Tuesday, March 31, 2009

How Not to Recycle

In the process of creating the Man Lounge this weekend, I unearthed a number of old items, one of which was my old Creative Zen Jukebox mp3 player. Not sure why I was keeping this thing around, but there it was, thick as a brick and half as sexy. Being the green minded fellow that I am, rather than chucking it in the garbage with all of my other crap (including, but not limited to a yo-yo, a harmonica and two cigar cutters), I figured I'd recycle the thing. I have no idea just what is in a MP3 player that makes it any worse for the environment than all of other crap we consume day to day that can't be recycled, but I also don't know how to put a fucking watch on, so clearly I'm not in a position to judge.

So, with my environmental ignorance in mind, I decided to make use of Best Buy's chain-wide recycling program and send my MP3 player back to the Earth, or at least to some third world company where they'll no doubt sell it as top of the line technology. My brief, although not brief enough trip to the joy that is the Best Buy recycling program has allowed me to come up with a brief tutorial on how not to recycle electronics. Read it. Live it. Love it.

Signs People
Upon walking into the Best Buy, there is absolutely nothing there telling you a) where the recycling drop-off is or b) that they even have one. The only reason I knew that they had a program is because I researched it online and found the information there. Oh sure you can drop off used cell phones, ink cartridges and rechargeable batteries once you walk into the store, but for anything other than that, you'll be wandering aimlessly, doomed to perish of thirst amongst the vacuum cleaners before you find where you should go. I ended up asking the guy right at the door, thus preventing my untimely demise. When is a demise timely? Has anyone ever died and other said "well, he was about due for it"? These are the things that keep me awake at night. Moving on.

Don't Make People Wait In Line
The average person will do only that which is absolutely necessary to live their daily lives. Most people wouldn't get dressed in the morning if they didn't have to. I have seen people walking around in pajamas at three in the afternoon, a clear sign that they are doing the bare minimum needed to be considered clothed. Recycling something which can be very easily thrown away is asking a lot to people, especially considering that without the benefit of some seriously jacked up technology, those same people will be long dead before their non-recycling ways catches up with them. At Best Buy, or at least this Best Buy, if you are recycling something, you have to wait in line at the Customer Service Counter. Yes, that's right, if you're trying to do the right thing, ecologically speaking, you have to wait with all of the people looking to cheat the store out of a five dollar pair of headphones.

In this case, there were two people in front of me, one of which appeared to be on drugs. This woman could not stand still. She'd adjust her headphones, then pick her nose, then play with the cattle mover stand, then look at me, then look at the return policy sign, then look at me, then pick her nose, then play with the pole, then look at me. Not wanting to be shot by a junkie as I waited in line to recycle a five year old MP3 player, I stood firmly rooted to the spot, staring straight ahead as if a drill sergeant were screaming at me and threatening to stab me with a bayonet and leave me to the swamp critters. Either this woman was completely hopped up on something or she was looking to pull off the mother of all Best Buy swindles. Eventually she calmed the fuck down, moved forward and returned whatever she decided she didn't need any more so that she had more money for crank.

Remember Why You're Recycling
Once I got to the counter, and presented my item for recycling, the woman, rather child as she was all of about 12, picked it up and said "What is this?" Now, the thing says right on it "MP3 Player" but I'm assuming that her mind couldn't reconcile the fact that an MP3 player could be more than six ounces and not made by Apple. I couldn't have gotten a more befuddled look if I brought in an 8-track player as her hipster, douchebag boyfriend probably has an 8-track player so that he can be cool and retro.

I told her what it was and she then proceeded to start scanning unseen barcodes. Then, inexplicably, she handed me a receipt. A receipt! A receipt for recycling! Do you know what the receipt said? It said "Recycling receipt - $0.00" followed by a yard of information on Best Buy's return policy and how I can take a survey and possibly win a gift card. This receipt was as useless a piece of paper as I've ever seen. There was absolutely no information on it that I could use to get back my MP3 player should I change my mind and decide to fuck over the environment. In fact, there was nothing on the receipt to even indicate what I had brought in for recyling in the first place. All it stated was that at some point today, I brought in something to be recycled, and that no money changed hands as a result of it.

Seriously people, why the fuck would I need a receipt for this? What possible reason could there be for me to have a receipt other than the fact that Best Buy secretly hates the fact that they have to now recycle electronics and has decided to retaliate by killing trees and polluting our fair planet with register tape ink. I can't think of any other reason. At the very least, ask if the person wants a receipt before you hand them the stupid thing. Then they could make the decision to continue defiling the land for their own stupid need to obsessively keep a record of every meaningless transaction they participate in. I am not one of those people. The receipt was wasted on me.

