Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just Couldn't Resist.

Recently, blogging pal Saffy posted this pic on her blog:



I couldn't resist, so here we are:














An Exercise in Meh

I was doing some random websurfing and stumbled upon, and I shit you not, a completely serious website devoted to how Halo ‘changed the world’.

Ok, time for my take:

Halo 1 was a completely and totally average shooter. It didn’t have anything new, the weapons were samey and boring…and as for the ‘amazing’ story, Aliens trying to destroy humanity? Yawn, been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. The levels were unimaginative and in some places looked like the same area cut and pasted over and over again. Seriously, it was so easy to get lost on some levels because every room and corridor was exactly the same.

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but it was a plain vanilla shooter.

Then I tried Halo 2. I thought it was just like Halo 1, but with better graphics.

Halo 3 I have no intention of playing. Unless I hear some unbiased reviews that say it’s absolutely amazing, it holds absolutely no interest for me whatsoever. Wasn’t impressed with the first two, and I don’t buy games on looks alone. If it’s pretty, great, but I don’t buy a game to look at it, I buy a game to have fun playing it.

Anyway, I started to wonder why everyone was going so nuts over Halo. I mean, the frigging pistol from Halo 1 was voted the ‘best’ FPS weapon of all time.

Did these people sleep through Doom’s BFG, Duke Nukem’s Shrink Ray and Half Life’s laser guided rocket launcher?

The website that inspired this post made some good points about why Halo was great, but I started to realize, these points only counted if Halo was the first shooter you ever played and you ignored everything that came before it.

For example, the original Half Life changed shooters because it was the first to have a really compelling story, and it told this story with scripted sequences while you were playing. Quake was the first shooter to be 100% 3D. What about those?

Long story short…Half-Life was groundbreaking, amazingly fun shooter…Halo was purely ‘meh.’

Then I finally got it.

Halo was the first ‘real’ first person shooter to appear on a console. In essence, it was the ‘Fisher-Price’ shooter that opened up the genre to people who couldn’t be bothered learning how to use a computer to game.

This almost annoys me in a way. We’ve had Wolfenstein3D, Doom, Duke Nukem3D, Quake, Half Life, Dark Forces…I could go on forever, and now thanks to the total dumbing down and ‘lowest common denominator’ direction the games industry is taking, we have these douchebags proclaiming a totally average game as the best thing ever.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how good the game is, as long as it has it’s own ‘energy drink’, comes with a collectible helmet and more marketing and TV time than the Presidential election.

I know this seems a really odd thing to get worked up about, but as I’ve said a million times before I see games as an honest to god artform. There’s nothing like seeing classics getting ignored and dismissed, all because the latest game appeals to the frat boy crowd who get suckered in by the hype and like to ‘pwn bitches’ while drinking their over-branded ‘Master Chief’ edition ‘Game Fuel’.

Put it this way, when we have people proclaiming any game is the greatest game ever played and creaming their pants every time it’s mentions, before they’ve actually played it…something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Sarah Silverman...Like Watching Paint Dry Without the Excitement

Is it just me, or is Sarah Silverman completely and utterly unfunny?

You see, I actually like edgy ‘offensive’ comedy, but she’s edgy and offensive…but somehow forgot to be funny. Bit of a handicap for a comedian, wouldn’t you say?

A Sarah Silverman joke is “You know what’s funny? People who get cancer or AIDS and die!”

Yep, Sarah, you got the edgy bit, you got the ‘offensive’ bit, but it’s meant to be funny.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Gesticulating Wildly Makes You Trustworthy

Ever been watching TV late at night and caught one of those “Make billions by doing nothing” infomercials?

Next time one comes on, watch it. I’ve discovered the following formula:

The trustworthiness of the person speaking is inversely proportional to how much they move their hands while speaking.

Seriously, try it. That ‘entrepreneur of the year’ guy, who sells his ‘money making secrets’ looks like a fucking windmill.

“Hey, look at me! Would I gesture this much and move my hands for emphasis on every other word if I was lying to you? Fuck, no!

Other things to look out for are: “The White Lab-Coat of Professionalism”, “The Black T-Shirt and Sports Jacket of ‘I’m Awesome’-ness” and the ever popular “Washed up 80’s Celebrity of Trust”.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

On Marriage, Insanity and Geeky Collectibles

My missus can be really, really weird…and this is coming from a 26 year old guy who just spent 15 bucks on a replica ‘Sonic Screwdriver’.

Tomorrow morning, Sunny is going straight from work to a ‘sleep study’. Basically, she’s gonna get off work at 5.45 as usual, then go to the doctor’s office and sleep there until about 4 O’Clock in the afternoon.

Guess what? She’s kinda freaked out that this is the first night (well, night for us) that we’ve spent apart since we got married. She spent about half an hour before leaving for work telling me that she’s going to miss me…while getting more and more annoyed that I didn’t seem to think this was such a momentous occasion.

Well, here’s the thing. I’ve been in bed when Sunny’s got in from work and slept until 4am before, or Sunny has come in from work, got changed and headed straight back out for most of the day.

In other words, this is no where near the longest we’ve ever been apart. The only difference is, this time, she’ll be sleeping while she’s away from home.

So what’s the deal? Is Sunny a crackpot, or am I just an evil, non-sentimental male?

The answer, of course, is both.

PS. I managed to rationalize the purchase of a sonic screwdriver because it’s basically a pen, and has a nib that writes in UV ink. I’ve since used it to invisibly mark a lot of our more valuable possessions in case they ever get stolen.

Basically, guys, if you feel like owning some replica Time Lord technology, just tell your missus it’s actually a safety device that will help with the recovery of stolen possessions

PPS, It’s a really bad idea to point it at your wife when she’s talking, press the button and say “Damn! You can still talk…stupid thing doesn’t work.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

You Big Babies!

Looking through Yahoo news today, I saw the following headline:

Iran Leader Says Nuclear Issue Closed.

Great! I thought. A major problem solved.

Of course, it turned out it was yet more bullshit political posturing, with Iran saying their nuclear program was ‘closed as a political issue’.

What I read next had me shaking my head in disgust:

When Ahmadinejad was ushered to the podium, the U.S. delegation walked out, leaving only a low-ranking note-taker to listen to his speech…State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the U.S. wanted "to send him a powerful message."

Great! Because, you know, that’s what I look for in a representative…someone who’ll not listen. Someone who’d rather play a game of ‘Who’s Got The Biggest Dick’ rather than try to solve the problem.

When I think of the powerful men sitting around tables, discussing and settling the big issues that effect world security, with their only concern being about what’s in the best interest of their people… that’s just what I picture:

“Close your nuclear program!”

“Will not!”

“Will too!”

“Will not!”

“Will too!”

“Will not!”

“LalalalalalaLALALALAL!!! Not LISTENING! Not listening, not listening…you big doody head!”

And exactly what powerful message is this sending to Iran? That America is arrogant as hell? That if you don’t do what we say we’ll go into a cold war followed by a hot one? That we’ve spent trillions on our military and we’re going to use it if it (literally) kills us?

