Archive for July, 2010

A Few Select Words For Hewlett-Packard

Posted in rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by vagabondsaint

Dear Hewlett-Packard,

Fuck you.

Why?

Because I already have software that can run a scanner quite well, and don’t need your shite “HP Scanning” software program that you so thoughtfully made part of the installation process.  It’s called Photoshop, and it’s roughly 17.4 million times better than any scanning or image editing software you will ever put out.  In fact, it worked fine when it came to controlling your printer, until your install process (and didn’t I already go through an install process when I connected it as a wireless printer?) denied it access.  Instead, it starts up the HP Scanning program, which committed the following dick moves:

  • did not allow me to rename the file
  • sucked at rotating and manipulating the image before scanning
  • did not allow me to choose where the file would be saved, instead choosing to inform me that the file would be saved in a folder it created called “My Scans”, in a subfolder labeled with today’s date
  • repeatedly denied Photoshop access to the scanner
  • peed in my cornflakes (metaphorically)
  • saved the file in .pdf format.  PDF?  Seriously?  WTF?  It didn’t even give me the option of saving as a .jpg, WHICH WAS WHAT I’D WANTED TO DO.
  • sucked
  • saved the file in an unreasonably huge format
  • hogged resources in ways I thought only Microsoft products could legally do
  • really fucking sucked

Photoshop, by way of comparison, would have allowed me to name the file, save it in a directory of MY choosing, and saved it as whatever format I wanted.  Instead of making the process easier, your megalomaniacal control over the output made the process far less convenient for me, as I had to re-open Photoshop (the resource-hogging made it necessary to close Photoshop to have the computer run at anything above the speed of death by natural causes), find the stupid directory your program created without asking me if I wanted, open it, and re-save it in the format I wanted, in the directory I wanted, like I should have been able to do all along if your fucking selfishness hadn’t demanded that I NOT be able to use the very-capable software that I already had.

If I’d actually paid for this printer/scanner/fax machine/dictatorial piece of shite, I’d be even more pissed.  But I didn’t, thank Jebus.  My roommate bought it, because she’d lost the install software for her Dell printer and needed a printer for her new laptop.  If she’d asked me beforehand, I would have helped her find the drivers and such that she needed online, or helped her get a replacement copy, or even built a new printer out of silverware and stale corn chips; ANYTHING to avoid buying a fucking HP printer.

To be fair, this is my second experience with your shitty products.  I bought one of your printer/scanner/fax machine/factory of suck combos two years ago, when my old printer finally died and I needed a new one.  I kept it for two days, the majority of which I spent on the phone with your tech support, trying to get the bloody thing to work, before I returned it to Best Buy.  A more accurate description would be “hurled it through the plate glass window of Best Buy,” an action which they completely understood and did not press charges over.  I bought, instead, a Canon printer/scanner/ fax / pleasant experience combo, and would be using it today had it not been for a hard drive crash last year and the loss of my own installation software during a move.  Rest assured that instead of taking the should-be-convenient option of using your printer again, I will spend the time searching for drivers for the Canon unit, which still functions well and is not, by any means, nearly as dickish.

Fuck you, HP.  Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.  Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you! Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-uck-uck-uck youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.  Fuck you.  I just can’t say it enough. Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you.  I literally cannot say “fuck you” hard enough.  I need help.

Hey, Crazy-ass Batman, what do you have to say to HP?

Batman Tells HP What's Up

A man of few words. . .two, to be exact.

Thanks, Crazy-ass Batman.  Couldn’t have put it better myself.

VS – 7.6.10

Cirque du Soleil Kooza: A Brief And Overpriced Review

Posted in brilliance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2010 by vagabondsaint

So, last night (July 1st), I went to see Cirque du Soleil: Kooza, currently playing at Marymoor Park in Redmond, just east of Seattle.  I went with my 9-year-old daughter, as the tickets were my Father’s Day present.  It was the best Father’s Day present I’ve ever gotten, and yet it was also the most expensive for me, due to the ABOMINABLE PRICE GOUGING.  Let me say now that the HORRENDOUS PRICE-GOUGING did not in anyway detract from the show itself, which was more incredibly freaking awesome than the human brain can tolerate.  I recommend buying the DVD of the performance, because there’s no way you’ll be able to remember all of the unbelievable feats of acrobatics and gymnastics that you’re going to see.  You will, however, have no problem remembering the TERRIFYING PRICE-GOUGING.

