Gamestop, Where You Fry In Hell of Small Brains?
May 20, 2007

Before I continue about how much I dislike Gamestop, I feel it appropriate to fill you in on the juicy details of me getting my PSP.  At the second Gamestop we went to, I approached the counter and asked how many used PSPs they had.  About 4.  Okay, cool.  My intentions all along were to load the PSP with a hacked custom firmware, but I thought it was possible to downgrade from any version of the Sony firmware.  So, I basically took the first one I tried out.  It was okay; it had some physical malformations (a PSP tumor is crazy lookin'), and I didn't see any dead pixels.  I was tired of being there, and I wanted to go home.

Immediately once I got back to Ehab's house with my acquisition, I look on the internet to figure out how to hack it.  I have version 2.81 firmware, okay... um.... what? Grand Theft Auto?  It turns out that at this time, it required a certain version of GTA for the PSP to run the hacks on any firmware above 2.80.  DAMN.  I'm not going to ever buy a GTA game, so this is no good.  I was also noticing the disturbing physical maladies that afflicted the device... alright, if I'm gonna do this, I want to do it right!

So, we went BACK to the Gamestop where I bought it (read below for the finished PS3 story to find out that we in fact went to each Gamestop we visited twice; that's painful) and I used the physical flaw excuse to hide my real motives, hakkin'.  I went through another 2 PSPs, slyly checking the firmware versions and blaming my dislike of each particular device on some negligible physical defect.  Then, I found mine: version 2.71 firmware, a free case, a replaced joystick, and no visible scoffs.  I traded that bitch and left happy.

The Gamestop employee, however.... was pissed at how picky I had been.  Oh well, my dear nerd.  Oh well.

The last I informed you, Ehab had walked away the happy, Gamestop-tired owner of a new PS3.  But the trouble wasn't over yet.  Our visit to the second Gamestop, where I received my first of the daily PSPs, yielded more frustration.  Nicola, the cell phone-to-ear operative, and Nelly, the far-too-enthusiastic gamer, were there.  Nicola hassled Ehab about buying a PS3 some more.  Nelly, on the other hand, kept claiming that the graphics in a prerendered cutscene for the game Lair were in-game engine graphics.  Whatever, guys.

I did score some luck for Gamestop's stupidity, however.  I got the limited edition of MGS3 for $20 (free actually, with their used game deal).  I'm a collector, and I wanted that third disc like mad.  I preordered the game for it, but it was in very limited quantity, and I lost out.... until now.

Then, Ehab and I remembered that Gamestop had a deal for getting the PS3 Blu-ray remote for free with any PS3 system.  Oh yeah!  We traveled back to the first Gamestop to cash in on the deal, and they had to refund Ehab his money and recharge it to get him the remote.  At this point, we were numb.  Very numb from Gamestupid. <-Mature!

At this point in the telling, I feel like elements of the original frustration have been lost, but I also think that in order for you to better understand why I dislike Gamestop so much, let me give you some other examples:

  1. My sister and I went in one day to buy PS2s.  This is when they were $150, and they were the most popular console.  We wanted them... but a Gamestop employee almost begged us NOT to get them because they would scratch up our discs and break.  My sister had owned one previously and had no troubles.  We left and went to EBGames to buy them.  Until I traded mine in for a PS3, I had absolutely ZERO trouble with mine.  Okay, Gamestop.

  2. A year before the Xbox360 came out, Ehab and I were in Gamestop looking at PS2 games.  An employee came up and asked if we'd like to preorder a 360.  No, we wouldn't.  Are you sure?  Yes, we'd rather have PS3s anyway.  This perturbed the employee.  He informed us that the PS3 is dead in the water before it comes out. (And yes, this is a different Gamestop than the "it bricked before I opened it" one).  He continued by claiming it was the next NeoGeo.  Then, he tried to convince us even harder by showing us "In-game footage of Gears of War."  You know what that footage was?  Screenshots in a magazine.  Nice try....?

  3. Ehab and I traded in a bunch of games for some multiplayer games and EyeToy stuff for the PS2 and it took them about 25 minutes to check us out.  No idea how that happened.

  4. I traded in some games, and they took my driver's license and didn't give it back.  It slipped my mind to ask for it back.  Two weeks later I realized where it was and called them.  It turns out they have a huge pile of driver's licenses.  I asked them, "If you require driver's licenses and phone numbers to trade in games, if you keep our licenses, shouldn't you call our phone numbers.... to let us know?"  That was a baffling idea.
So, as you can see, Gamestop.... rocks.  Stay tuned this week for some eBay scamming goodness!

The City of Newberry vs. Alex Wroten, 2nd Movement
January 11, 2007

So, I'm pulled over on the highway, devastated because I have a whopping $375 ticket, and I'm pretty sure my license will almost be revoked (at this time, I thought there were only 6-8 points on a license).  Defeated, I rev up, look up, and head onward home.

My birthday's pretty much as boring and uneventfully depressing as anyone could ever not wish.  There, I said it.

The NEXT day, though, pretty much rocked.  My mother visited the town oracle for help.  The oracle tossed around her bones and transcribed a heavenly message from their scattering...  Ala Wyer?  What does that mean?  Oh, by golly!  A lawyer!  The oracle knew a lawyer, and he could probably get that ticket knocked down like a lumberjack felling a tree in one mighty swing. Score one for me.  I went to visit him the next day...

After waiting for a few minutes, I meet him.  "What the fuck were you thinking driving that fast?  Have you ever seen a Honda flip going 100 miles per hour? You're too young to die.  Statistically, you're still at a higher risk until you're over 26." Damn, dude.  I understand where you're coming from, but... nice to meet you too.  Suddenly, I'm a juvenile delinquent staring down the vast neck of an army sergeant on Scared Straight: Traffic Ticket Edition.  The lawyer is, of course, just doing his job - but I wasn't really too pleased with it nonetheless.

I had no idea what to expect.  He told me that he could definitely reduce the ticket to four points and $150 fine, but he could maybe get it down to two points.  Either way, it was looking a little better....

