December 31, 2004

Resolve This

I would just like to say that I have accomplished what I have been trying to acheive for years... YEARS!!

I am not in Grand Forks.

That's right. NOT in Grand Forks. I am not ushering my parents' friends' children through the streets to various local talent's shows. I am not freezing my ass off on yet another aweful North Dakota December 31st staring at ice sculptures and trying not to fall in the parking lots and streets, which, for some reason, North Dakotans and NW Minnesotans refuse to salt. I am not trying to decide whether it is worth losing pieces of my ghetto bootaye to the frost in order to view the New Year's fireworks. In short, at midnight, I will not be sitting in a van down by the river. (The Red River to be specific.) I am in my parents' house, and aside from possibly being with the people who invited me out this evening in the Cities and other parts of the country where I am not (thanks again, ladies and gentlemen, props and many happy tiny bubbles to you), I can't think of one single place I'd rather be. And no one is asking me what my New Year's resolutions are, which makes it a banner start to what I am predicting will be a banner year.

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I think they're stupid. Maybe some people set little goals for themselves and try to carry them out and think, "Oh, gee, look at me. I made a New Year's Resolution. It's going to revolutionize my life." I am not that person.

Neither are you.

No, you're not.

I've watched you New Year's Resolvers, and by March you're like, "Yeah, but nobody ever keeps a New Year's Resolution. They're just something you make." Do I think that you can't do it? To quote Seinfield, "It's not that I don't think you can. It's that I know you can't, and I'm positive you won't."

That's not to say that I've never resolved to do something; I just don't wait till New Year's Eve to get around to it. For instance, when I decided I wanted to be more fit around the end of October, I got a Y membership.

Granted, in order to become more fit, I would have to actually use the Y membership, but that's not the point.

The point is that if you need an excuse to get started, you're not going to stick with it anyway. So why torture yourself for three months pretending that you're actually going to follow through on whatever it is you decided to do. I'm a Christian; I've got enough guilt as it is, thank you, without adding that to the mix.

Make a New Year's prediction instead.

I predict that this year is not going to suck as much as the last one. I will not go to the hospital and stay for three days. The price of pineapple will go up ten cents a can, but no one but me will notice. I will once again fill an entire journal notebook, and we'll all still get to go to McDonald's, no matter how broke we are.

All in all, 2005 will be an odd numbered year, which is to say that it will not outshine 2000, but it will be a banner year (for an odd numbered year. Odd numbered year's banners are definitely more crinkled, faded, and rained on than even's, but 2004 was a bit of an un-natural even year anyway.) I would definitely prepare to say hurrah as the ball drops tonight.

And if I absolutely must make a resolution, I will resolve to eat even more Chinese food this year than ever before. Feel free to join me.

Happy New Year!

Posted by LoWriter at 11:42 PM | Comments (8)

December 25, 2004

Yay Christmas!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, in another forty minutes, Christmas will be over for another year. I really didn't feel like I got as geared up for this one as I usually do, but I felt like it went much more smoothly than it usually does. I made a committment not to go overboard, and I (mostly) stuck with it.

I got to meet the sister's boyfriend, who I don't actually hate. I thought I would. I prepared a Nice Long Talk for him, which I may still give since she is my youngest sister, and I've always felt the need to protect her more than the middle one. He wants to come over for a game night and play some of my Cheapass Games, and that's an important characteristic in a young man that my sister dates. Also, he laughed with us the entire time he played his new plug and play arcade game. It's rare to find someone that thinks we're as funny as we think we are. I guess he can keep dating her.

Speaking of plug and play arcade games, I got Ms. Pac Man from my sister for Christmas. It also has the old arcade racing game. It's excellent. I don't really like the new Nintendo/N64/Game Cube/whatever games. I get annoyed because there are too many options. Call me a nerd, but I like my Pac Man more than anything else. (Although Samorost on the internet is pretty good, too, but that's more of a puzzle and less of a game.) At any rate, this is excellent because when I want to play, I can plug it in, and I can't buy any more games for it, so when this gets old, that's all I get. Personally, I don't want to spend money on anything that's going to waste more of my time.

The great thing about the game is that I actually had time to play it because I am taking a nice long vacation from my stupid jobs. I'm working on my proofreading/writing gigs, but not for anybody but me. Someday, I hope to work solely for myself and nobody else.

Also, I definitely got everything I asked for this year except a cheese grater. Well, ok, not everything because I make it a policy to ask for a lot of things so that I don't know what I'm getting, but I got everything I really really wanted. The biggest of these was the Lord of the Rings extended version, widescreen, DVD trilogy.

