Archive for the ‘Ranting’ Category

Tapes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Remember audio tapes, a.k.a. audio cassettes? Let’s say you had a blank tape and you wanted to record something to it You had to manually line up the little clear leader bit of tape by turning the little wheel thingies with a pencil or something so that you didn’t miss the first part of what you were recording. What was up with that? You don’t have to do that with video tapes, so why audio cassettes?

I feel much better for having got that off my chest.

Goddamn, It’s Hot!

Friday, August 31st, 2007

I mean… damn! It’s literally 100 degrees out right now! We’re keeping relatively cool at home, but our little wall unit A/C thingy can only do so much on its own. We’re having the gang over tomorrow night for board games and beverages, so we’ll do our best to keep the place a reasonable temperature. We’re gonna play “Apples to Apples” and/or “Pictionary”, so it should be good times!

Too hot to blog, talk to y’all later. 😛

Deep Thoughts

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

In Chris’ ongoing saga of continuous posting, here is the Wednesday Edition.

Last night, I came home from work and immediately went Raiding in World of Warcraft from 20:00 until 02:00. That’s six hours, folks. Afterwards, having realized that I’d spent my entire day in front of a computer, almost half of that wasted in Azeroth, I had some serious pause for thought. How much time would I reclaim if I ceased playing this game? According to the in-game statistics, I’ve put more than 56 days 6 hours into my three main characters in this game. That’s continuous, total time. I mean, damn! That’s nuts! For the first time in a while, I’m considering quitting. I’ve been playing this game for over two and a half years now, so I think I can say I’m done with “business-related research”.

Still, I’m torn. When I think of “leaving forever”, I start to think of all the things and places in the game that I will miss. All the comradery and fun memories. The real life folks I don’t get to see often, like Devin. It’s been such a huge part of my free time activities these past couple years that its absence would definitely be noticed.

Even so, I can’t get as excited about the game as I once was. I’m playing some of the high level content now, and I’m seeing a limit to the new experiences I can have. I’ve played different types of characters to some degree (not to Matt levels of insanity, but some.) I’ve received some phat loot. I’ve also made lots of new virtual friends, but I’m just not feelin’ it anymore, you know? Maybe I’m burnt out, but when I think of just “taking some time off”, I don’t get as excited as I feel about “quitting forever.” If I do cancel my subscription, I can always resume it later and my characters will still be there waiting for me, but it’s one more step to keep me from just plopping down in front of the computer and wasting a few hours, or an entire weekend.

Anyways, no solid decision just yet, but we’ll see.

More Posts, You Say?

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

So, apparently Kim has thrown down some kind of virtual gauntlet to post every day for some length of time. I can do that.

As Matt and Jacques would say, “It’s turkey ice cream ON!”

Last weekend was unremarkable. Played video games, did laundry, hung out with folks, yadda yadda. Oh, and Megs and I saw Stardust, which we both rather enjoyed.

Lately I’ve been trying to sharpen up my C++ skills. All I’ve ever really done with it is tinker around and what I did in college. I found an old “Teach Yourself Visual C++ 4 in 21 Days” book on my shelf, and although version 4 is about four or five versions behind what’s current, I’ve managed to adapt the conventions in the book to what’s done in version 7.1 (.NET 2003), which is what we use at work. In two days I’m up to Day Ten in the book, so it’s quick going. Not sure how useful it’ll be in the long term. It glosses over the more technical details of C++ and focuses more on the MFC API, which I guess is good to know, but I’m still fuzzy on such basic things as typdef’s and pointers/addresses. I think I have another book on the shelf back home that’ll be more language oriented.

Lastly, this is awesome.

I Hate My ISP

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Believe it or not, that headline is also a title of a song. I found it apt.

I just checked my archives, and I can’t believe I haven’t ranted on this sooner, but I hate Time Warner Cable! Now, no one’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) is perfect, but they are extra special. What irks me about them is how they’re managed–that is, they really aren’t. But let me back up.

A few months ago, I started getting random Internet drops. I’d be surfing along or playing a game, when suddenly my instant messaging client would disconnect, my game would drop me, and it’d be no more Internet for Chris. This would happen several times an evening, but it was sporadic. Sometimes I’d go a whole day or so with no apparent Internet issues. Other times it’d happen several times an hour. This was no good. Eventually I noticed that whenever this would happen the TV picture would go to static briefly, too, which led me to believe it was a problem with the signal entering the apartment. So, naturally I call Time Warner Cable (TWC). This was my first mistake.

