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2841  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Here comes the snow on: January 27, 2009, 04:55:58 AM
The National Weather Service says....


Guess who has to take his wife to a non-negotiable doctor's appointment at 9:30 Wednesday morning? That's right...the same guy who has to shovel the damned driveway. I hope it starts toward the later end of that timespan.

We haven't set any records for snowfall or cold, but we sure have had a lot of both this year.
2842  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Im watching gymnastics on: January 26, 2009, 02:44:09 AM

Quote from: pr0ner on January 25, 2009, 07:46:23 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on January 25, 2009, 05:29:19 PM

I watched some video interviews of her. Ya she is sweet and hot. Nice girl. I was just thinking that the older a guy gets the more he needs a gymnast to date smile

Strange thing, coming from a married man.

Us married men often speak hypothetically, trying to fit in with the swingers.

More pictures, and fewer words, might make the point more effectively. Hypothetically speaking.
2843  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Movie: Alien Trespass on: January 25, 2009, 04:09:48 PM
As long as we're on movies today...Alien Trespass could be fun. (Apologies if this was linked before, a quick search didn't turn it up.)
2844  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 4 MONTHS since my last cigarette! on: January 24, 2009, 09:52:55 PM

Quote from: Mithridates on January 24, 2009, 05:27:45 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 24, 2009, 04:11:51 PM

Quote from: kratz on January 24, 2009, 03:14:34 PM

1/3rd of a year today... go me!  I think I'm pretty much over it at this point.

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1826 
Lifetime Saved: 13 days, 22 hours
Money Saved: $366.00


Keep your guard up. You are vulnerable when you start thinking "Well, that wasn't so bad..." or "I'm on top of it now". I re-started twice after quitting for 3-6 months. It wasn't until I had been off them for years that I could safely treat myself to the rare cigarette without firing up the addiction again.

Why on Earth would you tempt yourself with a "rare cigarette"? 

Tobacco is one of life's pleasures. It's possible to enjoy it without becoming addicted. Very, very difficult, but possible. I bum 2 smokes from a friend on Tuesday nights a couple of times a month. He just left to work in Puerto Rico for 2 months, so I won't have another one until he gets back in March.

But, don't try this at home.
2845  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 4 MONTHS since my last cigarette! on: January 24, 2009, 04:11:51 PM

Quote from: kratz on January 24, 2009, 03:14:34 PM

1/3rd of a year today... go me!  I think I'm pretty much over it at this point.

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1826 
Lifetime Saved: 13 days, 22 hours
Money Saved: $366.00


Keep your guard up. You are vulnerable when you start thinking "Well, that wasn't so bad..." or "I'm on top of it now". I re-started twice after quitting for 3-6 months. It wasn't until I had been off them for years that I could safely treat myself to the rare cigarette without firing up the addiction again.
2846  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 24, 2009, 03:46:06 AM

Quote from: kratz on January 23, 2009, 10:16:00 PM

(on tap, if that matters)

It matters a great deal. Draft beer and bottled beer are two different discussions. Canned beer is not in the running at all (except for the canned drafts with nitrogen widgets).

This topic always makes me feel sad for PeteRock.
2847  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 23, 2009, 04:48:31 PM
I have to interject a correction: Budweiser is horse piss, not cow pee. It's all about the Clydesdales.

OK, carry on.
2848  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Budweiser: King of Beers or Cow Pee in a Bottle? on: January 22, 2009, 09:04:29 PM

Quote from: depward on January 22, 2009, 06:21:44 PM

If I need to drink cheap beer, I'll drink PBR.  PBR is the best tasting cheap beer... and sometimes I really do just feel like drinking it above choosing a microbrew.  Maybe that's because it was the drink of choice in college and that, after having it so much, I've grown to have a taste for it...

Pabst was my beer of choice when I was a kid. There were no American microbrews then, only national and regional lagers. Light beer had not been invented yet. My parents drank Schlitz, Blatz, Hamms, and Busch, so that's what I was weaned on. When I got old enough to make my own choices I went for Miller High Life and Pabst, or Michelob on special occasions. Eventually I settled on Strohs as my everyday beer. Imported beers were exotic treats. Coors, which was only sold in the Rocky Mountain states, was considered ambrosia.

I can't drink any of those anymore, if they're even still made. I tried a Labatts Blue a few years ago for old times' sake and I couldn't finish it.

In the late 80s I was introduced to Sam Adams Boston Lager, the first regional "craft brew," and the Golden Age of Beer began. Today I consider Sams to be the entry-level acceptable beer (it's ubiquitous in New England), but my beer of choice varies with the seasons. I generally prefer local breweries, and whenever I travel I sample the local beers. If I'm at a party where only mass-market beers are offered, I choose wine or water.  

