Classic Dishes...

Apparently, Sometimes, It IS Easy

The Four Of You are aware that I have a little bit of a background in broadcasting; in college I was one of the radio voices for San Jose State athletics on the campus radio station. So I’m a bit of a sports broadcasting geek. You also know that I’ve been known to watch the San Jose Sharks play hockey, erm, every once in a blue moon. But just in case you are a newcomer to the Fellowship of the Four, now you’re all caught up and you have what you need to appreciate what follows below.

My brother’s Christmas gift arrived yesterday, and this afternoon was my first opportunity to open it. It came in two parts: a game I had been wanting for a while, and an autographed Sharks game puck, with two signatures on each side. Which is always cool, but in this case, I couldn’t identify the players who had signed it. This is odd for me; having followed the team almost obsessively for the last fourteen years, I can pretty much identity every single player who has ever donned a teal jersey. So I pondered it for a little while, and finally gave up. and put it aside. I figured next time I could catch my brother, I’d ask him who it was, and undoubtedly feel quite foolish that I didn’t figure it out myself.

So later on, this evening, I was watching the boys beat the crap out of Nashville, and I picked up the puck and was considering it again. Suddenly, the fog lifted and the light came on. And I got that tingly feeling that you get when you receive a truly well-considered gift, one of those gifts that just screams out that the giver was really thinking about what you might truly treasure.

You see, my brother got a puck signed by Dan Rusanowsky and Jamie Baker on one side, and Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda on the other. The San Jose Sharks’ radio and television broadcast crews, respectively. This is not the sort of thing you pick up in the arena gift shop, he had to have actually hit them up on Press Row (which is very accessible in San Jose; it’s at the bottom of section 215, but still) to sign it before a game.

As a result, to recognize my brother’s status as a stone-cold PIMP, I am pleased to present him as the inaugural recipient of Chez Fred’s newest award, the Player’s Ball Big Pimpin’ Cup:

Big Pimpin' Cup

All The Hebrews In The House Say OYYYY!


(And apologies for not having written much lately. Starting next week I’ll have a lot more free time for a while, and plan to try to get back on a regular schedule of posting.)

I Hate To Say I Told You So…

Remember when Clay Bennett bought the Seattle Sonics last year?

I’ll Say

From a Reuters article about the TiVo-on-a-Comcast-cable-box:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Digital video recorder company TiVo Inc said on Tuesday the roll-out of its services is a “little behind” schedule. 

The timeline they originally announced was “mid-to-late 2006.”

God, I love my TivoHD.

At Least I Have…Dammit, I Used That One Already

Last night I was working some magic with my Tivo, mainly because the Zap2It folks (who provide the data that Tivo uses to create their own guide data) haven’t figured out that MLB Extra Innings is now NHL Center Ice, and as a result my Sharks games are attempting to record on a channel four lower than they should be. Basically, until they get this fixed, my Tivo thinks it’s in Federal Way. This marks the first time I can think of that I’ve ever actively wanted anything associated with me to THINK it’s in Federal Way, much less actually BE there.

So, because of this, I had to go through the rigmarole of telling the Tivo which channels I actually get as opposed to what they think I get, so it doesn’t decide I want to see Weapons of Ass Destruction 4 and record 234 minutes of black screen on the pr0n channel, instead of the acting talents of Alexis Amore, Jasmine Byrne, and the acclaimed star of Monster Meat, Mandingo. (What?)

And because of THAT, my TV happened to be on a channel called “The Word,” which their own press kit proudly touts as “The Urban Religious Channel.” I quickly shouted down the urge to bounce up a channel and see if I could come across The Deaf Albanian Midget Cooking Channel. (I hear they’re delicious if you marinate them in a little teriyaki sauce first.)

Anyhow, it just so happened that I fired up The Word at exactly the right time to meet this man.

Yep. Leroy Jenkins. Priceless.

Well, not exactly priceless…in fact, looking at the Products section of his site (I’d link you there if it wasn’t all Flash), we find that his services come with a very specific price….$20 for a one-liter bottle of his Miracle Water. (But only $100 for a case of 24! That’s a savings of almost 80%! I’ll take six!)

Best part: his Web guy is taking full advantage of his doppelganger for SEO purposes, as shown in the metatags:

<meta name=”keywords” content= “Miracle Water, Healing Water, Faith, Testimonies, Book of Acts, Reconstructive Miracles, Healings of Leukemia, Healings of Sickle Cell Anemia, Healings of Seizures, Healings of Heart Disease, Healings of HIV, Healings of AIDS, Healings of Cancer, Healings of Broken Necks, Restoration of Hearing, Restoration of Sight, Resurrection, Nine Gifts of the Spirit, Gift of Prophecy, Gift of Tongues, Discerning of Spirits, Word of Knowledge, Word of Wisdom, Healings, Faith Magazine, Faith Books, Faith DVDs, Praise and Worship CDs, T-Shirts, Leeroy Jenkins, world of warcraft, Reverend, God, Christianity, Rev. Leroy Jenkins, Phoenix Arizona “>

Anyhow, I dunno where I’m going with this; I just wanted to share the white-hot rush of joy I felt when I discovered that Leroy Jenkins is a real person.

