Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
A great Basic Instructions repeat, but the best part about it is the comments. A number of people complained that his wife looked too much like a lesbian (because of her short hair?), so in a subsequent comic, he replaced her with Portia de Rossi*, the gorgeous actress that has appeared in Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, and wife of Ellen DeGeneres.
*In looking for this link, I found nude pictures of Portia. Man I love the Internet!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Andy responded again:
Hi Phoenix,This is not the first time that Andy has blamed "the manufacturer".
My point was that we get our descriptions from the manufacturer's website, hence the mix of information on our website. This was a mixup on the listing, not an intentional effort to dupe you into buying something and shipping you another.
Here's the problem with that: I did some searching, and FOUND the actual product that the fake description came from, the Multisports CC-755R. But... Multisports and Stamina are DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS. The only common link they have in this mess is FITNESS DIRECT.
So, which manufacturer was it, Andy? Because there are TWO.
I have actually been out of the office with my family for the last 2 days and came back this morning to an inbox full of messages, one of which was Mark's message that you called.That's all VERY RELEVANT. You've been out of the office with your family for the last 2 days? Oh, well then, forget the whole fraud thing you pulled on me.
I really had no idea about the error in information on the listing until after I sent you the email.Even though you were specifically told to check the website first. Got it.
Once I discovered the error, I had my web guy get it corrected so we did'nt have more disappointed customer's like you.It's GOOD that you took down the fake description, but you failed to inform me that you had discovered the error. (Notice how I resist mentioning the use of apostrophes? You have no idea how much willpower this is taking)
However, like I mentioned in the email, we have no problem bringing back the bike seeing the errors on the listing. I think you would agree that if we were purposely trying to mislead, we would'nt be so forthright in trying to correct the error. We have employees adding new products everyday, so unfortunately these things do happen.Yes, claiming to have no idea why I was having a problem was very forthright. Blaming the "manufacturer" is very forthright. Blaming your employees is very forthright.
Oh, wait, what's the opposite of forthright again?
I definitely apologize for the error and the inconvenience, but I don't like to be accused of doing something illegal, when that was just not the case.Deceit and Fraud are very clearly defined in California. Perhaps I should forward you the pages I found regarding this?
You can search the web and you will find nothing but positive comments about our company and that is something of which I take great pride.Well, maybe this small blog post will get indexed some day, and then some future customer won't have to deal with this whole headache like I did. Speaking of which, iFitnessDirect and eFitnessDirect are the same company. Just so you know, Internet.
I'll issue the Fedex call-tag ASAP and confirm the pick-up with you. Typically, the box can just be left on your porch and they will bring the label and make the pick-up.I...what? The box? Apparently Andy has missed the part in my previous correspondence where I asked him to make arrangements to pick up the FULLY ASSEMBLED bike, as per my credit card company's instructions.
Anyway, this wasn't my actual response (I think I was more polite in the real e-mail, although I did request that Andy not be the one to contact me anymore), but this whole handling of the situation makes my blood boil.
Just OWN UP TO THE ERROR! Say "Hey, we fucked up! How can we make it right?" Don't feign ignorance. Don't blame the "manufacturer". Don't blame your employees. Don't blame spending time with your family. Don't ignore what I tell you. Andy has taken this small error and compounded it with deceit and incompetence. I'm beginning to believe that he is INCAPABLE of being honest.
To be continued...?
I then received an e-mail from Andy Grenz (the e-commerce manager), which stated (in full, direct copy-pasta):
Hi Phoenix,What did I find to be different about the bike than the listing? Did he even CHECK the listing?
Thanks again for your purchase. What are you finding to be different about the bike than the listing? YThis is a new product and I think the manufacturer has mixed up the details on a few of their models. They have this unit at $299, the 7200 at $399 and the 7300 at $499.
Just let me know if you would like to return the unit, let me know when you have it back in the box and I'll send Fedex out to get it.
Sorry for the mixup.
Andy helpfully included the e-mail to him from Mark Goodman (president, and I think the guy I spoke with on the phone):
From: Mark GoodmanHow could he have checked the listing and not noticed what was wrong? I went back to the product page...
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:34 PM
To: 'Andy Grenz'
Subject: Pls contact this guy ASAP
Stamina Fusion 7100 bike - problems....
He says it is different to what is described on website !!
Please double-check the website before you contact him.
HE HAD CHANGED IT.
He removed the fake description and put in the real one (still with minor errors, I see). Then he pretended that nothing was wrong.
Can I borrow your phone? I need to call BULLSHIT.
I also needed to call my credit card company, which I did. I let them know everything that happened. Well, in order to do a chargeback, they normally need me to send the product back to the seller. HOWEVER, because the product is so large in this case (and not at all easily disassembled), and because the seller sold it to me under false pretenses, I only have to allow them to make arrangements to pick up the fully-assembled bike. I let Andy know all of this.
