Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at gregtito.com.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kindle the fire

I know I'm late to the blogparty, but this stuff gets on my nerves. I like the Kindle, amazon's new book reader. I think it's a step in the right direction. And by the right direction, I mean the kind of world where everyone is connected to the Intehweb via bionic implant, there's no money, and we're just a worp away from skiing on Centauri Prime for the weekend.

But people just can't get behind this little device. It's being smeared all over the place as a worthless replacement for everyone's favorite technology from 1455, the fucking book. I know the device isn't perfect, the DRM is too draconian and the price isn't exactly right ($400 for the kindle plus $10/book) but now it seems to be the fashionable thing to pile hate on Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Jews and anyone trying to make an electronic reading device.

This one guy even implies that the kindle will create a fascist world as depicted in Orwell's 1984. And the stupid thing is, over 200 commenters seem to AGREE WITH HIM. Here is my hastily written response comment.

I fail to see how citing literary sources alongside pretty standard contract language is supposed to argue anything. I think if you looked at every T.O.S. you’ve ever agreed to without reading, you’d be surprised as to how much “control” you had just signed away. The language is there to protect the company, not to harm the customers.



Should the Kindle be DRM free? Probably, but then no one will get paid for all of the R&D and risk-taking they are now making. I think the high price of ebooks and DRM are here for the early adoption phase. Both will fade with time, a la Itunes.



Should Amazon collect general usage information like every tech company (including Apple, Microsoft, you cell phone, your tivo)? Yes. Of course they should. No amount of doomsaying and conspiracy theorizing will make this research turn our society into Orwell’s 1984. How can so many intellectuals be afraid of market research? Are surveys on the streets of NY an invasion of privacy? Yes. Does that mean every member of Greenpeace is actually a fascist? Yes, but not because they are gathering information.



I don’t think the Kindle will replace books, nor is that its purpose. I think Amazon is working towards a viable alternative to lugging that backbreaking Complete Works of Shakespeare your grandmother bought you and you’ve never been able to get around to reading around on a crowded mass transit system. And that’s something even crotchety old anti-progress pseudo-intellectual bloggers can get behind.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Jack Thompson is out again

Seriously, this guy is just blog fodder at this point.

Jack Thompson, the game-hatin' attorney from Florida, is up to his old antics again. He has filed a suit against BestBuy, the ESRB and anyone else he can think of for allegedly selling M rated video games to minors. Gamepolitics and Law of the Game are running the stories.

The funny thing is, Mr. Jack Thompson Esquire is just internet savvy enough to find these blogs AND ACTUALLY COMMENT IN THEM. I'm sorry, but if you want to be taken seriously as a lawyer, would you engage in trolling the comments on blogs written about your pending cases? Neither would I.

Check them out for yourself but here are some quotes from jack thompson, dickface-at-law.


"Pretty simple stuff, really, if your brain has not been fried by games."


"It's a shame you all don't know what you're talking about."


"It's called democracy, gamer nerds. Deal with it. And grow up."

"Sorry to embarrass you, but the Kaplan Foundation funds NIMF. NIMF is a grantee of the Foundation not a grantor. Are you on drugs?"


"Secondly, I am an activist against the sale of violent, mature-rated games to anyone under 17. You didn’t know that? I think you need a brain scan." [emphasis mine, i love how he baits gamers and then says shit like this next one]



"Correction, please:

I am not a “game-hatin’ attorney.”

As I repeatedly tell audiences, video games are reflective of a neutral technology. All technology is neutral. You can electrify or incinerate a city with nuclear fission. It depends what you do with technology.

Virtual reality is one of the most powerful teaching modalities ever devised. It can teach for good or for ill. Not sure why GP can’t grasp that."



If that were the case then why does he constantly refer to gamers as stupid nerds engaging in a masturbatory activity of which a 30 year old should be ashamed?

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Pride of the Red Sox

I can't think of a more fitting way to celebrate winning the ALCS after trailing 3-1. Ok, maybe using the trophy as some kind of torture dildo ala Se7en on a very willing Tina Cervasio. Maybe that'd be better than dousing the American League trophy with Bud Light while wearing goggles and chomping on cigar in the center of Fenway Park. Maybe, but probably not.

I love this guy and I love this team.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Oh and...




These stupid cats make me laugh everytime.

A man with too many mistresses

I've been playing LOTRO this week. (That's Lord of the Rings Online for you uncouth bastards.)

It was suggested that I get more of a working knowledge of the game, as it's a slight possibility that I could work for the company. (more on that later) LOTRO is definitely fun, it steals some of the best things from WOW. And with patch 2.3, it seems WOW is stealing some UI elements from LOTRO, like the minimap tracking trainers, merchants, etc.

But the question is, what do I do with 2 MMOs? They are huge timesinks already. Will it be possible to juggle two of them and a wife, a full time job and a failing writing career? Will I go insane?

Perhaps I already am...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To the woman...

An open letter to the woman on the L train whose breasts were smashed against my back this morning--

I'm sorry that I had to push my way onto your car. I'm sorry that the only means of conveyance to Manhattan from Williamsburg has become a crowded mess of livestock, braying and mooing to get on board the oh so scant few trains which deign to take us to our meaningless careers. I'm sorry about all that.

But at least we got to share a special moment. Remember when I looked behind me to be certain that yes indeed, that soft insistent pressure on my shoulder blade was actually your right breast. And remember after I confirmed that fact, I looked into your green eyes as if to say, "Huh, isn't New York crazy?" in order to disarm the tension such close proximity can evoke? And remember the look of utter disdain and hatred you gave me in return?

I do. I'll remember it forever.

Also, your tits. I won't forget them.

You had a great rack.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A guy on my basketball team did this to his finger

CHECK IT

How I lost the weight


This pic is from a Weight Watchers recipe card circa 1974. I'm not sure which is worse. That people actually ate fish balls or that it was presented in such a professional manner.

Candyboots has a tour of more delectable treats here. Click through them, it's worth a read. And the shudders.

Weight loss contest revisited

Just wanted to give everyone an update to the Great Loss of Body Mass of 2007.

I lost.

But I won. Get it?

Rain Delay and I decided that the scale measuring our percentage of body fat was a load of mung-flavored bunk. This was proven after Mr. Delay downed a small trough filled with beer and then weighed LESS than before he drank said libations. I think it read that he was at 15% body fat instead of the 22-21% he was hovering at at the time.

The two of us went with plan B, which was just a straight ten percent loss of weight. Of course, at the time of last weigh-in, Rain Delay was well under that goal while I was still a few pounds short. Or heavy. Whatever. The final counting:

7.12.07GregRain Delay
Weight in lbs.195.4225
% of Body Fat21.5%26.5%

10.4.07GregRain Delay
Weight in lbs.177
201.6
% of Body Fat (Bullshit)
17.5
21.5
10% lost goal
175.86
202.5
Pounds lost
18.4
23.4
Percent lost
9.2
10.4
*These numbers are from memory and may be a bit off. I may also be high.

I lost. And I lost a shitload of weight. So I guess I kind of won too. I'm thinner now then I have been since high school. That's a crazy idea to wrap my brain around. Pants are falling off me and I love it. We've accomplished more in 4 months than (incoming hyperbole!) most men do in their lifetimes.

Just to throw the point out there, I was actually up to 203 lbs just this February. In 8 months then, I have lost 26 lbs or 13.3% of my weight. But I'm not bitter. I am nothing if not a good loser. See what I did there?

I bought Mr. Delay his Wii and I'm glad for it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The problem with health care in this country...

I just went to the dentist and I am fucking pissed. She installed 5 fillings. After it was all over, I went to the front desk and was asked to wait while they have to calculate my co-pay. This did not bode well. I waited for a while, getting more and more annoyed that I'm missing time from work. Then the bitch told me that I owed $232.00. Because my insurance doesn't cover "white" fillings, only metal fillings. This is AFTER they already did it. So I'm forced to pay. Then I complained to the actual dentist and she gave me the standard line that "how was she supposed to know what your insurance covers" and "it's your responsibility to find out how much a procedure is going to cost." Totally ignored the fact that was hornswaggled and she knew it.
Moral of the story: get an estimate from your doctor like they are a fucking mechanic.

