Thursday, December 29, 2005


Yep, new avatar picture. That's me. It's highly stylized (oh how I love thee, Photoshop), but I think it looks badass. Very Marv-ish.

That's all for today, just the pic. For New Year's Eve I'm heading down to the Bob Hope Theatre (formerly the Fox) with Justin to rock out with some Van Halen and AC/DC cover bands. Should be awesome. Have a safe one, folks, see you in 2006.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

This is your life

Ran across a link to a "Life Rating" quiz today, right here. Of course, I had to take it.

My results look like this.
This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

First off, don't cry for my love life. Sure, a .8 looks bad, but that's because the questions were loaded. Yes, I'm single and don't have prospects on the horizon, but that doesn't mean I'm unhappy with my situation. Far from it, actually.

I also have to take issue with the Friends and Family score. I love my immediate family, don't need my extended family (bunch of redneck, racist, bible-thumping assholes anyway), and I have a great core group of friends.

Now that I look at it, most of these scores are a bit off. The Body score could actually be a bit lower. I suffer from FBS (fat bastard syndrome), although I don't necessarily care who knows it, and it doesn't have an effect on my self esteem. And the Finance score shouldn't be that high. I have a steady, decent paying job, but I'm working on a mountain of college debt (not as big a mountain as some people have, granted, but it's a mountain to me).

So my life, rated, isn't very accurate. But it was a fun time waster.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Guitar players: Heroes of our modern age

I have a newfound respect for guitar players. I always knew, on some level, that the skill necessary to play a guitar was one worthy of reverence. That became more evident when I got my first "real" guitar and began the long journey of learning to play (one which I have stalled on, but that's another tale). But today, I look upon guitarists with sheer awe.

For I have attempted to play "Bark at the Moon" on Medium difficulty in Guitar Hero. I know what you're thinking. Medium? You're a chump who doesn't deserve to call himself a gamer. But I ask you to pause in your verbal bashing of my gaming skills. Bark at the Moon on Medium is incredibly hard, almost impossible. The speed and precision required to even get halfway through the song is incredible. And this is with a guitar shaped controller with 5 fret buttons (of which only 4 are used on the song) and a strum bar that replaces the 6 strings commonly found on a guitar.

Zakk Wylde, the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne on Bark at the Moon, is a god among men. If you've heard the song before, you have an idea of the flurry of notes he plays, particulary in the solo. For a better idea of what playing the song is actually like, check out this tablature. A quick primer on guitar tabs: The table is laid out where each row represents one of the 6 strings, and each column is a note or chord that's played. The numbers represent the fret the guitarist places his finger on the string in order to produce that note or chord. A 0 is an open string. The lower the number, the lower the note (higher on the fret board), and frets are numbered from 1 to 20-something.

The tab doesn't give you any idea of the tempo, but it's fast. Just looking at that tab gives me the shivers. It's a bit hard to visualize if you've never practiced fingering on the fretboard of a guitar, but take it from me: Bark at the Moon is a finger-melter as much as it is a face-melter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

There's no place I can be, since I found Serenity

For any of you who have been living under a damn rock, Serenity hit the streets today (actually yesterday according to the post time, but WTF) on DVD. I haven't gotten my copy yet, as I heard tell it's something of a Christmas present, but I did purchase 3 copies to give others as gifts. So what are you waiting for? Go forth, and buy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just one of them days...

I promise I'm not going to whine and bitch about work like I used to on this blog, and most people do every day on their blogs, but allow me this one tiny complaint. Is it too much to ask that we be nice to each other? I'm not requesting we blow smoke up each others asses, but at least be civil, and polite.

After all, it's the holiday season. If we can't be nice to each other now, when can we? There's no need to yell, or be rude. For the record, I have no problem with cursing (is that obvious? Fuckin A it is). But if you're going to get all worked up over something, why not tell someone who can actually do something about it? I just work here, buddy. You got problems with the man? So do I. Take it up with him, but don't get all pissy with me about it, and threaten to sue, or cancel your membership, or hang up on me because you don't like the truth. Fuck you.

Now I know why postal workers are notorious for going crazy and shooting a bunch of people. Dealing with the dregs of society day after day can really get on your fucking nerves.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Miscellaneous Stuff

Here's a couple of things that have been on my mind this weekend, that are important enough to write about, but not important enough to merit their own post.

I saw Syriana on Saturday. Good flick, closest compared with Traffic. I liked Traffic, but for some reason, found it harder to follow than Syriana, which many people have complained about. I didn't find Syriana hard to follow at all. The trick is paying attention. A lot of American theatre-goers like to shut their brains off when the lights go down, but Syriana's not that kind of movie, and it can't be faulted for that.

Even so, I can't complain too much about the American theatre-goers, as enough of them went to see Syriana in it's opening weekend that it opened at #2, up against the Christian behemoth that is Narnia. Good on you, folks, although you're still not off the hook for passing on Serenity (which is still the best movie of 2005, in my book).

I also got Guitar Hero delivered to my door on Saturday. If I didn't already own a PS2, I'd seriously consider buying one just for this game. It comes with a guitar, for chrissakes. Sure, it's a guitar controller, but damn if it isn't badass. And you get to rock the house with it. It's extremely satisfying to nail a complicated riff, then tilt the guitar vertically and melt the audience's faces with a solo. If only playing a real guitar was this easy to pick up and start rocking out with.

Finally, I recently discovered Farscape. Let me rephrase that. I actually watched the first few episodes of Farscape, as I'd never seen a single one before. I had heard about it, sure, and had even gone so far as to look up the boxed sets on Amazon. It was then that I took a step back, as the price was outrageous (something like 120 bucks a season). But I finally rented the first disc from Netflix, and it's pretty good. It hasn't blown me away, but it's certainly got my attention. Now the only problem is juggling all the TV shows I'm in the middle of watching on DVD and on broadcast TV.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Number 2 isn't as bad as you think

Rumors continue to swirl around Nintendo's next-gen console, code-named Revolution. We know what the controller and the unit itself will look like, but not much else. It might be twice as powerful as the Gamecube; it might use standard DVD5's and DVD9's as its medium; it might have free downloadable first party retro titles and pay-for-play third party retro titles; it might sell for $150 or less at launch; it might have free, wireless online play; it might have new games that sell for $50; it might come out in time for Christmas in 2006.

We just don't know for sure. Even if half those rumors are true, or have some bit of truth to them (especially the launch price), I think Nintendo stands a very good chance of coming in at a solid #2 in the console wars this time around. And #2 is not a bad place to be, especially for Nintendo right now.