But now, it has gone from a simple mistake on a web page (which was still constructive fraud since they profited from their error), to a cover-up. Andy changed the web page and then pretended to be unable to find the error. Now, he *CLAIMS* that he wrote that e-mail to me BEFORE he saw the web page (despite being specifically told to look at the page FIRST), but if so, WHY DIDN'T HE TELL ME WHAT HE FOUND? If he found out later, and still failed to follow up with me, the effect is the same: suppression of the truth (aka, actual fraud).
That's right, Andy tried to fix his constructive fraud with ACTUAL FRAUD.
At this point, I feel obligated to report this to the appropriate authorities.
Continueto Chapter Four: The Excuses...
It arrived a few days ago, and I excitedly set about assembling it. ^_^
You know that saying, about how, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is? Yeah.
The Stamina Magnetic Fusion 7100 is a piece of shit. A piece of poorly constructed shit that I could have gotten from Walmart for $100 less.
The ACTUAL features the bike came with didn't even remotely come close to the promised features on the web page.
* Wireless and contact pulse rate
* Self-powered generator system
4 AA batteries
* Super smooth dual poly V-belt technology
* Extra large seat with high density contoured pads and lumbar support
Small seat, low density padding, not contoured, no lumbar support.
* Aluminum rail for precision and smoothness, 24 positions
* Side and front handlebars
* Self balancing pedals with wide, adjustable straps
Straps that snap on and don't come off.
* Front transport wheels
* 350 lbs Maximum user weight
300 lbs, according to the manual.
* Workout Programs: Pre-Set Programs
* Accessibility: Walk Through Design
* Maximum User Weight: 350.00 lbs
Still 300 lbs, no matter how many times they say otherwise.
* Power Requirement: Self generated power
Take self to store, self purchase 4 AA batteries.
* Dimensions: 65" x 24" x 48"
* Large LCD Window
Tiny LCD window
* Console Feedback: Time, Speed, Distance, Heart Rate, Calories, Watt, RPM
Yes for time, speed, distance, heart rate, calories. NO for watt, RPM.
* Programming: Manual, 12 Pre-Set Programs, Target Program Setting: Time, Distance, or Calories, Target HR Program, 16 levels of Resistance
SIX (6!) pre-set programs. No target programs for time, distance, or calories. NO TARGET HR PROGRAM. 8 levels of resistance.
* Frame: 10 Years
Frame: 5 Years
* Parts: 1 Year
Parts: 90 days!
It was still during Fitness Direct's posted business hours, so I called them right up, but there was no answer.
I called again the following day, and when I did finally get through, the man I spoke to wouldn't talk about the bike at all, but he did take down my contact information and promised that someone would get hold of me soon.
Continue to Chapter Three: The Response...
I've been wanting a recumbent exercise bike since I moved into my new apartment (I don't live within walking distance of the gym anymore). They are quite pricey, however, especially if you want any special features.
The killer feature I wanted was a target-heart-rate setting. That's pretty much the only setting I use on the bikes at the gym anyway. But, the lower-price bikes don't seem to have it, even if they have heart-rate monitors.
So, I couldn't find one locally in my budget range. I had looked into buying one online, but the shipping costs were a deal breaker.
Then I found iFitnessDirect. Free shipping to anywhere in the US? I'm sold! (Also based in a different state so no taxes [at time of purchase], and they had a discount code that knocked another $15 off)
On their site, I found the Stamina Magnetic Fusion 7100. The features list was incredible!
FEATURES:All for under $300! I placed my order.
- Wireless and contact pulse rate
- Self-powered generator system
- Super smooth dual poly V-belt technology
- Extra large seat with high density contoured pads and lumbar support
- Aluminum rail for precision and smoothness, 24 positions
- Side and front handlebars
- Self balancing pedals with wide, adjustable straps
- Front transport wheels
- 350 lbs Maximum user weight
- Workout Programs: Pre-Set Programs
- Accessibility: Walk Through Design
- Maximum User Weight: 350.00 lbs
- Power Requirement: Self generated power
- Dimensions: 65" x 24" x 48"
- Large LCD Window
- Console Feedback: Time, Speed, Distance, Heart Rate, Calories, Watt, RPM
- Programming: Manual, 12 Pre-Set Programs, Target Program Setting: Time, Distance, or Calories, Target HR Program, 16 levels of Resistance
- Frame: 10 Years
- Parts: 1 Year
Continue to Chapter Two: The Bike Arrives...
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The reason I needed to reboot (in the previous post) was because I was having some difficulties with Daemon Tools. It took several reboots and several tool downloads (and several hours, since that post was three hours ago), and eventually I just scrapped it in favor of the free MagicDisk from MagicISO. Reboot, reboot, reboot...
Finally, it was up and running, and it was at THIS point that I discovered that the corrupted Daemon Tools installation had WIPED OUT THE ISO. Just wrote over it. It's gone. 3.3GB that I get to download AGAIN.
So angry right now...
Download will take another two hours. Which will leave me with just 6 hours to get it installed and make the things I need for the project. Awesome.
