Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

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

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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

An event

So I was there in Midtown at the Best Buy on 5th and 44th. I left my apartment in brooklyn around twenty minutes before. Driving over the williamsburg bridge was a relative breeze. As I drove through the First Avenue tunnel and swung around so that I could go down Fifth, I was worried that I was too late. I mean, I had worked it out so that I would be at the store just as they opened their doors. Would I be too late? Would I not be able to purchase a copy of the first World of Warcraft Expansion Pack, The Burning Crusade? Or even worse, would I be forced to stand in line for hours, enduring the city's new found winter wind, and not be able to obtain a Collector's Edition of the aforementioned electronic entertainment product? I'm sure you are riveted.

There was a line of like-minded dudes who couldn't bear to wait until daylight on the day of the pack's release. It wasn't that crazy, maybe about 150 people. The thing that struck me was how the crowd was a complete cross-section of the city's population. Every race and/or age group was represented. There was a couple in their thirties with their 9 year old son. I saw several twosomes of run of the mill dudes wearing barn jackets and bad leather shoes. Ten feet behind me there was a Yo with a visor on backwards and upside down who was talking loudly into his cellphone about having kicked ass at a WOW trading card game tournament. A few hetero Asian couples bought their copies to ostensibly continue playing together. I saw a man in his fifties standing in line wearing an enormous black cowboy hat. There was a tiny Mexican right behind me wearing a Yankees cap (I was wearing my Sox colors, funny how WOW brings us all together.) We chatted a bit as we watched the customers ahead of us carting out multiple copies of the game. "What the fuck, how could they let them buy ten copies?" Both of us were worried that the store would run out of Collector's Editions (CEs) before we got in there. We never mentioned baseball.

I got inside, and on an impulse bought two CEs. I thought I'd be able to use one and ebay the other. I mean they are up there. I drove home and my wife, Mephistopholes, promptly made fun of me for the dork I am.

Then because I hate myself, I stayed up until 2 or 3 installing the game and looking all the neat things in the CE. I'm going to go home after work and rub it all over my body. If you're lucky, I'll post the pics.

Someone call a dentist, it's going to be a long night

This is probably the coolest thing I've seen constructed out of gummi bears, toothpicks and Nerds. A whole lot of nerds.

http://missedmanners.wordpress.com/2007/01/12/what-i-did-over-christmas-vacation/

Friday, January 12, 2007

Just in case you were unclear

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that World of Warcraft®, its
subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), is
now played by more than 8 million gamers around the world. World of Warcraft has
also achieved new regional subscriber milestones, with more than 2 million
players in North America, more than 1.5 million players in Europe, and more than
3.5 million players in China.

World of Warcraft is huge. In case you weren't listening, they just announced that they have over 8 million subscribers. 8 million! That's freaking huge. Just to put that in perspective, Everquest, SOE's POS, topped out at around 500,000. That's like 6% of the numbers that WOW has now. And that's right before they will have a huge surge of new fanboys because of the expansion coming out next week. Expect the next announcement to top 10 million. We have an epidemic on our hands, ladies and gentlemen. And the only cure is some Strong Anti-Venom, or maybe a Healing Potion Injector.

Read the full press release: http://www.blizzard.com/press/070111.shtml

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Your nerd percentage

40.476190476190474% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?

I find myself a bit chastened. This test was actually pretty hard. For most of the questions, I had no idea what book/movie/show they were even referencing. Post your scores and let me know how your nerdness compares to mine.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Haven't done this in a while

but it's time for some linkage:

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/animator

An internet saavy friend of mine sent this over. It's a great little movie of a flash creation taking over a flash animator's workspace. And when I say flash, I mean, you know, Flash.


Gameknot is a great chess site and has consumed many hours of my work day. It's free, unless you want to upgrade to a special metal-based membership. Games are very easy to set up, especially if you like the low stress of only having to make one move every 7 days. I prefer the longer ones so if I forget to log in over a weekend I don't end up timing out. It's a fun diversion, with a lot of features including rankings, guilds (teams I think actually), game database of millions of possible moves, openings database and personal messaging. My username is jinglehopper, send me a challenge.


World of Warcraft's first expansion comes out a week from today, January, 16th, 2007. If you're not excited about the Burning Crusade, then you're no friend of mine. Go to the link above to download the opening cinematic (I recommend the flash viewer unless you want to wait hours for the bittorrent) which will play when you first boot up the game after waiting in line for 9 hours at your local Best Buy or Nerd Store. If that doesn't get your nerd juices flowing, then, sir, you never had a nerd heart.


The WOW community is ramping up for the new content so I thought I'd give a little shoutout to the fansites I check the most. Worldofwar.net has been around forever. It actually grew out of a Warcraft III site I used to check and is part of the LoadedInc network or something. The site is a great resource for the latest news about World of Warcraft, highlighting quotes from Blizzard or other fansites. The Admins are from Britain so they pay attention to both the EU and North American servers. In addition to news, they have a great database of guides and info about the game that I have checked countless times. The profession FAQs are especially useful.


These sites offer similar functionality. In the game, there are thousands(millions?) of different items. Some are junk and can be sold off, but most have some sort of purpose whether for a quest or for crafting purposes. Thott has been around since early beta in 2004, and has proved invaluable to me and everyone else who is trying to figure out where crap like Breath of Wind drops. The quest database and commenting system is indispensable. In typical outsourcing web 2.0 style, if the information you need isn't gleaned from thott's bot, chances are a fellow player has already given you the info in the comments. Wowhead is fairly new and offers a more streamlined interfacethan thott, although it doesn't have the years of user comments support that thott does. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, most of the comments are informative due to heavy administration. They weed out the "leetz hunter weapon!" crap that you sometimes must wade through on Thottbot. Wowhead also has extensive Burning Crusade info mined from the Beta including new recipes, spells, talents and items.


Just what you expect, it's a wiki of all Wow related material. It has great articles on nearly every facet of the game but I sometimes like to just read through the lore pieces. Sometimes you really just want to know the story behind Detheroc, dreadlord of the Burning Legion.


These sites are all concerned with customizing the interface of WOW. The original look of the game is great but there is just something tantalizing about being the complete master of my gaming experience. Using these mods, written by wow players and amateur programmers, I can go from this, to this,

The difference is huge (in a French pixie voice from Pulp Fiction.)