sheesus, a blog is a lot of work
November 9, 2016
What have you done, America? What have you done?
November 5, 2015 - Opera SUX
For anyone using the Opera internet browser, I have to recommend you STOP IMMEDIATELY. It's full of adware. It's a mess. My antivirus goes haywire whenever I open a page, and my Ad-Blocker counter spins out of control.
Sorry, Opera. I used to love your red "O" icon, and you were my favorite browser. Now you're just malware crap, gone the way of Yahoo messenger. Good-bye!
March 19, 2015 - The Five-Dollar Bill
I haven't used cash in years. My credit card has a thousand miles on it, but cash? Isn't that a thing of the past?
Today I went to the Walmart optical center to get some replacement nose pads for my favorite Vera Wang glasses. Since I hadn't bought the frames there, I was told it would cost a small fee, something like $2.50. My reply: "No problem!" The gasoline it would take to drive to the optician where I bought the frames would cost more than that, and would also mean a half-hour drive across town. And remembering to get my parking lot ticket validated. No thanks.
So I had a seat on a black fabric chair covered with white pet hair and waited. And waited. After 3 minutes I decided to clean out my wallet. The contents included two expired AAA membership cards (causing me to wonder what I did with the current one...), a business card for a website I planned to redesign (which doesn't exist anymore), a Walmart receipt from 2013 (ironic), an expired Emergycare membership card (again, where is the current one?!), a change of address card from two years ago, and my college ID. Which expired about 9 years ago. But it has an excellent picture of me on it!
And in the other half of my wallet... the change purse... I found a 5-dollar bill.
One might wonder, at this point, why a 5-dollar bill? Why not a $20? For emergency money, five dollars won't get you a cab ride across the street, much less safe passage home from a bad situation.
...I've never been one to frequent vending machines... or buy instant lottery tickets. My doctor doesn't take credit cards, but he costs a bit more than $5. ...Quite a bit more.
And if I visit a dollar store that only takes cash, I'm generally there to stock up on something. Stocking up means buying more than 5 items.
So, why only $5? Why?
The answer came to me in a rush, in a preverbal storm that overwhelmed me. I flashed back to 2012. I was leaving the parking garage at a local hospital for the last time. My mother had died, and I wouldn't be going back there to visit her each evening ever again.
She went through an extended period of decline. She was in and out of at least two hospitals and several nursing homes and recovery centers. Most of them had free parking lots. One did not.
So I spent a lot of money in that one particular parking garage. Made many trips to the ATM to be sure I had enough money to park for at least 4 hours every evening. ...I burned up a lot of cash that way. But I never think about it.
I don't know why I didn't pay by credit card. I just didn't. Always had to have cash. Enough cash to stay at least 4 hours. Night after night.
And then there was that last day. The day the unimaginable happened.
And when I left, I paid the attendant in cash for the last time.
My change was that five-dollar bill. It's been in my wallet for 3 years. Unopened. Until today.
Fortunately for me, the optician didn't return until I had a chance to wipe my tears away with my sleeve and collect myself.
She did a fine job, and made my day. I hadn't been able to wear those Vera Wang frames for about a week.
We proceeded to the cash register. Where we had to wait. And wait. And while I waited, I pondered that 5-dollar bill. It brought back bittersweet memories, actually. Horrible memories of loss and grief, but also good memories of a time when my mother was alive, and I could talk to her and see her and hear her voice. This is a good thing to hang on to.
So, while I waited, I wondered. Should I spend it? Should I break that blessed five-dollar bill? Or should I whip out the credit card for a measly $2.50, and hang on to that bill like a talisman?
When we finally got to the register, the optician said "Good news, it's only going to be $2." And I handed her the five-dollar bill.
March 2, 2015 - Freddy's Gone Fuzzy
I have actually found the one man in the world on whom the "mountain man" fad looks good.
Enjoy the picture while I pass out.