Before I talk about the show itself, let me take a few minutes to discuss the RELENTLESS PRICE-GOUGING that occurred every step of the way, from parking to seating.  In fact, I’ll just give you an itemized list:

  1. Parking that was less than half a mile away from the door: $15 (Dear Downtown Seattle:  I will not complain about your high parking lot prices ever again for a long time for at least a month.)
  2. One hot dog that was clearly the runt of the litter, one large popcorn, one “souvenir cup” orange Fanta: $16.20
  3. One souvenir program that was only 1/2 advertisements: $13
  4. One hat ($19, but it was a really cute hat for my daughter), one DVD of a previous Kooza performance ($25,) two buttons ($1 each), one pencil ($2): including tax, $51
  5. Gummi Bears, Peanut M&Ms, 20 oz. Minute Maid Pink Lemonade: $12
  6. Gas getting there and back: $12 (I can’t blame them for that one, though)

So, if you’re keeping track, I’ve already spent $109.20, thanks to the GODAWFUL PRICE-GOUGING, and haven’t even seen the show yet.  I spent nearly as much as was spent for the tickets.  I swear, going to see DMB at the Gorge is actually cheaper (including gas), but let’s see those guys do high-wire acts.  I haven’t had a date that expensive since the one that earned me a daughter, and even then only if the price is adjusted for all subsequent costs.

Okay, enough about the MULE-CHOKING PRICE GOUGING. On to the show itself.

After the PRICE-GOUGING THAT MADE BABY JESUS CRY, we found our seats and waited for the show to begin.  Clowns and performers did various sketches in and with the crowd while we waited for the show to begin; one gave my daughter a balloon sceptre with a heart on top that was very cute (and free, which made the DANGEROUSLY VIRULENT PRICE GOUGING a little easier to take).  They even chided members of the audience that were late arriving (“Eight o’clock looks like THIS!” said one clown, spreading his arms in mimicry of a clock.)  Then the show began.

Kooza is the story of a young, innocent clown, who is just trying to fly his kite and having no luck when a Trickster appears (in the most awesome pimp suit imaginable) and uses his powerful wand to whisk the boy away to Kooza, a land of many mysterious and magnificent wonders.  The Trickster takes the boy to meet the King and his two clowns (one of whom has a leg-humping addiction) and see the many sights of Kooza.

Where to begin?  The dancers/tumblers were great in their own right, but warm-ups for what followed.  The band and the singers performed excellently, and I may be in love with one of the singers.  Let me also mention now that the costumers for this show deserve every praise that can be heaped upon their heads; the costumes were always elaborate, always stunning, and eye-catching without being distracting.  They were as fantastic and colourful as the world they were supposed to represent, and I fervently hope the costumers get their fair share of the CORONARY-INDUCING PRICE GOUGING money.

The first jaw-dropping, eyes-widening, heart-stopping moments for me, though, came with the contortionists, two ladies who are either quadruple-jointed or do not actually have bones.  I didn’t think human bodies could be bent that way even once, let alone repeatedly, and still survive; I do believe that, during their performance, several chiropractors fainted.  The part that sticks out most in my mind is one of the ladies, who I may also have fallen in love with, doing the familiar breakdance move “The Helicopter,” in which a person rotates their legs in the air from side to side while also rolling their upper body on the ground.  Imagine that, but imagine the upper part of the body not moving at all, laying fixed upon the ground as the legs spin around and even touch the ground in what appears to be a demented, but fascinating, lower-body tarantella, pivoting 360 degrees at the spine.  Seriously, get the DVD, because my feeble description does not do it justice.

This act was followed by the trapeze artist, a lady who also claimed a fair stake in my romantic future by sheer dint of having far more testicular fortitude than I ever could possess.  My daughter assured me that she could do some of the moves this lady did, and I’m sure she could given her gymnastics training, but as a father I could never allow her to try until cybernetic replacement body parts become widely available.

Next came the unicycle duo, about whom I will say this:  any man who can ride a unicycle in a steady circle while spinning a woman about his head and shoulders is a man I will never, ever f@$% with.  Not even if he was directly responsible for the APOCALYPTIC PRICE GOUGING.