Bud does not appear above because it never had any place in my rotation. It is a flavorless beverage for people who want to get drunk cheaply on something reliable, but who don't like beer. There is a pub near us that has 12 taps with constantly-rotating draft microbrews and imports, plus 99 different varieties of bottled beer. I almost never drink the same beer twice there because there are so many to sample. Yet, 3/4 of their patrons drink Bud in bottles (it's a sports bar).
2849  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Any small business owners? on: January 21, 2009, 07:03:40 PM

Quote from: Geezer on January 20, 2009, 06:54:39 PM

Quote from: Eel Snave on January 20, 2009, 02:55:09 PM

Well, I'm planning on opening up a computer store.  In our city, there's Best Buy, a medium-sized chain called Milwaukee PC, and then a new one that's opening that's probably going to fail.  I was working at one that was successful for a while, but the owner had made some bad decisions here and there, and it closed.  The store wouldn't be focused so much on product.  It would be focused on service and training, and there's no other place in town that does training except for a Senior Center.

I think this is smart, but I'd take a real look at margins on the retail side before you decide that a retail storefront is a good complement to a training/service business.

IMHO, you should look at your high-profit centers (your training and service) and market the hell out of them.  You could book space into hotels, conference centers and the like for minimal cost, then profit when people show up for your seminars not only with entrance fees, but also with in-home followup, sales of product AT The seminars, and on-demand, in-home service.

You'd be able to legitimately write off an auto lease, not worry about retail overhead or initial inventory, and reach a wider audience because you would be more mobile.

This is good advice. Bricks-and-mortar retail has trouble competing with online stores selling identical products. If service and training are your competitive edge, don't put too much into retail rent and inventory if you must have a storefront at all. You aren't selling an impulse item so you don't need a prominent, high-traffic location.
2850  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Any small business owners? on: January 20, 2009, 03:39:09 AM
Have a marketing/advertising plan before you open.
2851  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Terminator stuff that doesn't make sense on: January 19, 2009, 05:08:40 AM

Quote from: Daehawk on January 18, 2009, 07:54:38 PM

3.The why not shove a plasma rifle up a terminator's ass? Ot hide a pulse pistol in his chest cavity? Better yet just wrap some future weapons in bacon and let the terminator hold onto them? Duuuh.

This is my favorite post of 2009 so far.

Quote from: Scraper on January 19, 2009, 12:58:46 AM

3. I like bacon.

I do too! That settles it, then.

The Terminator is about two things: Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Summer Glau. I live for the episode where they meet. It could happen.
2852  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Diagnose my injury on: January 17, 2009, 11:03:49 PM
Old age. It's going to keep getting worse.
2853  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Circuit City up for sale/auction on: January 16, 2009, 10:24:19 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on January 16, 2009, 05:29:26 PM

I do think at some point years ago CC was opening way too many stores, too quickly (presumably to try to compete with Best Buy), and that probably had more to do with running up that incredible amount of debt ($2.3 billion) than anything else. Some time ago they also dumped a lot of more experienced CC employees (I'll have to find links to that news some time later), presumably as cost-cutting. That maybe helped their bottom line but it probably did hurt the customer "experience."

Retail chains have to grow or die. The constant influx of additional cash from new stores covers for mundane results at the mature stores. A mature store in a competitive market is doing very well if its sales increase 5% annually, and that's not the kind of return that draws investors. Especially, as you say, if they borrowed aggressively to grow or the stores are saddled with big corporate overhead costs. The balance sheet of one chain store that I managed had a 7.5% line item for "admin", meaning the corporate office. That is a tremendous drain on operations.

The chains that succeed are those that either keep growing indefinitely (think Starbucks) or manage to outlive their competition and lock up their markets. Those that stop growing try to squeeze more profit out of their mature stores by cutting costs...and ultimately cutting their own throats.
2854  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Cold! on: January 16, 2009, 10:12:07 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on January 16, 2009, 04:54:42 PM

you do not want to know what its like to have to sit on a toilet seat in 7 degree weather while watching your breath in the air.

You say that as if I had never been ice fishing. We dreamed of having a toilet seat.
2855  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: it's websites like these that piss me off (mis)informing the public on: January 16, 2009, 05:52:54 AM

Quote from: PeteRock on January 14, 2009, 05:20:40 PM

One can of soda with HFCS will not have adverse health effects.  But 15 a day will.   