February 18, 2015 - Winter Life on Lake Erie
Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George went to the gym on his lunch hour? He took a shower after his workout, but it "didn't take." He was sweating all afternoon.
Now imagine this happening to you after you shovel your driveway for an hour at 10 o'clock at night.
...I just walked outside into 12° air, in my pajamas with wet hair, to cool off. God help me when I hit the flannal sheets tonight.
January 24, 2015
I started writing a walkthrough for Wedding Dash 3: Ready, Aim, Love... and the last time I updated it was August of 2012. Apparently just prior to October of 2012, playfirst games announced that it was ceasing all pc and Mac game development, focusing instead on mobile games. An immediate by-product of that decision was that you could no longer download Wedding Dash 3 from the playfirst website... or the bigfish games website... or pretty much any website. ...And you still can't.
You can buy the "old version" of the game on Amazon. Right now there are 3 left in stock. Don't ask me what the "new" version is, I really don't want to know. (Once again, I'm sure the dreaded answer is mobile.)
There was a time when I loathed the entire concept of Steam games. If you scroll down, you will see that once they started selling System Shock 2, I drastically reevaluated that position. Now I hardly think twice about connecting to the web to play a game. I still don't like it... I just don't think about it. And it works. 99.99% of the time.
But none of this had anything to do with my decision to put the walkthrough on the back burner. It's a difficult game to map out, and incredibly time-consuming. So I let it slide to concentrate on... well... who the heck remembers two years ago.
And now? All those kickass graphics I lifted from the game, all the beautiful formatting... the templates are done, it was just the specifics of each level that needed to be worked out. A complete waste of time. If no one can download the game, then no one will need a walkthrough. A walkthrough I coincidentally abandoned just 2 months before it would have been useless.
And for some reason, this particular waste of work makes me feel sad.
My first computer was a Dell Dimension 8200 desktop with a 40GB hard drive and an economy graphics card that didn't support pixel-shaders 1.0. And I LOVED it. It took me to Lost Heaven while playing Mafia for hours upon hours... it took me to Adelpha while playing Outcast for days... and System Shock 2? A speed-run of the game would probably take 60 hours.
My current system is a dual-monitor Dell with a 1TB hard drive and 8GB of RAM. Pentium i7 processor. That's SEVEN wires coming off the chip, each able to execute instructions independently. ...POWER.
And I feel like all that is rapidly becoming obsolete. And I don't really understand why. So forgive me if Bob Dylan is vociferously ringing in my head.
Come gather round people wherever you roam
and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
if your time to you is worth saving
then you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
for the times they are a'changing
January 6, 2015 - Things I wish someone had told me...
If you're not yet 40-something, listen up. One day you will be in the grocery store attempting to read the ingredients on a package of tater tots, and you won't be able to focus on the words. You'll shake your head, reposition the package, and try again. You will expect the words to come into focus immediately, as they always have. But they won't.
At first you'll be a bit dizzy. You'll wonder if your contact lenses are dirty. You'll wonder if you're coming down with a weird kind of cold. Whatever the case, you'll be forced to shake it off, and continue your shopping, and generally living your life. ...Until next time, when it happens again.
And that's exactly how it happens. BAM. No warning. You're never ever going to be able to see the fine print on anything ever again.
It will happen. There are no warning signs. I'm sorry.
December 30, 2014 - I blame "mobile"
Why is every page on the worldwide web starting to look like it belongs on the wall of a kindergarten classroom?! I haven't seen so much color blocking since the 1980's. Bleah!
November 15, 2014 - PB&B?
Ran out of grape jam today. So sad, I was really craving a PB&J! ...A few panicked moments went by, and then I found a jar of grape jelly way in the back of the fridge. Ha ha!! Thank goodness, since the peanut butter was already on the bread.
And when I opened it? White fuzz. Apparently this wonderful concord grape jelly expired in 2012. *sigh*
That is how I discovered that peanut butter and blueberry jam make a pretty darn tasty sandwich.