"Hand me my cellphone," he growls at me.  I comply.  He dials the appropriate sheriff's office.  After his introductions, the first thing he says is, "I'd really like to get this ticket down to two points."  I was impressed with the simplicity.  He wants it, that much the sheriff's office knows.... but unfortunately he'll have to speak with the arresting officer.  Was I really officially arrested? Damn.

Minutes later, we leave, and I discuss with my mom my lack of appreciation for his demeaning tone for my mistake.  Oh well, keep whining Alex. I will receive a phone call from the lawyer once he gets in touch with the appropriate officer....

Which happens the next night! "Get a piece of paper. Write this down."  I scramble to find one.... Alright.  Mmm hmmm.  "Repeat that back to me." blah blah blah.  "Alright, and if they don't remember that, give me a call then." Yes sir, thank you very much.  G'bye now. YES! He rocks!

Officially now: 2 point ticket, $76 fine.  Heavenly guitar wailing graced my imagination as my victory had been procured.  January 10th. The day of my court date. Gotta mark that on the calendar.  Done.

I bought the lawyer a gift certificate for a CD store (since I was a pro bono case) and set it out of my mind.... sort of.


On January 10th, I planned on leaving my apartment so I could get to court an hour early.  About half an hour before leaving, my phone sparkled with pleasant, alerting tones.  I answered it.

"You remember that court is today, right?"  It's the lawyer. Yes sir, I remember. I'm leaving soon. "Alright.  Well, you've got my number, right?"  Yes sir (it's on the same sheet of paper from the last time he called).  "Good. Hey, thanks for that gift certificate. That was very nice."  Well thank you sir.  .... and soon, I was off to the court session.

I had no printer paper, and I have an awful natural sense of direction (I guarantee there will be something about that on my website before too long), so I had to write down shorthand directions on my trusty Lawyer Information sheet. No mileages, just directions and road names. I can figure out the rest.  It takes me about forty-five minutes to reach the proper town. It would have only taken me thirty if I had been going MY speed...

I have only seen court scenes in movies and TV, so I really didn't know what to expect of traffic court.  I did think, however, it occurred in a proper court house.  Once I got into this town, I started looking for Kendall St, where I was supposed to turn to reach the address on my ticket.  I passed the court house.  Hmmm.... that doesn't seem right. Oh well.  I kept going.  I reached a dead end.  Shit.  I begin to wonder whether or not the court house recently moved (in under a month?) to a new location, but I decide to backtrack a little. Nope.  I don't find it at all.  After thirty minutes of searching, I decide to go into the court house and ask.

"I'm looking for the traffic court, and I'm supposed to go on Kendall St but I can't find it."  A cop near their security checkpoint looks at my ticket.  "Pfshooo boy, ninedee sebbun myulzunar? He he he."  Another cop interrupts him, "It's about 37 miles down the highway."  I hope he's joking, but he looks serious.  Oh no.  I left to get there early, but I'm going to miss it.  "He he he.  He's just playin'. He gawn show you where it is."  Officer Titan lifted an Earth-sized burden from my shoulders with that statement.  The second officer and I walk outside and he rattles off some lefts and rights and stoplights, and I focus all of my thoughts on his words.  We kiss and say goodbye... I mean.... I thank him and hop in my car.

I have ten minutes to get there now, and I decide that I should go ahead and make another mistake.  My car is parked in a row of spaces that go like this : \  \  \  \  \, and what do I do but decide to do a U-turn and drive -> that way.  Someone is trying to enter the court house parking lot and is stopped by my skillful steering showcase.  I straighten out, and continue.  This second driver rolls his window down, "You see how these cars are parked?" Uh huh. "This goes one way.  You picked the wrong place to be messin' up."  Uh.... uh.... I drive off.  I get on the road, and follow the fading directions given to me by the officer... Ahhh, there it is....

The 'court' building looked like a small version of my high school: run down and full of unsavory folks and policemen.  HA!  There are no parking spots, and it's four minutes until my 'court session'.  Ahhh!  I park on some dirt where other cars were, grab my ticket and my Lawyer Information sheet, put my phone and iPod in my glove box, and skeedaddle into this building...the Sheriff's office.  There are about thirty others waiting in the lobby, each one of them confused.  It seems no one here has gotten a speeding ticket before, except Rosco.  All of the cops know him by name.  Strange.  We all wait for what seems like an hour (about six minutes).  Countless times I heard, "Is this traffic court? ...Where do we go?... What time do you have on your ticket?"  All valid questions, but I didn't need to ask them thanks to everyone else.  One lady is a talkative southern broad who feels it is her turn to play History Catch-Up.  Somehow, in this six minutes, I found out the following:

  • She has never gotten a ticket before.
  • It's her son's ticket.
  • He goes to school and works and can't make it to court.
  • She wants to speak with the officer.
  • She used to date the officer.
  • That was years ago, she has a grown-up son now.
  • She's gained fifty pounds since then.
  • She'll just leave the officer a note.
Meanwhile, in front of me is the 'court room' and around me are a bunch of traffic violators.  Are we all going to go in that room and talk to the judge about our situations in front of each other?  Are they going to hate me for having a lawyer?  The door keeps swinging open and I see plenty of chairs for us all to utilize... My nervousness causes my hands to work double-time.  I fold my Lawyer Information sheet into one small rectangular Lawyer Cheat Sheet.  All of the blank parts of the page are folded in.  It's my one lifeline on Who Wants to Not Get a $375 Ticket?

An officer walks out and calls one person's name.  They enter the Chamber of Courtliness, and no one else follows. Hmmm.... maybe this won't be so bad after all.  A little fuss starts, whispering, confusion....  One man, middle-aged and balding with the most frighteningly piercing, serial killer eyes and broad, human flesh-consuming jaws speaks up to the clerk. (When entering the building, on the right is the 'court room', and on the left are two windows for clerks/cashiers).  "I'm a professor at Blahdeeblah Technical College, and I've got a class in an hour and a half. Is there any way I can expedite this?"  Oooh, favor asking.  And let me say, he is very hickish and I can hardly believe he's a professor...