The debate can go on and on about how to resolve our health care crisis, and I don't know what the solution is. But I think the fundamental problem with the current system is that there is no accountability. The doctors and dentists screw the insurance company. The insurance company screws the customer. The customer screws their dog. It's all circular. Don't you think it's weird that you aren't the one paying for services rendered to you? Isn't it strange to think that your doctor and you often work in cahoots to wring more money out of the insurance company?

I was told a story recently where a doctor routinely charges exorbitant amounts for a visit, knowing full well that the insurance company will only pay the average price/visit. He doesn't do this to screw the customer, because he won't force the customer to pay the balance. The sole reason for charging high is so said average price/visit goes up and the doctor can make more money off the insurance company. Our system is that fucked up.

In order for a true capitalist checks and balances to work, there needs to be no middle man. Or at least, the middle man needs to be divested from your employment. Very few people have the financial freedom to quit their job and get a new one based solely on how the medical benefits perform. If we shopped for medical insurance like we did for car insurance, there would be accountability. If there's accountability, there might just be some change.

And I'd also like a pony.


And some cool ranch Doritos.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Not sure why I wanted to do this but I spent about a month trying to get all my toons on Detheroc on the "decades." I have chars at 70, 60 50 and so on. Just a little minigame with myself, but I thought I'd post it as further evidence of my dorkosity.




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Is it just me?

I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or what, but my neighborhood has seen an influx of extremely hot girls in the last few months. I know school just started and NYUers like Williamsburg as an alternative to Manhattan but, jesus christ on the Forman, it's getting out of hand. I sat on my stoop last night for a few minutes and witnessed at least 347 women with short shorts and cleavage for days. We're talking about a cascade of hotness rivaling a Bryant Park catwalk. More hot than that actually because these girls were real and not stick-figure marionettes.

It's enough to make me divorce my wife and run down the street with pants around my god damn ankles.

Well, maybe just the latter.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Since the 2nd grade




There are few performers I can say I've been a fan of since my days at Lillie B. Haynes. Weird Al is one of them. His show last night at the Beacon Theater was quintessant. He rocks like a man half his age and a nerd twice his stature. The show was a performance piece, complete with props and more costume changes than a one-man Hamlet.

I took some decent video and I'll try to youtube it for your viewing pleasure. Wait till you see Darth Vader dance.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Conscientious Objector

I thought those words only referred to the Vietnam war. Apparently there more than a few US military personnel living in Canada after having been rejected for CO status.

http://www.wmtc.ca/

Is this war as immoral as Vietnam?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Football vs. Baseball

I've wasted considerable manhours today on a pointless email discussion of which sport is better. Rather than have this amazing discourse be squandered on the waves of the interweb, I'm posting it here in entirety so that others may waste their time. My responses (in black) began through a proxy, the football fans wife. His answers are gay and in purple to denote such orientation. Fuck you, it's my blog. Enjoy:



Baseball is better than football. Make sure you tell him that.

I bravely told him that you said baseball is better than football. He laughed a deep and hearty laugh and then said "yeah right".

Football is for 300 pound fatties with 5 year careers, baseball is for life.

Here we go. Just to negate the 300 lbs comment........Cecil "Hall of Famer" Fielder. Okay, now that that's outta the way. I like baseball. Go Sox. I even enjoy going to a game or watching the playoffs on TV. The problem is, baseball is a game. Football is a sport. You do not have to be an athlete to play professional baseball. Manny an athlete? Not even close. Is he extremely talented? Absolutely. But so is the guy who can bowl a 300 consistently. A Hall of Fame baseball player succeeds at the plate 2 out of 5 times. So that's a possible two times a game offensively that a Hall of Fame player may have to actually run. That's good because I don't know if Papi could handle more than that. Now let's look at defense. Papi is out because, well, he's a DH. But let's look at Manny. How many times do you go through the batting order in a game, maybe 4 times in an average game? So that's going to be around 36 at bats for a team. How many of those at bats result in balls coming Manny's way? For the sake of argument I'm going to estimate really, really high and say 10 balls come his way. So, let's say he gets 2 hits on offense (not HR because then he doesn't have to run) and 10 plays his way on defense. That's 12 times over the course of a game that he has to run. 12 times???? That's ridiculous. And how many of those defensive plays does he actually run on? Manny is not an athlete and he's a Hall of Fame caliber player. Sport???? I think not. I'm not saying that running is essential to a sport (boxing) but moving should be. Every guy on every play of a football game has to be athletic and in shape. The same can't be said of baseball. The football guys may way 300 lbs but they're in terrific shape and if they're not they get booted off the team. So, in conclusion. Yes baseball players have skills but so do guys who play darts. There are athletes who play baseball but in most positions it's not a requirement. Football is superior in every way. While baseball may be America's past-time, football is America's passion.


Any and all baseball players would scoff at your statement that they are not athletes. The main point you are forgetting is that football players play in 16 games a season. Baseball players play in 162 games. That's ten times more, in case you didn't realize. Longevity and endurance is a much bigger part of baseball and involves much more than running 12 times a game. In order to be prepared to have bursts of speed and excellent hand-eye coordination, they must take batting and fielding practice, do calisthenics and keep their bodies in excellent shape much like football players. The Cecil Fielders and Big Papis are the exception, not the rule. Let me ask you this question, would a 300 pound lineman be able to play 162 games a year? How long would his career last if he did?

Also, last I watched a football game, there is a lot of standing around. What's the offense doing when the defense is on the field and vice versa? Not to mention the 2nd, 3rd and 4th string players who spend the whole game on the bench. To say there is more downtime in baseball than football is kind of ridiculous. Both of them pale in comparison to true cardiovascular sports like basketball and long distance running or cycling. Football and baseball are more akin to sprinting or long jumping. Preparation for an intense bout of truly incredible feats of sprinting or leaping or swinging doesn't lessen the athlete doing it.

And finally, DARTS ISN"T A SPORT? HOW DARE YOU?


David Blaine had to prepare his body to be in a bubble for 3 months or whatever the hell it was he did but I wouldn't say it makes him an athlete. If we're going to bring practice into the equation then the baseball season is probably shorter than the football season. I'm not educated enough in the baseball schedule to be sure but I know that teams not making the playoffs in the NFL have a total of about 4 1/2 months off. Football takes a much bigger toll on the body too, hence the average shorter career. And I'll take a batting practice and calisthenics over an NFL OTA any day.

I'll give you that a shortstop has to be a real athlete. You might convince me on 2nd too. Those guys really have to be able react quickly and control their bodies. But I know in my current out of shapeness that I could handle the "rigors" of a 162 game season playing right field. I just don't have the hand-eye coordination and other skill involved in swinging a bat at a professional level. I could handle the field though (throwing would take some practice but again I would argue the same about bowling).

To answer your question about the 300 pounder being able to handle baseball? Absolutely! He'd have to retrain his body but not because baseball demands it. Because that position on a football field requires you to build your body different from the average human. In thinking about positions I think I've come up with a good comparison. A baseball player is like the kicker on a football team. Waits around for three hours to be involved on his 8 plays a game. Yup, he runs down the field to help cover kicks but have you see these guys? Hardly athletes. They have to do calisthenics and stuff to keep their legs flexible. They have to keep their "heads in the game" ready to perform their miraculous feat. But they for sure are not athletes. And though there is no proof, I'm sure they would be just fine if the season had 162 games.

I'm typing this at work so I'm not able to formulate my thoughts real clear right now. You should come over tonight and we'll settle this like men! Or we can put on some skirts and settle it like baseball players. = ) Just kidding. I respect baseball players for what they can do, I just wouldn't call them all athletes.

Your definition of athlete is slightly skewed, mostly to win this argument, I fear.

Is a sprinter an athlete? Baseball involves sprinting. Is a high jumper an athlete? Baseball involves jumping. Hell, I consider myself an athlete and I only play basketball once a week and go to the gym here and there. Why are you slighting the fact that preparation and anticipation of a spectacular athletic feat is less strenuous or worthy of praise than "Hey you, push against this guy for 5 seconds" 20 times in a hour? I see you ignored the downtime involved in most football games. Take a look at your own precious players before wielding the "athlete" stick.

I also don't think you'd be able to handle the rigors of a 162 game season without training. The baseball "season" begins in February and stretches to October so I'd say it's comparable with football's. Younger guys also play Winter ball or now the W.B.C. so that will add games. Most players take only a month or so off and then have a routine off-season workout schedule to stay sharp.

