the Western World, who should be punished severely.

What a crock of s**t!

On the other hand, however, openly supporting your husband, who just happens to be the President of the US, possibly the most well known person in the world, is completely acceptable!

Well it actually would be acceptable if your husband wasn’t the President who got a blowjob from an intern at the White House, did all that business with the cigar and caused one of the largest scandals in the history of the world.

Oh, and then lying through his teeth to the American people about it.

Apparently, an almost inaccessible sex scene in a video game for adults is just plain wrong. Supporting your ‘leader of the free world’ husband, who saw nothing wrong with indulging in a little light extra-marital sodomy is just fine!

Yes, I’m sure the President and First Lady aren’t role-models and won’t influence children at all!

Oh, and in case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic.

Let me get this straight, once and for all.

Video games are RATED, Just like movies.

GTA San Andreas is made for and targeted only at adults. If children manage to get hold of a copy and play it, it’s because their parents aren’t paying attention. Don’t blame the game companies because parents can’t be bothered to do any actual parenting.

In my opinion, Hilary Clinton, you’re nothing but a band wagon jumper. If you’re going to openly ‘condemn’ something, do a little research and actually know what you’re talking about before you make a public statement. But then again, common sense and research doesn’t get you many votes, does it? Not when you can blow something so ridiculously stupid and tiny out of all proportion. You purposefully fan the flames of an unjustifiable moral panic…all so you can set yourself up as the one, moral crusader against this evil video game.

Seriously, I’ve seen more explicit images on a diet commercial.

If an ultra-tame sex scene in a video game for adults offends you that much, why did it appear not to bother you when your husband decided to stick his penis in Monica Lewinski’s mouth?

I’m not saying children aren’t going to play mature rated video games, they will, just as kids will watch M rated movies. It will happen. However, that doesn’t mean that every single form of entertainment in America should be made child friendly, just in case little Timmy gets it into his head to watch it.

Next time you talk about anything setting a bad example for the country’s children, take a look at your husband. Something tells me that the leader of the free world should set an example to those very same children. So should his wife.

While we’re talking about bad influences on children, let’s look at politicians. Politicians are the worlds most prolific and accomplished liars, who every other week, are splashed all over the papers for scandals of their own. You name it. Bondage clubs, extra marital sex, embezzling public money, racist slurs…

If you really want to help the children of the world, don’t ban video games.

Ban Politicians.