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Misadventures in Funcoland: Gotta Catch Your Breath

July 24, 2009

funco

Store: Sterling Heights
Notable Gaming Release: Pokemon Jungle Expansion Packs

So this story takes place the day after my last story about the brawl that ensued in front of the store.  It’s pretty much the same setup as the day before… I’m bored out of my fucking mind playing QIX and I’ve got yesterdays events still fresh in my head.  I kinda hoped that I would see the return of the family from yesterday, if only to find out what happened to the two kids in the end.  It also woulda been cool to have the mom apologize for breaking the door and for the crazy behavior of her kids that no doubt comes from a lack of solid parenting, but alas, I did not get such a treat.

Here is what I got.  This story actually does start out just the same way.  I’m playing my game, back to the front door, which if you haven’t read my previous post, is being held closed by two pieces of puffy two way tape since the hydrolic door closer is broken.  Also just like yesterday, I hear the sound of little feet running, so I pause up my game, close up the GXTV, and get ready for it.

Few seconds after I turn around, what looks like a 10 year old boy comes running up to the door alone.  Expecting him to fling the door open has me sadly let down.  While yes he does rip the door open with all his force, he grabs it and closes it behind him, I’m a little amazed.  He comes running up to the counter and I toss my greeting at him, and this is when it gets interesting.

The kid looks like he’s hyperventilating, breathing rapidly and can’t seem to catch his breath.  He’s leaning on the counter with one hand, and has the other hand on his chest and tries to speak.

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Misadventures in Funcoland: Gotta Catch Em All

July 21, 2009

funco

Store: Sterling Heights
Notable Gaming Release: Pokemon Jungle Expansion Packs

Just another day at the Sterling Heights Funcoland for me during the summer.  The job has started to take a turn for the worse at this point.  For a brief time, my girlfriend at the time got hired to work with me… baaaaaad idea since she was bossy and I was a higher rank than she.  Maybe I’ll tell that story some day, but it’s not that great.  The main thing that started to make the job suck was that we had expanded from just video games and video game accessories to selling Pokemon cards.  This made the job get really bad.  For one, there was no commission on these things.  You can’t even try to tack on something for commission on them.  Kids coming in with pocket change to buy a pack was killing my Average Dollars per Sale (ADS) which while you wouldn’t really get in trouble for having a low one, you would catch some shit for it.

So anway, it’s about mid day at this point.  These new Jungle Expansion Packs came in first thing in the morning, I popped them out of the box and put them on display.  Did my usual morning dusting and such and then it was time to game.  I had gotten bored with most of the games so I decided to turn my attention to the Gameboy.  I had never owned one of my own so I figured there would be a wealth of cool games to try out, and sure enough, I found one… QIX.  I won’t go into details, but you should really check this game out if you dig puzzle type games.

JungleBoosterNL

So I’m actually getting more brazen at this point with playing my video games.  Knowing that I’m only being checked up on once a week, I’ve started to hook up systems to the GX tv that shouldn’t be there.  So I have hooked up an SNES and am playing QIX with the Super Gameboy adapter.

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It’s Sad to Watch a King Die

July 3, 2009

myspace.logo

Can a website have a death rattle?  I’d like to think Myspace does.  A few years ago, I jumped on the social networking bandwagon with Myspace. It was a good time while it lasted.  I made a few friends, found some old ones I hadn’t talked to in years, and even met a few fine upstanding young ladies that are just as polite and reserved as can be.  Remembering the good times is what makes this so weird.  Myspace, you aren’t just dead to me, you are dead to anyone over the age of 12.  You used to be the king, the leader, the place everyone went to and now… you are a mere shadow of what you once were, a joke.  Facebook came on the scene and you stood fast in your smugness.  “Fuck Facebook” you said, “I’m fuckin’ Myspace!” you said.  Well look where that got you.  You refused to change, to evolve, to grow with the times, now all you are doing is trying to play catch up with Facebook much like the Simpsons is trying to do with Family Guy.

By the time you realized you were in trouble, it was already too late and the water was 5 feet over your head.  Rather than try to be the innovator again, you chose to be the copycat.  You donned your undeserved ninja garb and you snuck over to Facebooks house and sat outside it’s window, spying to see what was making it the cool kid on the block.  “Hey!  Facebook has apps!  I should have apps!”  So home you went with your intel, and you didn’t even try to pretend you weren’t sitting outside taking notes.  You didn’t try to take the idea and make it better, you copied Facebook verbatim.  “Facebook has Mafia Wars?  I’m gonna have Mafia Wars!”  Not only did you not even try to hide the fact that you were copying them, but you took so long to do it that by the time you got your apps out, everyone was getting bored with them on Facebook already.