The real difference between football and baseball athletic levels is one of resilence and endurance. Sure, a 300 pound guy can do well for a month or two easily, but to consistently perform well for 6+ months takes a tailored and trim athletic body. Have you heard anything about the steroids or greenies scandals? They are all about bouncing back, about maintaining strength and agility over a long period of time. Why do you think players would risk their career for the chance to perform consistently over a whole season? Perhaps it's because it's not as easy a sport as you claim it is.

But that's not even why I think baseball is better than football. What bothers me is the culture. Football is so Republican. So ritualistic. I don't like that they play once a week (or two weeks on a bye). What keeps your attention in between? Baseball is consistent. Every night during the summer, I can get home from work and watch a game. There are better stories involved in baseball. The starter trying to bounce back from a shelling. The young minor league callup having his first at-bat. Just look at how many great baseball movies there are: Field of Dreams, Major League, Bull Durham, The Natural, Eight Men Out, A League of Their Own(don't knock it, it's fucking great). How many football movies are there? Any Given Sunday? I hate Pacino in that. The Longest Yard? Rudy? Awful.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Weight loss contest

In a decided effort to combat our expanding waistlines and our impending death, my buddy and I have begun a Herculean effort to lose weight. Realizing that there is absolutely no way that the two of us could motivate separately to eat less and exercise, we agreed to set our anorexic tendencies against the other.


I've known Rain Delay since 1st grade and we have been forever locked in a clash of wills, be it for girls, basketball, bike races, grades (we were separated in 3rd grade because I would proclaim my A on a test was better than his A-), and now FIFA 07 and Fight Night 3. I cannot let him win any more than he can allow my victory. Which is not to say we don't respect each other, quite the opposite. But this marks the first time that we have decided to harness this power for good and not for evil. The two of us have vowed before the Lords of Cobol that we will lose weight or die trying. Actually, the loser buys the winner a Nintendo Wii, but everytime I will play it, Rain Delay will die a little bit inside.


The rules are like this: We are striving to lose one third of our body fat percentage. We reasoned that losing straight weight would encourage unhealthy practices like slicing off our arms. Plus, I didn't want to feel bad about lifting at the gym, thinking it would skew the numbers to his favor. We weigh in every Monday on a scale which Rain Delay bought for $120. It figures out our body fat percentage by sending three tiny mice into our anuses and having them ascend through our digestive systems. It's either that or it uses electricity somehow. Regardless, it's foolproof and we trust it 100%.


Here are some surprisingly annoying-to-make tables of our results so far:



7.16.07GregRain Delay
Weight in lbs.194.2225
% of Body Fat21.5%26.5%


7.23.07GregRain Delay
Weight in lbs.192219
% of Body Fat21%25.5%


7.30.07 Greg Rain Delay
Weight in lbs. 190 219
% of Body Fat 20% 25.5%


As you can see, I am currently winning. Mr. Rain Delay has stalled at 25.5% while my steady descent will lead me to the sweet fruit of Victory. I can already taste it. It tastes like cantaloupe.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Conspiracy

I'm not sure what the human fascination with conpiracies is drawn from. After every major historical event now it seems theories sprout up about what really happened or what our government isn't telling us. Was JFK shot by the grassy knoll? Were the Kinghts Templar involved in Richie Cunningham's career? Is Paul dead and replaced by a robot? Is his memory full?

Perhaps it comes from history class. I remember the point being outlined many times in my Connecticut liberal public school education that history is written by the victors. That even commonly held accounts of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War or Vietnam are heavily skewed towards promoting US supremacy. I was a child at the peak of the Cold War, and it often seemed every movie was about Russia succombing to the capitalist wise-cracking might of America. Looking back now, I wonder if what we had was so much better than the Russians or if that's what we were supposed to believe.

My current obessesion/timewasting activity is to read about the myriad 9/11 conspiracy theories. It's undeniable that the destruction of the WTC was a polarizing event which conveniently divided the world into Us vs. Them. The benefits to the current White House administration were many (despite how it has blown up in their face.) It's not a very far leap of logic to consider that Cheney and Co. (Coming from Disney Films this Christmas!) perpetrated the attacks or were at least complicit. I've watched enough Jack Bauer to know that this shit happens all the time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/11_conspiracy_theories

This is a exhaustive list of current 9/11 theories. The wiki editors do a good job of keeping this article neutral, neither endorsing or dismissing the claims. It's a decent read, even if you don't believe a bleeding word of it. I'm not sure where my own opinion lies, but some of the evidence presented (including corroborating eyewitness testimony of explosions in teh WTC basement as the planes crashed into the top of the tower) are too compelling to deny outright.

Another new conspiracy (for me) is outlined here. This is well-thought out and comprehensive thesis proving that Jesus did not exist. Historically. That there is very little evidence to support the claims that he was a social activist or even a public speaker. Instead, this dude proves that the gospels and the subsequent new testament were mythic writings on par with Homeric literature. Interesting, if you can deal with the wall of text on that page.

Finally, the pyramids were made by aliens because Egyptians are stupid.

Friday, July 13, 2007

***News FLASH*** Businessmen are Boring!! Extra!

There is this asshole Indian dude who I work for named Giridar Srinevasan (the names have not been changed because I don't want to protect this son of a bitch).

One day a few months ago he was looking through the shit on my desk (while I wasn't there mind you) and saw one of the fantasy short story magazines I've been getting. He looked through it, noticing only the advertisements which, regrettably, market towards the female readers with Fabio looking dudes on the cover. He insisted on calling it gay-porn. Everytime he's here at my desk with another person and time to kill, he brings up my obsession with gay porn. "Have you heard about Greg's taste in magazines?" I always bring out the latest issue of Realms of Fantasy and show them, trying as hard as I can not to feel embarassed. He goes through the magazine, pointing out every shitty advertisement for low-end romance/fantasy books, as if that's what I was reading. All the while it's peppered with derisive comments, "I'm worried about you..." Giridar constantly tries to make me feel like shit for reading fantasy, but I'm always like, "I am not ashamed, dude."

This morning, he did it again with one of the younger guys in the office. I said, "Don't you read stories?" His response, "I read newspapers." In a grim voice. Like that's the only thing that matters. Guess what you fucking prick? There's more to life than numbers and spreadsheets and whether your mail-order Hindian wife is going to get into the US on a shitty ass green card.

He's a dick in normal business too, nobody seems to like him because he gets agitated and upset easily. The guy acts like the annoying younger brother to those above him and a playground bully to those below. He's even tried to drag me in the dirt before on an invoice that he fucked up, blaming me to his bosses because I reproduced the exact numbers that he gave me an hour before. Douche.

This is for you, Giridar. If reading fantasy makes me wrong, I don't want to be like you.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

CONTEST!!

I'm participating in yet another one of those forced creativity things. Yep. It appears it's the only way I can get anything done. This one's a week long screenwriting challenge. Starts tommorrow. Let's just hope I don't get Romance set in a Public Bathroom in Central Park.

http://www.nycmidnight.com/2007/SC2007/challenge.htm

Actually, that one wouldn't be that bad. I could have a rapist who actually falls in love with his victim... GENIUS!

UPDATE! My criteria are as follows:

GENRE - Fantasy

SUBJECT - Swimming


When a kid jumps into the pool, he's transported to a dream world of magic. Or maybe, when man has a near-death expereience swimming on a beach, he is saved by a mermaid. Or maybe...

Just in case you were wondering how Fantasy Baseball works

Although you probably weren't.

Fantasy baseball scoring: Every day, each team is ranked 1-10 on each cumulative stat. So if Player A has 50 saves recorded on Tuesday and Player B has 48, then Player A has a 10 in saves and player B has a 9 (assuming they were leading the league). If on Wednesday, Player B's relievers do well and record 3 saves and Player A's record nothing, then Player B is ranked 10 and Player B is ranked 9 for saves that day.

This is done for each stat, each day, and the rankings are all added which results in your overall score. If Player A has a 10 in saves, a 6 in ERA and 1 in Ks then his overall score is a 17. On Wednesday, his rankings are 9, 6 and 1.5 respectively and his score is a 16.5 (a .5 on a ranking means there is a tie and the two players each get the mean of the rankings above and below them). That's why on the main page change is denoted by -1 or +2.5. This is the team's cumulative change in the rankings of each stat.