After two more names, I'm called in. Well, this isn't so bad.  There are three police officers, looking through tickets like accountants examining receipts.  My officer speaks to me softly.  "I seem to remember speaking to a Mr. [Lawyer's Surname].  Did he inform you of this?"  Yes, sir. "And are you okay with it?" Yes, sir.  "Do you have $76 on you today?" Yes, sir. "Alright, I'm gonna rewrite this ticket and we'll have you out of here in no time. Just sit right there behind me." I do. There is one other character in the room.  He's the court magistrate.  He wears a white shirt, no hair, and a smug, happy-go-lucky banker look.  He's the comedian too.  He weaves a tale of two drunk cousins requesting restraining orders earlier in the day. Great comedy, folks, but I'm outta here.  My good buddy officer gives me the new ticket, and I go to the clerk to settle my score with the law officially.

I left that station, and I never intend on going back.  I call the lawyer and inform him of the success....

"If you set your cruise control to 9 miles over the speed limit going down that highway, you'll never get pulled over."  Sound advice.

LV for Lameness Vendetta
August 14, 2008

I was pretty happy with my post from two weeks ago about lameness.  I felt that it was decently clever, and that's really all I ever wanted.  I didn't know it would have such a quick ripple on the internet (And I mean ripple. Not wave. I don't even know if anyone other than my friends read my site regularly).

But before I get to this I want to cover a few bits of news that I find interesting:

  • Last night my cell phone illuminated without being touched or plugged in, and it wasn't ringing.  For about 3 seconds I imagined that it had become self-aware, and I assumed that I would wake up to a technological protest and be unable to write this post.  What a silly idea!
  • Twenty minutes ago I saw a very heart-touching commercial for OnStar that ended with a glaring typo.  What should have read "Automatic Vehicle Response" actually read "Automatic Vehicle Repsonse".  And this was a nationally-broadcasted commercial. I hope someone got fired.
  • Announced today: Julia Child was a spy.  Who would've ever guessed that?
More news at 11.

An Example of My Personality
A few days after I wrote the last post, I went out to lunch with some friends at a local restaurant.  I ordered chicken stir-fry.  When the food finally came out, I was dissatisfied with the 3 tablespoons of rice that accompanied my order. The waitress asked if we needed anything.  I politely requested more rice.

This is where things turned sour.

The waitress told me she would get me more rice when I needed it.  I didn't understand the need for sarcasm.  But more than that I didn't understand why I would be denied rice!  Without thinking, I immediately poured my meager helping of rice from its aluminum receptacle onto my stir-fry and said something along the lines of, "Okay, I need it now."  I can see why my friends thought this was bitchy and rude of me, but I had already been denied a simple request.  The waitress didn't seem offended.  All was well.  It was over.

After we had nearly finished eating, the waitress asked me if I still needed rice. But I had already gotten the extra rice from one of my friends since she wouldn't help me. I had two choices here: 1.) be nice and politely say, "No, but thank you," or 2.) tell the truth and say, "No, I already got more from [my friend] because he didn't want it all." Clearly I chose #2.  I couldn't let her think she was right for not getting me what I politely requested.  She couldn't win.  She denied me rice.

So why did I start with that story?  Partly because I think it's worth telling, but mostly because I want to establish that I can't let bitchiness or lameness go by unchallenged.  This brings us to the official second part of a story that should have only had one part.

Here it is:

Lame and Uninformed, pt. 1 - redux
In LaU, pt. 1 I discussed a particular case of lameness over believing that I lied about my remixes of Pink Floyd discussed in my music section (I don't feel like peppering my post with links this time around.  You can find it if you believe in yourself).  I'm just going to pretend that no one has read about it.  Here we go.

In seventh grade, I started to make music electronically on the computer.  At the time I was still obsessed with Pink Floyd, and had recently discovered MP3s and bootleg trading online.  I amassed a tremendous collection of Pink Floyd bootlegs, including so-called trance remixes of their studio albums.  These remixes used samples of Pink Floyd songs and redefined their contexts in a framework of repetitive electronica.  Search for them online if that floats your boat.  I hadn't yet decided that I find techno and electronica generally very boring, and I was greatly inspired by the contextual reimagining of Pink Floyd music.

Also, there was a website at the time that was dedicated to these remixes.  They had all been created in the early 1990s (~1994 is the generally-accepted timeframe), and they were credited to The Orb most of the time (although surprisingly some think that Trent Reznor had something to do with them.  Seriously?  Could he do something that interesting?).  The website had an open invitation to all visitors to submit remixes for inclusion.  That seemed appealing to me.  Since Ummagumma was a little too experimental for me to wrap my mind around and I had already experimented overdubbing onto Cirrus Minor from Pink Floyd's soundtrack album More, I decided to take a crack at remixing the whole album.  It took me about a week, and I submitted the remixes gleefully.  They received surprising praise, and within a few weeks I decided to do another album.  For some reason I chose The Final Cut next.  In my opinion, these remixes were much better - although still awful.

After more praise, I was feeling pretty confident, and I started working on remixing both Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets.  At this time, I met a local record store owner who had a hefty collection of Pink Floyd bootlegs, and I set up an exclusive trade with him.  I made CD covers (contemplating putting my email address on them - but I didn't want any legal recourse at the time; silly me) and traded my remixes (and one other self-made disc - read on for more) for some stuff with him.  The shitty thing is that before he had fulfilled his end of the deal he sold them on eBay for about $30 as "brand new, shrinkwrapped" discs.  He ended up making about $100 off of my free trade!  Over the years, I occasionally searched for them on eBay and every now and then found them.  I also freely gave out the MP3s on a Hotline Connect Server (now dead) for trading Pink Floyd bootlegs.  The whole experience of being ripped off, however, influenced me to never release my other in-progress remixes.  Actually, one other person has them.  So I suppose really that I am open to trading again.

That's a newly-written version of the backstory.  I didn't even consult my other page about it because my server was down while I was writing it and I am too lazy to go find it on my other computer.  If that's not proof of its truth then I don't know what is! (That was sarcasm.)

