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Archive for May, 2006

More Hotline Hilarity

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Often I will feature complaints called or mailed into Hotline; a farcical Op-Ed featured in a small, local and free paper distributed to the denizens of Iberville Parish here in Louisiana.

The complaints range from outrageously ludicrous to frighteningly pathetic. If you'd like to check out some of the old ones, you can view the Westbank Shopper category, or the page I've put together on my website to display them, Hotline Hilarity.

Adding to previous Southern-ignorance, I'd like to share with you Ban Them and Protect Us!

Ban Them and Protect Us!

I want to complain about a couple stores here in Plaquemine selling a DVD of a certain movie called "Brokeback Mountain" that played in theaters last Christmas. I think they need to do something to ban that DVD from being sold here. What's to say the children won't get hold of it. And it's not like adults need to witness that kind of immoral garbage either. I know some of you complain that it's a violation of your right to choose, but sometimes your choice is not morally correct. That's why it's important that someone make the decision to stop you from taking that route. So I say ban the DVD - and any other immoral trash - from being sold or rented out in this parish. I know what's morally right, and it's my mission to purify all of you.

Wow! Don't you feel better? Don't you feel safe knowing there are people out there like this trying to "purify" you and disallow you from making "morally" incorrect choices in life? Aren't you blessed to have someone that considers it their personal "mission" to keep you on the "morally correct" path - a path that you, you heathen, can not help but stray from? Only people this determined, pure and free of sin know what's right and what's best for you. Isn't it great that they believe forcing their beliefs and moral code on others is imperative? I, for one, know I can sleep better at night now!

What's truly terrifying, in all seriousness, is that there are people that do believe this way. Perhaps even more disturbing is that there are legions of people that believe this way; some of them happen to be running our country.

In closing, let's remember that "Brokeback Mountain" was, essentially, a movie about love. I see absolutely nothing immoral about that.

Just Call Me Leon Kennedy

Monday, May 29th, 2006

Last night I (finally) beat Resident Evil 4 on the PS2. It was one of the best games I've ever played. Results at the end stated I'd put in over 36 hours of gameplay; I enjoyed every moment.

It was something The Worm and I did together sometimes. He'd watch and offer advice, or drive me insane by yelling at me to do things when I was already doing the best I could. We had a lot of fun sharing that time, and there were many times that both of us screamed like little girls - it could be pretty scary.

There were bosses in the game that it took me many tries - on different days - to kill; which only made it all the more satisfying once I'd eliminated them.

I've played many games, console and computer, in my day and I can say I felt the biggest sense of accomplishment completing this one. I recommend RS4 to anyone who might be considering giving it a try; it was a fucking blast.

My apologies, in closing, as this post would've turned out more interesting and better written had I some caffeine in my system.

Net Translator

Friday, May 26th, 2006

To show you how geeky I am, and how easily amused, I'd like to share with you what has kept me in giggles for the past hour.

The Internet Slang Dictionary & Translator explains to the 'net-lingo-lost what common slang & chat speak means. I had a blast typing in silliness and guffawing at the translations:

I typed: That is some phat loot, noob.

It translated: That is some pretty hot and tasty loot, someone who is new.

I typed: Thx biatch.

It translated: Thank you, dog.

I typed: You are soo not l33t, noobie.

It translated: You are so not elite, new person.

I typed: Rotflmao, wtf troll?!

It translated: Rolling on the floor laughing my ass off, what the fuck person who deliberately stirs up trouble?!

I…

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Unceremoniously nabbed from Whitters:

I AM: Awesome!

I SAID: "Oft times the most beautiful parts of a soul are found in the darkest corners of one."

I WANT: An iPod.

I WISH: It was Friday at quitting time.

I HATE: People who drive & talk on their cell phones.

I MISS: My kitty, Gillian.

I FEAR: Dying.

I HEAR: Cars driving by outside my office window.

I WONDER: When I'm going to write that damn novel.

I REGRET: Hocking important things in my poverty days so that I could buy some Ramen; you get desperate when you're hungry.