I've said this before, but if Nintendo is in last place this time around, they're done as a hardware developer. It happened to Sega, and it'll happen to Nintendo. I really don't want to see that happen, since I think Nintendo has some truely interesting ideas, and I've been a fan or theirs since I was 5. But the console market only has room for two consoles, not 3.

I think Microsoft will come out on top, regardless of what I consider a very poor launch (though the general consensus seems to be "best launch ever"), for a number of reasons. They launched the 360 at least 6 months (probably closer to a year) before anyone else will launch their next-gen offerings, they've got (I believe) the most powerful console, they've got a solid list of upcoming titles, and they have a strong, consistent vision for the direction and purpose of their console. That last bit is something Sony is sorely lacking.

Which is why I think Sony is dead last. It takes balls to predict a turnaround from first to worst, but I got balls like you wouldn't believe. Sony would like us to think the PS3 will hit Spring 2006, but from what I've read, they're not even close to Spring 2006, and I would be surprised if they managed to launch next year at all. Scratch that, I think they'll bust their asses to launch at Christmas 2006, but it will be a huge mistake. There were manufacturing shortages of the 360, and it was actually ready to launch. If Sony tries to bring out the PS3 next winter, not only will there be shortages, the first generation of hardware will have serious issues (anyone remember the first generation of the PS1 having a heatsink that didn't work? I do). Not only that, but what compelling reasons are there to buy a PS3? Blu-ray? I can buy a standalone player if Blu-ray actually becomes the dominant format. Games? Sony has an exclusive with MGS4, but I stopped caring about the MGS games after the travesty that was MGS2. Sony also has Gran Turismo, which Forza Motorsport put to shame. And the Grand Theft Auto games eventually came to Xbox. Controller design? I don't need a fucking Batarang, thanks.

The way I see it, there's no reason for Nintendo not to end up in second place.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Backwards compatibility, my ass

Backwards compatibility, for me anyway, has never been a strong selling point on a console. I don't get rid of my old systems, so if I ever felt the urge to boot up the original cartridge of TMNT: the Arcade game, I could; assuming I wanted to go to the trouble of hooking up my NES and cleaning both it and the game first. The point is, it's there, should I want to.

Like I said, I never really gave backwards compatibility a second thought until this weekend. Justin came over, and wanted to play some Bushido Blade 2 (which is, arguably, the best fighting game ever. I mean, ninjas and swords and one hit kills? Badass, man) for the PS1. Hey, whaddya know, my PS2 is backwards compatible, so I don't have to pull my PS1 out and hook it up.

So we were playing, trading off against the CPU, and unlocked some secret characters. At the end of the story mission, it asked if we wanted to save. Of course. The PS2 looked for the memory card, and then popped up with, "Memory card was removed." No, it wasn't. It had been there the whole time. I thought maybe it didn't like the PS2 memory card, so I dug out one of my old PS1 cards and tried again. "Memory card was removed." Bullshit, mother fucker. So I didn't save, and went to the memory card manager, thinking there might not be enough space on the card. Nope, that wasn't the problem, either.

So, even though Sony hyped the shit out of the PS2 being backwards compatible (the first console to do so, if I remember correctly, although I believe Nintendo might have beat them to the punch in the overall market with their handheld Game Boy something or other), it's really not. Why should I bother playing a PS1 game on my PS2 if I can't save my fucking progress?

Here's what really pisses me off, though: there are PS1 emulators for the PC that are capable of saving my progress just fine. Emulators, that, might I add, a group of folks coded in their spare time, for no money. Why did Sony bother paying their employees to emulate their PS1 poorly when they could have payed people that would have done the job right?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I love it, but TV sucks

It really does. For each one of the handful of shows that I watch on a regular basis, there's a vast wasteland of bullshit out there on the dial. For every Smallville, there's a 7th Heaven. For every Veronica Mars, there's an OC. For every Bones, there's a CSI: Hoboken. For every Lost, there's a Survivor 47: Guam. And for every one of the handful of shows that I enjoy that have played out their run in its entirety, there's a fuck-ton of great shows that have been mercilessly cut down in their prime.

I could run down the list of fantastic shows that Fox alone has cancelled, but we could be here a while. Instead, I'll talk a bit about two of Fox's newest shows that I really like, but probably aren't going to make it into their sophomore years.

1. Prison Break. Sure, the plot holes are big enough to drive a truck through, but who gives a shit? It's fucking entertaining, as long as you don't think about it logically. And it was doing real well for Fox on Monday nights. So what do they do? 13 episodes in, it's done until March. That's 4 months with no new episodes. 4 months? Americans would forget about their own kids if they didn't see them in 4 months, they're damn sure going to forget about a TV show. Why does Prison Break have to go on a 4 month long hiatus? So Fox can make room for "Ice Skating with the Stars."

2. Bones. Certainly the best crime drama I've seen, and that's not just because David Boreanaz is in it. Fox recognizes that they've got a hit with this show, but what are they doing? After a month long "winter hiatus" coming up at the end of this month, they're moving it from a prime spot Tuesdays at 8 to a murderous slot on Wednesdays at 9. Why is Wednesdays at 9 murderous? Because that's Lost's timeslot, not to mention Veronica Mars, who's no lightweight. And why, pray tell, would Fox do this? To make room for American Idol, that's why. American Idol has to take up two, count em, two prime slots: Tuesday and Wednesday at 8, one hour for performances, and one hour for results. I'll give you one guess why they're not putting the results show on Wednesday at 9, like they used to. That's right, so it doesn't go up against Lost. As if enough people didn't already get the results straight from the internet, they want to give everybody the opportunity to watch it on TV for a whole fucking hour, and let Bones deal with Lost.

Fan-fucking-tastic, Fox. Let me get this straight: you're intentionally killing (or at least, throwing to the dogs) two breakout hit shows so you can....put on more reality TV? People love the American Idol, they gotta have their Idol. But what the fuck is Ice Skating with the Stars? Who the hell watches this horseshit? I certainly don't. And why the hell is Survivor still on? I don't fucking care if it's not a Fox show. Did you know that piece of excrement is in its 11th season? It premiered in 2000, and has never not been on TV since for more than a 5 month stretch of time. That's enough proof for me that there is no god.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

20Q from Joss Whedon

This file had been sitting on my desktop for about a week, waiting to be posted on this blog. Why didn't I do it sooner? Check out question 19.


1) What do you wish you'd invented? (for coolness and/or changing-the-world factor, not the patent. If it was about the patent money, my answer would be "stairs".)

Heath bars. Then I could say they were named after me, instead of having people think the opposite.

2) Take two movies and meld them into the ultimate movie -- or the weirdest, it's all good.

I'm gonna go for weirdest. The Hulk and Titanic. Hulk smash puny iceberg!

