Craigslist Gripes – Why Can’t I Just Have Normal People Buy My Stuff on Craigslist??

So, I buy and sell a lot of random things.  Vehicle accessories, prosumer camera equipment, computers, computer parts, Nintendo games/consoles, Xbox games, and anything else I happen to come across that I can make a quick buck on.  Needless to say, I spend a lot of time on Craigslist.  Why does it sometimes seem like I’m the only normal person on that website?

Today, I’m selling some lights.  I just got a text:
“Do u have a receipts for the lights.”

I know it’s completely ridiculous, but this text has infuriated me.  For starters, FUCKING GRAMMAR.  It’s a question, not a statement, and yet you end with a period.  You use the singular “a”, yet plural receipts.  But even if this question were worded perfectly, ARE YOU SERIOUS?  Am I supposed to keep receipts for everything I’ve ever bought, based on the premise that I might one day sell it?  I don’t keep receipts for anything.  What would you do with the receipt if I did have it?  Are you going to try to return the lights in hope to get a full refund?  Are you just trying to verify that I didn’t steal the lights?  Are you hoping to glean some data from the receipt that will help you negotiate with me?  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?!?

So, I text back:
“No, I’m sorry.  I don’t ever keep receipts.  Is that a deal breaker?”

No answer.  Now I’m even angrier.  My eye is twitching.  I just want to crawl around inside this person’s head for a second and find out what abnormalities lie within.

You’d think I’d make the switch to Ebay, but Ebay is a hassle.  Not only are their cuts of seller profits huge, but also shipping is almost always a necessity.  So which is the bigger hassle, Craigslist Crackheads or Ebay Fees & Shipping?  Obviously I keep using Craigslist so I guess I’ve made my choice…

OH the receipt-texter just responded:
“just thinking”

????  Are you thinking about whether or not you want to purchase an item from Craigslist that doesn’t come with a receipt?  Because if that’s the case then maybe you should seriously reconsider even shopping on Craigslist.  Maybe you’re thinking about world peace.  Or what you are going to have for breakfast next Tuesday morning.  IDGAF can you please just tell me if you plan to buy this item or…?

I texted back:
“Okie dokie.”

I figure, as far as Craigslist crackheads go, if you can’t beat them, join them… maybe I’ll text back in a few minutes and ask this person what their blood type is.  You know, just to make them wonder…

p.s.
for the record, this rant is more for comedic relief than actual anger.  i happen to find my craigslist situations quite hilarious.

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Netflix… It’s a Love/Hate Relationship

I have been a Netflex customer for several years. I don’t know that there’s any better service to be had for only $8.99 per month. When Netflix’s infamous rate hike tossed their customers far and wide, I left with the masses. Their streaming selection had been dwindling and I was rarely using the mail service anymore. So the increased rate seemed like too much to pay for a service that I was feeling sort of ‘meh’ about.

My life without Netflix was, as you might expect, better in some ways and worse in some ways. But no matter what, the thing that stuck out in my mind is that when I wanted to watch something specific, I yearned for Netflix.

I rejoined Netflix and agreed to pay only for streaming, and have been trying my best to convince myself that I should just get rid of the dish and put all my eggs in the Netflix basket. If I want to be entertained by my television, I would either be watching Netflix, playing Xbox or making a purchase on the Apple TV. But I just can’t get myself to cancel the regular TV programming. There’s a weird reason for this that I will get back to…

But what I’ve come to realize about the available selection on Netflix Instant is this: there are tons of TV shows. Great ones even! But some of them don’t have all the seasons. Why? I think that their service would be FAR more valuable, and make FAR more money, if they would just completely convert to an instant service for TV shows. I know people will say “but that’s the same as DVR/TiVo” but it’s not. It’s not the same because Netflix offers these TV shows without commercials. No crap to fast-forward past. Also, it’s not the same because the selection is larger than what my DVR would ever hold, meaning that I can watch an episode or two of a show, decide if I like it, and move on with my life. It’ll be there waiting for me if I decide I want to watch more, not taking up any storage capacity space. Also, I can watch Netflix on SO MANY devices. I would gladly pay $20 per month or MORE for Netflix if they would get all the seasons of the TV shows they offer (Dexter, anyone?) and implement just one more feature that I can’t live without…

Netflix needs some kind of playlist feature, continuous play feature, or ability to automatically play the next episode or thing on your queue or something. Some people look at me like I have an arm coming out of my ass when I say that, but here’s my thing: Sometimes when I turn on the TV, I’m not looking for anything specific. I don’t want to actively “watch” anything. I kind of just want to…. chill out with something going on in the background. TV is perfect filler for that. I fall asleep with the TV on every night (keeps the bad dreams away, true story), I just put it on Adult Swim and turn the TV sleep timer on 90 minutes. About an episode and a half later, I’m snoozing. But I need to be ALL THE WAY asleep before the TV cuts off. If it goes dark and silent and I’m not asleep, I am not happy. Bad dream city. My inner thoughts lead me to dark places when there’s no outside influences… but I digress.