Here's how you run a recycling program. You put a bin out in the middle of the floor that says "Recycle Used Electronics Here". You then put up a sign saying that if people put in things like hard drives with personal information on it, Best Buy reserves the right to steal your identity and sell your children. On a related note, why is it that they won't let you recycle hard drives because of personal information concerns, but you can drop off a cell phone with not only your personal information but the phone numbers of every person you know? Chew on that one for a while. If you want to get really crazy you can have someone manning the bin that tells people that their tv is too large to recycle, although realistically, anyone who can find the strength to pick up the 800 lb tube tv from 1973 probably isn't going to be hauling it into the Best Buy any time soon. I have a 36 inch Toshiba in the bedroom that is so heavy, we'll never replace it. If it dies, I'll buy a flat panel tv and just rest it on top of the broken one. I'll be dead and in the ground before that fucking TV makes it outside of the house.

From now on, I think I'm going to save myself the hassle and just follow my own, foolproof recycling process. It goes a little something like this:

Step 1: Bring your stuff out to your lawn.
Step 2: Print out a sign that reads "$20".
Step 3: Affix sign to stuff.
Step 4: Go to bed.

By morning it will all be stolen and now be somebody else's problem. Now that's what I call recycling!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time Is On My Side

Earlier this week, Hodge sent me a listing for a deal he found on Slickdeals.net for an incredibly cheap Citizen Eco-Drive watch, the glorious timepiece pictured to the right. Hodge knows that I love watches and he probably also knows that as much as I love watches, I have neither the means, nor the inclination to drop a tremendous amount of money on them. Hodge is married, with children, so he is well aware of the economics of the happy household. Any way, the deal was for a site called ChronoShark which basically has a different deal on either watches or jewelry every day. The current day's deal was for the pictured watch for $119 bucks. Given that the watch retails for about 500 bucks, it was a pretty good deal.

As soon as I saw the damn thing I fell in love with it, however I felt the need to do some basic research and the general consensus was that it was a good watch. Apparently it's last year's model, hence the price discount, but seeing how the cheapest I could find it for online was just south of 300, at less than 120, it was an incredible deal. Me being the saving maven that I am, I found a coupon for two dollars off, meaning that I got the watch for $117. Shipping was five bucks, bringing the entire total to $122. Not too shabby.

The watch arrived today and hot damn, it is absolutely gorgeous. Gorgeous! My time with it has not been without problems though, which is to be expected given that this is me.

First of all, I couldn't put the damn thing on. Unbeknownst to me, even though the watch has a leather band, it has the same clasp that you would find on a metal band. It took me about 20 minutes of fucking with the thing to figure out how it works. Chances are, if you can't put your watch on, you have no business wearing, or using it, but I persevered.

Second, this thing is loaded with all sorts of wacky features, but to get them working you had to set all of the hands to some sort of reference point and that wasn't working correctly, so I had to do that from scratch all while listening to the kids to make sure they weren't killing each other. Eventually I got it working, and man, this watch has some serious skills.

First off it can tell time, obviously. It has a dedicated second hand, the small dial on the lower right. It also keeps track of the day of the month via the large second hand and can even tell you the month and year via the small hands on the lower left. It does this via some sort of perpetual calendar where it keeps track of the year relative to when the last leap year is. Granted, this means that in order to know what year you're in, you have to know what year the last leap year was, but if you can't remember that, chances are this watch is far beyond your meager time telling skills. It also has an AM/PM meter, that orange and black pie wedge thingy, to tell you if the time is in the AM or PM. The hand also moves through the two stages relative to the time, so not only do you know if you're in the morning or the afternoon, but how far into each. Awesome, right?

It also has an alarm, which I haven't set yet, as well as the ability to keep time in another time zone. It does this by picking the new time based on how many 30 minute intervals the local time is off of your "normal" time. Complicated? Sure! Awesome? Undoubtedly! It can also keep an alarm for the local time. Lord knows how you set that. Probably with chickens.

Finally, and most awesomely, you can press a button and the watch will play a series of tones to tell you the time. First high pitched tones count off the hour, then a combination of high and low tell you how many 15 minute intervals have gone by since the top of the hour, finally low pitched tones tell you how many minutes since the last 15 minute interval. Not sure why you would need this, perhaps in cases of temporary blindness, but it is cool.

As the watch is an Eco-Drive, it recharges via sunlight, and when fully charged can run for nine months without ever needing a charge. You can fully charge the thing by giving it 10 hours of outside sunlight or give it a full day's worth of juice by toiling in an office for four hours. Given that I rotate through my watches regularly, I'll have to make sure I give this thing plenty of sun so that it's always at the ready, just how I used to shake my grandfather's Bulova every day that I didn't wear it so that it kept the time. Speaking of that watch, I need to get it fixed, provided it can be fixed. That's a story for another time though.