3) Very earliest memory.

I'm sure there's something before this, but it's not significant enough to stick out. Kindergarten, the class bully pushed a girl down. My best friend went to help her, and the bully pushed him too. So I pushed the bully down. That girl was my first "girlfriend."

4) Most remarkable thing you've ever eaten.

I don't eat anything I can't recognize, so I can't say I've ever eaten anything remarkable. I do remember the first time I ate salad with dressing, I wanted to vomit.

5) Hillary Clinton. Does she have a shot? SHOULD she have a shot?

No. And no. Yeah, Bill was great, but Hillary? I'd rather see Howard Dean.

6) Name something about you you have actively changed, or are trying to.

The only thing I've changed in the last month was my facial hair (I grew a beard for Halloween and haven't shaved it off yet).

7) Does Opera matter?

The web browser or the artform? Wait, the answer's no either way.

8) Recommend a book.

Irrational Exuberance. If you have any interest at all in the stock market, it's a great read.

9) If there ever was a female James Bond, who should play it?

Catherine Zeta-Jones.

10) With the obvious exception of Morgan Freeman's voiceovers, what's the most soothing sound in the world to you?

Brahm's Lullaby. You're lying if you tell me that won't put you to sleep everytime, because it certainly works on me.

11) A time someone surprised you.

A friend of mine in high school ate dog biscuits, canned cat food, and liquid hand soap in some sort of twisted cocktail. Why? To suprise me, I guess. It worked.

12) Your dumbest childhood fear.

Monsters in my closet. Maybe not the dumbest, but it's all I can think of.

13) Do you believe humankind is in ascension or decline?

Well, we'd like to think we're in an ascension, wouldn't we? While I don't think we're in a decline, and we certainly haven't descended in the last 100 years, I wouldn't say we've ascended in the last 15, either. If anything, we're moving sideways.

14) 10 friends. One week. Anywhere in the world. Where ya bringing us? (notice how I wormed in there? Awesome!)

Roadtripping along the East Coast. Plenty of great places to see and things to do.

15) If you were actually asked to run your government, would you?

Hell no.

16) What song do you HAVE to dance to?

I don't dance. I would substitute my favorite song, but there are way too many great ones to choose. The one that just popped into my head is Stranglehold by Ted Nugent.

17) Name a mentor.

My dad. I certainly have more in common with him than anyone else.

18) Porn. Good, evil, or indifferent?

Very good. Any man who does not have a porn stash is not a man I'd like to know. In case you're wondering, yes, my Dad has a porn stash. He's my mentor, remember?

19) Are you a procrastinator? If so, what's your usual method? (Answer this when you can get to it.)

Note to self: write an answer to this question.

20) Does your life have a purpose?

Yes. And it has nothing to do with spirituality.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Xbox 360

So the Xbox 360 is supposed to hit this Tuesday. Color me unimpressed.

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Xbox, and console gaming in general, but I'm simply not excited about the Xbox 360 launch. I've been excited about other console launches. I distinctly remember being very excited about the Gamecube launch, as there was this little game that allowed you to battle it out with your friends using classic Nintendo characters (Smash Brothers, for the uninitiated). I was excited about the PS2 launch, too.

In fact, I should be extremely excited about the 360 launch, since I like the Xbox the most out of the previous generation consoles, and think Microsoft is going to come out on top of this generation after a long reign of domination by Sony. Plus, this was the first console launch that I actually had enough disposable income to pre-order, had I been so inclined.

So why am I not excited about the 360? The main reason is the launch title lineup. It's pathetic. Let's see that list of launch titles, shall we?

Amped 3
Call of Duty 2
Condemned: Criminal Origins
FIFA Soccer 06 Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup
Kameo: Elements of Power
Madden NFL 06
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Perfect Dark Zero
Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
Project Gotham Racing 3
Quake 4
Ridge Racer 6
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06
Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland

I'm going to immediately ignore all the sports games (Amped, FIFA, Madden, the NBA games, NHL, Tiger Woods, and Tony Hawk) right off the bat. Sports games have been a part of every console's launch for as long as I can remember, but they're just yearly releases; new iterations of the same old game. They don't count as launch titles. You can't build a console launch on sports games.

Moving on, there's 3 racing games in there. I've never been a Ridge Racer fan, so that's out. The Need For Speed series has taken a serious downtown recently, as they seem hellbent on cashing in on the "underground" racing fad, when they should be continuing to release quality racing games, like Hot Pursuit and Porsche Unleashed. Then there's PGR 3. I liked PGR 2, until Forza Motorsport came along. I don't care how many cars and tracks PGR 2 had, it only had cosmetic damage modeling, which pisses me off in a non-arcade racing game. So until they make a new Forza game, I'm not interested.

There's a shitload of shooters. I heard something about Call of Duty 2 having a Halo 2-style "recharging" energy meter. This is WWII, assholes, there were no fucking energy shields. Don't give me some bullshit excuse for why your game lacks realism, just fuck off. I honestly haven't heard much about Condemned either way, so I can't comment on that. But if I haven't heard anything about it, it's hard to get excited. GUN is a rental, not a purchase. There's a lot of fanboys out there with a hardon for Perfect Dark Zero, and I don't know why. Never played the original because it didn't look any good. Probably not going to play the sequel, either. Quake 4 had a shitload of hype behind it, but didn't live up to it. Granted, that would be hard to do, but Quake 4 didn't even live up to my expectation of being a good game.

What's left? "Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie"? When your game's title is a 10 word sentence, I'm not playing it. I don't care if it's the best game ever. Tone down that hubris a bit, Peter, you're not fucking Spielberg or Scorsese. Kameo is the only game that might be worth buying. I've heard a lot of good things, but haven't read any reviews yet. It kind of interests me, but I'm still not interested enough to bother reading a review to see if it's any good, let alone plop down my money for it.

Is that it? Is that the whole list of launch titles? For one game that maybe, perhaps, is a possible purchase? You've gotta be fucking kidding me.

What games would have interested me at launch? Excellent question. Let me give you a list of titles that would have made me hose my drawers.

Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Gears of War
Halo 3
Mass Effect
Saint's Row
The Godfather
The Outfit

Every last one of those games are going to be purchases, I'll bet. Granted, some of them might not be coming out for a while, but if the 360 had launched with that lineup? Fuck, I would have pre-ordered, pre-paid, pre-came, all that shit. I would have taken a week vacation just so I could play my 360 all day and most of the night.

