Tuesday, August 23, 2016

No Man's Sky is a great game.

Right now, if you're a gamer, you're aware of either Pokemon Go, Overwatch, the new Destiny thingy, or No Man's Sky, and everything that the developers said they would put in it, and didn't.  Dirty fuckin' liars!  
Maybe it hasn’t been everything I wanted it to be. But it’s everything I expected it to be. The division over this game is extreme. Unlike so many people who have been following this game for (years!) up to it’s release, somehow this flew under my radar right up until a few weeks ago. I mean, I’d heard the name, and I was aware of “something something epic space exploration”, but other than that, it had really not made more than a blip on my radar. I caught an article about it on Kotaku, and on a whim, I picked it up.
The first few hours were intense! I was on a super toxic planet, which also had extreme levels of radiation. I could survive for about four minutes and forty five seconds outside of my ship, gathering materials and mining for resources before I needed to recharge my life support and escape the radiation. This presented problems, as some of the resources needed to fix my ship were more than 5 minutes away by foot. Then I learned I could re-charge my life support on the fly, and hide from radiation in caves. Neat! I resisted the urge to look up “how to” stuff online. This kind of game (at least to me) has the fun torn out of it if I just google “how to” everything. I’m not fixing my kitchen sink or replacing a sensor on my Jeep. I’m playing a game and I want to experience everything.
So I fixed my ship, I documented some animals and plants. I take off. I land on some other planets. I mine some more materials. I learn how to warp jump to other solar systems. There appears to be about a few dozen sentient creatures per solar system, and no cities. Upgrade your ship, explore a few planets, wash, rinse, repeat. I thought “this is still pretty neat, these planets are cool, and upgrading stuff is cool, but this is getting a little tedious.”
Am I playing this game right? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Am I getting max fun out of this? Is everyone online right that Hello Games didn’t deliver what they promised?
I jumped to the next solar system. I got ambushed by space pirates. My ship was badly damaged and I couldn’t leave the solar system. I needed materials, and couldn’t find any, or find anyone that had any for sale. I landed on a planet that was actually relatively stable and habitable, and named it after my dog. I set about looking for the materials I needed, and in the meantime, started documenting every weird-ass plant and animal I came across. I found a 15 foot tall turtle, that had praying mantis legs. “Mantis Turtle”. I fed it, and it smiled and made some weird sounds. I upgraded my gun with plasma grenades, and dug a huge tunnel/mine complex into the side of a hill, just for the heck of it. No, this is not Minecraft-lite, but it was fun making my own mine/tunnel system. I got a distress call/beacon. While I couldn’t hyperdrive out of the system, my ship (and guns) were still operational. I jumped into my boat and jetted out into the void. Space pirates were attacking some huge freighters that looked like the ship from the old 70's Movie The Black Hole. (awesome!) I helped them fight off the space pirates in a pretty cool dog fight. I got the materials I needed off the downed ships of the space pirates. However, I went back to the planet I named after my dog (Planet Argo) and explored some more. I named a settlement after my dog (Argotopolis) and upgraded my gun, and due to a really bad situation with language barriers, agreed to an arranged marriage with an alien that has two really large blue proboscis things coming out of her (I hope.....) face. I hope that part actually isn’t in the game.  Please God, don't let this actually be in the fucking game.
I found a lonely Vy’Keen warrior who has been told he has to go fight in a war. He asked me to fight in his stead. I told him to sack up and go fight like a man (or .....whatever). He sadly accepted his fate. His people now look upon me more favorably....whatever that means? I made another tunnel system with my grenade gun. It’s quite well hidden, in the side of a hill. I hope to hide here when I’m called to marry the squid face.
I got attacked by 5 space pirates while trying to leave the Argo system. My shields got destroyed. While drifting, I tried to restore my shields. A lot of players online complain that you should be able to restore your shields while flying. I say that if you’re alone in your ship, is it really realistic that you’d be able to repair your shields while you’re blasting away AND flying/piloting your ship? The end result is that I got blown up, and as the screen turned to black, a profound quote from Stephen Hawking about the soul-crushing void came on the screen. I had to go back out there and retrieve my stuff (which didn’t take long....and honestly didn’t feel like much of a penalty for dying).
Based on what I’ve seen and read and heard about things that were promised, I can’t say that I wouldn’t welcome those features that aren’t in the game. But they aren’t here, and I’m still having a great time with the game. I trust that the dev team will deliver the things they say they can deliver when they get done patching the initial bugs. I look forward to the addition of base building. Then I’ll have more places to hide than just round tunnels.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to play a game like this. If you aren’t enjoying it, you’re rushing through it, and not taking the time to do more than mine for materials and try to get through the main story paths. The story paths, frankly, are the most boring part of the game. Maybe I’ll eventually run out of things to do, but until then I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"Take a number please"

I have done customer service rants before.  I'm doing another one today.  I'll do them again in the future.  Why you ask?  Because one thing holds true, and always has, and always will.  We truly do suck at this.  Absolutely and vehemently suck at it.  Well and truly.

