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1  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: I think on: April 23, 2014, 10:14:08 PM
It is a testament to Eco's power that my first impulse was to defend Putin.  icon_razz
2  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Hobbit finds a director on: April 22, 2014, 01:42:43 AM
I sat through the first one on DVD a couple of months ago. It was overlong, obviously, but not as tedious as I'd been led to expect. I don't know if I'll subject myself to the second one or not.

Probably. But I won't like it.
3  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on: April 18, 2014, 12:40:54 AM

Quote from: Turtle on April 16, 2014, 01:56:40 PM

Thankfully the series is picking up, and has enough clout behind it to keep it airing despite the ratings. Still, I want to see how those other well known characters are taking it.

I read somewhere that it's almost certain to get another season, probably more on the strength of its synergy with the Marvel movies than on its own ratings. I hope it won't become yet another show that was canceled just as it started to get good.
4  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: We need an eye popping headline to attract viewers - Ed. on: April 17, 2014, 01:41:11 AM
ZING  icon_lol
5  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Coffee at home on: April 12, 2014, 02:46:01 AM

Quote from: Lee on April 11, 2014, 06:56:21 PM

Also, ordered paper filters. Should I have just got the gold filter?

I just use the metal filter to avoid turning a disposable product into waste. With the metal filter you'll get some fine grounds in the bottom of the pot; with paper filters you won't.
6  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Coffee at home on: April 11, 2014, 01:45:40 AM
I only ever drink home-brewed. I'm satisfied with whatever's on sale so it's only pennies per cup. Gevalia and Melita are decent quality cheap coffee brands. I have a cheap grinder and sometimes I buy whole-bean coffee for when I'm feeling fancy, but generally I just go with ground coffee.

For decades I just bought bottom-of-the-line Mr Coffee machines. You're dripping hot water through a basket, how high tech does that need to be? I'm happy as long as it has a timer so that my coffee's waiting for me when I wake up. But when my last Mr Coffee died I got tired of having to replace them every few years and spent a little more for a Cuisinart.

Every now and then I miss the muddy perked coffee that I grew up on, and I often miss the vacuum-packed metal cans that whooshed when you opened them.
7  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on: April 10, 2014, 02:06:31 AM
The last two episodes revived my interest in SHIELD, which had been on life support. Kudos to the writers for doing it in a self-contained way that doesn't require one to follow the movies (which I don't). I hope they can continue to balance that integration/separation so that the tv shows stands on its own while still pleasing the hardcore Marvel fans.

I'll eventually watch the Capt America movie on DVD because it's been getting such good reviews. By the time I get around to that I will have forgotten the "Capt America did blah-de-blah" line that they tossed out at the end of the last SHIELD episode. 
8  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Re: Re: The Great Cable Purge of 2014 on: April 10, 2014, 01:57:26 AM

Quote from: Canuck on April 09, 2014, 07:13:41 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on April 09, 2014, 06:05:17 AM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on April 09, 2014, 02:58:39 AM

It is if you don't want to just throw money at the problem and get crappy service all around for your trouble.

What problem would that be, exactly?

Most people probably dont have companies paying for half of their cable/Internet bill. $140 a month for 12 months is a pretty significant amount in the yearly budget.

Well, "my company" is me, too (corporations really are people, my friend) so it ultimately all comes out of the same pocket. The company's half just gets paid with before-tax dollars and doesn't come out of our household budget.
9  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Great Cable Purge of 2014 on: April 10, 2014, 01:52:56 AM

Quote from: hitbyambulance on April 09, 2014, 10:10:36 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on April 09, 2014, 06:05:17 AM

and my tv can't get broadcasts because it doesn't have a tuner.

check your local Goodwill or craigslist for an external DTV tuner; should run you about $10. you'll also need a UHF antenna if you don't have an old one lying around.

Good suggestion. Although the tv is 6 years old and only has one HDMI port, so I'll probably just replace it if I ever want to get into all this streaming business. Nowadays I could get a superior tv for 1/3 of what we paid for this one.