November 14, 2014 - Weather Woes...Not!
Well, I guess the foot of snow we got today has rendered my plans to rake leaves obsolete. Yahoo, I get to spend the day playing Thief 2 Fan Missions instead! Thank you Mother Nature!
November 13, 2014 - hacked
Some asshole hacked my website. My piddly little half-assed blog that includes some cool game walkthroughs... hacked!
I don't check my gmail very often, but when I did today, there was a 5-day old message saying my site had probably been hacked. My first question: Why the hell didn't godaddy inform me of this? It's a strange feeling when a search engine tells you something your web hoster won't.
Rest assured, I've fixed the hacked pages. I'll be watching to see if they get hacked again in the next few weeks. And I apologize to anyone who arrived at my site under false pretenses, or found odd links trying to sell Buffalo Bills jerseys or sunglasses or jewelry at the very bottom of my pages.
The only thing you should see at the bottom of my web pages is an occasional google ad (which is probably blocked by your browser's ad-blocker), my email link, and a copyright notice. Anything else is despicable spam! Don't click on it!
And to the hacker: Get down on your knees and pray I never find out who you are. You ponzi bastard.
February 14, 2014 - Sour Romance
Now that Valentine's Day is here, I hope the barrage of TV ads for condoms, personal lubricants, vibrators, and other "romantic" items is over. I'm not a prude by anyone's definition, but watching a random couple discuss their bedroom athletics is more than I can take. I do eat dinner in front of the TV from time to time, you know!
Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jim Kelly! He has one of those names that leaves you smiling when you're done saying it. Thanks to him I enjoyed many years of amazing football. I miss seeing him on the field.
October 29, 2013 - System Shock 2 is on Steam!!!
Well, I may have to change my opinion of Steamworks because of this....
Anyone who can revive such a classic game deserves kudos from margotbean. And I know that requiring internet connectivity is (so far) the only effective way to combat software piracy. Still, what happens when my internet connection fails?
March 28, 2011 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution Buzz
I read an excellent article about Deus Ex: Human Revolution the other day. It was so well-written, it made me realize that I will never be a writer.
Apparently Deus Ex 3 is going to use Steamworks for pc. I can't express my disappointment at the thought of having to be connected to the web each and every second I'm playing the game... Such a shitty thing to do to legitimate game-buyers! ...I don't want to "be part of a gaming community", I want to turn the phone off, make the world disappear, and spend some quality time with my computer! Not some teenager from Tai Pei! I hope I never understand why Eidos would do this.
I'm gonna go and play Deus Ex (the first one) on my Windows 7 pc now...because it runs brilliantly, even though it's ten years old...I don't even have to use compatibility mode.
And I'm going to use the cheat codes!
December 8, 2010 - Weekend Plans?
Joy is discovering that you stashed six beers in the vegetable crisper last week.
November 30, 2010 - Random thought
There's something horribly "not right" with having to stretch your wrinkles tight so you can pop a zit.
November 23, 2010 - Random thought
I hate it when a cute boy in line at the grocery store makes me completely forget to use my coupons!
May 22, 2010 - VOD News...sort of
Tim Williams finally updated VOD's myspace page. (Sometime in early March.) It appears they have the songs for the new album...now they have to go through the finishing process. "Maybe some tour dates in 'late spring'."
I can't imagine what the holdup is, but that's really not surprising, me being stuck here on the Great Lakes far far from the eye of the hardcore scene...if any even exists anymore, not that I would know.
~ margot is listening to BloodSimple's first album, having thoroughly consumed Still and the green album earlier this evening ~
April 17, 2010 - The Times are A'Changin
After years of struggling with an economy-model graphics card (GeForce4 MX), 128MB memory, and a 40 GB hard drive, I finally decided to buy a new computer. I bought it online, and it arrived just two days ago.