This was when I first realized you were in the hospital with some sort of rectal cancer, hooked up to all manner of machines that were keeping you alive since your own internal organs refused to do so.  It’s in this condition I wonder how you were able to again don your ninja garb and go peek into Facebook’s window again.  Personally I don’t think you did, I think you sent someone in your place.  And what did that someone come back with?  “Hey Myspace, you don’t look so good, but I got some more info for you.  They have this bar thing that goes across the bottom of the screen.  It lets you chat with other people who are on Facebook, get quick access to applications, and lets you know when things have been updated.”  After several minutes of intense coughing up of blood and who knows what other fluids, you declared that you must have one too.  The only problem is, in your sickly state, you couldn’t figure out how to add the applications and notifications to it.  You did successfully mimic the layout for the IM though.

The point is, the surest way to tell when the leader is no longer in the lead is when it’s copying it’s closest competition.  Myspace, you have done this in spades.  You’ve layed your cards out on the table without even discarding the shitty ones to try to get better ones.  You gave up, and no one likes a quitter.  With the rash of celebrity deaths last week, it proved to me that I was holding a candle for you alone, and that I didnt’ even realize everyone else had left.  All week on my Facebook, it was a constant flood of memories and condolences for each and every one of those people who died from the people I connect with on there.  But how about you Myspace?  My bulletin board was completely devoid of such sad news.  All I found were people begging me to join their mafia and postings of people’s bar schedules.

So Saturday I made my proclamation,  7 days from that date I would be deleting my Myspace account and I let the world know it by posting a bulletin.  It is now 6 days later, and you know what?  That bulletin is still visible on my bulletin board without having to expand it.  It’s still recent news, 6 days later.  So tomorrow (Saturday), I’m pulling the plug on you.  It’s for the best old friend.  I can’t stand to watch you suffer, and deep down in your heart you know it’s the right thing to do.  When my Mom’s dog got cancer, she didn’t want to see her suffer anymore, so she took her to the vet, she got a shot, and she slipped away.  While you’re not my dog Myspace, and it’s not my place to give you that shot, it doesn’t mean I have to stick around and watch you suffer.  So I’m saying my goodbye’s now.  I’ll remember the good times and the bad, the hot chicks that wanted to be my friend (the real ones) and the hot chicks that also wanted to be my friend (the fake ones.)  I’ll remember the quizzes and the photo comments and chain bulletins that everyone fell for but me.  I’ll also remember the bad times too, because without the bad, you wouldn’t know the good was good.  So I will remember the glitter gif animations that say “sexy” and “juicy.”  I’ll remember the shitty bands wanting to be my friend even though I explicitly stated I have no interest in friending bands.

Myspace, it’s been real… and it’s been fun… but it’s time to take your sick ass behind the shed and give you some double barrel therapy.

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H2O(MG This is Gonna Suck!)

May 31, 2009

water

So it’s no secret that I don’t exactly eat all that healthy… my diet consists mainly of fast food, microwavable already prepared meals, and home made lunch meat sandwiches.  I was watching Super Size Me the other day for like the 10th time while eating White Castle and it started to dawn on me that maybe I should start trying to be a bit more healthy.  I mean this wasn’t the first time I’ve done this, every time I watch that movie I get that notion and never really follow through.  For one… I love fast food.  It’s fast, it’s tasty, I don’t ever really put on any weight, and my doctor said my body is naturally proficient at expelling cholesterol.  At my last physical, he had no clue how bad I eat by looking at my blood work and such.  Anyway… I’m off on a tangent here.

So one of the recurring themes in Super Size Me… fast food is bad for you aside… is that the drinks that come with them seem to be a major part of the impact on your body.  Awhile back I decided I was going to cut all the caffeine out of my diet and I did good for a few months, I felt better, had a bit more energy, and it really wasn’t all that bad.  I replaced Mt. Dew and Coke with Root Beer and Fruit Punch, but yeah, while I wasn’t getting the caffeine, I was still bringing in all that sugar.

Here is my plan… starting tomorrow (Monday, June 1st), I’m going to go 1 week only drinking water.  No juice, no Vitamin Water, certainly no soda’s, nothing but good ol’ H2O.  It’s a simple enough thing to do that I don’t think will impact me too much.  Any of the stores I go to I’d have to make a trip to the back of the store to really be tempted by them, and I have no other reason to go back there otherwise.  If after  a week I can see a noticeable improvement in my day to day well being, I’ll see if I can keep this going.  My biggest enemy is going to be Power-C Vitamin Water and Mt. Dew High Voltage.  I usually chug down 2 Vitamin Waters first thing in the morning to get my day going, and that blue Mt. Dew is just so damn tasty!  Blue Mt. Dew was my downfall with the no caffeine experiment, and I’m off the wagon big time… til tomorrow.