Here’s a wacky idea? How about compromising? You know, getting around a table and coming to a solution that’s at least half-way satisfactory to everyone?

How about allowing Iran to continue their nuclear program along with the help and supervision of an international UN committee? I may be being over-simplistic here, but that way Iran would get the expertise it needs to construct nuclear plants for energy, with built in supervision to make sure they stick to energy generation and away from missiles.

I have no diplomatic training and I came up with that solution in five minutes…and you’re telling me that these highly trained, life-long, government-appointed diplomats are faced with the same situation and the best thing they can come up with is to walk out?

My solution might have huge flaws, but it’s better than putting your fingers in your ears.

As a kid, I remember watching news coverage of one of the peace talks between the British Parliament and the Irish at the height of the problems in Northern Ireland.

What happened was that both parties stamped to the talks, screaming defiance, sneering and smirking at the cameras. They didn’t look like government officials on their way to discuss an end to hostilities and a solution to the problem…they looked like a bunch of stupid, teenage school kids who’d just spotted kids from a rival school on their street.

They walked into the private meeting room...and stamped back out again 5 minutes later.

Great work guys! Nice to see you were so open minded and had your people’s best interests at heart! I mean, sure, British troops are still patrolling the streets of Northern Ireland, and shopping centers and hotels in England are still getting blown up every other week, but you showed those bastards, huh?

You’re so much better and so much more ‘right’ than them that you didn’t even have to listen to what the others had to say.

That’s the thing: Every time countries have a disagreement, it quickly devolves into two leaders having a ‘My dick’s bigger than yours’ competition… and who suffers?

Us.

The whole thing with this current situation is that Iran wants nukes to defend itself, but building one will pretty much guarantee an attack. If they go ahead and build nukes, they become a threat to America, so we want to stop them from building one.

In other words, we’ll fight a war, because if we don’t…a war might break out.

Basically, it’s like buying a gun and then telling your neighbor you’ll shoot them if they try to buy one, because if they have a gun, they might use it to shoot you. The dumbest thing is, you have absolutely no reason to fight…other than over the guns you bought to ‘make yourselves safer’.

The most ridiculous thing is if you asked your average American or Iranian if they want a war, 99.9% of them would obviously say no and would prefer to go on with their daily lives.

…but the problem is that just won’t happen because our leaders are currently arguing over who has the biggest dick.

So, as a message to all politicians:

The use of force does not make you a good leader. In fact, going to war means you’ve failed in your job utterly.

When people are dying, they don’t take comfort in the fact that their leaders were ‘too tough’ to negotiate.

Put your dick back in your pants, stop the schoolyard “My dad’s tougher than your dad” bollocks, then get your shit straight or resign.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's the Sattelites...Honestly!

There’s an episode of Doctor Who were ‘The Master’ takes over the planet by masquerading as a human and running for Prime Minister. He does this by putting communication satellites in orbit that secretly create a ‘psychic field’.

This ‘psychic field’ doesn’t control everyone, it just gives them a vague sense that The Master is a great guy, and that he’s right and everyone should vote for him.

Anyone else ever get the feeling that Microsoft and Bungie are doing exactly the same thing right now?

I’m talking, of course, about Halo 3.

I played the original Halo when it first came out, and can honestly say that my reaction to the game was a half-hearted ‘meh.’

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good game…but it wasn’t outstanding or special. The idea was good, but the environments were extremely samey, the weapons weren’t new or interesting and the only really ‘innovative’ part was an early and crude physics engine (it only effected the vehicles).

I read the, quite frankly, masturbatory reviews and wondered if I’d played the same game as the reviewers. A reasonable review would have called Halo ‘above average’ at best…instead we got a series of “OMGWTFBBQ!!! THIS IS TEH ROXXORS!”

You know we’re in trouble when professional reviewers fall prey to blatant fanboyism.

Then I played Halo 2, and considered it a minor improvement over the original with better graphics. As usual, the gaming press acted like they’d been sent a crate of highly trained, oiled up supermodel nymphomaniacs instead of a review copy.

So my expectations for Halo 3?

I can honestly say I have none because I won’t be buying it.

With games out there like Battlefield and Call of Duty, I find it really hard to get excited about an over-marketed and over-hyped sequel to an average shooter.

Anyway, whatever Time Lord has taken over the planet, his evil scheme obviously has something to do with the Xbox360 and Halo 3. I put my money on Xbox360’s actually being disguised evil robots, and Halo 3 contains the ‘Activate and Exterminate’ command.

'Not My Business'

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you have to watch someone handling a situation in completely and totally the wrong way?

I'm talking about the kind of situation were you're watching a friend make a really bad mistake, or they're 'solving' a problem in a way that's just going to cause bigger problems down the road...or, worst of all, watching them stand by and let bad things happen because they want to avoid a confrontation.

It's like watching a parent buy more and more stuff for a terminally spoiled child to stop them from throwing a temper tantrum. It's stops the screaming now, but all it's doing is reinforcing the idea that all the kid has to do is scream to get what they want.

...but the problem is, the situation doesn't involve you directly.

Then, you just know if you try to offer advice all it's going to do is cause and argument and strain your relationship...and they won't take your advice anyway.

That absolute worst thing is when you find a friend in trouble, and they completely and totally ignore every bit of advice you give them...right up to the point that someone else offers them exactly the same advice and they accept it without question.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Geek Challenge!

Ok, I’m throwing down the gauntlet to my fellow geeks. The challenge is to explain to me why Superman needs a secret identity. What follows is my thoughts, so if you can prove me wrong…you get bragging rights for all eternity.

Superman is different from most other Superheroes in that his real identity is the superhero one. Spider-man is really Peter Parker, Batman is really Bruce Wayne…but with Superman it’s the other way around. The mild mannered Clarke Kent is his disguise.

Basically, while Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spider-man, Superman had his powers when he arrived on Earth as an infant. He ‘pretends’ to be Clarke Kent to fit in.

The thing is, he totally doesn’t need to.

The number one reason for the secret identity is to prevent your friends and family from suffering reprisals based on your actions. However, this only works when your friends and family have nothing to do with your Superhero identity. Aunt May doesn’t know Peter is Spider-Man. The only people who know Bruce Wayne is Batman is Alfred and his side-kicks.

Basically, no one’s going to attack Aunt May because she has no visible link to Spider-man.

On the other hand, most of Clarke Kent’s friends are also his friends as Superman, in many cases moreso. Everyone knows Lois Lane has a thing for Superman, but Clarke’s just a geek chasing a girl who’s way out of his league.

So basically, the people he wants to protect are going to come under fire anyway. Superman takes Lois Lane on a date to the Fortress of Solitude, and Lois writes a fricking newspaper story about it!

People are going to go after Lois because they know she has a special relationship with Superman. Clarke Kent is pointless.