For those of you who are cutting the cable, how do you get internet access?
10  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Great Cable Purge of 2014 on: April 09, 2014, 06:05:17 AM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on April 09, 2014, 02:58:39 AM

It is if you don't want to just throw money at the problem and get crappy service all around for your trouble.

What problem would that be, exactly?

I give the electric company $140 a month for internet and tv. My company picks up the internet so we pay $70 to make pictures on our tv. I also pay netflix $15 or something to send me movies and old tv shows through the mail. Just how much of that would I save if I jumped through all these hoops to cobble together non-cable tv? I watch TWD, Dr Who, Mad Men, Cosmos, Falling Skies, and Parks & Rec, plus a lot of movies on TCM. My wife watches the murder channel and Downton Abbey.

I don't have any of the hardware needed for streaming and my tv can't get broadcasts because it doesn't have a tuner.
11  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Great Cable Purge of 2014 on: April 09, 2014, 02:52:05 AM
Watching TV is getting WAY too complicated.
12  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4 on: March 31, 2014, 03:19:15 PM
Yeah, I don't know how our heroes are going to get themselves out of that rail car and the compound. The cavalry is limited to Carol, Tyrese, and maybe Beth, so that's not too encouraging either. Unless maybe they stumble across a working locomotive.  icon_biggrin
13  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: LEDs too bright at night, and using blackout tape on: March 29, 2014, 10:14:13 PM
It amuses me that you guys have so many gadgets in your bedrooms that this is even an issue. I don't have any, although the entertainment center in the living room does put out a constant low glow so I can understand Lee's situation. In my office I just turn off the power strip at night -- maybe you could try that.
14  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Star Trek Continues on: March 28, 2014, 03:47:42 AM
I'm going to assume that you guys know about Star Trek Continues. I didn't find a preexisting thread but I admit that I didn't search too hard.

If you were already aware of the project, you'll be glad to know that there's a new episode up (new within the last few months anyway). And if you didn't know about it, enjoy the link.
15  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Wizard of Oz getting a prequel 'Oz: The Great And Powerful' on: March 27, 2014, 07:42:16 PM

Quote from: Bullwinkle on March 27, 2014, 01:45:03 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 27, 2014, 03:58:56 AM

Munchkin actors weren't real dwarfs (or "little people" or whatever we're supposed to call dwarfs now). 


I don't think you're right about that.

You're right. I thought I'd read somewhere that they used a combination of child actors and camera tricks, but apparently I'm mistaken.
16  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Wizard of Oz getting a prequel 'Oz: The Great And Powerful' on: March 27, 2014, 03:58:56 AM
Arise, thread!

This one finally floated to the top of the queue and got watched tonight. It benefited from low expectations.

Negatives: Simple plot, writing, and moralizing clearly aimed at children. Kunis is no Margaret Hamilton. (I also didn't believe that anybody could jilt Mila Kunis for Rachel Weisz and especially not for Michelle Williams, but that's probably just me.) Over-the-top Candyland graphics were over the top. Danny Elfman score, but that might just be me. Munchkin actors weren't real dwarfs (or "little people" or whatever we're supposed to call dwarfs now). 

