May 25th, 2011 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Five years is entirely too long to spend on a single video game. I’ll never do so again.

It was April of 2006 when I took SHELL.HUG from the Internet Archive and started the process of creating Cryptozookeeper. I had done two games that had handy labels attached to them so they could be easily described to potential players (“D&D creatures attack a mall! Clones on Phobos!”). Those games, of course, came from a much more personal place. I didn’t have much personal left to say when I started Crypto, so I thought it would be a great time to do a game without trying to cram it full of, ah, full of my problems. I had been interested in the pseudoscience of cryptozoology, so the thought of merging adventure-style text gaming — but through getting DNA instead of treasure — with the delightful alchemy of fake-creature building appealed to me.

But in the five years it took to make, the relationship I was in ended, and the job I had got rid of me. I found myself, suddenly, with lots to say and lots of frustration to work through. I was able to throw it all in my game, because the first couple of years was really just putting together the intro, getting some graphics going, setting up the rooms, the cryptids and the characters. I had a theme exactly when I needed one.

Development has gone on for so long that I can’t remember a time when this game of mine wasn’t part of my life. I’ve had stretches where I’ve lived on 4 hours of sleep indefinitely to get this thing together, and I’ve had months where I was only able to write a few lines per night. I listened to hundreds of hours of new music in order to pick out some that would fit the mood. I talked about the game a little bit at Boston PAX… and enough time elapsed where they had another Boston PAX. Even the IntroComp I entered is almost a year away now. But I was lucky enough to find a completely different lineup of testers for the finish line, having burned out the ones who helped me so wonderfully at the start of the project, and it’s much better than it was just a couple months ago.

There are a lot of regrets I have about the development of this game, the foremost being out of the loop for so long as a game maker. There is a chasm between what I am looking for in a game in 2011 and what is out there for me to play. In fact, it’s a completely different world than when I “left” to make Crypto in 2006, and to be honest — when I look at the whole of computer and video games and what the industry has come up with and what they want to sell me, well, I’m sick of clapping, when I know I can do it better for myself. I did the best I could to merge story and game and while I definitely want to create text games for the rest of my life, it does certainly seem like they’ll all be demo-length, bite-size fun in comparison. I simply wanted, once, to tell any potential player that might find this post that I left it all out on the field.

It’s May 25th, 2011. Crypto is finished, save for one last bit. I saved the last cryptid for the very end, and I’ll write about that tomorrow.

Yahoo!’s Sign-in Protection Really Sets My Mind At Ease
Dec 19th, 2010 by Ice Cream Jonsey

The first time Yahoo! behaved like childish cunts to me, it was 1998. I had just gotten a new (to me) car. I wanted to show my friends a photo of it. This being 1999, I don’t think it was even possible for me to shoot a picture that “weighed” more than 25 kilobytes. I was hosting the Knight Orc Home Page through them, so even though the terms and conditions of the site said that I couldn’t have external links to my pictures, I did it anyway.

A 25KB photo.

Within two days, Yahoo! had identified the fact that I put a picture of my Neon R/T (look, I was broke in 1999) on my buddy Jeff’s web forum. They deleted everything I had hosted with them. Everything. Gone.

I had a “backup” only because it was easiest for me to throw my files into a folder and upload it to my Yahoo!-hosted site, through their execrable upload manager. I vowed to never use Yahoo! again, for as long as I could help it. I vowed to do whatever I could to discourage other people from using them. Obviously no one person can have a real effect, but I hated them for being so pathetic, so small-minded, so desperate and greasy.

They’ve killed services again and again. I find it sad and unfortunate that so many people say that the Yahoo! engineers they’ve met are/were hard-working and talented. If they are, they must have the most militaristic and simply stupid middle and upper managers in the world, because they’ve systematically destroyed anything great those engineers might have created.

I was using Flickr before it became a Yahoo! property. I’m well aware that the links I’ve placed on this blog will be a quiet string of little red Xs someday. There’s no export function to Flickr, of course. Hahah, why would there be an export function? And I can’t find an authorized Picasa app that integrates with Windows Explorer. (It’s no longer 1999. I want to be able to right-click on a file and send it to my image hosting service. Flickr supported that, although it was insanely awkward.)

It’s just funny to see the hard-ass quotes from their awful CEO when they can’t keep a service on-line that provides links, for chrissake. Wow, she’s gonna drop-kick to fucking Mars any employee who leaks a memo. Oh, and anyone who was working on Delicious. That was the other big group. Good to know – Mars will be populated by memo leakers, developers who were doing just fine before the insipid and overmatched choadlings at Yahoo! got involved, and native Martians.

