Thursday, October 26, 2006

What A Shame

I hate politics. I don't follow politics anymore, because it's all bullshit. But I couldn't let this slide without saying something about it.

I was reading the paper today, and saw a bit about how Michael J. Fox shot a campaign ad for some Senator in Missouri, and how there's an outrage going on. You see, it has to do with stem cell research. As you may or may not know, Mr. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991, and retired from acting in 2000 because of the debilitating disease. He established the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research that same year in order to help find a cure.

The ad is airing now, and is available on Youtube. I should have expected some outrage over the stem cell research stuff, but I didn't expect Rush Limbaugh to open his yap about the content of the ad, claiming that Mr. Fox "was either off the medication or he was acting. He is an actor, after all." Rush's dumb-fuckery aside, I think now is a good time to link to the ad. Here you go.

Is it exploitative? Is it acting? Is there mudslinging political bullshit going on? I don't see anything wrong with that ad. In fact, I see something very wrong with anyone who has a problem with that ad. You know what? I noticed the peanut gallery on Youtube had some things to say about the ad. Let's see some of that.

"Now people have rationalized murder with psuedo-science and glib remarks about intelligence and attacks on religion. It does't take a genius to figure out who is behind this. Agnostic, Satanic, souless people who will not be with the righteous on the last day. I can promise you that."

"Horrible exploitation of a disabled person. You can debate about where life begins, but it DEFINITELY began WAY before the life became an embryo. Oh and I'm NOT even a christian, I'm a scientist, and an embryo is obviously is living life. it's sad we live in a society that allows sucking the brains out of babies when they are half-way out of the womb. Yet, if they just slipped another few inches, it would be a felony crime. Nothing changed about the baby. Murder is murder."

"This is such a joke and for MJF to use his disability to try and get people to feel sorry for him is a disgrace. You can even tell he probably didnt take his meds on purpose so he would shake even more! Stem cell is a joke and everyone knows it, it's just another ploy the dems are using to try and win, how sad!"

"You all are idiots. If you are for stem cell research, volunteer with your local church of Satan/planned parenthood. If you are against stem cell research then volunteer with your local church or pro-life office. Several nurses have become pro-life after witnessing the killing of babies that even had enough time to gasp for air and cry before having their heads crushed. Murder isn't fun anymore when the blood is on your hands. Cissy liberals. talk talk talk. Hope you all enjoy hell."

"Too bad it was Clinton that outlawed it. Then Bush made it legal yet the drive by media and the democrats shamelessly lie about it and talk about the evil radical right wing Christians who oppose it. I think liberalism is a brain disease and they should look for a cure for that."

"Michael J. Fox don't tell us it matters to "Americans like you" because you are NOT are Canadian. We are not as stupid as you think we are Mike!"

"Geez, i used to think Michael J. Fox was cool, but it looks like hes just another liberal commie with no respect for life."

"Democrats don't want the Terrorist to win, but The Terrorist want the Democrats to win. Sad but true. They want all our heads in a basket! Sad but true!"

"Cells don't suffer? That's a convenient idea for you isn't it? No doctor denies that "an embryo", otherwise known as a baby feels the pain of abortion. Become more informed about this. It's about a lot more than embryonic stem cells. It's about growing and harvesting human beings."

"The second reason I don't support Federal funding of stem cell research is because of celebrities like these. Why should they ask me (who makes very little money) to pay for it out of MY tax dollars while they make millions of dollars--I don't see them pouring their millions into it if their so sure it works. The first reason I don't support Federal funding of stem cell research is because it isn't proven to work--probably why those celebrities don't pour their millions into it!"

Do I even need to tear those comments apart? No, I think the idiocy speaks for itself.

Here's my political message: If you feel the need to vote, don't vote for dumb-fuckery. Do your homework instead of being a knee-jerk reactionist moron.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mish Mash

I finally decided to post an update, even though I've had news for like three days. One, I didn't feel like it, and two, Blogger was being a bitch when I did want to update. So, on with the news.

I managed to get ahold of someone at MS that was not only friendly and knowledgeable (like the others), but actually seemed concerned about my dead Xbox. He volunteered to contact a supervisor for me to check if I could get it repaired at warranty rate (i.e. free). Failing that, he processed the repair order at the 50% offer I'd been quoted previously. He also said a box would be on the way, contrary to what I'd been told before about having to pay for shipping. So it's a short few days wait to receive the box, I'll ship it back out, they'll ship me the replacement, I'll snap some fancy pics with my digital camera/cell phone, and put that shit on eBay. I'm hoping to get $700 for the full package (360 premium edition with HDD, wireless controller, and component video cables, extra wireless controller, play and charge kit, and 7 games: Oblivion Collector's Edition, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Project Gotham Racing 3, Prey, Kameo, Saint's Row, and Dead Rising), but I'd still be happy if I only got $600.