In fact, this puts people like his adopted parents are in more danger. Think about this. Think about all the people who get robbed, mugged and murdered every day. Your average run of the mill criminal wouldn’t think twice about mugging Mr. and Mrs Kent…on the other hand, if it was common knowledge that they’re Superman’s parents…who’s gonna be dumb enough to mug them.

Finally on this point, say someone does get at his parents or his girlfriends and kill them. All he has to do is fly around the world really fast and make time go backwards!

So, as far as I can see, the only reason for Clarke Kent to exist is to not get hassled or be under constant attack and so he can have a day-job…but even this is uneccessary.

First of all, he doesn’t actually need a job. What does he work for? Food? Rent? Well, he can recharge himself from the sun, so doesn’t really need to eat…but even if he did, can you think of anyone who’d refuse Superman a free hotdog or pizza? He’s not a ‘controversial’ hero, where just as many people dislike him as love him…everyone loves him.

Do you think if he landed next to a Subway, walked in and said: “I just stopped a nuclear missile from hitting Metropolis and I’m hungry…any chance of a free Meatball Marinara?” Would the owner say “Sorry, Superman, no cash, no sandwich”.

Oh, and he can also crush a piece of coal into a diamond…is he ever gonna be short of money?

The second thing is he doesn’t need rent because he has the Fortress of Solitude. He owns his own home…and as for not getting hassled, it’s one hell die-hard fan who travels all the way to the North Pole to camp in his front yard…and if they do, he’s Superman! Why not just chill out on the moon for a bit.

As for coming under attack…the guy can stop a .45 bullet with his eye. His enemies could strap a nuke to him while he was sleeping and he wouldn’t even wake up. He’s not like Spider-man or Batman where he has to worry about a sniper-shot or something.

So to recap, Superman’s secret identity:

1) Doesn’t protect his friends and family.

2) Actually puts some of his friends in more danger.

3) Isn’t needed for self protection.

4) Helps him keep a job he doesn’t need.

5) Stops him from ‘getting the girl’.

6) Would be worthless anyway because he can reverse time.

So there you have it. The only slight reason for the secret identity is to ‘fit in’, but if you’re really Superman, see Superman as your ‘real’ identity, you’re already as universally liked and accepted as you can ever hope to be.

So, If anyone can explain to me why Clarke Kent even exists gets eternal bragging rights.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Creation of a Sad, Lonely, Neglected Corner of the Net


From deep within someone's parent's basement:

Hmm, you know, everyone has a blog these days. Maybe I should write one, after all I don’t want to be the only person without one. The only way to be cool is to be just like everyone else.

Hey, this is your brain. This is a bad idea.

Ok, I’ve found a blogging site, what shall I call it?

This is still a bad idea.

Well, I want it to be awesome and fun, how about I call it ‘Awesomefun!’

That’s a terrible name.

Hmm, something’s not quite right. Oh! Of course, it should be 4w35umFUN! Leet speak automatically makes everyone think you’re sooo cool!

No, it makes you look like a douche.

Ok, all set up, now what shall I write about?

This should be good.

I know, I’ll write about how my teacher’s an ass! Everyone’ll think that’s awesome!

But no-one knows your teacher except that one friend you have. If you wanna bitch about your teacher, why not just talk to your friend? Do you honestly think that people will care that some random teenager doesn’t like his math-teacher? Hardly ground-breaking journalism!

Yeah! I’ll write about that time I didn’t do my homework, and my teacher gave me detention! I’ll call her a bitch, that’ll be sooo cool.

You can’t even hear me anymore can you?

Ok, here goes. (My teechr iz a bich Shes all wot r u doing ur supposed 2 b working)

Ugh, that actually hurts you know. I mean real, physical pain. If there was any justice in the world, you’ll be killed by a falling dictionary after tripping over ‘Grammar for Beginners’.

Actually, this typing stuff is hard! It takes ages! How come blogging is so popular if it’s so damn hard?

Because most people your age can form a coherent sentence with very little effort, and actually go outside once in a while to gather some experiences to write about. Oh, and they blog because they have something to say…not just because they want to ‘fit in’.

I know, cut and paste! I’ll do a post with this ‘lolcat’ image and copy this joke! Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this? All the blogging glory with absolutely no effort!

They have thought of it, you spunkerchief! That’s why over half the internet is just copies of the other half of the internet.

Awesome! I have a cool blog, the praise will just come pouring in now! It’s been up for at least 15 minutes, let’s see how many hits I have.

Wow, a whole 15 minutes? You’re patient, aren’t you? Trust me, dude, anyone lands here it’ll be an accident and they’ll leave immediately.

What? No hits! Maybe my design is to blame. Let’s (clickety) change the text color to pale yellow…and (clickety) change it to 10 point Comic Sans MS, and finally (clickety) change the background to a bright green and purple animated gif of millions tiny stickmen doing karate! That’s 4w35um with a capital four!

You know, if I had my own stomach, I’d have just thrown up looking at that. Oh, and your eyes are telling me that what you’re subjecting them to that is against the Geneva Convention. Oh, and there’s no such fucking thing as a ‘capital four’.

What? Half an hour and still no hits? I know (Clicks blogs at random)… (‘Hey, I reely luv ur site! U shud check out mine! It’s gr8!’) There, that should do it. People will be so flattered that I think their site is great, they won’t even notice I haven’t even read it!

This’ll end well. I guarantee it. Oh, and in case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic.

What? Still no hits. Ok (clickety) Digg (Clickety) Stumble (Clickety) Del.ico.us…

Hey, have you ever thought of writing something worth reading? Having a design scheme that doesn’t look like a clown threw up in a balloon factory? Having some patience? Writing ‘LOL THIS IS FUNY’ on every bookmarking site you find isn’t going to get you readers.

Hey! A hit! They’ve left a comment as well! I’m awesome!

Yeah, because that’s why someone left a comment.

Let’s see… ‘Dear douchebag, stop spamming my comments. Your site looks like a clown threw up in a balloon factory. Get bent.’

Heheheh, I like that guy.

What the fuck! Fucking idiot! I’m gonna flame the hell out of him! Wait…why has my cool lolcats picture turned into a picture of a guy’s asshole?

Because you hotlinked the site you stole it from. People don’t like it when you steal their work and their bandwidth as well.

I’m gonna write that guy an email demanding he puts my lolcat picture back. I’ll threaten to sue him, that’ll scare the shit out of him.

Sigh, of all the heads I could’ve ended up in, I end up in yours.

This blogging shit sucks. I’m gonna put on 5 new lolcats pictures, and if that doesn’t work, I quit.

Way to stick at it there, junior.

This sucks! I quit! I am soo going on the message boards and calling all the bloggers fags!

Wow, the ‘blogging dream’ lasted a whole hour! Who’d have thought that creating something would take a little work?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Timing is Everything.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but my dog Buddy is the dictionary definition of ‘difficult teenager’.

The thing is, whenever he gets annoyed, frustrated or mad, he doesn’t bark, but gives huge theatrical sighs. I’m not sure you to represent it in words, but I imagine it would look something like this:

PFFFFFFFFffffffffffffft.