I’m in no way planning on drastically changing my diet or the foods that I eat by doing this.  I still love you Wendy, KFC you will always lure me in with that delicious mashed potato bowl, Burger King… you, me, and the triple stacker are still an item, and bacon… you are my one true love.  So let’s see what happens.  Perhaps this will be a precursor to me quitting smoking again.  That’s already been weighing heavily on my mind.

Bottoms up!

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I Mother Fucking Love BEST BUY!

April 19, 2009

pic0805

That up there is the last shot my D60 took before the 19 story plunge… you can see the final time lapse over here on Flickr.  Now onto the good news… Best Buy is going to replace my camera!

I took the remains in to the NoHo BB today in hopes that I could get it replaced.  I checked the terms and conditions of the protection plan that I had bought and saw that it did cover damage from accidental drops (but not damage from war or terrorism… remember that!)  Prepared to have to fight to get my beloved D60 replaced I went in with all the details from the protection plan memorized.  I had thought of taking my Lumix in with me and recording a sales person trying to pitch the protection plan to me as backup, because I know the guy told me that it would cover stuff like this when I bought it but BB has been getting some bad press lately for some shady practices.  I figured I could use video proof of them saying it would be covered in the event they didn’t want to replace it, but I decided against this and would just roll the dice and hope for the best.

I walked in to BB and headed straight back to the returns counter, and saw like 6 people in line… grrrrrrrr.  I finally get my chance to step up to the counter and wanted to do my best to work my charm on the girl working on the other side, but got interrupted twice by assholes waling up to ask questions rather than waiting in line.  Now I’m off my game and I’m nervous.  The girl just stared at me blankly and I handed her the little wallet thing that I was given with my receipt when I bought my D60 and said “Hi, I dropped my camera.” with a smile.  I’m hoping she’ll just say “OK, it’s covered with the protection plan.” before looking at it.  She hands me back the receipt and says I need to talk to one of the Geek Squad guys about a repair.  I kinda jokingly explain that it’s beyond repair, but she says I still need to talk to them.  So I go wait behind some guy asking questions about his ipod and get my shot.

So now it’s my turn… I set the box down on the counter and hand the guy the receipt and just say “Hey, I dropped my camera.”  He says no problem and gives me the run down about sending it out to be repaired and that if it’s not cost effective to repair it, they’ll give me a new one.  I kinda smile and just ask if we can skip all that and just get me a new one because I knew it wasn’t able to be repaired.  That’s when he gave me the odd look and asked how bad it was.  I started to open the box and told him that it fell out a window, I told him it was only 10 stories instead of 19… in my head at the time it seemed like they might be more apt to replace it with half the distance traveled for some reason.  The guy took the remains out of the box and was just taken-a-back by what he was holding.

This is when I start to get nervous… he says he’ll be right back and starts walking around the counter with the corpse of my D60 and goes to a group of BB employees in blue and black shirts.  Everyone just stops and stares.  I don’t know what he was saying to them but I walked over, trying to keep the charm routine going and tell them this is what happens when a D60 tries to take on a 10 story drop.  Turns out the guy was going to bat for me to try to just get it replaced there but it’s policy that it has to be sent out.  No worries, it’s getting replaced… I don’t care!

So the guy puts the remains in a bag, actually dumping the little parts that were in the box into the bag like he’s pouring out a drink, pretty funny.  Couple minutes of entering info into the computer and I’m all set.  While writing this, I actually just got an email from Geek Squad for tracking the status of my “repair” lol.

So moral of the story?  Buy those protection plans people!  How many times have they saved my ass?  I can’t even count anymore.  I’m so fucking glad I dropped the extra $150 on that thing right now, because it’s saving me from having to spend another $600 on a new camera.  Best Buy… I fucking love you man!

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Songs of Farewell and Departure…

April 19, 2009

pieces

So today my Nikon D60 died…  Everyone wants to know the story, so here it is:

A long running project for work was finally coming to and end and I had to work today (Saturday) as part of the final deliverable for it.   The client’s office is down near Ground Zero on the 19th floor and has some pretty amazing views.  My original thought process with bring my camera gear was to set up at the end of one of the wings and do a time lapse of my coworkers and I working.  Upon arrival, the Account Manager for the client said that one of the first things that they said to them was not to post any pictures of their office on the internet.  It’s a reasonable request… much of their work is visual and I’m sure that it needs to be kept under wraps.  So no biggie, I decided to modify my plan and do a time lapse session aiming South from the office.  From here, I had a great shot of the Battery Tunnel and the water just beyond.  Traffic, water, and sky… it was an amazing shot.