After over a half an hour on hold, I get through to a polite, but ultimately unhelpful phone tech. They agree to send out a guy to check my lines. About what I’d expect, but here’s where things start to break down. First, the guy shows up, test my stuff and says “all the numbers are fine”, even though he was there when I had a random interruption. He replaces a few ends of cables and some of my splitters and goes on his merry way. I call back the next day and the same things happen. This goes on for MONTHS. They send a guy, he twists a wire or something, and nothing is done. They say they forward on the issue to “their supervisor” and then nothing happens. The techs also say they get no feedback from above one way or the other, so they have no idea if anyone is looking into the problem after they send off a request for next level support. My only option was to “keep calling in” as they say. What kind of support is that?!? They KNOW I have a problem, and all they can tell me is to keep calling until someone is forced to do something about it? That’s just dumb. The last tech to come just flat out said there was nothing else he or I could do. He even said other people were having the same problem in my neighborhood and have been for months. A total disconnect between techs in the field and higher-level engineers/management.

I would have been satisfied with only a little more information. If I had heard back from this mythical “maintenance” group or TWC management. If their techs could tell me more of what was going on. If I could get a goddamn credit on my account before the issue was “resolved.” (Yeah, get this, I tell the techs on the phone what was going on and asked for a credit to my account and they tell me they can’t provide more than a $20 credit until after the issue is closed. I tell them I’m feeling like that’s unlikely. Oh, and I didn’t even get the $20.) I even drove all the way out to their main local office in Chatsworth (about 20 miles away) so I could speak to someone face-to-face on this. I got about as far as I did on the phone. At every level I could talk to someone, people said they were sorry I was having trouble, but they were totally apathetic as to what to do about it. The buck was passed into the ether, they were done.

Oh and what REALLY pissed me off the most was when I called in to get this fixed, right at the top of the phone tree after pressing “1” for English, I get an ad for pay-per-view boxing! Press “1” to order in hi def! Press “2” for regular def. Press freakin’ “8” for technical support! SERIOUSLY! THEY ACTUALLY HAD THE GALL TO ADVERTISE PAY PER VIEW FIGHTING TO ME WHILE I’M TRYING TO FIX MY CABLE!!! And while I’m on hold they keep advertising the same thing every couple minutes! GAH! Talk about insult to injury!

Wow, I’m still pretty steamed about this it seems. Maybe it’s because I’m still hearing it. The entire time I’ve been writing this (plus ten minutes before) I’ve been on hold with Time Warner Cable. I’m calling to cancel my Internet service. I got the DSL hooked up last week and it hasn’t dropped me yet! My phone reads 32 minutes on hold so far…

The Past

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Sometimes I find myself thinking about the past. I guess it’s because I’m an “adult” now, so it’s more a feeling of things lost. Specifically I was thinking about old Super NES games like the Secret of Mana and the older Final Fantasy games. I remember playing through Secret of Mana with Matt and Ian as one of the few 3-player games for the SNES. It was/is a good game, so maybe Matt and I can give another go ’round over the upcoming winter break. I wonder it’ll still be as fun now in the days of the Internet and games like Half-Life 2.

I was also thinking of Babylon 5, which spanned my high school years. I’ve got the whole series on VHS, but the quality is not great, there’s commercials, and the VCR I was using had a nasty habit of rewinding a minute or so after it shuts off. This had the unfortunate side-effect of chopping of the final minute or so of most of the episodes. I’d like to get the show on DVD, or at least rent it to watch it through with Megan. Most of the themes from the show are still applicable today, and even though the acting is about standard sci-fi fare, the plot and characters are engaging.

I’m looking forward to being home for the holidays this winter. This is really my first homecoming of this sort–Matt and Kim have both had the experience of being away from home for a long duration leading up to the holidays, but I have always been around before this move to California. I need to track down all my friends I need to see when I’m there and make sure we’ve got stuff to do.

OK, back to listening to old Secret of Mana MIDI files and reading about the Python programming language.

The People

Thursday, November 4th, 2004

Wow, folks. It seems that I get more of a response from people when I write about things that actually matter. Who’d a thought?