The last act of the first half was the double high-wire act, and, as any good high-wire act should make happen, this one stopped my heart a few times.  It’s one thing to stand still on a high wire with a pole to help your balance; it’s quite another to be the guy who has to leapfrog over the first guy and land on your feet.  (He blew it the first time and spun around the rope, but nailed it the second.  I often wondered if the “mistakes” were intentional and designed to heighten the tension; if so, they worked very very well.) And it’s another thing all together to be the guy that has to stand on a chair balanced on a pole held up by two people riding bicycles that are balanced on the tightrope.  That caused some breathless moments too.

At the end of this, the innocent naive clown gets hold of the Trickster’s wand, and manages to use its power in the exact wrong way; as the Trickster laughs maniacally, the world of Kooza is plunged into darkness, and the first half ends.

I should mention that between the acts, while the stage crew is doing setups and such, or even just to fill breaks, the King and his jesters are on stage, performing hilarious acts of silliness and performing magic tricks with the audience.  The balloon-gifting clown also reappears, being pursued by the police (who would also be wise to investigate the CRIME-AGAINST-HUMANITY PRICE GOUGING going on outside); there is also a pickpocket/magician providing entertainment as well, when he is not being pursued by the police.

Second half.  Kooza has been plunged into a dark, nightmare world; the King and his jesters are chased away by an army of rats and the dancers/tumblers, brightly clad in red and white in the first half, are now dressed as skeletons with an awesome fashion sense and led by a Skeleton King in a pimp suit every bit as awesome as the Trickster’s, but a lot more sparkly.  After some dancing and tumbling, we finally come to the act that truly took my breath away banished all thoughts of THE PRICE GOUGING MOMMA WARNED YOU ABOUT:  The Wheel Of Death.

The Wheel Of Death is actually two wheels, joined by struts and suspended around a suspended floating axis.  The wheels are hollow, allowing someone to stand inside of each as they rotate, and you’ll come to realize it is their motion that dictates the revolutions of the wheel.  Then you’ll forget about science the first time you see them jump inside of the wheels as they rotate and realize they could very easily fall to a messy death.  It’s an incredible feat of balance and motion and rotation that is only matched in spectacle by the point at which they stand on top on the wheels, riding them around and jumping rope on them in a heart-stopping, breathtaking, jaw-dropping, eye-popping, physics-defying display of gymnastics and. . .hell with it, just buy the DVD already.  It will really just blow your mind.

The Hoop Mistress came next, and really, seeing a woman that’s able to rotate several hoops around different parts of her body at different speeds is just incredible.  She’d make one hell of a dance partner, and I may be in love with her as well.  At the very least, I want her to be my date to the next hula-hoop contest I go to, and if you thought you were hot s#!^ for getting 1000 spins on Wii Fit, she’ll make you feel really really bad.

After the hoops, the chair-balancing act, and I have to give that guy a lot of credit for both being willing to get up on a 30-foot-high stack of chairs and for wearing a sumo diaper while being the size of Bruce Lee.  He was good, but just not as breathtaking as some of the other acts were.

Last, but certainly not least, was the teeter-totter board, which was a see-saw put to gymnastic use.  Tumblers were launched onto pyramids, off of pyramids, through the air. . .and as difficult as that looked, imagine people doing it on stilts and landing standing up – on stilts.  It was, well, awesome.  Their costumes, it should be noted, reflect the brighter colours of the first half of the show, signifying, I think, that the darkness wrought by the innocent clown is finally wearing off.

At the end, the young clown bids farewell to Kooza and returns to his own world, albeit with a new crown, courtesy of the King, and a new, much more colourful kite that he now can actually get to fly.  Maybe a little thin on story, but on performance, there’s no beating it.

Kooza was awesome, incredible, fantastic, unbelievable, smooth, breathtaking. . .every adjective I can throw at it.  It was the best circus of any sort I’ve ever seen, and one of the best parts is that there wasn’t a single mistreated animal within miles of the place (unless you count the contortionists’ spines).  If you have a minimum $200 to spare, and don’t mind GIANT ALBACORE PRICE GOUGING, I heartily, fully, and fervently recommend going to see Cirque du Soleil: Kooza.

VS – 7.2.10