I'm not going to shy away from naming the offender this time.  Charter.  Charter Television, phone, and Internet.  I say "phone", because I pay for it, although I have never used it.  Or even plugged it in.  You see, with the "Triple Play" package, it's less expensive to have the phone than it is to not have the phone.  I asked how much it would be if I got rid of the phone, and it turns out my package would go up 30 dollars a month.  Yes... I can pay Charter 30 dollars a month (a month!) to disconnect my phone service.  That I have never used.  What a damn bargain!  So the phone (for now) stays.


Saturday I went into the local Charter office to pay my bill.  I can pay it online, but it's more or less right around the corner from my house, and I was out in that direction.

I walk into the lobby.  There are no other customers in the lobby.  There is a man at a desk, and a woman at a desk.  I say to the guy "I'm here to pay my bill today".

The lady says "Can I just have you check into the kiosk behind you please?"

"But I'm just here to pay my bill"

"I understand.  Can I just have you check into the kiosk?"

I look around.  I notice (again) that there's no one else in the lobby.  Absolutely no one else.

You guys know me.  I am not one to make waves.  Like EVER.  So I turn around.  The kiosk asks who I am.

I type in all caps.  DUWAYNE.  We want no mistakes.



So, after going through this process, I turn around, and wait, wait, wait, wait.  There is still no one in the lobby. I  look to my left, I look to my right.  I look behind me.  Nope, there is no one else in here.  Neither the man or the woman are on the phone.  After about a minute, the guy says "DuWayne?"

I look behind me, to make sure there's no other DuWaynes in the place (also to the left and right).  The inflection in his tone of voice left me with some nagging doubt, you see.  Was I, in fact, the DuWayne he was referring to?

I went up to his desk.

"So......how can I help you today?"


You heard me say "I'm here to pay my bill today".  I know this, because you aren't doing fuck-all else.  You also know this because you know my name, because you pulled it from the check-in information from the kiosk.

Look.  Listen.  I work in a call center.  I get that there's certain things you're required to do.  But there comes a point when common freakin' sense has to over ride your programming and you say "wait.  Wait.  Wait.  This dude LITERALLY just said "I'm here to pay my bill today, so it stands to reason, he's here to pay his bill.  Today."

I played your game.  I did the kiosk thing, even though no one else was in the lobby.  I stood in the imaginary line, even though nobody else was in the lobby.  I waited for you to say "DuWayne?"  Even though nobody else was in The Lobby.

I understand that this is not a fun job.  You're not a Nerf product tester, or an astronaut, or a Lego designer, or whatever, but for god's sake, what is this?

The sad thing is, having worked in a call center, I know for a fact you can treat people like humans, and not ignore them when you're not doing anything else anyways.  There's plenty of times when I don't WANT to treat the people I'm talking to like humans, but I do, and usually at the end of whatever I'm trying to do for them, I get a better result for it.  If I see someone is from Minnesota, I ask them if they're a sports fan, and ask about the (gag) Vikings or Twins.  I ask about the weather in their area, despite the fact that chatting about the weather is probably the one thing I can't stand doing with strangers more than anything else. It's either hot or cold, or raining or it's not.  But......it's at least SOMETHING to make that person know that they are an actual person, and not just a chore to be completed.

I was once on the phone with a DirecTV rep, and in a 15 minute call, she said at least 10 times, "Remember DuWayne, when you're with us you don't just watch TV, you DirecTV!!"

OK!  OK!  I GOT IT! I DIRECTV!  STOP FUCKING SAYING IT!  I think I was hearing that phrase in my sleep that night.  I think they get paid for how many times they can say that per phone call.  They must.

I know Charter doesn't care.  Time Warner doesn't care.  AT & T doesn't care.  Comcast doesn't care. They demand that their people say these things (or else), because some sort of call testing says this gets the best results.  I have to question that, because the only result I think it ever gets is that it pisses people off and either makes them cancel service, switch providers, hang themselves with an ethernet cord or, best case scenario, apathetically do nothing, because switching is a hassle.

We're dumping Charter, because apathetically doing nothing is expensive.  Switching to someone else is like deciding to get kicked in the nuts, or punched in the face.  Neither is an attractive option.  Netflix, an HD antenna, and other streaming options will work from here on out just fine.