In the meantime, I'm really digging this new watch and can't wait to wear it out where I'll undoubtedly scratch it all to hell. As long as the tones keep working, I'll still be able to tell the time though, even if the face gets all scratched up. Score one for the tones baby!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Pool Tables and the Dismantling Thereof

As much as I have been ignoring this space, I have been ignoring Lungfishopolis far, far more. With that in mind, I'm going to point you over there to a piece I just wrote about my taking apart of our family pool table.

Thanks for the memories pool table. They were great ones.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I R A Superhero

Look ma, I'm a superhero!

I decided to go with the monocle because monocles are awesome. The shirt and tie and axe is a nod to the episode of Cheers where Norman is tasked to be his company's hatchet man and he spent his days firing people. Honestly, had I been able to choose my own name, I would have chosen Hatchetman. What can I say, a little gallows humor in these days of economic turmoil seems to suit me nicely. I don't know why I added the cape but once I did, he didn't seem complete without it.

Thanks to Bones who pointed out the oh so awesome Hero Factory. Now get over there and make one for yourself! The Merciful Sharpened Barbarian commands it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Puzzle Quest: Galactrix review

From hell's gate I stab at thee.  Well, not hell, Florida, but it is warm here.

Any way, enjoy my Puzzle Quest: Galactrix review in which I call out people for being whiny bitches.  That, my friends, is journalistic professionalism at its finest.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


More later, but for now you can read my MadWorld review. I thought that this game was great, as indicated in the review, but not because of how over the top and bloody the game was, but because of how surprisingly deep it was. When you're playing a game that allows you to kill enemies with a swirly, you don't expect to think much, especially once the game is over, but I can't get the final scenes of this game out of my head. I feel like this game is one giant goof on the player, and I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Also Read About Kelly Clarkson

First things first, my 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand achievement guide is live and it's hella awesome. Ok, so it's not that awesome, but I did work pretty hard to try and make the simple achievements witty and such. Clearly my efforts were not appreciated by my erstwhile editor as he wants me to ditch such simple achievements in the future due to the fact that the CMS application he uses sucks and it would make his life easier. Personally, I'm all for being thorough and fully believe that any work saved now by not including the simple achievements will only be spent later on answering the feedback emails stating that we didn't include the story achievements. I'm just saying. I kind of felt guilty taking money for this guide as it was pretty easy to write, then again, I did play the game three times, and some levels even more than that, so I put my work in. Besides, if they're going to pay me, there's no reason to feel guilty about it.

In other news, at some recent point, I managed to get myself subscribed to both US Weekly and Blender magazine. US Weekly has been coming to the house for a couple of weeks for reasons I can not fathom. I absolutely despise the culture of celebrity stalking that has risen up in recent years and this magazine is pretty much nothing but gossip stories and shots of celebrities trying to spend time at the grocery store, or at the park with their children. How I got subscribed to it I have no idea and if it weren't for the fact that Linda enjoys flipping through it, I'd call and cancel. You can rest assued that when the invoice for this rag arrives, I will not be replying in the affirmative.

I had no idea I was also subscribed to Blender until my first issue arrived yesterday. It's an interesting magazine, seemingly written for the attention deficit addled younger generation who can't stand to read anything longer than Twitter's 140 character limit. I think in the first 10 pages there were roughly thirteen hundred stories. They had an indepth story on Pink that was just the letter "P" repeated six times. Ok, so it isn't that bad, but if you ever thought that Rolling Stone was too lenghty and full of itself, and honestly, who hasn't, then Blender is for you. In their lists of the bestest songs out there, they did have both Kelly Clarkson and Kings of Leon so at least the writers have some semblance of taste there.

Now, the most important thing about my becoming a new subscriber of Blender is that my inaugural issue had my favorite and yours, Kelly Clarkson on the cover. Hot damn she is so cute. They had an interesting interview/article with her as well. She seems fairly normal, well, as normal as someone who can just grab her girlfriends and jaunt off to Europe on a moment's notice. To be so young, so wealthy and so talented probably isn't normal at all, so one has to take my impressions with a large grain of salt. Personally I found the whole magazine very funny as I have had nothing but disparaging comments sent my way for sharing my love of Kelly Clarkson and rainbows and I felt that this was the universe's way of rewarding my candidness. Either that or someone has stolen my credit card number and is just subscribing me to every magazine sold by Amazon.