Positives: It wasn't a musical. Homage to the 1939 movie was respectful and not too blatant. Kunis nailed the Wicked Witch's cackle, plus green cleavage is surprisingly attractive. Rachel Weisz, just because, but that might just be me. According to my Ozophile wife, who reminds me regularly that she read all of Baum's Oz books multiple times, it accurately fleshed out the Ozoverse -- did you know that the Tinkers built the Tin Man? Above all, it was entertaining and moved at a good clip. It's not in the same league as The Wizard of Oz but it's a good contribution to Oz canon.   
17  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4 on: March 17, 2014, 03:46:42 PM
Yes, an excellent episode. The relationships between this group of characters are (or were!) more believable than between Daryl and Beth, which gave the events more power. Messed-up Lizzie was a good loose cannon and I'm sorry to see her go, although I suppose they'd taken the character as far as they could after last night's events. I even felt sorry that they didn't let her turn zombie, as she had wanted so much to do.
18  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Amazon Prime price hike coming? on: March 16, 2014, 01:31:17 AM
I seldom shop at all and only buy stuff through amazon once or twice a year. I frequently get free shipping anyway, although not of the 2-day variety. I'm definitely not their demographic. My wife, OTOH, is a frequent consumer who also uses their streaming service occasionally. Yet even she is waffling over whether it's worth an extra $20. Somehow price resistance kicks in at $99.
19  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: [Ukraine] Crimea River on: March 15, 2014, 05:36:03 PM
 nod
20  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Kids say the darndest things... on: March 15, 2014, 02:19:01 AM
The nut doesn't fall far from the tree. Ultimately the kid's peers will be a bigger influence than his father (for better or for worse). At age 12 he is just on the cusp of finding his own beliefs.

One of my nephews went through something like this on Facebook a couple of years ago -- copying and forwarding crap from all over the political and moral spectrum without any apparent awareness of the contradictions. He was just trying on all kinds of beliefs from all the influences in his life. He gradually settled into a reasonably consistent persona, although he still puts on airs for some of his friends.
21  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on: March 14, 2014, 01:00:43 AM
What did I just watch? That was the silliest derail I've ever sat through. And in place of scenes from the next episode it looks like they're going to air an extended commercial for upcoming movies. Bleah. With no mention of when SHIELD is supposed to come back.
22  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4 on: March 11, 2014, 02:01:51 AM
My hunch is that the people who were living in the house took Beth. I don't have anything to base that on except that their presence just off-stage was implied throughout.
23  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4 on: March 10, 2014, 08:27:58 PM
I feel the same way about pacing and short seasons (especially when they break them into half seasons). Ordinarily I appreciate leisurely storytelling, but I don't think TWD has that luxury. I want every episode to advance the story.

Since I'm not in charge of that, though, I enjoy them as they come, and last night's was pretty good...although my patience with the Glenn-and-Maggie story is wearing out.
24  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Should I be flattered? on: March 05, 2014, 02:38:56 PM
Just for the sake of completion: Comcast sent me a 2-page claim form that I filled out and faxed to them yesterday with a copy of my drivers license, a utility bill to prove my real address, and a copy of the police incident report. That should be the end of this.

We'll see.
25  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: [Ukraine] Crimea River on: March 03, 2014, 06:53:09 PM

Quote from: hepcat on March 03, 2014, 05:45:38 PM

If Putin stops where he is and continues no further, I think this will wind itself down (even with the slap in the face to Obama that was the incursion the day after our president says "don't!").  If he continues into eastern Ukraine though...well...

Agree. I think Putin gets Crimea with only a slap on the wrist and a long-term loss of trust (to the extent that he was trusted before this) IF he stops at Crimea. But events are still unfolding quickly and bloodshed could change the equation. 

Quote from: kronovan on March 03, 2014, 06:45:15 PM

Quote from: hepcat on March 03, 2014, 06:32:03 PM

I just don't see Putin going on a frenzy of incursions.  The trigger for this is first and foremost their holdings in Crimea.  To use that as justification for incursion into other areas just seems a bit far fetched.
You do realize that Russia already made incursions into those Georgian regions in 2008 - right? They did everything but take up permanent residence - heck Russia even sent its tanks beyond South Ossettia and attacked Georgian cities. I'm not saying they annex Abkhazia or S. Ossettia this year or even next year, but that it's likely within a decade - especially if they, or their puppet government, controls Crimea.

Russia can afford to play the long game. Of course they want their old empire back...or at least a comfortable buffer zone in their west.
26  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: [Ukraine] Crimea River on: March 03, 2014, 04:43:51 PM
The point is most likely moot.



Ukraine can't match Russia in a shooting war and it's highly unlikely that the EU would fight alongside them.

