Life doesn't completely suck for me? Why didn't anybody tell me! And here I was thinking that I just couldn't be happy even though this is my year.
Why so good?
Well... Let's have a review of last month. I got sick, depressed, wound up in the ER, didn't get to go to a concert, didn't get anything for my birthday, lost my computer to a rootkit, etc...
Now let's have a review of the month so far. I got to meet Lacuna Coil, met a few of the members from Empty Spiral, got to see LC in concert, finished the install of some new components in Motoko, got a pet rat, found out that my insurance isn't going to completely fuck me over, etc...
I guess I can't do much complaining about this month. It's been pretty rockstar so far and it seems like it might just stay that way, save a couple people trying their fucking hardest to piss me off to the point of absolute self destruction. Fucking bastards.
What's this LC news?
So LC came to SLC last Tiw's Day and Baren and I already had our tickets. The night before I received a message from Gandoof over on ES stating that they were doing a signing and acoustic performance before the show! Sweet Sejenus, how can I turn that down? I had been working on a piece of LC art: Cristina, taken from March's Revolver centerfold with Angela Gossow. I wasn't satisfied with the piece at the time but I am fairly proud of it none the less. Rather than taking my liner notes from the LC albums (yes, I have every last full album) I decided to take the art piece down to the signing. What better way to show my love than to show them my fan art? Besides, I've never seen another piece of fan art signed by the subject, let alone an entire band.
We got to the cafe where the performance was to be held (Borders Books Cafe, just for reference) and picked a spot. We had a lone camera with us (I left mine in the car in a frenzy) and tried to get the best spot we could. That spot, due to the amount of people in the cafe (thank God, I was worried/happy that we would be two of just a few), happened to be stage left, right behind the sound equipment. We were standing literally right-the-fuck-there when the band came in! We were standing not ten feet from one of the band members who was walking around the whole time, though nobody else seemed to notice.
We waited for some time for everything to be ready. When the band finally came out, speaking Italian phrases, the crowd just about lost it. We maintained our composure for the most part. My hands started sweating and my heart started racing. (I don't think many people understand just what Lacuna Coil means to me.) The band played, made jokes, and Criz (I think, can't find a pic to tie to the name; Yes, I'm fired) spent the time on the sidelines finding books that he found humorous and flashing them to the crowd. That was an FTW (fut the wuck for you lamans) moment if ever I saw one. Missed taking a few great shots cause I was laughing my ass off.
Unspoken, Closer, Within Me and a special treat, Swamped were the acoustic performance songs. All I can say is see them live when you can, see them acoustic in that wonderful, intimate atmosphere if you can. If/when they come again I will be there with fucking bells and whistles on. It was just that fucking good.
Baren and I were in the line working our way through from about the halfway mark. I had my art pad in my hand, trying to keep from soaking it with sweat. I was shaking a little and was having to wipe my palms on my levis almost constantly. No, constantly. Baren had to leave the line when we were getting close, leaving me with his ticket 'just in case' because he didn't have anything for them to sign! Can't blame him really: we were in a serious hurry and neither of us were thinking straight. I digress...
As I approached the table I caught a glimpse of our wonderful siren, Cristina, just over the counter. (I'm still getting butterflies thinking about it...) I had my finger marking the page in my art pad so I didn't have to search for it when I got to the table. Quick glimpse of what was going through my mind: I get to present a piece of fan art to my favorite band! They're going to sign a piece of my fan art! Cristina's first in line and the art is of her! I get to meet my favorite band! My favorite band is going to sign some of my stuff! That all took place in about half a second. Then I was up next.
I was shaking, nervous as hell and couldn't decide if I wanted to be sick, jump the band or just have a hysterical breakdown of some sort. I got to Cristina and fumbled with my art pad. I almost didn't get it open! When I did I handed it to Cristina. I didn't set it on the table, I handed it directly to her. It was the most exhilirating and terrifying moment of my life. She glanced up at me (she looked at me) and gave me a strange look. I still can't decide whether she was saying "the fuck is this garbage", "the hell is this?", "my god this is gorgeous" or "you brought this?". I don't care and I'll continue delluding myself by believing she thought it was fucking great. She signed the piece, almost reluctantly I thought, then passed it to Andrea who was next in line. I quickly handed Baren's ticket to her and moved on.