In telling this story originally, I searched for the remixes on Google and found some pertinent results.  One of them was at the address  You will probably find that that link doesn't go anywhere useful. We'll get to that shortly.  Unsurprisingly, Neil Thomason (and I'm only assuming that is his name because I didn't dig around on his site - but the WHOIS info for it did wonders for my curiousity) believed them to originate from the same time as the other remixes.  So on his site it said that the remixes of More and The Final Cut were from 1994.  Can't blame him.  That's a good guess.  I think it's sort of cute.  That's why when I wrote my initial remix confession years ago, I said "Though according to
this page [linked to the appropriate page], my first remixes were done in 1994, they were really done
in 2000." I didn't think he was an idiot.  I just wanted to start with a baffling statement of inside information worthy of a Deborah Norville expose'.  That's where the story should have ended.  I also linked to this page:  That one has the album cover that I made and the same tracklist (there's a Medley because I ran out of clever ways to remix the songs, and I needed to condense them to actually finish the project), so I have no reason to believe it's not mine.  I just enjoy linking to information about myself that I didn't make.  It makes me feel like a celebrity.

But Neil Thomason apparently holds the remixes too dear to let a rice-requesting bastard like myself take unnecessary credit for them.  Sometime over the course of the last two years, he put a disclaimer next to the More and The Final Cut remixes on his site:

A person linking to this page claims I am referring to 'his' remixes of 'More' and 'The Final Cut',which were made in 2000. That is untrue. Anyone could have attempted remixes, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that they're the ones mentioned here!

My last post (remember, it only happened 2 weeks ago!) attempted to battle this statement a bit.  I have MP3 clips of these remixes on my discography page.  If the ones he has aren't the same as mine, that should prove it right?  I don't honestly know because I have a feeling he doesn't like to deal with factual information, regardless of what his website's address indicates.  You can read that post if you want to know more.

So last night I asked someone what they thought about my post, and he said the links hadn't worked for him.  "That's strange," I said.  Sure enough, Neil Thomason's Ministry of Information had jumped ship right at the moment of defeat by my new information. (And what a defeat it was!)  No.  Actually, Sir Thomason decided to pull a Websites 101 trick on me and change the address of his page.  Are you ready for this?  The new address (as of this post) is: Do you see that zero? That's a number that can never be a divisor in a math problem.  The result is undefined, and it will crash a computer program if you're not careful.

I'm being a bitch about this, yes.  But why he has to be so stubborn is beyond me.  To make matters even better, he has pushed his rebuttal further:

A person linking to this page claims I am referring to 'his' remixes of 'More' and 'The Final Cut',
which were made in 2000. That is untrue. Whilst I have no doubt that he
produced remixes, it doesn't automatically follow that no-one else did
too, and that 'his' are the the only remixes in circulation. There is
absolutely no reason to believe that they're the same ones mentioned
here Ė they could be anyone's.

In summary, he changed the address of his page so that my link wouldn't work, and he continued to claim I am lying.  Just wanted to make sure you got all that.  Let's go one sentence at a time.

A person linking to this page claims I am referring to 'his' remixes of 'More' and 'The Final Cut',
which were made in 2000.
I'm glad he got the gist of what I'm trying to say.  He seems pretty reasonable.  I like how he uses apostrophes as quotes... around the word "his".  It makes it look like slang for "fhist".

That is untrue.
This is where our convictions seem to differ.

Whilst I have no doubt that he
produced remixes, it doesn't automatically follow that no-one else did
too, and that 'his' are the the only remixes in circulation.
This statement is also pretty reasonable.  It doesn't automatically follow.  That's what my whole story + MP3 clips thing attempted to remedy.  The whole "automatically follow" thing.  And yes, it would be silly to doubt that I produced remixes since I do have downloadable ones.

There is
absolutely no reason to believe that they're the same ones mentioned
here Ė they could be anyone's.

This is really the sentence that warranted my bitchiness. The truth of the matter is that there is absolutely no reason to believe that they're NOT the same ones mentioned there.  I have given a pretty reasonable story to support my claim.  I even provided MP3 samples.  I think that the burden of proof is on him.

But, y'know what? I think maybe the root of the matter is either that: 1.) he doesn't want me to have made his favorite remixes while in 7th grade, or 2.) he wants his collection to seem more rare.  I'll give him #2.  I give him permission to distribute the remixes all he wants.  He can even charge money for them as long as he tells me how much so I can institute a competitive pricing plan. Our battle would be good for the consumer!  Maybe it seems to him like I'm overstepping my boundaries of fame.

Okay, let's have some fun.  Maybe he thinks I have a poker face when I lie.  Let's see....

The following are not true:
  • I am a woman.
  • I was born in Caracas with a clubbed foot, and I spent most of my childhood recovering from an in vitro crack addiction.
  • I wrote half of the songs on Pink Floyd's Division Bell and David Gilmour stole them.
  • I programmed the operating system for the iPhone.
You know, I could also throw in "In seventh grade I had a Super Nintendo."  But that's not outlandish enough, is it? So if I didn't do any of those things, what the hell have I done?

The following are not false:
  • I almost died when I was an infant, and an experimental drug saved my life.  Subsequently, I was in medical journals.
  • I remixed some Pink Floyd albums when I was in seventh grade that were traded over the internet and through eBay (through a bad trade) and never credited to me.
  • Through the same bad trade as the remixes, I put together a CD of various Pink Floyd tracks and such that I compiled from TV and VHS and MP3 files.  I traded this CD under the title "Hurricane Floyd" in 2000 as well, and eventually a German bootleg label got their hands on this CD and manufactured it to some extent, claiming its origin as 1992. (
  • I am friends with the avant-garde duo from the 80s, Renaldo and the Loaf.
  • I have a website full of stories from my life that are true.  But for some reason, people don't believe them.
But honestly, how impressive are these things? Not nearly as impressive as my lies.  Seriously though, it is just not worth it to claim these things.  I know that third one is a completely new can of worms.  But it's also true.  That one's harder to prove.