Anyway, I hate their process for logging in and out of Yahoo! Groups. They don’t save context. I have two Yahoo! logins which, again, weren’t my idea. If I go to Yahoo! Groups and find I authenticated under the wrong one, I have to sign out from Groups, which doesn’t take me back to It takes me back to That’s moronic. So I have to type the URL I wanted to go to, and then give it the other username and password. That’s terrible. That’s just a tiny frustration, but I did get a kick out of this, the last time I went to login to Yahoo! Groups:

Yeah, make sure my stuff is extra-protected, please! I can’t click on that link quickly enough!!! I wouldn’t want someone to guess the password and fucking delete it all! Ha! Ha ha! When that sign-in seal one day gets clubbed, it’s gonna take about two seconds to figure out what company did it.

Food Pinback Could Eat Everyday: The Philly Cheesesteak
Jan 13th, 2010 by Pinback


Look at that picture above. That’s the banner for the website of South Philly Cheesesteaks, a chain of cheesesteak jernts which is so far and away better than any so-called “authentic philly cheesesteak” place in town, and in almost every other town I’ve ever lived in, that it’s really shameful any other place would dare call themselves authentic. Or, you know, “good”.

I have been there many a-time. I introduced Robb Sherwin to this place, and he was kind enough to agree that it makes every other cheesesteak place in town appear to be peddling twelve-inch, foil-wrapped tubes of hog feces.

But I got to thinking. Might there be an easy way to make a South Philly Cheesesteak cheesesteak at home? Might there be an easy way to make it cheaper? And just as good? Might there even be a way to make it… better?

Friends, join me on our quest. Our quest… for cheap, easy, awesome, homemade cheesesteaks!

STEP 1!!! Swallow your pride, put in some heavy-duty earplugs to shield you from the din of screaming children, go to a WalMart that has groceries in it, and get a box of THIS:

STEP 2!!! While you’re there, pick up a yellow/brown onion (not pictured), and a jar of THIS:

If you’d rather use some other type of cheese, substitute that here, but I’ve tried ’em all, and nothing comes close to the tangy goodness of Whiz, in the context of cheesesteaks. The rest of this recipe assumes you’ve made the right choice, assumes you’ve made the Whiz choice.

STEP 3!!! Get the rolls.

This is the only hard part. You’re gonna need those Amoroso rolls. Now, my local South Philly, you ask ’em for a six-pack of 8″ rolls, and they’ll give ’em to ya for a couple bucks. That’s the only/easiest way I’ve found to get a hold of ’em. If you have no luck with that, and like me, haven’t found a way to order them online, you may have to bite the bullet and substitute some other kinda roll. You’re looking for a roll with a light, but still crispy, crust, and a nice spongy, chewy inside. I haven’t found a suitable substitute, but maybe your local bakery can hook you up.

STEP 4!!! Make the cheesesteak, and you do that by doing this:

4a. Turn your oven or toaster on low, low heat and put the roll in there so it can warm while you’re making the rest of it.

4b. Chop up a quarter of the onion and saute it in a little olive oil until soft. Set aside.

4c. Open that WALMART MEAT. You will find what looks like little sirloin patties. But they are not! They are finely sliced and chopped bits of sirloin pressed together and frozen to look like sirloin patties! Holy fuck! Take TWO of the patties and cook, following the directions. Basically you throw the patties into a hot pan, flip after a couple minutes, and then they start to fall apart into instant cheesesteak awesomeness. Best invention ever? I say AYE.

4d. When meat’s about done, throw in the onion, and a heapin’, HEAPIN’ tablespoon (or two) of Cheez Whiz. As you stir it around for the next minute or two, it will melt and everything in the pan will start to coagulate into a gooey, Cheez-y, meaty fucking mess.

4e. Scoop the fucking mess into the roll.

You are now ready to have the BEST GODDAMN CHEESESTEAK YOU WILL EVER EAT, and a food that I, personally, could eat every day:

The Three Greatest Spielberg Films
Dec 31st, 2009 by Pinback

Steven Spielberg has made a lot of movies. Some of them were mailed-in cash grabs, some of them were impressive pieces of moviemaking, and some were among the greatest movies of all time! Let’s take a look at the top 3:

#3 – Close Encounters of the Third Kind

A fantastical sci-fi romp, with all of the touchstones of a Spielberg movie (cute kids, astounding special effects, masterful action sequences, wry sense of humor) but with the added foundation of a note-perfect picture of a modern suburban family, and the effect of such astounding events on it. Dreyfuss has never been better than he is in this, and even little one-off, throwaway lines (“Toby, you are close to death!”) become something approaching unforgettable. Pretty much flawless.