AT&T, Phone Home

I’ve been meaning to comment on the current situation with the iPhone, but hadn’t had time to get around to it. Finally, today, I came across a piece that was so mind-bendingly STUPID that I have been inspired to action. In the past, you’ve seen me rail on technology writers. Now, I realize that suggesting there is a lot of bad writing online is a little like suggesting that water is wet, and I further realize that a lot of said bad writing comes from amateurs just looking to plug their website or make a couple of freelance bucks on the side writing a piece for Gamespot or something. That’s one thing. When a full-blown professional adult working for CNET screws the pooch, that’s something else again.

Enter Don Reisinger.

I first came across Mr. Reisinger as a guest on Leo Laporte’s This Week in Tech podcast from this past weekend, where he was brought on to discuss an article he wrote last week about how Microsoft just needs to throw in the towel on Windows Vista. Which would have been great if my experience and that of my collegues even came CLOSE to his talking points; I’ve been running it since February, and the LONE problem I have had with it traced back to a shareware application that doesn’t play nice with the Desktop. (And that the author can’t be bothered to update, but that’s another rant.) I personally know of NOBODY who has had the kind of experience with it that Reisinger claimed: that it crashes a lot, that it’s a resource hog, and that User Account Control is a nuisance. (Hint: if you’re using the OS the way you’re SUPPOSED to use the OS, the way 99% of users use the OS, instead of mucking around in Program Files and the Windows folder and whatnot, you barely know it’s there.)

So he jumped behind the wheel of the Microsoft Sucks bandwagon, and Leo, being the Mac apologist that he is, hopped right into the shotgun seat. Truly O’Reillyesque, it was. If it were a hockey podcast, he would have been Al Strachan. John Dvorak was out this week, so I’m guessing Reisinger was called in to fill the position of Blowhard Who Talks Out Of His Ass To Drive Website Traffic.

I thought hoped I was done with this guy. Then, today, I come across this little ditty, where he puts the blame on AT&T for the recent firmware update that has bricked hax0red iPhones. Apparently Apple is 0% responsible, since big bad AT&T has “forced” them to release this firmware, which renders phones that have been hacked to use on carriers outside of AT&T (temporarily) inoperable, and disables third-party apps that weren’t supposed to work anyhow.

What a crock of SHITE.

Never mind the obvious: when you hack ANY device, you’re taking your life into your hands; PSP owners can tell you a thing or two about that. But, Don: You do know, I hope, being the business expert that you are, that AT&T wrote Apple a BIG FAT CHECK for the right to be the iPhone’s exclusive U.S. carrier, right? And that Apple did not say “No, we don’t want to be beholden to you to keep hackers locked out of this device,” no, sir, they ran right down to their bank and CASHED IT. And while the world was finding out that freeing themselves from the shackles of AT&T was as easy as running a couple of apps on it, they were over in Europe accepting similar checks from O2, T-Mobile, and Orange!

Do I think the iPhone should be carrier-agnostic and that people should be able to run whatever apps they want to on it? God, yes. But the Apple fanboiz need to get it through their heads that Apple isn’t nearly the paragon of goodness and virtue that they think.

As for Don Reisinger: sir, please feel free to come up on stage and accept your Golden Slurpee, compliments of our good friends at 7-Eleven. Because….audience?


That’s right! Check us out next year as our broadcast comes to you from the armpit of America: Oxnard, California! Until then, good night!

Sorry, Wrong Number

My medical benefits from work are handled through CIGNA HealthCare. (Yeah, CamelCase and everything.) Like a lot of healthcare plans, they have a website where you can look up records, make sure billing has gone through, order prescription refills, stuff like that.

So yesterday I’m sitting here going through my credit card statement, and I see that a prescription whose co-pay should have been charged to my card some time ago, wasn’t. And I think “okay, I should give them a buzz, because if I let it go it WILL come back to bite me in the future.”

I pick up the phone. The website that everything is managed from is, and I can’t remember off the top of my head what the phone number is to contact them, aside from it being one of those 1-800-LETTERS jobs. Automatically, I think “well,, right? Must be 1-800-MYCIGNA.”

Dial. Ring.

“Mmmmmmm, you have come to the prace where hot, horny Asian girl can’t wait to tease and prease you…” (Swear to Glub, that’s a direct transcript.)

I had no idea that Western healthcare was moving towards Traditional Chinese practices.

Tonight’s Forecast: Dark

Wednesday: Sweltering heat, hitting 100 degrees in many parts of town.

Friday morning: Torrential downpour.

Yep. I live in Seattle.

Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy

It’s satisfying to actually finish a project for a change, instead of starting it and leaving it to rot.

The Four Of You, if you are indeed one of the longtime Four, will remember that I installed lights in my PC case a few years ago. I was never happy, however, with the snarl of wires that this put in the bottom of the case, because all of the power switches were mounted on slot covers in the back.

