All posts by andrew

My problem with the ending of Mass Effect 3

OK, it’s time. The moratorium is over. If you haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet, you’re probably not going to. Or you’re Jimi. Anyway, if you follow gaming at all, you probably know that many people are upset with the ending of ME3, for various reasons. Some are mad because they wanted a happier ending, even if they won’t admit it. Some are mad because it seemed like it didn’t reward the choices they made. Some are upset because it was just, objectively, bad (I fall into this camp). I’m not going to go into the details of those three arguments because they’re all valid, and they’ve all been discussed at length elsewhere. My gripe, I think, cuts a little more to the core of the writing, more to the choices I was allowed to make and how I made them.

It’s possible that your Shepard made all the good choices, and of course, went for the synthesis ending, and you were happy. It’s possible that she made all the bad choices, and you went for the control ending, and you were a little less than happy. And it’s possible that you just went along as you saw fit, and chose the destroy ending, and were unimpressed. That’s how three of my Shepards saw it. John saw the universe transformed, and it was good. Jane saw the reapers under her control, just for a second, but then lost it, and was destroyed. And Julie destroyed the reapers, and is laying under a pile of inexplicable rubble somewhere, gasping.

But not Janet.

No, not Janet. Janet Shepard was the ruler of her own fate. Janet Shepard would never have accepted some child god imposing his made-up rules on her universe, the one she ruled, and ruled so easily. Not once in the epic tale that preceded it had Janet Shepard accepted a fact she was unhappy with; she made the world the way she thought it sould be. That the game somehow thought that Janet Shepard, MY Shepard, would simply lay down and die? Janet Shepard wouldn’t know how to die, let alone do it willingly.

I can tell you what she would do when confronted by some non-corporeal god-child. She’d fight it. And win. If that meant she had to fight on his terms, so be it. Janet Shepard would travel to that forgotten realm, that place where non-things live, and she would slaughter her way through the thickest swath of it, laying ruin in her wake. And when she finally confronted this child, who had the audacity to assert his superiority over her, she would slay him, and mark the place in the firmament of the universe. And having completed her task, having left that place in ruin, she would burn the souls of a thousand million dead to return to this plane, this universe she calls home, if only for one reason. She would return to that place where she had beaten him, where her conquest over him had become complete. And she would piss on his grave.

Why I can no longer recommend the Kindle Fire

As a Kindle Fire owner, I have been extremely pleased with the device.  Heck, I’m writing this on it, and it’s a very pleasant experience. However, in light of recent developments, I can’t recommend the thing anymore. The reason is simple: it seems that after Amazon releases a new version, they end of life the old one. And that means no more software upgrades. There’s a growing school of apologists out there who are claiming that one doesn’t expect a car to get new features, why would you expect the Fire to? Simple. Because it’s a tablet. And that’s how tablets, and computing devices in general, work. I recently picked up an Asus Transformer tablet for my fiancee, and before I did, I made sure that even though it shipped with Android 3.0, it had an OTA upgrade to 4.0 waiting for it when she unboxed it. The Fire is still a great device, and it still does what it did when I got it, but knowing that it could do much more, and won’t simply because Amazon wants to drive sales of their new devices doesn’t make me a happy customer. So if you’re in the market for a 7″ Android tablet, do yourself a favor and get something for the same price that has an upgrade path. Say, maybe something from Google?

Update: I think I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t add that the Fire is still a great device. It does Amazon video and the Kindle lending library, which no other tablets do (to my knowledge). I still like it a lot and won’t be replacing it anytime soon, but there are better tablets out there.

I guess they are called Roto-Rooter, and not Roto-CleanYourBasement

Generally speaking, when I’m done taking a poop, and I flush the toilet and hear that reassuring “glunk” sound of the bowl emptying, signaling that I didn’t once again overstuff the bowl with Quilted Northern, I consider that the end of the transaction. Not today. Today my girlfriend Beth woke me up for work, told me that she had cleaned the cat box, taken out the trash, and that the basement drain had overflowed again. Now, in my house, with it’s forty year-old plumbing and equally old oak trees in the yard, this is not an entirely uncommon occurrence. I went downstairs to find an even smaller problem than I expected: a small, shallow pile of sediment (that’s an industry term for “dirt and poop”) around the drain. Since it was clearly not stopped up, I took a shower and went to work, and called Roto-Rooter.

