Friday, August 30, 2002

Ok, so it's finally time for the Best Buy story. It all starts as I was attempting to reconfigure an old sony vaio computer of mine when I realized that the CD drive was no longer working. I just happened to have another, even older drive sitting in another, even older computer, which I was not using anymore. Of course, the logical thing to do would be to replace the broken drive with the unused one, but it just so happened that the broken drive is proprietary sony vaio hardware, so the other one wouldn't really fit. However, like most computers, the vaio has 2 additional standard slots for putting in cd drives, hard drives, etc. The next logical step would be to put the working CD-drive in here, but this is where Best Buy comes in.

You see, many (about 4) years ago we purchased a 2nd hard drive from Best Buy, and for some reason we had them install it. Naturally, they put in the standard-slot area. The hard drive was too small to fit by itself, so they put these two metal extending bars on either side. The problem is, these bars apparently made the contraption too big to fit into a standard slot, so whoever was doing the install decided to wedge it in diagonally between both slots, to the point where the metal braces actually bent around it. Because the drive was now misaligned along every axis of the compartment, the installer only managed to put in two screws to secure it, instead of the expected eight. What's more, the two screws were on the same side of the drive, leaving the other side to hang freely.

This is how the computer stayed for several years until that fateful day when I needed one of those two slots blocked by the metal monstrosity. Being the determined fellow that I am, I decided to try to yank out the Best Buy hard drive to try to clear out some room for the new CD drive, and then put it back in somewhere else. Not surprisingly, the thing came out quite easily, given that it was only loosely held in by two screws. Now here's the shocker: I decided to un-bend the metal brace and try to put the hard drive back in the right way. It fit perfectly. All this time I had been silently respecting those Best Buy install "technicians" for not being discouraged by a hard drive that didn't fit, and using their ingenuity to install it anyways. Now, I realized that drunken monkeys would likely have done a better job. Thatís all I can say. I hope my attitude towards Best Buy has now been justified.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Two notes for today, neither of which deals with Best Buy. You see, Best Buy continues to be bumped from my daily agenda because its incompetency is timeless; the Best Buy universe is (deliberately) as static as Aristotle's. Therefore, my posts regarding their numbskullery (or skullduggery, if you prefer) will be equally relevant whether they're written today, tomorrow, or sometime in the distant future. On to today's notes, then:

1) It's roster cut down time in the NFL, where players across the country huddle in their dorm rooms, terrified of the fact that they may soon be asked to turn in their playbooks and clear out their lockers. Usually players are, understandably, none too eager to leave, and will make futile appeals to club officials in hopes of retaining their spot on the roster. Others go more quietly, but this too can have its disadvantages, as the following story proves. One individual on the Packers, Jason Brookins, was told to turn in his playbook, and deciding to take latter approach to being cut, immediately headed home from Wisconsin to Missouri. The problem is that the Packers wanted his playbook back so they could add some additional plays, not as part of the termination process. Alas, Brookins had already turned of his cellphone and was on the road. It's currently unknown when and if he'll be back. Read the whole story here.

This whole mess could have been avoided if NFL teams fired people like normal companies. Actually, my preferred method to fire people would be through a hilarious "You've Been Canned" E-Card complete with humorous flash animations of cuddly animals, but this project is on the back burner as I line up potential investors.

2) Classes have started again, so my posts will now likely be coming in at slower pace. That's not to say they will stop. Anytime I find something amusing, annoying, or just plain stupid, it will still go up on here as soon as my schedule allows. If I have an unexplained absence of more than a week or so, those of you who know me can drop me an abusive email to get me set straight, but I don't think things will ever get that bad.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Tonight I was planning on posting about the continued incompetency of Best Buy employees, but I found something even more important that I had to share with you, so those blue-collared-shirt-wearing dopes will have to wait until next time.

The subject of dopes brings me to my current topic, a delightful website that details one man's struggles with the neighbor from hell. It starts off a bit slowly, but just keep reading and you'll be laughing out loud by the time you get to the end. This is, in my opinion, exactly what any web logger should aspire to, at least in terms of interesting yet everyday content. Plus, it makes fun of rednecks. The hit counter's at over 4 million so you know he's doing something right. So, without further ado, I give you The Redneck Neighbor*.

*Special thanks to my Uncle Tim, who brought this to my attention.

On an unrelated note, Chris may have funny fraternity shirts, but my site's the #2 listing for google search 'Thunderwear "France"'. See?