Oh yeah.... proof.

Alright, I'm feeling generous, I'm going to help out Mr. Neil Thomason.  In fact, if I haven't heard anything from him in two weeks (alex at turkeyworld dot org is my email address), I will email him to get the ball rolling.

Read This, Neil Thomason!
Here's my plan.  I have all of the original files of my remixes in the *.acd-zip format (for Sony's ACID <- free download!)  I want Mr. Neil Thomason to send me a 1 minute clip from each remix CD in question.  Any track will do.  If I did the remix, I will post the full ACID file on my website immediately for download to prove it.  In return for being wrong, Mr. Neil will have to write a 3-sentence apology for calling me a liar without proof.  If I didn't do the remix, I will write a scathing story about how stupid and misinformed I am as well as write a 6-sentence apology to The Ministry of Information's finest.  I will also correct all of the misinformation on my site. Seems like a pretty damn good deal, huh?

But what happens if Mr. Neil doesn't agree to the challenge?  Well - let's see in a month where we are.

July 30, 2008

I only started using the word "lame" about half a year ago.  I think I consciously started doing it to battle my predilection to use "gay" when I meant "uncool and slightly irritating".  That's clearly a lame thing to do, because it's very easy to label something "gay" and unintentionally come across as negatively prejudiced towards homosexuality. Which I'm totally not.  So "lame" had to be adopted.  I am sure that anyone with a crippled leg will forgive me. Maybe I just need to make up a new word.... arrg...

Before I continue, I must direct you to listen to Cool Keys Radio on Live365.  It's awesome.  If it's no longer available, you are reading this so far in the future that it isn't even important anymore.  Too late!

Lame and Uninformed, pt. 1
In order to feel appropriately informed as to the lame-o-metrics of this one, you may want to read my page about remixes.  At the beginning, I make a claim: "Though according to this page, my first remixes were done in 1994, they were really done in 2000."  If you continue to read the page you'll find that I'm actually telling the truth.  I even have the original project files with all of the samples to back that claim up.

Today, while engaging in a bit of narcissistic indulgence, I looked at the page again and found the following statement: "A person linking to this page claims I am referring to 'his' remixes of 'More' and 'The Final Cut',
which were made in 2000. That is untrue. Anyone could have attempted
remixes, but there is absolutely no reason to believe that they're the
ones mentioned here!
  Hmmm... yeah... well unfortunately for him, that statement sucks.  Sorry, but it does. He apparently didn't know what the internet was back in the middle of 2000 when I submitted the remixes to a Pink Floyd remix page where they officially debuted (the link is to a version of it in January 1999; apparently didn't see this site as so important).  And why did the Pink Floyd RoIO Database never list these remixes?  It was an active site until about 2001.

If they are truly from 1994 and weren't slowly leaked through traders like this guy, why were they never listed? Because he's trying to legitimize his collection, and apparently a rising seventh grader isn't a legitimate electronic artist.  I would agree with that.  But I still did the remixes.  Sorry.

Lame and Uninformed, pt. 2
In April, my roommate and I debuted a controversial piece of electronic music, composed for two Guitar Hero controllers and software I developed, Excuses.  At this stage of my life, people are no longer doubting whether or not my music is actually mine.  They are debating whether or not it's actually music. Which is so refreshing.

I try to film all of my concert music for YouTube, mostly to link from my personal website, I was waiting to get the recordings for them all to officially publish them, and finally on May 8th, I got them all up.  Since Excuses is piece that essentially uses the rules of a video game with custom software, I figured that the technology blog Slashdot might find it interesting enough to post.  I went for it.  And they posted it on the front page!

Within minutes my website was crawling to keep up with all of the links.  The YouTube video received nearly as many views as my Jedi Council video in roughly 1/270th the time.  It was crazy!

But then I started getting negative comments on the video, and the average rating plummeted to nearly 1 star.  What the crap?  I looked at Slashdot, and I realized negative comments were oozing onto the site. Oh no!

- "I thought maybe if I skipped ahead, there would be some actual music in that video. Nope!"
- "what the fuck is this doing on the front page of slashdot?"
- "Kinda like abstract art. Throw some shit at a wall and call it a masterpiece."

Yeah, the comments got me down a bit.  But then a few people (read: maybe 2 or 3) seemed to be a bit more open-minded.

"This was different at least, and I liked it well enough to listen to it twice."

Basically, the post elicited a lot of bitching and moaning.  People questioned my musical ability, the validity of it being on Slashdot, and the lameness of the musical content of the piece.  A Spanish website also posted the video and received its own comments.  I haven't taken the time to translate them properly, but it seems as though they may be somewhat negative as well.  Possible lesson learned: don't mix music and technology on technology blogs!

Maybe I seem blind to my own work.  Maybe Excuses really sucks? I don't feel that way, and I know a lot of people at the concert enjoyed it.  Some people have a hard time accepting the timbre of the synthesis engine, and some people have a hard time with the atonal content of the music.  Some people also have a problem with the repetition of the main motive.  Of course I realize these things, but I wrote it for a specific reason with specific plans.  I followed them, and I am happy.  What else is there to say?

Well, in fact... one more thing! Someone ripped the video from YouTube and posted it on I had nothing to do with this.  Maybe that's why it was successful.

- "nice!"
- "How long did that take to put together?"
- "interesting experiment"
- "damn that was sweet"
- "Fantastic video! ^_^ 10/10"
- "Insane and very impressive."

Perhaps this is actually a lesson in the importance of an audience?

Passing personal opinions as fact, and trying to piss on my parade.... lame.

Fauxfessionalism (n.)
I actually coined this term for a student at USC, greB epileF leugiM (MFB from now on).  Uh oh.  That's his real name, backwards! (take that Google!). He acts the part of the consumate professional filmmaker, but that's all a facade.  Let's go on a journey.

First of all, isn't he great?