Another important thing, players have to be in the game (not on the bench) to record stats. If a batter isn't playing that day or its a travel day for the team, try to have the players on the bench get in the game and get you some stats. Starting pitchers are the most important, you have to rotate them in when they are scheduled to pitch. This means you have to check every once in a while to see when their rotation is up. You can schedule roster changes several days in advance if you are leaving for the weekend or something.

That's only rotesserie league play. I've been slightly addicted to this whole fantasy thing, ever since my buddy got me involved in his Yahoo league. There's also head-to-head play where you battle one manager's team per week in all the league's stats. Good times. I'd link you my team but it's set to private for some reason. I'll give you a hint though. Manram Ordonez.

Yet another time suckage tool. Between this, playing 12 games of simul-chess on gameknot and reading the latest WOW news, it's amazing I get anything done.

Wait. I don't do anything. I forgot. *sigh*

Thursday, June 28, 2007

British Atheist

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/more_sport/athletics/article1991114.ece

The greatest triple-jumper known to man has also become Britain's most famous atheist. I'm seeing a lot of parallels here. Triple-jumper. Jesus rose from the dead in three days. This guy won 7 silver medals in his career. Jesus's life was bought for 30 pieces of silver*. Jonathan Edwards had his reverse epiphany when he was exposed to BBC secular types. Jesus exposed himself to Mary Magdalene. The similarites are almost eerie.

On another note: Edwards carried sardines in his pouch when he won the gold medal. That's just gross.

* See Jesus Christ Superstar.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ah those crazy ARGs

There are some games that you don't even know you are playing.

The idea of alternate reality games is that they are viral marketing tools with their insidious messages shot directly into your eyeballs which will make you jump and dance and buy their shit. In fact, I don't think they do any of the above.

It's hard to define what exactly they are. A series of puzzles on the internet, a couple of dummy phone lines, a series of images which eventually point to ... what? The reward is intangible. A piece of lore. A scrap of story. Yet, millions of people enjoyed Halo 2's I love Bees campaign.

I don't know any of these people.

I like the idea. It is like an extremely complex scavenger hunt created by an evil genius. But ARGs are basically fabricated research projects. Which although neat, actually entails a lot of, for lack of a better word, WORK. Why would I spend hours scouring websites, reading encyclopedic tomes searching for clues or following up on Da Vinci Code-esque leads? Am I wearing a fedora? Am I named after the dog?

Anyway, if any of you are interested, Bungie is running a new ARG for the release of Halo 3. The game may or may not start here. You may be tempted into a tangled weave of intrigue with loose blondes and smart-quipping vilains. Or you may just read the comic, say, "Huh, neat," and continue on with your life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Grape soda

I'm drinking some right now. And all I can think about is the band I had in 9th grade with my friends who were way more musically inclined than I. I tried to write the lyrics of a song, I had most of them down but the only ones I remember were:
I stood upon the ground and I wished that you were there
There was something gone that I'd not seen before


Heavy shit. Unfortunately that's the entire catalog of Grape Soda right there. If we'd stuck with it we'd be the next Creed, or at least the New Radicals.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A month gone by

Been busy lately. On May 17th, I left for a weekend with the boys in what will be known as the Greenville Drive. For details of our mass exodus to the southland, go here. He's got quite a few posts on the trip, make sure you check them all out. I will be adding pics and maybe even video here eventually. I filled up a 2 gig card of pics and I still had to delete some of the obviously out-of-focus in order to get the Cos. That's right, I said Kevin Costner.

Immediately after I got back from staying in dirty motel rooms in the bible belt, I began recreating a dirty motel ... ON STAGE! Good friend, Oliver Butler, and his fellow theater auteurs from the Debate Society have successfully staged their third play, The Eaten Heart. I humbly spent a few days banging together some moulding, hanging masking and stapling scrim to itself. The set is badass, the sound and the lighting is spot on, and the characters Paul (like naked Larry who believes he's invisible because he's wearing Magic Underpants) and Hannah (crazy woman who sings lounge acts castrating her dear husband) create are scintillating. I *heart* the Eaten Heart.

I received a wonderful shallacking from the sun on Memorial Monday. Mephistopholes and I loved our little jaunt to Jones beach, until the sun went behind the concrete clouds and threatened never to return. "Come back Father Sun!" we beseeched from sticky, lotioned faces. Come back he did, as he always does, and his vicious rays punished us for our doubt in him. Both of us are burnt, though (despite her name) Mephistopholes is worse. Her midsection is now a crayon-perfect burnt umber. Tasty.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

WOW bits

Most of my day is still eaten up by the menace which is currently plaguing 8 million people all over the world. World of Warcraft. I recently coerced, with 2 parts mindless reiteration, 1 part marijuana, my buddy back into the addictive gameplay of his Human Warlock, Savagei. Like Christopher Moltesanti to a freebase session, he has gobbled up all the new Burning Crusade content with reckless abandon. My main is stalled at 65 while he's been at 70 for weeks. I just hope he doesn't shoot me when he realizes that he hasn't slept in four days and still hasn't bothered to change the pants he shat when he and his guild finally bests Illidan the Betrayer in the Black Temple next month. This resurgent junkie behavior may or may not be why he hasn't blogged in two months and doesn't have a job, but who am I to judge? Judy?

I play when I can, when I'm not doing comedy or playing basketball or at my weekly D&D game. But most of my time in front of this here cubicle computer is still spent researching the little bits of lore at wowwiki.com or searching for new addons at wowace.com or wowinterface.com. A couple of months ago, I channeled my dorkosity into writing an article about the addon community and the very real possibility of mod authors burning out on what is a very volunteer project. It went up at the Escapist last week and I'm proud of how it came out.

There have been rumblings of a big announcement from the Boys at Blizzard. A new game is in the works set in the Starcraft universe. For those of you who don't know, Starcraft was an RTS made in 1999 and is the greatest computer game ever made, if you are a Korean. Seriously, this is an American game which has become a NATIONAL FUCKING SPORT in Korea complete with rockstar gamers and huge televised matches with thousands of screaming fans. Most assumed that Blizz's new game was the much anticipated Starcraft 2, a sequel which would give them a break from the MMO juggernaught of WOW and a chance to get back to their RTS roots. But today, quite a few channels link to this story, it seems that Blizzard is in fact going to announce a new Starcraft MMO at its third Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, South Korea on May 19th. The article linked above mentions "well-placed" Blizzard sources. It's anybody's guess who the fuck that is but my money's on this guy.

World of Starcraft, eh? I'd buy that for a dollar. Many people assume that it will be a clone of the WOW gameplay but I think a highly polished space economic sim like EVE Online or the crafting of SW Galaxies is the niche MMO space Blizz will be aiming at. They don't want to compete with themselves, do they? They already have LOTRO to do that.

I stumbled upon a gallery with screenshots from the alpha phase of WOW's development. It's pretty cool to see how the game changed, most of the models were replaced and the UI was redesigned several times it seems. But I wish I could find this in the game still. "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"

And finally in the file labeled "Why the fuck not?" Blizzard has partnered up with Visa to bring the American consumer the most needless tie-in product ever conceived by humans: The World of Warcraft Visa Credit Card. Was it really necessary to poison every transaction with the taint of your WOW obsession? I can see nerds everywhere saying, "Sure, put it on my WOW card so I can rack up gametime." Really?


Really?




I applied the day it came out...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cadaver Synod

You come across some crazy shit on the interwebs. I was just browsing around on that wikipedia this morning, and stumbled upon on article describing the scene pictured here. Apparently, in 897 A.D., a pope dug up the dead body of his predecessor, dressed it in papal robes and put the cadaver on trial. Pope Stephen (the new pope) had deacons stationed near the throne who would mutter the correct (guilty) responses to the new Pope's questions. The dead dude was found guilty, stripped of his papal vestments (which I presume were just put on him a few hours before), and then buried, only to be taken out of the ground again and thrown into the river Tiber.

