personal comments edit

Okay, I’m irritated with Amazon.

A while back I made a purchase using primarily gift certificates. It cost me near $150 for everything, but $110 of it was covered by gift certificates I’d saved up. When the package shipped, Amazon billed me $140 - only $10 of the gift certificates cleared, the other $100 didn’t.

I contacted Amazon and they said that the other $100 hadn’t cleared due to a “technical problem.” The issue was fixed and I would see a refund on my credit card shortly, accompanied by an email telling me that they’d processed the refund.

I waited for around 10 days and still hadn’t seen the refund, so I contacted them again. This time they said they were still working on it, that refunds take 7 - 10 business days, and that I would definitely get an email telling me when the refund occurred. That was Monday the 18th.

I went to look at my credit card statement today online and I saw that I had received a refund from Amazon, dated 11/19… for $89. Where’s the other $11? (Of course, I never did get an email from them, so maybe they’re somehow processing a $100 refund in two blocks - one for $89 and one for $11? Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.)

I’ve sent them another note. I want my $11!

personal, music comments edit

For those who have a little extra time and bandwidth, check out Homestar Runner for some pretty funny cartoons. They’re in Flash, and they do use sound, so make sure you can hear what’s going on. I haven’t found anything “dirty” on there, so if you can only check it out at work, I think it’s okay.

Unless, of course, you’ll get fired anyway.

Maybe you should try it, regardless.

My favorite ones are “Strong Bad’s Email” where this character, Strong Bad, answers letters. Again, the audio is key here. I was rolling after watching the “Guitar” episode; almost as funny as Turd Ferguson.

Speaking of Turd Ferguson, I never was able to find an electronic version of that skit. If anyone’s got one, let me know. I still wanna make Turd Ferguson t-shirts.

tv, music, cats comments edit

Last night Jenn and I went to see American Idols - Live! at the Rose Garden. We both had a totally cool time and I came out very pleasantly surprised.

They did sing the songs that you saw them sing on the television, but there were some new ones thrown in the mix, too, that livened it up a bit. So you sort of knew what you were in for up front, yet it still held your attention.

Something I came out very pleased about was that a couple of the people who I thought weren’t all that good when I watched them on television were fantastic live. You’d be surprised the difference a live band makes in a performance.

I will continue to maintain that Kelly was a good choice for the winner. She was the best one out there from a vocal standpoint. On the other hand, Justin was by far the best performer. He had a great repoire with the audience and just seemed very natural up there.

For all the folks who wondered why Nikki came in third and wasn’t eliminated sooner, she proved herself worthy with a great rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon. Watching her there made me realize why she was my original favorite at the start of the show.

Anyway, it was a blast, and well worth the money. Also, the merchandise was affordable - $15 for a t-shirt rather than the typical $40 you see at concerts nowadays. I got a program and Jenn got a shirt.

Something else that was nice about the concert: When we went, we got all dressed up - not in formal clothes or anything, but decent “going-out” clothes - and made it an event. I wouldn’t call myself “old” necessarily, but I’ll admit that doing that made me feel, well, “young again.” I think I will have to do that more often.

In other news, my baby Xev cat has an infection where they took her little uterus out, so we have to try to get her to eat antibiotics twice a day. You’d be surprised how strong that little cat is when you try to force-feed her stuff. And fast, too! I think we should be done with that in a week or so, and hopefully she’ll be better then. She has returned to her usual routine of crying all night long, so I can’t say she isn’t mostly back to normal already.

movies comments edit

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second installment of the Harry Potter movie series. The first (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) sort of set a precedent for the visual effects, imagery, and ability to stick closely to the book, so going into this one I had certain expectations.

Now, I hate going into movies expecting anything. Nine times out of ten, I’m going to come out disappointed.

I came out loving this movie.

Understand that this is not just more of the same. This movie is better than the first. The effects are better. The characters are better. Everything you liked about the first one is back, and it’s better than ever.

The first movie was criticized for sticking too close to the book it was based on. I don’t understand that; isn’t that the point of making a movie out of a book - to bring the book to life on the screen? Well, apologies to the other critics out there, but this one stays close to its book, too, and I’m glad it does. Seeing the movie play out on the screen the way it did in my mind when I read the book… it was brilliance.

All of the original actors return to reprise their roles from the original (though slightly older and showing the signs of puberty; Daniel Radcliffe as Harry has a noticeably deeper voice than before, and you even get a bit of a crack out of Rupert Grint as he plays Ron Weasley). Radcliffe is a likeable Harry, and every kid always wanted friends like Ron (Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson).

