Archive for October, 2012

Re: Benghazi

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Like many others, I’ve been following the developments regarding the attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya and the slowly building firestorm surrounding how we let it happen, why we did nothing to stop it, and why the Administration kept pushing the idea that it was a spontaneous assault resulting from a now 7 month old video on YouTube.

I’ve heard from folks in the intelligence community, talking heads, pundits, etc… that we had assets ready to evacuate the embassy which could have been on site anywhere from 2-5 hours after the assault began… That the White House knew of the attack within minutes due to the alert being sent by ‘flash traffic’ which requires that the information rapidly ascends the chain of command straight up to POTUS…. That requests for additional security leading up to the assault had been denied… That we had a predator drone flying overhead which allowed the scene to unravel real time on monitors within the White House… as the attack escalated and sacked the embassy, as well as the “safe house” kilometers away… two Navy Seals went in against orders in a heroic, yet doomed attempt to rescue and protect our people.

It’s a nightmare, an absolute nightmare.  11 years after the largest terrorist attack on US soil, we have another coordinated attack on our embassy…  No straight answers from the administration which is still apparently waiting for the investigation to complete…  It just doesn’t make any sense to me.  Times like these are when I firmly attach my tinfoil hat and start to think of various scenarios…

Did this happen because the President was stumping on having Al Qaeda ‘on the run’ and Bin Laden sleeping with the fishes?  Did it happen this way so that the illusion Obama has been trying to construct for the duration of his campaign could endure?  I’d say that would be the most obvious, if not cynical explanation.

Did it happen because the administration was fearful of further mirroring the Carter administration with a failed rescue attempt similar to what took place in 1980 and cost the lives of 8 servicemen?  Obama has a record of voting “present” when a big decision comes up, but the President can’t vote “present” – he’s there to make the tough calls.  Where was his gutsy decision making ability on 9/11/12?

What’s the outcome here… Every day more information comes to light showing that the administration knew what was going on and had plenty of time to act… but didn’t.  Instead, brave Americans died under his watch and were left behind without support, while focus was shifted to the scapegoat on YouTube.  We shouldn’t be in the dark, yet we are – and we can’t blame it on Hurricane Sandy.

One thing I’m afraid of here folks, is that either we won’t get a clear answer on what transpired until after the election – or that Obama will complete his term, and the entire event will fade into our distant memories if/when Romney is elected to office.  Personally, I believe we as Americans deserve better.  I believe there will always be un-answered questions here, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t start answering them.

If the President had the information and the opportunity to do what was necessary to save our people if not stop the attack – and failed to act… I’d have more respect for him if he just came out and said it.  I’m not holding my breath.

Nobody likes Sandy in their ass…

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

What a freaking calamity that was.

I already had a generator which back-feeds into my home via the garage, plus bread, milk, juice, eggs, chocolate, ice cream, etc…  I remember on Saturday thinking ‘it is way too calm out right now.’  It was overcast, but warm and hardly any wind.  Then on Sunday afternoon it started to pick up, and it just kept coming.

Irene didn’t really affect us much, the surprise snow storm last October 29th did more damage for us – its the reason I picked up the generator in the first place.  Our power went out around 8pm on Sunday, and the Internet remained active until about 11pm.

I’ve never felt/heard/seen wind like that before in my life.  The house shook a few times, we didn’t get much rain at all though.  The next day I went outside to survey the damage – many large and small branches were torn from the trees in my yard… 5 shutters were ripped off the house… a 2 foot section of aluminum flashing tore off the roof… my barbecue (which fell over on Sunday afternoon/evening, and was moved up close to the house) was again on its side back where it started which I found pretty odd.  The little vent for my dryer was torn up… but overall we fared well.

Yesterday I went on a trek to replenish my fuel supply as well as locate a bigger fuel storage container. My generator holds 7.2 gallons of gas, and I get about 2 hours per gallon…  I’ve been using 3 separate 2 gallon containers which is fine and dandy, but with a questionable power situation locally I didn’t want to have to worry about not having a bigger amount on hand if I couldn’t get to any stations that were up and running.  Pretty much every home center in the area that had power was completely out of anything but the smallest gas cans.  I ended up driving out to a Gander Mountain store in Dickson City, PA (just outside of Scranton) and picking up a 12-gallon fuel cell for a motor boat.