This was all politcally motivated, I gather. There were several warring factions in Italy at the time and the Papacy was used as a tool to gain power. But seriously, who thinks digging up a body and having a mock trial is a good idea? Why not just give a speech damning the last guys actions, or even moving the body to a place with less prestige than the Basilica? Fuck it, why even bother with the whole religious charade and stop bothering people about it?

I know what Christians like my dad would say if I ever brought this up to him. He'd say you can't judge the present church or question the existence of God just because some awful things were done in the past. My response to that is, why the fuck not? These popes were crazy. According to dogma, they are supposed to be the corporeal link to God. Does that mean God condones digging up corpses and having a puppet show? No. It means the whole thing is a fallacy.

And I still can't understand why so many people fall for it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What is the Algorithm?



I've been seeing these billboards in the city recently. I don't know what they are about. There is no mention of any product or even a website at the bottom to check. There is really no clue as to what the message is other than the recurrence of the Algorithm mentioned. In the past, New York has seen some interesting viral marketing campaigns before viral was used to describe something other than why you were puking all day. I remember Peter Barbieri, this TD I used to work with, told us how when Ghostbusters was being advertised in the subways, they used an all black sign with just the No Ghosts symbol in the center.

Man, remember Peter Barbieri? He was great. I used to work in his shop in Ossining, NY. I'd take the Metro North Hudson Line north against traffic and commute to Ossining, the location of Sing Sing prison, in case you were wondering. Peter used to go into the prison and help the inmates put on shows. He told us he couldn't bring in a SawsAll though.

What the fuck was I talking about? Oh yeah, the algorithm. Your guess is as good as mine.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spoiler


Saw this the other day near my apartment. RIP Curtis, indeed. But is this really a fitting memorial for the death of Curtis Manning on 24?

Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 20, 2007

4:20

My brother gave me his old Ipod. I've been against the infrenal machines for years, as I've documented here before. Mostly because they cost so much without the necessary payoff. I've had a 40 gb Creative jukebox for 3 years. It's never crapped out once or needed to have the battery replaced. Try to get the same story from any ipod owner. If it's a mini, forget it.

But here it was, a free 60 gb ipod. How could I turn that down? I decided to give it a shot. I tested it out on my laptop, getting the few tracks I keep on there for my wife . . . Mephistopholes.

Last night, I tried to install itunes on my computer at home. First off, Quicktime is a bitch and infects every fucking thing, but whatever, I'll deal with that later. Then I try to install the ipod but it says I can't because it's already has a library on another computer (my laptop). Plus there are songs that I bought there which I don't have the licenses for on my home computer. Itunes tells me to either cancel copying of those tracks or do a complete reset. I try to reset the thing, as prompted, so that I can start fresh. And it tells me that I have to plug it into the wall in order to complete the reset. Mi hermano never gave me the wall plug, because he thought I didn't need it. So now I have a brick which I can't use.

My Creative doesn't freak out when I plug it into different machines. And I thought Ipods were so useful, part of the Apple Zeitgeist that is busy making peoples lives better while charging a petamillion for it. They are the acerbic hip dude from Waiting, and I'm just the fat funny guy from the Daily Show. I'd rather be the fat funny dude, honestly.

I'm going to try this tonight, http://www.mgtek.com/dopisp/. It's a plugin for WMP that works with ipods. Maybe it will be less stressful than dealing with itunes, i always liked WMP's interface better.


Oh and 420, dude.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jack Thompson is an asshole

Why is he on FOX News as a "School Shooting Expert"? He is not an expert. He is an attorney who represents victims of teen violence in civil suits against companies like Take Two by using the Videogame Made Them Do It Defense. And loses. He is now linking the shooting in Virginia to videogames somehow, even though there is a mess of evidence that this dude was way fucked up anyway. It's preposterous, and yet he still gets the press. Who's dick is he sucking to get on Fox News? That's the 35 thousand dollar question. Smart money's on Oprah, but that could just be a dream I had.

Check out some of the crazy. You won't be disappointed.

http://kotaku.com/gaming/jack-thompson/

I recently saw a bit on Fox News (it plays non-stop in the cafeteria at work) where the host was talking about a Washington Post article mentioning that the shooter played Counterstrike, a popular FPS, in high school. Kotaku also has a bit about how that point was edited out, probably for two reasons, one being the fact that it was deemed irrelevant and the other being the fact that VIDEOGAMES DO NOT MAKE PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE!

Ok, I'm off to go home and play on my Columbine Simulator, er, I mean, my Xbox.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

NY weekend

So it's Wednesday and I'm only now writing about what happened on the weekend. I know. I'm the promptest blogger you know, admit it.

On Friday, my wife, Mephistopholes, got a call from our downstairs neighbor. Usually he calls to see if we are having similar problems with the landlord. Like he called a lot this winter because his heat was basically off for the entire month of February, aka the coldest fucking month of the year. The neighbor, I'll call him Jeremy, because that's his name and I'm over the whole anonymous thing I think, travels often and came home one night from Uzbekistan or whatever to find his breath was now visible inside his apartment. Not a good sign. We felt his pain but our heat was fine, that is until last week where our cheap ass Polish landlord (I'm not saying being Polish has anything to do with it, not really) decided to fix the boiler himself instead of calling a repairman. So the problem, which could have been fixed in a day, took 6. Yes, I was without heat for a week. We survived, mostly by snuggling together closely and having lots of sex. That's even what my landlord suggested we do. Fuck like rabbits to heat the apartment. I wish I was kidding about that.

Anyway, my neighbor, Jeremy, called last Friday not about the heat, but to invite us to a movie screening. He works in the movies, I thought he was a visual effects supervisor guy, he has done some awesome movies like Pi, Life Aquatic and a shitload of others. The NYC marathon goes by our house and the two of us usually have a competing brunch parties where our friends come over to eat bacon while 30,000 people run past us. I found out after this years event that Darren Aranofsky, director of Pi and more recently, The Fountain, was at the brunch. I seem to remember him flirting with Mephistopholes. I'll have to kill him. But back to the point, kind of, I basically want to be Jeremy. He actually makes his living making movies. And he makes really cool ones. But at least I can somehow reap the benefits of living above him.

He called on Friday to invite us to a screening of Wes Anderson's newest film. Mephistopheles and I were like, sure. So we go to the Viacom building, 1515 Broadway, home to a little network you might have heard of called Music Television or some such. We are directed to a posh elevator bank, and go up to the Paramount Offices with glass tables and movie posters on the walls from the current releases. Again, it is posh. Up a few steps is the entrance to the cinema they have in the building. At the double doors are standing two men, one is a bookish gentleman with long hair and a blazer, the other is Jeremy. I go to shake hands with my neighbor, at the same moment that I realize the other dude is Wes Anderson himself. I recognize him from the AMEX commercial. I wish I had the wherewithal to at least introduce myself to Mr. Anderson but I think there were some studio big wigs behind me because a split second after I say hi to Jeremy, both he and Wes were locked on the fat balding dude coming up the steps. If I know anything about the movies it's that fat balding men are always studio execs. So I didn't intrude and went to go find a seat.

There weren't any left. Seriously, a private showing, and there were no seats left. Would my tardiness prevent us from receiving this gift from the heavens, this manna? No, some hot female PAs, who are infinitely more happy at their jobs than I am at mine, busted out some chairs and Mephistopheles and I sat in the aisle and watched the first Public Screening of The Darjeeling Limited. That's right, Wes even came out and told us so before it started. They hadn't shown it to anyone yet. No one. We were the first to see the cut film, other than the editors and the director himself. It was a great honor. Oh, and Wes told us that his colleague Jeremy would be talking to us after the screening to gather some feedback. Jeremy is Wes Anderson's colleague now? What the fuck am I doing?

The movie starts and it's fucking great. Just great. The first ten minutes or so is a short film with Jason Schwartzman and Padme (I forget her name). The film ends and credits roll. Then the real film begins with a shot of Bill Murray in the back of an Indian cab. I'm not going to give anything away, but it's a great role for him, I'm so glad Wes used Bill like that. (I'm on first name basis with them now, I went to private screening.) The rest of it stars Owen Wilson, Schwartzman and Anderson newcomer, Adrian Brody. The three of them are brothers who meet in India a year after their father's death to go on a spiritual journey. The train they meet on? The Darjeeling Limited.