Right out of the box, I wondered "Why is this monitor so shiny?" It was like a mirror, I tell you! All of my unwashed, pajama-clad, 8:45-in-the-morning glory, being reflected back at me in brilliant black clarity...disturbing! I quickly concluded that it must have some protective cover on it, and I would rip it off and burn it later.
Alas, this was not to be the case. The "protective cover" I thought I saw turned out to be only four thin strips of plastic covering the chrome-like border of the screen. I had indeed purchased a new mirror for my pc. *sigh*
But that wasn't the end of my dismay. Late at night, as I tried to play Deus Ex: Invisible War, a game I bought several years ago, and have never been able to play (because the GeForce4 MX doesn't support pixel shaders), the effects of the MIRROR's 16:9 aspect ratio became apparent. Everyone was short and fat. Stretched, it seems, from one end of the mirror to the other. Sacre bleu! What have I done to myself?!
March 4, 2010 - Beeeeeagle!
My neighbors got a new dog for Christmas. A beagle puppy named Bailey. She's unbelievably cute, curious, and well-behaved (...for a puppy, of course). As I watch her, I think "there may be no greater joy than a puppy's first romp in the snow."
While watching Bailey euphorically inspect every snowdrift, an acute melancholy comes over me. I think of images I've seen of beagles in cages. Not in adoption shelters, but in testing labs.
Beagles are used for cosmetic tests, as well as tests on chemicals used for cleaning toilets, dishes, floors, and for all I know, garbage trucks. They're used because they're docile and submissive. They're abused because they're nice dogs.
Most people explain their thoughts on animal testing by saying "If a rat has to die so a human doesn't, then so be it." I wish they knew the horrors that beagles suffer...adorable, intelligent, joyful beagles.
February 18, 2010 - It's Still Winter on the Great Lakes
As I spend hours shoveling and shoveling and still shoveling snow, I wonder where those kids are - the ones who used to wake me up early on the weekend wanting to shovel the inch of snow in my driveway.
I amuse myself while shoveling by thinking of ways I would pummel them.
February 6, 2010 - The joys of home ownership
I don't know which is worse...it took me 2 weeks to rake all those leaves.
February 3, 2010 - A Crime Against Vegetarianism
My favorite veggie dogs, made by Morningstar Farms®, have been discontinued, due to supplier issues! Does the mafia control the soy supply now? Or is it trade sanctions against North Korea? Nobody's fessing up! I'm completely devastated!
February 18, 2010 - Update
Kellogg's responded to my email protesting the discontinuation of Veggie Dogs...they suggested I substitute Veggie Sausage Links instead. I emailed them and said if they expected me to serve breakfast sausage at a large summer picnic, they'd lost their minds. If this is an indication of their business sense, I'm not surprised they can't find a kitchen to make their veggie dogs anymore...
June 20, 2012 - Update
A recent Morningstar Farms Insider email informs me that veggie dogs are once again being produced! Unfortunately, not in my city. Or anywhere near my city. Maybe someday... sigh
January 9, 2010 - Sabotage in my Mailbox
My back has been sore for a couple of days. Too much snow shoveling, I suppose. The one night I finally got enough rest, I woke up with an annoying twinge between my shoulder blades that progressed to an intense ache intermixed with searing pain as I padded gently through the day in my bedroom slippers.
A side effect of the pain was that I chose not to shovel the front steps. (Where are those damned annoying teenagers now that there's a couple of feet out there?!)
I've no lack of considerate neighbors who own snow blowers (big powerful monstrous ones), and they've kept my driveway more than passable lately. But you can't use a snowthrower on cement steps - we're all on our own for that job. And since I've been busy shoveling and salting every day for the past too-many-to-count days, I expected a bit of consideration...from the only person who traverses my steps besides me...the mailman.
Normally, my mailman is a gem. If there's a package I need to sign for, and I've stepped out, he'll actually stop back around a second time to see if I've returned. His dedication to the postman's creed floors me. And, he's a nice guy. We've had many enjoyable political discussions prompted by the "Hillary for President" signs still proudly displayed in my front windows. (Hey, I paid $32 for them, I'm not throwing them away!) I love the guy!