One need not chug soda to OD on HFCS. The stuff is hidden in everything. If one eats processed foods, one inevitably eats more HFCS than can possibly be good. Last weekend I put a jar of hot pepper relish back on the grocer's shelf because the second ingredient was HFCS. You expect that in the sweet relishes...not so much in the hot ones.

The problem is more America's sweet tooth (and indifference/inattention to labels) than a lack of moderation.
2856  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Coal for home use? on: January 16, 2009, 05:38:18 AM
The cellar in our 97-year-old house has a little room that used to be the coal bin. When I dig in our back yard, I find little flakes of coal mixed into our soil. It was a common home fuel once. Nowadays all you ever see is the lump in your xmas stocking. I had no idea anybody still uses it.
2857  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I just ripped over 350 CD's into mp3 format - what I've learned on: January 14, 2009, 11:56:18 PM
A few years ago I went through our whole CD collection and ripped all the songs that I like -- even the tiniest little bit -- leaving all the filler behind. I ended up with somewhere around 2000 songs from 500 CDs. And yes, it took months. The CDs are still on a rack in our living room, but I never use them anymore. Probably ought to try to sell them off while they are still worth something to somebody.

Oh, and yes, I burned them all to CD, too.
2858  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Do you wear any "charity bands" (silicone wristbands)? on: January 13, 2009, 01:24:31 AM

Quote from: DragonFyre on January 12, 2009, 07:23:35 PM

How did these things ever become popular anyways?

Are they? I don't think I've ever seen an adult wearing one. Maybe it's a regional thing. Or maybe I'm not very observant. Or maybe I run with the heartless.
2859  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Electricity Bills on: January 12, 2009, 04:37:26 PM

Quote from: Octavious230 on January 11, 2009, 10:28:36 PM

Jersey Central Power and Light. I honestly can't figure out why we use so much. We generally turn everything off that we aren't using and mostly are in the same room.. Sometimes I think that there's a wire running to my neighbors house or something. slywink

The refrigerator is the biggest electricity hog in your typical house. Maybe you could check that the door is sealing properly, or try turning it down a notch. Ours is wheezing toward retirement after 20+ years of constant use; its replacement will be Energy Star rated.
2860  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Electricity Bills on: January 11, 2009, 09:58:59 PM
Our municipal power plant delivers the lowest rates in our area. We still pay around $110 per month, but we make little effort to conserve electricity because the potential savings are so minor (except when my wife is away from home; she is unaware that lights have an "off" position). I did convert our lighting to compact fluorescent, but the cost savings was unnoticeable. Overall, our usage stays pretty stable while the cost slowly rises from year to year.
2861  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iTunes DRM going bye-bye! on: January 09, 2009, 05:08:26 PM

Quote from: Fireball1244 on January 09, 2009, 02:57:38 AM

So you bought her an iPod,

No, I didn't buy it. And I honestly don't remember why she ended up abandoning it. I think she did load songs onto it at some point, so maybe she did use iTunes. My main beef was buying crippled music files from the Apple store.
2862  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iTunes DRM going bye-bye! on: January 09, 2009, 02:50:13 AM

Quote from: Fireball1244 on January 09, 2009, 02:36:03 AM

Hard? How is it hard? The first time you launch iTunes, it asks you if it can search your computer for audio files and, if found, whether to leave them where they are and add them to its library, or to organize them and add them to its library. There's no "file management" at all.

In barring your wife from using the iTunes store, did you also prevent her from installing iTunes altogether? Or am I being whooshed?

Well it's been a few years ago so I don't rightly recollect, but knowing me I probably forbade iTunes. I am deeply suspicious of all things Apple. I still won't allow Quicktime on my computers, for example.

Once DRM is completely gone, though, I would no longer have any objection to buying mp3s from Apple...if they sell them. I'm cool to the idea of mixing file types, too. If I bought music myself, I'd probably get it from Amazon.
2863  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: I wonder how bad it would hurt... on: January 09, 2009, 02:38:08 AM

Quote from: Einsteinium on January 09, 2009, 12:10:27 AM

Melatonin did the trick, thanks Zero. First good night's sleep in about a week. And I actually hit REM sleep, so I don't feel completely exhausted.

I had to quit melatonin because it made me deeply, suicidally depressed. I'm prone to depression anyway, and melatonin pushed me over the line. Be aware of that if you have any mood disorders of your own. Other than that, it's a really effective sleep aid.

Oh, and this: Melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA. They can vary wildly in strength and purity. If a particular brand is working for you, stay with that brand.
2864  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: iTunes DRM going bye-bye! on: January 09, 2009, 02:30:21 AM
Maybe three years ago the Bride of Ironrod announced that she wanted an iPod for xmas. I counter-announced that if she got one, she was going to have to feed it and clean up after it herself -- I was not going to take that on for her. And there was one additional rule: She could not buy songs from the Apple store, because they had DRM. I had already given her a library of maybe 3,000 MP3s without DRM, and I did not want to pollute my collection with a bunch of copy-protected files.