Well, the other day, Sunny had been to McDonalds, and put a cheeseburger in her purse to take to work with her. When we got in, Buddy could smell it. I figure that what he was thinking was something along the lines of:

“I can smell a cheeseburger in here. Is Sunny eating? Nope. Is Paulius eating? Nope. This can mean only one thing…there’s an unclaimed cheeseburger in here that’s up for grabs! Nose, don’t fail me now!”

It took him about 30 seconds to track it down, and he became hypnotized by the aroma emanating from Sunny’s purse. Finally, I had to grab him, tell him no and called him a ‘bad dog’.

So he dragged his feet over to the corner and flopped down for a nice long sulk. As he hit the floor, there was a minor, barely audible ‘pfft.’ It was the Buddy equivalent of muttering under his breath.

Fast forward fifteen minutes, and Sunny and I are relaxing on the couch watching TV. Then the ads came on.

“McDonalds Double Cheeseburger! Only a dollar from the value menu!”

From the corner of the room:

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFffffffffffffffffffft!

How dare we? They’re only a dollar for fuck’s sake!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Impossible

I was checking my favorite news sites this morning when I stumbled across the following headline:

9/11 Could Have Been Prevented, Says Expert.

So called ‘news stories’ like this really piss me off. Let me explain why.

First of all, this isn’t even news. It’s an attention seeking asshole trying to get his name in print by exploiting a national tragedy. Unless the news story is about a terrorist who actually managed to infiltrate the various intelligence agencies and deliberately hid critical information, I don’t care.

Here’s the thing. The CIA, FBI, MI5 etc get hundreds of ‘tips’ every single week. Most of them come to nothing, and it would be physically impossible to act on them all. So you get a vague report that says that someone may try to attack a particular target on or around a particular month.

What do we expect them to do? Completely cordon off an airport for 6 months, interrogate every single person who wants to fly and search everyone?

Basically, this story is saying that if the right person had picked up the right report out of hundreds and took extreme and unprecedented action, disaster could have been averted. If someone had taken one vague report that was no different from the thousands of others received and decided to close down an airport, the towers would still be standing.

Of course, this extra security would have been noticed by the terrorists, who would probably have just pushed back their timetable until the security was loosened.

My point is, every major disaster, whether natural, terrorism related or ‘other’ could have been averted. If the treaty of Versaille had been a little less extreme along with hundreds of other factors, WW2 could have been averted. If an engineer had decided to take a seemingly mint-condition plane out of service on a hunch that the engine had undetectable micro-fractures in it, many plane crashes could have been averted.

I could go on, but you get my point.

Basically, accidents happen, bad people do bad things and good people suffer. People do their best to prevent it, but they’re not infallible.

So why people feel the need to write these ‘new stories’ is totally beyond me. In fact, it isn’t. It’s just another douchebag trying to get their fifteen minutes of fame by being ‘controversial’.

The saddest thing is that since 9/11 hundreds of extra safeguards have been put in place for our safety…and what do we do? We complain. These same people who point fingers at people for not being superhuman are the same people who are complaining about long wait-times at airports, about not being able to take pocket-knives onto planes.

I honestly don’t get it. We’re saying that we should be protected, but when faced with the reality of the protection, we don’t like it. We should be able to just hop onto planes, carrying whatever we choose, while at the same time guaranteeing that terrorists are denied entry.

We want the impossible and bitch about not getting it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Clarification

I feel I need to clarify a couple points I made in my recent post on privacy.

OzzyC Commented:

“…At the same time though, I do believe that I have the right to lobby congress and try to get laws changed, contrary to your article.”

Reading through my post again, I see I’ve given the impression that I’m against campaigning to have laws changed or altered. Nothing could be further from the truth. When a society has no say in the creation and amendment of their own laws, you get a dictatorship.

What I meant was that I’m against the use of law to force one group’s principles or sense of morality upon another.

The Gay Marriage ‘issue’ can demonstrate my point perfectly.

Every opposing argument to gay marriage is a so-called ‘moral’ one. Yet the problems this causes for gay couples isn’t about morality, it’s about human rights.

A gay couple could live together for 50 years, but without marriage, they’re not legally recognized as ‘next of kin’. Basically, imagine your husband or wife falling sick, and finding you have absolutely no rights, and therefore no say when it comes to their treatment. Imagine your partner dying and finding that you’re not invited to the funeral.

Basically, one group of people cause real problems for another, simply because they don’t ‘approve’ of their lifestyle.

Just to underline this point, imagine if a law was brought in tomorrow that made it illegal for you to live with a member of the opposite sex before marriage, or that sex between two consenting adults became illegal.

In other words “I don’t approve of the way you live your life, so I’m going to make it illegal.”

That’s what I’m against. There are some areas that government and law simply has no place in.

For example, I personally believe that some people have kids when they’re way too young, and that some people simply aren’t qualified to raise a child. However, it’s not my place to impose my opinions upon them as law.

Think about that for a second. Can you imagine the uproar if a law was passed that made illegal to have a child before the age of 25? Or that you had to pass a government-approved written test before you’d be allowed to have a child, and if you break those laws your baby would be taken from you?

This is what I’m talking about.

Laws are there for public protection, not to force a particular viewpoint or moral compass on people.

Back to the original article, about the fiancée of the guy who died in the motorcycle accident wanting to have his baby…it doesn’t matter how ‘wrong’ or ‘weird’ we think it is, it has nothing to do with us. If she has the child and doesn’t take care of it or endangers it…that’s when the law should step in.

Long story short, Laws should protect us, not dictate how we should live our private lives.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Darwinism

In the pantheon of idiocy, there’s a special clan of idiots who stand head and shoulders about their mentally challenged counterparts.

These are the idiots who do something that only has one possible outcome, and that outcome is severe injury. What sets this particular clan of uber-idiots apart is that they get the idea from watching someone else do the same thing.

For example, a few years ago, someone broke into the lion’s cage at London Zoo. What he thought was going to happen when he was locked in with ferocious man eaters is beyond me. Now, while this guy is a simply spectacular idiot…he has nothing on the next guy.

You see, when this story was on the news, an uber-idiot saw it…and decided it was a really good idea.

How does that work? Did this guy watch the news, see the first idiot get mauled and think “I’m havin’ some of that! That looks awesome!” Or did he watch the guy get mauled and think “Dude, you’re totally doing it wrong!” and head to the zoo to show the correct way to pet lions?

(As an aside, lots of commentators appeared on the news, suggesting that the cage was built ‘wrongly’ and allowed people to climb in. One even suggested that some sort of extra deterrent be put into place…ummm…like what? How about a group of vicious animals that will attack anyone who enters the cage?)

A few months ago, many of you will have seen the web video of a group of idiots who sat in the middle of a playground roundabout while one of their dumbass friends put the back tire of his moped on it. They quickly learned a lesson in centrifugal force as they were thrown bodily from the ride…realizing that it’s pretty hard to hold onto a piece of playground equipment that is rotating at over 40mph.