...and THAT is why you don't put things off until the last minute. (Also, don't use Daemon Tools)
Well, recently a "Cyber Monday" deal brought the price down to $550. Cheap! Even the bait-and-switch price had been higher than that. Plus a Live Search cashback offer would give me back another 2%. And no taxes. And free shipping.
Additionally, I had recently discovered some things about my credit cards. For example, my MasterCards added extended warranties to my purchases automatically (Visa requires you to register your purchases with them, and only if your service agency covers it). So it would double the 1-year warranty on the HV30 at no cost to me. ALSO one of my MasterCards has a 6% interest. 6%! (Not that I often carry a balance, but still) [This is my new primary card.]
It was time to buy.
In addition to the HV30, I added a Canon DM-50 directional microphone and a Modo Steady 585 camera support, all at B&H Photo-Video, all with 2% cashback.
The only thing left to do was log in to my credit card site, make sure all of my information was up to date, and link it to my checking account (I don't like to make purchases unless I know for sure how it's going to be paid for). Ideally, there will also be an auto-pay option that I can set up so I never ever miss a payment.
Let's see, click login, put in my info, hit enter...
System UnavailableHuh. That's weird. Try again....
The system is currently unavailable. Please contact customer service.
System UnavailableHmm. :-( That's not good. I want to buy this camera (who knows how long this deal will last?) but I won't do it until I link my credit card account with my bank account. I can't.
The system is currently unavailable. Please contact customer service.
So, I wait a few hours and try again and
System UnavailableGrr. A few hours later, the same thing. Late into the evening/early morning, the same thing.
The system is currently unavailable. Please contact customer service.
Frustrated, I go to bed.
When I awoke, I immediately panicked. Was the sale over? Rushing to the computer I found, no, it was still the same price. Hey, maybe this is just the new price? It is December, after all. The new HV model should drop next month, with even BETTER features (but a higher price tag). And they're probably clearing out stock before the end of the fiscal year. I relaxed, logged in to my credit account and
System UnavailableDAMMIT! Why is this happening? I can't link my credit card to my checking accout via customer service.
The system is currently unavailable. Please contact customer service.
So I forget about it and go back to work. It's final-projects week (I'm waiting for a download to finish so I can reboot, which is why I'm writing this instead of working on that right now). Many hours later, I needed to wait for a download to finish so I could reboot (hey!) and with nothing else to do, I tried (again) to log in to my credit card account and HEY! IT WORKED! Hooray!
Time to checkout!
Oh, it's after midnight and the sale is over. The HV30 went up $40.
And there is no auto-pay.
Well, he DID. (Below the comic, the Dec. 2nd news)
It's like I'm some sort of god...
Monday, December 01, 2008
I just found out that my emergency, last-resort, not-for-use credit card account was closed. For inactivity.
No notification. No warning. Apparently, they're sending me notification as we speak, but I found out when I logged in to my attached bank account.
So, my total credit line is now
Anyway, the point is, if you DO have an emergency, last-resort, not-for-use credit card, you better actually use it every now and again.
I'm going through my credit cards and updating the addresses to my new apartment. I'm discovering even MORE closed accounts.
Credit line is now ~$??? shorter - I found two more closed accounts, but their customer service isn't open 24/7, so I have to wait until morning to find out what their credit limits were. I will also likely close another account (only $500 limit @ 21.19%! For comparison, my daily-use card is @ 6.09%).
On a related note, that previous trick for making free calls has been *VERY* useful. I can't call out from my home phone (not even 800 numbers), but I can receive calls... ^_^ There's no way I could have afforded paying for all these calls with my cell.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
To be absolutely zero cost, you'll need three things for this:
- A phone line from which you can receive incoming calls for free
- A computer connected to the Internet
- A Grandcentral account
Second is an Internet connection you can access, which again isn't free. Although, I do have a free connection at work, and there are a number of open Wi-Fi access points around my apartment. Since you're not going to be browsing around the web or downloading anything, it shouldn't be too terrible to jump on someone else's connection for just a moment. Dial-up is right out, though, since you need that phone line to be open (unless you have two+ phone lines, in which case it's fine).
The most difficult of the three to get will be the Grandcentral account. Grandcentral is a fantastic service that is currently free (although they have stated that some features may become for-fee once it leaves beta, but now that Google owns them...).
So, if you don't already have a Grandcentral number (and why not?), head on over to grandcentral.com and reserve one. You'll have to spend some time on the waiting list, but you should get through eventually. Then come back here.
Got one? OK, the feature you're going to use is called Click2Call. From your call log, or messages tab, or address book, you'll be able to see CALL buttons next to the phone numbers of your contacts. Click that, and you'll get a prompt with your phone numbers on it.
Pick a phone number, Grandcentral will call you, and when you pick up it will call your contact.
Even if that is a non-local number.