Saturday, August 24, 2002

From the Important Technological Breakthroughs File: A new Illinois company called LifeGem recently announced it has found a way to turn cremated remains into diamonds. That's right, instead of carrying around grandma's heirloom ring on your finger, you can carry around a bit of your grandma on you finger. If you were really looking for a treat, you could turn your loved one into a diamond and then blast them into space, courtesy of Celestis Inc. Personally, that's getting a little too Superman II-ish for me. Of course, the most horrifying consequence of this discovery falls on brides-to-be. Sooner or later, some Joe is going to propose to his ladyfriend with a ring made out of her future mother-in-law. "She'll be with you forever, honey".

Friday, August 23, 2002

In my perusing through the daily news, I recently stumbled upon a controversy surrounding the lyrics of a song by country singer Toby Keith. Now, I personally avoid country music like the plague, but this was one of those things that I just had to share with you, my loyal readers. The song in question is entitled "Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American)," and contains the terrorist-dissing lyrics " "And you'll be sorry that you messed with/The U.S. of A./'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass/It's the American way." Apparently various parties have asked Keith not to perform this particular song (for obvious reasons), even though it was number one in the country. I have two comments regarding this controversy:

1) Judging by the number of people that have bought Keith's album, there apparently are a lot of people who really like this song. Now I have absolutely nothing against patriotism, but I have a feeling that these are the same people who think George Bush is a qualified leader of our country, if you know what I mean....

2) Judging by the controversy that the lyrics have started, there apparently are a lot of people who really don't like this song. They are overlooking one key fact about the situation. This is a country song by a country singer. What did you expect, a well thought out and balanced socio-political analysis of the Afghan nation? I just can't see how people would be surprised and offended when a country singer talks about putting a boot up someone's butt. You should just be happy he's not talking about his doublewide.

The moral here is, quite obviously, that nobody should be listening to country music in the first place. Thank you.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

I just had a lengthy, insightful post wiped out by Blogger because I accidentally clicked somewhere I wasn't supposed to. I'll rewrite it again tomorrow, but I'm just too mad to put another 30 minutes in tonight. However, for the time being, I will give you further proof that the best names come from the world of sports: The Cleveland Indians recently called up centerfielder Coco Crisp.

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Songs that I really wish would have died forever, but have been revived by inspired ad executives:

The Spice Girls Song, courtesy of McDonald's
Mambo No. 5, courtesy of Toyota
The Macarena, courtesy of Michelina's

I cannot imagine these songs ever, ever, increasing anyone's urge to buy a product. Man, if they were using the Macarena to advertise free Luxury Yachts, I still wouldn't get one, just out of principle.

On the other hand, if you use a decent song to advertise a product, you kill the song for all eternity. Van Halen's "Right Now" will forever be known, at least to me, as "The Crystal Pepsi song". Burger King singlehandedly ruined practically every 70's funk and soul classic. Microsoft tried to make "Start Me Up" the Windows song, but luckily that one didn't work, as "Start Me Up" had already been claimed as "The Football Kickoff Song", which is slightly more acceptable. Other classic rock wasn't so lucky. I've heard far too many The Who songs associated with automobiles recently. A whole new generation of children will now grow up thinking of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" as "The Cadillac Song". We can't allow this to happen.

The only solution is, of course, no music in any commercial. I don't think that's too unreasonable, do you?

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Well, I've finally made it back from Jacksonville, so the posts should be coming in on a pseudo-random basis for a while. In honor of my recent trip, I'd like to present a feature entitled "You might be from Jacksonville if ..."

You might be from Jacksonville if.....

The predominant emotion inspired by your football team is pity.
If you've ever bought boiled peanuts at a roadside stand.
If your school consists of an eclectic mix of surfers, preps, homies, and rednecks.
If you live on the southern atlantic coast and haven't been hit by a hurricane.
If all of your roads look exactly the same.
If you enjoy deforestation.
If you're surrounded by commercial areas, yet you have to drive at least half an hour to go anywhere.
If your commuity is gated and called something like "Pine Rivers" or "River Pines".

Thursday, August 15, 2002

In my inifinte wisdom I have neglected to metion that I'll be in Jacksonville and practically cut off from all internet access until Sunday or Monday. I apologize for any inconvience or emotional distress that this may cause my readers, but I'm sure I can make it up with stories from down there when I get back.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I've always been in favor of appointing people who actually know what they're doing to important government positions. Apparently George Bush isn't. Case in point: His appointment of Tommy Thompson to Health Secretary. Now, for those of you who don't know, Tommy Thompson was the well-liked and generally well-respected govenor of Wisconsin before his appointment. He is, more or less, a lifetime politician and is certainly not an expert on anything within the medical field. Perhaps I'm just naive in thinking the Health Secretary should be a doctor, a biologist, or even a dentist, as opposed to some guy that has as much knowledge in the medical field as I do. Anyway, this appointment has yielded some humor, as Thomson routinely garbles medical terminology that he's supposed to be familiar with, just like anyone else with no real medial background. A few examples from an article detailing this very phenomenon:

"Can you imagine the hemopathetic blood cell being started here?" he said in a speech praising UW research on finding the hematopoietic, or blood stem cell. He later referred to them as "those pathetic stem cells."