While the container cost significantly more than a typical gas can ($120 vs $20-$40), the largest gas can any store carries is around 5 gallons so at 12 gallons I can have significantly more on hand.  The other advantage is that it is heavier duty than a normal gas can, has a fuel gauge, a vent, and most importantly a hookup for a fuel line.  I still need to scrounge up a siphon pump, right now I start the siphon with a turkey baster to the fuel line…  Eventually what I would like to do is hook the fuel cell up to the generator’s petcock so I could feasibly run the machine for up 38 hours before I needed to refill it.

According to O&R, the power in my area should be restored within 10 days, generally they have it up much faster than that… They can’t get it up soon enough for me as spending $50 a day on gasoline is getting expensive pretty damned quick.

Compared to other areas of the east coast hit by this hurricane, we fared very well.  I’ve heard reports of beaches and boardwalks completely blown away, entire communities ravaged, fires, floods, etc…  I’m sure that like every other disaster we’ve collectively faced – we’ll all pull through, come out no worse for the wear, and get back to arguing over stupid shit in no time.

Maybe Best Buy would be better off if pretentious gits just stayed home?

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Maybe Best Buy Would Compete Better If Their Employees Acknowledged Customers

The commenting system at The Consumerist has been offline since the last time mysterious hacker types caused problems… so when I see posts like this come up I’m forced to fight my desire to reach through the screen and choke the person sharing their story.

Long story short, person goes to Best Buy to purchase a tablet.  He finds what he wants on display, but can’t find the actual tablet to pick up and purchase.  So he waits about 15 minutes, watches various Best Buy employees moving about, doing their job, and grows frustrated that not a single one has come over to hold his hand.  He finally decides to break out his smartphone, thinking that one of the employees will have a moment of clarity and realize ‘Hey, this guy on his smartphone isn’t checking his email or Facebook, he’s price matching!  He’s going to buy the tablet on Amazon!  Red alert!’  Nobody came after another 8 minutes or so, and he finally went ahead with purchasing the tablet via Amazon on his phone.

Now folks, I’m no Best Buy fan boy.  I’ve had more than one experience where I wanted something that was listed as in stock, that a phone call verified was in stock, only to get there and not have it in stock.  I’ve dealt with their idiotic price-match policy which refused to cut me any slack when a competitor 10 minutes away through the Holland Tunnel could knock $500 off the TV I wanted to buy.  They’re no saints, they’re in trouble, and it’s really no secret why.

All that being said, is this guy serious?  You’re not standing in a Tesla dealership, you’re one of many consumers standing in a busy big box store with a bug up your ass thinking that some lowly blue-shirted minion should be kissing your ass instead of every other person in the store.  See, here’s the thing folks – there are businesses run by assholes, and assholes who sometimes run to businesses.  When I’m out and about, shopping at a store, do I always rely on a representative coming to me and offering assistance?  Nope.  Most times, when I’m asked – I already know what I’m looking for and where to find it.  Still, I’ve been in the same situation as this guy, where I can’t find what I’m looking for, or when I need some help – and that random offer from a rep would be a great help.

In those cases, I take a moment to realize that I’m not standing in the formal menswear department at Nordstrom, or peering through the window of a Fiat 500, I’m in a big ass department store surrounded by several dozen other nameless, faceless consumers who also may need help.  I could sit there, and get pissed off that nobody is coming over to hold my hand and tell me its all going to be OK…  I find the nearest rep in that department, and I actually ASK THEM FOR HELP.

So yes, Best Buy isn’t the best – but part of good customer service is the “good customer” – and if the original poster for this story was really hell bent on buying that tablet and having it in their hands that day, they would have found a rep and asked them for help.  The fact that they supposedly waited nearly a half hour and bought it on Amazon just tells me they’re a pretentious git who would rather have something to bitch about than expound the effort required to ensure they’d have nothing to bitch about.

I hope his delivery is delayed… twit.

Medal of Honor – Warfighter

Monday, October 29th, 2012

When it comes to gaming, there are a few genres I swear by, and a few that I wouldn’t touch if you paid me to.  Medal of Honor – Warfighter manages to touch a bit of them all without actually doing anything as of yet that makes me feel it was worth the effort required to install it on my PC.