On George's suggestion, I googled a restaurant in Toronto, Canada, and tried the same trick with them. I got through, no problem. So, technically, this is a way to make free international long distance calls too. However, when I tried a number in Japan, it didn't work, so you're limited to the US and Canada. Still, more than worth the price of admission ($zero).
Having had to recently make a brazillion calls this way, I found a much easier method. Previously, I was editing an account to point to the number I wanted to call, then calling it. But you have to edit the account again FOR EVERY NUMBER. When you must make many such calls, it quickly becomes a pain in the ass.
SO! Now I call myself.
I select my own address book entry, call my home phone, and input the number I want to call as the temporary number I'm calling from.
Now, if I were to try to do this when calling an actual person, it would be a bit strange. Their phone would ring, it would pick up, they'd hear my phone ring, then I'd pick up. But, since I'm calling automated systems, it's no problem. Although, I DO miss the first part of the menu sometimes.
OH! I just thought of a
Hello, clever people. So, pick two random phone numbers. Put one in your address book, and call it.... from the other (temporary number). These people are going to have no idea what's going on. Guy A picks up his phone, it then calls another person (Girl 1), who wants to know why Guy A is calling. Guy A is very confused; someone called HIM! Argument ensues. Give them a minute or so, then do it again. And then again. That's the mean part. Here's the EVIL part: Switch the numbers. Now Girl 1 is calling Guy A. Even GREATER confusion ensues. And now here's the drawback: Each person will be getting YOUR number on their caller ID, so you're not going to be too hard to track down. ^_^
Now that GrandCentral is Google Voice, they took this little trick and put it right on the front page, with a simple button to press. They even tell you about it in the FAQ. So much for trickery, eh? (There's also super-cheap international calling. 2 cents/minute to Japan? Really?*)
[*Update again, again: No, not really. Japan is up to 3 cents/minute, and Canada is no longer free it's now 1 cent/minute. Darn economy!]
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
(Remember to hover over the red dot for a bonus votey-comic)
Pickup Lines that don't work
(There are a lot of these, but there's no text index so I couldn't find the others. If you have a webcomic, please, put Oh No Robot in your template.)
As a former English teacher, I identified with these
As a computer scientist, I identified with this one
As a person with both a penis and an Internet connection, I identified with this one
About MY religion
(scroll down to see the future of creationism vs evolution)
Whenever I see these, I think of my vegetarian friends
You can't argue with math
Also, here is Zach (on the left) with Marty, demonstrating Marty's newest magic trick for the iPhone.
(also, YouTube has widescreen now?)
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Then, in the comments, someone suggested this link. It's a LMGTFY link that takes them to the JFGI site. JFGI is another great site for people tired of asking them questions they could be asking Google. Brilliant!
But the long URL gives it away, so I wanted to make a TinyURL. A handy new feature of TinyURL is that you can specify the codeword in the link. So, instead of http://tinyurl.com/6p8z8q I could have something like http://tinyurl.com/lmgtfy EXCEPT I CAN'T.
Someone (quazerjim) took that URL already. It looks like they wanted it to be a recursive call to LMGTFY. But they failed, oh so miserably.
FIRST of all, Google doesn't index redirects. SO, it was never going to work anyway.
SECOND, they didn't type in the query correctly! Did they even TRY? CHECK YOUR LINKS, PEOPLE!
lmgfty was taken, jfgi was taken... Sheesh.
I did manage to get a SnipURL though:
Should be easy enough to remember, if you ever need it.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
- Buy a Gold card and a drink. Pay $25.
- Return Gold card. Get $25.
- Go to step 1.
Starbucks has a new Gold card. It costs $25, and you get 10% off your drinks for a year (and some other benefits, like access to the wifi). Also, you get a free drink when you buy it.
Most importantly, you have 30 days to return it if you change your mind.
I know this, because I thought that the Gold cards were like the regular Starbucks cards, where you pay $25, and you have a $25 credit on the card. Well, that's not the case. When I found that out, I returned my Gold card, but they of course did not charge me for the drink they gave me when I got it. So, free Starbucks. ^_^
Offer good while supplies last, or until they close this loophole.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I have a personal theory that PETA is run by the meat industry.
An ad campaign a few years ago demeaned murdered women in B.C. A PETA billboard in Boston compared the suffering of cattle to that of Jews in Nazi Germany. They tried to put up a billboard in Santa Fe featuring a pig with the caption: "He Died for Your Sins."
A popular and respected animal rights movement would lead to higher and more expensive standards for raising farm animals. To prevent this, they've created an organization with so much disgraceful publicity that the term "animal rights group" becomes synonymous with "a bunch of wingnuts."
PETA repeatedly attacks groups like the March of Dimes, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the American Cancer Society for conducting animal testing to find cures for birth defects and life-threatening diseases. They've urged Yasser Arafat to spare animals in suicide bombings, with no concern for the humans who were being killed.
This keeps rational people away from the animal rights cause. If PETA didn't exist, the beef and pork industries would be smart to create an organization just like them.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
It's actually a research project by Marek P. Michalowski, a Ph.D. student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, and Hideki Kozima, a senior research scientist at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Japan.