I've always known that I......we all are just customers, chores, scripts and numbers to a company.  And that's fine, it really is.  It's never ever bothered me.  But to have it put on such comic display, in a manner I never thought I'd see in something other than a movie or television show..... well.  Thanks Charter.  You helped make an easy decision easier.

FYI..... please don't ask "is there anything else we can do for you today?"

The answer is "no"

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I am not "doin' it rong'. I'm doing it differently than you.

"23 ways you're making your eggs wrong"  # 7 WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!

"you're slicing your watermelon wrong YOUR WHOLE LIFE!"

"This LIFE HACK will show you how you have been washing your hands wrong FOREVER!"

If you're like me (and you're probably not)......but if you're like me and you have seen these articles on Facebook, or yahoo, or twittermabob, or whatever, you've no doubt rolled your eyes at the ridiculous clickbait links and headlines.

Look, I get it.  You want people to click and open your shitty little article about this cool new thing you've discovered and think no one in the world knows how to do except you.

The thing is, you're not the only one doing it.  The thing is, when you want to give people some "LIFE HAX" advice, telling them "you're doing it wrong!!!!!!!!!!" is probably not the most endearing way to get someone to try to do something different.

Maybe I'm just a crusty old asshole.  Fuck it, let's be honest, there's no maybe about it.  But I still don't need someone screaming in all caps "YOURE CUTTING YOUR FUCKING WATERMELON WRONG!!" when the way I've been doing it for 40 years has worked pretty damn good.  Standing over the kitchen sink with that sweet sticky fruit running all over the place and getting on everything is pretty grand, after all.

So to all the asshole bloggers who can't write advice blogs without being snarky dicks about it.....

"Writing advice/life hack blogs.......YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG"


Thursday, August 21, 2014

#hashtag activism, lots of icewater, and our growing cyni-culture.

Holy fuck, I'm blogging.  Maybe I could actually turn this into a semi-regular thing?  Who knows?  Maybe I shouldn't get ahead of myself, and just focus on the task at hand, yes?

Over the past few weeks (as of the last article I read), I've seen that $41 million dollars

has been raised for the ALS foundation during this "Ice Bucket Challenge" deal.  What I find interesting is the amount of angst and backlash I've seen on blogs, facebook and the like about this.  Yes, $41 million dollars (far more in 2 weeks than they took in donations than all of last year) is somehow a *bad* thing.

Some of the reasons are interesting.

"More #hashtag activism".

Really?  Hashtag activism is doing something on facebook or twitter (or some other form of social media), but not actually DOING something.  The people that are taking part in this thing are actually getting off their asses, dumping a bucket of water on their heads, donating money, and (fuck me, I hate to say it), "raising awareness".  Usually the phrase "Raising Awareness" raises my hackles, because "Raising Awareness" is what people who want to feel like they're doing something good without actually having to do something do.  But in this case, the "Raising Awareness" has actually contributed to raising money for something incredibly worthwhile.  So I'm going to grudgingly let it slide.

This time.

Next up.....

"Just a bunch of narcissistic video posting whores"

Umm..... So what?  If they're doing the challenge, and challenging more people, and donating money?  So what?  When you're raising money for something that matters, if the worst thing that happens is some goofballs make a quick video of dumping water on themselves, then I think the ends certainly justify the means.

And.......  "This is charity cannibalism"

The idea is that when you get a huge push in a charity like this, it takes money away from some other charity that people would otherwise have donated to.  I call bullshit on this.  Most people who are regularly charitable usually choose the same charities.  This has been a spontaneous thing, generating massive interest in a really short time.  I suspect people who give to "Charity A, B, and C" every year are still going to give to those charities.

And if they weren't giving to ALS research before, maybe they should have been, right?

I guess the end lesson here is, quit being a cynical prickand either go dump a bucket of water on yourself and donate 10 bucks, or just ignore it.  It's really that simple.

Alright, I gotta go.  I have to see if there's something I can find to blog about in another 9 months or so.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Merry Holiday......time.....thingy.....deal

Where the stated purpose is to be merry and jolly and kind to our fellow man and all that jazz, but instead we really try to work each other over to maximize our profit and score some serious bank.  It's hard to go through the holidays without getting that impression anyways, isn't it?

Look, everyone goes through that "I hate the commercialization of Christmas" (gasp!  Am I allowed to say that word?) phase, right?  That time in their life when they say things like "Oh my god, the stores are putting up Christmas displays already??"  "Oh my god, the Christmas commercials are on already?"  "They're showing Christmas movies already?"