The Medal of Honor series has been around for years, providing your typical war-based FPS experience.  Recently, like its main competition Call of Duty, they’ve branched out of World War II and into modern battles.  Their previous title of this series reboot – Medal of Honor – received many complaints which IMHO didn’t make any difference to me because the game was fun.  The biggest complaint was that the game was on rails.  Basically, the game had a script and you were tied to it.  Just about every FPS out there has a script to move the game along (not the plot, not the dialogue, but a sequence of events and a route through the map that brings you from a start point, through a battle, to the end of the mission), but the best ones enforce this script without you realizing it.

I didn’t mind the script in MoH, it was there, but it helped move things along.  The script in Warfighter is so set in stone you’d think the developer slowly walked down from the top of mount Sinai with grand stone tablets in hand.  This script gets in your way, incessantly.  There’s no chance to deviate, or room to explore alternate tactics.  While you have the ability to walk, run, crouch, jump or crawl – depending on the script, regardless of what you see your squad mates doing, you will only do what the script wants you to do.  Run to catch up with your squadmates?  No, not until you clear the area that you just saw them run through.  Want to knife that bad guy from behind?  Not if the game tells you to shoot him.  Want to shoot him?  Not if the game tells you to knife him.

Probably my biggest complaint about the first MoH was that your squad has an amazing ability to jump into your line of fire, while you’re firing, and then bitch at you for it.  The same thing happens in Warfighter, although so far it hasn’t gotten to the point where I’m mocking the AI for doing more to protect my targets than take the bastards out.

Another bit of ridiculousness involves the lack of balance when it comes to providing a ‘gritty, based on real events’ experience, but setting up situations where you’d likely get shot through the door.  Most games like this, when you breach a room you either kick it open and toss a flashbang, or blow the door open – afterwards you get some bullet-time where you can take advantage of the surprise and pick off a handful of unsuspecting bad guys.  In Warfighter, when you need to breach, a menu pops up and lets you select the method… kick, axe, crowbar, shotgun, etc…  If you kick, a good kick opens the door. Any of the other methods appear to involve smashing the doorknob 2 or more times until it falls out and THEN you kick the door.  Something tells me that if you’ve got a room full of armed gunmen, and they start to hear the doorknob getting smashed by a crowbar, they’re going to begin shooting before the door is even opened.

They follow this up with a sniper mission where you actually have to factor in the glide-path of the bullet to eliminate several RPG toting enemies about 175 to 200 meters away.  It’s a nice feature unless you are the type who prefers zooming in and picking them off.  It’s something they actually do fairly well, but with so much of the game being ‘point, click, dead’ it didn’t really fit.  They even give you a spotter who doesn’t do anything beyond letting your know there are ‘bad guys over there.’

Vehicle chases aren’t anything new in the genre, snowmobiles, quads, Warfighter ups the anti by having you chase quite possibly the best handling Land Rover ever manufactured.  It’s a tall SUV, you’re in a small sedan, yet it cuts through traffic with the greatest of ease as your ride constantly slams into everything like you’re driving on butter.

The graphics are spectacular, and the CG in the cutscenes are equally impressive.  My now 3 year old Intel i7 gaming laptop handles it well even with many of the settings maxed out.  Eye candy abounds… yet I really can’t find myself all that impressed by the game.  On one hand it tries to be Modern Warfare, on another it tries to be Arma 2.  A game I love, and a game I hate.  I can’t stand squad based shooters, nor do I enjoy all out warfare simulators like Arma 2, in the process of trying to incorporate aspects from both – MoH leaves me wondering what the point is.

You get spectacular environments, but you can’t veer off the scripted path – if you manage to, you fail.  You get a decent array of weaponry, but reloads take FOREVER, as does switching to melee halfway through a reload to eliminate one of the random AI enemies that magically appears right in front of you.  Weapon accuracy is also dictated by the script.  Sniper rifles require that you factor in the effects of distance on the shot you take, while sniping from a scoped M4 is generally dead on balls accurate…until you try to shoot someone when the game wants you to call in an airstrike.  I had the target dialed in, but watched as the bullets veered off in random directions every time I fired.  I managed to land a shot close enough that the AI was able to get a bead on me with non-scoped AK47’s and kill me with minimal effort.

The game is OK, but doesn’t warrant the price, and IMHO they didn’t learn much from the last MoH game, making it worse.