The clip made the news, and the reporter said the police were looking for the people involved.

So, let’s run through the checklist, shall we:

1) Stupidly dangerous stunt.

2) Ends in disaster.

3) Very easy way to end up crippled/dead.

4) Good chance of getting arrested if you survive.

5) Bunch of uber-idiots.

Yep, all the ingredients are there, and it was only a matter of time before someone saw that video, and after seeing those two girls ejected from the ride like rag-dolls, thought “Hur hur, that looks fun! Let’s go do it!”

…and of course they did.

Watch the video closely. You can see the guy in the roundabout’s center start off with the usual uber-idiot shit-eating grin, that slowly changes as he realizes that the thing's going much faster than he thought it would.

“Oh my God! It’s happening just like I saw in the video! Exactly the same thing is going to happen to me as happened to those people in the video who did exactly the same thing as I’m doing now! Who knew!?!?!”

My friends…

Darwin at work, pure and simple.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wives are WEIRD.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a routine for Friday nights. I turn on the Sci-Fi channel at 7pm for the back to back episodes of Stargate SG-1, followed by Doctor Who.

Now, getting Sunny to watch Stargate isn’t hard. She likes that show almost as much as I do, but when it comes to Doctor Who, she’s a little…strange.

Here’s the deal. When she sits down and watches it, she always enjoys it. Usually finishing the show with a comment like “That was cool, when does it come on again?”

However, every single week, Stargate finishes and she reaches for the remote:

“What’re you doing?”

“Changing the channel.”

“But Doctor Who’s coming on! I’ve been looking forward to it all week.”

“What’s Doctor Who?”

“You know, that British TV show. About the time-traveller guy? We watched it last week?”

“The one with the guy with dreadlocks?”

“No, that’s Red Dwarf.”

Wrinkles her nose in disgust : “(Dramatic Sigh) Do we have to watch it?”

“Huh? You watched it last week and the week before that, and loved it.”

“Gah, if you wanna watch it, watch it…there’s no need to lie about it.”

“I’m not lyi…never mind.”

(One Hour Later)

“Hey, that was awesome! When does it come on again?”

Is this just my missus, or does yours do it to?

Oh, and just for completeness…Getting her to watch Red Dwarf? Like pulling teeth. When she actually watches it? Laughs her ass off…every time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Opinions

Today’s post was inspired by OzzyC’s latest post about an Iowa man who was killed in a motorcycle accident. His fiancée and family went to court in order to be allowed to harvest the dead guy’s sperm so his fiancée could have his baby.

This precise story isn’t what I want to talk about. Today I want to talk more about privacy than anything else.

I read an article once which split people into two separate groups. This article said that people had one of two types of minds: Complex or Simplex. A complex mind sees the world in ‘shades of grey’, can see multiple viewpoints in any situation and can understand that sometimes ‘right and wrong’ can come down purely to a point of view.

A simplex mind sees the world in black and white, has a very fixed idea of right and wrong and the way people should behave.

As you can probably guess, it’s the people with the simplex minds that I have a problem with.

I think the problem we have today is we have far too much news that gets into people’s private business. Things which are absolutely no-one’s business except for the people who are involved. Then, too often, people hijack these ‘news stories’ as platforms to preach their own point of view.

For example, if the story about the Iowa man makes the national news it won’t be long before it becomes a topic of debate. One side will call it a human rights issue, arguing that because the dead man never gave his consent it’s ‘wrong’ to use his sperm to create a baby. Other’s will say that the baby would grow up in a single parent family and call it child abuse. Others will support the family and the guy’s fiancée, saying it’s up to them.

Look, the guy is dead. What happens to his remains and organs is up to the family. If his fiancée wants to have his baby in order to keep a piece of him, that’s up to her. Whether you or I disagree is immaterial.

In other words, the nation at large starts campaigning to tell other people what they can and do, when it has nothing to do with them. If you think I’m exaggerating, here’s two words: Terry Schiavo.

The point is, things like this are absolutely none of our business. It doesn’t effect us in any way, and if I agree with the guy’s family or not, who am I to proclaim what they’re doing is wrong or right?

I have the right to my opinion. I don’t have the right to tell these people what to do, or try and change the law to stop them.

If the situation doesn’t effect you, or you’re not actually involved, you’ve no right to say what’s right and wrong.

This is a bit of a hot-button issue for me, because I’ve been a victim of it. Not that it was in the press, but I certainly had people getting into my business and passing judgement about a situation that had absolutely nothing to do with them.

Anyone who reads our blogs regularly knows that Sunny and I are happily married. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say Sunny is simply the best thing that ever happened to me.

What not everyone knows is that Sunny and I have a major age difference. Sunny is 20 years older than me.

You can imagine what it was like when we got engaged. While my family eventually came around, but let’s just say they didn’t exactly start jumping up and down and celebrating. I had parades of people telling me I was making a huge mistake, that there must be something ‘wrong’ with us for wanting to marry each other…as well as more than a few snide comments about Sunny ‘robbing the cradle’ and me being unable to ‘find someone my own age’.

This was all compounded by the fact we met over the internet.

I’ve read similar stories that have made the papers about 20 year olds marrying octogenarians. The comments are always the same. That those people are sick, that there’s something wrong with them and them getting married is ‘wrong’.

My point is, if I’d listened to those people, I’d have robbed myself of the person that’s brought me more happiness than anyone else I’ve ever known. People had told me that it would never last…but like the inscription on my wedding ring says: “More than yesterday, Less than tomorrow.” Sunny and I have known each other for around 7 years, and have been married for nearly 4.

Considering I’m more in love with this woman than I ever have been, I’d say it’s ‘lasting’ wouldn’t you?

The other thing is, people assume I’m into ‘older women’. I’ll give you the same answer I give them. I’m not into older women, I’m into Sunny.

The truth is, before I met Sunny, I’d read those stories and have the same reaction as everyone else. “Why the hell is that guy marrying someone so much older than him? He’s nuts!”

It was only after I found myself actually in the situation that I understood it. The thing I say to people who as me ‘why’ now, is I ask them if their husband or wife got a disease or something that aged them by 20 years over night, would they divorce them?

The answer, of course, is always ‘No’. To which I point out that age basically comes down to looks, and when you really find the right person…looks don’t matter.

Long story short, too many people get themselves involved and give their opinions where they’re not wanted or needed. I’m not saying people shouldn’t have opinions on these kinds of situations…but it’s not a matter for the newspapers, or for people to turn these situations into a soapbox to preach their own beliefs.

Nostalgia and the Future

Sometimes I find myself getting all nostalgic about when I was a kid. Not just because I could entertain myself with a couple toy cars rather than a three grand computer system, and that the closest I came to stress was a spelling test on Friday mornings.

Nope, I liked how simple everything seemed. The world was split into good and bad people, and it was easy to tell the difference (I just asked my Dad and he let me know who was who). People in positions of authority were 'special people' who knew exactly what they were doing.

