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Uhm... Right.

So, this is pretty funny. At first glance, I thought it was just a homosexual thing. But then I found out Fort Gay was an actual place and Customer Service threatened to ban the poor kid. And it became even funnier. Why is Xbox so anti-homo?

Could just be the wording...

I was reading Bob Cesca's blog and it linked to a ThinkProgress article:

"This weekend, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are hosting a rally in Anchorage, Alaska to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks."

Ok, pretty typical stuff there. The very next sentance,

"Ticket prices range from $73.75 per person (including taxes and fees) to a high of $225."

I literally cringed. September 11th, and ticket prices all right next to each other.

Think Progress
One of the lovely things about SC2 is that you have to maintain an internet connection to access the full features of the game. You can play as a guest but you won't get achievements which unlock new portraits and clan symbols. You can play the campaign as a guest or custom games against the AI but there's no online. There's no LAN play. This can be extremely annoying when one of two things happens:

B.net is having issues
Your internet connection loses it's connection for a second every 7 minutes

This means that you'll be playing a game, online of course because you want to get your cheeeeevs so you can get new portraits and shit, and you're expanding like a mother fucker about to drop some terribleness on the CPU by way of Thors, Marauders and siege tanks. You have 4,000 surplus minerals. And then BAM! You're dropped from the game. Now that 10 minutes of playing is lost, nothing towards your cheeeevments and you have to log back in. Rinse and repeat this frustration several times over. Now, what I don't understand is that I can play any game on Xbox with it's full capabilities minus MP AND earn achievements and not live in fear of some amorphous momentary drop in connection that will make you lose the last 10 minutes of progress. How the FUCK can consoles have this down but PC games don't? All of this of course goes back to gaming companies and a paranoid fear that if they don't try to clamp down on every aspect of the game, someone is going to steal it. This of course results in sticking a large 9 inch black dildo up the ass of actual paying customers. It's sort of like buying a candy bar and only being able to eat it under the watchful eyes of Hershey Company.

Forgiveness

While I'm inclined to not buy Starcraft II on principle, I just got done watching this and it gave me a boner and goose bumps. My inclination has changed from avoidance to pre-order. My decision is fueled at least in part by Raynor painting a skull on his UV shield... The only thing I've ever pre-ordered except World of Warcraft expansions... *SIGH*

Cons:
No LAN
Gay B.net/facebook linkage
Three games for three races

Pros:
Raynor has a skull painted on his UV shield

I think we all know what is important here.

Surround Sound Project 2010

When I first bought my ginormous TV, I had cheaped out on the sound system and bought a crappy $150 sound bandaid. It was decent enough, boasted lots of Peak (useless) power and could process DD/DTS 5.1. It's largest flaw was that it had no HDMI switching, not enough inputs, and no inputs of the right kind (optical). What I ended up having to do was running 3 optical cable components into an optical switch and then run that optical output into an optical to COAX converter which itself required a power source. In other words, it was a wire clusterfuck. Another significant irritation was that in order to switch audio sources one had to physically get up (oh noes!) and move the optical switch to the right output. I've been meaning to upgrade this set-up for something like two years now but have never arranged the funds to do so.

I've finally decided to bite the bullet and make it happen. First off, I decided to look around for receivers. I ended up going for the Onkyo 7.2 HT-RC260. It's a new 2010 (or 2011? is this shit like cars?) model just released. I think I was probably one of the first people to buy one. Presumably it is based off of the SR608 which is the successor to the SR607 which I had been lusting after for a year. It lacks three things: THX Select2 Certification, VGA input, and Sirius tuner. The last two I couldn't give two shits about and I figured I wouldn't bother buying THX certified speakers so why bother with the receiver? Aside from that, the units are presumably "the same." Whether the 608 is larger and contains more sophisticated sound circuity - I don't know. I don't really care either.

The RC260 brings a lot to the table the 607 of last year doesn't and for a far cheaper price. If you're willing to forego the three features the 608 has, you can save about $100. I bought it when the unit was $350 on Amazon which is downright thievery when you consider the 607 frequently hovered around $404 last year, only popping up on sale for $350 a handful of times. The RC260 has six HDMI inputs which is, ridiculous. This allows me to hook everything up via HDMI. One of the wonderous perks of this is hooking up the cable box via HDMI and using the AutoSync feature which is splendiferous since I used to have it hooked up via component video and optical out. The sound would always get out of sync and not in the fixable way. The video would actually get ahead of the audio more and more over time such that applying a delay to the audio, my old receivers only audio sync option, was the opposite direction I wanted to go. I haven't really noticed any syncing issues since. Unfortunately, I think the cable box sucks at HDMI output as the video shudders every now and then, something I never really noticed outputting via component. I blame this on the cable box rather than the receiver since I have video set to through on my receiver and no other device does this (Xbox or Blu-ray player).

