Refunds abound

Like some piece of delicious candy being ripped from a child’s hand I’ve been made to return Halo 3. My replacement copy via Amazon was, somehow, more damaged than my original. After calling the folks in the customer service center, and declining their offer of a 7-10 day refund, I talked to a “team leader” who offered me a near instant 24-48hr refund to shut me up. Apparently the delectable video game fruit is too fragile to be shipped. This I blame on the combination of all parties involved. Bungie/MS for designing a case so pathetic that it fails nearly every time. Amazon for not putting a single shred of “packing material” in either box I received and finally UPS for being the worlds worst shipping service. What can brown do for you? Brown can somehow mangle a box so badly that it looks like an acordian when it arrives. And that’s overnight. I’d hate to see how Express Saver ends up.

So, the end result of this fiasco is that I’ve had to wait all week for a game I could have simply picked up at Target on the 25th. My refund from Amazon proceeded this morning so I’ll pick it up on my lunch break or on my way home. Target, by the way, is my new video game retailer of choice. Actual knowledgeable and most of all helpful employees, good prices (not that video prices vary) and a seemingly abundant supply of new releases. Above all, they don’t engage in the open box policies of EB and GS. Nope, you get new games in all their shrink wrapped glory. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve got someone on the inside, in the mobster sense, that routinely holds new releases for me.

All was not lost however, in the time I had I was able to finish Bioshock and start in on Skate. I had picked up Skate a little while ago but never started playing it, having devoted myself to playing Bioshock strait through. I have to say that the new control system, the openness of the environment and the next generation graphics and physics really kick the hell out of anything from the Tony Hawk camp. There’s no super-mega-1080 donkey flips. Most of your tricks are kickflips, ollies, maybe the occasional 180. Why? Because you actually have to perform these tricks, with you thumb, on the right analog stick. I’m sure out there somewhere there is a little asian kid who can whip out some 720 varials or something, but I can’t, at least not yet. I’m actually enjoying just riding around the levels doing ollies. Go figure.

So, alls well that ends well. I’ll get Halo tonight and this whole thing will be done with. It teaches me a valuable lesson… Never preorder anything ever again. Something in this much demand is bound to have a sufficient supply to simply go and purchase. Or, at the very least, never preorder anything slightly fragile. I’m sure that preordering a book would be quite safe. Those glass civil war figures you’ve had your eye on are a different story.

Boiling Point

My collectors edition of Halo 3 is here… and it’s all fucked up. Apparently, rumors that had been circulating last week about the packaging being “weak” were indeed true. The measly plastic knobs that hold the CDs within the metal tin are truly pathetic and as soon as I opened the box from Amazon I could hear the disks rattling around. Both disks are scratched beyond playability. This wasn’t exactly Amazon’s fault, but the “customer service” lady bore my full and unending wrath. With little choice the world’s largest online retailer is indeed sending me another copy, overnight, and it had best arrive unscathed or I’ll personally fly to Washington and start beating Bungie marketing department employees. Stupid fucking tin. Who orders a tin these days? DAMNIT!

On a completely related side note, the game, being played via my boss’ copy, is truly awesome. I got a good 3 hours in last night. He let me borrow his copy for the evening because he hadn’t plans and wouldn’t be playing it and mine hadn’t arrived yet. I’ll elaborate more on this when I get to play it in-depth with MY copy.

Hard Days Night

Well gang, I am, despite rumors to the contrary, still alive and kicking. We’ve had what I’m sure I’ll refer back to at some later point as the “month from hell” at work. I’ve worked numerous 12 hour days, come home exhausted and cranky, and I simply haven’t had the time to check even my email, let alone sit and write a post. Life should stop its whirring, buzzing, clamoring insanity soon, but for the meantime I just wanted to check in and say “hi”.

There’s a couple random things I wanted to touch on, first of them being my car. I’ve somehow managed to go through 3 sets of $60+ headlights in under a year. I was thinking it was a wiring problem or perhaps a short somewhere until this afternoon when I decided to do a little digging myself. You see, my car has a four light system, not the normal two. Each of these four lights are crammed so far up inside the front of the car that until today I always just had them changed when I got an oil change. I figured a trained mechanic could install a headlight, so I didn’t think twice about it. Well, today I decided to handle it myself. Mostly because my car just had an oil change and bringing it into a mechanic for a headlight replace just seemed ridiculous. I pulled out the owners manual and started to thumb through it. It seemed easy enough so after buying replacement bulbs I gave it a shot. Turns out that someone, at some maintenance long ago, had snapped off the retaining springs that actually hold the light bulbs in place. They were resting there, in their sockets, by only a flexible rubber washer. The one that kept going out had it’s socket completely mangled and was barely staying in place. The area around the bulb was also “scorched” for lack of a better word.