So, Netflix, the ball’s in your court. Why not just compete with television providers? You’d put cable companies out of business if you offered all the TV shows you do now, plus adding in new ones, with ALL the seasons, as they become available. But first, please integrate some kind of damn autoplay! I don’t care if there’s commercials in between, or ads on the screen where I am choosing what I want to watch, if that’s what you gotta do to get the show producers to agree to it.

Thank God for mobile devices…

Ever since early this morning, my only internet access has been via my blackberry. Can I just rant for a minute about how awful brighthouse networks is? The cable is off and on, the intenet connection is
intermittent…I’m sure the phone service is equally awful, but I can’t say honestly because I never use it. I don’t even know what the house phone number is. I don’t even want a house phone. But it was a requirement of the “bundle”. Does anyone use their stupid house phone anymore? If you are under 30 and use a house phone frequently, let me know because otherwise I’m thinking, ‘what’s the point?’ Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, right… So I’m all mobile today. The blackberry storm has gotten me through mostly but I need more. This temporary lack of internet is cramping my googling abilities, thereby inhibiting my blogging practices. Also I have a sinus infection, otherwise I would be at a wifi hotspot with my thinkpad. SIGH. Rant over.

-T. Ham (posted from WordPress mobile on my Verizon BlackBerry Storm2)

FREE THE BEAST!

So I took a little break.  Alright, okay, I took a big break.  This is my first blog post in exactly one year.  It’s time.

(Opens door to cryogenic freezing chamber)  Let’s see, what have I missed in the past year?  What th-  I leave you people alone for 12 months and this is what I come back to?

The gulf has turned into oil, a Dances With Wolves remake topped Titanic’s box office numbers, and a Madonna-ish he/she is singing about poker faces?  Are you sure I only slept for a year??  To quote Marty McFly, this is heavy.  Who’s the president, a black guy?  OH…MY….GOD.

Okay well, technically I was wide awake and blogging for election ’08 but still, there have been quite a few significant changes in the world since I last blogged.  I have a lot of catching up to do.

Any old business?  Let’s start with a clean up…(deletes a ton of old posts that are no good)…there, that’s better.  Breathe in that clean, fresh air.  No need for a ton of stale posts stinking up the joint.  I kept some of my favorites.  Now, on to new business.

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How’s that going to fit in my pocket?  Are pants pockets bigger in the future?  Ohhh, it’s supposed to be like a laptop.  But there’s no keyboard.  And really no way for me to see it while I’m typing because it lays flat.  So…it’s not like a laptop at all then.  It’s more like a….well, a really big ipod.  Hmm.  I think I want one.  I’m not really sure why but I think I have to have it (clicks “add to cart”).  No.  Must…wait…til…next…generation…It will be worth the wait, I just know it!  Sigh (clicks “remove from cart”).  ipad 2nd gen will have a camera.  I just know it.

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How come when I get a care package I only get *one* but that guy gets like, FOUR?  That’s not very fair.  Cheaters.  I wish I wouldn’t have entered prestige mode.  I miss my AK.  And I DESPISE heartbeat sensors and noob tubes!  They should make some types of gameplay that nix of that kind of stuff.  If you’re so retarded that the only kills you can get are from a grenade that you automatically dropped after I SHOT YOU IN THE FACE, then you’re pathetic.  You don’t even deserve to hold a grenade.

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Hello Robert Downey, Jr.  All cleaned up now?  Good!  Welcome back to acting, Hollywood missed you.  Ha, wouldn’t it be funny if you got cast as characters with drinking or drug abuse problems?  What’s that?  Oh.  My bad.  I didn’t realize that your last two roles were Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes.  Don’t feel bad…according to Wikipedia, the mind-altering narcotics that Holmes was known for were legal substances in 19th century England.  And Stark’s a very collected drinker.  He doesn’t get drunk and make an ass out of himself…what’s that?  Oh.  I guess he does in part two, huh?  Didn’t realize.  At any rate, it’s great to have you back.

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Justin Bieber:  stop, man.  Just stop.

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In short, my dear fans, I have loved every minute of my hiatus, however,  I’ve missed you all dearly.  I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed the level of responsibility that comes from forcing myself to watch things like Giant Octopus vs Mega Shark for the sole purpose of saying that I saw it and being able to discuss it.

There will always be some new or old piece of pop culture on which to wax philosophical.  I’m here to stay.  Don’t everybody thank me at once.

-T. Ham

The Video Game Evolution

Look alive nerds – video games are becoming something for everyone.

