Wednesday, December 31, 2003


Well, I've just left the temp world for the permanent hire world. That's right. I'm now an official full-time employee of ... the place where I work (name withheld for fear of getting fired or something). Yay for me! I have to take a drug test before I get hired and, even though I haven't smoked anything or eaten any poppyseed bagels, I'm slightly worried about it. After all, I was just in San Francisco, the pot capital of the U.S. It's in the air! But, you know me, I worry about everything. So anyway, yay for me! Look out world!

Ya heard me.

It's official. The end is nigh. Check it.

On the plus side, due to it being New Year's Eve and all, I only have to work from 10:00-4:00 today. WooT! More time to play Harvest Moon for the SNES until my copy of Legacy of Kain: Defiance arrives. Then I may never see the light of day again. At least, not for a day or two until I beat the shit out of it. Yes, I'm playing Harvest Moon, now. My brother's obsession with it piqued my interest. And now the obsession has been passed on to me. It's like that episode called "The Game" from ST:TNG, but without Wil Wheaton. I've had to start over three times because I kept screwing up, what with improper arrangements of crops and not doing much to woo the ladies and whatnot. But now I'm on the right track.


Monday, December 29, 2003

Coastal living

Back from San Fran. Saw some beaches, ate some tasty food (and some seaweed, a picture of which I suppose is forthcoming on my brother's blog), got a new book. I also managed to squeeze in a few episodes of Firefly (a highly underappreciated western-themed science-fiction series) and the Return of the King (which is appreciated just the right amount, I think) -- in IMAX-vision, no less. That was pretty cool, I must say. I anxiously await the release of the extended version box set. 10+ hours of LotR goodness. That's a whole lotta movie. But yeah, thanks, sunny San Francisco (esp. my brother and parents for financing the whole trip and providing me with a place to sleep) for the marvy time -- your rolling hills will live on in memory.

Sunny it was, but cold. Colder than Providence, RI, actually, which makes no fucking sense whatsoever. But hey, at least there weren't 20 inches of snow on the ground when I came back.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The funniest comic-book port of a video game ever

Here it is. It's funny, it's super-violent, but it makes you think. And isn't that what all good art should do? Actually, I have to admit, I didn't read through all of it; I'm at work, and I was worried that if my boss walked by and saw me looking at a picture of a guy punching through a demon's chest and ripping out his spine, it might put a damper on the praise I received this morning.

By the way, thanks to boingboing for the link. You always manage to brighten up my boring days with this kind of crazy shit.


So this guy just called in, for whom I actually did very little (not much was required), and asked to be put on a three-way call with my boss so he could say nice things about me. It was very silly and embarassing, but also very nice. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I kind of wish his problem had been more significant so I could feel I actually deserved that kind of recognition, but hey...

FFX-2 still rocks, and is still fucking hard. Actually, it got a bit easier, since I found the equivalent of summoning in the game. Ok, bit of back story -- in FFX, summoning was accomplished by certain people (i.e., Summoners) calling on the souls of certain dead people to fight for them. In practical terms, Yuna (your party's Summoner) would call an Aeon, the other party members would withdraw, and the Aeon would do all the fighting until it was won, was killed, or dismissed. In FFX-2, the characters get special dresspheres that basically work in the same way, except they're way harder to kill. Each special dressphere is a super-big thingie with kick-ass abilities and two supporting aspects. It's like you become one of those really hard bosses in Final Fantasy games that have the little spheres that revolve around them, healing them and casting nasty status effects. It's great. It's also the ultimate trump card -- once you bring in the special dressphere, the battle's basically over. The only downside I see is that only the character who used their special dressphere gets experience. But when you encounter some random enemy who just won't die (i.e., Tonberries...little green fuckers), it's very gratifying to whip that som'bitch out.

Coming up in the game: Yuna, Rikku, and Paine get cozy in a hot tub...No, I'm not kidding. Apparently, 15-year-old-boys are also part of the target demo.

Monday, December 22, 2003

If she says "poopie" one more time...

Now renting: Final Fantasy X-2.