At any rate, far be it from me to stop the Kelly Clarkson train, now that it has gained momentum that can only be described as Kellyrific. For your listening pleasure, enjoy two of my favorite Kelly Clarkson songs. The first, "Gone" is from Breakaway. It got some radio play, but honestly every freaking song on that record got record play. It's upbeat, has displays some fine vocal chops and isn't played on the radio every 30 seconds.

Gone - Kelly Clarkson

Second up is "Sober" from My December. I have mentioned before that I love this song and that it's one of my favorites by her. This one is all acoustic like. Awesome!

Sober (Star Lounge acoustic) - Kelly Clarkson

This whole embedding music thing is the shit. I think we may need to to 30 Days of Kelly or something. Kelly and rainbows. That would be so awesome. Epic even.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Am Not A Woman

Christ. You make one post about loving Kelly Clarkson and wanting to see more rainbows in games and all you do is get made fun of and have anonymous internet algorithms think you're a female blogger. What the hell!

I'm glad that I left out the part about me cooking and being very good about flower arrangement although that last part, when combined with the love of rainbows and Kelly Clarkson probably would have shifted me from "woman" to "gay". Not to say that all gay men love rainbows and Kelly Clarkson and have a penchant for flower arrangement, I'm just predicting what algorithim that picks a blogger's gender based on posts would say.

I guess the algorith missed the part where I said that I wanted more rainbows in the game where you play a rapper murdering hundreds of people for a crystal skull. Context internet algorithm! It's all about the context.

Did I mention that I also like the unicorn in Peggle? Crap. Probably shouldn't have. Now the algorithm will think I'm a ten year old girl.

I'll tell you what internet algorithm, I'm hella manly. I mean, when I look around my cube, I have robots that turn into cars and planes, I have a Hellboy statue, I have a calendar of kittens wearing silly hats. Oh, look at May! He's so cute and widdle!


I should probably stop posting now and make a note to do manly things this weekend like shoot animals and um, er, I don't know what else. What the hell do guys do these days? Craft something out of wood? Crush beer cans? Hell if I know. I'll stick to the rainbows.

And for all of the folks who derided me for loving Kelly Clarkson, well this one's for you:

My Life Would Suck Without You - Kelly Clarkson

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

One More Thing

"My December" kicked ass. "Sober" is one of the best songs she's ever done. We ain't abidin' no haters up in this joint.

I Love Kelly Clarkson

I do, and I don't care who knows. I. Love. Kelly. Clarkson.

I never watched American Idol when she was on it, or since, but hot damn do I love her music. Here new cd is Teh Awesome and the playlist I made of all of her stuff is currently playing on my new iPod and it is, as Michael Steele would say, off the hook. She be da man. Or something.

I have an affinity for good pop music, emphasis on the "good" part, and this fits the bill nicely. The songs are catchy and girlfriend got some pipes, which benefits the material nicely. So yeah, sue me. I love Kelly Clarkson. Pffffft!

I finally got my hands on Peggle for the DS today and after years of successfully fending off this paragon of casual gaming on the PC, I have already played a match and I can feel the steely tendrils of addiction worming their way into my brain. It hurts, oh God how it hurts, but only for a moment. Then it's nothing but sublime pleasure.

I mean, come on. When I booted up the cart for the first time the game said that it was preparing the rainbows. I wish more games that I played prepared rainbows for me. For as much as I loved the 50 Cent game, if every time he threw a grenade he yelled "Preparing the rainbows motherfucker!" the game would be that much better. I have many the wonderful experience when gaming, but very few of them have rainbows. Not Peggle. In the one stage I played, those fucking things were exploding all over the place, like some kind of Carebear money shot. I also got treated to a slow motion shot of my almost failing a match as if to say, "Hey dumbass, we show you the path of your ball and you still fail? Nice!" Snark and rainbows? Dude, that is right where I live.

So yeah, Kelly Clarkson and rainbows. Love 'em both. Love 'em!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Check My Mad Questioning Skills

My Q&A with Tigon Studios for the upcoming Riddick game is up and live. For an email Q&A, I think it went really well. Ian Stevens answered my questions and took the time to give well thought out responses to all of them. One can't ask for more than that.

Mmmmm, Riddick.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I Am Not Dead

I am not dead, nor injured nor trapped under something heavy. I've just been busy with a bunch of writing for GameShark, or playing games so that I can write about them for GameShark. Work has also been busy, which means no midday updating. Well, other than this one, which is being done at the expense of writing test cases, something I'm already behind on.


Oddly enough, I'm thinking of doing the Twitter thing, so that I can become even more behind on my missives. I probably won't do it though as I'm also very lazy, and my understanding is that you have to set things up. Possibly register even. The horrors!

Ok, back to it. Until we meet again.