My first experience of MFB was in March or April of 2006.  My dorm was having a film festival, and his then-collaborator contributed his first film, Exile.  My third important film, Milligan Tribute Band, was also shown.  Unimportant but true.  From my point of view, Exile was a pretentious exercise.  There was no dialogue, and it attempted to be too symbolic for its own good.  That having been said, it is MFB's best work.  Because there is no dialogue.  The most irritating thing about Exile, to me, was that it looked damn good.  I had some pretty good equipment for making movies, but MFB had the best.  For his first attempt at filmmaking, his parents bought him the holy grail of DV cameras, the Canon XL1 (maybe it was a GL... either way, it was badass).  So his movie was the ace of spades in terms of DV visual quality for 2006.

Y'see, I didn't even know it was his first film.  It took watching his amazing autobiographical video to realize that.  View Portrait of an Artist.  No seriously, you really need to click that link.

The following semester, I was rooming with MFB's more level-headed nemesis, Matt Aughtry. Matt and MFB had a rivalry.  I can sum up the results of this rivalry: Matt had the substance (writing, ideas) whereas MFB had the style ($100,000,000,000,000 equipment). But I also had the advantage of hearing stories about MFB burning bridges with other creative people at USC.  I'm not sure how much of what I remember is accurate or true, so that's where I'll stop.

Eventually, I saw another MFB creation, the first episode of a TV show (The Quad, watch it if you dare!) for USC's TV station, SGTV.  What immediately impressed me about it was the credit sequence (which he didn't do).  Other than that, I witnessed half an hour of.... lame lame lame lame lameness.  I can't even appropriately summarize it in a few words.  Just watch it.

But the first episode was all that ever was shot.  Matt actually got involved with the show to write, and he finished a script for the second episode.  MFB, however, rewrote it.  I've never read either one, but sources tell me Matt's was tolerable and MFB's was awful. Every now and then his name would come up again, and I was always curious what he was working on.  One day, I found one of his blogs.  I don't know if anyone was ever supposed to find it, because what he wrote on it is deplorable.

Here are some excerpts (click here for the full thing, if it's still up):
-"So Iíd like to thank the academyÖ no no - not yet anyway. But I
would like to thank my fellow cast and crew for showing support
regarding my awards and newspaper publications. It really means a lot
to me to have people that show interest and care about what I do and
how I do it."

-"I understand that any filmmaker has his or her own style, but there is
a balance between arrogance and confidence that is clearly defined and
it is important in filmmaking to understand this balance. As a
filmmaker you have to toot your own horn and it is important that you
do at the appropriate times - but humility is key."

-"...I only started seeing that I had the ability to influence others
through visual communication when I was the University of Delaware and
people said I had ĎITí. So what is IT exactly? Well itís something -
some people have it some people donít but I think what IT is exactly is
the opportunity to change a life through a simple image or frame. Some
said I had great visualization. And though I know there are the
Hollywood greats and legends out there who have every resource - I did
not and even still at the University of South Carolina do not. But Iíve
learned to make things special with what I had - my passion and my at
hand resources."

-"...Exile is the prime example of this. As my first short narrative film
Exile introduced me to the cinematic world in terms of the work that it
takes to make a simple one line story come to life. And obviously it
has its cinematic weaknesses in story and dialogue or whatever someone
wants to critique about it, but overall it has ĎITí"

Remember, his "at hand resources" are a bajillion dollars in equipment from his parents.  Starting off small, right?

Anyway, this past school year he and some other people were working on a film project, Before Your Eyes, that needed a composer.  They contacted USC's School of Music to see who might be interested.  September 2007 was when we were first contacted.  Nothing happened.  I submitted a portfolio CD and never heard anything.  Finally again in January, they prodded us again, this time showing some of their film.  My best judgment told me to stay away, but the resume-line-craving side of me had to jump on the opportunity.  At the end of January, one other student and I submitted resumes and portfolios for consideration.  They were supposed to get back to us within a week.

[By the way, at this point MFB has a Canon XH-G1 HDV camera.  In less than two years, he got another $4000-ish camera.  Arrrggg....]

When they finally did, there were new strings attached.  The score had to be written and recorded before May.  It's nearing the end of February now, and there are more requirements?  The next step of the application was that we had to compose music to a short clip of the movie and then they'd decide.  I was pretty sure I was going to quit the project and default it over to the other student.  But for some reason I persevered.  I demanded that they stick to the plan or interview us.  I met with MFB personally (for the first time ever) and bitched at him for about an hour, but somehow he conceded and we had interviews.  I was picked instantly following the interview process.

Fast forward some.

In the second week of April, I finally got finished copies of the three pieces of Before Your Eyes, and I composed 35 minutes of music for the film in 5 days.  I had to then make parts and organize a day for recording. MFB and the rest of the crew seemed to really enjoy the music.  All seemed well.  There was a recording engineer onboard, and he was supposed to record the score for me.  My work was done.

Nope.  Three days before the recording session I found out was in charge of recording as well.  Damn.  I have to scramble like mad to allocate a recording space and get equipment on such short notice, but it happens.  And the recording and mixing goes by without a hitch.  I deliver a completed score, synched to video, exactly two weeks after I got the finished video.  Pretty damn fast considering it's at the end of the school year.

MFB seemed to be beside himself with happiness. He sent me a message that said, "Thanks for infecting my ears with melodies that won't escape! Great job! :)... I keep singing it." The premiere of the film happened, I got great praise, and it was all over...  Miguel, as lame and fauxfessional as I expected him to be, wasn't so bad after all.  He was a bit corny, and he thought he knew enough about music to communicate on a technical level with me (but oh boy.... he didn't!).  But I figured he wasn't so bad after all.

Until I found out that his newest movie has a new composer at the helm.  That's not a big deal. The big deal is that he has been complaining about my music (hazy details, but apparently it's weird... possibly "too chromatic"; either way, he's badmouthing me to another composer). After all of the shit I had to go through to work for free for his movie, both composing and recording in hardly any time, he gets a new composer and talks negatively about my music to them.  How do I know?  That composer and I have a mutual friend. Bam.

MFB, the consumate fauxfessional.  He is the lamest person I've ever met.  And his section of Before Your Eyes was lame too (in fact the lamest thing of his I've seen).  Bam again.  Sure, I'm a bit bitter... but I know it's justified.