Now, I said that the launch title lineup was one of the reasons I wasn't excited about the 360 launch. The other reason is related to the launch titles, but is mainly because of Gamestop/EB Games. Let me say this first: I hate Gamestop/EB Games. They were bad enough when they were seperate companies, but now one of them owns the other, and it's bullshit all around. I used to buy my games at brick and mortar stores, but not anymore. I do most of my shopping on the internet. So when I want to buy something, I go there first, and don't go anywhere else. So I can get an Xbox 360 online, right?

Not exactly. The only place you can pre-order online is at Gamestop/EB Games. Great. Well, I suppose buying from them online isn't so bad. At least then I don't have to deal with idiot salespeople. But wait! You can't just pre-order a 360 and be done with it. No, they're not going to let you get away just spending 300-400 bucks there. You have to get a bundle. A bundle with shitty launch titles, and peripherals you don't need, for like 800-1000 dollars. A grand? I want to buy a game console, not put a down payment on a car. Hey Microsoft, you should thank Gamestop/EB Games for their idiotic bundles. They helped you not sell a bunch of consoles at launch.

EDIT: I read some of Gamestop's reviews of the 360 launch titles. Other than the fact that they're waaay too lenient (6 of the 10 titles they reviewed were "great." Somehow I doubt I'd have the same opinion), I learned that Kameo is deserving of whatever praise it's given, but at under 10 hours of gameplay, is most likely a rental, and that Condemned takes a great premise and interesting gameplay hook (that there's a bunch of crazy people on the loose and your character's way of dealing with them is to beat the living shit out of them with all manner of improvised weapons), but doesn't do much with it due to uninspired level design, lack of combat variety, and unsatisfying story.

So that means the 360 launch verdict is: exactly 2 games worth playing, but not worth buying. Wow. Great launch. I'm impressed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I tell ya I get no respect

No respect at all.

I'm not asking for much, just get my name right. That's all. It's one syllable, for chrissake.


See that?


Not Keith.
Not Steve.
Not Pete.
Not Zeke.
Not Leif.


Some people aren't even in the ballpark.

My name's not Ryan.
Or Phil.
Or Timmy.
Or Dave.
Or Paul.
Or Sid.

It's Heath, mother fucker, do you even speak English? Like you've never fucking heard of someone named Heath before. There's Heath candy bars, there's Heathcliff the cat, there's that ponce Heath Ledger, there's even a Heath, Ohio, Heath, Texas, and Heath, Massachusetts.

But you know what's worst of all? When they're soooo close, and yet the furthest of all. My first name does not have a fucking "L" in it, alright? Furthermore, have you ever, in the history of the entire fucking world, ever, heard of anyone, anywhere, named Health? Seriously. Cause if you have, I want a hit of whatever drug you're on, asshole.

And my middle name is Gerard. You know, like that Gerardo guy, without the "O" at the end. You know who I'm talking about, that Rico Suave mother fucker? Sure you do. Anyway, it's Gerard.

Not Gerald.

I don't know what the fuck it is with people and them wanting to stick L's in my goddamn name, but I've only got one of em. I don't need more, dipshits.

So for the record, it's Heath Gerard Wheeler. Learn it. Know it. But don't fucking wear it out.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Serenity DVD

Heard tell it hits the shelves December 20, 2005. Gonna be a big damn Christmas present for a lot of folks.

But here's what I take issue with: the cover art. Check it out.

So there are a number of things wrong with that cover, but I'm going to focus on what I think is the most egregious example. That'd be the tagline at the top. "Experience the Ultimate Action Adventure." Wait, what? Serenity is not some bullshit run of the mill action movie. It defies convention. That's kind of the point. So to pick some generalized nonsense tagline to sell the movie is a great disservice.

Allow me to suggest some alternatives:

You can't take the sky from me.
Can't stop the signal.
They aim to misbehave.
Let's be bad guys.
She can kill you with her brain.
I am a leaf on the wind.
Better worlds, all of them.
We shall call it...this land.
Serenity: Some people juggle geese.
Just believe.
No more runnin'.
They're not gonna see this coming.
The first rule of flying: Love.
You think your government is evil?
Mighty fine shindig.
Serenity: The big damn DVD.
Serenity: Not gosa.
We are just too pretty for God to let us die.
The future is worth fighting for.
War's long done. We're all just folk now.
Time for some thrilling heroics.
Serenity: It's worse than they know. It usually is.
If you can't do something smart, do something right.
They may have been on the losing side, but they're still not convinced it was the wrong one.
Serenity: It gets awful lonely in the black.

How fucking hard is that, seriously? Did the marketing assholes even watch the movie? Or even the trailers? Are they familiar with Serenity and Firefly at all? Apparently not.

Thanks to CorSec for helping with the brainstorming of these taglines.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What in the blue hell is wrong with people?

Seriously. I thought we lived in a civilized society. I thought we, as human animals, had reached a point where we respected each other's property. I'm not asking for all of us to hold hands and sing songs, but is it too much to ask that we don't take what isn't ours?

Apparently it is. You see, I subscribe to Netflix. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Netflix sends you DVDs, you watch the movies, and you send them back. Wash, rinse, repeat. I've been a subscriber since March of 2004, and I've had exactly zero problems with them. I still have no problem with them.

I'm upset because I put out some DVDs for the mailman in the mailbox when I left for work this morning, just like I always do, since the mail usually comes before I get home from work. Just so we're clear, my mailbox isn't out at the street with the flag, it's on my front porch. So I came home from work today, and checked the mailbox. My DVDs weren't there, but there was no mail, either. Huh. No mail today, I guess. That's extremely odd, usually there's at least one piece of junk mail. Oh well.

I paid it no mind, until I saw the mailman come an hour later and deliver my mail.

Some gutless, dickless, worthless fucking cuntrag stole my fucking DVDs! Well, not my DVDs, Netflix's DVDs, which I now have to report lost, even though the post office didn't lose them. I mean, what the fuck? It's bad enough if an employee of the postal service tampers with the mail, but I find it totally reprehensible that some shitstain in my neighborhood has the fucking audacity to steal mail right out of my mailbox, in broad daylight. Jesus Christ giving anal to mother Mary while Joseph jerks off in the corner.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Just when I thought it was all good...

It has to get all fucked up.

See that post below there? The one blowing smoke up Ultimate Spider-Man's ass? Well, I guess I spoke too soon.

Let me explain. I was playing it not 10 minutes ago. I had been playing for an hour and a half, having a shit ton of fun. Since I'm real bad about stuff like that, I hadn't saved, but had made a ton of progress. And what happens? The game freezes. A fucking console game. Frozen. What the fuck? That's not supposed to happen, goddammit, fucking console games do not fucking freeze! You can't patch a console game. A console game with a freezing bug is nothing more than a coaster, a worthless piece of shit.