The receiver does all the tricks one might expect for home theater, DTS-HD, DST master, DD+, DD TrueHD, and a million other audio formats. As I alluded to earlier, it does these things for at least $50 cheaper than the models of yester-year. It has a fan which is supposed to "fix" heating issues of the previous Onkyo's. It also has some very nice OSD set-up features. Again, another feature $400 couldn't give you last year. And of course, the Audyssey retard-proof speaker configuration. I had to adjust the crossover (to 80Hz) as it kept trying to set my fronts and center to 40 Hz. The receiver seems to be pretty future proof, at least for now, as it can handle HDMI 1.4 - which means it can handle 3-D. I have nothing that does 3-D, but what-the-hell. All in all, I am very happy with the new receiver.

What about the speakers? For awhile I was using the satellites from my old system which I had jimmy-rigged to work. The receiver still managed to make these sound good, but obviously this couldn't last. The main issue is that those speakers are SMALL. I found out that sound starts to become directional above 80 Hz and the tiny satellites had a frequency response of 150 Hz, sending lower frequencies to the subwoofer. For the sub I was using an old Sony SA-W2500 that used to be hooked up to my computer. So, I bided my time and finally Newegg had a sale on some Polk Monitor 60's. I pounced on the opportunity. The Monitor 60's are "vintage" meaning they were the line in 2005. The advantage to buying the previous generation is you can buy much higher in the audio tier for less money than in the current generation. At any rate I managed to snag two of these floor-standing speakers for about $210. I also purchased a CS1 center channel for $80 on a fluke. No sale or anything, Newegg just had them at that price for one day and I happened to see it and knew they are usually about $100. Now I'm also running some Monitor 30's in the back. At some point I'd like to get a higher end Polk subwoofer but for now the SA-W2500 does the job well enough. I've got it all connected with banana plugs and some 14 AWG.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the set-up and it does everything I want it to. I sold/bartered off the old system and was a little horrified when I tested it before sending it off with it's new owner. The new system sounds a lot clearer. For a "starter system" or whatever you want to call it, not bad at all. $380 for speakers, $350 for the receiver.

Good luck trying to buy the constitution

This must be parody. It can't be real life, right?

It's really hard to get behind a favorite from growing up when they do things like this. I'm not sure how they think forcing everyone to use real names is going to promote open discussion. I would think the main consequence of this policy would be to silence large portions of the population who would rather not say anything than give up their IRL identity. I thought the entire concept of an MMO was based in escape from reality.

McChrystal

I read a blog entry today by someone who posited that McChrystal planned this whole thing out. His end game is to snag top dollar for showing up on talk shows or even getting his own show. The proof he said, was that McChrystal was too well-educated, intelligent, and experienced to make such a "mistake". The main issue lies in this latter statement, and I don't mean to slight well-educated generals. He compared the generals education to professors and doctors. However, it's not as if people with these degrees or levels of education do not make mistakes. For example, there is this highly educated Harvard president who, one might point out, should've known better. One could dig up numerous other examples of highly experienced, well-educated individuals fucking up or saying shit they shouldn't. The bottom line is, even the best of us fuck shit up and there really isn't a whole lot of evidence (read: NONE) indicating that this general didn't just fuck up. Now, I guess if he ends up with his own show on Faux News trashing Obama, that would be evidence. If he dies quietly in the night, then we can be pretty sure he just fucked up. I don't know.

Amusing Cartoon

I found this a pretty amusing cartoon concerning Kinect or whatever the hell the Xbox camera thing is called.

Office2010

I was pretty non-plussed when I took work home with me one day, loaded it up into Office 2007, and discovered that the program had less functionality than the offering in 2003. In fact, key functionality to my job. I got nothing done that night. Will Office 2010 restore this functionality or be equally worthless? Inquiring minds want to know. The issue at hand? Being able to move the data points on a scatter graph by clicking and dragging.