After the movie, we were given blank sheets of paper and a golf pencil. I've been to a few of these screenings before, they usually give you a worksheet with specific questions like "Did you think the film needed a better ending? Choose one: Strongly agree, agree, don't give a shit, wish you could shoot yourself." It was weird having a blank slate to say what you thought. But after being a little put off (how do you write comments to one of your idols?) I warmed up to the process. I wrote a whole page of things I liked and didn't like. Mephistopholes started to get pissed that I was taking so long but I didn't care. I was here to write what though so I did. I was proud of it. I even signed my name at the bottom.

Leaving the theater, Wes was nowhere to be seen. My guess is he bugged out after the movie, he probably couldn't bear to see 100 hipsters scribbling down "you suck." Wes's colleague, Jeremy, was the guy who facilitated the passing out of the paper. I met him after and handed in our comments. We chatted for a few moments about the movie. I tried to sound like I knew what I was talking about. In retrospect, I probably sounded like a douche. Character development? Did I actually just say that? But he listened attentively and then bowed out of the convo, saying he had to go and read everyone's comments now.

That was my Friday night. Mephistopholes and I talked about the movie the whole way home on the L train (except for that innocuous conversation with that hip art gallery owner). She told me she saw Jeremy's name in the credits of the movie. He's not a visual effects anything anymore, Jeremy, my downstairs neighbor, the guy with no heat who complains about the landlord and has competing brunches with me? He is one of Wes Anderson's producers. He produces for Wes Anderson! Wes Anderson was basically like, "I've got this idea for a movie, want to make it with me?" and Jeremy is like, "Sure, Wes."

I want to be him so badly.



This post was meant to encapsulate the whole of my weekend but I already wrote a freaking tome about Friday night. I'll spare you the rest. Here's the short short version: I went to a NY Islanders game on Sat. night, my first hockey experience and it was awesome. Brutally awesome. On Sun., My wife and I looked at buying new homes in Ditmas Park. We are screwed, we'll never own any apartment bigger than a breadbox. That is all.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Stream of consciousness personal ad

I am a MAN!

I play D&D. I play WOW. I play chess online (not very well). I go to the gym. I play basketball. I run on the subway. I run on the beach with my brother his papillon. I drive a Dodge STRATUS! Actually I drive a 94 Volvo wagon. I eat meat. I don't eat seafood. I eat fruit every morning. My cum tastes like pineapples. I think. Therefore I am. I am a secretary. I wear short skirts. I put out for cash. I wear no makeup. I just bought two books and a teeshirt from Penny Arcade. I am currently wearing a headset for the telephone. My car gets 20 mpg, IF I'M LUCKY! I just left a message that was way too long. I tend to ramble on voicemail. I just want to get everything in there. I have to make people laugh for 20 minutes straight. I don't know how I'm going to pull that shit off. I am on the 51st floor. I email too often. I think I can fly. I am Brian McKnight. Or Rick James. I'm six feet tall. Or 5'10" but I'm rounding up. My penis is six inches of white meat. I like bacon. Better than sausage in the morning. Jimmy Dean is an asshole. Do you want to date me?

i am a man...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday and Subways

Here it is. Another week gone. woo.

I ride the subway here in New York everyday, sometimes four or 6 times a day (but always in multiples of 2). That's a lot of subwaying. I know many people hate the press and push of the masses on the trains. It can fucking piss you off. Like when all you want to do is get home, take your clothes off and veg in front of your media of choice, and there are about 5 million people in your way. But I love the subway. It's part of what makes New York the city it is. Where else are you bombarded with so much humanness?

Here is a non-comprehensive list in no particular order of the various characters I've observed on the MTA's New York City Transit:
  • The Rabbit. These people know the exact door of the exact subway car which leads to the exact staircase they need to make the exact transfer. As soon as the door opens, they sprint out and run up the stairs willy-nilly, with no care for appearance or safety. I must confess that I am a rabbit. I run with the best of them, setting the pace for the pack. The rabbit hates to be caged in by the herd of cattle slowly marching up the stairs to their doom. The rabbit must run free.
  • The Wall. Tall dudes, usually wearing puffy black coats, who stand in front of the subway car doors. The doorway is normally about five or six feet wide. When the Wall stands in it, suddenly the opening shrinks to two. And when there are two Walls (not an uncommon occurence) you have to push through like a baby pushing through a fat chick's vagina. No really, it's that bad.
  • The Crazy Conductor. I've only encountered this once or twice in my career as a subway rider. Before the train announcments were automated on the newer cars, the conductor would get on the horn and shout out the current and next stops and end with the word "Standclearoftheclosingdoorsplease." As is common of MTA workers, though, most of the conductors had an outrageous foreign accent that only got magnified by crappy speakers. The announcements were unintelligble, and most subway veterans tuned them out. But once, while riding the L train under the East River, a conductor got on the mic with a message, "Don't just push and scrape onto the subway like animals. We are human beings, not cattle. Try to act like it." I'm sure that speech isn't exactly MTA protocol. Another time, I heard a conductor give out weather forecast information and his ironic predictions on the upcoming election. The smiling faces of the other passengers proved that this was a unique New York moment. I agree.

More subway characters to follow including but not limited to The Bitchy Mother, Subway Soundtrack , and Mr. I Just Crapped My Pants.

Monday, February 26, 2007

My web 2.0 footprint

You tempt fate every time you Google yourself. That's a given. You may end up with some embarassing diatribe you wrote when you were in school and the internet was young, or may see baby pictures your mom decided to post on Flickr to get back at you for not visiting them last weekend. Or worse, you may find nothing at all. Is there anything more depressing than a blank page? In this internet web 2.0 culture, if you don't even rank in the first ten entries, you're nothing. That's sad. Sadder than the end of Bridge to Terabithia.

So I googled me recently and I gagged, or gaggled. Sure there are more mundane entires about theater productions I produced or movie contests I was a semi-finalist for. But there is a ton actually written about my writing. I mean, yeah, I've written a few gaming articles. And it may be cheating. The demographic of people who read articles about video games are probably also the kind of people who'd be likely to blog about said article. But still, I was surprised and more than a little happy about it.

At the risk of getting needlessly messianic, I'm linking the hell out of myself. Hell, everyone deserves a little self-promotion every once in a while.

http://mac.joystiq.com/2005/11/15/wow-player-analyzes-pvp-cruelty/

This well-known gaming blog posted this over a year ago and I'm just internet savvy enough to find just now. It even has over 30 user comments about what happened to me and my level 29 Night Elf Priest in Wow. I wish I knew when it came out so I could have posted some shit-talk back to some of these fuckers.

Here are some other bloggers chiming about crap I wrote for the escapist:

http://dubiousquality.blogspot.com/2006/06/gaming-links.html

http://www.qj.net/Science-fiction-and-games-go-together/pg/49/aid/70525

http://www.gamepro.com/community/profile.cfm?login_name=Lunchbox&blog_id=14073

http://tlundmark.blogspot.com/2005/11/in-end-there-is-just-no-point.html

And it's not just blogging people. I love that my words are now being used as if I am an expert. Some people are desperate for any promotional material, I guess. On this page, something I wrote about a game engine is used to sell it to other video game makers:

http://www.bigworldtech.com/company/testimonials_en.php

In perhaps the strangest link of all, here I am cited in some dude's law school paper on gambling in MMORPGs:

http://webpages.acs.ttu.edu/mmetheni/Internet%20Gambling%20and%20the%20MMORPG.htm#_ftn51

Scrolling up, the citation is on the following line,

These formal studies are in addition to the high volume of more anecdotal documented odd behavior[51] mirroring other parts of the real society in the Society.

It's crazy, people are using my shit to write their freaking papers?

Friday, February 23, 2007

new design

I was getting tired of the old template. What do you dudes think about this fancy green one? Hold your applause, please, please, I'll be available for autographs by the stage door...


And because I feel guilty just posting that little statement, here's a picture of a douche on a banquette:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ah, videogames

So Rain Delay's got an interesting bit about videogames helping surgeons perform better. Well, duh. We're talking about manual dexterity here and any activity which reinforces the brain-hand connection will improve performance. Videogames, the first truly interactive medium, can and have been shown to actually help mental and physical development, despite being portrayed as a time-wasting endeavor. The news outlets, like the Fair and Balanced Fox news affiliates (who really believes that 24 interviews are news?), love to pick up the banner against any violent acts perpetrated by admitted gamers. "The videogames made them do it." It's the same that was said of the Beatles, Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne and Barney the Purple Dinosaur. The truth is that no song or movie or book or game can make someone commit awful acts of violence. Gamers are especially sensitive to this line of reasoning because they've seen such mindless discrimination from their mothers for years. But sometimes, this senstivity goes a little too far.