Then you get a little older and realise that 'Good and Bad' depends almost entirely on your point of view. People in positions of power might only be their because they know/are related to the right people...and everything is so effing complicated.

Today, we're led by politicians who are flat out, blatant liars, who tell us what we want to hear to get elected and then proceed to only take care of the people who give them the most money.

I have a solution. Something that would make life as simple and straight forward as who the good guys and bad guys are in a saturday morning cartoon.

Scientists, pull your fingers out of your asses and build us Optimus Prime.

We can turn over leadership of the country to him. Optimus Prime never lies, would sacrifice himself in a millisecond for the greater good, can't be assassinated (we could always repair him)...and other countries might think before they act when they know they're going to be sitting across a negotiation table from the leader of the autobots.

Oh, and genetic scientists, if you could manage it, we'd quite like Lion-O as Vice President.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Surgeon General's Warning : Internet Douchebags are Harmful To Your Sanity

A couple of days ago, I made the mistake of posting a comment on a youtube video. More accurately, a Youtube video where a ‘debate’ was going on.

Basically, a couple of months ago, I discovered that youtube was actually a fairly good place to find hands-on reviews. On the off chance, I searched for the new clip I ordered. As always, you can never watch just one youtube video, and one leads inexorably to another.

So, obviously searching for a rifle part, I soon found myself watching videos on ‘The top ten rifles of all time”.

I made the bonehead mistake of correcting a few people…

Despite the fact that everything I said wasn’t ‘opinion’ but fact… the response was visceral. One commenter insisted that World War 2 started in 1943 when the Germans attacked Pearl Harbor. Another insisted that American forces didn’t fight in Europe but purely in Japan.

I should also point out that I wasn’t even a smart-ass about it. I just made my points politely.

Of course, mention World War 2 when Americans and Brits are in the same room and you get a lot of “Hey, we saved your ass!”

So, in answer to that, I tried to be diplomatic and point out that the Americans didn’t win WW2, but the Allied Forces did. You know…it was a team effort. You know, pointed out that the Brits, Canadians etc also took part in the D-Day landings. That it was Russia that took Berlin.

Like I said…big mistake.

My second mistake was setting Youtube to forward comments to my inbox, so over the past few days I’ve been inundated with comments with really intellectual, well thought out counter arguments such as “STFU fag!”

One guy even said the Russians were cowards because they only got involved in WW2 after they were attacked, and that the Americans ‘could have stayed neutral’ but chose to fight from the start. I won’t even bother explaining what’s wrong with that.

What I’d like to know is: What is it about the internet that makes everyone an instant expert on everything? Just as “Anonymity + Audience = Douchebag” it appears that:

“Debate + Internet + Something you heard from some guy in the pub = Instant Expert”.

Recipe : Scotch Eggs

Ok, can't think of anything to post today, so I'm going to share my recipe for uber-delicious scotch eggs.

You will need:

Eggs
Sausage Meat
Breadcrumbs
Cooking oil.

1) Boil the required number of eggs (totally up to you, depending on how many you want). Leave to cool and shell.

2) 'Work' the sausage meat a little until it's nice and pliable. Then give the shelled boiled eggs about a third to a half-inch coating of sausage meat. (Again, this depends on the size of the egg, just use your best judgement). Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

3) While you're waiting for the eggs to cool, beat an egg in a bowl. You may need more than one, depending on how many eggs you're making.

4) Take your sausage covered eggs from the fridge and roll in the raw egg. Then roll in the breadcrumbs until you have a nice coating. (If you don't want to use store-bought breadcrumbs, just chuck a few slices in a blender and leave to dry out). Feel free to spice the breadcrumbs in any way you like. I'd say at least a little black pepper.

5) Put about 1/8th of an inch of cooking oil in a large skillet. Heat the oil to a medium heat (if it's smoking it's way too hot) and drop your eggs in, turning often to ensure even cooking.

6) Once the sausage meat is cooked, use kitchen towels to absorb the excess oil, and either eat hot, or put them in the fridge. They're excellent cold and are great for picnics.

Hints:

The last step is absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, you pretty much need to fry scotch eggs to get the coating cooked right, but the sausage meat puts off a lot of grease by itself. Without leaving to cool on a stack of towels to absorb that extra grease...you end up with sausagy grease-balls instead.

Another technique (although I have to say I've never tried it), is to spray the eggs down with Pam or some other cooking spray after coating in breadcrumbs, and baking them in the oven.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ummmm....

I’m a little worried right now.

You see, I’m probably one of the only bloggers in my little blogging circle who can say, with absolute certainty, that I have an FBI file. In fact, in my briefcase I have a little bit of paper that tells me that I do, indeed, have an FBI file.

I’m not saying this is a conspiracy-theory way. I have a file purely because I’m an immigrant. Everyone who comes to live in the USA gets one, complete with fingerprints, picture, address etc.

Well yesterday, I was cleaning out the bedroom and realized that my rifle was covered in about an inch-thick layer of dust, so I decided to clean it.

(Just to set everyone’s mind at rest, I didn’t accidentally shoot myself or someone else. I’m not dumb enough to attempt to clean a loaded rifle. All the ammo is under lock and key in a different room).

I have a Remington 597 .22LR. If there’s any fellow target shooting enthusiasts out there, you’ll know the 597 is a ‘controversial’ rifle. Some people say it’s an amazingly good gun, others say it’s crap. I think it’s good except for one flaw, one that’s discussed in forums internet-wide…the clip for it is absolutely terrible.

The first clip for it was plastic and was prone to splitting. The second (which I have) is metal, but has a notoriously weak spring. It’s meant to hold 10 rounds, but I only ever got it to hold 8 reliably.

Basically, my clip had deteriorated to the point of becoming dangerous. The spring isn’t strong enough to push the last round into position. Sometimes it would fire the last round, sometimes it wouldn’t, sometimes it would jam…and instead of holding the bolt open when it was empty…it stayed closed.

In other words, it was getting really easy to think the chamber is empty when there’s a round chambered…and if I continue using that clip, it’s basically a matter of time before I get a round going off prematurely, which is not a good thing.

Long story short, I decided to hop on the interweb and see about buying a new one.

I realized I had two options. I could purchase the same clip I already own (and probably end up with the same problems), or buy a 30 round clip from Eagle Firearms. I found the 30 round clip for the same price as the 10 round, and the reviews for it were glowing. No jamming, tested at the factory to still work after 30,000 rounds.

So, I decided to save myself trouble in the future and buy the 30 round clip.

It was as soon as I placed the order that I started to get worried.

You see, until last year, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds were illegal. For some reason, they decided that a weapon with more than a 10 round capacity constituted an ‘Assault Weapon’. (I find no merit in this idea. If you’re going to commit a crime, you’re not going to use a .22 rifle anyway).

Now, I’ve not done anything illegal. As a permanent resident, I’m legally able to own a firearm (and the rifle is in Sunny’s name anyway, who’s SLED certified). The ‘Assault Weapon Ban’ ended over a year ago, and I checked that I could legally purchase this mag in SC.

