Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Adventure and the Resolution

A title of one of my favorite Frank Black songs, and also the topic of this post. The following is a true account of the trials and tribulations I went through to get my xbox360. Backstory: Last November I went to try to get a xbox 360 on opening day. Of course, they were out. Several months passed and I started to get the itch to go buy one again. I figured, "Hey, it's March...they should be easy to find.". Not true, not true. Everytime I went to Best Buy or Wal-Mart I would look for one. Ever since I was in KC and saw my friend that has one, I've had the fever. So, in the last 2 weeks, I've visited Best Buy, 3 Wal-marts, Circuit City, Toys R Us, Slackers, and EB games at least a couple times each.

The Adventure: Nobody had a frickin clue when any new systems would be coming in. I finally got some answers at EB games (the 4th or 5th time I went there). They told me that a couple of systems come in every week or so. I asked if I could get on the reservation list and they said they weren't doing that anymore. So, basically it was first come first serve every couple of weeks to try to get 1 to 3 systems. The odds weren't looking good. I asked them if they new when their next shipment was coming and they said Monday or Tuesday. On Monday, I spent my lunch hour hanging out at EB games waiting for the UPS guy to show up. I finally ran out of time and had to go back to work. Just as I was leaving, I saw the UPS guy coming. So, I waited around and found out that the systems didn't come in. The guy at the counter informed me that they would be there Tuesday. I go back to work empty-handed and empty-stomached (I didn't have time to eat after waiting).

During the afternoon I was able to convince myself that I would need a high-definition tv to completely enjoy the xbox360 experience. I looked up prices on and found out that CRT HD tv's weren't too expensive. I always wanted a big flat screen plasma tv for my HD tv, but I can't affort one at the moment. My first stop was to Best Buy, they had a nice 30" model with a nice picture for a good price. Unfortunately, they didn't have any in stock. The clerk said I could buy it now, and they would call me when they get it in (whenever that may be, the clerk didn't know). Well, of course I said screw that. I proceeded next door to Circuit City. They didn't have as good a selection as Best Buy. Nobody seemed that interested to help me and the information posted on the tv's weren't that informative. I found one that was decent, but not great, and marked it as a maybe. I then took a chance and went to Wal-Mart. There selection was even poorer. Most of their tv's weren't even hooked up to a signal. The prices were good, but I didn't want to take a chance on it. So, my last ditch effort was Sears. Success. They had a fair selection of tv's at reasonable prices...a little higher than Best Buy. I found a 32" widescreen tv that had a really good picture. I purchase this tv and eagerly go to pick it up. Two men brought it out on a dolly. The box was HUGE. I knew it wouldn't fit in my car unless the box was removed....even then it was going to be a tight fit. Too tight, it turns out. They couldn't clear the rear door handle by maybe 1". There was no way it would fit, but just by a small margin. I was pissed. I went back inside and asked the clerk that sold me the tv if I could have it delivered. He said it would be at least 2 days. Not good enough, since I was hopefully getting the game system the next day. I went back outside and told the dock workers to box it back up, and that I would go in search of a truck. Here's where not having any close friends in Columbia sucks balls. The only person I know with a truck is my boss and I wasn't going to have her come all the way back into town. So, I go to Home Depot. I tried to rent a truck there. The girl asked me if I had already purchased my merchandise. I lied and told her yes. She then asked if she could see the receipt. I told her I didn't have it. By then, she was onto me. She asked if the stuff I was moving was from their store. I fessed up and told her that I was picking up a tv. She said she couldn't rent the truck to me. The complete look of despair and disappointment must have been moving, because she asked how far I was going with it. I told her just to Sears and then back home. She told me not to tell anybody, and that she would rent me the truck. She said she would get in big trouble if anyone found out. God Bless that brave woman. Anyway, I told her how much that meant to me, grabbed the keys, and got the hell out of there before she could change her mind. I drive back to Sears, get the tv, bring it home, and unload it. Jade and I almost dropped it out of the back of the truck. That thing must weigh about 150 lbs. I take the truck back and hook up my HD yet. All this took 3.5 hours.

So, the next day, I again rush of to EB games at lunch to pick up my system. I only had a half hour since my secretary didn't schedule enough time for my patient. Again, they didn't have it. By this point I'm pissed because I was already having a shitty day. I go back to work and it's busy as hell the rest of the day. About a half hour after I left EB Games, they call me to let me know the system just came in. Great news, the only problem is that I'm so busy that I can't leave work to go get it. Since it's first come, first serve I fumed all afternoon about how it would already be sold before I could go get it. At four, I still had 5 inpatients to see. I set a new world record and saw all 5 in an hour. I leave work on time and once again hit EB Games, so I can get the bad news. Well, they actually had it. I think they actually held it for me. There were only 2 that came in yesterday, and I got the last one. I felt like I found a Golden Ticket. (yeah, I are all thinking...what an obsessed geek. You have to remember, playing video games is my favorite hobby and has been since 1981)

The Resolution: I get home and hook up the system. OH MY GOD! The xbox360 in high definition is something that has to be seen to be appreciated. I was blown away. It was totally worth the time, effort, and cost.

