Sunday, November 28, 2004

Casualties of War

I've been single again since Thanksgiving day, and I've been getting through it with the assistance of Tarzhay, which had me working the opening shift on Black Friday, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the seventh season of which I bought at Tarzhay for the bargain-basement deal of $17.77. I get through breakups by not paying retail.

In any case, I've been jumping all over the season, rather than watching it from beginning to end, as I normally do. With the third season, I tore through all twenty-two episodes in a single day; not surprising since Eliza Dushku was in half of it, and I really enjoyed the writing and performance of the Mayor character. In this case, though, I watched the last episode first, simply because it's a bad-ass episode, and it ends the series on a much more upbeat note than Angel ended. In fact, with regard to Angel, the only highlight of the last episode was when Spike actually finished a poem he'd been working on for over a hundred years, and then proceeded to present that poem to an audience of... well, it was just very interesting.

I've also been playing a fuck-ton (my word) of World of Warcraft over the last couple of days, and I'm going over to my friend's house shortly to start playing again. It's terribly addictive, though I take precious little enjoyment in doing quests and grinding up the levels. However, what keeps me playing is the fact that I'm determined to be the Wal-Mart of leatherworking. No, that doesn't mean I'm going to employ illegal Razormane workers for my sweatshop; I'm just offering mediocre products at bargain-basement prices, and making good money by turning over volume and gaining a bit of a dedicated clientele.

And next Saturday is my birthday. I told my human-resources person that I couldn't work after 6:00 on Saturday night, so she -in her infinite wisdom- scheduled me from six to close. While I'm on the subject of work, today's link of the day is an example of Tarzhay's ever more diverse product line. I think I'm going to have to point my H.R. person to that page and go, "Becky, what the fuck is going on, here; and why don't we have this in stock at our store?"

But I digress. My birthday's this weekend, and so I think that I'm going to buy myself something. The only thing that I've absolutely nailed down is the soundtrack to Reality Bites, since I really wanted to listen to it last night while I was ripping the soundtrack to Singles. For some reason, Paul Westerberg just reminded me of the Reality Bites soundtrack, and so now I want it. Beyond that, I'm not sure whether I want to get the Star Wars trilogy, the Nirvana box-set, the new Metroid game, Spider-Man 2 (either the DVD or the Xbox game) ... the list goes on. Ooh, I just remembered that I ought to take a trip out to the comic-book store and pick up a copy of... well, I've got a bunch of stuff to catch up on.

Anyway. I'm going out to play some World of Warcraft now. I'll update more often from now on, since it's pretty much impossible for me to update less often, unless you count my election-day political rampages as a sign of posting more often.

AIM: therbmcc71

Friday, November 05, 2004

NEWS ITEM: President to Order Bombing of the Rest of New Jersey

An F-16 fighter jet belonging to the Air National Guard fired twenty-five rounds at Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School on Wednesday night, marking the beginning of President Bush's latest military operation, which seeks to destroy the states that comprised the 252 electoral votes won by Senator John Kerry in Tuesday's election. The White House is not commenting on where President Bush was on Wednesday night, but they neither confirmed nor denied this reporter's question that perhaps he was finally fulfilling the obligation to his country that he signed up for during the war in Vietnam.

Let's look at the circumstantial evidence:

  • We know that President Bush has a flight-suit, which he wore on the U.S.S. Lincoln on May 2, 2003, when he declared an end to major combat in Iraq.
  • We're not sure, but we think that the President never finished his tour of duty with the Alabama Air National Guard, as no proof has yet surfaced of his attendance in such from the period of May, 1972 to October, 1973. That said, we're pretty sure he knows how to fly a plane.
  • New Jersey's electoral votes will go to Senator Kerry when the votes are officially tabulated. President Bush lost by a seven-percent margin to Senator Kerry in New Jersey, coming in only forty-five points over Ralph Nader. Humbling, I'm sure; possibly enough to drive the most powerful man in the world to hop in an airplane and personally begin furthering his agenda ahead of schedule.
  • Many have criticized the Bush administration's underfunding of the "No Child Left Behind" program, though (White House Press Secretary) Scott McClellan remarked that, "it would be impossible to underfund the program if and when there were no schools left."
  • President Bush, according to CNN exit-polls, fared six percent better than Senator Kerry amongst voters with no college degree. In order to keep the kids from attending college, the Bush administration is expected to order the complete and utter destruction of all K-12 educational institutions within the next week. One anonymous Pentagon official stated that, "This operation will make Shock & Awe look like a couple of kids playing with firecrackers."
It is now more likely than not that the recounting in Iowa and New Mexico will be halted, with the numbers being doctored to show overwhelming support of the President and his war on Kerry's states. Live from a bunker near Wrigley Field, this is Umgawa signing off.