Ok, first of all, it's a good game. Really fucking difficult, actually. I don't know where people get off saying that it's too easy. Probably the most difficult Final Fantasy game ever. Combat is super-fast, resources (i.e., money) are limited, and the enemies are tough sons-of-bitches with a wider variety of strengths and weaknesses than I ever thought possible. The "dressphere" system is rather ... interesting. It's basically the job system from FF5/FF:T, and I've never liked the job system. You see, I'm a "completeness" freak. I have to do every goddam thing there is to do in a game, or I feel like less of a person. This is not a good way to be when playing a game with the job system -- too much shit to learn, not enough time. In fact, the whole FFX-2 experience makes me anxious. I always feel like there's a million things I'm missing. In fact, I went to gamefaqs recently and discovered that I am missing a bunch of things. The whole mission system really makes it easy to skip over stuff -- when you're not walking from one place to another, it's easy to just fly over a whole side-quest. The good news is, I did manage to find the aforementioned "monkey-full future" minigame. It was silly. Involved getting monkeys to fall in love with each other. That's the kind of game this is.

Of course, the big downside is the cuteness. The game begins with basically a music video of Yuna singing and dancing around (although we find out 5 minutes into the game that it wasn't actually Yuna), followed by a Charlie's Angels-esque introduction to each of the three main characters. It's pretty lame. But you don't really have time to reflect on the lameness, as you're flung into a series of battles while simultaneously trying to figure out how the whole battle system works. The cuteness returns with a vengeance, though. Rikku never shuts the fuck up. She says things like "disasterrific!" and "poopie!". I shit you not. It's enough to make me want to hang myself. Then there's the beginning of chapter two, which basically goes like this:

Random NPC: I'm bored. What should we do?

Rikku: I know... Yuna should dance!

Yuna: What? Um...ok.

And dance she does. And sings, too. Fortunately, the uber-lameness of this is offset by the dark and disturbing FMV dream sequence Yuna has that night. It's pretty badass.

In summary: Super-cutesy and J-poppy, but also so difficult and time-consuming that no 12-year-old girl would ever be able to get through it, despite what you think the target demographic may be. However, I'm still embarassed to have my roommate catch me playing it.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

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This just in: Check it. This falls under the heading of "Movies I'm Going to See Despite the Fact That I Know They'll Suck." It's funny, 'cuz I was just watching this flim on TV the other day, and I thought to myself, "Well, this is one film that won't ever get remade, because everybody still watches this!"

Guess I was wrong. Oy.

So now I'm browsing through the ol' IMDB looking for what other movies from my childhood are being remade. Found one. Holy fucking shit. Does it never end?! Acutally, on second thought, this might be good. As long as they don't screw with the plot too much or make it Disneyfied or some crap -- if there's a singing/dancing mushroom in this, heads will roll.

Go play your harmonica ...

My boss gave everyone holiday cards today. I was a little worried when I saw the envelope waiting for me on my desk when I arrived at work today, remembering the previous Jesus-fest that I had experienced only a few days before. Fortunately, this wasn't a Christmas card. It was actually a Hannukah card! That's right, folks, a real-live Hannukah card, complete with a picture of a menorah and dreidels and everything. Which means that my boss did pay attention, unlike the aforementioned Jesus-freak. Yay for him! It really made me happy to finally have someone realize that not everyone in the office is Christian. I got a little worried when I found a scratch-'ems lottery ticket inside the card -- some kind of Jew joke, I originally thought -- but then I saw that he gave everyone a scratch-off lottery ticket. Admittedly, this is kind of weird, but hey, it was fun to scratch that bastard! Unfortunately, I didn't win anything, but it's the thought that counts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies...

Oh Lord. This is going to suck. So much. As if the goddam stage version wasn't bad enough.

