Saturday, January 31, 2009

Failstation 3 AND FailBox 360

I'm too angry right now to type much, but I at least want to post something about my shitty day with hardware. This afternoon, my PS3 officially stopped working, and I spent an hour on the phone with Sony customer support about it. The Blu-Ray drive will read PS3 games and DVDs, but not Blu-Ray movies. So they're sending me a coffin, but it's gonna cost me $149.99 plus tax.

Then, tonight, I went to play my Xbox 360, and the screen started fritzing out (warped colors, etc.). I bought new component cables, but no good. I tried different inputs on my HDTV, and same result. My PS2 runs through component cables, and both inputs on my TV worked just fine. So I spent 30 minutes on 1-800-4MYXBOX (AKA Microsoft India), and now I have to send my Xbox 360 in for repairs. It's gonna cost me $99.99 plus tax, plus shipping (they don't send coffins for non-RRoDs anymore).

These two events are completely unrelated, and both happened in the same day. It's not the TV, as I have the two units in totally separate rooms.

Right now, Sony and Microsoft can both eat my ass.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Third time's a charm...

It was January 17th, a night like any other, you might think. But you'd be wrong, because this night marked the occurrence of the annual Benson Pub Crawl and Winter Retreat. The Third Annual to be exact. The GDP and the Dow Jones may be growing ever smaller, but the attendance at the annual crawl grew bigger for the second year in a row. Thirty-nine crawlers were actually present when we stepped off from crawl headquarters (following the traditional playing of "Beer" by Psychostick), and more than a dozen additional attendees joined at the first two stops on the crawl. Barley Street Tavern was ignominiously cut from the event mid-crawl, because of an unexpected cover charge. Burke's suffered a similar fate because it was too crowded already, and the addition of 50 or more crawlers would have likely started a riot. How many finished? Well, I stopped counting after I reached 25, so we definitely surpassed last year's mark of 21.
What were the highlights? They started with two young ladies showing up at headquarters sporting t-shirts that bore the image of Leptodactylous, yours truly, on the front. Another highlight was the debut appearance of Jake's on the crawl agenda. It made a very positive impression. They'll definitely be on the list for the 4th Annual. As always, there was the shuffleboard at the Musette. After two years of empty promises, there was an official soundtrack for the pub crawl this year. Maybe not everyone would consider that a highlight, but I certainly did.
A picture says a thousand words, so I'll stop writing and let some of the photos tell the rest of the story. If you missed this year, wallow in your envy and hope that you have better fortune next January...

a good time was had...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

First-Annual JDGL Charity Ice Bowl

Besides guitar, my brother also loved to play disc golf. He made a lot of friends at the Jamestown Disc Golf course (as he did everywhere!), and they're putting on a fundraiser event for him. It's the first-annual JDGL Charity Ice Bowl, and it starts at noon on Sunday, February 8th. No entry fee, but donate as much as you can. All proceeds go to my brother's wife and children. More details are listed on the website:

Any and all in the Jamestown, ND area are invited!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Video of the Week -- Fun with Bubble Wrap

Before Jackass, Bam Margera made skateboard videos called 'CKY', which stands for 'Camp Kill Yourself' (his brother Jess is in the band of the same name). The videos were about 20% skateboarding, and 80% pranks and funny stuff, like this here, where Bam and his friend Brandon DiCamillo put a bunch of bubble wrap in some large pants and tried to skateboard...

This is from the CKY2K video.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Failstation 3: Electric Boogaloo

Question #1: How many people do you know who own Xbox 360's have had it break down (commonly referred to as the 'Red Ring of Death,' or the 'RRoD')? Some estimate the failure rate to be as high as 68%. I still think that number is low, as I don't have a single friend who hasn't had it happen to them.

Question #2: How many people do you know who own Playstation 3's have had it break down? Sony claims that the fail rate on the PS3 is 'around .02%'. I don't know anyone who has had it happen to them.

Question #3: How many people do you know who have had both an Xbox 360 and a PS3 break down on them? I assume maybe zero? Well, it's zero no longer. I got the RRoD last summer, and my PS3 just took a shit on me last night too.

I tried to download their new firmware update (which Sony forces upon people on a regular basis) via the internet, and kept getting an error code (80029C78). It was past midnight, and Sony's customer service department isn't open 24 hours, so I e-mailed them with the details. About 18 hours later, I got an e-mail back, telling me to download the update on my PC, transfer it to a memory card, transfer it from the SD card to the hard drive of the PS3, and make sure the 'Media Server' option is disabled before installing. I did all of that, and then got a new error code (8002F163). The system tried to reboot itself three times, and then it stopped turning on altogether. I called Sony customer service this time, and they didn't try to troubleshoot it or anything. 'You'll have to go to the website and fill out a form to have a pre-paid repair box shipped to you.' I went to the website last night and guess what? It was down 'for maintenance.'

I had a similar phone call with Microsoft about nine months ago, and while the person on the other line was in India and didn't speak very clear English, he took my address over the phone and had the box sent to me. Also, Microsoft paid for the repair, without any proof of purchase. When Sony's website finally came back up, I saw that I needed to submit a copy of my receipt as proof of purchase, or else the repair would not be covered. This is concerning for two reasons: 1) I can't find the receipt, and 2) Even if I had the receipt, Sony's warranty on the PS3 is only good for one year, and I've had it for almost three. Microsoft may have extended their warranty on the Xbox 360 because of the high fail rates, but Sony only has a one-year warranty? They say the PS3 will have a ten-year life cycle, but the hardware is only protected for one-tenth of that time? A quick check of the official PS3 message boards shows that repair usually runs around $150, and that's not money I just having sitting around. Why should I have to pay for a mistake in their firmware update that ruined my hardware? They already have my $599 U.S. dollars...

