Parents: how much money do you think you’ve spent on video games?
Consoles, cartridges, disks, online subscriptions, wireless controllers, memory modules… and how much of hardware is in a shoebox in the basement, replaced by the latest system?
Yeah, I know.
That’s why I’m so happy to report that I’ve finally gotten some of that money back! Yes, after shelling out untold piles of cash — particularly around birthdays and Christmas — the video game industry is now paying me. Ha!
Just last week, I received this check in the mail for the whopping sum of $24!
Woo-hoo! Windfall! The $24 is my share of the settlement of a class action suit, Pecover vs. Electronic Arts. My purchase of a copy of Madden NFL makes me one of the aggrieved consumers. Power to the people!
I’m not sure how many more lawsuits it will take for me to put a dent in my video game expenses, but it’s a start.
My dog Maddy gets a bad rap.
She has a reputation for being lazy, especially when compared to her older sister, Scarlett. It’s hardly fair. Scarlett is a high energy dog driven by the impulse to work. Next to her, anyone would look like a slacker.
For example, if we go to an empty field and throw a ball, Scarlett would keep going until she dropped. Maddy? She might run after Scarlett a few times, but after that, she’d prefer to roam around, relax, and eat the occasional bit of goose poop. Goose poop is the foie gras of the dog world.
This all changes when I take them to Thacher Park. There’s something about the woods that makes Maddy go bonkers. She’ll tear up and down the trails and race around the trees, leaping over logs, chasing after something only she can see. Then when we get to a stream, she plunges into the water.
There’s something so gratifying about seeing her like that; there’s a pure joy to it. Out of the house, away from the yard, off the leash.
Do the dogs remember these good times? I’d like to imagine that they do, and later in the day as they drift tiredly off to sleep they think about how much fun we had — and then they dream about the next time.
It’s only takes a couple of hours to get from Albany to New York City — but sometimes it seems a lot farther away.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw this:
Seriously? Hipsters? Apparently, the people at the paper just heard of these exotic PBR drinking, ironic t-shirt wearing, eccentrically eyeglassed creative-types in Brooklyn. And it’s so exciting, they want to see if they can dig up some real live hipsters around here. I’m betting they’re in Troy!
Look, the hipster trend was so firmly established in 2003 that it was already being roundly mocked – and if you care what New York magazine has to say, hipsterism was already dead by 2010. I’m not saying that the hipster sensibility has disappeared, just that it’s really, really (really) old news.
At this stage of the game, doing a story about hipsters makes you seem like… well, rubes. Or at the very least, a tiny bit clueless.
Anyway, I look forward to next month, when the Times Union will be doing a big feature on punk rockers.
Radio station Y-94 in Fargo has an internet sensation on its hands. They claim an area woman will hand out a letter to obese kids on Halloween instead of candy to help them change their ways. This jaw dropping story has taken off like wildfire, except there’s one problem: it’s all a big lie.
Those wacky morning DJs at 93.7 claim it’s legit — even though nobody can find this mysterious listener named Cheryl who called out of the blue to tell about her Halloween plans. It should be noted that Y-94 is the same radio station that caused a huge stir with “Donna the Deer Lady,” a “listener” who called their station to suggest we could prevent car/deer accidents by moving deer crossing signs to less busy roads.
Why am I suggesting that Cheryl the Halloween Monster and Donna the Deer Lady are hoaxes? Because that’s the kind of schtick radio stations like Y-94 do — and in this case it’s been done brilliantly.
All this is harmless nonsense — until it’s picked up by national media. Y-94′s stunt has been reported across the country, from the biggest media outlets to local TV to ridiculous “parenting” blogs. And most of them don’t bother to question the source. Not even once.
Rob, you may be asking, what if it IS true. Tell you what: if it can be verified, I’ll print this blog post and eat it.
Well, here’s something that IS worth your time: a shot by shot analysis of the amazing cultural references in Guillermo Del Toro’s recent Treehouse of Horror intro. Enjoy!
We had a lively discussion at home recently over Subway calling their counter people Sandwich Artists.
My son contends that they are artists. The best of them, he argued, assemble sandwiches in a way that expresses great skill and creativity — and the really good Sandwich Artists bring transcendent quality to their work. There are, of course, also some hacks.
I take the position that the Sandwich Artists might more accurately be described as sandwich technicians or sandwich engineers. After all, they are making the sandwich based on my set of specifications. I’m the one who decides that cucumbers and jalapenos would go well on my oven roasted chicken sub. It’s in Choosing these combinations of ingredients is the art, therefore I am the Sandwich Artist, not them.