Here's the rub.  That stuff can only bother you if you let it.  That stuff can only affect you..........if you let it.  I realize that Christmas shoppers and the mad holiday rush is kind of a pain in the ass for everyone.......but the rest of the stuff, the commercials, the decorations, the tv shows, that's all fluff that you can ignore if you really want to.  Heck, if you WANT to, you can EMBRACE the commercialization of the holidays, and dive in head first.

Retailers are in business (stay with me here) to make money.  I know it would be sweet if they all had altruistic goals to end world hunger, bring about world peace, cure cancer, and so on, but that's not what they're all about. I would suspect the bottom line here is profit margin.  I'm probably right on this one guys.  Don't argue with me.

I stopped getting pissed/upset/melancholy about Christmas and the commercial aspect of it a while ago.  Wal Mart making money on it didn't take away 1/2 of 1% of the enjoyment I get out of spending time with my family and friends.  And it can't do that to you either, if you really stop and think about it, right?


So stop pissing and moaning about it.  Stop being depressed about it.  Seriously.  Spend time with people you want to spend time with.  Or, on the flip side of that, spend time with people you only want to be around once a year.  That's fine too.  We all know how that works.  The point is, don't let outside shit influence how you think about things. 

Well, it was a shorty, and I'm sorry.  I'll have to work to get back into the swing of things here.  Besides, if I make these things much longer, I know how most of you operate.  "TL/DR", right?

Anyways, I gotta go, I gotta go set the DVR to record Christmas Vacation.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome to Summer-tober.

Greetings readers.  I'll assail you (as usual) with a host of topics today.  Hopefully no pictures of a dog's anus, but I make no promises.  We go where the winding road takes us.  A steady stream of days since late July in the high sixties and low seventies doesn't feel much like summer.  I remember last year when it was 80+ in March, and there was an interview with a random woman on the Weather Channel, and she said "what does this mean?  Is it going to be like 140....150, in July?"

By her reasoning, if it's highs of 65 in late July, I can only assume by mid-January, we're going to be 70 below 0.  Seems reasonable. 

Anyways, there's so many things I could tackle this time around, but for safety sake, I'm just going to leave alone.

A few blogs back, I made mention of the fact that bass players are the last person to get laid at concerts, and they had to pick from the dregs of the hangers on.  Well, I have to make an amendment to that clause.  We (my wife and I) were at the bowling alley for "Jam N' Bowl" last night, and they're playing rock videos on the big screen.  A video from the Sick Puppies comes on (Bass player Emma Anzai) and my wife says (referencing my blog) "I bet SHE doesn't have any trouble getting laid after a concert".

Nope.  Probably not.  So, with that being said, I have to amend my blog about bass players never getting laid.  If the bass player is a chick, and if she's not a troll, the statement does not apply.  Dig?

Moving on to other topics........

I know I've had facebook/social media rants before, and by god, I'm going to do it again.  This one is more for the ladies.....

We all have friends, and you know who I'm talking about, and I've blogged about them before.........Vaguebookers.  You know, the guys that post stuff like this

"*Sigh*, can't believe what a shitty day this has been"
"Why does this stuff always happen to me?"
"Here we go again............"
or the even more cryptic/vague stuff like
"That's it, I quit.........."

The problem only gets worse though, when the enablers show up.  These posts are almost ALWAYS followed up by the random female friends who say stupid shit like
"aw, what's the matter hun?"
"Txt me and we'll talk about it!"
"Don't let that person get you down"



Wait.  Wait a minute.  Back the fuck up.  I don't. Want.  To.  Know.  Do you guys ever wonder why other guys don't say shit like "What's the matter?"  when guys say cryptic shit like "why does this shit always happen to me?"

Because guys don't like beating around the fucking bush.  If you don't come out and say "I had a shitty day because of XY and fucking Z", we're not going to ask, because, let's be honest, guys just don't care about feelings enough to have to pry it out of you.  Actually, guy don't care about feelings much at all.  If a guy asks you what's the matter, or shows you something that indicates he cares about your feelings, it's probably because he wants to have sex with you, or borrow money, or something like that.  It sounds pretty crass, but that's really the honest truth of it.  Guys do not care about feelings, probably 98% of the time. 

So, ladies, you can help put an end to the ridiculous trend of people posting stupid shit like "sigh, bad day", by not asking what's wrong.  I'll do my part.

Not much else to say today.  Well, I have some other things, but they're full blogs in their own right.  Anyways, I gotta go.  I just watched some Oprah, and they talked about feelings and stuff, and I'm feeling a bit weepy, so..............nah, I'm just kidding! 


Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm back! (?!?!)

Hey gang, loyal readers, hangers on, and ne'er do wells.  It's been a while, has it not?  I can't say that I've ran out of things to be opinionated about, but I certainly ran out of the ambition to organize my opinions into semi-coherent ramblings and take the time to put fingers to keyboard and post things on the interwebz.  There's also the always intrusive stuff like work and uh........well, work.  Anyways, if I do decide to dust this thing off and fire up the mechanisms again on a semi-regular basis, it looks like I may have to change the title soon.  As I turn 39 next month, it occurs to me that I'm no longer a 30-ish white guy.  Well, I'm still white.........I'm just not.......30-ish.

Anyways.........today, kids, I'm going to write a few letters.  I'm not actually going to send them out to the intended recipients.  To do so would be to expect that in doing so would be to get a response in some form.  I'm just going to write these letters and post them here, in silent, impotent rage (which is actually, when you think about it, kinda really a form of passive/aggressiveness), and let the anger seethe and boil inside.

Letter # 1

Dear Dane County Highway Planning Commission (or whoever the fuck thinks of these things)

Please stop putting so many roundabouts in Random Fucking Places.  I know you guys think these are great ideas and think that they will help the 'flow' of traffic and everything, based on the European model, but there's a few problems.  First and foremost, this isn't fucking Europe.  Also,  I know that in theory, a roundabout is better than a four way stop, but that's assuming that everyone knows what the fuck they're doing in the first place.

You see, the problem is, the average person is, generally speaking, is reasonable, intelligent, and capable of decent decision making and problem solving.  But once they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, I don't trust about 75% of your average Americans (and anyone over 60, or under 25) to make any snap decisions with anything close to something better than the judgement of..........let's say.........an angry, retarded llama.  When you get to a roundabout, you're presented with options.......it's like one of those old "Choose your Own Adventure" books.

"To go left, yield, then turn to page 42"
"To go straight ahead, turn to page 137"
"to go right, turn to page 74"


I see so many people just freeze and STOP in these fucking things, it's ridiculous. I can't believe there's not more rear-end accidents in them, because people don't know what the hell they're supposed to be doing, or where they're supposed to go.  Also, the gigantic, 4 lane, double roustabout with about 73 signs that looks like it used 9 bajillion metric tons of concrete and steel at Pleasant View and Junction Road..........just.......no.

Lastly, I'm a big fan of the Roundabouts out in the middle of nowhere, for no reason.  There's no turns or anything, they're just there to slow people down.  Big circles in the road with brick planters in the middle for no reason.  Thumbs up.

Your friend.


(ps.  I know Adam S from Minnesota is going to tell me thousands of hours of exhaustive study will tell me I'm wrong about this, and that's fine.  Those studies never take into account the stupidity and indecisiveness of real people)


Letter Number Two.

Dear President Obama.

Don't be a race-baiting bitch.  You have no idea what your fictitious son might or might not have looked like.  Don't be like Jesse Jackson or Al-fucking-Sharpton whose only agenda is to continue to maintain racial division in this country.  Don't be like that.  I may not like many (hell, most) of your policies, but I did think that America was finally ready for a black president, and I thought that you were the right guy to be that black president America could accept (and it has nothing to do with the fact that you're not like "really" black)..........so dude, don't be like that.  Just be a president.  Don't be a president for black people.  Be a president for America, and don't say stupid shit like "If I had a son, he would have looked like Trayvon Martin."

I've seen a picture of a dog's butthole that looks like Jesus, and you know what that means?  Nothing.  It's just a dog's butt.

Mr. President, I rarely use my blog for political rambling, so by christ, don't ever fucking do it again.

Oh, and here's that dog's butt that looks like Jesus..........

Your constituent, even though I don't really agree with a lot of the shit you do.....


Letter #3

Dear Obnoxious Mother Fucker at the Bowling Alley Who did the DX Crotch Chop Every Time you got a Strike.....

I know you'll never read this..........in fact I'm not sure you know that reading is a *thing*, but, stop doing the crotch chop when you get a strike, which thankfully isn't that often.  Stop rolling around on the ground whenever you throw gutter balls. It's not sanitary for whoever will have to walk there after you leave.  Also, when they turned on the black lights for Glow Bowling, your shirt and pants looked like something I'd seen on CSI many times.  Please dude, Laundromat.  For the love of that dog's butthole.

Alright friends.  I'm done for today.  I've burned enough anger out.  Also, I have to go fumigate my bowling ball bag, just from being 2 lanes down from Cletus the Local Yokel at the bowling alley.  Peace out.