"We haven't had any attacks as of anybody receiving West Nile virus or encephalopoulus," Thompson said. "What's the point? He meant encephalitis," an irritated Thompson spokesman Bill Pierce said when asked about the secretary's comments. "There might even be a real disease" called encephalopoulus, he suggested.
I happen to do a lot of shopping at Best Buy, just because they happen to be close, cheap, and have a relatively good selection. Plus, their employees don't work on commission, which is the reason I refuse to go to Circuit City. I don't need 15 people following me around asking me if I want to ring up that 2-dollar extension cord I've been looking at their particular register. But I digress. My point is, Best Buy is very good if you know the store has the item you're looking for, you know where it is, and you know how much it costs. In essence, when you don't have to deal with any Best Buy employees. The biggest problem is that they are all absolute idiots. I call various Best Buy stores from time to time to inquire about the availability of certain products, and I never, ever, have been given the correct answer. And it's not like the employees are telling me they don't know. I would be perfectly happy with "I don't know". The problem is that they will consistently give me the wrong answer to any question I ask, usually in some condescending tone, as if they're entirely disgusted with me for not being in tune with whatever planet they happen to be receiving their incorrect information from. Typical dialogue:

Me(politely): Hi, I was wondering if you currently have ______ in stock?
Note: I already know that _____ has been released for at least a week

Best Buy Employee (snootily) Uh, yeah, that doesn't come out for another two weeks.

Me: (suppressing rage, but still politely) Thanks.

Best Buy Employee (still snootily, while silently thinking "It's a shame that Best Buy has a superintelligent human being such as myself answering the phone, taking the time to explain the intricacies of whether or not a certain item is on the shelves to morons like this guy" ): *click*

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Now I've seen a lot of deceitful popup ads that will say absolutely anything to make you click them, but this one just made me laugh out loud.

Friday, August 09, 2002

Ok, it's movie review time again, and our subject today is The Bourne Identity. Now, I would have liked to have first read the book by Robert Ludlum that the film was based on, but unfortunately I have to spend my time reading such things as "Alogorithms for Biological Sequence Analysis". Thus, I came into the movie having no idea what to expect. Compouding this problem was the fact that I arrived late and missed the first few minutes, but unless the film opened with a huge austin-powers-esque song and dance number (which seems to be highly doubtful given the tone of the movie), I don't think anything happened that I wasn't able to piece together later. As you may know, the movie is about Jason Bourne, who wakes up one day and doesn't know who he is. Normally, these amnesia-type movies can get very confusing very fast, sometimes purposefully so, but this is not at all the case in The Bourne Identity . The movie takes something that should be very confusing and makes it pretty easy to follow. You can decide for yourself wheter or not that's a good thing. Things move along at a pretty good pace and there is an awfully good car chase. In fact, the movie seems to move a bit too steadily, as there really doesn't seem to be any climax to the whole thing. Now, I realize that this movie (like the book) is the first of a series and that everything shouldn't be wrapped up at the end, but here the ending was just that, the end of the movie, as opposed to an actual "ending". There's enough to leave hope for a decent sequel, though.

In short, the film is sorta like a ride that you enjoy while you're on it, but when the end comes you feel like you deserved more. 3 stars.

Warning to anyone who is thinking about seeing The Bourne Identity: This movie contains so much euro-techno on the score that you'd think the Chemical Brothers were producing it. Granted, the film takes place entirely in Europe, but did they really have to torture us poor unsuspecting Americans by having the entire movie set to a dance beat? How about throwing in a nice American song, like the "Hokey Pokey"? That's what it's all about!

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

I was lucky enough to go to the Smellyland USA, also known as the Wisconsin State Fair, yesterday. It's one of the very few places I know of where you can eat deep fried cheese on a stick while looking at pigs who are too big to walk and cows who were apparently bred for their manure-producing capabilities.