The first game I played was Perfect Dark Zero. A standard FPS. The graphics were unbelievable. I spent most of the time just walking around Non-playing characters and gawking at their detail. I would consider this the first console game that truly looks 3d. 3d games have been around for a long time, but I always found that characters and objects looked kinda flat. Not true in this game. The textures and lighting are amazing. Like I said, I barely played it....just stared for a long time. Here are some screens that don't even really show how well this game looks.

The other game I got was The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. Pretty much a living, breathing world that is HUGE. It's kinda a Dungeons and Dragons style game. The graphics on this were good, but not as good as Perfect Dark. The sheer scale of the game is what blows me away. You can literally spend days walking through miles of changing weather and landscapes. Here are some screen from that game. Again...nowhere near as cool as in real life.

That about wraps up the story. Needless to say, I'm headed downstairs now to play. Poor Jade, she won't see me for a month.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This is a test.....

Heather taught me how to insert pictures appropriately into the body of a post. It is much easier than I thought it would be. She also gave me a test to see if I could do it on my here goes.

This one is exactly how I feel today...It's the second day of spring and cold and snowy...I'm ready for real spring. Notice the lovely leftedness of the picture.

Ok, here's one of my favorite car...the Ford GT40. Noticed the crisp centeredness of this picture, as well as it's location below these words.

The last is a picture of my hometown and Park University. Again, observe my mad skillz of putting the picture to the right.

This concludes the test.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I tried to post this pic in a post, but it just came up code so I'm doing this the easy way. I just wanted to let everyone know that God of War is possibly the best action game for any system out there right's that good. It's games like this that remind me why I enjoyed Nintendo so much. This is an action/platformer. It doesn't necessarily do anything takes all the good aspects of action/puzzle games and does them so well. The controls are like budda. The graphics are pretty good for the PS2. The story is excellent. The voice acting is excellent. The puzzles and strategies are difficult but not too difficult. And, there are titties.....bare naked polygon titties....and you can't beat that. God bless America. I highly recommend this game to anybody that likes video games. This is the best game I've played in awhile, and I play a TON of games. Not since Resident Evil 4 have I I seen a game this polished. Do check it out if you get a chance. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gold teeth and a curse for this town, were all in my mouth....

Life is sucking right now. Our 3rd orthotist is being transferred to Kirksville to take the place of someone that got fired. We couldn't really afford him because it's been mostly slow for several months. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as he leaves we get very busy. This week has been exhausting. So, that means it's back to on call every other stinking day and weekend. I fucking hate it. First, we were going to use one of the other orthotists from the other office every couple of weekends, but he declined. The only glimmer of hope on the horizon is that the other office may hire someone that would share call with us. We would absorb part of her salary. If that occurs....I will only be on call once every 8 weeks. Talk about Heaven! I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Yeah, I would. I'd be in Kansas City every other weekend. So, there's that. Also, somehow our expenses are out of control. I can't figure out how to lower them because most of it has to do with the cost of making a brace and shitty reimbursement from insurance companies (which the contracts were set up by the company). So, if that doesn't improve, they may close our office (they are already doing this in St. Louis). Also, the hospital is breathing down our necks due to the cost they have to incur with indigent patients. They want us to give more and more stuff away for free...which I say bullshit to. They can cut costs in other areas, they just pick on us because it's easiest. So, the hospital is looking into doing orthotics in house and getting rid of us. Luckily, if they break the contract, my no-compete is null and void...meaning I could work for the hospital. Fuck that! There isn't enough in-patient work to justify 2 employees, and besides, that would definitly lock us into on-call every other weekend..which is not acceptable. I don't see how they could do them in house. Nobody would want to work there and be on call that much. Also, they would need to seek out contracts with insurance companies because they would still have to bill for what they do. Either way, I'm getting extraordinarily tired of this same old game. I figure I'll probably be out of a job by summer, maybe sooner if we don't get on-call help. I'm really pissed because I just bought this house and have started making it a home. I don't want to leave...I like Columbia a lot. But, I'm not going to continue with this shitty existance that I call my life. Also, Jade is having a rough time at work and may be looking for a new job. The worst part is that I have no way of knowing what's going to happen in the end. Sure, we may get on-call help, but what if the hospital doesn't renew our contract? Sucks to be me, sucks very much. To boot, I have to get back "on the wagon" (Aaron knows what I mean), just in case I have to keep my options open. This makes me very cranky indeed.


Rockin' out in the bunny suit..had to post this one. Posted by Picasa

Me in my Oompa Loompa outfit. I had to remove the "cottage cheese" celing in the bathroom. It has asbestos in it so I had to take precautions. It sucked balls. I spent 2 hours scraping the ceiling and half the stuff didn't come off. About halfway through the goggles were covered in liquid remover, ceiling gunk and fog....I couldn't see more than a foot in front of my face. To hire a professional would have cost 1000 and up. Posted by Picasa

Susan Cole at the debate Posted by Picasa

Ron Jeremy at the debate Posted by Picasa