I wants one.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Comment from Digg:
It seems insane that even a kids show shows what will happen if we keep the current system of money we have and yet the people in charge seem to not be able to grasp such a simple concept.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I picked up this correction from the Dvorak Zine when it was featured on Slashdot a few years ago. It stuck with me because I had, like one of the zine researchers, believed it to be true. It seemed to be logical, yes? Science knows, the qwerty layout itself isn't logical.
But it's a complete fabrication. QWERTY, as a layout, was created BEFORE there were typists, during the design process for the first typewriters. There WAS NOBODY TO SLOW DOWN.
But a lot of people don't know this, and so the old myth persists.
This came up recently in a course I'm taking on the human-computer user interface. I mentioned that I thought the keyboard/mouse combo was a great interface (it is), which brought up qwerty, which someone mentioned was designed to slow you down, which I corrected,
and was then corrected by the instructor. YES, he said, it WAS designed to slow down typing. Not only that, but the most commonly used keys were placed in positions harder to hit (weaker fingers, the bottom row, etc), and common sequences (like the word-ending 'ion') were broken up so you couldn't hit them all together...
All of which is completely wrong.
The 13 most commonly used letters in English are, in order, ETAONRISHDLUC (this changes over time, and I haven't checked in a few years; you might be more familiar with the previous ETAOIN SHRDLU).
Five (ASHDL) are on the home row, easiest to hit. Six (ETORIU) are on the top row, 2nd easiest to hit. Only two (NC) are on the bottom row.
Four (TRHU) are struck by the index fingers alone (I also hit C this way, because I learned WRONG), the strongest fingers.
'ION' uses three adjacent fingers on one hand. It's not strictly right-to-left, but you very much can hit them all together.
Anyway. I tried to put down a common myth and was "corrected" by the teacher. You'd think this wouldn't bother me anymore. The me-being-correct-but-not-believed thing, I mean. I do seem to have a very Cassandra-esque curse in this regard.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
(Click for larger)
This is the map for my office.
Where is room 312B. Are you sure?
How about room 312D?
One of those 307H rooms is actually 307G. The 307G on the map is in reality 307J.
So, yeah. Lots of mistakes here.
I only found this today (after being here for a year) because a lot of students were coming in looking for 307G. How could they be confused, there's a map? Ah.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: September 20, 2008
Now that he’s finally fired up on the soup-line economy, Barack Obama knows he can’t fade out again. He was eager to talk privately to a Democratic ex-president who could offer more fatherly wisdom — not to mention a surreptitious smoke — and less fraternal rivalry. I called the “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin (yes, truly) to get a read-out of the meeting. This is what he wrote:
BARACK OBAMA knocks on the front door of a 300-year-old New Hampshire farmhouse while his Secret Service detail waits in the driveway. The door opens and OBAMA is standing face to face with former President JED BARTLET.
OBAMA Mr. President.
BARTLET You seem startled.
OBAMA I didn’t expect you to answer the door yourself.
BARTLET I didn’t expect you to be getting beat by John McCain and a Lancôme rep who thinks “The Flintstones” was based on a true story, so let’s call it even.
OBAMA Yes, sir.
BARTLET Come on in.
BARTLET leads OBAMA into his study.
BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.
OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.
BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was surprised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a mandate that the vice president be skilled at field dressing a moose —
OBAMA Look —
BARTLET — and selling Air Force Two on eBay?
OBAMA Joke all you want, Mr. President, but it worked.
BARTLET Imagine my surprise. What can I do for you, kid?
OBAMA I’m interested in your advice.
BARTLET I can’t give it to you.
OBAMA Why not?
BARTLET I’m supporting McCain.
BARTLET He’s promised to eradicate evil and that was always on my “to do” list.
OBAMA O.K. —
BARTLET And he’s surrounded himself, I think, with the best possible team to get us out of an economic crisis. Why, Sarah Palin just said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had “gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.” Can you spot the error in that statement?
OBAMA Yes, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac aren’t funded by taxpayers.
BARTLET Well, at least they are now. Kind of reminds you of the time Bush said that Social Security wasn’t a government program. He was only off by a little — Social Security is the largest government program.
OBAMA I appreciate your sense of humor, sir, but I really could use your advice.
BARTLET Well, it seems to me your problem is a lot like the problem I had twice.
OBAMA Which was?
BARTLET A huge number of Americans thought I thought I was superior to them.
BARTLET I was.
OBAMA I mean, how did you overcome that?
BARTLET I won’t lie to you, being fictional was a big advantage.
OBAMA What do you mean?
BARTLET I’m a fictional president. You’re dreaming right now, Senator.
OBAMA I’m asleep?
BARTLET Yes, and you’re losing a ton of white women.
OBAMA Yes, sir.
BARTLET I mean tons.
OBAMA I understand.
BARTLET I didn’t even think there were that many white women.