Time to play some video games.

The City of Newberry vs. Alex Wroten, 1st Movement
January 10, 2007

I am not one to speed excessively while driving.  My friends have told me countless times that I drive too slowly, and I consider five miles over the speed limit pushing it.  So, naturally, I wasn't anticipating a speeding ticket any time soon. Maybe I'd get pulled over for driving too slow.  Maybe I'd get pulled over for excessive progressive rock listening from within my car.  Or maybe, I'd get pulled over because I'm so damn famous. Not a speeding ticket though, never!

Time to set the scene:
I've decided to go home to spend my 20th birthday with my parents, even though all of my friends are staying in the town where I live.  They're all studying for exams anyway, so who knows what I'd do with them?  On top of this, I've been helping a friend out with some computer music issues for about four days straight.  I don't mind helping, but I also feel a little bit suffocated by having no room to breathe in my room by myself.

I planned on leaving at around 6pm on twenty-eve.  I wanted to get dinner once I got home, hang out with the fam a little... but I didn't turn the ignition key until 10:30 pm.  Damn, plans failed. Take a chill pill, boy.  But, I wasn't about to take a chill pill.

So, on with the tale:
I wanted to make it home before my parents went to bed, because they'd be at work most of  my birthday anyway (Why did I decide to come home?), and I was WIGGING OUT (I love that phrase) over having left so late due in great deal to helping my friend out with the computer music.  I guess all of that stress manifested in the form of pressure against the gas pedal.

Clock turns 11:00. All's good.  I'm on my way.  I may not make it home, but I'll at least be in the city limits, that's good enough.... It's strange, no cars appear to be on the road.  Is it really too late for driving?  It's only 11...

Before I know it, I see a vehicle.  I realize I am going pretty fast since this vehicle is going slower... WAAOOOEE WAAOOOEE.  Strobing blue lights.  "Oh shit" I think to myself, but it's too late.  I pull over to the left.  The officer slithers out of his Enforcement Wagon and announces that as admirable an effort as my pulling-over was, I need to be on the right side of the road.  "Fuck," I think to myself, "I'm screwed as it is - now I've gone and added stupidity to that charge."

I comply.  My visit to the right side of the highway proves to be more eventful.  The officer jettisons from the cockpit of his Power Rocket again and asks me, in a very southern dialect, "Why was you goin' so fast?" "Uh... blahw... sdf...." What I say is ultimately incoherent.  I give him my license and fumble with my insurance and registration, since I rarely have to deal with them.  After what feels like 5 minutes of me dumbassing around with my various vehicle permits, I sit patiently for an eternity as he tabulates his Cop-ular duties in his chariot.

Thoughts fly through my head. "I hope he's a nice cop." It feels like a week of thought passes in four minutes. "I hope he notices it will be my birthday in less than an hour." As much as thought feels central to one's own location, the center of my mind was somehow in the front seat with him. "I hope he at least gives me a reduced fine." I don't even know how fast I was going!

My rear view mirror whispers to my consciousness that the Lord has arisen and he is walking this way.  I don't remember what was said exactly.  I know that I received a $375 fine and a six point ticket, out of my maximum of twelve.  I was speechless.  "If you want some help, and I strongly suggest you get it." Is he implying that I have a chronic problem? "Come to that court date on there, we can help you out with it."  And then he walked into the blackness of the night from whence he came....  I was NOT in a good mood.

How fast was I going?  Well.... uh.... 97 mph... in a .... 70 zone.  Yeah - OOOPS!

Stay tuned for the second movement!

Gamestop, Where We Buy and Sell Used Games. How My I Help You? Incompetently.
May 07, 2007

Aaaaaah.... Gamestop, basically the only option for video game shopping.  There used to be EBGames as well (even though they were equivalently incompetent).  Nah, they are the same company now.  There was Rhino Games as well... until EBGamestop bought them.  So, if you're in the market for a selection of video game entertainment, especially used, you will MOST likely be taking a trip to the nerdy pit of hell that is... Gamestop.

Two days ago, Ehab and I went to Gamestop because we were in the market for some Sony Playstation goodness.  He was trading his PS2 for a PS3, and I wanted to grab a PSP.  Sony fanboys? No.  Metal Gear Solid fanboys?  Absolutely.  MGS4 4 PS3 & MGS:PO 4 PSP!  That's right, I wrote that because I'm cool.

So, Ehab walks up to the counter. Mortimer works at Gamestop.

Ehab: I'd like to trade in my PS2 for a PS3.
Mortimer: Really? Why do you want to do that?
Ehab: Well, you've got the trade-in deal, and Metal Gear Solid 4...
Mortimer: That's going to be on the 360 too...

Side note: MGS4 on Xbox360 is a ridiculous and annoying internet rumor with no logical basis. Damn.

Ehab: That's not true.
Mortimer: Uh, well... My PS3 bricked [Definition of a brick: hardware rendered useless] before I even got it out of the box.
Ehab: Yeah... okay.

I then overheard a mother talk about how they got one of their kids a toy at K-Mart.  Nice.  Mortimer continued to ring up Ehab's trade stuff... then...

Mortimer: Uh, this $100 deal only works if you have an extra controller.
Ehab: When I called another Gamestop, they said the extra controller was just 5% of it or something... it didn't really make much sense.
Mortimer: Oh.  Uh... well, we have this Deal Wizard on here and it won't kick in unless you have all of the requirements...
Ehab: Okay....
Mortimer: So...
Ehab: How much trade-in credit do I have then?
Mortimer: Uh, $65.
Ehab: Hmmm... How much does a PS2 controller cost, then?
Mortimer: $19.95
Ehab: Well, I'll just buy that then and trade it back.

Yeah, that's how awesome it was.  He did just that.  Finally, the transaction was completed.  We had been in there for about 40 minutes.  Damn.

Mortimer: Alright. Here you go, I don't have a strong enough bag for it.
Ehab: [grabbing his new HD goodnessystem] Yeah.
Mortimer: Keep this receipt close.  It's your lifeblood.  Good luck dude.