I stepped in front of Andrea. He looked at the piece and considered it for a moment. He looked up at me with, I swear, astonishment and said (with a fairly thick Italian accent) "You want me to sign this? It's of Christina!". All I could manage to say, because I wasn't really thinking at that point, was "yes. FuckJesusGodFuckingYesPleaseSignIt!". His reply was a simple "Okay" with a questioning tone. I honestly thought he was going to say something like 'this sucks' or 'I'm not going to sign it and I'm insulted that it's just Cristina!' but they really aren't like that at all. They're one of the nicest groups of people I've ever met.
As I made my way along the line to the rest of the band they all happily signed it and three of them congratulated me. I felt like a schoolgirl I did. A giddy little schoolgirl who just got her cherry popped (what a horrible analogy!).
I can't put in to words the elation that I felt. I wanted to laugh, scream, cry, die, etc..., anything that would relieve the tension! All I could do was walk away and let out a sigh of relief. That drawing is the only thing that I got signed. I considered, quite heavily, buying one of the albums again just to have them sign it but it would have ruined the moment. I just wanted to revel in the whole thing until the concert later that night.
Please check out Baren's blog for his part of the signing and check out Gandoof's (aka utah_coiler, aka Paul) review of the whole day (it starts on the second post). You think I write a lot? This guy just might, with practice, beat me some day... >:)
Before you think I've lost my cynisism...
I'm still a cynical fuck even if I'm having a great day. In fact being happy (or something close to it) gives me focus. While I'm not going to tell you about the concert I will tell you about
The sluttiest girl at the concert contest
5'5", dark brown hair, good looking if not a little young (about 19). She really was attractive, then she turned so I was looking at her ass (yes, I do that kind of thing). All I can say is: cammo g-string that was hitched up to her ribs. It was like a vine caught in a canyon. Butt floss can't begin to describe it. And what made it worse was her pants (or what was there of them) were hanging off her ass. Nuff said.
Dumbass question of the week
So it'll have to be the dumbass question of the last two weeks. Sue me. Yes it's a joke but it's actually happened. Got it in an email, you've probably heard it and I don't fucking care. It makes me laugh and makes me want to destroy humanity just on principle.
"What were you doing last Tuesday morning Dr. Autopsy?"
"I was performing an autopsy on Mr. DeadGuy."
"Did you check for a pulse?"
"Did you check for breathing?"
"Did you check for reflexes or blood pressure?"
"So the deceased could have, in fact, been alive?"
"Well if you didn't check for vital signs how could you know?"
"His brain was in a jar on my desk."
"Okay but taking that aside he could have conceivably been alive, couldn't he?"
"Yes. He could have been alive and practicing law."
Tee hee hee... makes me humorous.
Ha! No links for you! I really do expect you to check out the LC official site and LC fansite EmptySpiral.
"So she said 'that's not my 39 pin interface'. I said 'that's okay cause that's not my gold plated connector'!"
I would like to make very clear before I start this rant that I am in no way a law expert. I'm just an intelligent, educated person and consumer.
The story so far...
Legislation in multiple states have attempted, many times, to pass legislation that would limit the sale of video games, on all platforms, to minors. The proposed legislation almost always involves the ESRB rating "M", ensuring that the games cannot be sold to minors.
A short blib on the ESRB: I have a lot of respect for what these people do. They are trying to uphold the values that our country was formed on. That's formed on, meaning past tense. The evolution of the american society, and most societies in the world for that matter, has progressed to the point where we are beginning to explore things outside of the core values that were instilled by our forefathers. The fact that a group of people would seek to enforce their values on others is oppressive and demeaning, not to mention unconstitutional.
The ESRB rating of "M" or higher (yes, it goes higher, just follow the link you tool-user) is reserved for games that have extreme violence, sexual themes and content and graphic language. All the things that make up our society. After all, you can't define "light" without "dark" as a reference. The principle of this thought process is, admitedly, very sound. But government intervention is an intrusion on our rights as americans and it tells parents "it's okay to be a lazy fuck. We'll take care of the tough stuff for you."
The real problem
The real problem, especially in the united states, is lazy parenting. Why the hell should a five year old have an xBox? I've long lived by the principle that GameCube is more for children and xBox/PS2 is more for adults. This isn't a design flaw and I'm not saying that adults can't play the GC. For hell's sake I own one myself! What I am saying is that GC has more games designed for and targeted at younger consumers, i.e. "kids". And I use that term loosely.
Think for just a second about the games available for the GC. Mario Party, Super Monkey Ball (if you don't like SMB as an adult then you're fucked up in the head) and Pikmin. These games are designed to be played with your friends and really aren't too violent. After all if the ESRB says it's okay it must be (guffaw).