So, I was more than a little dismayed to find "not shoveled 1/8/10" scrawled on the front of one of my letters today. More like outraged.
It just so happens that I was going out to try to shovel when I checked the mail today. I noticed the comment, but decided to use my anger on the snow, and deal with the graffiti-ing mailman later. Unfortunately, I completely threw my back out on the second step, and had to quit immediately. I don't know how I got my shoes off! I've never felt such pain!
So, here it is, 6 hours later. I'm well medicated and comfortable, despite the fact that it's only 4 degrees outside. It's time to decide what to do about the insult tattooed on my private mail. Do I dare do anything to get my beloved postman in trouble? I am well aware that he's free to skip my house if he deems it dangerous to deliver my mail, and he must be aware of this too. Why not just do that instead of violating my letter? What the hell was he thinking? Or, was it a substitute mailman? Some new little snot who thinks it's his job to keep track of my winter obligations?
There's no shortage of unshoveled homes in my neighborhood. The idiots who live behind me haven't shoveled in four years. The woman across the street is in her 70's. Are they receiving nasty memos as well? Is this some new policy of the post office - keep track of how many days we're laid up, and put hash marks on the mail to let us know that they know? Someone should tell them that today is the 9th, then, and it's actually been TWO DAYS that I've neglected my steps.
Tomorrow is Sunday, and the post office is closed. Perhaps by Monday I will have calmed down and thrown the envelope in the recycling bin where it belongs. Looking at the big picture, it's not a reason to go to war with my mailman. I suppose he does have the upper hand, if I ever want to get another package. Still, with all the barking dogs and rude rude rude neighbors, I don't think I can let this little jab slide. What would you do?
December 25, 2009 - Merry Christmas
My Tree is beautiful. Magical, even. I remember being a child and staring at the tree, absolutely certain it was the center of all good things, of all the light and peace around me.
This year, I had a little trouble with the tree... While trying to remove section B from the stand in anticipation of inserting section C, as I was supposed to do in the first place, the Christmas tree's stand whapped me in the face, bending and chipping my year-old pristine Vera Wang frames and giving me the second shiner of my life.
It's all I can think of when I look at it.
December 19, 2009 - Winter continues
Color me annoyed. I was awoken this Saturday morning by three kids knocking on my door and ringing the bell for five minutes. It seems they wanted to shovel my driveway. I find this perplexing, as three sets of bootprints seems to have completely removed the thin trace of powder that's currently fallen.
I want to praise their ambition and work ethic, I really do, but with the lack of snow and the early hour, I feel more like the victim of aggressive telemarketing than someone who's crushed the hopes of three teens facing a weekend with no disposable income.
It's not that I'm opposed to paying someone else to do a difficult job -- two years ago I paid a boy $20 to shovel 8" from my driveway and sidewalk. I watched him as he worked, seemingly in fast-forward. He really attacked it, finishing in about ten minutes what would have taken me an hour. So, I felt the hour's pay I gave him was well worth it. Unfortunately, he never came back! I can only hope he did well enough to buy a fleet of snowplows, and move to Buffalo, NY, where he's sure to become a millionaire.
As for me, I'm left without the best, and without proper rest.
December 3, 2009 - Garbage Day
It's winter here on the Great Lakes. Don't you hate it when you realize that you have to not only put on shoes, but a heavy coat, hat, and gloves just to walk to the curb?
My informal survey of coworkers shows that 12% of men refuse to get bundled up; they brave the cold uncovered. 98% of women say they make their husbands take out the trash. Times like these I wish I could find a good "rent-a-husband" service. Brrr!
December 1, 2009 - Education Gone Awry?
A local commercial for a SuperBowl contest claims that two "runner up's" will win a $50 gift card. Can you spot what's wrong with that statement?
The contest is a joint effort between a local University and the local CBS affiliate. "Go team!"