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Blog Archives for January 2008

American Psycho

Monday, January 28th, 2008 - Comments (5) in Books, Life

"...there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there." (376-377)

I have finally finished reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I started this book probably 2 years ago when Betsy let me borrow it. Come to think about it, I think she said she didn't want it back and handed it to me with a grimace on her face.

I think it took me so long to finish it because of how slow it started. I'd read 20 or 30 pages and then put it down for a few weeks (or months) and kept doing this until it finally picked up. I'm guessing Ellis did this to show Bateman slowly going crazy. Once he got going though, it was a much faster read.

I first saw the movie adaptation of this back at RIT. Dave (one of my roommates at the time) and I watched it on HBO at like 2am one morning; it was hilarious! How funny is it watching a deranged socialite serial killer run after a woman in an apartment building wearing only sneakers and a chainsaw? Too funny. The book had some humorous moments, like Bateman trying to catch a rat in his apartment with a wedge of Brie topped with a sun-dried tomato and a sprinkling of dill, but on the whole, it was much darker and much more serious (like what he does with the rat after he catches it).

Fun fact: Pat Bateman has a younger brother named Sean Bateman who is the main character in a book (and movie) called The Rules of Attraction.

Voice prompted

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 - Comments (0) in Computers, Life, Rants

OMG, I can't stand voice-prompted phone systems. I'm not talking about a recorded voice saying "for support, press 1", I'm talking about a recorded voice saying "what time will your pickup be ready?" and expecting you to say your answer. Every time I get involved with one of these calls I get a sudden urge to kill.

Before today, the only one I had to deal with regularly was Dell. They are at least manageable: "Say or type the express service code of your system." Most prompts could be handled by an appropriate keypress on the phone. The only exception being the "do I have this right?" question where you have to say "yes." By the time I have to say that, the computer can't figure out what I say because my answer is so heavily wrapped with exasperation. The fact that I usually do this over the speaker-phone probably doesn't help the situation.

I just got off the horn with DHL Express to schedule a pickup of a Dell return part. DHL used to have a great system: "Type your phone number", "enter how many packages", "enter the weight", etc. Now they have some POS that makes you say everything. The ONLY redeeming feature of the new system is that it uses Caller-ID info to know who you are and what address to use. Other than that, it took 25x longer to schedule a pickup. I had to say and spell my first name, say what time we close, say how much it weighs; absolutely ridiculous. Even though I'm from Jersey, I'm proud of the fact that I don't have an accent. I would expect anyone with an accent or who doesn't speak English well to have a very tough time with their phone system. I even tried to enter the number of packages (1) with the number pad, but it just sat there and waited for me to say "one".

But think of the children!!

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 - Comments (10) in Computers, Email, Hotdog!, Life

I read a story about Myspace preventing kids from signing up based on email addresses. Apparently parents (or any guardians) are able to submit their children's email addresses to Myspace to deny them creating an account with that address.

Let's think about this for a second. How many parents do you think know their kid's email address? Probably quite a few. How many parents know that it takes about 3.5 seconds to create a new email address with any of the 10,000 free email providers? I'm guessing not so many.

Myspace and these attorney generals are just further enabling parents to say, "Oh please monitor what my child is doing online, I don't either don't care or don't have the patience to parent my child." Most (technically-retarded) parents will probably argue that they don't understand how this stuff works and therefore can't adequately supervise their child online. I think that is just sad. Sure, they might not understand it, but now is a great time to learn. You teach your kid to not talk to strangers starting from the time they can walk on their own. Why are you not teaching your kid to not talk to strangers online? It's the same thing.

I'd also like to add that by parents submitting their underage child's email address, they are created one hell of a valuable database. If there are contractors, consultants or otherwise inept IT people involved, which there always are, this database of email addresses will be compromised eventually. And when it is, every pedophile in the neighborhood is going to be emailing your kid directly offering things like ice cream, Wii tournaments and mustache rides. What will your kid do when this happens? Since you left it up to Myspace and the attorney general to parent your kid, they'll probably meet up with this person for some Wii tennis.

Nose Hairs...

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 - Comments (1) in Life

A while ago I reached a point in my life where my nose hairs grow faster than my nose. I have a feeling this is only going to get worse as time goes on. I used to just use scissors to trim, but that was just annoying; it took forever, always missed some and there was always a chance for brain damage.

I always wanted one of those electric jobbies, until recently. I even registered for one for my wedding, but nobody got it for me. Well I got one recently and it was horrible. As the little blade thing spins, it vibrates slightly. This vibration is intolerable when you stick the thing in your nose and it starts vibrating the nose hairs. Maybe I'm just weird, but that tickled horribly and instantly made my nose run and my eyes to water. It was terrible.

I thought I'd have to go back to the scissors, until I saw a man-powered Tweezerman trimmer in Bed Bath and Beyond. Basically you squeeze the little levers and an internal circular blade rotates trimming the hair just like the electric one, minus the high-speed vibs and the gagging and spluttering. I haven't actually purchased these yet, I'm looking for a deal online, but I think I'll be getting them very soon.

Wiitar-less Hero

Sunday, January 6th, 2008 - Comments (2) in Life, Music, Wii

Recently a copy of Guitar Hero III for the Wii fell into my hands. The problem is the wireless guitar (wiitar) didn't come with it. I've been reading around online and everyone is saying that they won't start selling separate wiitars for a month or so.

For grins, I put the game in to see what would happen. Typically when you load a game on a Wii that requires an additional controller (nunchuck/classic controller) you get a message saying what's required and it won't let you continue until you connect it. GH3 instructed me to plug my wiimote into the guitar, but it let me continue even though I didn't. After playing around a little I figure out that you can actually play the game without the wiitar; you can use the 1, 2, A, B and Right buttons. It's rather awkward, but it does work. I'll probably just end up waiting for the guitar, but I did get like 99% on Slow Ride!

"The Holidays"

Sunday, January 6th, 2008 - Comments (3) in Holidays, Life, Wii

This was the first time I wasn't at my parents' house for Christmas. Since we went to NJ for Thanksgiving we decided to do xmas in Buffalo. I'm used to a rather slow and laid back Christmas, but this time it was nuts. There were tons of people, tons of food (including a nacho cheese fountain!) and stuff going on the entire time.

My family usually gets up around 10 or 11 on Christmas morning to open presents. Rachelle's family gets up at like the ass-crack of dawn. This time they ended up dragging me to an 8am church service! The last time I went to mass I was probably in elementary school. Hopefully it'll be another 20 years until the next time.

Rachelle was tasked with making all the cookies for her mom. I was getting bored frosting the cut-out cookies, so I starting doing some interesting designs:

This is an elf I decorated complete with green hat, yellow Speedo and red sprinkle chest hair.

The day after Christmas we drove down to NJ to hang out with my parents and sister and open some presents. It was a nice change of pace, but it's always stressful traveling, especially when everyone else is traveling too.

We made our way back to Rottenchester in time for New Years. We hung out at a friend's house for the eve, with a few other people. I brought my Wii with me and they played bowling ALL night.