Wolf!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

@realDonaldTrump

I’m scratching my head right now… Since last week I’ve heard a lot of talk about Donald Trump having some big announcement that could affect the outcome of the presidential election.  The hour finally arrived, and well… Huh?

To paraphrase – if Obama releases the applications and records related to his college career and passport, Trump will cut a check for $5,000,000.00 to a charity of Obama’s choosing.  This is to establish the transparency that Obama promised and never delivered.  This is so people will actually know something about their president.

I kinda sat there in stunned silence…  All I could think was… “that’s it?”

What could possibly be revealed here to change a thing?  We know Obama’s political agenda.  We know the people he’s aligned himself with over the course of his life, terrorists, Communists, racists…  Bill Ayers, Frank Marshall Davis, Jeremiah Wright, Big Bird.  It didn’t make a difference in 2008, how could it make a difference now?

My best guess here is that Trump is just f’ing around with Obama for giggles.  2 weeks left until the election, no record to stand on, no agenda beyond November 6th…  Yeah, free press for Trump, a little hope that he got the campaign to sweat, and in the end – Trump’s crying wolf about a man we already know is a wolf.

In other news, CNN released a report today that water – despite evidence to the contrary – is wet.

 

Building the template for the next 4 years of media spin…

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Bill Clinton: “This shouldn’t be a race. The only reason it is is because Americans are impatient on things not made before yesterday and they don’t understand why the economy is not totally hunky-dory again.”

I can already see one of the first mainstream media talking points of a post Obama news cycle taking shape. Just as the failings of the current administration are constantly laid at the feet of it’s predecessor, so shall the successes of a Romney administration be laid at the doorstep of Obama. We will endure the remainder of the final Obama budget and policies, Romneys policies will take effect, the economy will improve, and instead of crediting Romney the media will credit Obama, and wistfully wonder just how awesome things would be if we impatient Americans were only smart enough to have voted for Obama. The truth here is that even in our instant gratification society we are patient. We have waited 4 years for a President, allowed a community organizer to act as a placeholder until he arrived, and quite frankly we are all extremely tired of standing still and waiting for a real President to arrive.

We do understand why the economy is not all “hunky-dory.”  It’s called a 35% corporate tax rate.  It’s called an administration and congress that hasn’t passed a budget in 4 years.  It’s called nearly $6,000,000,000,000 in new debt over the past 4 years with no end in sight.  With no solid answers on what will happen with tax rates, spending, or what the real fallout of the so called “Affordable Care Act” will be as it slowly takes effect, nobody is willing to take the risks that are necessary to improve things.  Nobody can predict when and if the bleeding will stop with big government politicians at the helm.  While Romney’s economic proposals may not be as extreme as a Libertarian such as Gary Johnson – in all likelihood should he win the election we will see an immediate bump in the economy as there is no question he is business friendly.  Businesses, big and small, drive the economy – and the American people drive those businesses.  This isn’t trickle-down economics, it’s flood-gate economics.  With courage and faith in America we will truly begin to pull ourselves out of this mess, the flood gates of opportunity will open as soon as the government starts to get out of our way.

Opportunity is stronger than “hope and change,” and it is stronger than any unemployment check or food stamp credit.  We don’t need more time for the current administration’s policies to improve things, we need more opportunity so we can improve things ourselves.  I agree with that 47% statement Mitt Romney made, even if he doesn’t anymore.  I don’t see it as being a criticism of the people who fit into that number, I see it as a CHALLENGE to them.  Obama is counting on your continued support, he is counting on your inability to survive without entitlements, he has no reason to provide opportunity as long as you provide him with dependency.  The challenge lies in whether or not you possess the ability to cast aside those entitlements and rise above your present hardship when the opportunity to do so comes along.

That 47% statement was a cold, calculated reality check that we needed to hear.  The media can and will spin the next 4 years in Obama’s favor whether or not he wins.  Regardless of the victor, the outcome of the next 4 years is up to YOU.