The ESRB would have you think that they are the be all, end all of ratings commitees in the US. The reason that perception is correct is nobody else has stepped up to the plate. How many rap albums do you see with the PA sticker? What about rock albums? Ok, now think about pop albums. Britney Spears with a PA sticker? Never. Why? "She's wholesome music and little girls should look up to her" is what the parents would have you think. Review her last two years: Dating at least three "men", married one then divorced him, then married another right after, all while singing songs that promote promiscuity in teenage girls and jerk-fests in stupid, pre-pubescent boys. Yeah, that's a real good fucking role model.
Now let's take a look at the games side of things. First, fuck San Andreas and all the sniveling little pissant fucks who use it as a scapegoat. Fuck them right in the ass with their xBox turned sidways. How about sports games? First raise a child to be a fan of a violent sport like football (sports! yeah!) and introduce them to their parent's beer swilling, wife beating foul mouthed friends. Add a dose of "I won't love you if you're not QB" and we have the average teenage male fucktard. I'm not worried about Trenchcoat Johnny and his obsession with morbid music. That shit paints an accurate reality in which life sucks. No, I'm worried about the dipshit jock and his 15 drunk friends who think it's fun to taunt, tease and otherwise make life miserable for those who are smaller than them.
Violence isn't caused because of games, other than the rare cases with the really fucked up individuals. Again, not the point.
What does this have to do with books?
Well if you look at the current level of literature being produced today the only censored media within the print world is graphic novels. The reasoning behind this is "you can see her nipples" arguments. Apparently people have forgotten that many people are still aware that their imagination exists and that they can use it, though very many more have forgotten how to use their imagination, most of them sports fans ("Sports! Yeah!").
One of the series I'm reading (yeah, like I have time) right now is Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker. It's a very vivid tale of Earwa, his world, but it has many moments which are sexually explicit. The pictures are painted beautifully. But I would definitely want anybody under 12 reading it. (I chose twelve because that's about when I started reading this stuff.) There's no need for a child to be exposed to that type of stuff at such a young age. But there's no problem with that type of literature. It enriches our lives.
It becomes a problem when people lose the ability to differentiate reality from fiction. I don't think that's the issue with games. Games are most decidedly unrealistic most of the time and the ones that aren't are typecast and geared for a specific audience that understands the place for the type of actions in said game. For instance there's Full Spectrum Warrior. The original intent and use of this game, by design, was a tactical, full emersion simulation for use by the military. It was in fact comissioned by the US military by the game maker for exactly the purpose of training. It was released to the public because, for it's purpose, it would make a significant impact in the gaming world. In short it's fucking gorgeous at what it does.
But the people who play it are, in all honesty and from experience, either current, prospective or ex-military. The fucking point is that video game violence doesn't breed real violence, being a complete fuckwad breeds real violence.
Why legislation shouldn't be passed
There's nothing I could say that hasn't probably already been said. What I'll say instead is that I don't want our society to end up like this. If you've never read Farenheit then you need to. If you have then you know why I'm terrified of shit like this.
There's really not much else I can say. It's bullshit, it affects every gamer and it's the fault of the parents, not the "vid-ya games", that american 'kids' are fucked up in the head.
It has come to my attention recently that I may be too smart for my own good. What I mean by that is I have recently taken up arms ethically against perceived atrocities within the technology industry. I'd like to pick up where I left off last...
Three personality types
I hate to do it but I must quantify three distinct personality types. The first is the intelligent log, aka the 'nerd'. A nerd is someone who is so tecnically inclined that they bury themselves in their chosen arena. This type of person is completely detached from the outside world and, therefore, completely incapable of holding an average conversation without offending or "putting off" almost anybody.
The second type of person is the exact oposite of nerd: social overachiever. This personality type tries too hard. The one who considers themselves 'extra special' because they have more friends than computers. In all actuality this person winds up alienating people due to the fact that they try so fucking hard to be everybody's friend they ignore the basic courtesies everyone should be afforded. More on these people later.
The third personality type, the catagory which I fall in to, is the 'geek'. I'm not talking about the Websters dictionary version. No, they would have you believe that geeks and nerds are the same, just interchangeable names. The person I'm talking about is the one in your office who helps you fix your computer or shows you how to use a new program without acting like a condescending asshole. This is the person who offers to fix your computer but shows you the process along the way. The one person in the office who you can go to who a) knows what the hell they're doing and b) doesn't make you feel like a complete fucking idiot in the process.
Scenario: Your office has recently made the upgrade to a new version of the operating systems on your computers. For the most part everything is familiar but there are a few intricacies that you don't know how to set up.