#2 – Saving Private Ryan

If you take out the two battle sequences that start and end the movie, you’re left with one of the grittiest, best war movies that there is. But those two sequences, which must comprise at least 45 minutes of the movie’s total running time, are so indescribably great that I can’t even begin to describe them. Until Children of Men came out, I’d say these were the two best battle scenes I’d ever seen. As it is, they’re still 2 of the top 3. Which saves us the hassle of doing a Three Greatest Battle Scenes thread.

#1 – Jaws

Created and defined the term “summer blockbuster”, but none since has gotten close. Fun, exciting, hilarious, I could watch it a thousand times and never get bored. The first half is a trip, but once the three stars get on the Orca and begin the hunt, it becomes magical, becomes transcendent. Also includes Robert Shaw’s U.S.S. Indianapolis monologue, arguably one of the three greatest single scenes ever put to film.

Nobody who reads this will agree with me about any of this.

Inglourious Basterds Review + DIRECTOR FIGHT
Dec 30th, 2009 by Pinback

Inglourious Basterds begins in brilliant Tarantino style, with a long, drawn out, very quiet scene where the dialogue carries the show, the tension building throughout, until you can’t barely take it anymore, and it explodes in a blast of horrific violence. At this point, I’m giving it four (****) stars.

But then the movie does a weird thing, for a Tarantino movie: It does the same thing, over and over again. For two and a half hours.

Each individual scene, if it had started the movie, would be golden. Always, a scene of implied danger and paranoia, and always, the witty (largely subtitled) banter continues, and the danger piles up with every word, and the tension mounts and mounts, until WHAMMO!

But they’re not all the first scene. They all come in a row. And at some point, even though you’re enjoying the scene, you realize you’ve been watching people build tension through dialogue for nigh-on two hours now, and is anything ever really gonna happen?

It does, finally, in a great climactic scene, and overall, I have to say I was entertained and intrigued throughout, but damn, it just didn’t quitesnap for me, as a whole. I’d call this movie Tarantino’s “Benjamin Button” — As with Fincher, even when he missteps, it’s interesting. But yeah. Can’t… can’t give this one full marks quite yet.


Now, it’s time for DIRECTOR FIGHT.

Tarantino himself has said that Paul Thomas Anderson is his biggest filmmaking bud, and they sort of have an implied competition between them to outdo the other. Each now has made five films (I’m combining the Kill Bills, as God intended). Let’s see WHO IS WINNING:

Tarantino: Reservoir Dogs
Anderson: Hard Eight/Sydney

Hard Eight was great, a quiet first step into the director’s Hall of Fame for PTA. But Dogs was a bombastic, hilarious, super-cool, awesome launch into it, and I watched it a million times, and is an all-time classic.


Tarantino: Pulp Fiction
Anderson: Boogie Nights

Both came into their own with these sophomore efforts, and although Pulp Fiction got more cred for getting the Oscar nomination, both have become classics to the same extent. To pick one is to be unfair to the other.


Tarantino: Jackie Brown
Anderson: Magnolia

I liked Jackie Brown. You don’t hear much about Jackie Brown, though. Of course, you don’t hear much about Magnolia either, except for me constantly trying to explain to you that it’s the greatest movie ever made.


Tarantino: Kill Bill
Anderson: Punch-Drunk Love

Here’s where I have to try really hard to keep my personal bias from coming into the picture. I think PDL is an unbelievably, perfect, awesome movie. I think Kill Bill is less perfect, but also unbelievably awesome, and huge, and entertaining from the first frame to the last. So while I know if I could only get to see one of them for the rest of my life, I’d go PDL, I can tell which way the wind blows.


Tarantino: Inglourious Basterds
Anderson: There Will Be Blood

I was rooting for another neck-and-neck contest, but at about the 1 hour 45 mark of Basterds, I would have killed for Daniel Plainview to have rumbled onscreen and beat Hitler to death with a fucking bowling pin.



This is a fun battle, I do hope it continues for years and years.


It’s been pointed out to me that I forgot about Death Proof, which doesn’t totally count I think, in the same way the Kick the Can part of Twilight Zone The Movie doesn’t really count towards Spielberg’s score.