So RotK premieres tomorrow, I hear. I won't be going to see it right away, since I haven't gotten tickets and I imagine that the theatre's going to be packed for the next month or so. Plus, I need to see Two Towers again because I don't remember what happens after the battle at Helm's Deep, and I seem to recall all that stuff with Isildur's brother and the dragons 'n shit being significant somehow. People are already calling Part III the best movie ever made, so I'm reasonably psyched about it. Although, I must say I was more psyched about seeing The Matrix: Revolutions. Probably because I was more worried that it might suck ass. And lo and behold, it did. I'm not too worried about RotK. The first two films were called the best movies ever made, too (except by hardcore Tolkein fans), and I'm sure the third won't be any worse. It's hard to go wrong when you've got such kick-ass source material and a director committed to making a really excellent film.

Friday, December 12, 2003


So this guy just called who I had helped before, and as he was getting off the phone, he said: "I'm glad this call is being recorded, because you deserve the gold star today. Thank you so much for all your help."

Call me a geek, call me a loser, but that really made my day. I guess if I multiplied that feeling by 100, I'd know what it felt like to have a student say that to a teacher. I do feel kind of guilty, though, seing as how I didn't really do all that much to help him, but hey, I'll take what I can get.


Thursday, December 11, 2003

Fun fact for the day

According to this site, the following is written on Shakespeare's grave:

Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare,
To digg the dust encloased heare!
Blest be the man that spares thes stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

Interesting, eh? The greatest poet/dramatist possibly of all time pleads graverobbers not to steal his corpse. You'd think he would've mentioned something about his poetry or plays in there somewhere. Something like...

Here lies Shakespeare.
I wrote Hamlet, motherfucker.
How you like them apples?

Of course, corpse-stealing was a rather large problem back in the day, but still.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The good, and the bad 'n ugly

Let's start with the bad 'n ugly first, 'cuz this just happened to me and I find it amusing. Remember the hubbub I created at work by mentioning I was Jewish? Apparently, someone wasn't listening. One of my coworkers just handed out Christmas cards to everybody. Including me. Which wouldn't be so bad if they were your generic, "Merry Christmas and a happy New Year" kind of cards. This card is a bit different. On the front, it says, "Christmas -- A Time When Our Hearts Are Rekindled With HIS Love". The inside: "An unwavering faith, a perpetual hope, an eternal love from heaven -- may your Christmas and New Year be filled with these wonderful blessings from the Lord." And in smaller print, a verse from I Corinthians. On the back, another Bible verse, this one from Luke 2:11 -- "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, which is CHRIST THE LORD." You might recognize this verse from Handel's Messiah. By the way, all capitalization is as it appears on the card.

Wow. Either this guy missed the whole Jew-boy conversation, or he's trying to convert me. (I did notice that every word on the inside of the card had been underlined in pen) I think it's the other direction. I feel like I should wear a Yarmulke and grow out my sideburns Hasidic-style just so I can get the point across that I'M FUCKING JEWISH!!

Now for the good. At the end of the day yesterday, I was speaking with my supervisor, and I mentioned in a half-joking way that if I had to listen to Alvin and the Chipmunks one more time, I was going to kill myself. Turns out she sent an email to the manager for our unit (she had complained to him about the music before, it seems) stating that it wasn't just her who was being driven insane. Manager then sent out an email to eveyrone saying no more music. No words can express how happy this made me. Huzzah!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Revenge of the cowpies

Remember Cowpies? Annoying woman who bought a lame-ass plastic menorah? Well, she's being annoying again. Very annoying.

Prior to December, she used to bring in this one CD (a mix tape, I guess) that she would play over and over and over and over throughout the day. To make it worse, every goddam song on the CD was the most repetitive song ever written. Example: "Why can't we be friends?" (used during the credits of the last Lethal Weapon movie). Do you know how many times they say "Why can't we be friends?" in that song? I didn't count, but I'm going to estimate that it's somewhere between 100 and fucking obnoxious.

Well, now she's brought in her personal mix of Christmas songs. And not just any Christmas songs...the most god-awful annoying Christmas songs ever written. Example: Alvin & the Chipmunks' "Christmas Time is Here". Holy fucking shit. You have no idea how tortuously nauseating and grating that song is until you've heard it five times in the space of 30 minutes. How I wish I was exaggerating. You know, I think in some countries, this is actually used as a form of torture. If not, it should be looked into. It's working. I'm ready to crack.