That iPod went into a drawer somewhere without ever having had a song loaded onto it. The mechanics of getting unprotected MP3s onto an iPod was more than she could grok. My wife isn't exactly adept at file management, but she's no dummy, either. Apple just made it really, really hard for the average person to get their music anywhere except from their store, using their software.

You'd think Apple would have learned their lesson about proprietary operating systems and incompatible formats. Let's face it: this change comes too late. The iPod is never going to catch on.
2865  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My girlfriend snores... on: January 08, 2009, 03:11:27 PM

Quote from: Azhag on January 07, 2009, 10:16:20 PM

Anyone have suggestions for some really comfortable ear plugs?

I just use drugstore-brand silicone plugs. The wax ones work just as well, but they get dirty/wear out faster. I find the shaped plastic variety to be uncomfortable.

Quote from: CeeKay on January 08, 2009, 01:16:34 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on January 07, 2009, 09:48:58 PM

Quote from: Moliere on January 07, 2009, 05:52:17 PM

wear ear plugs

+1. I keep a pair of silicone plugs next to the bed, and I'm not afraid to use them.

yeah, but wouldn't that run you the risk of not hearing your alarm?

I wake up at 7 every morning anyway...and, being self-employed, it doesn't matter if I sleep late. But it's easy enough to turn up the volume on my clock radio. Remember, we're talking about light sleepers here.
2866  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: My girlfriend snores... on: January 07, 2009, 09:48:58 PM

Quote from: Moliere on January 07, 2009, 05:52:17 PM

wear ear plugs

+1. I keep a pair of silicone plugs next to the bed, and I'm not afraid to use them.
2867  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Congress giving themselves another pay raise.. on: January 07, 2009, 06:13:47 AM
If congress wants a raise, congress ought to fill in a 6-page questionnaire about its performance and goals for the taxpayers. Based on their grades, Congress gets:

Exceed expectations: 3.5%
Meets expectations: 2%
Needs improvement: Review again after 90 days
FAIL: Congress has decided to spend more time with its family

2868  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lesson Learned for the day on: January 05, 2009, 02:23:46 AM
I once mistook the Icy Hot tube for hemorrhoid ointment. 
2869  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Are you a theater goer? on: January 02, 2009, 08:07:37 PM

Quote from: Starshifter on January 02, 2009, 06:31:00 PM

When I was a preteen and teenager we had single screen theaters and twin cinema's were all the rage.  I believe the multiplex killed the theater experience.  Back in those childhood days theaters were fun and people were great and often cheered during great moments in film.  We will never (or rarely) have that experience again. 

I too can remember when theaters were much larger than the little shoeboxes they have now. Audiences were larger because there weren't nearly as many films released each year, tickets/snacks didn't cost so much, and we had fewer alternative entertainments. I quit going to movies when they banned smoking in theaters. I could never sit through a 2-hour movie without a cigarette.
2870  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Israel Strikes Gaza on: January 01, 2009, 08:54:32 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on January 01, 2009, 08:32:17 PM

Quote from: Ridah on January 01, 2009, 06:34:25 PM

The oil supply will run dry soon enough and the U.S will have no reason to continue backing Israel.

Because we get so much oil from Israel?

No, because our support for Israel endears us to the oil producers.
2871  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Years Resolutions on: December 31, 2008, 08:31:23 PM
I usually resolve to drink and smoke more than I did last year. Even if I don't succeed, the effort matters.

This year I intend to lose 20 of the 25 pounds that I gained back since losing 50 pounds a few years ago. That could conflict with my standing resolution.
2872  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Are you a theater goer? on: December 31, 2008, 08:27:07 PM
We sometimes go to a movie on the hottest days of the summer because our house isn't air conditioned. We go specifically for the AC, not the movie, because it's always far more enjoyable to watch movies at home. We go to the real theater more often than to the movie theater, since those audiences are better behaved and rarely include children.
2873  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Are you a theater (as in stage productions) goer? on: December 31, 2008, 08:15:06 PM
We generally see 1-3 plays each year.
2874  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Wall-E on: December 31, 2008, 08:08:07 PM

Quote from: The Grue on December 31, 2008, 07:49:53 PM

I'm talking healthy from a purely athletic perspective, folks.  I am well aware we live longer because we have stuff like triple bypasses.  I still maintain those people in our past were in better shape than us, though.

