Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rage Against the Machine

The band? Yes and no. While I love 'em, this post isn't about RATM, but rather the concept it was founded on:

This caught my eye today. A little after the fact, I realize, but I have to say, this really concerns me.

I just got into Pandora this morning, but I'm really interested, and lord knows I'm a proponent of free music exchange. Then I hear people are trying to hike Internet radio royalties? What the hell is this shit? I can understand the desire to counteract the financial hit caused by illegal downloading and such, but charging the Internet radio people is not the way to go.

Of course, these SoundExchange goons try to justify their bull:

"While it's true that SoundExchange has had DRM and radio broadcast flags on its agenda for some time now, representatives of the company have also justified its stance on higher royalties from revenue and profit standpoints. Stations like Pandora, SoundExchange argues, have a higher profit margin and more value because they can broadcast an unlimited number of songs to their users. This dynamic ability stands in contrast to traditional and even satellite radio stations that broadcast a single song on a finite number of channels."

I think you're missing the point there, Jack. The very fact that Internet radio provides infinitely more songs already means they're accountable for more. They may get a supposedly higher profit margin, but taking 70%? Isn't that kind of steep? I don't care how much their income is; 70% is most of what they're making.

Bottom line, I think common sense should overpower people's belief of what the stations "owe." If the station can't even stay in business because of these ridiculous hikes, how are they supposed to pay you in the first place? You can't even get the money in the first place if you drive them to pull the plug on the site. I swear, how is it possible that people who've gone to school for business can be so god damn stupid about running businesses?

Sure, SoundExchange argues that there is more the Internet radio stations could be doing to increase their revenue. By that logic, there's no reason I can't afford to pay my college tuition right now, because I'm certainly still able to take on another part time job, sell all my stuff on ebay, and trade in my nice dorm room in favor of sleeping in my car.

Seriously, what do they expect Pandora to do? Plaster ads all over their pages? That would make the experience less enjoyable. Charge money instead of offering free memberships? That would ruin the whole fucking point of an Internet radio station!

Anyway, thank God that music lovers everywhere stood up and said something. And thank God I finally noticed this all took place last September. :P For a minute there, I was getting ready to start a rally, man.

Well, I hope this proves my point. The Man can't keep us down, baby. Long live rock and roll. Long live the art of music. Peace.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Remember how I said I was going to talk about that thing in Poughkeepsie Sunday night?

Yeah... no. Seriously, I don't see the point. It wasn't anything blogworthy. I just dropped in on Jordan for a couple hours and we had dinner at the Palace with his girlfriend and Other-Dan. We socialized, he made fun of me in front of his girlfriend, and I got to add her to the list of girls that feel sorry for me. Good times were had, but why make a big deal out of it? Come on, Jordan, is your ego so fragile that you need to be talked about on the interweb to feel special? At least you have a girlfriend to make you feel better about yourself. I'm at SUNYIT, with its 80-20 guy-to-girl ratio. I spend my Friday nights alone, jerking it to Japanese porn. You're not the one who needs validation here.

Anyway, aside from that, Schunk has apparently moved to a new house/apartment/hole in the ground. At least, I think that's the case. It was difficult to try to get him on the phone, and when I called him back to find out the address, he didn't pick up. So, our ultimate showdown will have to wait until spring break or something, I guess. Or maybe I'll drop in during finals week. You never know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Question for you...

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Who needs this much liquor in their lives? Seriously. That's a bottle of merlot in the front there. I think all this belongs to our new suitemate. Did he get shot in the Civil War and needs to have something amputated? Because that's the only time I can imagine a human being needing this much alcohol available to them.

Well, apparently the merlot belongs to my roommate. Now, I'm not judging him or anything, but I've never looked at merlot as a casual evening beverage, you know? But maybe that's just me. To be honest, I might just be a little jealous he can drink that much. Or at all, for that matter. I think some of you know how poorly me and alcohol go together.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've had an interesting weekend, but I don't have time to post about it right now. The spring semester is beginning, and I have a lot to do to get ready. I have to pack up my games, get my Brita filter set up somewhere safe, finish all my illegal downloads at home so they don't bust me at school. Busy, busy, busy.

Anyway, for those not in the know, I dropped in on some people in Poughkeepsie on Sunday. Not Schunk, though, because he pussed out. More on this when I have the time. Happy new semester, kids.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kids and Guns: Friends Forever

The headline reads, Ohio Teen Killed Mom Over Video Game.
This is something I need to sound off on. Now.

ELYRIA, Ohio (Jan. 13) - Although a teenager's obsession with a violent video game may have warped his sense of reality, the boy is guilty of murdering his mother and wounding his father after they took "Halo 3" away from him, a judge ruled Monday.

"I firmly believe that Daniel Petric had no idea at the time he hatched this plot that if he killed his parents they would be dead forever," Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge said.

Bullshit. I think the kid knew what he was doing. He's 17 years old, for god's sake. You can't tell me his concept of reality is that fucked up at age 17.

Ultimately, I don't think this is a matter of insanity at all. The guy killed his parents for taking away his game; he didn't do that because he's insane, he did it because he's an addict aching for a fix. At best, he was going through withdrawal symptoms typical of an addict and made a semi-impulsive decision to kill them. At worst, he's just a sick little shit who cares more about the game than his own parents.

You know, what bothers me the most about this is that no one bothers to bring up the logical question here: if a boy has reached age 17, and yet is still so immature as to be addicted to a videogame and lash out at his parents like that, could it possibly be that they are to blame here?

Listen, Halo is not responsible for what this kid did. Bungie Studios didn't raise the punk for 17 years. The parents failed, and so the kid fails; end of story.