But okay, let’s be complete here:

Tarantino: Death Proof
Anderson: …

Alright, here we’ve got a decision to make. What else do we have from PTA’s ouevre to put up against Death Proof?

The natural choice would be A Prairie Home Companion, which technically is a Robert Altman film, but Altman was dying while he was making the fucking thing, so he brought in PTA, his protege, to man the director’s chair while he was busy kicking the goddamn bucket. So APHC is almost sorta half of a PTA movie, which would be fitting, since Death Proof was originally half of what you paid to see if you went to Grindhouse.

That seems fitting.

But no. Fuck it.

Tarantino: Death Proof

Jonsey thinks Death Proof is the worst movie of all time. Jonsey would likely say that the Mattress Man commercial is NOT the worst movie of all time, so on the Jonsey scale, this is an easy call. However, things are a little more complicated in Pinback Land. On the one hand, you have Kurt Russell skating through about fifteen different film styles, including one really boring one where those bitches sit around and talk about nothing for a half hour. On the other hand, you have Hoffman bouncing onto the fucking pavement.

I can’t decide.


Cancelling Xbox 360 Gold Membership Is A Fucking Horror Show
Dec 12th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

Three months ago my brother wanted to play some stupid baseball game with me over the Xbox 360. Well, I never got around to getting the game. I thought we could play Warlords instead. He didn’t buy Warlords because I didn’t get the baseball game. Somehow, in this debacle, I upgraded my 360 account to “Gold” membership.

In a desperate, greasy cash grab, Microsoft demands money from you in order to play video games over the Internet. It was fucking sickening when they started this shit, and it’s equally shitty now.

Three months later, all I’ve ever used the service for is playing Robotron against people. Even that’s a fucking mess: two players go at the same time, and when the first player dies off… the second player’s game is immediately over. I know. I know!

So, I don’t want them billing me any longer for this shit. They’ve stung me three times now, made $36 off me, which would have allowed me to purchase every 360 Live Arcade game I’ve ever wanted. I’m going to document the process of attempting to cancel my account, because it’s a hilarious clusterfuck.

One word before I get started, however: for the most part, I’m very neutral on Microsoft as a company. The two things they do, consistently, as a company that absolutely drives me insane is continually change their fucking GUIs and refuse to adopt a consistent, multi-platform GUI.

Continually changing their goddamn GUIs means that every tutorial is out of date a few months after its created. I was going to take a bunch of screenshots of the hell I’m going through with the cancellation, but what’s the point? Their terrible, terrible site will have a major upgrade sometime soon, and all the work in documenting how terrible the last version was would be pointless.

I don’t think managers at companies really understand how this is such an abortion for the consumer. Any form of internal in-application help doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. Most of the time the “help” option in a program just takes you to a website that isn’t maintained. No, the way normal people get support for your product is to type in search terms on the net and read blog or forum posts. You have to maintain some consistency. I can understand the first major revision – initially, you need to get stuff out there so it works. Fine, fine. Next, you want to make it look nice. Cool. But to constantly rework GUIs like every Microsoft product… what a mess!

Honestly, I want to like their stuff. But I think the following conversation ought to happen:

MSN Messenger Team Lead, June 2008: We’ve completely reworked the MSN Messenger interface. It looks great. We’re proud of it.
Some VP, Somewhere: Excellent. Well done.

MSN Messenger Team Lead, December 2008:  We’ve completely reworked the MSN Messenger interface. It looks great. We’re proud of it.
Some VP, Somewhere: Haha erm. Okay?

MSN Messenger Team Lead, February 2009:  We’ve completely reworked the MSN Messenger interface. It looks great. We’re proud of it.
Some VP, Somewhere: Okay, this is your third rev in a year. You obviously wasted our time with the previous two. Do you have plans for yet another GUI revision? Were you working on … how many of these are you working on at once? Don’t you understand that, with GUIs, there is an end game? You’re all fired.

And again, I’ve logged an embarrassing number of hours through MSN Messenger. Of the chat clients I’ve used, it’s by far the “best” one. But – for instance – if you attempt to maximize the version I’m using, it won’t fully maximize. The upper bound is a few pixels from the top of the screen, just enough for, say, a full-screen browser window that ought to be behind it, to have its close/minimize buttons at the top-right corner of my screen. I have probably closed a browser window instead of MSN Messenger due to this infuriating error a hundred times. Clearly, someone decided that MSN Messenger ought not to adhere to the min/max protocol of EVERY OTHER FUCKING APP ON THE PLANET, and that person and the people who approved this behavior ought to be shot.