EDIT: Finally, your link of the day, sent to me by Fubar's own jimthej00: Canada 2.0

AIM: therbmcc71

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

From the Quotable Quotes Department

Upon receiving John Kerry's phone call, which conceded victory to George Bush, he pledged to pursue his agenda on taxes and Iraq while seeking "the broad support of all Americans."

Bill Clinton, from his office in Harlem, is still seeking the American support of all broads.

Thank you very much, I'll be here all week. Be sure to try the veal.

AIM: therbmcc71

At Least the Supreme Court Isn't Responsible This Time

Well, from the counts coming out of Ohio, it's looking like the people of the United States have officially (and for the first time) elected George W. Bush to the office of President of the United States. The up-side to all of this is the fact that in four more years, provided Dubya hasn't managed to start a nuclear war and kill us all, there will be no one to blame but Republicans for any and all of the ills that will befall the nation.

In lighter news, Alan Keyes lost the Senate race by about the predicted forty-plus percent landslide, making Barack Obama only the third black United States Senator since Reconstruction. I considered noting that Illinois also sent Carol Moseley-Braun to the Senate, but then I remembered that I like her about as much as I like the outgoing Senator, Peter Fitzgerald.

So, I've been following things since The Daily Show ended a few hours back over at, and I have to say that the most fascinating thing has to be the exit-polling. For example, fifteen percent of people polled said that Iraq was their biggest concern, and three-quarters of them voted for Kerry. Twenty percent said that the economy and jobs were their concern, and those people also overwhelmingly voted for Kerry. In the most bizarre statistic I've seen, twenty-one percent of people said that moral values, of all things, were their primary concern, and they overwhelmingly voted for the punk-ass chump, George W. Bush.

In the game of "lesser of two evils," twenty-six percent of people said that they were not necessarily voting for their own candidate, but against his opponent.

Okay, here's a funny statistic: In the question, "Did Bush attack unfairly?" (which is in regard to political advertisements and such), sixty-one percent of people said yes, of which a third of them still voted for Bush. Mathematically, this breaks down to twenty percent of the American populace, and they love their dirty tricks. This explains the success of the television show Survivor.

The thirty-five percent of people polled who were totally against same-sex unions of any sort (marriage, civil union or otherwise) voted overwhelmingly in favor of everyone's favorite National Guard deserter. While we're on the subject of ignorant people, twenty-nine percent of people said their family's financial situation is worse than four years ago, but twenty percent of that number still voted for George Bush, who -due to the 'global economy' we're living in- supports exporting jobs like the Middle-East exports oil.

Four percent of people polled are gay, lesbian or bisexual. Twenty percent of them voted for George Bush, who supports their lifestyle like he supports a strong economy. If you missed that jab, I'm saying he doesn't.

African-Americans only made up eleven percent of the voting populace, if this poll has any legitimacy. Even if it doesn't, the margin of error could be as large as five points, and I'd still have to say that not enough is really being done to mobilize the African-American vote (since ninety percent of those polled went for Kerry). At the same time, though, eleven percent of voters were voting for the first time today (and the majority went for Kerry).

When asked what the most important quality of the candidates was, the candidate's intelligence was primary with seven percent of people. Needless to say, Kerry won that contest with ninety-one percent.

I suppose there's a bright side to all of this: We get another four years of Bush-bashing from the likes of The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, and various non-Fox news organizations who just like to report on the train-wrecks of any presidency. As for Fox, well, they're always fun, since their coverage of the opening days of the war in Iraq was like a comedy of errors; I swear, they announced (and retracted) the death of Saddam Hussein a good five times in the opening week.