Just to clarify a couple things from yesterday’s post, I don’t really hate George W. Bush as a person. I think he’s generally a good man who believes in what he’s doing. I just don’t agree with him or the rest of his administration and what they stand for. I also believe the Democrats need to assume some of the blame for losing this round due to poor vision and leadership. The American people really don’t have any clear idea on what the Democrats stand for other than having the Republicans lose. It reminds me of an episode of The West Wing in which we flash back to Josh working on Hoynes’ Presidential campaign where he says (and I’m not sure this is an exact quote), “I’m not even sure what we’re for. As far as I can tell we’re FOR winning and AGAINST someone else winning.” This last campaign season has been largely “I’m better than him,” with little of the “why” involved. If explanations come, it’s always as an afterthought and always paired with “This is why I’m better than him.” Beating an old horse, but it’s a shame that mudslinging is always more effective at winning votes than an issues-based campaign.

OK, enough politics for now, but due to the significant response from my last attempt, I can’t promise it’ll be the last. I guess I’m out of the closet now as a bit of a liberal. So sue me.

In other news, Megs is doing well at her new job in Santa Monica. They really like her there a lot and are looking into ways to bring her on as a full time permanent employee and not just a temp, which would be great. It might even involve a pay bump–who knows. It’ll be nice to have the working situation settle down a bit.

Last night Megs and I watched the latest of the break-out, fantastic new hit ABC show “Lost”, which I consider to have been a good episode. We got a lot of Charlie’s (Dominic Monaghan) back story on what became of his band, “Driveshaft”, and how he got hooked on drugs. Although his recovery from drugs and dealing with his personal issues was kinda cheesy with the silly moth metaphor, it was still good to see. I was really annoyed when Sayid got hit on the head right when his clever “MacGuyver plan” came together. So close and yet so far! Of course, that leaves the question of who hit him on the head to ponder.

We also watched the latest episode of the used-to-be-awesome-I-hope-it-picks-up NBC show, The West Wing. I was glad to find out that Leo is indeed not dead, yet he is being replaced as White House Chief of Staff. I won’t say whom because I know mom hasn’t seen this episode yet, however I was pleased with the outcome. Not a bad episode, it had some funny moments to it as well. I liked the battle of Josh vs. CJ and her nutritious food. That earned a couple of laughs from me.

Looks like this has been another long post by yours truly. Expect a review tomorrow of the season 2 opener of FOX’s The O.C., which airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Yes, I’ve admitted it before, but I still watch this show. Or at least I plan too. Six months is a long time to go between a season finale and a season premiere.

Four Years… Again

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004

At the risk of offending some of my family and friends, I must say that I am not pleased with the outcome of the latest national election. I worry mostly about our foreign policy, our social programs, and how many Supreme Court Justices will be appointed for life over the next four years.

I do not agree with Bush’s stance with the rest of the world. I understand that it is important to show terrorist-prone nations that we are strong and we will not be passive when it comes to aggression against our citizens, but I do not think that is the message we are conveying to the world with Iraq. I think that it is more of a sign that we are too stubborn to leave when we are no longer wanted and no longer going anywhere positive. There were no dangerous mass-destructive weapons, and when this was concluded, we did not change our stance on the situation. I do not like the current administration’s inability to change a plan of action once new facts are on the table. The Republican administration likes to say that changing position on issues is “flip-flopping” and thus poor leadership, but I think there is wisdom in adapting to a changing battlefield, both literally and metaphorically. In reading the web sites of the BBC and Al’Jazzera, most commentators express concern and confusion over our actions in the middle east over the least year. Bush’s comments bashing Kerry about a “Global Test” after the first debate shows our administration also seems to feel that following the advice of outside voices is also a weak move.

Stateside, I have yet to feel any benefit from the administration’s supposed tax cuts. If cuts to the wealthy are supposed to encourage business growth, why did Symantec pull out of Eugene last year, forcing my previous place of employment to close? I do not know anyone personally who has benefited from these tax cuts. Speaking of cuts, I will not get into the Republican view of domestic social programs, but I will miss them when they are gone.

Lastly, the current administration will likely be appointing at least one new Supreme Court Justice, which should be easy to approve with 54 Republican seats in the Senate. With gay marriage being denied by 11 states including my former home of Oregon, I worry about civil rights of the future in the current cultural climate. Who knows how many other decisions will be made by the higher courts over the next few years that could affect us over the next few decades.

So yeah, not the best day for America in the world, from my point of view. Again, I apologize if I contradict what any of my readers feel, however this is my forum for exposition, and I intend to take it.