My favorite part of Christmas took place again this year, which is Christmas Eve. My immediate fam, my grandma on my mom's side, and (usually) my best friend from high school all get together and have candle light supper. My friend couldn't come this year, but we still had the candle lit meal, and it was still excellent. We have chicken kiev by candle light, then Dad reads the Christmas story, and then we open a present or two, hang out for awhile, and go to bed. There's something very comforting about it. That will be always be Christmas for me, especially Dad reading the Christmas story by the dim light. He always tries to get someone else to do it, and we always make him do it because he sounds the best. He always whines about the candle light, but you can tell he likes it just as much as we do at this point. Sometimes, I think our conversations could be a script because we do the same thing every year, but that's part of what I like about it. No matter what happens, we will always read the Christmas story together by dimmed lights, and so I will always have Christmas no matter whether we have presents or not. Even if we are not all together always, we will always have that story at Christmas. We are to the point where we could recite it. That is what I expect out of Christmas. The other stuff is icing. It's great (who could deny that icing is awesome?), but it's not neccessary for the heart of the matter.

All in all, we had a fairly relaxing holiday. The puppy unwrapped all her own presents (which was unexpected and hilarious), the goodies flowed like honey, and nobody got hurt. An excellent holiday all around.

So, here're my questions: A) What's your favorite Christmas tradition and why? B) What was your favorite present this year?

Merry Christmas 2004!

Posted by LoWriter at 11:42 PM | Comments (1)

December 22, 2004

Count Down

For those of you stuck at work and counting down the hours to freedom, try this online snowglobe. Turn the sound on, and shake the globe. It's excellent. You'll notice that it's been added to my links. Enjoy!

Posted by LoWriter at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2004

Harry Potter Released!

Well, kids, the release date for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is officially July 16th, 2005.

I'm pre-ordering mine tonight. The gang and I are going to the MOA for this one. Whoo hoo.

Posted by LoWriter at 10:12 AM | Comments (6)

December 20, 2004

"Kill Dr. Lucky"

So, after an exciting day of role playing (yes, I am a nerd. I celebrate my nerdliness entirely), I've decided that I'm going to be like my character in that I'm going to review stuff online in an effort to obtain free stuff. That's right. This is a shameless ploy to attain free stuff. It's one of many free stuff campaigns I am currently running, but it is a free stuff campaign non-the-less. If you produce things that you think I would like to have for free, feel free (hee hee) to email me. I will praise or rip on your product as I see fit. (Keep in mind that free stuff is always better than stuff you've had to pay for, so you'll automatically get a small number of free stuff brownie points before I even look at your product.)

Here's what you all need to do: Go out and buy "Kill Dr. Lucky" from Cheapass Games right now. (This is totally un-related to role playing in any way, shape, or form.)

This was a Christmas gift, given to me by the amazingly awesome Carl and Jill. It's excellent because it's like "Clue" only it doesn't suck after you've played it several times with the same people. Also, instead of trying to solve a murder, you're trying to committ one.

Dr. Lucky owns the mansion wherein the game takes place. Everybody wants him dead. You win if you succeed in killing him off; however, he is exceedingly lucky, so killing him is difficult. Also, all the other players want to kill him before you do, so they help him.

Basically, you have to get Dr. Lucky alone in a room, and you have to be holding a weapon, which is assigned a certain point value, in your hand of cards. Other players can thwart (yes, thwart) your attempts to kill him by throwing down "failure" cards, which also are assigned point values. Others can play as many failure cards as they want, but the failure cards never go back into the real deck, so at the end, Dr. Lucky definitely uses up his good karma and will eventually die. (Sorry, but that's just the way it is. If you're a fan of Dr. Lucky, then this game is not for you.) The other players combined must throw down enough failure cards to equal the points of your weapon card or else you succeed in killing Dr. Lucky and, therefore, win the game.

Why is it awesome? The weapons are things like "Rat Poison" or "Broom Stick" and they're worth more in certain rooms. Also, the failure cards say things like, "You are distracted by thoughts of a mispent youth. The Dr. escapes," or "The Dr. disappears inexplicably in a whirl of feathers."

Finally, there's no stupid envelope where all the answers are stored, and there's no way to figure out what cards the other players are holding by powers of deduction or through threats of torture (which, be honest, you've all considered after a round of "Clue" with your know-it-all cousin Ike). Like all Cheapass Games I've played so far, you can only depend on any one of the three fates of gaming (Strategy, Risk-taking, and Sheer Luck) for so long. After awhile, you have to rely a little on all three.

All in all, it's a very enjoyable game, which, if you're not planning to play with Grandma, you can definitely take to otherwise boring Christmas parties, etc. (And be honest, you all know what boring Christmas parties I'm talking about.)

Happy Holidays if I don't update by Ye Olde Christmasse Daye, and remember: Send me free stuff. :)

Posted by LoWriter at 02:16 PM | Comments (3)

December 07, 2004


Due to the fact that my blog kept popping up every time I tried to comment and/or change anything, I took the pretty (and entertaining) terror alert spoofs off my blog. I personally think this is The Man's way of annoying me into submission, but it still worked, so give The Man a point, everybody. ;) Hopefully the comments section works right now.