The question of the hour is whether Putin will stop at Crimea or overplay his hand.
27  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need a restart. on: March 03, 2014, 04:24:02 PM
Don't feel bad about being so young. You'll grow out of it.
28  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: The Walking Dead tap dances onto AMC for Season 4 on: March 03, 2014, 06:26:53 AM
I picked a bad week to watch this in real time rather than zapping the ads, because that was one slow episode. I can only figure that they're fixing to kill off Beth pretty soon.
29  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So, I've been in the hostpital - A warning on: March 03, 2014, 06:24:43 AM
Please do let us know what the financial damage was. I'm hoping you won't have a horror story about insurance denials.
30  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: [Ukraine] Crimea River on: March 02, 2014, 04:00:55 AM
Crimea was part of the Russian Republic until Kruschev redrew some internal USSR boundaries in the 1950s, so it's a historical accident that Ukraine got it. Both states have historically belonged in Russia's sphere of influence -- Putin told Bush that he didn't consider Ukraine a state. The Russians have an important naval base in Crimea and agreements in place about troop movements. Crimeans mostly identify as Russian; if put to a vote they would switch sides. One can make a good case for Crimea being Russian and Putin would be a fool if he didn't seize this opening.

OTOH, the West wants to integrate former Soviet republics into Europe, and that's how Ukraine's national government rolls. We naturally look askance at any Russian maneuvers to reconstitute the USSR.

The question seems to be whether Ukraine, as currently constituted, is a viable state, or if partition would be in its best interests. I think that's how it's ultimately going to play out. So...does Ukraine (and the EU) let the Russian provinces go to Putin's welcoming embrace, or does it fight to preserve its borders? And if Kiev won't relinquish territory without a fight, does Europe (with US backing) come to its aid?

This simplification is complicated. Europe needs Russian energy and Russia needs that market, and the pipes flow through Ukraine, so both sides want stability there. I think Crimea ends up being a gimme. If Putin goes for the rest of eastern Ukraine, we might be facing the beginning of Cold War II.
31  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / [Ukraine] Crimea River on: March 01, 2014, 05:23:44 PM
So...how about that Ukraine? Is Russia going to annex Crimea? How concerned should we be about that, what should US policy be? Will Putin stop at Crimea or go for all of Ukraine's ethnically-Russian east?

Events are moving so fast, and my knowledge of the area is so slight, that I don't have strong opinions about any of those questions.
32  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So, I've been in the hostpital - A warning on: March 01, 2014, 05:18:16 PM
Yeah...I didn't mean to derail your thread or take the focus off of your health crisis. I hope you reach equilibrium soon with only minor long-term consequences.
33  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Godzilla to return to American shores on: February 28, 2014, 10:41:11 PM
Either Bryan Cranston is slumming or this is going to be much better than the average monster movie.
34  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So, I've been in the hostpital - A warning on: February 28, 2014, 10:37:36 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on February 28, 2014, 10:01:12 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on February 26, 2014, 11:23:31 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on February 26, 2014, 07:37:48 PM

I do feel like my increasingly expensive individual health plan shafted me because the bloodwork was not considered "necessary" by my doctor

My insurance sucks in the same way. "Preventive care" is fully covered and "diagnostic care" is fully not covered until a high deductible is met. The $600 a month we have to pay for the insurance leaves us unable to afford any kind of tests or treatments.

I feel a rant coming on so I'll leave it at that.
Yeah my monthly has gone over that too. And cripes, about 5-6 years ago (I'm 48), my monthly bill was in the $300s. Holy health care inflation, Batman!

My employer covers it but my publisher has told me if it gets much higher I might consider looking at other providers. I'm just scared of opening that particular wormhole. Like I'd rather deal with "the devil I know" than "the devil I don't know."  paranoid

OK, dammit, here comes the rant anyway.