(Unless it’s a bug, but Jesus Fuck, how are bugs like that still happening. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a bug.)

But refusing to adopt any sort of consistent UI is a Microsoft standard. Why does MSN Messenger look nothing like Windows XP or Vista? Why does the 360 dashboard look absolutely nothing like that of the Zune? Why does Internet Explorer have nothing in common with Media Player? Why does Office 2007 look like it was the result of some terribly-mismanaged Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri cultural artifact exchange? I mean, I know why: Microsoft is a giant corporation and the divisions making the various products have absolutely no contact with each other.  But it’s not acceptable.

With that, here’s what I had to do to cancel my Xbox Gold membership.

1) I went to and signed in with a hotmail account. I won’t get into how dumb it is that they bought hotmail, and that my e-mail account for accessing Xbox live is now something I use for absolutely nothing else. As if there were a legitimate reason in the world stopping me from using I guess the fine they got for bundling their garbage wasn’t big enough, they haven’t learned a thing.

2) After clicking on some screens that were unhelpful, I got to “Modify Your Billing or Personal Information.” Again, this website is unlike any other Microsoft site or product that I’ve ever used before.

3) This directed me to the Billing and Account Management Site at What the fuck does that have to do with anything? I consulted a couple other Google Searches to ensure that I didn’t want to be there.

4) I somehow got to this page, don’t ask me how, because I couldn’t reproduce the process:

It helpfully states, “If you purchased a pre-paid membership and you do not have a renewal set, you will drop from the Gold membership tier to the Silver membership tier when your Gold membership expires.” And I just have to shake my head, as if there’s any fucking option to not have it renew. Way to go, I just found the most useless sentence in Microsoft Product History.

5) Again, I have no idea how I got there, but I found out where my credit card was listed. I thought it best to just remove it as a valid form of payment. I am instead told that there’s an outstanding balance on the card. What the fuck does that mean? If there’s an outstanding balance…. charge the fucking card!

At this point, I’ve given up. I search Yahoo! Answers for two things – how to cancel this abomination through the phone, and how best to kill myself.

I then have to call up the 1-800-4myxbox number and talk to a person to cancel my account. They make a half-hearted offer to get me to convert to a yearly membership in exchange for the full cost of a yearly Gold membership (that will no doubt renew) and 800 Xbox points in blood money. 800 points, wooo, I could play Qix++ for seventeen fucking minutes and complete it. WHAT A DEAL.

So I dunno – they told me on the phone that they’ve actually charged me a couple weeks after they’ve turned on service, so I’m going to get charged again on December 15th for services previously used. This means that the biggest software company in the world can’t:

– Allow you to terminate services through a website

– Allow you to select a method of service that doesn’t automatically renew

– Instantly kill services and require a partial payment for previously rendered services

– Charge you at the time your service begins like every other fucking web product in the world

I mean, they can do these things, they simply don’t want to. And that’s what’s so goddamn infuriating. People are making a lot of money to have stupid, stupid, stupid decisions implemented, and for Christ’s sake, I wish them all dead.

The Stolen Green Chile Recipe
Dec 9th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

“Stolen!” — Mike Martin, The Mike Martin Travel Agency

We will look back upon these days, where I pirated the new Third Eye Blind album and cooked up green chiles, and we will weep. We will weep for two reasons, both of which I’ll bet you can surmise when taking into account that I’m a pussy when it comes to hot, new music and a pussy when it comes to hot, green food.

I’m posting this stolen recipe in the hopes that Benjamin “Pinback” Parrish will add to it, tell me what I did wrong, and basically help me improve my life to the point where I’ve got more going on at nights than spending it over an unwashed tin pot.


1 handful of medium-heat, Big Jim’s New Mexican hatch green chiles.
1 unraveled discount chicken thigh
1 quarter cup of flour, intentionally listed this way in the hopes that you’ll mess up and use a whole cup
A sufficient quantity of chicken broth
1 ounce of 240 Californium
1 Apple iPhone
1 bouillon cube
$100 in gold bullion


I don’t live in New Mexico right now because the county assessor took a look at the fact that my home had been ravaged by a 30 pound raccoon, homeless veteran and pair of thrown eggs and docked me – me! – a cooool thirty-thousand dollars. I don’t think I’ve made payments that total that, even before interest gets involved. Ergo, you’re going to have to get some Hatch green chiles. I… well, confession time, I don’t know why they’re called that. That, specifically, I mean. In other words, much like the new Battlestar Galactica, I have no idea what Hatch is fucking doing there.