Ok, so that didn't work, as you can probably tell if you have tried to comment. Anyone with any good suggestions as to how I can fix this (as I am a computer dumb-ass) can email me at

Posted by LoWriter at 04:56 PM | Comments (3)

December 02, 2004

Top Four Conversations

Some of you may remember (from a very long time ago) that I was one of the people whose information was on a computer stolen from my student loan bankers. Since then, I have had the opportunity to speak with customer service representatives from every company I have ever dealt with. Here are the top four conversations from this experience:

4. Wells Fargo. Their letter said if I had any questions, their "specialists" would be able to help, so I gave them a call."

ME: Hi, my information was on one of the computers that was stolen out of there and I want to know if I need to call anyone besides all my credit card companies and the credit bureau reporting agencies?

THEM: Uhhhh. Well, you should call one of the credit bureau reporting agencies like it said in that letter which you should have received. Did you receive that letter, ma'am?

ME: Yes, I recieved the letter, and I called the credit bureau reporting agencies, but I'm wondering if I need to call anyone else.

THEM: You called more than one agency?

ME: Yes.

THEM: You just needed to call one.

ME: Yeah, I'm not willing to wait another two days for them to call each other.

THEM: Well, then, you should call your credit companies.

ME: I did that.

THEM: Well, then I don't know who else you'd need to call.

ME: Well, do I need to call the social security people and let them know?

THEM: Uhhh. I don't... know I guess.

ME: Well, when I get this free year of this identity theft program, will that get me access to a person who would know?

THEM: Uhhh. I don't think so. Most identity theft happens in the first 30 to 90 days, and since nothing has happened yet, you're probably OK.

ME: Well, when was the info stolen? My letter is dated the 26th.

THEM: Uhhh. At the beginning of October, but no one's had any problems yet...

Which was extremely comforting, I must say.

3. Firstmark.

ME: My information, including my name, number, address, mother's maiden name, and social security number, was stolen, so I want to password protect my account.

THEM: We don't do that.

ME: Well, I need a different system for authorizing access other than the last four digits of my social security number.

THEM: Well, we make you verify your name, address, phone, social security number and mother's maiden name when you call.

ME: All of which they have.

THEM: Well, I can make a note on your account to verify your account number every time, but I can't guarantee they'll do that.

ME: Look, I'm not paying you any more money than I already owe you, so it's no skin off my nose if you don't do anything about it.

THEM: Well, we'll put the note in the account file, but that's all that we can do. I can't guarantee that they'll check the account number. I don't what they'd do with your information, anyway.

Hmmm. They do lend money there, don't they?

2. MN Department of Ed.
ME: Hi. I'm calling because my information, including my social security number, was stolen recently from a computer with my bank and I need to know what I can do to protect my teaching license.

THEM: Oh, no. I'm not sure who you need to talk to, but I'll transfer you to licensing.

THEM: Licensing.

ME: Hi. I'm calling because my information, including my social security number, was stolen recently from a computer with my bank and I need to know what I can do to protect my teaching license.

THEM: Oh, my goodness, that's just horrible! Yes, I heard about that on the news--isn't that just aweful. I can transfer you to [insert name] who will take care of that right away, but can I ask you a personal question first?

ME: Uh... ok.

THEM: How did they notify you about this?

ME: Oh, they sent me a letter.

THEM: Oh, well, so what should I do if I get one of those letters?

1. AT&T/Cingular Wireless. I called them and had the opportunity to speak with their new phone tree.

THEM: Welcome to AT&T Wireless. AT&T and Cingular have teamed up to bring you the best possible customer service. Please state what you would like help with. For example, if you would like help with your bill, say, "I have a question about my bill."

ME: I have a question about account passwords.

THEM: I'm sorry. I did not understand that command. Please try again.

ME: Account security.

THEM: I'm sorry. Let's try that again. For information regarding billing, please say, "Billing." [bla bla bla big long list] For information regarding your account, say, "Account information." For information regarding repairs and service, say "Service."

ME: Account information.

THEM: You have chosen service. Is this correct? If yes, say, "yes." If not, say no.

ME: No.

THEM: I'm sorry let's try that again.

ME: Account information.

THEM: I'm sorry I didn't understand that. Let's try again.

ME: [pressing zero]

THEM: Main menu. For billing, say, "Billing."

ME: Customer service representative.

THEM: [BIG PAUSE] I can do that.... but let's see if I can help you first. For billing, say, "Billing."

ME: NO!!!

THEM: [Pause.] We seem to be having some trouble, so just hang on for one moment, and I'll transfer you to a touchtone system. [pause] Welcome to AT&T/Cingular's touchtone system. For billing...

Posted by LoWriter at 03:33 PM | Comments (3)