However, I’ve noticed people saying I seem ‘angry’ lately. To be honest, yes I am, and I can tell you it’s that I’m just stressed out.

However, now I have visions of the FBI checking my blog, reading all these angry posts…and then seeing I ordered a 30 round clip on the same day.

Well, just to set things straight, Mr. Government Guy, I’ve only ever shot paper and the odd groundhog. That’s all I intend to shoot. God bless America, and I’m not getting set to go on a rampage.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bite me.

Have you evern noticed that the world is split into three types of people?

I have. These three groups are Givers, Traders and Takers.

All of these a pretty self explanatory. The Givers will give and help out with absolutely no thought of reward or payment. The Traders (where most of us fall) are happy to give, but expect something in return. The Takers just take and take, never give anything back, and are the first people to kick up a stink when they don’t get their own way.

I like to think of myself as a Giver-Trader hybrid. If you need something, and it’s in my power to provide it, I generally will. On the other hand, while I don’t keep a tally of what people owe me, if I need your help, and I’ve helped you in the past…I’m gonna get pissed if you refuse to return the favor for no good reason.

For example, my best bud back in England was a perfect example of the way things should be done. Like all friends do we lent each other money, but neither of us kept track of who owed who what. The way we figured is that in the grand scheme of things, we’re going to end up even.

Long story short, neither one of us minded handing over the odd ten or twenty bucks, because we knew if we were short next week, the other would help out.

Fellow blogging friends MC Etcher and Cindy are also prime examples of a Givers. Within months of ‘meeting’ them (online that is) they sent Sunny and I a bunch of Gamecube games and books. Generosity, plain and simple.

Another of my friends, who I ended up pretty much cutting off all contact with, was the prime example of a taker. He was the kind of guy who will put his order in every time someone heads to the bar, and not buy a drink all night. Then he’d throw a freaking tantrum if you asked him for a cigarette.

The worst part about him was he’d turn up to a party uninvited, help himself to everything everyone had brought, head to the bar with you, drink for free all night…and then brag about how drunk he got the next day without spending any money.

Basically, that was when I stopped being friends with him. He’d turned up to a family celebration uninvited, and every time someone went to the bar for their round (bear in mind that 90% of the people there didn’t even know him) he’d place his order. Not just a beer like everyone else, but the most expensive drink he could think of.

When it was his turn, he handed me two bucks and said “Get one of yourself as well”. When I pointed out that he hadn’t given me enough for a single beer, and that there were about 8 people in the round…he threw a fit. He said “Why should I buy any of them a drink? I don’t know them!”

I should have pointed out that they’d been buying his drinks all night, drinks that cost on average two or three times more than everyone else’s. That if we were playing it like that, he probably owed me free drinks for a couple of years. That the people ‘he didn’t know’ had been buying his triple Jack Daniels all night.

Instead I just told him to get the fuck out and lose my phone number. I was tired of him embarrassing me in front of everyone.

Well, by now you’re probably wondering what made me think about this today…and the fact of the matter is that 90% of the people I come into contact with are Takers, plain and simple…and I’m getting sick of it.

Online and off, I help people out, and I’m tired of fair-weather friends. People who are my best bud when they want something from me, and ‘Pauli who?” when they don’t. People who plain ignore me day-to-day, but will contact me after a six-month absence because they need something. The people who don’t say thank you, and 99 times out of a hundred, that’s all I ask.

Well, I hate to say it, but the store’s closed. The free tech-support hotline has closed down. The favor machine been unplugged and Mr. Nice Guy has gone on hiatus.

To the Takers out there, and you know who you are, I dare you to ask me for a favor. I just freaking dare you. When all I ask for is a simple thank you, I think you’ve all got a fucking cheek.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Open Letter

Dear People Who Dial Wrong Numbers,

Just to inform you, proper etiquette after dialing a wrong number is to apologize and hang up your telephone. If you are calling a number you have recently been given, you may also confirm whether you mis-dialed or have been given the wrong number. For example, here is how it should go:

“Hello?”

“Hi, can I speak to (insert name here) please.”

“I’m sorry, you’ve got the wrong number.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, is this (phone number)?”

“Nope, this is (phone number).”

“Oh, ok, sorry to bother you.”

“No problem, bye.”

“Bye.”

See how nice a polite that is? Unfortunately, this almost never happens. In the past few weeks I’ve experienced the following:

1) The hang up.

The second I tell you that you have a wrong number, you put the phone down. What? No apology? It’s not like you’ve committed some major offence or anything, but I would appreciate you at least acknowledging I exist. Are you honestly that embarrassed?

2) The pissed off caller.

Listen, to be completely honest, I don’t care if this was the number you were given. I don’t care if you’ve been trying to get in touch with this person for a week. Guess what? Both you and the person you’re trying to contact are complete strangers to me, so I don’t really care.

Remember, you’ve called me and disturbed my evening because you don’t know how to work a phone, or some third party gave you a wrong number. The only person in this situation who has the right to be even slightly annoyed is me. What should I have done? Just psychically known you were a wrong number and somehow redirected you to the right person? If I had that kind of talent, I’d have a servant to answer the phone for me.

If you approached me on the street, mistaking me for someone else, would that be my fault as well?

3) The argumentative caller.

You call and ask for someone I’ve never heard of. You respond by insisting that my number was the number you were given, so I must be mistaken. I tell you that you’ve called a private residence, and only me and my wife live here…but you keep insisting that some guy or girl I’ve never heard of must live in my house.

What do you honestly think I’m going to do? Argue with you for 15 minutes and then say “Wait! I just remembered, that girl does live here! It’s my wife! I just totally forgot her name. Boy, is my face red! Hang on a minute and I’ll get her.”

Believe it or not, I have the mental faculties to know who does and does not live in my house. Get it? I mean, totally forgetting who I live with is way more plausible than you misreading a phone number, or the person who gave it to you writing it down wrong, right?

Just keep arguing, I’m sure to hand the phone to the person you want to talk to eventually.

Oh, and confirming the number with me does not make you right. It confirms you can’t read or that the person who gave it to you is numerically dyslexic. Like the pissed off caller, I don’t care how pissed you are at the guy you’re trying to call…it’s just not my problem.

Thank you for your attention.

Paulius.

Warning. Rant ahead.

America is one seriously over-medicated society. I mean, so over-medicated that you actually invent new diseases to buy drugs for.

Let me put it this way, before I moved to America, I’d never even heard of ‘Acid Reflux Disease”. If I had that “disease”, I’d probably just call it heartburn and lay off the greasy and spicy foods for a while. ‘Restless Leg Syndrome’? It couldn’t be that you’ve spent all day sitting down or drank too much coffee…it’s a ‘disease’ that only taking a pill will make go away.

That’s what the American health-care system is all about. Popping a magic pill that makes everything better.