Paul Ryan plan likened to Sharia law… Islam supports Sharia… So Islam is bad now?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Matthews Likens Paul Ryan’s Pro-Life Views to Sharia Law

It’s impossible these days to not see how the media has made itself a big part of the narrative when it comes to discussions of Conservative vs Liberal ideology…  Networks that offer a left-leaning pro-Obama spin are the model for a perfect fusion reaction, as they generate more rhetoric than they consume from the administration.  Networks that don’t follow the ‘company line’ – aka Fox News – are widely criticized and mocked despite the fact that from a ratings standpoint they still wipe the floor with every other network and cable news outlet.

While it may just another case of Chris Matthews going off the deep end again because the chill is gone, this is the first time I’ve personally seen a pundit along the lines of Chris Matthews imply that there is anything wrong with Islam.  Think about it, from day 1 with Obama, both his administration and its cohorts in the MSM (main stream media) have been very hesitant to criticize Islam.  When Chris Matthews reaches into his limited vocabulary to label dissension and chooses “Sharia” instead of racist, sexist, Nazi, etc…  The significance cannot be ignored.

The tide is turning folks, ever increasing instances of MSM pundits and reporters beyond the confines of Univision and Fox News asking tough questions of Obama.  It’s only going to get louder before the wave finally crashes with a Romney victory and inauguration.  The media will have established that they can still ask tough questions.  They will justify the predictable vilification and media obsession with knocking down a Romney administration based on the handful of questions they asked at the end of the Obama administration.

The media has a job to inform the people, to report on significant events regardless of allegiance to any ideology or political administration.  They’ve failed at this job longer than I have been alive, the proof is in the ratings of these networks and the circulation numbers of their printed media.  There will always be a segment of our society that will watch the nightly news, read a newspaper or magazine, or take a story they read online as undeniable, unquestionable fact…  That segment isn’t getting any bigger folks, the writing is on the wall, the shouts of dissent are beginning to down out the mumblings of the sheep…  and Chris Matthews is  referring to Sharia law as a bad thing.

I wonder what they’ll do next?

If you blame the business for this, you are a lemming.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Darden tests limiting worker hours as health-care changes loom

There’s been a lot of talk about what the effects will be of Obamacare as it slowly but surely rolls into effect.  The recent trend of mainstream media outlets actually doing their job for a change has begun shedding light on the parts that not even Nancy Pelosi read.

One aspect is that as of 2014, employers will be required to provide medical benefits for employees who work over 30 hours a week.  The story linked above highlights the possible direction that Darden (parent company of Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and others) will take if the law is allowed to take effect.  Essentially, they will be adjusting the hours of their employees in such a way that those who didn’t get benefits before the law will still not get benefits after the law.

Now back in the early days of my career, one of my employers had a similar setup when it came to receiving benefits.  Their rule said that for an employee to receive benefits, they needed to work at least 35 hours a week.  There were many disgruntled coworkers who needed benefits, but couldn’t get them because they were consistently scheduled for less than 35 hours each week.  They most likely did this to keep costs down, which is why Darden is considering doing the same sort of thing.

This may make you say “What a bunch of dicks!” or “Typical greedy business!” and if that’s the case, please press ALT-F4 and close out your browser because you’re beyond help.  If you blame the business for this then you are a lemming, happily following Obama as he leads this country off the fiscal cliff into a utopian world of class warfare and ever increasing government control of private industry.

Complain all you want, but the undeniable truth here is that the decisions you see businesses make as a result of Obama and his policies are required for them to remain fiscally solvent.  They’re just trying to survive this administration and this economy.  Don’t let the tiny decrease in the unemployment rate fool you, it’s all smoke and mirrors.  Businesses need money to hire workers, to provide benefits, and this money comes from people willing to pay for their products and services…  Americans are still very hesitant to spend money on anything but the most basic essentials.  Increased consumer spending is usually a good sign of growth, unless the only reason it has increased is because the price of gas has gone up.  As a result of this administration’s policies, and the economy under the thumb of this administration – everyone is suffering.  America is suffering.

A business isn’t going to add new jobs today, at least not full-time jobs that can make that unemployment rate turn around, when there is an ever increasing stack of regulations and taxes headed towards them that add new expenses.  A business shouldn’t be required to provide benefits, all they should be required to do is provide you with a paycheck.  Normally, if you want to make more money, or if you want health benefits, you find a new job that provides both!  That’s not the mantra of the Obama crowd, they want you to go ahead and continue packing shelves at Walmart, or flipping burgers at McDonalds… Don’t you worry about your pay, or that you don’t get benefits – the Government shall provide (on the backs of future generations saddled with the debt).