The nerd's solution: Use a lot of technical jargon, describe the process once and expect that you will remember it for all time. While this may work for some you feel like he doesn't want to take the time to help you with it because he thinks such things 'are beneath me'.
The condescending asshole's solution: Don't use a lot of technical jargon and take the time to help. The problem is this type of person over simplifies, making you feel like a preschooler who's being shown how to pull up their pants. This type of fuckhead (as you can most likely tell it's this type of person who pisses me off the most) seems to gain some kind of satisfaction by debasing everybody else because 'they just need to be taught what I know, even if they don't want to hear it'. Fucking bastard assholes.
The average geek's solution: Find out the technical acumen of the person requesting the help and gear the solution and description to their level. The reason I group myself in this category is because I am, by trade and experience, a customer service expert. Even if you are the lowliest tech at the biggest corporation in the world everybody expects that you will be willing to help without resorting to overtly simplistic or technical terminology, i.e. your demeanor is professional without being a jerk or condescending.
What does it all mean?
Well... shit. I just don't know. I would say to take the path less travelled. Three suggestions that I could make to help anybody achieve the status of great technical support rep:
a) Work in a fast food joint at least once. The humility you are forced to undertake gives you the perspective that every blue collar has. You absolutely must realize the level of intellect that you will be dealing with 99% of the time.
b) Be a phone support rep at least once. The ability to convey information through language is an absolute must and this will force you to learn how to control situations that are frustrating for both parties when communication is limited.
c) Learn from mistakes, both yours and others. Pierre and Marie Currie discovered how to halt the progression of cancer cells by working with the basest of chemical and energetic reactions on the cellular level. However this exposed them to a time based radiation sickness. In the current world even children understand the basics of the reactions from radiation exposure and know what the consequences are. This illustrates perfectly the act of learning from mistakes.
I've followed all three of these pieces of advice. I currently work as a phone rep, I just left a job in the food service industry and I've been fucking up for my entire life as well as watching others screw things up. I've learned from all of these situations and I know when to force my hand, when to let others force their will and I now know when someone needs to have a little humility interjected in to their life.
Ah, you poor uneducated fools. So the number one past time on the net is decidedly porn. The second most popular internet past time is friend to friend communication, whether via email, 'IM' or blogs like this. (warning: possibly insulting material follows. Please don't take any of the following comments to seriously unless you meet all of the criteria for punk ass kid who thinks 1337 5p34k is the 'bomb diggity'.)
For the most part none of you know how to spell. I'm not talking about the people who are educated. I'm talking about the lazy fuckers who would rather text their friends from home than walk the two blocks to talk to them. The spoiled little ass heads whose caudling mother and doting father baught them an xBox for their sixth birthday and a new game every two weeks. The little pricks who have never had to make a living no matter how old they got.
These are the types of children that people have been raising since 1993. I don't know about the rest of you but I bought my first game system, car, computer, etc..., by myself and I'm disgusted to see these kinds of things going on. Back to the point they're also the people who are too lazy to lrn how 2 fukin spel rite. God, that took longer than I would have liked. Seriously it took about 5 seconds longer to write those six words than it did the two sentences before it. Why? Because I'm not some lazy little fuckhead who thinks that it's faster to read and write incorrectly because 'you don't have as many keystrokes'. How about learning to type correctly and well? It really doesn't take that much effort and people don't have to work so hard to understand you.
Dumbass question of the week
This brings me to the dumbest fucking question of the week:
Why do we have to type out the whole sentence? It takes to long and you get the same point accross if you type the 'shrt wy'.
Why you ask? Because it takes too fucking long to decipher which letters you've left out and build a cohesive sentence from the garbledy-gook you call fucking typing. And it bleeds over in to the professional world too. Everybody I know that types like that on IM has at least 5 spelling errors per page. Read one of my rants and you'll see correct spelling the whole way through. Lazy fucktard ass hats.
Links and other shit
I'm just so pissed off right now. Sorry. I'll try to make your day a little better:
Under Power is the story of Mr. Cynical and his gang of really fucked up 'super heroes' who have to save the world. Read it at your own risk but it's hilarious.
Digital Purgatory is everything we've talked about today. Even the little xBox whores.
Twisted Links. Damn, I want a chainmaille bra! And the chick to wear it in bed!
Cable Organizers: Just another wierd fucking link from me to you.
Thought of the Day
"Always live within your means.
Endeavor to extend them regularly."
Gryyphyn, Section-9/The Wired