Over time, the machine has been…well, it’s been completely gutted. All of the parts you see above are now sitting in a case by my kitchen table, awaiting conversion into a dedicated MAME system. Well, thanks to a few parts from the good people at CoolerGuys and McLendon Hardware, I’ve finally gotten everything hidden away in the front of the case, and the switches put up front where they are easier to access.

So, please have a look, because you know it’s a rare day that I actually pull out the digital camera…

Link for those who don’t see Flash in their RSS feeds…


(The following is a Chez Fred Public Service Announcement.)

Don’t ever get your wallet stolen.

(The preceding was a Chez Fred Public Service Announcement.)

I’ll give you the short version since this post isn’t really about that: I was at Fred Meyer, I had the fanny pack I keep my wallet in up in the top section where you put a little kid, I got up to the front and loaded my groceries onto the conveyor belt, I go into my pack to get my wallet out to pay, gone. Yes, I’ve looked in my car. Yes, I’ve scoured my apartment. It’s gone. And it sucks. Among Things That Suck, I must say that getting your wallet stolen is way up there on the list.

So, what else to do but move on. I’ve spent a goodly bit of this week contacting various and sundry agencies to get my ID’s and credit cards and whatever replaced, and in researching how to go about getting a replacement Social Security card (yes, I know you’re not supposed to carry it in your wallet anymore; I grew up during a time when you did and didn’t worry about it, and never took it out), I discovered that the credit agencies are a little more cooperative when it comes to putting a long-term fraud alert on your credit reports if you file a police report. I initially wasn’t going to bother, because I’m of reasonable mind and I know there isn’t a hope in hell of seeing the thing again. But now, I figure, what the hell.

Which brings us to today’s story: It’s Wednesday afternoon, and I’m in the Seattle Police Department, North Precinct Office. I stride up to the counter, and the officer on duty asks me how he can help me.

“Yes, Officer, I need to file a report for a wallet I lost last Sunday.”

“Last Sunday? Well, why didn’t you call us THEN?”

Excuse me?

“Well, I didn’t realize the wallet had actually been stolen yet, and I haven’t had time to come down and do this until today.”

“You should have called us immediately! We would have put an alert on all of your credit cards, and when someone tried to get credit, it would notify us, and we’re off and running and we get ’em!”

Right, because the Seattle Police Department is going to tear themselves away from beating down WTO protestors to mobilize all of their forces in the interest of locating one guy’s wallet.

I admit at this point that I’m a little flustered, partially because I’ve spent the last several days dealing with every pain-in-the-ass agency you can think of, from the Visa to the credit reporting agencies and down to Blockbuster Video, and partially because, as the victim of a crime, I’ve also spent the last few days beating myself up over the same thing, and the LAST thing I was expecting was for the friggin’ POLICE to pile onto the guilt trip I’ve already done a great job of launching on my own.

Sadly, this isn’t the end.

“You should make sure that you call your bank and credit card people and such to make sure all of these cards get cancelled.”

“Yes, I did that the second I realize the wallet was gone, and I’ve been watching my accounts online to make sure that nothing unauthorized gets through.”

“Oh, you had time to do that, but you didn’t have time to call us?”

It is at this point that I steal a glance at the officer’s nametag, fully expecting to see either “Barbrady,” “Wiggum,” or “Farva,” but, surprisingly, it was none of those.

Sadly, local police aren’t under any obligation to file theft reports, so I have no choice but to stand there and absorb all of this. Finally, after he repeats the above bullet points several more times, I interject:

“Look, I’m here now, alright? What’s done is done, I’m here now.”

Officer Winchell just stares at me. Finally, he reaches for a pad of forms, and in the most magnanimous way possible, favors me with:

“Well, since you’re here now, I guess I’ll take the report for you.”

Gee, thanks for that.

He then asks me when it happened (“Sometime between 4:30P and 5:30P on Sunday, Officer”), where I was (“The Fred Meyer on Lake City Way”), and what was in my wallet, interrupting me to inform me that certain items that would be completely reasonable to be concerned about for identity theft purposes, like my medical and dental benefit cards, “didn’t matter.” Well, jackbag, if they don’t matter, DON’T ASK ME TO TELL YOU WHAT’S IN MY WALLET.

Turn. Sigh. Tappity-tap-tap into a computer. (Next to that computer, one with a photograph open of what I can only assume is a young relative of some kind, apparently what I pulled this guy away from with my invasive official business. I say I assume this was a young relative, but if somehow I found out that it was in fact the kid this guy was cornholing, I have to say it wouldn’t surprise me.) And he hands me a business-sized card with my report number on it, just as magnanimously as he did when he graciously agreed to do his friggin’ job in the first place. Here you go, get out of here, I’ve got a picture to wank to.

And I’ve got nothing left in the tank, and I know that it wouldn’t do a single bit of good anyhow, so I give him a “Thank you very much, Officer,” and go on my way.

So, yeah, there’s the story. I didn’t have a particularly positive opinion of our local law enforcement to start with, and all this guy did was reinforce that with a fine network of titanium steel.

I bet if I sent this card out to the lab, I’d find traces of powdered sugar on it, too.