Monthly Archives: April 2009

Last Minute

Apparently I’m going to go see Disturbed, KillSwitch Engage, Chimaira in Battle Creek TOMORROW. This will also involve eating at Sonic in Kalamazoo.

Anyone else interested in going?

Best Buy Pwnage

Today there were a whole bunch of video games that went on a HUGE sale at Best Buy for all major consoles…  Games that are normally 40, 50, even 60 dollars were going to be available for TEN dollars.  Yes, $10.

I only own an Xbox 360, so that’s the only list I was paying much attention to (plus, there were more titles for the 360 than either Wii or PS3).  On the list was a wide assortment of sport games, a couple fist person shooters, and overall a very decent selection with some games that I was pretty interested in.

I was going after three games in particular:  Soul Caliber 4, Devil May Cry 4, and 007: Quantum of Solace.

After speaking with Vanlandw, and cooperatively doing a bit of research, it was pretty clear that this sale was just gigantic and it was going to be difficult and/or impossible to find ANY of these games for 10 bucks a pop.  Vanlandw found the main forum thread at, and right now it has over 350,000 views.

With today being the first day of the sale, I prepared for battle and set out to be at the closest Best Buy 5 minutes before they opened at 11 a.m.

As I arrived, I was instantly worried.  There was a line at the door probably 12-15 people long and it was pretty clear what every person was there for.  So, I figured I’d still at least run in and see what I might be able to get my hands on.  After a few minutes, they finally unlocked the doors and we stampeded in like cattle with malice force.

Immediately upon entering I saw a wire mesh bin that said “GAMES – $9.99” and it was heaped with games in no order whatsoever.  I managed to sneak a quick glance before the horde got to it – and I definitely got a very clear sense that there were not very many games available.

The horde mob was just rifling through this bin with reckless abandon and I didn’t even have a chance to get near it.  Mentally, I had given up all hope of finding any titles.  Feeling completely defeated, I thought to myself: “well, might as well go check out the other Xbox360 games to see if anything else I might want.”

I walk back to the Xbox360 aisle, and there is NOBODY in it…  Every single person in the store is up front rummaging through the tiny bin of games.  Then, something catches my eye: I see one copy of Soul Caliber 4 staring me right in the face.  I did a double-take just to make sure: “Yes, that is really Soul Caliber 4”.  I snatched it up immediately.  Then it starts to hit me… All the games on sale are still in their normal spots on the shelf!  I take a couple seconds to compose myself, get a couple deep breaths, and recall my list – all meanwhile hoping desperately that nobody sees me or realizes what I am doing.

I coolly and calmly grabbed all three games I wanted.  There was only one copy of Quantum of Solace (plenty of collector editions, but those weren’t on sale for $10).  There were also very few of both Devil May Cry 4 and Soul Caliber 4.  After I grabbed my three, I took a minute to quick grab a copy of “Too Human” for Vanlandw.

Before checking out, I took one last look through all the 360 games trying to recall what was on the list of sale games.  I saw a copy of “The Bourne Conspiracy” with a price tag of 59.99 and figured that for 50 dollars off I just can’t pass up that deal.

Feeling fully satisfied, I start wandering towards the checkout where nobody is in line – and everyone is still sifting through this bin of games.  I walk over to the bin, clear my throat, and in my Jack Bauer voice I whisper loudly “Just FYI – All the games are on the shelves” as I hold up my handful of 5 games.  The horde instantly disperses and sprints towards the aisle.  With everyone leaving the bin, I finally take a gander myself.  Turns out the bin was only holding the games that they had bulk copies of.  10+ copies  of games like Wall-E, Bolt, and Jericho were the only ones in the bin for the 360.

I proceed to the checkout line, pay $52 for 5 Xbox360 games that would normally be a total of probably $200, and casually stroll out of BestBuy while the horde continues to fight each other for the limited copies of the remaining games.  Not sure why exactly, but I feel very good about myself.

A Chink in Google’s Armor

I am about the biggest advocate of Google products on the entire face of the earth. I use Google reader, Gmail, Google SMS, Google Talk, Google Analytics, Google 411, Google Desktop, Picasa, Google Earth, I even use Gmail to send text messages from Gmail account with growing frequency. (Much to my friends’ dismay). I also pimp Google products whenever I can… If I see somebody using Mapquest or hotmail I try to nudge them to use Google Maps or Gmail (including my wife, who still hasn’t switched from her yahoo mail.)

But recently there have been a couple things that have put a bit of a damper on my Google sunshine.