There IS a happy ending here though (no, not THAT kind of happy ending). When I was filling out the return form on the service website, I went to get the serial number off of my PS3 and thought, 'I'll try to turn it on again.' It came on, and it downloaded the update. It's working just fine right now.

But for how long?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inauguration photo -- hi-res

I just found this photo from the inauguration on a message board, and wow, talk about zooming in. You can get right in on pretty much anyone's face.


I challenge you to not zoom in directly on Dubya and Professor X...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Video of the Week (and it's not about the inauguration!)

Some of you may have seen this one already, but it hadn't been posted here yet, so I figured 'why not'.

'Cash or credit?'

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Belated Christmas present

Thanks to warm.machine for sending.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Do you wanna get rocked? Pub Crawl Survival Guide

At least once a year, a merry band of professional drinkers gets together for a forgettable evening of mayhem. This Saturday is the 3rd Annual Benson Pub Crawl and Winter Retreat. Each year, the number of people in our group expands as well as the number of "finishers", those left standing at the Full House Bar at the end of the night. Year 1 saw only 7 very intoxicated souls make it through the gauntlet of dive bars, but that number increased substantially with over 20 standing at the end last year. In an effort to help us top our previous years, I have developed some tested strategies.

1) The bar crawl is a marathon, not a sprint - Every year, some highly over-confident jerkoff complains that the Benson crawl consists of only 6 or 7 bars. Every year, that guy ends up in a gutter outside the Musette, only the second stop on our crawl. How a person starts the night can largely determine the outcome. I would recommend not starting with a beer, a jager-bomb, and a double captain and coke at the first bar. Unless you plan on being in bed by 8:00.

2) Prime the pump - I'm not sure if it was by design, but this year the crawl does not coincide with the Saturday NFL Divisional playoff games. The previous two years consisted of those of us who enjoy football getting a pretty strong head-start. A regression analysis of factors that predict finishing the crawl found that setting a foundation with drinking before the crawl was a significant predictor of success. Starting later means that you could fall victim to catch-up drinking, which occurs in group settings when other people have a few more drinks than you do, so you take extreme measures to reach their state in a short period of time. Catch-up drinking always results in overshoot, where the "chaser" quickly surpasses the group. Overshoot often ends in what I like to call reverse consumption or calling uncle Ralph on the porcelain telephone.

3) Create fun games and side-wagers - If I've learned anything in my life, it's that gambling makes everything more fun, except college football. Make up bets on whether or not someone will complete the crawl. Set an over/under on the number of finishers.

Play jukebox roulette, wherein each person chooses a song at the first bar on the jukebox that they believe will be on every jukebox on the crawl. Each person plays their song at each bar. If you reach a bar where your song is not available, you're out. At the end of the night, each person who was eliminated has to buy a round for the people who played their song at the most consecutive bars. I know some of you are thinking that with those fancy internet jukeboxes, this game would not be much fun because you could pick almost any song, and the jukebox will download it for you. People who say that have never been on the Benson Crawl, where you better be picking something by Neil Diamond or the Stones if you want to have any chance at the end of the night.

Pictures of this year's crawl will be posted here (censored to protect the guilty party) and Facebook (with tags so you can tell who that guy is with puke on his face).

Video of the Week -- Tai Chi Masters

This one is a video that a friend of mine made a while back, and I just found it on YouTube. My friend is the one with the 'Long Dong' style. It has almost two million hits! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The luck of the Irish?'s been quite a week. Clinton looks to get her Secretary of State job. George W. makes a complete ass out of himself one last time on national television, save his final address he is to give on Thursday night, and it looks like all of us hard working middle class people are about to have our pants pull down by every corporation in America looking to get hj'd within the next 6 months. Can't wait. Good thing I still afford some lube. In other news, looks like the senate democrats finally found a backbone, too bad it wasn't when we had the shittiest of the shitty in the White House. Harry Reid is the biggest waste of time I have ever seen, except Feinstein. I'm so fucking tired of worthless leadership in this country. I don't care what Obama may "backtrack" himself on, at least I get the sense that he's put sincere thought into it and has the advisory teams in place to prove actual thought is being put into the process.
But on to the true matter at hand, the Broncos have managed to hire an unproven coordinator with no head coaching experience to speak of. What a load of shit! We dumped a two time Super Bowl coach for this pile? Now I know someone out there will say, "But, he worked for the greatest coach in the league for 6 seasons." My reply is this: ask Charlie Weiss how coaching goes post Belichick. That man continues to lay one turd after another season after season. If you look about half way down that chart, you'll see that he has posted a 7-6 record this season. Way to go Charlie! I certainly hope that next season the spread offense sets records, and we get into the playoffs with some glimmer of hope of getting out of the first round, but I'm worried that the season just died even with the luck of the Irish.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Romanowski wants to coach the Broncos?

Yes, you read that headline right. Bill Romanowski wants to coach the Denver Broncos. The story is HERE.

No NFL coaching experience. Admitted steroid use. When Shanahan decided that he wasn't good enough to start anymore, he left to play for the hated Oakland Raiders.

He was fun to watch, but he was one of those players that fans of every other team hated, and even we Bronco fans could understand why. Just check out number seven here:

But coaching? Dude, Snoop Dogg has more coaching experience than you. Get over yourself.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Slow it...DOWN!!!!

Alright, I thought that I would add the video of the week. Here's an oldie, but a goodie. Enjoy-HCP