Because once I'm done with that shit, I'll have (almost) enough cash to buy a shiny new PC, capable of kicking ass and taking names. Glee!

I've got an in-house interview on Friday for a position in which I'll only have to speak with the public during rare circumstances. I'm so eager to get it I might wet myself.

Finally, something fun.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I'm a pretty unique son of a bitch. Only me and 12 other mushroom cloud layin' mother fuckers named Heath Wheeler in the US. Hot damn.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Anybody Want an Xbox?

Seriously, because I've had it. Microsoft is "updating their system" so the repair order didn't go through. I called back today to see if the update had finished, and they still can't process any orders. Not only that, but "as of yesterday, (they're) no longer able to send out prepaid shipping boxes." So they expect me to pay for shipping of my dead box to their repair center, too.

Hey assholes, if you'd taken care of my shit four days ago when I called initially, you could have sent me a goddamn prepaid shipping box, huh? For your fucking busted system that you saddled me with, huh? That I have to pay you to take back, and pay to ship to you. Should I give you my bank account number, too? So you can just make an automatic withdrawal every month in exchange for fucking me up the ass?

Seriously, when does it stop? Because I don't see any end in sight. The PS3 launch (as impotent as it seems to be) and the Wii launch are less than a month away. Now is not the time to be changing policies and pulling bullshit. Now I remember why I hated Microsoft with a goddamn passion 5 years ago.

So I'm calling back tomorrow and asking for a supervisor who "has the authority" to process a repair order not only at no charge, but to send out a fucking prepaid shipping box. Then when I get the replacement back, I'm boxing it up (in the original box) and selling it on eBay. Because I'm fucking done with Microsoft and their bullshit. Right here, mother fuckers.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Update: Apathy Subsides, Replaced By Rage

I just got off the phone with Microsoft. For a few moments there, I was actually shaking with rage. Let me break it down.

The rep picks up, and I explain the situation, complete with names and dates, that I was told my warranty would extend until 10/19, and I would like to get my box repaired for free. After all, it's only been about a month and a half since I got the replacement, and I've only had the Xbox for about 4 months (that's a blatant lie, but they don't know any different). I explained how the rep a few days ago had said the warranty was expired, but I didn't have my notes then to dispute it. He puts me on hold to check. After some minutes (not sure how long), he comes back and says the original rep was incorrect, and that I am still out of warranty. I disagree, as I was told by the rep a month and a half ago exactly when my warranty would end, and stated that I shouldn't be punished for someone else's mistake. It's at this point I request a supervisor, because I know this guy's hands are tied. I know that because I am this guy, basically.

Another lengthy hold time, and he comes back with the supervisor. He disconnects and I explain everything all over again to the supervisor (I want to make sure she has my side of the story, rather than just the rep's), which apparently upsets her, because she makes a comment about "letting her talk." So I do, and she spits out the same old garbage how I'm out of warranty. She adds new garbage by explaining why the original rep was wrong about the warranty. Here's how it works: When a new 360 is purchased, and it comes with a 90 day warranty. At any time during that 90 days, it can be returned for repairs. When the repair is received, it starts an additional 30 day warranty clock, not to exceed the original warranty by more than that 30 days. What does this mean for the consumer? Let's give some examples.

Example A: The 360 is purchased on January 1. It dies on January 17. The replacement is received on February 3. An additional 30 days begins at that point, but since the original 90 days is longer, there is no "extended" warranty.

Example B: The 360 is purchased on March 1. It dies on May 29 (the last day of the 90 day warranty). The replacement is received on June 14. An additional 30 days begins at that point, so the "extended" warranty is an additional 30 days.

Example C: The 360 is purchased sometime in June. It dies on August 11. The replacement is received on August 29. The "extended" warranty ends on September 28, even if the original warranty was supposedly set to end September 27.

That last example is me. I didn't purchase my 360 in June, but it's best that they don't know that. Anyway, she continues by saying that a repair order has already been entered and I've been charged $140 for the repair. I counter by asking if there's any way that can be refunded, due to this problem. She says it can be cancelled and I would be refunded. I had been getting steadily angrier through the entire call. It's at this point the rage tipped the boiling point. I don't remember exactly what I said, but I was pissed. I think I referred to my box as a "$400 paper weight" and said of course I wanted the repair. But it's ridiculous that I should be charged $140 for a replacement that's already been replaced once, and has gone bad twice in the span of 4 months.

