Commercial law, Games, and Bad Santa

I decided to take a week off of updating this page, and for no damn reason whatsoever. This should lead to one of two responses; either you are angry that I didn’t mention I would be taking the time off, or you didn’t even notice. Most likely the latter I suspect.

Fear not, nothing terrible has happened to myself or my family. I don’t have intentions of shutting down the page. I just didn’t feel like typing much over the last week. Not to mention that I didn’t find much of use in the news. I instead spent my computer time like I always did before I started this site, I played a lot of video games. And not even very good ones!

• Here is one of those things that I could not believe when I saw it, but when I clicked through to read the article I found out that it is true. Congress is sitting on legislation that would make it illegal to fast-forward through commercials on shows that you have recorded. How true that is, or how likely the legislation is to pass, remains a mystery.

While reading through the article linked to above, and having read a couple of other articles about the issue, it seems like what they are actually trying to get rid off is peer to peer file sharing software. How that has anything to do with fast forwarding through a commercial is beyond me. The thing is that this is just exactly how a lot of really stupid laws get passed. It starts with a fairly decent idea like banning peer to peer movie sharing software. Then someone in the advertising lobby says, “And while we are at it let’s make it illegal to fast forward through the commercials if they record the movie from tv.” Everyone laughs, but no one reads the fine print. Next thing you know you are in prison for skipping a kotex commercial.

Democracy in action. How sad is that.

• So I finally got around to buying Roller Coaster Tycoon. That is something that I had been thinking aobut doing since it came out, at which point I was pretty seriously into SimCity. So five or six years later, I actually boosted the nine bucks for the game. The first thing I gotta say is what a difference half a decade can make in system requirements. I have every one of the major requirements beat by 500%. Even the so-called ‘optimal’ ones. So, at the very least I don’t have to screw around with the choppy gameplay I would have had I bought it when it first came out.

As for the game itself, it is pretty fun. It is certainly not the type of game that you want to sit there and play. You really just want to get the park set up fairly well and then let it run in the background while you are off surfing porn sites and what not. Check back in once in a while to build new attractions as funds become available. That’s about it. Much like any simulation type game, you really have to have a taste for it in the first place. The type of micro management that you have to do is all a bit tedious, sometimes borderline boring. But it is fun to be able to quadruple the price of umbrellas when the weather forecast shows rain. It is good to be the king.

There are two things about the game that really annoy me. The first is that it is called Roller Coaster Tycoon, while it seems (at least early on) that roller coasters are far from the meat of succeeding in your objectives. They have some prefabricated coasters that you can put up, which cost a ton of money, that can attract a crowd. That is great for just getting started, but I want to build some really monsterous ones. Which I did. And while it costs me about 350 dollars an hour to operate it, it routinely goes through the course empty, almost all of the park goers say that it is too intense for them. Honestly now, most good theme parks are built around one very intense roller coaster. Some people will travel thousands of miles just to try out the next big one. Why is it that no one wants to ride the monster that I built? Oh well, it was a lesson learned.

The other annoying thing about it is that there are four different angles that you can view the park from. Depending on which view you have it on it will make it look like your coaster is a complete circuit, while if you rotate the view it turns out that you are off on the height or distance of a couple of sections of the track. This really only happens after you build one freestyle only to find out that one of the hills is too steep to make it up, thus forcing you to cut the section, tone it down, and try to reconnect later. I spent a good half an hour fucking with that problem yesterday, quite annoying. It is possible that this was all covered in the instruction booklet, however the game didn’t actually come with one, only a blurry version of it in .pdf format, which is quite the annoyance in and of itself.

These problems were likely solved in the second roller coaster tycoon game, who knows maybe I will buy that one in another five or six years.

• My wife and I took the time to watch the movie Bad Santa over the weekend. I found it pretty amusing. It was sort of the type of low brow humor I was expecting, while it did have moments that were damn near touching. The funniest part of the movie though was when Billie Bob Thorntons character said that the north pole was like the suburbs. When asked which one, he replied “Apache Junction”. You would really have to live in the Phoenix area to understand just how funny that is. A.J. is the butt of every joke ever made about rednecks, hispanics and indians. Of course it is deservedly so, there is nowhere else in the valley that has so few teeth, and so many non-functioning cars, per capita.

As far as Billie Bob, I don’t know that I had ever seen a movie with him in it. At least if I did he left so little impression on me that I am blanking it. I only knew who he was because of his previous relationship with Angelina Jolie. I can say this much for Billy Bob, he sure does play a convincing drunk. Whether that is the skill of a finely hones actor, or the easiest role of his life since it was not an act at all…Who knows?

Funny thing about my wife renting the movie was that the other movie she wanted to rent was not available that day. The other movie was ‘Elf’. I am just guessing here, but those two movies seem to be on opposite sides of the holiday film universe. Of course it could be that watching Elf after Bad Santa would negate some of the horrible Christmas thoughts that I now have in my head, but I guess I will never know.

I am pretty sure that the only reason that she was looking to rent Elf was that it has Will Ferrell in it. I like Will Ferrell as much as the next guy, but I am afraid that he is going down the same road that Jim Carey did early in his career. They put them in movies to get butts in the seats, then just make them basically do the same comedy routine that we have already seen hundreds of times. Then it just starts to get tired and boring. Hopefully this won’t be the case with Ferrell, or if it is he will overcome it as well as Carey did. Of course I don’t really care, so this is kind of moot anyway.

Well that is about it for today.

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