I keep sane by bouncing a small rubber ball off the side of my cubicle and internally debating whether Final Fantasy X-2 is worth buying or not.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Snow sucks.

That's really all I have to say. Snow sucks. A lot. And when it snows more than a foot, then it sucks even more. I'm not sure where I'm going to park tonight as a big-ass pickup truck is blocking most of my parking lot. My muscles ache from shoveling snow all day. Snow sucks.

On the plus side, my a capella group's CD is pretty awesome. We sound pretty darn good, actually. Yay for us!

Friday, December 05, 2003

Well well well...

Hey, bro? Remember when you posted that story about the woman getting trampled at Wal-Mart during the after-Thanksgiving sale? Check this shit out. What a kick in the ass, huh? So much for this babe being the poster child for the excesses of American consumerism...

Thursday, December 04, 2003


I just took a gander at my old a capella group's website, and man-oh-man is it awesome. I'm pleased to see that, despite my laziness which led to the current members having to get a new access password created, it has been updated with current info ... and pictures, even! Oh, I miss those guys. Too bad I was such a neurotic mess throughout the entirety of my senior year that I couldn't fully enjoy my last year with 'em. They've even managed to finally get the much-anticipated CD produced! It's being released tomorrow!! Can you tell by the number of exclamation points I'm using that I'm super-psyched?!!?!!!? Don't worry, mom ... I'll get you one.

You know, a lot of people in college a capella groups get burned out pretty quickly with the whole "scene". Not me. I loved my group. However, I still say that "mainstream" a capella sucks donkey scrotum. You know, arrangements of Britney Spears with some dude going, "thbbt-wacka-chicka" to imitate percussion. Stupid crap like that. I'm proud to say that mya capella alma mater sings songs that were actually originally written for SATB voices. And that's the way it should be.

Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!

I've come to the conclusion that I don't like books written by female authors. Ok, let me rephrase that -- I prefer books written by male authors. There are plenty of books I've read that I thought were great that were written by members of the fairer sex -- Toni Morrison, for example. But I don't get the same enjoyment from reading Toni Morrison that I do from reading Orson Scott Card. Really, comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Any English major worth his B.A. will tell you that Toni Morrison is great and everything -- I mean, she did win the Nobel Prize. Orson Scott Card won a Hugo (or two?) and a Nebula award, but I don't think sci-fi awards are really in the same league as the good ol' Nobel. That being said, I've only read Sula and Beloved once, and I don't really have any desire to read either of them again. I could read Ender's Game a billion times. And I've noticed that I tend to gravitate towards male writers in general, maybe just because science-fiction is mainly a male-dominated field. But I also like Daniel Quinn and (to a faaaaarrrr lesser extent) Piers Anthony -- the guy may have pedophilic tendencies in his writing, but he's basically the reason why I became an English major. If I hadn't started reading all those god-awful (but only in hindsight) "Xanth" books, I don't think I would have ever considered myself to be someone who likes reading. And I say this after having spent most of my literate childhood reading every damn Beverly Cleary book I could get my hands on. Ah, the days of Ramona Quimby's vaguely dysfunctional family. I still remember "cheating" when I had to do a book report by claiming that I had just read "Ramona Quimby, age 8" for the first time -- in reality, I didn't read anything; I just had the plot memorized after having read it 5000 times. I was always one for repetition of the familiar.

In summary, if Jane Austen were born blind and never learned how to read and write, I think the world would be a much better place. I intend to sit and play video games for several hours.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

It's beginning to look a lot like bullshit...

The Christmas decorating is in full effect in the office -- complete with christmas lights, ornaments, stockings, and little paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. Remember the lame-ass plastic menorah? Funny thing about that -- at least three different people came up to me, holding it, saying, "See what we got?" My response, "Uh, yeah...that's great." Here's the funny part -- I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I think they hid it under a table so as not to scare the goyim. But hey, its the thought that counts, right?

In other news, I'm re-reading "Xenocide" (the third book in the "Ender Saga"). It's so awesome it makes my kishkas ache. See? I told you all this Christmas decorating makes me feel Jewish.