I AM NOT: Completely sane.

I DANCE: On one leg.

I SING: When no one else is around.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: Talkative.

I MADE: My 2 week-old niece dance.

I WRITE: As often as I can.

I CONFUSE: Numbers.

I NEED: More sex.

I SHOULD: Get back to work.

I START: A new "project" every other day.

I FINISH: Little.

I BELIEVE: In Love.

I KNOW: That this, too, shall pass.

I CAN: Make others laugh.

I CAN'T: Run.

I SEE: Pepto Bismol (there's always some on my desk).

I BLOG: My mind.

I READ: Not as much as I'd like to.

I AM AROUSED BY: A man in touch with his feminine side.

IT PISSES ME OFF: When government tries to tell us how to live our lives.

I FIND: I'm wiser than I used to be.

I LIKE: Marathon-Everquest-Sundays with The Worm.

I LOVE: My friends & family.

A Magical Mother’s Day

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Mom and Amber have been after me to record the crazy goings-on of our Mother's Day weekend trip out to Natchez, MS. Lots of strange things happened - some mundane and some haunting - but all of them interesting.

We set out late Saturday afternoon, planning to find a room, get some grub and head out to the Trace early the next morning. We were in Amber's lime green Volkswagen bug, which, sadly, is falling apart. Still, it's roomy, the a/c works, it has a sunroof and a killer sound system and it moved, so no one was complaining. We were halfway to Mississippi when Amber noticed something odd in the back seat where she was sitting.

"Who fixed this?!" she said. "Mom, when did you put this back on?"

I turned around and she was pointing to some plastic piece attached to the back of the driver's side, secure where it should be.

"I didn't," Mom said. "When would I have had time? It takes a lot of work to get that thing back on."

I shrugged at them both. "So maybe someone did it a few days ago and you didn't realize." I couldn't quite fathom the reason for their puzzlement; it didn't seem like a very big deal.

"No, Shan," my sister said, "You don't understand. It was broken off when we picked you up a few hours ago. When we got to your house, it was off. And you can't just put it back on, it takes a bit of work."

Neither of us three had fixed it, and there'd been no one else home or around when they picked me up. I grinned, "It's a sign," I said. "We're going to have a good, haunting time, I think, and someone's just letting us know we're being watched out for."

None of realized how true that would turn out to be.

There was still a good bit of daylight when we arrived in Natchez, so we decided to make our way out to the Trace for just a minute and look around. The very first stop we made, right off of the highway, is where we found the Brandon children cemetery. We also drove down to the Emerald Mound, just to tick that off our list. It was quite something to stand in a place where civilizations thrived as far back as the 1300s.

We drove back to Natchez and around the quaint downtown area, and started stopping and asking for available rooms. As luck would have it, there was a classic car convention going on and everything was booked up; Natchez isn't a very large place.

Darkness was falling and we'd been putting off going to the one place a helpful Ramada worker had told us would have available rooms: The Excellent Inn. Something about it just didn't sound very "excellent". We stopped at the Tourist Information Center and Amber grabbed a booklet. She began calling local places, on her cell phone, she found ads for as we drove around.

"Oh my god," she said, hanging up her cell with a push of a button; a look of disgust on her face. "There are rooms at the Excellent Inn, but I don't want to go there! The guy who answered the phone sounded really scary." There was no need to worry, it seemed, because we couldn't find the place anyway.

We then passed a Passport Suites that didn't look too full up. Mom and Amber went to check and, sure enough, there were rooms available. As I waited for them in the car, I noticed a LED-light sign flashing over the front desk that read "Welcome to Executive Suites". Odd, I thought, perhaps they hadn't yet changed the sign out front.

By time they got back to the car, Amb was visibly upset. "Mom!" she exclaimed, giggling despite herself at the absurdity of the situation. "Did you look at the receipt you signed? At the top it said The Excellent Inn! We're at the Excellent Inn!"

We wondered, if something happened, how we'd tell people where to find us. "We're at the Passport-Executive-Excellent Inn & Suites!"