Maybe the game autosaves. Maybe it doesn't. Right now I could really care less, as I'm so angry I want to snap the damn disc in half. Son of a bitch.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Time for a rave

I've ranted and bitched, now I feel like giving out some praise for something that's not fucked up.

I recently rented Ultimate Spider-Man for Xbox. And I'll be damned if it isn't fun as hell. Spider-Man was good, and Spider-Man 2 was even better (both movie tie-ins, of course), but there was something about them that just wasn't right.

Ultimate Spider-Man is apparently, based in the Ultimate comic book universe (which I'm not familiar with), but the game gets all the important stuff right. First off, it's fun to swing around the city. If it wasn't fun to swing around the city, it doesn't matter what else the game did, it would be a failure. But it gets that right, and that's a very good thing.

Secondly, Spider-Man is funny. He cracks wise, he's a smart ass, and he's always shooting his mouth off when he shouldn't. Perfect. If you have a Spider-Man game that feels like Spider-Man, but doesn't act like Spider-Man, then you've failed. But again, this game gets it right.

Finally, the pacing and game play are great. Boss battles are varied and genuinely difficult without being hair-pulling. Story-line missions are meted out according to how many miscellaneous city missions you complete. In this way, the normally pointless side-missions are made integral to advancing the story. Now, if the side missions were total bullshit, this would be a game breaker. But since it's so damn fun to web around the city, it doesn't matter. Plus, completing the side missions unlocks stuff. So by making you do side missions alongside the story line, when you're done with the game, you're actually done with the game, and don't have to spend hours doing boring side missions just to unlock a new Spidey outfit or something.

So, makers of Ultimate Spider-Man: I salute you.

Looking for a job sucks

How come no one ever told me about this when I was in school? Why was I not warned that the search for gainful employment is nothing short of looking for a chocolate chip in a wheelbarrow full of shit? Seriously, I don't know how anyone ever has found a job.

Everyone talks about how it's easy. They know a guy who knows a guy. The commericials for the job search websites actually say that you'll have employers contacting you, not the other way around. Lost your job? No worries, another one'll come along in about a week. You won't even miss a paycheck!

Bullshit. It's fucking impossible to find a job, and even tougher to find a decent one. Job search websites don't work. I know, I've tried them all. There's so many buzzwords and bullshit that even if you're qualified for something, you can't find the listing for it. Even if you do find a job that fits you, how many other people found the same listing you did? A shitload, and odds are there's at least one of them that's more qualified than you.

Forget the want ads. Same shit as the websites, only worse because you have to look through them by hand.

No, you have to know a guy who knows a guy. And unless you've sucked said guy's dick, you still might not get the job. You have to already have a job to get a job. You have to actually know the guy, not be somewhere down the acquaintance chain. And that just gets your foot in the door. You've gotta have a shiny resume, a kickass cover letter, and nail the interview in order to actually land the job.

So I ask again: how is that anyone has ever gotten a job, ever? I guess there's a lot of dick suckers out there.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Battlefield 2

After a LAN party a few weeks ago, wherein the crew played this very game, I got the urge to pick it up. I already had it installed (I'd used some community CDs at the party), but now I had my new key. Don't worry, this isn't another rant about piracy.

I let it sit for about a week and a half before I actually got the urge to play it. Boy, did I stink it up the first few hours. I'd be lucky if I got one or two kills a round. It was just the learning curve for the game, though, as I didn't experience anything I could consider bullshit (like the common occurence in CounterStrike of putting a whole AK clip into an enemy, just to have him turn and put one bullet in your forehead to get the kill).

Until last night. I found my preferred class (Support. I like's me some light MGs), and I was owning bitches in the face. Then the bullshit happened.

I came around a corner and dropped to my belly. My radar showed an enemy about to round the opposite corner, not 20 feet from my position. I lined up the barrel and waited. He came around the corner, and I opened up. I must have put, at the very least, one bullet in him. At the most? 15. In the middle of my hail of fire, he leapt into the air, and came down on his stomach, facing me. I adjusted my aim downwards, still firing, when he put a snap shot right through the top of my head. I was dead, he wasn't.

What? What the fuck is that? This game prides itself on putting you on the battlefield. Join the Marine Corps and go to far away exotic places and blow Afghanis away. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think our troops, or anyone else's troops, have ever used tactics like that. "Oh noes, someone is teh shooting me! I'd better jump as high as I can, do a belly flop, and then pwn them in teh face!!!11"

And this is as much of an indictment against the players of the game as it is the game itself. Just because the game allows you to do bullshit like that, doesn't mean you should. Certain servers have rules against stupid bullshit that the game allows you to do, and that's a very good thing. Like say, for example, taking a plane and crashing it into the enemy's spawn point. That might have been the historically accurate thing to do if you were the Japanese forces in Battlefield 1942. But Kamikazes don't exist anymore, and it's a stupid bullshit way of racking up kills in a game, where there are no consequences for death.

On the other hand, there are things the game allows you to do that make perfect sense. For example, the support gunner is called so because he has extra ammo bags to resupply teammates. When I get caught dead-to-rights by the enemy with my ammo bag out, I know I don't have a chance to switch to my weapon and gun him down. But I'm not going down without a fight. So what I do I do? I pull out a grenade and toss it. He gets me, but they never notice the grenade. Boom, baby! Death from beyond!

BF2 is really fun, if you're playing with good players. As with all human interaction, though, there's always the complete fucking idiots that bring everybody down.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Copy protection robs us of nostalgia

What follows may be the most bizarre argument against digital media copy protection, but bear with me. I'm not condoning piracy, just hear me out.

In the near future, copy protection on (PC) video game discs will not allow gamers to return to their "roots" and play the old school classic games we loved so well. It's really started already, but the more time that passes, the more widespread (and more bulletproof) copy protection will become, effectively locking us out of our own games. You might not be following me. Let me back up.

A few weeks ago, I was feeling nostalgic and decided it was time to play through the Monkey Island series again. So I went looking for my "Monkey Island Madness" disc that I purchased as part of the Lucasarts Adventure Archive Vol III. It was nowhere to be found. I double-checked, no dice. I started to panic. I got the Archive from the Lucasarts store at least 4 years ago, when they were still selling it retail. You can't get the Archive anymore. Well, not for a reasonable price, anyway, and then it's used.

I really didn't want to plunk down upwards of 80 bucks just to get the first two Monkey Island games again. So I called Justin and asked him to check his collection, perhaps I'd let him borrow it. Score! He had it. After I breathed a tremendous sigh of relief, he made an excellent suggestion. We both have our share of classic games that you can't pick up cheap, or simply just can't get anymore. He said we should back them up on DVD and put them in a safe place, so if any of them should ever be lost, we're not screwed.