If they were artists they’d decide what to do independently. You’d walk into Subway and instead of ordering, just say, “Make me a sandwich!” The sandwich artist would then follow his muse and present me with something new and original, like in this funny piece from McSweeney’s.
So who is the artist? It’s well-known that Andy Warhol used assistants to create his art. These crews followed his instructions to churn out work that sells today for millions of dollars — and you’ll never see their name on it. It was his creative vision, not theirs. They were sandwich makers, not Sandwich Artists.
As always, thanks for visiting. And don’t spend too much time reading stuff like this at work, or you too could find yourself a Sandwich Artist.
I’ve spent the past several mornings out in the driveway looking for the newspaper. Since it’s still dark when I want to read the paper, this involves looking under the car with a flashlight.
Where the hell is it?
So, for several days I’ve gone in to complain to my wife; she’s the one who told me that she agreed to “try” the paper for ten weeks at a special price of $10. Then she finally told me the other half of the story: we are only getting the paper four days a week, Thursday through Sunday.
I guess I can stop looking.
The Times Union: also good for protecting your table from urine samples.
Now, on to the math. This works out to $.25 a copy, well above the $.25 per week price I’d be willing to pay for my local paper online. But think of what you get in return: paper. You can’t put an online subscription in the litter box, can you? Nor is it any use for swatting fruit flies. And you can’t make a hat out of the internet.Whenever there is no newspaper in the house, I end up saying, “Dammit! I wish I had a newspaper.” Not so much because I want to read it, but because I need some newspaper.
I believe when printed newspapers are dead and gone, someone will make money selling blank newsprint as a household commodity. What a business that will be. Same useful product, but without all the annoying overhead.
Do you ever look at things and wonder how dirty they are? You shouldn’t, because it will make you nuts, but just for the heck of it, let’s talk about the supermarket checkout conveyor belt.
Everything goes on there — from leaky chicken to God knows what. Maybe that’s not such a big deal until you notice your bread peeking out from the end of its paper sleeve.
If you love a crusty baguette, there’s nothing better than the heel, which has more crust than any other slice. But when you see your heel rubbing shoulders with the filthy conveyor belt, it loses some of its delicious appeal. Ack!
So why can’t they make sure the bread isn’t longer than the bag? My theory is that they do it on purpose to give the illusion that you’re getting extra bread — or it may simply be for the eye appeal of your loaf jutting out of the bag. Either way, the unintended consequence is that I want to cut off the end and throw it outside for the crows.
So, local supermarkets, with apologies to Abe Lincoln, how long should these bags be? Long enough to reach the end of the bread.
As of this morning I had 283 Facebook friends. Next week at this time I’ll have fewer.
Facebook has value and provides some good things. I’m genuinely interested in much of what my Friends post, but lately I’ve noticed there are lot of people on there that I was never really friends with — and honestly, I can’t imagine they’re very interested in what I post there.
So, one by one I’m picking people who have to go. It’s not personal, just that I don’t care much about them and they seem not to care much about me, so why not?
For the others, I make it a habit to hit the Like button a few times a day. It’s important for people to know that you’re interested in what they’re posting, especially is you want to carry the title Friend.
If not, it’s like that guy you meet for coffee who can’t stop talking about himself. You say something interesting and they act as if they didn’t even hear you. That’s what Facebook can be like, as hundreds of people go on about their favorite subject: themselves.
This century’s existential crisis is posting things online and wondering if anyone has bothered to read it. If you’re going to take the time to fool around with Twitter and Facebook, spend a moment to let people know that you’re not just talking, you’re listening.
Oh, boy! Wouldn’t it be cool to answer the door on Halloween dressed up like Walter White cooking meth? Yeah, the kids probably won’t get it, but the parents will think Heisenberg handing out candy is a hoot.
So off to Amazon, where they sell everything, to find a HAZMAT suit and respirator. I figure I’ll skip the bald wig — which never looks good unless done by a professional — but instead, go pre-cancer treatment Walt with a moustache. Yes, definitely.
Well, based on Amazon’s data mining, it looks like Halloween will be a big year for Breaking Bad costumes:
Click to enlarge.
This comes hot on the heals of hearing an interview with Brad Stone, whose new book The Everything Store, takes a look at what Amazon has done to become the one stop shop for everything you could ever want.
And it’s worked. I didn’t even consider going to another merchant to buy what I wanted; not even for a second.
There’s been a lot of noise about how bookstores, especially independent shops, are endangered by Amazon. Recent evidence suggests that this isn’t true, and that good retailers are giving shoppers things they can’t get online. Good for them — but to the others, I say too bad.
If I can get a book delivered to my home in two days — a book you probably don’t have in stock — then you’d better find another way to get me in the door.