What superstitions do you have?

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I’m not really a superstitious person. But, I do have to place the discard pile in Solitaire in a Black-Red-Black-Red or Red-Black-Red-Black fashion. Otherwise, the game plots against me.

Ask me anything


Xbox Customer Support Disappoints

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Wow.  I’ve never been more disappointed by a support experience in my entire life.  Never.  Let me explain what happened…  I’m an avid XBOX 360 fan and have enjoyed it since the day it was released.  Seriously.  I walked out of EBGames with the second ever console they sold at that location.  I’ve love my XBOX and it has served me well.  I’ve enjoyed Xbox Live Arcade to kill many, many hours.  We’ve enjoyed hacking the guts out of zombies.  And, most recently, I have enjoyed the light-hearted fun that is Viva Piñata.

With VP, though, came a dark secret.  What is the secret?  Hell, if I know.  But, whatever it is, VP seems to push my X360 in ways that no other game has.  Now, the X360 freezes about 20-30 minutes into the game.  So, like a good Xbox customer, I call 1-800-4MY-XBOX.  They direct me to swap the VP game disc at my retailer.  Done.  Still freezing.  I call back to Xbox Customer Support.  They asked me to play the game without anything attached to the Xbox.  I removed everything but power and video cable.  The only other thing connected (virtually speaking) is my wireless controller.  In less than 20 minutes, I was looking at another frozen image of VP.

Diligently, I call XBOX Support again this morning, not more than an hour ago.  To their credit, they agreed to repair/swap my XBOX to a working unit.  While on the phone, though, the service rep reminds me my system is only 2 days away from its first birthday.  At the same time, he had the AUDACITY to recommend buying an extension to my warranty.  But why? Why should I have to buy an extended warranty?  So I asked… and what did he say? "Honestly, we’ve been having some problems… but that’s all I can say." 

I have owned a Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Xbox, Xbox 360, and many, many others.  I have NEVER had to wonder or worry about the integrity and reliability of my consoles.  I will *not* start now.  If Microsoft can’t sell a reliable Xbox, that damned-well ought not be selling one. Period.  I will not be buying a warranty.  And should this XBOX fail me without a solution from Microsoft, I will not be replacing this X360.  I will not buy another X360.  I will not by another XBOX anything.  I will sell my games and that will end what has been a great relationship with my X360. 

Warranties on things like that don’t need it (like an Xbox 360) are the biggest scam I’ve ever seen.  If the rep was trying to pressure me into buying one, he picked the wrong slug to lean on.  I was not only NOT buying his BS, I was completely put off by his statement.  That was the wrong thing to say to an avid, happy customer.  I’m going to think twice the next time I’m asked to open my wallet for Microsoft hardware.

The Real Price of Addiction

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$179.88/year or $14.99/month or $.49/day and that price doesn’t even include materials.  What are those material costs?  Well, the game costs $39.99. The next expansion pack is going to be another $39.99 with more planned every year.

Let me say this very clearly… I am not a player.  Oh wait… I’m talking about World of Warcraft. (Duh!)  Anyway, I am not a player.  My partner, on the other hand, is an avid WoW player.  I am, by contrast, the house accountant.  I’m the one paying the bills and managing the accounts.  So, my perspective is skewed toward the dollars and sense of paying for a game and then paying to play said game.

That is what I do NOT get.  I will not ask why Blizzard would have the audacity to charge for the game and then charge to play it.  They are a business and have every right to charge whatever they want.  The onus rests on the shoulders (and wallets) of consumers. The real question, then, is how can players justify getting taken coming and going?  I would hope that Blizzard offers a reach-around when you walk out of the store with the game. 

To my point, though, can someone explain to me how to justify paying for a game that you have to pay to play? I guess the first cost (the initial game purchase) didn’t bother me so much because it was a one-time affair despite my resistance to the up-front costs. But now, to discover that paying members (who will put nearly $180 in Blizzards coffers this year in monthly charges alone) will have to cough up another $40 to play the Burning Crusade. Wow, why don’t I just give Blizzard our account numbers and let them just take money until they get everything they want. Wait, I practically do that already.

But, that is the catch.  To my partner, it’s a small price to pay to connect to one of his favorite experiences.  He sees $15 as skipping 3 venti lattes at Starbucks (don’t get me started on $5 coffee). He enjoys the escapism, but does a great job of balancing his time online with his life offline (unlike some people). It makes him happy and that makes me happy.

People vote with their wallets… and Blizzard leads the pack with a reported 7 million subscribers. Congrats to them.  To the rest of us who have to pay the bills, I feel for you.  World of Warcraft is another debit against my balance sheet.


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We are almost there!!! 

We are down to the last few remaining days before taking ownership of the house.  Take a look inside via the "Latest Pics" album.  It looks GREAT.  What do you think?

A fresh coat of paint… and a deck!

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Wow!  The interior is looking just amazing.  We are both completely stoked by how good the house is looking.  We chose a eggshell-esque, off-white paint for the builders to use on the walls.  With the white trim of the crown molding, chair rail, baseboards, and windows… we’re stoked. 
The deck looks nice and complements the house very well.  We can’t wait to entertain guests on it. 
Take a look at the newest album (9/21/05) and tell me what you think.

The inside is coming along…

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At risk of life and limb, we visited the house today.  It would appear that it is painting day.  They’ve begun to put up primer.  The crown molding and chair rail are up are up in what was going to be our study/sitting room.  With the trimmings, though, it is looking more like a formal dining room.  Oh well. 🙂  The stairs have trim and a banister.   The main hallway has a beautiful crown molding, as well. 
So, I should elaborate about the "risk" we faced.  Of course, they had just painted.  They had, however, not left any windows or doors open.  We were both admiring the newly painted trey ceiling when we realized that we were both beginning to feel the effects of fume inhalation.  We made a hasty exit and all is fine.  We may have lost a brain cell or two, but we are no worse for the wear. 
Another exceelent addition has been the deck.  I was pleased to see it up and it looks solid.  They still have to put a deck rail around it, but it looks good. 
The cabinets were put up earlier in the week, too.  The color is called "mocha".  It’s sort of cherry-stained pine.  They are warm without being overly light or dark.  I’m super pleased with them!  They will look a ton better when the countertops are on and the appliances are in place.  Stay tuned!!! Things are moving along QUICKLY!

Welcome to our home!

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As the sheetrock goes up, the interior is now taking shape.  It is now easy to visualize how the rooms are going to look and how the house is coming together.  It’s an exciting time.  We now counting down to the WEEKS until we get in the house. 
Stay tuned.  There is more to come!!!

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