Mark my words folks, if Obama gets re-elected and his healthcare plan goes into full effect you will see the Government crack down on businesses like Darden who are simply trying to survive his economic firing squad.  They’ll do it to rousing applause from the useful idiots in the media and those poor saps who think that the largest problem with this country is business, not Government.  They’ll punish these businesses with even greater regulations and more jobs will be lost as they simply try to survive.

4 more years to get the job done?  Here’s a thought Barry, QUIT.  I hear its real easy to get unemployment and food stamps these days.

Losing to Win

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

So two years ago, yesterday, I made one of the biggest decisions / mistakes of my life and said “I do.”  Although I still live with the woman I’m divorcing, and her kids…  We get along pretty well overall.  Yesterday came and went with no real pomp, why celebrate an anniversary when you’re in the middle of ending the marriage?

When I got married, my wedding party was composed of my brother, my brother in law, and my best friends.  It was a grand time, prior to the wedding, my friends and I celebrated my bachelor party on a fishing boat off the coast of New Jersey.  Much was said about making the trip an annual trip, so we could all get together and have some fun.  However, with minimal exception, the moment I said “I do” 99% of my circle of friends vanished.

Granted, my living situation is unique… and people are allowed to move on with their lives… but people I would see, if not at least talk to on a regular basis – vanished.  My marriage was troubled early on, and when I needed my friends they were nowhere to be found.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reached out only to get a ‘sorry, busy this weekend, maybe next week?’ only to have next week come around and get the same answer.  It’s one thing if a single friend seems to blow me off… But with very very very few exceptions… all of them did.

It’s been about 8-10 months since we decided to get a divorce.  In that time, I’ve been able to go out more, to do things that I haven’t been able to because I’ve been locked in at home.  The first thought on my mind any time I had a chance to get out was “Hey, I wonder what (fill in the blank) is up to?”  I’d reach out, and if I managed to get a response, it’d be the aforementioned “maybe next week.”  It stinks to think that the day I gained a family was the same day I lost most of my friends, but looking back – there’s no other way to see it.

It’s lonely, and frustrating.  I’ve always had a small group of friends, a go-to group that I could spend time with, have fun with, vent with, you name it.  I valued that, I never quite understood the value of having that until I didn’t anymore.  Recently I finally hit my breaking point with getting blown off… With trying to get a hold of friends to do something with my free time other than dig an ever deeper rut in my couch playing video games or once again flying solo to the movie theater or local bar.  Yes, I’m lonely and depressed, but I’m in the middle of a divorce here, this is the time when friends should wonder how I’m doing, should be reaching out to me… God knows I’ve been trying to reach out to them.

So the “maybe next weekend” finally arrived and I reached out… There was already a plan which included a handful of people whom I haven’t hung out with in months if not years… but I’m told “it may change since its supposed to rain” but that they wanted to go out and get something to eat later on, minus a few people – and would let me know.   I decide to go out and see a movie, tell them this, and ask them “please let me know so I can meet up.”

An hour and a half later, I get out of the movie, check my phone – no texts.  I send one out letting them know I’m out of the movie, and wondering when/where we plan to meet up, while suggesting going to my favorite local bar for dinner.  An hour or two later, I get a reply that they’re looking for somewhere to eat, Warwick is packed, and they’ll get back to me after dinner.  I lost it.  Warwick is 5 minutes from my  house.  They went to Warwick, saw that it was packed, and moved on… No mention of where next, no suggestion of where to meet up, just a “we’ll get back to you.”   I’ve been struggling to find someone, ANYONE, in my “circle of friends” to hang out with for 2+ years now, and have been constantly, consistently blown off.  My first thought when I had any free time was to reach out to them… but I can only take so many un-returned messages and calls, and can only be told “maybe next weekend” so many times.

I just replied “don’t bother.”