Let me stop this story right here and say that Roto-Rooter did their jobs well and promptly. As soon as I told the dispatcher my name, she had my address and last date of service. And I didn’t call the local ‘Rooter office, I called 1-800-GET-FUCKING-ROOTER. And less than thirty minutes later, a dude was at my house. Now, this part of the story is all secondhand, since I wasn’t there. But according to Beth, the guy with the drain snake broke the T-joint of the stack trying to get it open, and he called a plumber to come out and fix it. This being St. Louis County, he also arranged for a permit to replace the stack and an inspection. Again to Roto-Rooter’s credit, they paid for all of it. I only ended up paying the original call-out fee. So apparently he left, and a little while later the plumber showed up and replaced the T-joint and half of the stack. He then left with the promise of bringing back the permit and scheduling the inspection.

Now we’re back to me. I got home from work, and after hearing the entire saga from Beth, went downstairs to assess the damage. What I saw was an even larger pile of sediment, and, poop. Not partially decomposed poop mixed with dirt, but poop. My poop. The poop I had pooped earlier this morning. Pretty much everywhere. I don’t know if the guy had to empty the stack out on the floor to replace it or what, but there it was: sizeable piles of my poop and toilet paper all over my basement floor. I guess I just wasn’t expecting to see it again. Like I said, once I’m out of the bathroom, I consider that business finished.

I suppose I can’t really be upset, since poop cleanup was nowhere on the bill of services provided. But still, as far as Roto-Rooter is concerned, prompt service and making right their mistakes: A+, cleaning poop out of my basement: F-. At least I have a mop.

This is why I fucking loathe Charter

Fuck Charter. Seriously. I moved this weekend, and my scheduled appointment to get my cable hooked up was from 3pm to 5pm today. Now, I understand that they can’t give me an exact time. Whatever. But I was very specific that I would like a phone call when they were on the way. I don’t think that’s too much to ask these days, especially from a company called Charter Communications. A company which is offering Goddamn phone service. Whatever. Fuck them. Anyway, the install techs show up. The first guy seems polite enough, even if he seems to be having some trouble figuring out why he’s there. Literal conversation:

Me: Hi.
Trainee Tech: Hi.
Me: (wondering how long he’s gonna stand there)
Trainee Tech: So what am I doing here?
Me: I need my cable hooked up.
Trainee Tech: (looking at clipboard, which is apparently just his shopping list) OK….
Me: I would like my TV to work.
Trainee Tech: OK…

At this point, Jackass Tech walks up, moves Trainee Tech out of the way, and walks directly in my house, without so much as acknowledging my presence. He then decides to get down to brass tacks:

Jackass Tech: So, what are we doing here?
Me: I want my TV to work.
Jackass Tech: (looking at TV) You want us to hook up the TV?
Me: I want my cable service hooked up.
Jackass Tech: But you already have a Moxi, and it’s hooked up.
Me: But it doesn’t work. I want it to work.
Jackass Tech: OK…

This went on for longer than I care to remember, and it’s pissing my shit off thinking about it, so I won’t regale the entire exchange. Needless to say, it never got much better. They did, at one point, get the TV to work, but then it stopped again. Their fix was to replace my Moxi, which took all of my recorded TV shows with it. I would have protested, but I don’t fucking care anymore. I’m getting U-Verse installed in three weeks anyway.

So the moral of the story is that the install guys were total dicks. Real fuckwads. And I don’t count the fact that they got my service working as a point in their favor. If something is your fucking job, you don’t get points for not completely fucking it up. And I really shouldn’t have to tell the guy what he’s there to do. What’s on the goddamn work order? Is the information I give the dispatcher recorded anywhere? And it’s not like there are that many options for him to choose from. Hooking up? Disconnecting? Repair? Fucking guess. You have a one in three chance of being right. I don’t even want television service now.

Fuck Charter.