Dog bites man (2006 remix)

I don’t endorse animal cruelty. I don’t endorse terrifying children. I don’t endorse necrophilia. But you put them all together into one stunning news story, well, I am going to endorse that story. And I’m going to laugh. Really hard.

Mankind’s unfathomably dark side is a constant source of amusement for me.

Curses, Apple

I am not one of those people who waves the “Mac vs PC” flag unless it’s to mock people waving the “Mac vs PC” flag. I have been cross-platform for years now and I happily use either or both. But for all the touchy-feely-NorCal love that Apple earns, there’s one thing that pisses me off, and it bit me in the ass this week.

Specifically, it bit Kat in the ass. Although we are obviously in lockdown mode financially, Kat as a freelancer needs reliable gear. Her trusty G4 laptop is in need of repair, so we’re going to get it fixed and sell it. She ordered one of the spiffy new hotness MacBookPro units to replace it and agonized over buying something more than the basic model. I support not buying obsolete computers so I said, hey, this is an expense you can write off, and you should have the best tools you can reasonably afford. So she went with “the middle one” and was happy. Until last night.

Last night, we heard through another Macinfriend that Apple just announced brand-new MacBookPros that are bigger and faster and stronger for the same amount of money. Faster processor, more HD space, twice the RAM, better optical drive–important shit. So Kat quickly returned the other one (before the 15-day grace period expired–phew!) and plans to get the NEW new hotness. This will still cost a few hundred in shipping and restocking fees but it’s better tools for the job.

Earlier this year I had a similar bout of buyer’s remorse by buying a 60GB iPod right before they introduced the 80GBs. So maybe I’m to blame for not paying attention to Apple’s release schedule, but what the fuck? Why does Apple do this? It makes me never want to actually pull the trigger on buying one of their products for fear that literally a few days later, something new will not just be announced but physically arrive in stores.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose. But damn, it’s a hassle and a panic when it just doesn’t feel like it needs to be.

The sun is fuckin’ shining

Man, what an attitude change I’ve gone through in the last two or three weeks. I stopped and asked myself tonight…could today have gone any better? Not really. I worked really hard on a story and got very positive reactions from people whose opinions I deeply value. I got kind words from a new co-worker about the way I submit my articles, which in turn makes their life a little easier. I had a nice lunch with friends, outside–and the fact that I didn’t really enjoy my undercooked food seemed to have little bearing. And even though there’s a lot of work on my plate, I simply love doing it. Plus, thanks to Xbox LIve, I think I’m starting to figure out Lumines.

I’m in PSM3!

UPDATE: Link fixed.

Okay, this simultaneously makes me very proud and rather terrified. I thought it was going to be a small sidebar to a larger article. Ulp!

If anybody sees this issue on sale (it’s a UK magazine) with the Pro Evo 6 cover, please buy it for me…

Greetings from Seattle

How is it that in 13 years, I’ve never made it up to Seattle until now? Despite Nintendo and Microsoft being up here, I’ve never visited either one (probably because I always managed to pawn them off on someone else). I may never see Nintendo, but tomorrow I finally see Microsoft for myself. I’m excited. I was hoping that the switch to OXM would provide me with more opportunities to, you know, get out. I often felt like I was just processing other people’s work at Radar and not creating enough of my own. And it’s hard to do that without experiences. So yay, experiences. It feels good to go and get the story every once in a while. Almost like real journalism.

Random thoughts:

– I’m officially never flying without my video iPod from now on. It was awesome to watch Mr. Show and Robocop on the flight…and know that at any point, I could have switched over to play games on the same doohickey. Oh, yeah, and it plays music. Put on on your Christmas list–you want one.

– The hotel I’m in has a 13th floor. I think that’s awesome. Have people stopped with the superstition? I’m tempted to ask for a transfer from the 8th floor.

– Kat is rearranging some, most, or all of the apartment while I’m away. I have no idea what I’m coming home to. (Well, other than a very needy gray cat who will wonder where Dad went.)

– I hope they won’t kick me out of Seattle when they learn I don’t drink coffee.

So long, Nicodemus

After 12 years, we finally had to put him down this past week. I didn’t want to post about it at the time because who wants to hear that your cat has died? But since he moved out with us from Brooklyn (he was a shelter rescue from North Shore Animal League), most friends on both coasts met him at one point or another. He had an actively growing tumor for the last four or five months, and it wasn’t getting any better. We could have tried expensive, major surgery (removing half his rib cage might have helped, maybe) but we got to thinking about quality of life. He was still reasonably active, alert, and friendly around the house after the diagnosis, so we let it run its course.

Kat suggested we put him down this week while we’re still in a funk about her losing her job and everything–let’s get all the bad crap out of the way at once and rebound strong. And it wasn’t until this week that things really seemed to go south in terms of Nicky’s temperament and behavior, so I think we literally gave him as much time as we could. As we did with Bailey, I recorded his very distinctive purr on tape, so we have that. But what’s done is done, and it was right to do it. It was time.

