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Monthly Archives: January 2009

I decided to do this week’s Rantable a little early for two reasons: first, the subject is fresh in my mind, and two, I will probably forget to do it tomorrow since I nearly forgot to write one last week, and I don’t want to deprive all zero of you of the chance to hear one man’s take on the little things in life that really shouldn’t bother him as much as they do.  But I sit here ready to rip on yet another subject that makes me cringe with pain at the thought of it.

I realize that we are in a fast-changing world, especially in regards to science and technology.  Every day, something new is invented that will improve our lives just a little more, be it a new drug to combat a disease or a new safety device in our cars that will help prevent serious injuries resulting from a crash.  But sometimes, technology can be thought of as wrong.  I’ll give you an example (taken from Patton Oswalt’s 2007 album Werewolves and Lollipops):

A 63 year old woman gave birth sometime that year or possibly the year before.  It’s like saying, “Hey, we made cancer airborne and contagious!  We’re science: we’re all about ‘coulda,” not ‘shoulda.'”

What does this have to do with the subject at hand?  Actually, I kind of forgot.  The point of all this is that technology has gotten to a point where kids no longer go outside to play.  They sit in their rooms, staring at their computer screens, playing games all day.  Some of you may say, “But Rantables dude, don’t you do the same thing?”  Well, yes, right now I do that.  But I’m a mature adult who’s learned to spell and use proper grammar.  And I’ve finished my education (for now, anyway).  It’s my choice to dick around on the internet and be antisocial.  But kids (we’re talking preteens here) shouldn’t be doing this.  It sets them up for a life of no expectations, either from themselves or from their peers.  They should be interacting with their friends outside, face to face, tossing a ball around or drawing stuff in the dirt with a stick, not playing some stupid flash game or (god forbid) playing a MMORPG like WoW.  Hearing about all the 12-year-olds supposedly playing WoW makes me sad.  Especially when they play A LOT.  As in, more than I do.  While I don’t believe that video games should not be played by kids, I do, however, believe that if they do wish to partake in the newest national pastime, that they have some self-control and only play a little while.  Maybe a half hour a day tops.  When they get older, they can choose to play more often.  I don’t want to see kids wasting three, four, five hours a day playing a stupid waste of time like WoW (yes, I know, I play it too, but I’ve terminated my subscription with then and I’ll be ending my torrid relationship with the game in about two weeks.  It sets them up for a lifetime of laziness.  Just look at me!  You don’t want kids to turn into someone like me, do you?  I don’t think so.  Which is why I firmly believe that if a child wants to entertain themselves, they should let their own imaginations entertain them, not the ideas of a 35-year-old programmer who enjoys making huge polygonal tits on women that would probably fall over forwards because of the added weight to their chests.

Keep in mind here, I am no way against video games at all.  Okay, that’s not entirely true.  I support the creativity that some of the designers have, and I respect the word that is put into most of these games.  I am not, however, a proponent of the embarassing way certain companies are treating their customers when it comes to installing and playing PC games.  Companies like EA should be burned to the ground for some of the ridiculous shit they’ve imposed upon their loyal customers who will jump through far too many DRM hoops to play the latest shitty game.  But that’s a topic for another day.

What’s that?  You want me to sum up my rant in a few words at the bottom of the article so you don’t have to go back and read all the insanity I’ve been spewing for the past ten minutes?  Well, here ya go:

Kids should go play outside instead of inside.  Let their imaginations entertain them.  Don’t just plop them down in front of a screen five times bigger than their head and say, “Go play this.”  That hinders creativity (most of the time).  Let them have fun on their own.  Don’t let them derive pleasure solely from a big electronic box that will become obsolete in a month.  Letting them sit at home and play computer games all day will probably lead to them doing the same thing in 30 years.  And I most certainly don’t want to see anyone living in their parents’ basement at 40 playing the same stupid games they’ve been playing since they were 10, no job, no significant other, no prospects of any kind.  If you know a child between the ages of 9 and 12, for the love of god tell them to go outside and have fun!  Don’t just put them in front of a computer or a TV and leave them!  It’s bad for them!

I know, that last paragraph was supposed to be a one sentence summary, but I got carried away.  Until next time.

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I nearly forgot that it’s time once again for Rantables, that wonderful column wherein I express my outright hatred at something fairly insignificant to the rest of the world.  And you’ll enjoy it!

Today’s topic is one I’ve been wanting to discuss for quite some time.  I fear that I might actually be a touch out of date with this, as I think the ads in question are on their way out.  Still, I will discuss them as though I just heard them for the very first time.  Because it horrifies me that an ad like the ones I am going to discuss today ever made it past an executive.