Rather play video games than talk to girlfriendFor years, playing video games was the sport of losers.  Sit at home, alone, probably in the dark, and push buttons.  No social interaction.  No physical activity.  No wonder cheerleaders and jocks made fun of us!  Those times are quickly changing however as video gaming moves away from the being “alone in the dark” (pun intended) and moves towards something else entirely.  For those of you who don’t know much about video games at all, let me provide a brief history…  (brief because I’m only listing the most popular consoles…there were actually over 50 consoles made between 1972 and 2000).

1972 – Everyone thinks that the Atari was the first video game console on the scene, but those people are wrong.  The first console in the American home was the Magnavox Odyssey.  Infamous for having a controller with poor responsiveness and being battery powered (what?!?), the Odyssey also had no sound and, as to be expected, crude graphics.

1977 – Atari 2600, which actually allowed gamers to play more than one game!  Sold in cartridges resembling 8-tracks, the games had mono sound Atari Controllerand multiple colors.  It’s controller?  The now-iconic black square with a joystick on top.  Oh!  And the big red button…don’t forget about the big red button.  Now, a flood of consoles come onto the market – Mattel, one of the largest toy manufacturers of all time – brings out Intellivision, Colecovision hosts several consoles, and Atari and Magnavox continue to released updated versions of their consoles as well.  Additionally, arcades in shopping centers and malls are growing in popularity.

1985 – Nintendo comes out with the Nintendo Entertainment System, NES Mario Brothersrevamping the gaming industry and breathing more life into the arcades.  The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is probably one of the most popular consoles of all time.  It’s headlining game, Super Mario Brothers, is still played on old and new consoles across the world.  Meanwhile, Atari struggles to keep up and comes out with the 2600 Junior and the 7800.

1989 – The Sega Genesis gaming system takes the stage and sells very well until…

1991 – Not to be outdone, Nintendo ships out the Super Nintendo SNES Donkey KongEntertainment System, SNES.  Still a cartridge system, but certainly with improved graphics and a leg up on the NES.  The Sega Genesis and the SNES run neck-in-neck, for the first time providing American with two really good choices of home video gaming consoles.

1995 – Huge electronics company Sony decides to get in on the gaming industry.  The Sega Saturn also debuts in 1995, but is largely outdone by the Sony Playstation.  At this point, gaming graphics are good enough to be deemed “awesome” and “radical” by adolescents everywhere.

In the years that followed, a major console was released nearly every year.  1995-2002 proved to be sort of a “proving ground” for the video game market, and everyone held their breath to see which company would be on top of the game at Christmas every year.  1996 brought us the Nintendo N64, 1997 was the year for the SNES Model 2 which sold very well also.  1998, Sega brought out the Sega Genesis 3 and followed it quickly in 1999 with the Sega Dreamcast, its last console to date.  In 2000, Sony revamped its system and marketing the Playstation 2 (or PS2) and then it all came crashing down in 2001 when both the Nintendo Game Cube and the Microsoft Xbox were released, much to Sony’s dismay.  In 2001, it was the clash of the titans as Nintendo, Sony and newcomer Microsoft battled it out for the highest sales numbers every quarter.

The most recent years haven’t proved to be much different; Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are still the big three players.  In 2005, Microsoft debuted the Xbox 360 to rave reviews but in 2006, both Sony and Nintendo unveiled their new consoles as well.  Sony’s PS3 was a higher-end console (read: overpriced) and was geared towards more hardcore gamers (read: nerdy “alone in the dark” types).  Nintendo, however, took it to another level entirely….

A Wii Party2006 brought us the Nintendo Wii.  What makes it so awesome?  Just watch someone play it and you’ll quickly find that the Wii is not just a video game console but a party game console!  With games like bowling and baseball that anyone can play (and I mean anyone – my 82 year old grandfather loves it just as much as my 4 year old cousin) the Wii has sent gaming into orbit.  It’s not just for adolescent boys anymore.

What does the future hold?  It’s unclear at this point if Sony will be able to hang in there.  Sales of their overpriced consoles lack from the downturned economy and they haven’t made any announcements regarding the future of their involvement in the gaming market.  Microsoft however has already begun implementing a new system that could be – dare I say it – BETTER than the Wii.  It’s called Project Natal, although it’s unclear at this time whether that will be the final name of the device, but it is an add-on for the current Xbox 360 console that will allow gamers to play games without any controller at all.  What?  No, no….I don’t mean you need to strap something to your arms or hold something in your hands to play the game.  I mean you don’t need ANY controller at all.  Well, let me rephrase: your body IS the controller.

Why did I bother blogging a brief history of video games?  Because I think that it’s all changing.  Ever since 1972, gaming has been a one or two person thing either done full time by nerds or part time by cool kids when it’s raining and there’s nothing better to do.  But with the onset of games like Guitar Hero, Rock Band and the collection of team sport games on the Wii system, video games are becoming a more popular party activity…if you had a party in the 90’s it was “Let’s play charades!”

I’m thinking that the future of house parties and cookouts will be something entirely different…something that revolves entirely around a big screen TV and an inconspicuous gaming console.

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