We got ours in Parker, Colorado, although it was later confirmed that I have passed a Hatch dealer on my way to work every day for the past… well, I wasn’t working for all of it, so who knows. This could be that elusive third case for the Snooper Troops.

The Hatch Guy we had was a family man from New Mexico. His wife and young son were with him, and he told us what a standard grill will put out, in terms of BTUs. I thought he was talking about the chiles themselves, so when he said, “150,000 BTUs” I was like, “well, this is fine, then – I’ll have food, one atom at a time, for the rest of my life.” When he later expanded his narrative to let me know he was talking about his gas grills, it made more sense. He had three grills. Three grills with which to roast the chiles.

It only took a few minutes for the chiles to be ready. We had alloted a half hour. He told his kid to get an old garbage pail, and he guided the chiles into it. I was glad to see his son working and not just being a lazy layabout – kid was a new Mexican after all.

We gave the chiles an hour to cool. I left them in my car to make my car smell like roasted green chiles. I don’t have a lot of people in my car, and I have now eliminated any that don’t find green roasted chiles to be one of the finest of all scents. I will harpoon one and throw it around my rear window like an air freshener tomorrow.

The chicken thighs need to come from the Safeway Discount Chicken bin. Thaw them using the “Auto Defrost” command on your 120volt-Compatible Microwave.

Take the 240 Californium and knock it roughly against the kitchen table. This will begin the decomposition countdown. You need to get the chicken thighs to your outdoors gas grill before the Californium weighs one-half ounce. Any more time, and the chicken thighs will go totally off and smell bad and make you sick. Adjusting for the natural half-life of Californium 240, you have just over one minute. Happy hunting!

Set your Apple iPhone’s timer for seven (7) minutes.

Lastly, shuck the chiles. Hopefully, the skin will be burned and slide right off, but your mileage may vary. Additionally, leave all the seeds in, there’s no downside here.

– Throw the chicken broth in the pot. Heat to taste.
– Throw the chiles in the pot, with the chicken broth.
– Throw the bouillon cube in the pot. You’re mainly doing this to get rid of the bouillon cubes from your cupboard.
– When your phone’s timer goes off, relax… Turn the timer off and let the entire memory fade from your short-term memory… ahhhh…. ahhh yes….
– Mix in the quantity of flour you got for yourself. Don’t look or scroll up! Use your memory here, no cheating!
– If you used one-half cup of flour, turn to page 72.
– If you used one entire cup of flour, you have died in the desert! End of session.
– Stir the flour into the broth/cube/chile mixture. Add a little more heat to the stove! You deserve it.
– The mixture will start to bubble and get the fuck over everything, like the toaster, the sink and the George Foreman gr– oh shit!
– Run outside and retrieve the chicken thighs from the gas grill. Grit your teeth over the fact that half the chicken has stuck to the grill itself.
– Throw the chicken thighs into the mixture. Stir vigorously. Cover.

– Wait until you can’t bear it any longer, and throw it all into a secondary container. (It will otherwise stick to the pot, and you’ll need that pot to make more of this crap.)

– Taste! Regret the fact that you didn’t take enough seeds out. You’ll regret it more when you break your fast on it tomorrow, and then extra-more when it travels through your system. Don’t wuss out here, though. Leave the seeds in.

– Realize that you followed a recipe from Ice Cream Jonsey of all people, break off half the gold bullion and get yourself two large cheese pizzas from the local pizza guy. Tip well.

The Three Greatest Movie Performances Ever
Dec 6th, 2009 by Pinback

1. This was originally going to be a top five list, but I couldn’t think of two others that fit the criteria I will list in #2 below. Which is not to say there aren’t any, so if I think of them, I will add to this list. Hopefully you one or two people who still read this BBS can come up with your own nominees and I’ll add them where appropriate.

2. There have been hundreds, maybe millions of great performances in movies over the past thousand years, and this list is not to discount any of them. However, what I’m going for with this list is performances that electrified and defined a movie, performances that command full awe and attention for every second the actor is on film. Not just great acting, but something where you go such and such film was great, but I don’t remember much else about it except for (performer’s name). Pacino DeNiro was fantastic in Taxi Driver, but I remember the movie Taxi Driver more than his specific performance. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean as the list is listed:


The Dark Knight was a good, but not great, action/comic book movie.EXCEPT for the 24-some-odd minutes that Ledger was on the screen, because from the very first shot of his back, as he stares up at the bank, there is no way to take your eyes off him or otherwise not be completely enthralled in what he did up there. He seems like he’s in the movie a lot longer than he actually was, because who the hell cares about any of the rest of it. Added to the performance was just the fact that it was the JOKER, but so fantastically reimagined that all other Jokers kinda totally suck now, I think. And then he died. But damn. Way to go out, buddy.