In closing, I'm going to tell you about a guy who works at my Tarzhay. He's moving to Japan to teach the little Nipponese children there how to speak English. He doesn't speak a lot of the local language, so I imparted upon him one very valuable piece of advice: If you're an American going to a foreign country, be sure you know how to say, "I didn't vote for Bush," in their native tongue. This could save your life.

AIM: therbmcc71

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Pandering to the Dyslexic Democrat Vote

The Libertarian Party here in Illinois is running a guy for Senate named Jerry Kohn. Yes, his name is Jerry Kohn. Read that again, because this is your election-dyslexia test for the day. Now, what would have certainly made this worse is if the Republican Party decided to funnel money over to the Libertarians, so as to run Jerry Kohn for President. Here's a simulation of what a clusterfuck that would be:

United States President (vote for one)
Okay, so I made up the Vice-Presidential nominee for the Libertarians, but you get my drift. In an election as close as this one, you'd think that the parties would be pulling out every dirty trick they've got, short of a total Watergate kind of thing; although I do recall a hubbub about the GOP lifting files out of Democratic Party computers, their defense being, "The files weren't secure enough;" we will not be seeing an independent counsel investigation over this, I'm sure.

But I digress. Dirty tricks, I was talking about. You'd think that the GOP would be begging the Libertarians to run Jerry Kohn for president. After all, I'm not sure what the percentage is of Democratic voters who happen to be dyslexic, but it might very well be just enough for George Bush to retain the Presidency. Oh, sure, it'd be like the "butterfly ballots" of a couple of years ago that had old, practically blind people voting for Pat Buchanan, who was ironically running on the "Soylent Green" platform. ... Pat yourself on the back if you got that semi-obscure euthanasia joke.

That's all for now. Tune in later for more Election Night coverage, in which I will probably refer you to the United States Supreme Court for a final call on who wins. However, I will reiterate that the Packers beat the Redskins, which means that John Kerry will be taking office in January; had the Redskins won, it would have been four more years of George Bush; and if a bunch of gun-nuts were to start plugging referees on the field, putting an early end to that particular football game, no doubt the Libertarians and Jerry Kohn would be taking office.

AIM: therbmcc71

Marathon Election Day Post

"Ooh, they're definitely getting paid," I say repeatedly as Scott quizzes me on the review-scores for videogames in the latest issue of Game Informer. I'm not at all shocked by the notion that certain print-publications and a large number of online review-sites can have their reviews essentially bought and paid for by the publishers of videogames. What irks me about the practice is that they're not up-front about it, and yet they still proclaim themselves to be journalists. This is on par with me attending an all-expenses-paid junket to Las Vegas (and I do mean all-expenses) for a positive review of Leonard Part 6.

What really pisses me off is when it's obvious that they're either getting paid, though I suppose they wouldn't just go and admit that their reviewers are utterly retarded. IGN gave the new Grand Theft Auto game a wildly absurd score of 9.9 (out of 10). Sure, it's a nice game, but it's just GTA all over again, in that it's largely boring and parts of it are tremendously difficult. Gamespot gave the game a slightly more respectable (but still outlandish) 9.6, on the same scale.

And then you have the matter of PC Gamer's review of Half-Life 2, which came out considerably earlier than the game did. While I understand the necessity of having reviews out in a timely fashion, reviewing incomplete code is just bad for credibility. They also gave it an absurdly high score, though I can't remember exactly what it was at the moment.

I suppose all of this comes down to the situation with Fable, which might have been one of the most over-hyped games of all time, if at least since Black & White (which was also designed by the same guy). For the life of me, I have no idea how Fable got review scores as high as it did, given the fact that the game had nearly zero-replayability. It was fun for about three days, and then it got tremendously old, not to mention the framerate-issues.

Professional videogame reviewers are dumb.

Anyway. Scott's moved on to playing Dead or Alive Ultimate, or some such game. This is after he pulled out the first DOA game, which is actually the only game that I've ever seen where there's an option in the settings-menu that will allow you to turn off the jiggle-factor on the female characters' enormous breasts. And if you didn't think that was weird enough, DOA Ultimate supposedly has a special-edition release in Japan in which you also get a life-sized DOA female-character dakimakura, which translates as "hugging pillow" or "love pillow," whichever you happen to prefer. Those Nipponese are pretty fucked-up.