With dubious nutrition, poor sanitation, and no pollution controls, that's debatable. They were more muscular and leaner, certainly, but that's not the same as being healthy.
2875  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: How did you choose your Gamertag or Forum name? on: December 31, 2008, 06:17:29 AM
My gaming alias has been Ironrod since around 1978. My D&D character was a thief in a metal-poor world who found the Iron Rod of Rulership and retired as a king. There was the obvious double-entendre, too. Use your imagination.

Ironrod moved here when Gone Gold died. Now I'm only Ironrod at Octopus Overlords and here. The rest of the world knows me as Kraken. My company is Kraken Enterprises.
2876  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: OK, all you consumer types: Dishwashers? on: December 30, 2008, 04:54:34 PM
I don't know if anyone will be interested, but I have this obsession with completion, so here's the update:

After an hour of semi-random internet research, I winnowed the list to a Kenmore, a GE, and a Maytag. The Maytag eventually won. The Jetclean MDC4650AWB has the best feature list and best consumer reviews in its price range. Home Depot's internet price is $449, plus $30 of mandatory installation hardware and $65 for delivery. The HD store does not stock this model, so we couldn't pick one up to avoid the delivery fee. The local scratch-and-dent appliance outlet didn't have any in stock, either, but agreed to order us one for $449 complete, with free delivery. Sweet.

The co-owner of the store told us that mid-priced dishwashers like this are pretty interchangeable, but we should not expect any model to rival the 20-year lifespan of our old GE. They simply don't build them to last anymore. Six to eight years is all you can expect...maybe a little longer since we don't use it every day.   
2877  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Congress giving themselves another pay raise.. on: December 30, 2008, 02:58:21 AM

Quote from: Farscry on December 29, 2008, 11:53:07 PM

On top of that, the generous checks the gov sent us this year to "stimulate" the economy came directly from our taxes. But they're getting counted as taxable income on our income taxes this year, so I'm going to get screwed over even MORE than usual

Not so.

The rebates represent a 2008 tax cut. But instead of getting the tax cut next year, when you file your 2008 return, you'll get it this year.

The IRS, however, will use your 2007 tax return to determine who gets a rebate and how much.

If it turns out that you would have gotten a bigger tax rebate based on your 2008 tax return, the IRS will refund you the difference. For example, a middle-income family that has a baby born in 2008 should be able to reap an extra $300 when they file their tax return next year, Luscombe says.

On the other hand, if you would have gotten a smaller rebate based on your 2008 return, you won't have to pay back the difference, says Bob Scharin, RIA Senior Tax Analyst from Thomson Tax & Accounting.

Q: Lynn H. asks, "Will the rebate be taxable income that we need to claim as income for 2008 on our tax returns? Will the checks be in the actual amounts quoted, or will there be taxes deducted?"

A: The rebates are not taxable. You will not have to report them as income for 2008. No taxes will be deducted from the rebates.

Rebates also will not be added to income to determine whether people are eligible for federal or federally subsidized programs such as food stamps or welfare.
2878  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 9 on: December 27, 2008, 09:39:56 PM

Quote from: Daehawk on December 27, 2008, 06:35:33 PM

Wont work. Says I need the latest Quicktime. I use QT Alternative. Oh well.

+1. I don't allow QT on my computer. If anyone finds a WMV or MPEG, please link.
2879  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Donnie Darko - WTF? (SPOILERS PLEEEAASSE) on: December 27, 2008, 05:26:53 PM

Quote from: Chaz on December 27, 2008, 03:32:15 PM

Quote from: jersoc on December 27, 2008, 11:46:05 AM

it certainly is a strange movie. I enjoyed it though.

If you really want to watch a fuck with your face time travel there's some movies where these 3(maybe it was 4) guys accidently make a time travel machine. I can't remember the name right now. it was a semi indie film. it involved them storing the thing in a storage area, they had to preset a date and let the machine warm up before entering it. i'm sure someone will know the name. that was probably one the best time travel movies i've seen because it's fully plausible and in line with how i think time travel to the past will work.

Sounds like you're talking about Primer.  That movie will fuck with your head, and not even offer to cuddle afterward.

Yeah, I thought that one was self-consciously difficult -- you need a roadmap to untangle the multiple interweaving timelines. While I'm sure it's a technical accomplishment, I did not find it entertaining at all. Donnie Darko is simple and accessible by comparison.
2880  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: left for dead on a low end system? on: December 26, 2008, 06:22:10 PM
I didn't realize "left for dead" is a game. I thought the OP felt left-for-dead with his old system, so I answered generally.  icon_smile
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