We miss him but we had a great run–did I mention it was 12 happy years of not being a stray in New York?–and unlike when Bailey had to go, this time I was reasonably prepared. If anything, I found myself getting upset in the vet’s office from the Bailey flashbacks.

We’ve already been to shelters to see who’s waiting for a family. We’ve always been a two-cat household and Sadie needs a playmate–she’s just 2 and she’s super-active and always wanted to play even though Nicky was in no mood or shape to romp around.

We found a wild, super-aggressively-playful 5-month-old Maine Coon mix at the shelter in San Mateo, but he literally did nothing but tear around the room and attack anybody who attempted to pet him. We both liked him a lot and figured we might be the kind of family that would embrace the challenge, but we also thought that Sadie would be scared shitless, he would likely get downstairs and therefore out into the neighborhood, and he would never actually calm down enough to be a cool housecat who liked affection. So we’re still looking, with a preference toward a Himalayan, a ragdoll, or a Maine Coon. We likes us some lap cats.

Open letter to an asshole

To Whom It May Concern:

What possessed you to tear the Darwin emblem from my car today as I ran my errands? I don’t come into your home and rip down your crucifixes, because I respect your ways even though I do not follow them. I strongly believe that people of all faiths can coexist in our society. I understand your message without the destruction–I grew up Catholic and considered the seminary. This much I know: Jesus did not suggest vandalism as The Way. My passive opinion was obliterated by your active aggression.

I know you probably thought you were paving your way into God’s kingdom by teaching one of those pesky science-believing fools the Truth, but consider this: It’s acts of terrorism in the name of a higher power that currently have the world a little on edge. You commited one such act today.

Random assailant, please continue to enjoy your freedom of religion. By contrast, what you did today oppresses me. I clearly do not enjoy freedom from religion.

Your homework is John 8, verses 2 through 11.

Yours in mutual respect,
Dan

PS: I’m replacing the emblem. I call it “turning the other bumper.”

Stoked

Well, despite the recent bad luck sort of continuing–Kat was recently passed over for a position for which I think she was well suited, and we’re slated to put 12-year-old cat Nicodemus to sleep at the end of the week–I find myself strangely jazzed at work. For the first time in a long time I’m scared in the right way. I don’t know if I didn’t have creative freedom before or if I simply didn’t let myself believe I had creative freedom before, but I know I have it now–there’s a lot of work to be done getting OXM out the door every month and I feel very empowered to get that work done. It’s not a crippling amount of work, and it’s not an unreasonable amount. It’s just a challenge.

And I hate to use that word because the corporate world of weaselly middle-managers have taken the word “challenge” and turned it into a weak euphemism for “problem” if not “shitstorm of impossibility.” But a challenge is supposed to be something that you can actually overcome with work and ingenuity, and when you do, you feel great about it. Maybe you even learn something in the process. Those, I like. Puzzles offer surmountable challenges; all video games are built on the very concept of them. So the idea that I get to go to work, pick a method that suits me, and tackle those challenges–hell, even the problems–in the manner I see fit, so long as I’m reasonable in my methods and ready to work as part of a larger team, freakin’ thrills me.

I made a list of things that need to get done at the office. All of them are pretty much “as soon as humanly possible” deadlines.It’s daunting, but it’s not scary. It’s just interesting work–work I’ve spent my whole career learning how to do. Let me at it.

Coincidentally, today would have been John Lennon’s 66th birthday. “(Just Like) Starting Over” indeed.

Think like a SINK

So we’ve had a few days to deal with it. Kat crunched the numbers and says we’ll be okay as long as we’re smart. She’s already picked up some freelance work, which isn’t tons of income but hey, anything’s good and it will only expand her portfolio. Not that it’s not already huge, but it’s always good to have fresh samples–as the saying goes in the magazine biz, you’re only as good as your last article.

Our lifestyle is not so extravagant that this will ruin us. Our luxuries are mild, and our budget can sustain subscriptions to Netflix and World of Warcraft–those are the two main sources of our entertainment. We’re homebodies with no chemical dependencies (unless instant iced tea counts) nor do we go out to expensive clubs (unless the bowling alley’s karaoke night counts). Kat’s on a new weight loss program so eating out a lot is no longer a factor (but making sure we have money for the healthy, on-program food is). But to be safe, we cancelled Sirius, which we weren’t listening to anyway–that’s $15/month back. I pulled my meager $40 out of the online poker sites since there’s no need to keep it in there anyway what with the new law. Kat’s going to hit eBay like a demon and get rid of a bunch of stuff we’ve been meaning to get rid of, which will both reduce clutter and get some cash in. In many ways I guess it will be business as usual, just without impulse buys.

I’d prefer to just be in lockdown mode. I’ve gotten used to living the life of a DINK–double income, no kids–but I have no real problems going cold turkey either. Builds better habits.