With the sole exception of the Soul Calibur series, I loathe fighting-games. I simply don't have the reflexes for them, and they're pretty much lacking in story beyond the classic, "My kung-fu is better than your kung-fu." The quality that redeems Soul Calibur and its sequel is the fact that they're button-mashers, which is to say that anybody can be competitive at the game, and so it's a great party-game. Get four semi-drunk people in a room, give them a Gamecube and Soul Calibur 2, and you're pretty much good to go.

I've just about got the science of ripping Final Fantasy VIII videos down to a science. For some reason, it's just not going as quickly as ripping the FFX videos was, which is strange since the documentation for both ripping-programs was in Nipponese (which I don't read). I'd probably have been able to rip and start chopping the videos after about a day, but I've been spending a few hours trying to get my Playstation emulator running a bit better. There's a bit of chop with regard to the sound, and I just can't play like that. I might also add that the emulator's sucking about ninety-four percent of my resources (on a 1.4 GHz Athlon, 768 megs of RAM), so maybe I should test it on a better rig ... I'm pretty sure a driver change should do the trick, though.

I saw Gothika over the weekend, and I can honestly say that it's probably got the most unbelievable, incredible ending of all time. Sure, some people might think that's a good thing, but I'm serious when I say that the ending is completely bereft of believability or credibility. Halle Berry chops her husband up with an axe, but (spoiler-disclaimer: I don't have a problem with spoiling bad endings to movies) she ends up going free at the end because she was possessed by a ghost and her husband was a bad, bad man. Then again, if she asked for a jury-trial here in America, I'm quite certain that she would be set free after that explanation.

Juries are dumb.

Football! The Packers beat the Redskins this weekend, marking the only time in my entire life that I've ever pulled for the Packers to win a football game. This is, of course, because of what I'm referring to as the Redskins Prophecy, which was mentioned no less than eight bazillion times during that particular game. In other news, the Bears beat the 'Niners in a game to see who was truly the worst team in the NFL; a bizarre game in which the Bears' third-string (starting) quarterback fumbled the ball twice in one play, two field goals hit the crossbar, and the referees made two fantastically idiotic (but favorable to the Bears) rulings on challenges. Seeing how I hadn't watched football all year, this was exciting for me.

It's that time of the year again: It's Election Day, which is the best day of the year, and you know why? Because that means we don't have to see any more retarded ads about who to vote for, or who not to vote for; which we are forced to watch, even though the majority of the ads in Illinois are for a congressional district that I am not a part of. There's one retarded advertisement by a Republican that says his opponent "would vote against Denny Hastert as Speaker of the House." Hey, everybody loves Denny, but since his opponent is a Democrat, she wouldn't get to vote for Speaker unless the Democrats took over the House of Representatives in the first place.

Political ads are dumb.

I suppose that the most fun that I'll be having on Election Day is laughing my ass off at the miniscule percentage that Barack Obama's opponent, Alan Keyes, is going to get. I mean, here's a guy who's going to get maybe twenty-five or thirty percent of the vote. While searching for news on their debates, I found the quote, "The third and final debate is over, and the score is clear: it's three straight wins for Alan Keyes and the voters of Illinois." This ran counter to everything else that I had read, and all became clear as I found out that the quote was by Keyes' campaign manager.

I suppose my biggest reason for laughing at Alan Keyes is because he's actually got a stance on porno. Not only that, but in his stance on porno, he actually uses the word harlot, which is a word that I would only consider using if I were going about some sort of sexual role-playing thing, while using Arthurian England as its basis. But I digress. If for no other reason for the citizens of Illinois to not vote for Alan Keyes: He wants to take away my porno.

Alan Keyes is dumb.

Anyway, the polls open in an hour, so I'm going to make myself a sandwich and go out and vote. I might take this opportunity to urge all of you reading this before voting, please, for the love of all that is holy, please vote for John Kerry. And, if you just can't bring yourself to do that, please don't vote for that punk-ass chump who's been running the country for the last four years. Vote Nader if you must, but at least in the event of foreign invasion (which I wouldn'trule out if we get four more years of this guy), you can honestly say, "I didn't vote for Bush." Why not?

George Bush is dumb.

And now, since you've gotten this far, it's time for Israeli Idol.

AIM: therbmcc71