I haven’t heard anything since.  At that moment I shrugged off all of the doubt and concern… I discarded all my questions “do they not like my family? do they not like me? do they not give a shit about me anymore?”  I’d rather have no friends than the illusion of friends.  I’ve still got other friends, but this was my “group.”  This was my go-to group of friends for over ten years…  I’ve spent the past 2+ years hemming and hawing, lying to my wife saying “I’m going to meet up with some friends” when in actuality I would go out, by myself, and try to find something to do on my own.  I spent so much time and effort trying to reach out to people who for all intents and purposes couldn’t give two shits about me anymore.  I blew countless hours, days, weeks of my life over the past 2 years pretending that I still had that group of friends when many of them, at least the group that I knew best and considered my closest friends tucked tail and ran the second I was married.

I subsequently shut down my Facebook profile.  “Wow, look what (fill in the blank) is doing” – watching people doing their own thing every single day, people who at this point don’t include me in their actual life let alone their online life.  Hell, maybe it is me, maybe they’re just tired of me…  Maybe I just don’t care anymore.  Throughout the rollercoaster that has been my life over the past several years, I’ve been trying to make friends, keep friends, and there are still a handful that I can talk with – but beyond family, there’s one out of them all who I’ve known since I was 14, and who – to this day, I can reach out to and hang out with just about any time I want…  There’s no judgment, no bullshit, no convenience aspect, no feeling that I’m being tolerated instead of accepted.

This friend is a guy who actually referred to me once as his ‘nemesis’ in an official legal statement, we’ve been at odds over the years, but throughout it all – throughout our various phases, my sometimes questionable romances, he’s been an absolute rock – a best friend.  I just had to “lose” all of the people who I considered my closest friends to re-discover the one friend who has been my best friend all along.  Thank God for him.

I’m going to re-activate my Facebook again today, but instead of being glued to it, trying to find something interesting outside the chaos that is my life… I’ll keep it there so those who want to reach out to me will have an easy and direct way to do it, and to stay in touch with some friends who I can’t really stay in touch with any other way… but I’m done wasting my time, effort, and emotion on people who won’t do the same to me.  I’ve got a best friend, and a group of other friends that I can be myself around and not have pretend to be anyone but myself.  It’s a cliche, that you’ve got to lose to know how to win… but it’s true.  I lost, and because of that, I’ve realized that I won.

</rambling>

Was bored today, so I decided to edit a movie into something that didn’t suck…

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

One of my favorite Sci-Fi/Action franchises is the Terminator series.  From the movies, to the comics, to the various games… From the day I first saw Terminator 2 back in the early 90’s, I was hooked.  Terminator 4 – in my opinion – is better than Terminator 2.  After seeing the story play out through the first 3 films, and having a massive mental backlog of all the comic book plots in my head, the chance to see the actual future war of man vs machine was absolute nerd porn for me.  Don’t get me wrong here, I absolutely loved the first 2 films, but I needed something new – especially after the absolute cluster!@#$ that was Terminator 3, Rise of the Machines.

Back when I saw it, I thought it was good – but not great – addition to the lexicon.  My biggest complaint?  It was too tongue in cheek.  It’s like they took the idea of the final lead up to Judgement day, made a movie, but came to the stark realization that while the fans would be entertained – it was missing something.  Unfortunately, that ‘something’ equated to a lot of un-necessary tongue in cheek humor, extra dialogue, and machines with emotion.  Now I get it, they’re supposed to be able to learn from humans so they may act more like them…  Just the same, a lot of the dialogue from both the protagonist and antagonist was complete crap.  So much of the movie came off like a directors cut, footage that should have been shelved along with that absolutely absurd “Candy” cut where Swarzenegger plays a soldier with a ridiculous southern accent, and another actor provide the voice – for what would eventually be the T-800 portrayed by Arnold over the course of 3 films.  They took a serious action/sci-fi player and decided to turn it into an episode of Firefly.

(Note: Love firefly, but if you take the formula of Serenity and apply it to a bunch of killer machines – you get Terminator 3, it just doesn’t work).

So I sat down, ripped the film to a file, and opened up Freemake Video Converter.  In total, I cut about 5 minutes of footage from the film.  What comes from it though, is a giant leap towards what Terminator 3 could have been.  Gone is the slapstick bullshit, the emotional reactions of machines, the inane dialog…  Start to finish, it’s a Terminator movie… not the spoof of a Terminator movie that we all endured.

My problem now is – how do I go about sharing this?  I figure I’ll cut some short clips and try to put them on YouTube to show the differences, but ideally I’d like to be able to make it available to fans without getting sued…  Anyone have a suggestion? 🙂