The window was kinda dirty as you can expect with most high rises in the city, so I opened the window so I could put my camera out on the ledge.  It was a large ledge, much larger than the one I had used a couple days before in my office.  There was a gentle breeze blowing, nothing that would make me worry about the safety of my camera.  So I bent up my Gorillapod and set it out towards the edge with a nice wide stance for stability.  I do my TL shots with the D60 tethered to an EEEPC.  This is the only way to do TL with the D60 which is fine because I can control all of the settings and the pics get transferred straight to the netbook so I can open them up full size and see how they look.

I had my framing, I had my settings, so I started up the TL window, 10 second intervals, click and go.  As per usual, I check on the progress every time I get near it, simply to make sure it’s still taking pics as sometimes the software tends to freeze up on me.  A couple hours had gone by and it was doing fine, couldn’t wait for the battery to die out so I could see what I had.  Normally I can get just under 1100 shots on a full charge.

I happened to be working on a computer a few feet from the window with my back to it when it happened.  I heard a noise behind me and when I looked back, I saw one of my coworkers so didn’t think much of it.  I wasn’t sure how many more shots were left before the battery died out so I was listening for the shutter click… too much time had gone by without hearing one.  So I went to the window and my camera was no where to be seen, only the USB extension cable that I had the cable from the camera plugged into… and my heart sank.  I immediately thought that maybe my coworker had noticed that the battery had died and was pulling a prank on me by taking it in and hiding it.  I didn’t want to think of the 19 story drop.  I ran down the east wing of the office and didn’t see him.  Another coworker… who apparently isn’t afraid of heights, was laying out on the ledge looking down… the look back over his shoulder said it all.

I ran to the elevator and jammed on the down button.  It took a minute to come and I jumped in and pushed the lobby button, the whole ride down just saying “fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…” The doors opened and I ran outside to see the horror of it all come true.  Sitting on the sidewalk was my D60… exploded into pieces.  The Gorillapod was in 4 or 5 pieces, the lens broke in half, some still on the body, the other part in the street.  Pieces of glass and plastic were everywhere.  I walked over and kneeling next to it, kinda like it was my child that had fallen lol.  It was only after I picked it up did I stop to look around and see if there was anyone laid out or anything, but thankfully no one even seemed to pay any attention to it.  I collected as many of the pieces as I could and headed back inside.

As I got back to the office, my coworker that was hanging out the window was sitting at the reception desk and just stared blankly at me… no idea what to even say.  I put the pieces at the IT station in the back and went back to work, trying not to think about it.  I waited probably a half hour before I went and put away the EEEPC.  Checking the last shots I thought I might get some idea as to what had happened… a bird maybe?  I dunno.  The last shot was normal… 805 shots.

I came home a few hours later, exhausted by the day.  I started compiling the last time lapse my poor D60 made for me… and it’s amazing.  I don’t think it’s worth the price paid but it’s definitely it’s swan song.  I’m going to have to reencode it smaller as I can’t seem to get it uploaded without it erroring out.  I’ll have it up soon though.  I’ve posted some pics over on my Flickr account of the remains that I was able to gather.

I think the reason it hasn’t totally devastated me yet is that I have a small hope that I can get it replaced under my extended protection program that I purchased with my D60.  It clearly states that it covers “accidental damage caused by drops,” and that’s exactly what this is.  So if I have time tomorrow, I’m gonna hoof it over to the store and hope for someone to have pity on me.  The thing that really sucks is now that the weather is nice, I had all these plans to go out and finally start getting shots of all the stuff I’ve been wanting to.  My plan for after work was to meet up with a friend and go get some night shots in the city.  I’ve started planning a time lapse of the sun setting from the Empire State, but that’s all on hold now.  It’s going to be well over 2 months before I can even think about being able to afford a replacement.  So with the hope that I can get it replaced, there are several other things that make this “not as bad” as it could have been…

1.  It didn’t hit anyone (that I know of)

2.  My SD card was in the laptop and not in the camera.

3.  The lens I was using was the kit lens that came with it, so my 50mm is safe.

4.  I had been using a cable extension the last time I setup my cam for a TL shot and it separated from the cable that was plugged into the D60.  I think without that, the EEEPC would’ve gone with it.  That thing holds onto USB cables tight.  I also can’t help but wonder if I had it plugged straight in that I might have been able to pull it back up… but what’s done is done, no use in wondering.

Upon viewing the video once it was compiled, you can definitely see the image shaking a little bit from the wind.  I’m sure at this point that is what caused it.

So does this end my TL photography?  Hell no.  I’m just going to be a lot more cautious with setting up my next cam whenever that may be.  I’m going to look into getting some sort of clamp setup for when I want to hang it out a window.  As well as some sort of fail safe, like tying something tight around the clamp and then tying it off to something else sturdy… redundancy.

So D60… I will miss you terribly, and I hope to have a new one of you soon.

nikon1

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Warp Whistle

March 30, 2009