$600 is our share after my wife's employer picks up 50%. The unsubsidized retail price is $1200/mo (and that's what it would cost us to get comparable insurance through the Obamacare exchange...I checked.) It's not even especially good insurance. At our subsidized price we'd have to pay $8,000 out of pocket before insurance started covering 80% minus co-pays if we use an in-network doctor. Unfortunately the doc that we've had for 20 years just got classified as a "high cost provider" last year, so unless we change docs we'd have to pay $8,750 before insurance starts covering him at 60%.

Needless to say, we only go to the doctor in serious emergencies and we don't let them do any tests.

I really ought to start over with a new, cheaper doctor, but my wife's been on and off the verge of getting a new job for the past two years. The jobs she applies for (in academia rather than publishing) all offer better insurance that would let us keep our doctor, so I've been reluctant to throw away that relationship.

Meanwhile I keep repeating to myself "8 more years til Medicare..."

This is not a healthcare system. This is a healthcare-prevention system.
35  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Arizona passes controversial anti-gay bill on: February 27, 2014, 03:28:43 AM
Part of me is going to miss the entertainment value that the resulting shitstorm would've provided, but the more responsible part is glad this is settled for now.
36  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So, I've been in the hostpital - A warning on: February 26, 2014, 11:23:31 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on February 26, 2014, 07:37:48 PM

I do feel like my increasingly expensive individual health plan shafted me because the bloodwork was not considered "necessary" by my doctor

My insurance sucks in the same way. "Preventive care" is fully covered and "diagnostic care" is fully not covered until a high deductible is met. The $600 a month we have to pay for the insurance leaves us unable to afford any kind of tests or treatments.

I feel a rant coming on so I'll leave it at that.
37  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Arizona passes controversial anti-gay bill on: February 26, 2014, 07:06:59 AM

Quote from: Teggy on February 26, 2014, 03:50:14 AM

I'm still trying to figure out what the endgame is here. Every day we get another of these (today Missouri). I find it hard to believe that these states don't know these laws will be immediately challenged in the courts. Is this part of some GOTV plan for November? If so, how?  Is it just so the people who voted for it can say they they did?

They thrive on persecution. It will ultimately backfire because galvanizing the opposition is how progress on civil rights usually happens. But in the meantime circling the wagons against the godless liberals makes them stronger. That's my theory, anyway.
38  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Godzilla to return to American shores on: February 25, 2014, 08:20:31 PM
Why do monsters hate the Statue of Liberty?
39  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Should I be flattered? on: February 25, 2014, 07:28:01 PM
The detective called today. Never thought I'd be glad to type those words but there they are.

The police want to get the phone # under which the account was opened from Comcast. Then they'll see if it belongs to any of the usual suspects. He gave me his contact info to share with Comcast, but their collections department wasn't interested. They are mailing me a complaint form which, when returned with a copy of the police report, will absolve me from any further involvement and restore my credit record. Meanwhile they referred me to their Legal Response Ctr. I passed that number along to the detective because Comcast has some bounced checks that might be of interest.

Neither the police nor comcast typically take the lead in talking to each other; any communication between them will probably have to go through me.

The detective said they very rarely clear these cases because there's seldom an unbroken electronic trail. Mostly they try to identify the perp and throw a scare into him. Their main objective is to prevent any further losses to me.

All he's done so far is verify that nobody with my name lives at that apartment.
40  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Should I be flattered? on: February 25, 2014, 04:48:39 PM

Quote from: Lee on February 25, 2014, 02:45:36 PM

I pay $2.75 (it's usually 5.50) to Experian through USAA for a credit watch. Do you have something like this? If you didn't, would something like this have helped, or wouldn't it have shown until the damage as done? Probably not I would guess, but the watch makes me feel better about it. (Knock on wood.)

The fraud didn't hit my credit report until Comcast turned it over for collection. I would have found out about it a couple of weeks earlier, but that wouldn't have made any difference.

I don't know what will happen next. I'm going to just wait a few days for the wheels to grind before I place some followup calls.
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