Take the case of the kid in Wisconsin who is in jail for murdering a homeless person. CNN ran an article about the case, highlighting a dangerous trend of sport killings amongst the kids of America. There have been many homeless people killed the last few years by teenagers, perhaps because of a lack of moral understanding and/or consequences by disposing of an unwanted member of society, ie. a smelly homeless dude. There is more to be said about the kid's sense of superiority over those less fortunate (most of the perpetrators are middle-class white kids) and the ability to exact their own perverted sense of justice. One could even argue that our country's stance on the world stage as a moral superior, able to wreak havoc on any state or individual for a perceived lack of character, is more to blame. Fuck Saddam, we're better, let's kill him. (insert "that smelly homeless guy" for Saddam and you'll get my point)

All of this would have passed my notice however if it weren't for one line in the CNN story.

Ihrcke told police that killing "the bum" reminded him of playing a violent video game, a police report shows.

That's it. One line in a 2000 word story. Who knew that one little throwaway jab at videogames would ignite such passion in the gaming community? At least 3 major gaming blogs have cited the CNN article as another attack against videogames. I agree with their stance. I laughed at the jokes at CNN's expense. Gabe from Penny Arcade makes a very funny rebuttal, citing the story claiming that one of the assailant's rubbed his own feces on the dead homeless man:

"[Rule #]4. Don’t take shit out of your butt and rub it on the hobo you just killed. To me this seems like the easiest lesson of all. My son is only two and already he’s coming to understand that “poops” belong in the potty. How did this kid get to the age of fifteen years old without learning this? Here’s how easy this one is:

Hey son, come here real quick.
Yeah Dad?
Don’t take shit out of your butt.
Sure thing Dad.


Done! How hard was that? What kind of crazy fuck takes poop from his butt and rubs it on someone?"

But I think the gamer reaction is a little extreme. I mean, the videogames thing wasn't even the lead on the CNN story. It was one line from a quote from the kid himself. Yes, that angle is overplayed in the media. Yes, that kid is a dipshit (or rather, a very smart dipshit) for bringing it up. But come on, let's not make a Jack Thompson case out of it. It seems that the gamer community is now guilty of some of the same inflammatory tactics that their opponents always use. Maybe it's worth it to muster this kind of outrage at every disparaging mention of videogames in the press. Maybe. But maybe if we start taking every quote from an obviously crazy fuck as a serious accusation against gaming, then we are also adding credence to that accusation. I'm just saying.

Videogames have enough demons to battle without creating new ones.

(And sometimes those demons threaten to destroy Azeroth and we have to travel through the Dark Portal to battle the Burning Legion on the shards of wasted Draenor. Yeah, I've been playing too much WOW again.)

And for those of you who still cling to the belief that videogames corrupt absolutely, read this letter from the stepmom of one of the teens jailed in the case. It's a crazy read.

http://www.penny-arcade.com/2007/02/21#1172088960

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bad Words

Every once in a while, I see some moron write something that inspires a scathing backlash essay. My friend sent me this link this morning from my hometown newspaper in Connecticut. It involves many things which I hold dear, UConn basketball, Gampel Pavilion, and swearing profusely.

http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=38838b92-4244-42b7-b2e5-26f16600ef92

Here is my response, which I just emailed to the writer:

To Mr. Mike DiMauro:

RE: UConn Students Cross Line With Crass Behavior

I'm a UConn alum now living in New York. I've been following Huskies basketball for over 16 years and have been reading your writing in The Day for just as long. During that time, I've noticed your writing style degrade into simple, easy topics which the common reader in CT can consume without having their senior-citizen-values threatened. The pinnacle of which is the article a friend sent me this morning about UConn fans cheering at a game at Gampel. The piece is so fraught with fallacies that I'm not sure where to begin. According to your article, you expected this kind of a response, so I felt it was imperative that I indulge you.

The basic premise of your article is that you wish UConn fans, and sports fans in general, would resist the urge to cheer for their team. Or at least, they should only cheer in the way that you find acceptable. As long as we keep everything PG, the world is a better place. I whole-heartedly disagree with that attitude.

Today's organized sports grew out of the bloodsports of history, from Roman gladiatorial games to medieval jousting and combat. Watching the death of a criminal by hanging or otherwise was a common activity up until the 20th century. We, as a culture, have grown away from such profane entertainments, but there still exists a need in the human psyche for such exploits. We are fascinated by the unhealthy contest, the bitter struggling of individuals against any and all opponents. Our current fixation on reality TV proves this.

What does this have to do with UConn basketball? The contest of the two teams on the court can become an orgiastic experience for the spectator. I've been there. When I was a student, I had season tickets to the student section and rarely missed a game. I would yell anything that came to mind, such as "Kick them in the face!" or "Punch them in the throat!" I would even swear and use the f-word, if you can imagine. All of this behavior would increase my emotional involvement with the game. When UConn won, I would feel ecstatic. If they lost, melancholic.

Too often, I see fans sitting throughout the game, especially at the HCC. They only stand for the ceremonial first field goal, and then thereafter are planning to leave the arena with 10 mins left in the second half. These are the fans who cover their ten-year-old's ears from hearing the word "crackhead," as if they expected the game to be a showing of Happy Feet. Is this the behavior that you are encouraging? Or are you saying that fans should be raucous, but not too raucous? That is a difficult line to draw.

Perhaps the not-so-random shouting of fans (Paul Harris was actually indicted for drug sales and 3rd-degree assault) is actually a plea for an organized student section. I look at the Oakland Zoo in Pittsburgh and I wonder why nothing like that has grown at the University of Connecticut, which arguably has a program more steeped in basketball tradition than Pitt. Instead of suggesting the administration publicly censure the student fans in the Daily Campus, which I'm not confident would have the effect you intend, you could use your statewide circulation to call for a more organized and efficient cheering section.

Your article gets even more specious when you recommend Jim Calhoun write an email discouraging the use of expletives. You've been to many more games than I have, with a much closer vantage point to Calhoun's coaching style. Have you, sir, never heard Calhoun himself utter the dreaded f-word on the court? I have. Many, many times. Yet, in your piece, you say that he should be an advocate for decorum at Gampel. Perhaps you should, with all of your experience, tell Calhoun how he should coach a basketball game. I would cherish listening to his response for years to come. I bet he would drop some pretty big f-bombs on you.

Mr. DiMauro, you already named yourself many of the terms I might have used to describe your attitude so I will spare you any further name-calling. I will merely say that you are wrong. The behavior you suggest should be eliminated from the game is precisely what draws people to an athletic contest. We are not passively watching a movie or TV. The cheering or jeering of a crowd can actually influence the outcome of a game. It is why playing games in MSG or Cameron Indoor Stadium is infinitely more intense than at, say, the Hartford Civic Center. Gampel is the only arena UConn should play its games at because the student section is indeed raucous, supportive, loyal and occasionally profane. And that behavior helps the team win games.

Or did you want the Huskies to lose?



Let's see what happens. Maybe I'll be published in The Day tomorrow, maybe I'll never get a response. But somehow I feel a little better for having wrote that.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

WhoreCraft

So there I was, minding my own business and not looking at porn at work. Then BANG!, I happen upon this crazy mashup:



It's episodic pron content set in an Azeroth-like world with blood elves, hunters and rogues doing it from behind. No really, that's one of the episode titles. At first I thought it was kind of ridiculously derivative crap, but then I read an interview with the creator (?). He's been playing WOW for years while starring in and producing hundreds of porn videos. He wanted to combine his worlds. Hence, WhoreCraft. It makes perfect sense, if you think about it. The asthetic of warcraft is very much based in anime and its sensual conception of the female form. We all know night elves are hawt. It was inevitable really, given WOW's popularity, that someone would make the leap from sexy cartoons to real people screwing.

I haven't DLed the content myself yet, but I plan to tonight. It may be good, it may be crap. I'll let you know.