The new characters were also wonderfully cast. Kenneth Branagh does a perfect job as Gilderoy Lockhart and Miriam Margolyes is exactly as I pictured Professor Sprout. The only character I wasn’t too fond of was Moaning Myrtle, played by Shirley Henderson. I’m not sure if it was Henderson’s annoying voice or the fact that she really wasn’t how I pictured Myrtle that bothered me. Oh well - a small price to pay for such fun.

Sadly, this will be the last time we see Richard Harris in his role as school headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The role will need to be re-cast due to his passing. He was a perfect Dumbledore, and he will be missed. This will also be the last time we see Chris Columbus directing; he has passed the reins on to a new director, Alfonso Cuarón.

Anyway, what this basically boils down to is that you should see this movie. If you liked the first one, you’ll love this. If you haven’t seen the first one, what have you been doing? Go rent (or buy!) the first one, enjoy it, and promptly see the second. You won’t be disappointed.

gaming, playstation, music comments edit

Last week was, for lack of a better word, paradise. Short story even shorter, except for Tuesday, I pretty much just stayed home and played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Tuesday I took my kitty in to get her spayed and declawed. She came out a little drugged, but otherwise no worse for the wear.

As for Vice City, I won’t bore you with a big diatribe about how awesome it is, or all the things they’ve improved on since the last game, or all the cool new things available to do in it. If you don’t have it, go buy it. If you don’t have a Playstation 2, this is the reason you need to buy one. Trust me here, it’s worth it. I played the whole week and I’m only like 65% done with the game.

I will say there are two complaints I have with the game, and these are the only real bitches I have about it: First, there are some levels that are waaaaaay too hard. I played one racing mission for like six hours before I beat it. It’s a two minute long stupid race, but the AI that you race against doesn’t make any mistakes. Ever. It was ridiculously hard and I almost gave up. I even tried to beat it with a cheat code and couldn’t do it. I finally won with a lot of luck and prayer. Which brings me to my other gripe: If you enable a cheat code, even if you disable it again, once you save your game the cheat code is permanently enabled. Even on your other saved games. That’s crazy. The real kicker is, I didn’t know that until after I beat the ultra-difficult race mission (without a cheat code, mind you). Was I going to start all over (with like 30 hours of play up to that point) or just leave the cheat in place?

I left the cheat. Screw it.

Other than that, it’s the bomb. Check it out.

Friday was Fred Meyer employee double-discount day, so I went shopping with my mom and got two CDs: Elton John’s Greatest Hits 1970-2002 and The Rolling Stones Forty Licks. Both rock hardcore, but I have to say - Elton John songs have been running through my head since I bought them. I guess that’s why they call it the blues.

Saturday morning I saw the latest installment of the Harry Potter movie series. Very cool. I still maintain that Hermione is a hottie.

And now I’m back at work. After a full week off, I’m tense. Not just a little tense, either. My entire back is tense, from the top of my head down to my ass crack, and I don’t think it’s going away. I’ve sifted through my 200+ emails (about 100 of which actually were things requiring action on my part) and I’m getting back in the swing of things. I’ve got more crap queued up to do than I think I can reasonably handle.

That sort of hits on this thought that I had on Sunday. You’ve heard the saying that if you find a job you love, you never have to work a day in your life, right? Implying that if you find a job that you have fun at, it doesn’t really feel like work. Well, I thought about that, trying to think of a job that I could get where it wouldn’t feel like work. You know what I came up with?


I can’t think of a single job that wouldn’t become repetitive. Or have too much structure. Or have not enough structure. Or just get boring. I told the guys at work about that, and they came up with, like, video game tester. No way - getting stuck playing the same game over and over to find all the bugs? Forget it.

The closest jobs I could think of that I could do would be either video game reviewer or movie reviewer. Less on the video game reviewer - I’m really not all that great at video games, so I would get all pissed off at the hard levels. But movie reviewer… I could probably do that. I doubt people would agree with my reviews, but that’s not the point, is it?

Basically, it all boils down to the fact that I don’t want a job. Millions in the bank, sitting at home doing whatever I want, whenever I want. That’s my ideal. Travel, learn stuff, play games, watch movies, and just generally loaf. That’s what I want to do. If someone out there knows a job that sounds like that, sign me up. Until then, I’ll be sitting here with my tense back, ready to pass out from my migraine headache, and dream.