I did just that, but I ran into a handful that had copy protection. I managed to circumvent it, so that I could make a perfectly legal backup of a game that I purchased legally. But what happens when the copy protection gets so good that you simply can't make a copy of a game? Wait, it already exists. As far as I know, Starforce is absolutely impossible to crack.

Now we reach my point. Ten years from now, when we gamers want to go back and revisit the classic games from the turn of the century, if we managed to lose or ruin our original game discs, too fucking bad! We've lost the ability at that point to kick it old school, because of the goddamn copy protection.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Good Movies? We Don't Want Em

I know I've already talked about it, but Serenity was a great movie. Not only do I think it's the best movie I've seen this year (and will probably hold on to that title), but it's easily entered my Top 10 of my favorite films of all time. Why, then, did it go 3 and out? I suppose it's still showing in some theatres, but not any near me. After 3 weeks. I bet Star Wars is still showing on a handful of screens somewhere.

I can hear you now, "But Heath, Star Wars is so popular, no one's even heard of Serenity!" Well, why not? They showed ads. Critics liked it, they wrote reviews. It opened at #2. Everyone I know who saw it thought it was great. Someone had to fucking hear about it.

As I said, Serenity was great. But for any number of reasons, it failed to do as well at the box office as it should have ($23 million in 3 weeks). For the sake of comparison, let's look at the performance of some other films this year that are nowhere near the level of greatness that is Serenity.

Flightplan. Some shit about Jodie Foster and her kid on a plane. $74 million.

In Her Shoes. Cameron Diaz doing her stupid shit in a chick flick. $23.5 million.

Just Like Heaven. I didn't like it the first time when it was called Ghost. $47 million.

The 40 Year Old Virgin. Funny, but completely forgettable. $106 million.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I didn't like it the first time when it was called The Exorcist. Plus, it's not based on a fucking true story, alright? Neither was the Amityville Horror. It's based on made-up shit, which is what every other fucking movie that isn't a documentary is based on. Jesus Christ. $74 million.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I hate Johnny Depp. I also hate unnecessary remakes. $205 million.

Star Wars Ep III: Revenge of the Sith. Yeah, that's right. I said it. $380 million.

I could go on, but I won't. I think you get the picture. All of those movies made more than Serenity, and most of them aren't worthy of carrying Jayne's jockstrap.

Which brings me to my point. The American movie going public has no idea what makes a good movie. They know what they like, which is brain-dead, nonsensical drivel. So that's what movie studios give them, and that's what the theatres run. Genuinely good films like Serenity don't do well, and original, interesting films like Good Night, And Good Luck are never released to a wide audience. And that, gentle readers, is bullshit.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

South Park's jumped the shark

I can't pinpoint the exact episode in which South Park "jumped the shark," as I don't watch it often enough to tell, but it's just not that funny anymore. Sure, there may be the occasional chuckle, but I laughed more in the first 5 minutes of Drawn Together than I did during the entire half hour of South Park.

I know it's a huge cash cow for Comedy Central, and it has fan boys all over the place. And I'm not one of those people who don't "get it." I got it, in fact, I have the first 3 seasons on DVD. You know, back when the show was consistently funny. I may pick up Season 4, and possibly, Season 5, but just for Red Sleigh Down. In fact, that's the last episode of South Park I've seen that was more good than bad. But there comes a point when their tool for "yelling at America," in Trey and Matt's own words, gets old and stale. Tonight's episode was a jab at the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which might have been funny when Jon Stewart was doing it a month ago, when it was actually relevant.

Another example was the episode from last season about picking the school's mascot, and they had a choice between voting for a giant douche or a turd sandwich. We get it, guys, George Bush and John Kerry were equally bad, as are all politicians. Ha ha. Although I did like P. Diddy's "Vote or Die, mother fucker, mother fucker, Vote or Die" campaign.

As I said, I once enjoyed South Park, and there have been some truly classic episodes over the years. But now we're on 9 seasons? Come on, time to pack it in. The Simpsons wasn't even any good after 9 seasons, and The Simpsons is widely agreed to be the best animated TV show ever.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Stem Cell Research Breakthrough

A new study on stem cells has produced what I think is spectacular results. Researchers were able to gather stem cells (from mice embryos) without destroying the embryo. Here's the full article. (Link's broken. What the hell is it with Yahoo News and their links breaking after like a week? Do they not archive anything? Oh, well, here's an article, it's only relevant for two days, then we'll throw it away, wheeeee!! WTF.) Here's an excerpt.

One of the new mouse studies borrowed a lab technique used in fertility clinics, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or PGD. It is used to screen embryos for genetic disorders.

In the study, researchers plucked a single cell from eight-cell mouse embryos, which were about two days old. While fertility clinics use such a cell for genetic testing, the researchers cultured the plucked cells and found they behaved like embryonic stem cells. The embryos, meanwhile, went on to produce mice.

The result suggests that when clinics do PGD, they could let the cell they remove divide into two, and use one resulting cell for genetic testing and the other to establish a stem cell line, said Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Mass., an author of the study.

That's fantastic. Now the fundies don't have a leg to stand on in their relentless opposition to stem cell research. If you can get stem cells without destroying an embryo (or in their words, "taking a life"), then what's the fucking problem? Well, a lack of a logical reason never stopped fundies. Look at the very next paragraph of the article.

But Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities for the Catholic bishops conference, said PGD itself is unethical. It poses a risk of harm and is mostly an effort "to select out genetically imperfect embryos," he said.

Aww, it poses a risk of harm. A lot of prenatal procedures pose a risk of harm, like the sampling of amniotic fluid to check for birth defects, or CVS testing. Does that mean they shouldn't be performed? In some cases, yes. But just because the chance for harm is there, doesn't mean it outweighs the possible benefits.

And what the fuck is wrong with selecting out genetically imperfect embryos? I wouldn't want a kid who would have a significantly lower quality of life than normal because he had Down's syndrome, didn't physically develop properly, or was going to have a terminal illness and not live past the age of 10. Oh, but that's right, fundies don't like abortion. Every life is sacred, even if it's a fucked up one. They take the moral highground, but if push came to shove, they'd think twice about carrying an "imperfect" baby to term.

Let's look at the other technique outlined in the article.

As with normal therapeutic cloning, they took eggs whose DNA-containing nuclei had been removed and inserted in each one a nucleus from a body cell of a mouse. But before the insertion, they blocked the action of a key gene in the nuclei, to ensure the eggs could not produce an embryo that can implant in a uterus. Yet, the eggs divided and grew enough to yield stem cells.