When we got to the room, the phone had a tag on it that read "Prentiss Suites". Hungry, and not wanting to spend more time than we had to in the Passport-Executive-Excellent-Prentiss Inn & Suites, we found a local Ruby Tuesday's and had a bland dinner. It honestly wasn't very pleasant - the food wasn't good and I haven't been in a place that greasy since the last time I ate a truck stop restaurant; everything was coated in a thick sheen of grease.

The next morning, we headed out - glad to be leaving the multi-named hotel where dubious characters had partied around us late into the night. We had a very early breakfast at the local Shonney's, and then headed on over to Wal-Mart for supplies.

We were going to try and do rubbings of the headstones, and bought paper and charcoal (it ended up not working out as we'd planned). As we walked in, I had an idea. "Let's buy a dozen roses," I said. "For the children's graves. I bet no one's put flowers on their graves in years." Not hard to believe, since they all died over 150 years ago. We all thought it was a good idea.

We picked out a set of beautiful roses; soft peach in color. It was overcast outside, threatening rain, as we piled back into the Bug. Leaving the Wal-Mart parking lot, out of nowhere, two doves flew at the car. Mom slammed on her brakes, narrowly avoiding both of them, who lifted up and off at just the right moment to avoid slamming into our car. It was odd, but we didn't realize just how odd until Amber said, "Those were doves!"

Eleven year-old twins, Agnes and Sarah Brandon, died about eleven months apart in 1862. Atop the headstone of the first one that perished, Agnes, are two beautiful doves. Atop the second headstone, of her sister, Sarah, are two dead doves. It was chilling, haunting and heartbreaking to see. So it gave us all goosebumps to realize, moments after we'd purchased roses for their graves, two doves flew out of no where and nearly slammed into our car.

After copying down all of the information on the graves in the cemetery so that I could research them, we headed out. A terrible storm picked up as we reached Port Gibson; raining so hard we almost had to pull over. Moments later, as we turned into Port Gibson, we realized the storm had been even worse than we'd experienced. The roads were covered in leaves - as if someone had shredded grass over them - and trees and limbs were down. Though we were right next to Port Gibson, we never experienced the brunt of the storm. Someone was, indeed, looking out for us.

It became the running theme of the day. There's a lot of hills and bluffs in Mississippi, so there aren't many connecting roads. If you're on a road, you're on it for 30 minutes to an hour because you have to drive around huge bluffs just to get anywhere. There was a lot of endless driving and just when we didn't know where we were or were sure we were lost, we'd all of a sudden end up right where we wanted to be! It was how we found The Windsor Ruins and the ghost town of Rodney.

Was it a magical trip?  It certainly was.  We felt it from the start.  I think we'll have to do it again next year.

Ready for Hurricane Season 2006? Sorry, If We Think You’re Full of Shit

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Big wigs in Washington are claiming they are "prepared" this hurricane season, which we down here are full aware starts next week. Whether they are or aren't remains to be seen, but if they're counting on anyone along the Southern U.S. coast to trust them they've got another think coming. In other words, we'll believe it when we see it.
The article:

White House Says It's Ready for Hurricanes
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 23, 8:35 PM ET

Touting stronger radio systems and enough food, water and ice to last a week for 1 million people, the Bush administration sought Tuesday to prove it is better prepared for the brewing hurricane season than it was last year.

In a calculated contrast to the federal government's sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina last August, top officials from the Homeland Security Department and Pentagon rolled out plans and ticked off amounts of stockpiled supplies headed for storm zones in the Southeast. At one point, acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison said his agency last year "didn't have a clue" on whereabouts of relief aid being rushed to victims.

Emergency responders in some Gulf and Atlantic coast states recently expressed doubt that Washington will be ready to help them if faced with another storm the size of Katrina, one of the nation's worst national disasters.

"Our feedback from the states is mixed," said Karen Cobuluis, spokeswoman for the National Emergency Management Association, which represents state emergency directors. "Overall, it appears the federal government is going to meet their goals, and we'll have to take them at their word. If they meet those goals they'll be more prepared for the next disaster."

