July 29th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
I’m a penny-pinching luddite–I refuse to pay exorbitant monthly charges for unsatisfactory goods. This is why my home theater is an absurd Rube Goldberg machine of adapters and proxy devices. In theory, I’m saving money, though I’ve made no actual calculations.
It’s true that when you go cheap, things become more expensive in the long run, but the deviant thrill of gaming the system adds value. There’s empowerment in grasping the reigns from our corporate masters and taking true ownership of one’s equipment. I may have a jury-rigged monstrosity, but it’s mine.
My efforts do bear fruit: I’m getting only the media I desire through the most comfortable position of consumption (my living room couch) at the cost of minor inconvenience. The machine works (typically) and when it fails, I needn’t contact some remote, outsourced service agent–I’m right there to fix it immediately.
I believe that it’s less a question of why and more a question of “Y”. It appears to be a dude thing. Men may have an exclusive gene to tinker and tweak to the point of impracticality. Anyone can be an engineer, but the average man is more likely to monkey with a device, if for no other reason than to see what it looks like broken.
Women–strangers–are visibly embarrassed when I describe my designs to them. Their immediate reaction is, “Why don’t you just buy one? It’s simple and it works better.” Their words are wise and true. We tend to get lost in a fog; more engrossed in the challenge than true accomplishment. Our capacity to resist defeat is vast and silly.
Here’s my current setup:
For broadcast television, I only have a $15 digital antenna…cuz the only shows I may watch over the air are Judge Judy and People’s Court.
Along with being my Netflix receiver, my PlayStation 3 works in tandem with my desktop PC to bring me the lion’s share of my entertainment. Through PS3 Media Server, I can play most media files from my PC. I also subscribe to PlayOn, which delivers just about any streaming video service to my TV, including my favorite channels on Blip.tv.
The PlayStation 3 has Hulu Plus built in, but it’s an inferior product to the free web-based service. It may carry more episodes, but a fraction of the titles. Again, I rely on PlayOn to catch up on Hell’s Kitchen, Community, and 30 Rock.
I recently installed a new video card for my desktop with two DVI ports, so I’ve connected the second output to my TV. Now all forms of media are unlocked to me! I’ll be able to enjoy my PC games from my couch soon, once I work out controllers, keyboard, etc, that will reach.
The pattern is unending. I may be case for convergence, though I stand firm on my position of component hardware, à la carte programming, and cheap shortcuts.
July 22nd, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
I’ve been told hundreds of jokes. Good jokes, bad jokes, dirty jokes… If someone begins, “Tell me if you’ve heard this one…” I know very quickly into the story if I have (and often let them finish anyway). But ask me to tell a joke and you’ll get a blank stare.
I’m noticing that my memory is in bad shape; specifically my recall. It’s impairing my ability to join in conversation with friends. I’ll catch the references they make but I’m unable to reciprocate. Imagine you’re dropped into a country where you can read and comprehend the language fluently, but are dumb to it. You’re now in the same cognitive prison I am.
My experiences worry me the most. I had “parents and stuff“. And even though I was mostly a latchkey kid growing up, I had plenty of adventures. I just struggle plucking them to share.
It’s not the details of the experience, either; it’s remembering that they happened. I have a lifetime near-encyclopedic knowledge of various (however trivial) topics, but it’s all been misplaced. If something manages to trigger the memory, I’m able to recount the complete story. But I must first overcome the broken circuit that informs my consciousness that there’s a relevant memory to be pulled.
This is most likely the result of decades of poor mental habits. I’m deeply wired to consume mass quantities of media thanks to my latchkey years. My ability to recall and apply what I’ve absorbed is lame. It’s withered and atrophied, taken a heavy toll on my personality.
On the plus side, it’s made me an incredible listener! Most of my peers have told me that they appreciate my Guinanian knack. In that, I take pride, though wonder if my talent exceeds much farther than any house pet.
I also blame my decade-long LiveJournal habit. I misused the service; treating it as external memory storage rather than a chronicle backup.
Regardless, this handicap has reached a point where I need treatment. Professional mental health care is in order, but is just so goddamned expensive. I may need to start a fund, but in the meantime I’ll pray to Server for answers and perhaps harvest some exercises for getting my mind back in shape.
July 5th, 2011 by The Grey Ghost
One of the Internet’s new vernacular gems has grown on me. That term is “butthurt”. Partially because its heavy on the hard consonants, but also–let’s be real here–I like butt jokes.
However, I’m struggling to steady the wheel on how I personally use this term. The popular use of “butthurt” invokes imagery of rape; an image I’m not entirely comfortable using for metaphor. There are few reactions that accurately come close to the violation of rape. Less in hyperbole; even fewer in jest.
When I use the term, I intend to express deep regret. That is, someone who consensually enters into something (no ironic innuendo intended) but it ends up being painfully disappointing an costing them more in the long run. Kinda like someone overexerting themselves in a workout, which feels great at the time, but then they’re body is rendered sore and useless in the days following. Maybe a sense of betrayal, but no violation. Hoist by one’s own petard.
For example, my most recent visit to Play N Trade, a local GameStop alternative. I’d received coupons from them offering an additional 30% credit on game trade-ins and a $7 gift credit, valid one day only. My mission was to take in three PS3 games for trade (Street Fighter IV, Super Street Fighter IV, and Fallout 3) and the coupon to pick up the disc release of Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.
I’d guessed that at worst, I’d be offered $15 credit for the games, plus the 30%. The actual offer, after the boost, was $12. I begrudgingly accepted, factoring that the $7 coupon would bump my return up to my expectation. This was my second mistake.
My first mistake became clear after the transaction had completed when I chose then to ask if SSF4:AE was even in stock. The truth is that they never got it in to begin with, nor do they expect new copies to arrive.
Now I feel butthurt.
The new plan (or rather, task) is to buy SSF4:AE at full retail elsewhere and also find something at Play N Trade to spend my meager credits. Luckily Amazon is offering the game for about $10 less and with free shipping.
I hope that illustrates my purpose for butthurt. The theory of “rape culture” notwithstanding, I do with great effort wield my language appropriately to communicate my ideas and emotional effects. And I support butt jokes.