I’m going to focus on the radio ads, because I’ve heard them a lot more often than I’ve seen the TV ads of the same nature.  But I will certainly talk about the TV ads as well.  But for now, let’s talk about the radio ads.  Everyone knows radio is likely a dying art form.  The music “industry” (I use that term loosely seeing as how it’s more of a giant festering septic tank of failure) is destroying radio as we know it because it is the industry that is telling radio stations exactly which songs to play so they can make the listeners listen to what the record companies want to sell more copies of.  But this isn’t a rant about the radio industry or the music industry, so I digress.  Because the radio industry seems to be on its death knell, advertising companies have to resort to more and more outrageous forms of advertisement.  The recent McDonalds ads fall into this category, I believe.

The one that infuriates me the most is the one with a female talking.  She says how her love of fancy coffee drinks led her to go to coffee houses where she discussed avant-garde theater and Baroque chamber music.  But thanks to McDonalds serving their fancy coffee drinks, she can go back to reading gossip magazines and watching reality TV shows.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Okay?

What in the blue hell does McDonalds think they’re doing?  Hooray, we’re promoting the stereotype that women are brainless idiots who only care about the most banal forms of “entertainment.”  Because every woman reads gossip magazines and watches American Idol, and women shouldn’t be discussing avant-garde theater or Baroque chamber music.  We wouldn’t want her to have an original thought in that pretty little head of hers.  No.  We want to make sure that every woman on the planet gets her brain cells killed at an alarming rate by shitty TV, worthless magazines, and disgusting “fancy” coffee drinks.  Come fucking on.  I actually was liking the sound of her when she was talking about how she’s knowledgeable about theater and Baroque music.  Those would be two positive traits in my book.  But then they ruined it by talking about fucking espresso coffee drinks at McDonalds and how she was “saved” by the down-home coffee goodness of a company that sells some of the most disgusting food anyone will ever eat.

The other ad has a male voice-over.  He talks about how his love of cappuccino made him start enjoying French cinema, indie bands, and NOT BATHING.  Because, as we all know, people who listen to indie bands and watch French movies don’t bathe.  Just like the French themselves!  Ha ha ha.  Then he says, “But McDonalds serves cappuccinos now, so now I can go back to watching football!”  Yet another stereotype McDonalds is promoting.

Now don’t misinterpret me here.   I believe stereotypes are around for a reason.  As harsh as this may sound, a lot of the time, they’re absolutely true.  I don’t like it any more than you do.  All I’m saying in this argument is that McDonalds (I’m getting tired of typing that word; it’s very awkward to type.  Try it out now.) is promoting these stereotypes, which, while they are many times true, are nonetheless not something you should actually put forward.

Going back to the original topic, while this one isn’t quite as bad to me as the one with the female voice-over, it still promotes the negative stereotype that French people and/or indie rock bands are swarthy, filthy degenerates who don’t actually deserve to be a part of society because they’re outside the norm.  The norm which, I might add, doesn’t actually exist anywhere in the world, nor has it ever.  Everyone says they wish they could go back to the good ol’ days, when cities were like Mayberry or wherever Leave It To Beaver was set.  But those cities never existed.  They were merely figments of the writers’ imaginations of what a “perfect world” would be like during the setting of the TV show.  There never was a Mayberry, nor will there ever.  The norm is quite thoroughly abnormal, if you ask me.

I suppose I could talk about the TV spots, but they’re largely the same.  Men are dumb football-watching jocks, women are braindead idiots who only care about which celebrity took the biggest shit yesterday.  Neither of them can possibly be classy or intelligent, because that would be WEIRD.  McDonalds wants its customers to stay stupid so they can continue to charge outrageous prices for shitty food that will likely cost you even more because of the hospital bills you’ll be racking up!

Phew.  I think I’m done for the night.  This week’s Rantable was brought to you by Imodium AD.  Imodium AD: if you’re shitting all over your house, take some Imodium AD.  We’ll make sure you don’t have to clean your entire house because of that diarrhea from that chili latte you had last night.  Imodium AD.

Thank you, and good night.

Welcome to the second in an ongoing series dedicated to me rambling on about various things that I either despire or can’t get enough of.  Chances are I’ll be doing much more of the former than the latter.

Today’s Rantable is not about breast implants or penis pumps, as you might think about when you see the title (you pervs).  No.  Today’s Rantable is about a quality in an ever-growing number of video games over the past few years.  Developers have this idea htat if you artificially inflate the length of the game, then the players will be having more fun, because longer completion times = more fun, right?

WRONG.