She put me on hold again. At this point, I was shaking. A shorter hold time and she came back, and said she had the authority to do a repair order at 50%, so I would only be charged $70. I remembered that compromise people had been offered on the boards when I checked back in August. I said ok, and she charged the order. I asked again about the 1 or 2 year extended warranty, and confirmed I can call back once I receive the repair to purchase that, and the box can be replaced an infinite number of times during that span at no charge.

Am I still upset? Yes. Even at 50%, that's a bullshit way to make money off a manufacturing problem that they had prior knowledge of. It's not how you build goodwill. It's not how you earn repeat customers. Microsoft seems to be the juggernaut this round of the console wars, but these repair incidents make me seriously question how long it will last, and what this could mean for the next generation. Sony clearly needs to get their shit together, but Microsoft is kind of like the smoking hot woman that everyone wants, but then she opens her mouth and stupid pours out. So we'll see.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Can't Even Work Up the Rage

Seriously, I'm feeling so fucking apathetic right now, I can't even get upset about this. I know I should be, but I'm just worn out.

My surgically repaired Xbox crapped out on me yesterday. It froze while I was playing the demo of Tiger Woods PGA 07 or whatever the hell it is. I thought nothing of it, and rebooted and continued playing without a problem. Then I rented NCAA 07, and was going to play that last night, but before I could even put the disc in, it froze again. I rebooted, and this time the Xbox logo froze right in the middle of it's silly animation.

So I called Xbox tech support. I explained the problem, and he said I'd need to send it in. Apparently, I'm out of warranty, because the guy said I'd have to pay $140 for the repair. I discussed that with him, because it was my understanding that I was still under warranty, but unfortunately didn't have my notes from the last time I called. So I was ready to go through with the repair charge, but the system went down just as it was about to go through.

As it turns out, that might be a very good thing. According to my notes from last time, the rep had told me the original warranty lasted until 10/19, which would be extended by 30 days after the repair. So I should be well under warranty. The guy told me to call back tomorrow to process the order, so when I do, I'm going to hit em with the notes. "According to so and so on such and such, my warranty should still be in effect." If they say I still have to pay, I'm going to say, "Well, I shouldn't have to pay as much because so and so told me I was under warranty, that's not right." I hope I don't have to pay anything. If I do, oh well. I should be extremely pissed about that, but I'm not.

I'm definitely opting for the extended warranty this time, though. I don't know how long it's going to take Microsoft to fix their hardware problems, but I'm through taking chances.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Departed and other things

Last night, I went to see The Departed. It's the new Martin Scorsese flick with Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, and Mark Wahlberg. I wasn't really expecting much, but it was pretty good. I enjoyed myself, although it was too long. At 2:30, it was a bit unwieldy, a half hour could have been trimmed and it would have been taught. Plus, it was like, "Holy shit. *long pause* Holy shit! *pause* Holy SHIT!! *pause* HOLY SH...Wait, what?" Shocking the audience = good. Shocking the audience for shock's sake = bad. Having the whole theatre burst into laughter because the movie just took an unintentionally ridiculous turn = very bad. But my overall verdict remains the same: The Departed is worth seeing at the theatre, even if it does get a bit ridiculous and is unintentionally humorous.

Also, I was really looking forward to playing Space Empires 5 this weekend. It's already been released in Australia (of all places), and EBGamestopWare Etc. had it listed as shipping on 10/5/06 on their website, even though the generally accepted release date for the US is 10/16/06. So I called the stores on Friday, and while they said it did ship from the warehouse on Thursday, they hadn't received it yet. They recommended I pre-order so I could get a copy as soon as they did. So I did.

But now I'm thinking that they were giving me a line of bullshit. It says on their website that there are no copies on the way to the stores here in Stockton. In fact, there are no copies on the way to any of the stores in northern California except for Santa Clara and Santa Rosa. Great. Tomorrow is a holiday, so I don't think they'll get a delivery then. So I'll give them a call on Tuesday, but I seriously doubt the game will be there. I couldn't wait for SE5 before, but this bullshit jerking around with the release date, getting my hopes up and then destroying them makes me angry. At this point, I don't care if I have to get it online, by direct download, on Steam, or by pirating the fucking thing, I just want to play the goddamn game, goddammit.