What this says to me is that at some point, probably $180 ago, someone had put my headlights in so completely wrong, that they’ve been causing problems ever since. This also means that I’ll need to order not just new bulbs but whole new headlights and housings as well. I think they run about $300 a set. I’m not pleased. All this because some ass tunnel couldn’t seem to get a paper clip sized clip back into place and instead broke it off to make it fit. The upside to this is that I now know what mechanic I’ll never be going to again and where I’ll be shopping now on (the guys at my nearest Advanced Auto Parts were exceptionally helpful, even looking under the hood to help me figure out my mystery).

I also wanted to touch briefly on Halo 3, and more specifically, Of course by now you’ve seen the commercials and the ads and I’m sure everyone is fully aware that Halo 3 comes out tomorrow. I will not however, be waiting in line anywhere at midnight to obtain my copy. I stopped doing that a long time ago. I’ve also stopped shopping at EB and Gamestop entirely, but that’s a topic for a different post. No, instead I’ve taken to preordering things online. Having seen the “preorder it now and you’ll have it on the 25th” ads all fucking over Amazon I decided to preorder it there. I didn’t have any reason to distrust Amazon. I assumed that if they said people would have it in their hands on the 25th that, being one of the largest retailers on the planet, it would most certainly happen. I’m a little confused then to find out that my credit card has been charged (as in “we charge your card when it ships”) but my expected delivery date is October fucking 3rd! Sorry Amazon, this shit is unacceptable. Not only did I pay for 2nd day shipping (which it was suggested I wouldn’t need to – allegedly Super Saver was going to get it to me on the 25th as well) but Oct 3rd is most definitely out of the realm of “2nd day” as well. I wouldn’t have minded getting it on Wednesday. Even Thursday would have been ok. But NEXT fucking Wednesday is just out of the question. All of the cool launch week events will be over and done with before I even get my copy. I’ve already yelled at some Amazon guy at a call center in India about this and he kept saying in broken english that unless there was a problem with the actual product there was nothing he could do. I almost feel like going and buying a regular edition tomorrow (I ordered the collectors ed.) and then selling it when my copy gets here. Arg!

A couple of other random tid bits… my single day of TV is returning. Typically I don’t watch much TV (although the food network has addicted me from time to time) with the exception of Monday. Two and a Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, and CSI:Miami are all fucking brilliant. I’ll be watching the season premiere of the Office on Thursday as well, but tonight is really what I’m looking forward to. I was encouraged by Nagle’s list of shows he’s waiting for, there seems to be an interesting mix of stuff this fall. Now, if we could only stop things like “Kid Nation” from ever being made in the first place…

That’s about it for the moment. I’ve got to shut down this rig before the storm comes. It looks like doomsday outside and the wind is picking up. I’ll get back in the saddle of posting as soon as life calms down, which will hopefully be soon. I can’t take much more if it doesn’t.

Matt out.

Matt and Melinda

I haven’t mentioned this publicly on here before, but our very good friends Matt and Melinda are going through some trying times. Melinda was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of August and has been battling it since. It’s a very rare and progressive form of cancer but luckily she was able to get into the advanced treatment program at M.D. Anderson here in town.

We’ve all been praying for her and Matt and trying to help out whenever we can. Matt had been doing updates to their website by hand for their out of town relatives and so last night I installed a copy of WordPress for him. Hopefully that should make things a little easier.

Anyway, if anyone had a spare minute to pray, or if you don’t pray just think about, Matt and Melinda, I’m sure it would mean a lot.

Review: Call of Duty 4 Beta

Cross posted at

This weekend I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a token to download and play the Call of Duty 4 beta thanks to the nice folks over at I’m a big fan of both the series and the “modern combat” genre and I was more than willing to dig in for the weekend and get my hands dirty with the beta. I’m glad to report that with a few minor areas of potential polish, CoD4 looks like it’s shaping up to be a serious multiplayer contender this holiday season.

Read on for the full review…