He’s had a wonderful career playing largely moral, conflicted, good guys, but Jesus Christ, nobody who’s seen this movie could ever see him as anything but Alonzo ever again. I’m conflicted on how good a movie this actually is, because once again, I do not care. Every single inflection and movement and delivery he offers here is so perfect and adrenaline-infused that you don’t want anyone to hurt him because then he’ll stop saying and doing things and then there’s no reason to keep watching the movie. Holy Christ, I can’t believe how great this goddamn performance is, from the first frame to the last. King Kong truly ain’t got shit on him.


What else is there to say other than Charlize Theron broke acting with this. Since this came out, they are still having to come up with something else for actors to do because she already won at it. You probably haven’t seen this movie, though, because you only like movies about spaceships and teen roadtrips.

There ya go. Other performances I considered for this were the aforementioned Pacino, Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream, and a couple others I can’t remember anymore.

Directv Has The Worst Customer Service of All-Time
Aug 19th, 2009 by Ice Cream Jonsey

I’m still amazed at what I’ve been through today.  I’m hoping that this turns up in some searches, so people can see what they are in for.

I had been a Directv customer for about nine years. Due to the recent global economic collapse, I cancelled service in July. That went very smoothly. In June, I received an automated call that said that I would have to upgrade my receiver going forward, so knowing that I would have to do that anyway, it seemed like a good time to go without TV.

Things picked up for me, financially, about six weeks later. As it happens, I received an e-mail from Directv with an offer to sign back up. The subject of the mail was, “Come Back And Get Over 150 Channels For Only $29.99/mo For 12 Months.” That sounded like a good deal. They’d rather not have me go to Comcast, I was perfectly happy with them for years… this seemed like it would work.

The e-mail stated that I had to call a phone number to take advantage of this promotion. The promotional code was WBK7. I spoke with a CSR for about twenty minutes and we got everything taken care of. (Or so it seemed!) They were able to schedule a technician to arrive the next day.

The next day arrived, and the tech showed up on time. It’s at this point that I should describe my setup.

I have a single dish, attached to my house. The co-ax cable goes into a “flat” wire, which is placed between a screen window. The other end of the flat wire goes back into more co-ax cable, and then into the receiver.

The tech said that I needed a new flat wire. He said that would be $16. He also said that I would have to have a protection plan at $4 a month, indefinitely. Alternatively, he could drill a hole through my house and install it that way.

Well, that was totally unacceptable.  I’m fairly certain that he was going to try to drill through solid concrete, so that was out of the question. Furthermore, my setup had been perfectly adequate for years. There was no logical reason that they couldn’t use the existing flat wire.

The tech wouldn’t budge, so I got his supervisor on the phone. Directv contracts all this work out, so I was surprised to find that the supervisor wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t authorize the tech to use the flat wire and he wouldn’t waive the moronic, monthly “protection fee.” I was amazed – if anyone reading this happens to know me in real life, I think it’s fair to say that I don’t get worked up or agitated about anything. The audacity of this clown really pissed me off.  I told the guy, “well, forget it then,” and he was totally happy to let this sale fall through.

After this, I called Directv proper. I got one of their CSRs on the phone, who realized that while the contractors couldn’t give a shit who does and doesn’t stick with Directv, the corporation itself did. He told the tech to go ahead and give me the new goddamn receiver. The tech had to confirm with his boss, however, and who knows what was said, because he came back down ready to do what I wanted them to do 40 minutes previous.

The tech gave me the new receiver, blah blah, everything was working.

At this point, I had no confidence that the rebate was going to happen. I went to and was told that my account was not eligible for a rebate! Well well well! The desperation was pretty transparent, and I guess I was just supposed to be relieved that service was working at all. I called Directv, and got an all-new, all-different CSR.

She told me that my account wasn’t eligible for a rebate, because I had not been away long enough. Of course, this wasn’t mentioned on the e-mail, wasn’t mentioned by the original CSR, wasn’t mentioned by anyone. I asked to speak with her supervisor.