It's also temporary headquarters for about 10,000 useless product vendors, trying to sell you things with names like "the juicilizer" or "fruit kabober". One product I was especially fond of was a mop-type instrument called "Euro-Clean". If any of you are friends with anyone from across the atlantic, you probably understand that "Clean as a European" is usually not a good thing. Apparently the vendors of this product weren't as enlightened.

I also spent $2 to go inside a semi trailer with the words "ILLUSION TUNNEL WALK" plastered on the side. I can now say, in total seriousness, that it was perhaps the best--spent two dollars of my life. It's sorta hard to explain, so I might as well say it's kinda like this, only its owned and operated by a funny old couple and not some space academy. In short, the thing messes with your vision using a frame-of-reference trick, to the point where you can't walk or stand without nearly falling over, even though you're standing on flat ground the whole time. Extremely fun in a "If I don't get out of here soon I'm going to vomit" sort of way.

I then saw a horse pull. The horse pull annoucer kindly told the audience to check out www.horsepull.com for more information on horsepulling, so I'll leave it at that. With a name like horsepull, it has to be good.

A fun time was had by all. I highly reccomend going to the Wisconsin State Fair when it appears in your local municipality.

Monday, August 05, 2002

I've gone home for a couple weeks before things get hectic again. On the drive up here, I happened to be sweeping through the available radio stations in central Illinois when I came upon a station that was carrying a live NASCAR race. Of course, I immediately stopped surfing and paid attention so I could relay to you, my readers, the experience that is, essentially, listening to guys talk about cars driving around in a circle for an extended period of time. Its turns out that NASCAR annoucing is very different from announcing in other sports, in that it there is really no "down" time (e.g. between plays in football, bringing the ball upcourt in baskeball, 99% of baseball) to be filled by a blubbering color commentator (e.g. John Madden). In NASCAR, everything just goes....and goes...and goes...and..good golly it's boring. Therefore, to combat this problem, NASCAR announcing consists of one guy announing about 10 seconds of the action, then another guy annoucing about 10 seconds of the actions, and then a third guy (or possibly the first guy again) announing about 10 seconds of the action, and so on. It could easily be done with only one microphone, and I wouldn't be surpirsed if this was in fact the case. Plus, all the announcers are always exceptionally exicited about what's going on during each and every one of those 10 seconds, as if someone has just won the world series, only they're talking about "laps" and "lanes" and "fuel". When I first started listening, the race was under a yellow flag, so the annoucers would pass the time by naming 5 names in the current standings then passing it on to the next guy, who would continue the process for the next 5. I cannot begin to image how boring this would be to listen to over the entire duration of the race, even with the annoucers screaming at the top of their lungs the entire time. I'm pretty sure this is what all the radio stations in hell play, when they're not playing muzak versions of Jennifer Lopez songs. In short, it's exactly what you would expect.

Random Note: You know that annoying cellular phone commercial where the guy walks around saying, "Can you hear me now.......Good!"? It's a lot funnier if you imagine the person on the other end is saying "No!" each time.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

I was just watching Iron Chef (the original Japanese one) on the Food Network. If you haven't seen it, it's highly recommened viewing and I could write pages and pages worth of material as to why it's worth watching, but I think this one example will suffice. In one particular scene in today's episode, the camera was showing a close up of one of the judges; a young polite japanese actress (tittering away, as young polite japanese actresses tend to do) who was being interviewed for one reason or another. Meanwhile, a picture-in-picture box popped up in the lower right hand corner of the screen, designed to show us what was going on in "kitchen stadium", very similar to the ones used in the U.S. to keep football viewers informed of what's happening in the game as a reporter is interviewing some schmuck on the sidelines. This particular picture-in-picture box featured one of the chefs violently attacking, beheading, then gutting, a very large fish. While the young actress is tittering away on the main screen. If this isn't enough to make you watch, I don't know what I can do for you.

Also, Slamball was on again tonight. The same one that was on the other night, actually. That's not a good sign. I'm warning you folks that haven't seen it yet: you better get on the slamball boat now, because it will be heading out of port shortly, if you know what I mean......

Friday, August 02, 2002

You astute readers may have noticed that my spelling has fallen off somewhat in the past few weeks. Let me just assure you that this is not because I have become significantly dumber, I just no longer felt the need to always copy and paste everything into Word and back to spell-check for every single post. You can call it laziness if you will, because that is, in fact, exactly the reason behind this. Don't worry, however, because I will never purposely misspell words; for example, "rulez" or "cheez" or "phat". I'd never do something that mean to you.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

List of foreign domains that have hit my website (so far):

Belgium(.be)
Cyprus (.cy)
Singapore(.sg)
Sweden(.se)

Mount Athos, it's a global phenomenon!