I reailze this has been going on since nearly the beginning of the video game industry.  One of the first (and finest) examples of this strategy has been the Megaman series.  Ever since the very first Megaman game, there has been a part where, after defeating each of the robot bosses Dr. Wily tosses in front of you, you must fight all of them AGAIN whilst deep in the bowels of Wily’s lair.  All eight (or six in the first game), all in a row, with nothing to recharge your weapons with.  That isn’t always fun, you know, especially if you’re running low on certain key weapons (like the ones that can actually harm Wily in the final level).  Megaman 3 brought about a whole new layer to this artificial inflation, when they made you fight the eight bosses, then go back to four of those eight levels and fight all eight bosses from Megaman 2!  Then, of course, you had to go back through Wily’s castle and fight all eight bosses AGAIN.  So that’s 24 robot bosses in one game!

Aonther aspect of this that is fairly rampant is the use of multiple stages of the final boss.  You know what I’m talking about.  You fight the (always difficult) final boss, struggling to stay alive and have enough power to defeat him, and finally strike the killing blow with just enough health of your own left over, only to find that there’s a second form, which is even more difficult and proceeds to destroy you in mere seconds.  Castlevania was and still is a huge user of this strategy.  Making us fight two or three final bosses in a row with one lifebar is not fun.  It’s torture.  It’s possibly a leading cause of controller breakage among players everywhere (along with shitty camera and brick-wall-style difficulty curves).

One last quality I’ll mention for now that screams ARTIFICIAL INFLATION is mostly limited to MMORPGs, and that is, of course, the lengthening of quests by having enemies not drop necessary quest items.  While I have no thad much experience personally with other MMORPGs, I can say for a fact that this is one of the most frustrating aspects in all of World of WarCraft, which I will likely be quitting for the third time soon.  It seems that in that game, approximately 90% of all creatures in the game are made out of tofu, because the quest items they drop are much rarer than one might think they’d be in any normal universe.  There are boars without livers, spiders without legs, and various creatures without heads!  One quest I remember being particularly frustrating because the drop rate was approximately 33%…and I was getting heads!  Murloc heads!  So, by that logic, 2/3 of all murlocs roaming the world are operating without heads.  I know this is a silly statement, but come on!  If the quest would at least say something like “Bring 10 Intact Murloc Heads to Professor Jonesworth” or whatever, it’d make the fact that you have to kill roughly 30 of them to get 10 heads a little easier to swallow.  Not by much, though.  It’s still ridiculous that I have to kill usually about four times as many of whatever creatures I need to kill in order to get the required number of items for a quest.  Of course, sometimes (rarely) the drop rate is better and it’s relatively painless.  Other times it’s downright infuriating.  I remember another quest where I had to kill some big ugly elementals to grab a scroll or a book or something, and I think I probably had to kill somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 in order for the one damn thing to drop.  Making us kill 50 creatures to get one lousy stinkin’ item to drop is not fun, Blizzard!  It’s ludicrous.  It’s actually the reason I stopped playing tonight.  I had to kill these rare-spawning undead creatures in order to harvest their skulls so I can use an item to make them into a different type of skull, and I’ve killed 13 so far and gotten three out of five necessary skulls.  DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM, BLIZZARD?  It’s not fun.  It’s fucking irritating, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m likely going to quit the game very soon.

Okay, I’m done for now.  If anyone’s reading this, feel free to share your thoughts on any other types of artificial inflation you’ve found in video games, and whether you think it’s good for the game or a waste of your time.  Until next time…

I know, I said once a week, but damnit, there are things that must be said.

Microsoft, you are a giant piece of shit.  Also, any and all companies that use DRM for “protecting” their files: you are also a collective giant piece of shit and everyone who works at your companies should be strangled.  DRM needs to just go away in a big way.  It isn’t protecting anything.  People are still going to crack and pirate everything that will ever have DRM attached to it, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it, so why not just get rid of it?

As far as Microsoft is concerned, I’ve known it’s full of shit for a while now, but when I apparently can’t run several programs I have used in the past and really wish I could run but can’t because they’re not supported with XP64.  I got the 64-bit edition because the guy who built my computer recommended it.  It’s supposed to be able to handle a lot more RAM or something like that.  So I can actually make good use of the giant powerbrick that is my video card.  Now I’m starting to wish I’d just used the regular 32-bit version.  I wouldn’t be able to use the video card to its fullest potential, but I’d be able to use a lot more programs.  I really do wish everything were compatible with everything else.  But, of course, if that were the case, I’d be happy, and the world would cease to function.

I’m sick of being angry.  Mini-Rantable over.  Everybody go check out this link:

http://www.youtube.com/user/waltzforluma

She’s a good friend of mine from college, and an incredible pianist and composer and my composition and performance skills pale in comparison.  I bow down to her skill.

Yes, I know, that was entirely uncalled for.

Welcome, one and all, to the exciting world of my ranting!  Each week, I’ll be bringing you a new entry about something that’s gotten me so worked up I actually have to write about it and hopefully have other people read it and agree with me (or disagree; I’m completely open to arguments).  These will be presented as what I like to call Rantables, a word I’ve been using for quite some time and a word I’m considering getting trademarked so other people don’t steal it and make money off of it.  You can use it, but just be prepared for me to take legal action against you if you do.