This modified technique, called altered nuclear transfer, has been championed by Dr. William Hurlbut of Stanford University, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. He said the abstract cluster of cells the egg produces is not an embryo but a "non-embryonic entity" that lacks an embryo's developmental potential.

"You don't create a living being," he said.

That's also fantastic. What do you have to say about this one, fundies?

Doerflinger disagreed, saying the technique appears to create and then destroy an embryo, which would make it unethical.

The technique appears to create an embryo? It appears? Is that your professional, scientific observation? No, it's just your kneejerk reactionary bullshit. Let the folks with the doctorates say what appears to happen, dickwad.

But not all fundies are as ignorant as Doerfucker, there.

But the Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, director of education for the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, called the approach a step in the right direction. Scientists are already discussing a modified version in which adding the nucleus to the egg would result in a single stem cell, not an embryo, he said.

Seen in that light, he said, the mouse study "is very encouraging. It reminds us that we have certain tools at our disposal in the scientific armamentarium that can be used in the direction of seeking an answer to the ethical impasse."

He's not saying this is the answer, but he's not putting his fingers in his ears and humming, either. Maybe this means we'll actually have some real progress in the stem cell arena, and start fixing shit. Maybe. I wouldn't count on it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Andy Milonakis is a Moron

No, that's not strong enough. Andy Milonakis is a fucking moron. Unlike probably everyone else on the planet, I'd never even heard of this douchebag until a few weeks ago, when he was the guest on Too Late with Adam Carolla.

Before he came out, Adam showed a video clip to familiarize us with his "work." It was this fat bastard kid singing a song about how the Superbowl and other things were "gay." Already, I hated him. I actually watched the whole show, even though absolutely nothing that came out of his stupid mouth was funny. Adam was still funny, but even so, it was definitely a net loss of funny.

I completely forgot about him until tonight, when I was watching a video clip of a house party at Kevin Smith's place, and guess who was there? That's right, Andy Milonakis, stinking up the place with his stupid, kiddie bullshit that apparently everyone thinks is funny but me. I then got the urge to look him up on IMDB, because I wanted to know how the hell this dumbass got to be famous. I didn't find that out, because I was too dumbstruck looking at his birthdate.

January 30, 1976. Now, IMDB is not typically known to be 100% reliable, but if something's clearly wrong, it doesn't stay that way for long. I also checked Wikipedia (again, not exactly the best source of information, but generally correct), and it says the same thing. In fact, the Wiki entry states that he has a growth hormone disorder.

So let's say that's true, and this asshole really is 29 years old. Is he fucking retarded? Because that's the only reason I can think of why he would act like a 12 year old without actually being one. And if he isn't 29, he's a still a fucking idiot for lying about his age and expecting people to believe it, even though he's clearly a snot-nosed punk kid who thinks all his "jokes" are pure gold. Fuck Andy Milonakis.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

An Open Letter to Firefly Fans

Dear Firefly fans,

Fuck you. Fuck you in your stupid asses.

Allow me to explain my vitriol towards you worthless bunch of degenerates. I, myself, am a Firefly fan. While I didn't catch the series during the short time it was on the air, I did check it out on DVD at the urging of a friend. I fell in love with the series, and purchased the DVD set a few weeks later. That was about a year and a half ago.

So when I found out that there was going to be a Firefly movie called Serenity, I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait for it. When I heard about it, the release date was set for April of 2005. What a fantastic birthday present that was! I was extremely disappointed when it was pushed back to September, but I waited ever so patiently.

On opening day, Sept. 30, I got off work, ate, and went to the theatre to buy my ticket. There was a large line, and I seriously hoped everyone in the line was there to see Serenity. Unfortunately, they weren't, and the theatre was less than packed. Still, my experience in that theatre was totally unique. The movie was amazing, the audience participation was great, the acting was fantastic, it was just awesome. I couldn't wait to see it again.

What's more, is that I knew, I just knew, Serenity was going to take that opening weekend. It would be #1 at the box office for that weekend, out of all the other movies that were playing. It had to be, since I felt it was better than Episode III (and I thought Episode III had been the best movie of the year).

I wanted to hit someone when the report came out. Flightplan was #1? Some bullshit about Jodie Foster's kid on a plane made more money than Serenity? Ok, Serenity was #2, but it only pulled in a measly $10 million? The DVD sold half a million copies at roughly $40 a piece, to say nothing of how many times those DVDs have been rented at Blockbuster or loaned to friends, or how many people have downloaded the episodes off the internet. So of all the people who've been exposed to Firefly, only a million of them could be bothered to buy a ticket?

Everybody and their grandma saw Star Wars, simply because it's fucking Star Wars. But where were the Firefly fans? Why weren't they telling their friends to see Serenity, because it's fucking Serenity? I know I did. Where was the word of mouth? Joss depended on you to spread the word, and get people to go see Serenity, because the marketing campaign wasn't nearly enough. When there's a property that no one's heard of because the fan base is so limited, it is the fans' responsibility to make people hear about it. Sure, you ranted and raved about it on your cliquey little sci-fi web-boards, but does that shit ever get out to the mainstream? Hell no, you're preaching to the choir, dipshits.

Clearly, you dropped the ball. Serenity only opened in 2000 theatres (which is a hamstringing right from the start, Flightplan got 3400), and now, in only it's third week of release, my local theatre cut it down to 2 showtimes. And how did Serenity fare last weekend, after opening with $10 mil at #2? It slipped to #8 with only $5 mil additional, bringing the grand total to 18. 18 million dollars is fucking pathetic for an awesome flick like Serenity when shit like Just Like Heaven pulls 43, Flightplan gets 60, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose rakes in 72. I bet The Fog will make a mint, too, even though the film it's printed on isn't worth wiping my ass with.

So fuck you, Firefly fans. If it's anyone's fault Serenity doesn't do well, it's yours. The responsibility was on your shoulders to make Firefly live again, and you failed. Miserably. Congratulations on killing a great series. I hope you're proud of yourselves.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Saw an ad for Gametap on TV tonight, but I had no idea what it was, since the ad was some shit about the alligators in Pitfall talking about teeth whitening. Then I was reading Computer Gaming World and saw an ad for it that actually made sense. It showed a bunch of screens for classic games, and said "A new world of video games has arrived" and that I could play them from my broadband connection.

This intrigued me (why couldn't the commercial have said that?), so I checked it out. It's a monthly fee service kind of thing, but you can play old school games on your PC. I watched the tour video, which explained there are "hundreds" of games at your fingertips, just load em up and play. I should have thought about that hundreds comment, but didn't, and instead started geeking out at the thought of playing some Mutant League Football, or Final Fantasy 2 (of 4, or 5, or whatever the hell it is in the continuity, it was fucking 2 on the SNES, goddammit), or Mega Man 3, or Eternal Champions, or...I could go on all night.