OBAMA I see the numbers, sir. What do they want from me?
BARTLET I’ve been married to a white woman for 40 years and I still don’t know what she wants from me.
OBAMA How did you do it?
BARTLET Well, I say I’m sorry a lot.
OBAMA I don’t mean your marriage, sir. I mean how did you get America on your side?
BARTLET There again, I didn’t have to be president of America, I just had to be president of the people who watched “The West Wing.”
OBAMA That would make it easier.
BARTLET You’d do very well on NBC. Thursday nights in the old “ER” time slot with “30 Rock” as your lead-in, you’d get seven, seven-five in the demo with a 20, 22 share — you’d be selling $450,000 minutes.
OBAMA What the hell does that mean?
BARTLET TV talk. I thought you’d be interested.
OBAMA I’m not. They pivoted off the argument that I was inexperienced to the criticism that I’m — wait for it — the Messiah, who, by the way, was a community organizer. When I speak I try to lead with inspiration and aptitude. How is that a liability?
BARTLET Because the idea of American exceptionalism doesn’t extend to Americans being exceptional. If you excelled academically and are able to casually use 690 SAT words then you might as well have the press shoot video of you giving the finger to the Statue of Liberty while the Dixie Chicks sing the University of the Taliban fight song. The people who want English to be the official language of the United States are uncomfortable with their leaders being fluent in it.
OBAMA You’re saying race doesn’t have anything to do with it?
BARTLET I wouldn’t go that far. Brains made me look arrogant but they make you look uppity. Plus, if you had a black daughter —
OBAMA I have two.
BARTLET — who was 17 and pregnant and unmarried and the father was a teenager hoping to launch a rap career with “Thug Life” inked across his chest, you’d come in fifth behind Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and a ficus.
OBAMA You’re not cheering me up.
BARTLET Is that what you came here for?
OBAMA No, but it wouldn’t kill you.
BARTLET Have you tried doing a two-hour special or a really good Christmas show?
OBAMA Sir —
BARTLET Hang on. Home run. Right here. Is there any chance you could get Michelle pregnant before the fall sweeps?
OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?
BARTLET Well ... let me think. ...We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know ... I’m a little angry.
OBAMA What would you do?
BARTLET GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are. Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.” You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence. While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic. They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!
OBAMA Good to get that off your chest?
BARTLET Am I keeping you from something?
OBAMA Well, it’s not as if I didn’t know all of that and it took you like 20 minutes to say.
BARTLET I know, I have a problem, but admitting it is the first step.
OBAMA What’s the second step?
BARTLET I don’t care.
OBAMA So what about hope? Chuck it for outrage and put-downs?
BARTLET No. You’re elite, you can do both. Four weeks ago you had the best week of your campaign, followed — granted, inexplicably — by the worst week of your campaign. And you’re still in a statistical dead heat. You’re a 47-year-old black man with a foreign-sounding name who went to Harvard and thinks devotion to your country and lapel pins aren’t the same thing and you’re in a statistical tie with a war hero and a Cinemax heroine. To these aged eyes, Senator, that’s what progress looks like. You guys got four debates. Get out of my house and go back to work.
OBAMA Wait, what is it you always used to say? When you hit a bump on the show and your people were down and frustrated? You’d give them a pep talk and then you’d always end it with something. What was it ...?
BARTLET “Break’s over.”
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
First, Google has their own browser now. It looks potentially sweet. You can find out more about the designs behind it here, in a comic book drawn by Scott McCloud. (Also check out the Slashdot article)
It's way beta, there are no plugins yet, you can't really customize it all that much, etc. Definitely not ready for everyday browsing. But that's not why I'm not going to use it yet. Which brings us to...
The other thing.
Another "feature" that Chrome has is that it changes your iGoogle ui to the new experimental ui.
Even if you use your old browser, it's still the new interface. And the new interface is crap.
They've taken the tabs from the top and turned them into a left-side navbar.
The new style takes up WAY more space than the old style. We've gone from one thin line of text to basically another column. I don't want four columns, I want three. I have my settings set for three. Can I have three? No, because I can't turn off the new experimental beta ui.
Also, the new ui is buggy as hell. Lots of things break (even GMail). And you can't do things you used to be able to do (drag items to different tabs).
At least, for now. Until Google sees this and disables it or something. Whatever happened to "Don't be evil"? When Google pulls stunts like this... I'm done defending them.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Take Facebook, for example. Facebook has a feature wherein you can give them access to your e-mail account, and they'll look up people that have exchanged e-mail with you and see if they have a Facebook account and allow you to add them as friends. Handy, right?
Well, suppose you are subscribed to a mailing list (for example, the Python programming list). There are hundreds (thousands?) of people e-mailing each other on this list. You probably aren't friends with all of them. But there they are.
By this point, you can probably see where this story is going, so I needn't continue. In my defense, I haven't slept in like two days, and the cancel/continue buttons are like right next to each other.