I’m only partially kidding.

Anyway, this week’s Rantable is actually a repost of sorts.  It’s something I wrote a couple of days ago on another blog I have (http://gibson-rocks.livejournal.com/), but that’s more for general day-to-day activities.  This blog will be dedicated to my Rantables, unless I feel like writing something else for some reason or other.  I’ll put those in a different category so as not to confuse you or anger you because I wrote something other than a Rantable.  Not that anyone’s reading this right now, since I’m still writing the entry.  Anyway, here it is, ladies and gentlemen: your first evel Rantable, simply titled:

Fuck Nickelback.

Brought to you today by SPAM. By some and huck it at a neighbor you hate! SPAM.

Today’s Rantable:

Nickelback (the band) continues to amaze me. Not with amazing songwriting or powerful live shows. No. They ontinue to amaze me by being as popular as they are with such horrible songs. They are the masters of the one-riff song. They take one boring, shitty guitar riff and play it over and over for three and a half minutes (it’s always three and a half minutes, plus or minus maybe five or ten seconds here or there for “variety”) with some very small changes sprinkled in there for dramatic effect (and, supposedly, to let the listening audience when they’ve switched from verse to chorus or from chorus to bridge, which, of course, doesn’t work because the whole song always sounds like a three and a half minute opening verse). Then, there are the lyrics. I’m going to post the lyrics of an apparently brand new single that I heard THIS MORNING (ED: this was posted on January 2nd, so I heard this song two days ago).

Nickelback – Something In Your Mouth

(I take no responsibility for the offense you may take at these horrible lyrics)

Got to meet the hottie with the million dollar body
They say its over budget but you’d pay her just to touch it come on
Needs to hit the big screen and shoot a little love scene
if Hollywood had called her she’d be gone before you holler come on

Pretty little lady with the pretty pink thong every sugar daddy hittin on her all night long
Doesn’t care about the money she could be with anybody, ain’t it funny how the honey wanted you all along

You naughty thing
You’re ripping up the dance floor honey
You naughty women
You shake your @ss around for everyone
You’re such a mover
I love the way you dance with anybody
The way you swing
And tease them all by sucking on your thumb
Your so much cooler when you never pull it out
Cause you look so much cuter
with Something in Your Mouth

Crafty little lip tricks tattoos on her left hip
She bending as your spending
There’s no ending its so baby, come on
Dressed up like a princess beating that her skin smells better
than the scent of every flower in the desert, come on

Pretty little lady with the pretty pink thong every sugar daddy hittin on her all night long.
doesn’t care about the money she could be with anybody, ain’t it funny how the honey wanted you all along

You naughty thing
You’re ripping up the dance floor honey
You naughty women
You shake your @ss around for everyone
You’re such a mover
I love the way you dance with anybody
The way you swing
And tease them all by sucking on your thumb
Your so much cooler when you never pull it out
Cause you look so much cuter
with Something in Your Mouth

She loves the night scene bar queen living for the fun
Taking over every dance floor like she’s the only one
In the spotlight all night dissing everyone
trying to look so innocent while sucking on her thumb
Your so much cooler
When you never pull it out
So much cuter
with something in your mouth

You naughty thing
You’re ripping up the dance floor honey
You naughty women
You shake your @ss around for everyone
I love the way you dance with anybody
The way you swing
And tease them all by sucking on your thumb
You naughty thing
You’re ripping up the dance floor honey
You naughty women
You shake that @ss around for everyone
You’rw such a mover
I love the way you dance with anybody
The way you swing
And tease them all by sucking on your thumb
Your so much cooler when you never pull it out
cause you look so much cuter
with something in your !

What I want to know is how any band can remain popular with contrived, cliche, just plain sexist lyrics like these. I said it way back when they first started getting popular that they’re probably just a bunch of wife-beating assholes, and however many years later (probably about eight or nine) they’re still churning out the same old shit. Jesus, large chunk of the population, why do you continue to listen to this waste of time and money? Go support artists who have talent, both musically and lyrically! I’ve said many times before that I’m not one to care about the lyrics of a song, but when they’re akin to the preceding song, I have to stand up and make my voice heard. Nickelback should be shot. All of them. And anyone related to them. Blech.

This morning’s Rantable was brought to you by SPAM. Cut it in half and stick a couple of olives on top and you’ve got yourself a SPAM head! SPAM – you’re not actually supposed to eat it.

There ya go.  That’s just a taste of what’s to come.  I’ve got plenty of subjects lined up for future entries and eventual Youtube posts.  Cause there are plenty of ways to get your voice heard now that the internet is a giant domain for every idiot and dumbass to make a point.  See you next week!