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said state and local emergency responders also need to be ready for what forecasters predict will be another tumultuous storm season when it begins next week.

"Experience shows that even with the best of planning, we're going to face some unprecedented challenges and unforeseen events," Chertoff told reporters. "But if we begin with a good plan, and we have a good plan, we will be in a far better position to coordinate our assistance this year with state and local governments, and get help to people who need that help the most."

The officials said they will meet all 11 top-priority reforms ordered by the White House in February to strengthen federal disaster preparations by June 1. They include systems to track supplies, aid victims with food, water, and shelter, and deliver quick information to all levels of government during a disaster.

The Pentagon is also gearing up to help, as ordered by the White House, with 367,000 National Guardsmen available to respond to domestic disasters like a hurricane. Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said those troops do not include 71,000 Guardsmen deployed overseas or up to 6,000 who are supporting a crackdown on illegal immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border.

No, the ineptitude and devastation is still a little too fresh on our minds for any of us to feel at ease about anyone in government helping out those touched by a hurricane. Sorry.

I read another article yesterday that said the lesson learned from Katrina was "trust no one at anytime". Sad, but so very true.

At the same time that our Washington-big-wigs were on TV bemoaning the fact that they "couldn't get to" those that needed help, I knew people every damn day that were making there way down to New Orleans and the surrounding areas in trucks and boats to help rescue survivors and bring supplies. Explain that to me, someone, please.

While government at all branches was running around wringing its hands in confusion and disarray, the people of Louisiana and Mississippi were helping one another; doing what needed to be done. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it - no way of looking at it in another light - our government failed us. When catastrophe and disaster hit home, our government stood by blinking and wondering how they should proceed; thousands died because of it.

So excuse us if we have a hard time putting faith in you to do the right thing this time around.

In all honesty, though, I hope they prove me wrong.

Bite My Ass, SOE

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

I have been playing Everquest as a paying customer since 2001; up until EQII was released I purchased every expansion pack and stuck around for every monthly fee increase.

When Everquest II came out in 2004, I was on the very first day and shelled out a few extra bucks to get the Station Access "full package". I have subsequently purchased every expansion pack, and every fun pack Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) has released in the past two years.

After five years and hundreds of dollars, I consider myself a loyal, long-time customer. And how does SOE appreciate their long-time customers? Let me tell you.

As mentioned in a previous post, I've lost my credit card. I finally got the new one in last night and was going and changing the credit card on all of my automatic withdrawal accounts (World of Warcraft, Everquest, Sirius, GoDaddy, etc.). It was a simple matter, obviously, until I attempted to change the billing information for my SOE account. I couldn't find where to do it.

Finally, a Help section informed me that if I had Station Access I would have to cancel my subscription and then remember to start up a new subscription at the end of the billing cycle. *blink blink* Wah...?

I wouldn't lose my characters, but I'd better remember to get in there and set it back up at the right time! I couldn't understand it; it was so stupid. How hard could it be to allow me to change my billable credit card?

I griped about it all evening and when The Worm heard me, he stated, "You know why they do it that way, don't you?"

I shook my head, figuring their web developers were just idiots.

"Remember, Station Access prices went up a year or so ago, but it didn't affect those who already had Station Access, like us."

And it dawned on me; they were forcing me - a longtime customer, obviously, if I was paying original Station Access fees - to take on the new fee. Yes, it's only $3 more a month, but that isn't the point. It's the principle of it. It's shitty. It's underhanded and sneaky. And it's sure as fuck not like SOE needs the money!! From Everquest alone they're raking in millions.

A July 2003 article I found has the original Everquest with 430,000 subscribers. EQII may be somewhat less, but, trust me, they aren't hurting.

It's a dirty, really-fucking-shitty way to treat your customers, imo. And if I didn't love the goddamn game so much, I'd of left and stopped putting up with their bullshit years ago. SOE, you fucking suck.