1: Google Sync for the Blackberry.
This product is functional. It will technically synchronize my calendars and contacts. But, has a tendency to remove and/or duplicate appointments. It also has completely borked my contacts once, and sporadically removed secondary numbers or emails from several of my contacts. It’s a great idea for a product – I’d love to have my contacts synced reliably. But it forces you into bi-directional synchronization when I would rather maintain one master list and have a few “slave” copies off from that. So, Google, write a new version of Google Sync that has that feature.

2: Where the hell is Google voice?
I have seriously been trying to get a Grand Central/Google Voice account for over two years. Google purchased Grand Central in 2007 and the product has been in a “closed” beta status since even before that. On March 11th, Google revealed it’s Voice product to the world – albeit still a closed beta. Their site and blog stated that they would be opening up the service in “a matter of weeks”.

Well, that was like 6 weeks ago… We’re now looking at “months”. Come on already!!!!

I’m really anxious to use this service and it bothers me that I don’t even have the option. I understand the concept of beta software where there may be bugs/quirks that hinder the service in the early stages, but really I don’t get why they are being so “closed” with this product. Even when Gmail first launched, members could invite other people to join… Why not do that with Google voice??? WHAT COULD IT HURT, GOOGLE? >:O

My anger is a result of impatience and stubbornness, but I’m still angry.

Grand Rapids Sonic

Today I had a brief glimmer of a true miracle… I heard through the grapevine that the Sonic drive-in restaurant was open for business.

My wife had reported that her coworker’s husband had eaten at Sonic and even went into details that he had eaten a chili dog with onion rings. My heart was skipping beats with excitement and my human spirit was shining with anticipation.

I was trying anything I could think of to confirm or deny this. Vanlandw and myself searched for a number, and email address, facebook groups, anything that might be able to shed some light on our situation. I even emailed ‘’ to see if they knew.

Finally, Vanlandw learned the bad news by contacting Steak n’ shake nearby. The truly angelic Steak n’ shake employee actually walked over to the nearby Sonic and somehow managed to learn that they were not opening until the 27th. Blast.

Right about then is when decided to email me back; confirming the bad news. Below you will see their response. Thank you “Andrew” for the bad news.   🙁   Anyone want to drive to kalamazoo/portage tonight?

This is from a viewer email we just received….

Hey, I thought you would like to know that opening day for the new Sonic Drive-In Resturant in Wyoming is going to be April 27th at 6:00 AM. Everyone is hyped about this, in fact I have made a group on Facebook about the new upcoming opening and there are already 1,285 members! WE are also getting a group of already 120 people together to go there for the opening at 6:00 AM….
Here are links to the group I made and the event on the 27th:
Andrew Gillfillan
WOOD TV Assistant News Director

Ringtones, Middle Finger, etc

Over the past few weeks my wife’s cell phone has been acting funky. It’s rebooted, not received calls/voice mails until days later, made calls randomly while being in her purse or at home (and its a flip phone so there’s no chance the buttons were pressed accidentally). Long story short, she needed a new phone and was long past her contract renew date – so she could get anything for a pretty reasonable price.

I tried to convert her to the land of the blackberry but she was having none of the Pearl; even though the Alltel salesman claimed it was the “best phone ever made” which I chuckled heartily at.

She ended up going with an LG Banter – which is basically a reincarnation of the LG rumor sideslider with a full keyboard. The phone is actually very nice and I’m a real fan of the full qwerty keyboard and slider action. But most of all I found myself really digging all the pre-loaded factory ringtones.

I started to try and get these ringtones over to my own Blackberry via MMS message, but was greeted with a “Not supported” when I tried to attach the files.

I paid 1.99 for a 1 day internet pass on her phone, pointed the “browser” to my gmail and tried to send myself an email. No ability to attach a file with that hacked down browser.

I connected the phone via bluetooth to my laptop and tried to use audacity to record the audio as I played the different ringers. It wouldn’t work no matter what.

At this point I was completely PO’d and was doing anything and everything I could think of. I put my SD card into her phone but there’s no option/function built in to copy existing files to the card… I could only save new ones.

I finally took an old headset, cut the wire, and spliced that into a normal headphone jack to plug into the line-in port of my computer. This time instead of audacity I tried Windows XP’s sound recorder. It actually worked somewhat by recording the keypress sounds; but the ringtones wouldnt record.

I just couldn’t believe it. I can’t believe that a company would go to such great lengths to prevent somebody from copying the stock pre-loaded ringtones. Even now it totally makes me want to throw the phone out the front door and drop kick it across the street.

So, I resorted to scouring the internet and looking for any normal type of ringtone. I hate song based ringtones – I am in search of plain, clean sounding, simple ringtones. But it’s pretty dang hard to find those types of ringtones. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

As of now I copied the Skype default ringtone to my phone and am using that even though I’m not a huge fan of it… blargh.