Hopefully most of the people will realize that I'm just some random guy, and not someone they know (although, I do have that very common name..). Of course, they might be like me, and just accept every friend request they get, because what if it IS someone they know but they just don't recognize the name?
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Act I:So, I e-mailed Hulu and asked them wtf and where'd they get the captions from? Their response was:
A heinous crime, a show of course
A heinous crime, a show of force
I don't know.
It's not a no.
I hate the homeless.
This problem that plagues our city.
I hate the homeless
-ness problem that plagues our city.
Everyone can blaze a hero's drill.
Everyone can blaze a hero's trail.
(A hero's WHAT?)
Hammer me nail.
Hammer, meet nail.
(I suspect the captioner is not a native English speaker)
(Hammer finishes the lyric after he comes out of being frozen. How is this not obvious?)
Captain Hammer would say that.
Captain Hammer will save us.
(Capstone line of the series, ruined in the caption)
I'm not certain what our source is -- I believe that we had found some open-content subtitles and performed some verification that they were correct before putting them up. I've watched the first few minutes of Dr. Horrible with the subtitles after we had put them up, and remember seeing that they were ever so slightly off in terms of timing, perhaps about a half a second too early, but I hadn't noticed anything actually being seriously inaccurate. If there's an obvious error somewhere please let me know and I'll send that information to our quality control folks.So, mystery solved. They took someone else's captions, and didn't bother to check them. Because that would take effort.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
But here are some of my favorites:
Who's on first? (A classic bit; I also enjoy its many variations)
Peter Griffin dislikes "The Godfather" (Probably my favorite of the bunch right here ^_^)
(There are a lot more good ones out there)
I don't know what took me so long to finally see these. I guess they're just not the type of thing I normally watch. ;-)
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Also, they've announced the Keynote speaker: "screenwriter and developer Ken Levine"
What what? Ken Levine, (sort-of) famous writer (e.g. Frasier, Cheers, Wings) who has a sweet blog I sometimes read? I didn't know he was working as a game developer.
That's because he totally isn't. They meant Ken Levine, who worked on BioShock (among others). [Unrelated sidenote: BioShock was only $15 on Steam this past weekend. Crazy! That's how I found out about the Penny Arcade game, and now we're going in circles...]
Also also, MC Chris dropped out as a musical act, but Jonathan Coulton will be there! So will MC Frontalot, The OneUps, The MiniBosses, and some people I've never heard of (Anamanaguchi, The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, Freezepop).
What brought about all this seemingly-random update nonsense? Because the "Describe PAX in Seven Words" contest winners are posted.
- Saw you across the room. Horde, right? (Victoria Worthington)
- Lights sway: A Sea of DS’ glow. (Lisa Johnson)
- Where gamers go to be as One. (Scott Platkus)
- I *STILL* haven’t finished all this ramen. (Phoenix Gabriel, that's me!)
- I fell and accidentally flashed Wil Wheaton (Kate Newman)
- I stand in awe. Finally, I’m home. (Wade Larson)
- I’m only anonymous in my basement? Sh*tc*ck! (Matt Thrailkill)
- And the best of the haiku entries: The Omegathon | Twenty Omeganauts Try | One Victorious (Sean Martin)
Of course, now the horrible thought is that they think I'm the guy that won the "Win your weight in ramen" contest (same booth from which I got my case of ramen). I'm totally not. They're going to find out, and they're going to kick me out of PAX.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Missed Dr. Horrible when it premiered? Catch it again on Hulu. Or get it on iTunes. When is that DVD going to come out?
UPDATE: Apparently Hulu put out a press release saying that Dr Horrible will be up for four months. But I can't find it.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Normally, it's $20, which is a bit too high for me for an episodic game. I'd gladly pay $10 for it though. That's the price point I'm waiting for. But, that's probably going to take a while.
EXCEPT it was $10 two weeks ago! For the weekend only.
Missed opportunities are frustrating.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
So, today's Woot is an Emerson 32" LCD HDTV
$399.99 + ($5 shipping).
HDTV for $405? Count me in, right? Whoa there, cowboy. A couple of the posters in the forum sent me to this:
A Westinghouse SK-32H240S - 32 inch LCD with a better screen and way more inputs. (It's the inputs that do it for me), right now $430. No tax here in WA, free shipping (or $5 for expedited shipping). But wait, there's more! $10 off $200 in electronics knocks it down to $420, plus I can get another $30 off if I sign up for their visa card. So it's really $390 vs $405 shipped (both are refurbished). $15 less for a better TV. And the Buy.com one offers the ability to purchase an extended warranty for $50 (Woot does not have this option).
Am I crazy to buy this? With the extended warranty, it's $440, which is more than a month's rent. And I don't have a job at the moment, so it would come out of my meager savings... but it's a good deal. The people who bought it either love it or had it break (hence the extended warranty). And I've been meaning to buy a TV since I came back from Japan. The previous TV I wanted went out of stock before I bought it (missed opportunity!). This is the best deal I've seen since then.