Imagine my chagrin when I took a look at the list of available titles. They've got some 32X games, quite a few Atari 2600 titles, two (2!) Dreamcast games, a shitload of Genesis games (including Eternal Champions, sweet), and some Windows and DOS games, but no Nintendo games.

At all.

How the hell can you have old-school games without Nintendo? I fucking grew up on Nintendo! I still remember my Dad giving me a stereo for my 5th birthday, and feeling extremely disappointed (I wasn't into music then). He asked me what I really wanted, and I told him I wanted a Nintendo. So he took the stereo back and bought me an NES. Hot shit, man, that Nintendo started it all for me. And here's Gametap, who had lured me in with a shitty commercial, an intriguing magazine ad, and a sexy video tour, only to kick me in the nuts by not including Nintendo games.

Now, in Gametap's defense, there are some possible explanations for this. 1) They're a new service, so perhaps they haven't gotten around to adding Nintendo games yet. If so, great, I'll partake of the gameage once they do. 2) Nintendo is being a bunch of dicks and not allowing their content to be distributed in this way. Perhaps because of the rumored feature with the Revolution having access to Nintendo's back catalogue. Again, if this is so, that's ok, because I can get my Nintendo fix with the Revolution.

So even without the Nintendo games, Gametap is still a very interesting idea. But given the extent of their PC titles (Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow is one of the games available) I would think they could also throw in some PS1 and PS2 games, hell, even Xbox games. And they've got Master System, Genesis, 32X, and Dreamcast games, where's the SegaCD love? Perhaps those are part of the "new titles added weekly" bit.

I'll be watching, Gametap. You're not getting my money yet, but you might.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What the hell?

I don't live in the ghetto. I don't live in the best of neighborhoods, but I can honestly say that there aren't drug dealers on the street corner, O.G.s aren't busting caps in people's asses, and the crime rate is probably average compared to the city as a whole.

Why, then, does some asshole have to squeal out at 11 o'clock at night? Every fucking night? So you've got a fast car, whoopty shit. Great job on the tires, there, do you go through a set once a month? And just what the hell are you in such a goddamn hurry for?

Maybe it's a "guy" thing. He's got the fast car that compensates for his tiny dick, and by squealing the tires, he's demonstrating to all his bitches that he's the shit. That's great, but how about you do your stupid fucking mating call in someone else's goddamn neighborhood.

Armchair Economists

Even though I am one, I hate economists. Insert old joke about how economists predict the state of the market the way meteorologists predict the weather, but it's true. We apply simplified models to an immensely complicated real world, and we're not always right (in fact, we're usually not).

But if you had asked me six months ago, a year ago, or even 5 years ago what I thought was going on with the real estate market, I would have told you the exact same thing: we're in a bubble, that won't last forever, and it will burst, sooner or later. So why had I been hearing, from economists no less, that the real estate market is not in a bubble? That high home prices and low interest rates were here to stay? They took the same classes I did, studied the same models and theories I did, why the disparity in our predictions?

I really don't have an answer to that question, other than the aformentioned joke about predicting the weather. What really pisses me off, though, is that once a month for the last six months or so, every time I open the business page, I see another report on the state of the market. The first report, about six months ago, was something along the lines of "Prices continue to rise, no end in sight." Next month, it was, "Prices will continue to rise, just not as much as expected." Then, "Prices beginning to level off, but still increased." It was about this time that the Fed increased interest rates for the second quarter in a row. The next report was like, "Prices rise slightly, but will most likely not decline." Then, "Median prices remain the same." Finally, the Fed raised rates again, and I saw, "Prices fall slightly, but may bounce back soon."

Do you see a fucking trend here? I sure as hell do, and you don't have to be an economist to recognize or understand it. Home prices cannot keep rising indefinitely, not when rent is staying the same, more houses are constantly being built, and the Fed keeps raising interest rates. Sooner or later, Joe and Nancy Shmoe aren't going to be able to afford the payment on a 30 year, $600,000+ mortgage. The only reason they have been able to is due to low, fixed rates. Once folks can't afford the payments, they aren't willing to buy new houses. Once enough folks stop buying new houses, while construction on new houses continues, prices come down. When prices start falling, the speculators who thought real estate was a "good investment" start selling, which forces prices down further. This phenomenon is called a feedback loop, and it could go on for a while. That's where the bubble bursts. How far will prices fall? I have no idea, but they will fall.

So, getting back to the armchair economists that seem to think this real estate bubble is any different than previous bubbles, I have a question for them. What the fuck is wrong with you? Did you get your degree online, is that it? Or were you too busy drinking and partying with your frat buddies to actually learn the material? Or maybe you're just too fucking stupid to apply the theory, so you spout the same nonsense every other non-economist is spouting about how it's a "new economy." It wasn't a new economy then, and it's not a new economy now. Dipshits.

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's Aliiiive!

It was never actually dead, just...dormant. But I'd like to get back to semi-regular blogging. It's so cathartic to write about whatever, get things out and such.

I went back over the existing posts and made some edits (deleting certain company names so as to avoid any possibility of retribution, making updates to situations, etc.). To bring you current in my situation, I've left COP IT not by my own volition (I was laid-off, as the budget no longer allowed for my position), and after a long and painful 5 and half months of unemployment, began work as a CSR (Customer Service Representative) at Kaiser Permanente. Yeah, yeah, I know, big step up. But I see it as a stepping stone. Kaiser's a huge (servicing 8 million members nationwide, and 6 million in CA) organization, with tons of potential for advancement. Just a matter of time, really.

Not much else to tell right now. I've got a couple rants on the real estate market, gas prices, and a few political situations (even though I don't follow politics nearly as closely as I did before), but I'll save those for later when I'm more awake and angrier.

I leave you with an anecdote. A few weeks ago, Justin and I were on our way to a movie, when these two kids (in their early 'teens, I'd say) just strolled out into the street. Justin had to slow down considerably and actually swerve, and the kids never picked up speed, but rather glared at us as if we were at fault. Look, I understand the whole "invincible" feeling when you're a punk teenager. I remember that. But this sort of behavior is not limited to idiot kids, it exists in adults who should know better and don't. Never put your life into someone else's hands, even if you trust them, and especially if it's just some guy who you've never met. I mean, it doesn't even take a bad or drunk driver for you to be killed in that kind of situation, what if he dropped a cigarette in his lap? What if the sun temporarily blinds him? What if his brakes fail? Whoops, you're fucking dead, asshole, all because you thought it was cute or funny to stroll out in the middle of the street.