Little Timmy being a little highly strung and not behaving at school? That doesn’t mean he’s a normal 6 year old who needs more discipline and less sugar…he has a disease and needs daily medication. Forget punishing him when he’s bad and taking away the candy and soda…that’s hard work. Just zombify him with some good ole Ritalin. I mean, that’s obviously the right course of action, because telling little Timmy he can’t have that candy will probably make him throw a tantrum…and dealing with kids is hard.

Nah, forget parenting. It would make little Timmy grow up to be a well-adjusted and disciplined adult, but hey, let’s start him on drug dependency early, that way we won’t have to miss any of our favorite TV shows because of that pesky responsible parenting.

I mean, fuck analyzing your lifestyle and working out what your real problem is…call it a disease and go see a doctor. The guy who spends all day on his ass, drinks way too much caffeine during the day and eats nothing but fast food doesn’t need to get a little exercise, cut back on the coffee and eat a salad once in a while…he has acid-reflux, restless leg syndrome and obviously needs prescription sleep medication to sleep at night.

I see the ads on TV for heartburn medication where someone is eating a gigantic portion of fried food in a diner and reaches for the Tums, because apparently they work faster than those other OTC acid reducers.

Here’s a novel idea…If that food gives you heartburn, don’t fucking eat it!

Then again, it’s tasty, and eating something healthier would require a modicum of self-discipline and self control. Discipline? Control? Fuck that! That sounds hard.…pass me the magic pill that makes it all better instead!

The absolute worst thing are these bullshit drugs for ‘depression’. You know what? Sometimes you’re depressed for a reason. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to work out your problems and actually deal with your fucking emotions. It means you have to go visit your doctor…because he’ll give you a pill to make it all go away.

Of course, you’re not actually treating the root of the problem and will probably be taking a pill for the rest of your life (and quite possibly ending up dependent on them), but it’s all about that magic pill. After all, dealing with your emotions is hard. Why sort out the actual problem when you can spend the rest of your life using a medical crutch?

Sure you have some issues, you’d probably be fine if you actually faced them and spent some time dealing with your emotions, but again, that’s hard. Just pop that magic pill.

It’s exactly the same as loading up on morphine so you can walk on a broken leg. It’ll let you function, but you’re not actually fixing the problem. Rather than spend a month or so being inconvenienced by a cast and crutches, you spend the rest of your life popping those pain-killers. It’s easier, so it must be better, right?

At this point, some smart ass is likely to say to me that “I don’t know what it’s like” and that I’d change my tune if I experienced it.

Well, I had ‘acid reflux’…know what I did? Cut the amount of coffee I drank by three quarters. Guess what? It went away, and I didn’t need to take prescription meds for the rest of my life.

As for depression, I spent two years in constant uncertainty about whether I’d be allowed to stay in America and be with my wife. I’ve been out of work for nearly four years. I have no car, no real friends and haven’t seen most of my family in coming up on three years.

You think I went through that and never once felt depressed? You bet your ass I did.

I suppose the difference between me and a large percentage of the American public is that I know why I was depressed and knew how to fix the problem.

Sure it’s a lot harder than taking a pill and feeling great about everything…but I’d rather fix the problem than treat the symptom.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Golf Commentators Smoke Crack

I decided to give Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’08 a try this week.

I was very impressed. I’m not a huge golf fan, but this game is fun.

That being said, the last Tiger Woods game I played I think came out in 1997…so I’ll admit that because my last experience of a TW game was over 10 years ago, I’m probably seeing this as far better than someone who played TW 07 would.

That’s the one thing I don’t get about sports games. Why people feel the need to buy every single new version that comes out. If you’re playing on a console, there’s going to be no major graphics leap in a single year…and all you’re paying for is an updated player roster and maybe one or two new features. In other words you’re paying for a full price ‘new game’, with the equivalent of a $10 update’s worth of extra content.

Anyhoo…

For once, I only have a handful of complaints about this game, and one of them comes under the heading of ‘Funny’ rather than ‘problem’.

The only real problems I have are with the experience system and the spectators.

It’s strange. The last TW game I played had no experience system whatsoever. In TW 08, you gain RPG-like experience points as you play, and can spend these points on your power, long game, short game or putting.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite work, and rather than just being ‘good’ at the game, your skill seems to vary wildly depending on the course or event you’re playing. For example, I won the first event of the FedEx cup by completing the event with 18 strokes less than my nearest competitor. In the second event, I lost by over 30 strokes more than the second to last place player. I was playing in exactly the same way, and there were no difficult conditions on the second event…but I was hitting the ball perfectly (not my opinion, but from the swing stats), but the ball just seemed to have a mind of its own.

It’s just plain odd. One minute you’re playing at international level and winning by miles. The next you’re playing against ‘hack’ players and struggling.

I’m all for experience and leveling up your golfer, but you just shouldn’t be able to win an international event and then struggle to get in the top 10 of an amateur tournament.

My second gripe is the spectators, in that they will actually block your ball. Too many times, I hit the ball, it bounced on the fairway, and instead of bouncing over a patch of rough onto the green, it would hit a spectator who would refuse to get out of the way.

Then, when hitting from the rough, the spectators in a direct line to the hole will be removed…but if it’s windy, and you need to curl in a shot, or decide to hit to the side to chip from the fairway, you’re screwed. Seriously, this game needs a ‘Tell the spectators to get the fuck out of the way’ option.

My last ‘gripe’ comes under the heading of ‘funny’. This gripe is simple…the commentators are on crack.

Very early on you learn to completely ignore their putting advice, because they seem to deliberately try to put you off. They’ll tell you a straight-shot will curve and vice-versa.

Secondly, while they’ll comment on each stroke, they seem to have no concept of the rest of the game. More times than I could count I’d be in an unbeatable position (IE, 12 strokes ahead and on the last hole) and the announcer would say:

“He’s under a lot of pressure to make this birdie.”

Huh? Pressure? I’m two inches from the hole, 12 strokes in the lead, and everyone else has finished. The only way I can lost first place is by taking 13 strokes to make a 2 inch putt. Too finish last, I’d have to take about 30 strokes!

Here are some other classics:

“Well, he can’t be satisfied with being on the green if he’s that far from the hole.”

Umm, yeah, I can…especially considering it’s a par 4 and I just got on the green with my tee shot.

This next one is a great example of them not remembering what they just said. I was taking my shot and one said:

“It’s 280 yards to the pin, there’s no way he’s getting there on this shot.”

I whack it and get it on the green. Then he says:

“Well, he just made it on…not a terrible shot”

So first he’s saying it’s pretty much impossible to get to the green, then when I do, instead of being impressed, he criticizes the fact I didn’t get the ball closer to the pin.

Then, they continue to suck up to Tiger Woods like they’re after a bonus:

“To get it to the green from here, you need to bring you’re A-game, in fact, you’d need Tiger’s A-game!”

Then you do, and they criticize you for not getting the ball closer to the pin.

Finally, they continually criticize your swing style. This makes absolutely no sense, because they’d criticize my swing when I’d make a 350 yard drive…and even said what a terrible swing I had when I got a hole in one!

So, yeah…golf commentators are on crack.