What do you guys think?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
On Wednesday July 30th, they'll be selling cheesecake for $1.50 per slice in honor of they're 30th anniversary (eg, same price as in 1978).
Doesn't help me though, since the nearest one is apparently in Bellevue.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Not that the world is going to end or anything. I mean, probably not. Sure, some crazy people think that this will create microscopic black holes that will fall into Earth's gravity and feed on the core of the planet, growing exponentially fast until everything is part of it.* How ironic would it be for our evolved intelligence to bring about our very destruction? Ha! But what are the odds that THIS is our Great Filter?
It is not far fetched to suppose that there might be some possible technology which is such that(a) virtually all sufficiently advanced civilizations eventually discover it and (b) its discovery leads almost universally to existential disaster.Have a good night! ^_^
- Nick Bostrom (May/June 2008). "Where Are They?". MIT Technology Review.
*The great thing about this idea is that we wouldn't necessarily even know it had happened until shortly before the world ends! Of course, it's unlikely to happen. LHC-like collisions happen all the time in our upper atmosphere. So, if microscopic black holes were going to devour us, they should have done so already, right?++
++Of course, matter is much denser here on the hard surface of the planet. The upper atmosphere is mostly empty vacuum, actually. But, that probably won't make a difference. Surely all the scientists have already thought of that, right?**
][Man, I hope the world doesn't end before PAX.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
PAX is BACK (August 29th - 31st), and I'm totally going! But wait until you hear why.
So, very shortly after my return from Japan last summer, I attended PAX (the Penny-Arcade Expo), which happened to be in Seattle that same weekend. It was pretty cool, although I only got to go for one day, and I missed all the big stuff (Jonathan Coulton, Wil Wheaton) but I did get to see the second Mike/Jerry Q&A which was great stuff.
I also got some swag, mostly expo cruft but also a big case of ramen! There was a booth promoting a Naruto game, and the booth was like constructed with cases of ramen (Naruto's favorite food). Well, towards the end of the day, the guys running the booth just started handing the cases off to whomever was standing nearby (bonus for the crowd and less for them to pack out later, win win). I followed the stream of attendees carrying cases of ramen back to the source and got my own. ^_^ Sweet!
Unfortunately, I had been spoiled by years of living in Japan, and American ramen didn't cut it like it used to. I ate fewer and fewer packets as time went on, only returning to them at the end of each quarter like the poor hungry college student I
So, that was last year. ^_^
THIS year, (a few days ago, actually), "Gabe" posted a new contest on the Penny-Arcade site. Write about your previous PAX experience. In exactly seven words.
It was Wednesday afternoon when I saw this (the deadline day), and to make sure that I entered before I forgot, I wrote something on the spot and sent it off.
"I *STILL* haven't finished all this ramen!"And if you know me at all, you totally see where this is heading. ^_^
About an hour ago, I got an e-mail with the subject "Congratulations!"
If you're getting this email, then yes! You've been selected as one of the 8 winners for your 7-word submission!I totally won the contest. I won the hell out of it! I'm going back to PAX, baby!
[Name and contact information requested here, etc]
Thanks, and congrats!
Does... um, does anyone want to carpool to Seattle? :-/
Saturday, July 19, 2008
You already know that Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has all three episodes up and running. What you may not know is: it's not going to last. Quoth the Whedon:
All acts will stay up until midnight Sunday July 20th. Then they will vanish into the night, like a phantom (but not THE Phantom – that’s still playing. Like, everywhere.)So enjoy them whilst you can.
Also, if you haven't read it yet, check out Captain Hammer's 8-page comic over on
Finally, console me over the fact that all the Captain Hammer t-shirts were sold-out in my size. :-(
(Also, the official site has gone downhill. No more old entries, no more sorting by month, etc. Man, I wish I had archived that when I had the chance. Wait, I* totally did. The graphics are gone, and everything is out of order. If I were more motivated, I'd recover the old pages and archive them on some commonly used free service or something. But I'm
* For certain values of I.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Friday, July 04, 2008
Surprisingly witty, a great interview with James Blunt. Here it is! Now I can stop telling people about it. (Apparently I misremembered his lap time though)
(short posts indicate that I am still slightly homeless and wandering the streets of Cheney)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Bacon flavored mints
and the item that led me to the others: Bacon floss
(short posts indicate that I am still homeless and wandering the streets of Yakima)
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Looking for a clothing store near the hotel I'll be staying at in Lacey, I began to wonder what the other nearby businesses were. I can clearly see these large buildings with expansive parking lots, and no idea what business is there.
So, why don't businesses put their name on their roof? With satelite imagery (like Google Maps) becoming mainstream, this is an advertising venue they are totally missing out on. How much could it possibly cost?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The entire thread is a _long_ read at the moment (and getting longer), but the suggestions range from the practical to the hilarious.
I don't know what I'd do; I can't even think past the inevitable massive caffeine-withdrawal headache.