But all I know is, I spent way too much time looking at this stuff at my cubicle.

Movies that were good when you were 6...

But kind of suck when you watch them now.

A not-so-comprehensive list:

  • The Neverending Story - I remember loving this delightful tale of the Nothing destroying all of Fantasia when I was a kid. I just watched it on netflix and I have to say, keep your nostalgia firmly ensconced in better fare. The ancient effects, nonsensical editing, and bad child acting, consisting of yelling every line "But that's impossible!", definitely ruin the meta-story. Why did I remember the Empress being hot? She was freaking 10 years old, what's wrong with me?
  • The Money Pit - The only funny part is when Tom Hanks is stuck in the floor and does that weird barking laugh. The rest is actually rather sad and reminds me too much of life in my crappy apartment, where my shower has tiles falling on my head on a daily basis.
  • Spies Like Us - Still has got some great moments with Chase and Akroyd, but the sequence at the end with the lasers and the missiles and the pudding pops are way too Reagan-era for me now. I used to love the Cold War, what happun?
  • Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock - I used to think this one went against the odd-numbered Trek films rule, wherein they all suck, and pulled off Kirk and the Gang's weird quest to save Spock from being dead. After watching it as a mature human being though, I have to agree with what Trekkies (and everyone else) knew 20 years ago. It sucks.

Add your own tales of the disappointment in your childhood's ability to critically analyze films in the comments.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A tale of two blogs

I've been doing a lot of work over at my comedy blog, scheduling shit and talking up my gigs. I still have a lto of work do on it, making it pretty and adding pics and video (don't even get me started on how much my myspace page sucks). I'm wondering if it even makes sense to have two blogs at this point. I mean, sure, it's nice to be able to post crap here that's on a more personal level, but that's part of the joy of blogging really, the baring of all your soul.

My dream is to have several urls which would point to the different aspects of my creative professional life. I'd have only one blog that I'd post to and give tags to each facet, like comedy, playwriting or producing. And the url producer.gregtito.com would only display blog entries with that tag. Is that even possible? Is it even necessary?

What think you, my loyal commenters?

Anyway, i thought I'd just point out to you that I do in fact have another blog, just in case you didn't know. There it is.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bad Luck Streak

We all have the shit hit the fan sometimes, but I think I've had a pretty awful lot recently. Here's a bulleted list, in no particular order, of the crap that's happened to me in the last few weeks.

  • My Honda got hit while parked
  • Got speeding ticket while looking for new car
  • Bought a used car which so far doesn't have working heat (or a front grille, don't know how I missed that)
  • Missed playing in my basketball game last night because I was dealing with car crap
  • Had sore throat for the last week
  • Spent hours writing for this website only to figure out today that I will never get paid for any of it
  • Pissed off the guy running said website by apparently snarky emails which I thought were clear and mature
  • My new camera broke while I was in Russia
  • My filet mignon from said russian restuarant looked/tasted more like Fried Ratnon
  • Mephistopholes will never trust me to purchase cars again

I thought it would be a much longer list actually. Maybe my life's not as bad as I make it out to be. Yeah, right. And maybe I'm a Chinese Jet Pilot.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

What Bush can do to stop health care costing an arm and a leg

Interesting discussion going on at my brother-in-law's blog re: health care.

http://blog.chemacki.com/?p=201

Here's a tidbit:

I do have a problem with the amount of money those in the medical profession charge. For today’s visit, I literally spent 5 minutes with a physician’s assistant and was charged over $175. That’s over $2,100 per hour! What the @#&$! I’m sorry, but I have a real problem with that. I’m guessing the idea is that the $175 is an hourly charge. But I should not be charged for the 45+ minutes I spent waiting…while they also charged other patients for the same full hour as well. This is total bullshit. I don’t understand how this is even legal, but every doctor’s office does it. No wonder they all drive Mercedes and Porsches and live in 5000 square foot houses.

My response:

Here’s an idea, what if a hospital offered customers a monthly plan to use the services of their doctors. Say $200/month for unlimited services, with a deductible for major surgeries. Think of it as a finance plan for health care. That would save billions of dollars by wiping out the need for insurance. There are holes in that plan, of course (like what happens if you get injured while you’re out of town?), but I think it’s a start.

Car update

More news on the car, I got the accident report and the driver was actually a FEMALE. I know, I know, spare me the woman driver jokes, I've already made them all in my head.

And even though the car service company is insured, they are late on their payments and the policy was terminated as of 1/14/07. That's 3 days before the accident for those of you counting at home. And the place where I had the car towed hasn't yet estimated the damage on the car. It's been there almost a week. I just called to check what the damage is and Rusty or Ralphie or whatever the fucking guy's name is said he was looking for 91 Acura in the lot and couldn't see it. I told him I have a 91 Honda, not an acura. He said, "Oh." Maybe he'll call me back today, maybe not. It doesn't really matter at this point.

I'm paralyzed. I can't make a claim on somebody who doesn't have insurance. And I can't file anything with small claims court because I don't know what the damage is.

You know what time it is?

Hurry up and wait...

...


...


stilll waiting...


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...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Never liked that car anyway

There it is. My car was smashed by a drunk car service driver in Brooklyn. I didn't even find out about it until I happened to glance down the street. I thought, "Huh, why is my hood open?" Then I knew. I rushed down the block to find the little as yet unnamed Honda crushed on two fronts, shards of colored plastic on the ground surrounding it.

Ironically, the car was parked in front of a bar. I went in, slightly in shock, and asked the first waitress I saw what had happened to my car. She looked at me like I was crazy. "Didn't you notice the car smashed up right outside?" "What?" was all she could muster. I looked for a bartender. He said that he wasn't working when it happened, by he heard from the previous tender that my Honda got hit the night before, almost 20 hours before I first noticed it.

I called 911, they sent a patrol car full of veteran cops with perfect Brooklyn accents. "Oh yeah, that happened last night as I was finishing up my shift. They arrested the guy, DUI." The precinct had an accident report filed already but the helpful clerk I spoke to there said she couldn't give me any information about the case. "It's just our policy." I don't have collision on my car, it's not worth anything so why waste the money? But because this crap wasn't my fault, I might be able to collect from the drunk dude's insurance. Problem is, I can't find out what his insurance company is because the cops won't tell me until the accident report is processed. We're talking weeks here.

So I got the thing towed. AAA was a pain because they wouldn't let me tow it if the car hadn't already been moved from the scene of a crime. Apparently, if the cops had deigned to move the Honda ten feet, then it was legal for AAA to move. If not, which the cops were too lazy to do, then it was illegal. I talked to the supervisor at AAA for fifteen minutes until I was like, "Can we just start this conversation over with me saying that the car had been moved?" To his credit, whether he knew it was an asinine bureaucratic policy or if he was just annoyed with talking to me , he capitulated and sent the truck.

Luckily, as the car was being towed, a random hipster came up to me and told me that his SUV was the vehicle that my car was pushed into (there's barely a scratch on his bumper, BTW.) He was at the scene when it happened, and filled in a few blanks for me. The car was indeed a livery car. The dude was indeed arrested. He apparently swerved to avoid hitting something, rear ended my parked car, which then smashed into his car. He gave me his card and said he took a bunch of photos. He emailed them to me the next day, the pic at the top is his.

I played detective for the next day or so, trying to track down who hit my car. The livery guy's license plate number was on one of the helpful hipsters pictures. I went to this site and searched for it. The car is registered to Saleem Motors, which has an address and phone number listed in Long Island City. Problem is, the number is never answered and goes to a fax machine eventually. Who knows what's going on there? I could drop by the address, it's not that far, but it's cold out, and there's prolly nobody there.

So I'm playing the waiting game. I can't do anything until the report is available. My car is being stored at an auto body shop and will get estimates done on it on Monday. I'm pretty sure it's toast. Look at this photo, the radiator and grill are smashed, the hood is gone and the battery is dislodged. The car only has a blue book of about $1400 anyway. Repairing it is going to cost way more than that. I've started looking for new cars in the hood. These look promising but I kinda wish I had something right now. You don't realize how much you use a car in the city until you can't.

The frustrating thing is that in no way is this my fault (I wasn't even in the car) but somehow I know that I'll be the one penalized. One day I had a perfectly working car. The next, it's gone. Fucking bullshit.