I'll tell you something else, too: Life in jail isn't the answer. It never is, but especially not for a case like this. If you ask me, this kid either needs serious extensive rehab, or a lethal injection. Either way, we need to fix the problem, not just push it into the corner and try to forget about it.

Politicians, lawyers, and various other talking heads love to point fingers at video games, but that's the easy way out, and it's not based in reality. I know plenty of well-adjusted individuals who play violent games. They don't bring those actions into their own life because they can distinguish between fantasy and reality. Why? Because they were taught the difference by their parents and teachers, the people who they looked up to.

Now, everyone knows I'm a big gamer, but I know games are an escape from reality, not a full-on lifestyle. Kids and adults alike get sucked into video games when they lack happiness and fulfillment in their real lives. If adults allow the next generation to collapse into such meaningless misery that they need the escape of videogames, drugs or alcohol to cope, they have no one to blame but themselves.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maybe it was the pasta primavera

There's something really odd with my metabolism. When I get sick, it's never the normal progression of events. It all happens in fast forward; all symptoms are 10 times worse, but last a fraction of the time.

This past Saturday, I had some kind of nasty stomach bug, and went through the illness from start to finish in record time. Let me walk you through my morning:

  • From the time I wake up for work until about 9:15, no symptoms at all.

  • 9:20, I'm just sort of uncomfortable.

  • 9:25, getting worse, but I figured it was just gas.

  • 9:30, I'm in serious distress.

  • 9:35, I'm doubled over in crippling pain, getting nauseas.

  • 9:40, I have diarrhea, then more pain.

  • 9:45, I call someone at work, then run to the kitchen for a really big bowl.

  • 9:50, the vomiting starts.

  • By the way, I think I pretty much have vomiting down to a science now, as I vacated my entire digestive track in 4 or 5 heaves. Part of my undigested breakfast, followed by the rest of breakfast, last night's dinner, part of yesterday's lunch, and whatever fluids are left over all of my meals from the past week. Anyway, I'm still doubled over in agony, but it's getting better after flushing my system.

  • 9:55, pain subsiding, nausea gone, my mom concerned.

  • 10:00, call work again to make sure Jen got someone to fill in.

  • 10:05, I feel okay, maybe 75%, but very drained, so I head back to bed to recover. I slept for the rest of the morning.

By the afternoon, I was 100% and playing Godzilla: Unleashed. I went through all stages of a 24-hour stomach bug inside of 45 minutes. I'm pretty sure that's unnatural. Anyway, those 10-15 minutes before and including the vomiting were the worst of my life, but I'm totally fine now, so no big deal, I guess.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Final Update on FCR.com, and UPS Grudge

I received a speedy reply to my email request. My cancellation was processed, but apparently I'll still have access to my account until the 15th or so when my last month's payment will be up. For the life of me, I can't understand why the lady who works the phones at Customer Care is incapable of doing this, but the woman who handled my email request had no problem with it.

Anyway, I think the conclusion I draw from this is that telephone correspondence with any major corporation is completely pointless. I had similar problems trying to contact UPS about my missing Christmas gifts. The difference here is that FCR's support people responded to my email in a day. UPS has told me my claim is being processed, and I haven't heard jack since then.

So, FreeCreditReport.com, you may consider all forgiven. I won't be threatening arson against your establishment anymore. That rage is now reserved for the United Prick Service.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Update: FCR.com

In hindsight, I may have been a bit harsh on FreeCreditReport.com and Triple Advantage. Despite my difficulties with Customer Care, I have been pretty happy with the email updates and report details I've gotten. In a last ditch effort at parting civilly, I've sent an email to the support center. This is an actual copy of the email I sent them:

"Now, I recently contacted Customer Care about canceling my membership. This was back in December, and the person I talked to advised me to wait and take advantage of the remaining month of service I had paid for. Well, I have waited and checked my report again, but now I really need to cancel my membership. I do not dislike the service I have received, but my current financial situation makes it extremely difficult for me to keep up with the monthly payments. So, I think it would be best if my membership with Triple Advantage was discontinued.

Thank you for your attention, and I you can take care of this for me soon.

Dan Mayer

~~Halfway between the gutter and the stars~~"

Aside from the grammar issue at the end there, I think I was very professional. I hope they respond to me in kind. On the off chance you care, I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year's Resolutions '09

I'm usually not very into these, but I want to be a better person, and this is a nice launch-pad for aspirations. So, here are some things I want to do, preferably before the first half of the year is out.

  1. Finish My First Novel: I think this is a realistic goal. I've worked on this thing on and off for years now, but if I ever really buckled down and got to work, I'm positive I could finish it inside of two weeks. Which is handy, considering there is an online manuscript contest starting in about two weeks.

  2. Kick Schunk's Ass in SvR-2009: I haven't gotten out to Poughkeepsie in a long time, but Schunk tells me he got Smackdown vs. Raw for the 360. No doubt he's been playing quite a bit by himself and with his friends at Marist, and this has probably given him the mistaken impression that he is the man. Well, don't forget, Schunky-boy, to be the man, you gotta beat the man. Woo!

  3. Get Better At Guitar: No, not Guitar Hero. I'm over that; I've moved on to the real thing. Unfortunately, I really suck, and can never seem to find time to practice. I'm hoping to get my own guitar that actually fits me well someday, but for now all I have is my mom's gigantic acoustic guitar. It's better than nothing, but it makes practicing tough. I mean, I'm already at a disadvantage with my girly little fingers. The oversized guitar really doesn't help.

Thursday, January 01, 2009