Another 40 minutes passed, and all the while, the gal on the phone told me that nobody could do anything, that it was impossible for me to get this rebate, that the fourth law of thermodynamics involved me never getting this stupid rebate. At this point, it became personal. Not between me and her, but between me and Directv.

The supervisor never got on the phone with me, but did instruct the CSR to tell me the following:

– Tomorrow I am meant to logon to Directv’s website.
– At that point, I’ll see my rebate option show up.
– I can, at that point, get the goddamn rebate I was offered in the first place.

I’ve got zero faith that anything is going to be different tomorrow. I guess we’ll see! You read about horrible fucking customer service all the time, but it’s still a thing to go through it yourself. And I am totally motivated to stick with Directv forever. I honestly like what they offer, and having experienced their competitors when I originally moved out here, Jesus Christ, Directv is the best option. But they’ve got to fix this, this entire episode was a joke and I’d rather go with someone else than ever try to repeat this process again.

UPDATE: I logged into my account and checked their website just for the hell of it. As it turns out, I did not have to wait until tomorrow. The rebate link was there and worked. Halle-frigging-lujah.

The Best You Can Do Is Make Him Laugh At Your Predicament.
Apr 1st, 2009 by Pinback

Here’s the thing about Tiger Woods: Nobody argues about it anymore.

There was a time, if you can believe it, that there was such a thing as the “Big Four” of golf. They were:

Tiger Woods

Phil Mickelson

Vijay Singh

Ernie Els

These were the heavyweights, and even though Tiger was winning more than his share, the others would bristle at the fact that Eldrick was always getting more press, more credit, more money, more LUV, more whatever. They were the Big Four, and they all wanted the same respect, and they all thought that if they tried hard enough, it wouldn’t always be Tiger at the top of the hearts-and-minds list. They all thought they had a chance.

For a year or two, even, it was the Big Five — The above, plus Retief Goosen.

This was not that long ago. In fact, this was AFTER the Tiger Slam, AFTER Tiger had begun to really start tearing into some records that had long been thought unsinkable. Even after all that, there was still a Big Four, or a Big Five, or even a Big Two, once Mickelson became the clear, consistent almost-front-runner.

But just as recently as a year ago, maybe two, all of that seemingly just stopped.

Not just among the writers, always prone to hyperbole and wanting to write breathless columns (like this one) about the next coming of the Lord — that had been going on since before he fired shot one as a professional, somewhere in Milwaukee.

No, by this time, it had even stopped among his peers. A couple of semi-famous maniacs (I’m looking at you here, Ian Poulter) would occasionally find themselves in front of a camera and say hey, I’ma be #1 soon, and they’d take it as seriously as if I’d said it. But you never heard it from anyone from yesteryear’s Big Four, Big Five, Big Anybody.

One day, they just stopped.

One day, after too many second-place finishes to Tigs, Els stopped thinking his Big Easy swing would carry him to the promised land.

One day, no matter how many “Tiger Who?” caps his caddy wore, Vijay realized there was no point.

One day, after one too many oh-so-sincere, smugly self-aggrandizing smiles into the camera, Phil just gave up the dream, realizing being a legitimate, or anywhere close to legitimate #1 was not to be, in his lifetime.

Now, nobody that matters in the sport even bothers trying. They are a generation of professional golfers subdued into being satisfied with million dollar purses, Rich-and-Famous lifestyles, and always being known as “one of the other ones”.

Not a bad life. And certainly a more honest one, now that they’ve given up the dream, one that was destined never to be theirs, once Earl and Kultida Woods hooked up that one fateful, sweaty night, and nine-plus-six months later when the baby held a cut-off iron in his hand and tried to emulate his father’s swing.

Nowadays, when he shows up, even if they put up a good front in the press room, behind their eyes they’re bowing down, and showing a begrudging, defeated respect.

The smart ones — the ones with some dignity, and perspective, and humor — add in a little admiration. This is why Rocco Mediate at last year’s U.S. Open was such a wonderful story. This was a great guy, with humor and wit and joy about him, and he knew he wasn’t supposed to win, and that’s why it was so great that he almost did.

The night before the playoff, while answering reporters’ questions in the press room, somewhere off-screen Tiger walked in to prep for his own session with the microphones.

Rocco noticed, looked up, pointed to him faux-menacingly and said, “Hear that, pal? I’m comin’ for ya.” Then motioned to the press and added, “See, he’s scared of me.”

Rocco got it. You can’t come for him. You can’t scare him. The best you can do is make him, and the rest of us, laugh at your predicament.

Finally, everyone is coming around to that.

Game over.

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