As we walk out, Ehab overhears a customer saying, "Why would you get a PS3?!"

About ten minutes after we had gotten to the first Gamestop, a crew of nerds entered.  One was large, with a stained black shirt - he oozed nerdiness [Jake].  One was very excitable and video game-enthused [Nelly].  But, the third was the kicker [Nicola].  He had his cell phone up to his ear every single minute we saw him.  He never spoke to anyone on the other end.  Ever.  But that damn phone didn't leave his right ear.

Nicola and Jake argued for a long time about whether or not Halo 2 was a good game, worthy of its fanbase.  Nicola labeled Jake homosexual for bad-mouthing the game.  Nelly laughed and showed his support for EVERY game EVER made.  Mortimer, on the other hand, argued with Nicola about how uncool Halo 2 was.  One of his big defenses was: If you are in a match in Halo 2 and your girlfriend says, "I wanna go out," you know that you're uncool if you say, "Hold on a minute, I gotta finish this match."  Oh lord.  This is Gamestop culture.

Nicola was the one who disapproved of Ehab's choice in getting a PS3.

I was so annoyed by that visit to Gamestop (trust me, 40 minutes in there will turn you batshit crazy), I told Ehab that I wanted to get my PSP elsewhere.  We left and went to another Gamestop.  But, strangely, Nicola and Nelly were there too!!!!!  No joke.  And Nicola expresses his dislike for Ehab's choice, allthewhile praising Halo 3.

By the way, Halo 3 is coming out in an edition that costs $130.  If you're gonna buy that, and you still badmouth the PS3... what is wrong with you?

Anyway, I have a headache - I'm going to write more about Gamestop soon.... so, consider this part 1.

- Alex

Welcome to the new design!
December 27, 2006

Man... the other day I found out that Time Magazine's person of the year is YOU!!!  I hurried and slaved, trying to get my Christmas present done in time to give to you (I mean, who doesn't give every Time Magazine person of the year a present?  Is that just me?).  The present was my new and improved website!  Something just for you!

But... well... now, two days after Christmas, it's done.  The post office sometimes doesn't get packages to people on time, so perhaps I'll plead the PO and let them take the blame....

Anyway, for long-time viewers, the following things have changed:

  • Completely new design. It pretty much PWNS the last one.
  • New section: Daily. In fact, you are reading an article from this section now.  Basically, it's my sweet new ride blog. I'll be rambling, reviewing, and posting up my radio playlists. YES!
  • All sections have been redesigned and reorganized.  I don't even wanna go there, girlfriend, on what all has changed.
  • ALL videos are now hosted on YouTube, so I don't have to deal with any incompatibilities. Phew!
  • New videos have been added.  They're pretty sweet.
  • MP3 samples in the music section are now handled with a little flash player
One thing is apparent though: this website still rocks, and it's gonna continue rocking STRAIGHT into 2007! YES!

So Merry Christmas You!

December 25, 2007

Wow.  It has been a long time since I have written anything on here other than my radio show playlists, but that doesn't mean I need to dwell on it...

Pranks are fun.  Pranks are exciting.  If executed properly, pranks pretty much pwn. Yep, pwn.  While riding in the car earlier yesterday, I realized that I haven't dedicated enough website territory to some of the better pranks with which I have helped.  It's time to remedy that.  Take this tremendously lengthy post as a holiday gift for everyone (it took me two nights to do this, so it's as valuable as a present).  Pick a story, that's your gift.  Be careful, some of them are a bit crude and/or mean-spirited... but my website's uncensored. Deal with it!

I have covered up the names of certain characters in these stories.

Profondo Rosso
I have been extremely obsessed with Goblin (the Italian progressive rock band) lately.  Check my radio show playlists for the last few months; the proof's there.  Since most of their music is movie soundtrack material, I have been on a quest to watch all of the movies they scored.  Anyway, this quest led me to the masterpiece that is Deep Red (1975).  My excitement over the film's awesomity led me to schedule a viewing party with some friends, including my roommate Kevin.

Kevin has a fear of Michael Myers, the iconic villain from Halloween, and if I am away for a night, he has to sleep with a metal bat to prepare for his potential Myers beating session.  Kevin hears a sound, it's Michael Myers. Kevin sees a light outside his window, it's Michael Myers.  Obviously, it's not particularly difficult to frighten my poor roommate....

In Deep Red, every time the villain (I can't tell you who that is of course) enters, he/she plays an ironically joyous child's lullaby (School at Night) on a tape player to set the scene for his/her upcoming murderous rampage.  By the end of the movie, if not from the beginning, this tune is a tremendous tension builder.  For someone like Kevin, this music could strike instant fear in any dark room.  I realized this.

We were having a small party on my birthday, but he had to go play a gig for a while.  He called at 9:25pm and said he'd be back in five minutes.  Twenty minutes later, he wasn't back.  Where was Kevin?  I called him... no answer... one more time... no answer... Damn! Where was Kevin!?  I went into Kevin's room, like a sneaky bastard, and I saw him outside on the phone!  He was smiling! That bastard was on the phone with a girl instead of hanging out with ME?!  I was going to show him.

Ehab, Lindsay, and Brian were in my apartment as well.  This was going to be perfect.  I had Brian hide behind the couch.  He was backup to jump at Kevin if all else failed.  Ehab went in the kitchen and hid behind our refrigerator.  I gave him a huge knife and an LED keychain, and then I instructed him to flash the light onto the knife repeatedly.  Lindsay hid in the bathroom so she could see Kevin outside and tell us when he was coming.  I cued up the Goblin track on my iPod dock and grabbed Kevin's Myers Beater Bat.  We were ready.

Five minutes later, we were still waiting on Kevin's phoney ass.  I stomped the ground, Lindsay knocked on the window, and Brian opened our other door and screamed out of it to scare Kevin into getting off of the phone.  That made him curious, but he just stayed outside.  I falsely started the music a few times thinking he's on his way.  Arrgg...

Lindsay yelled, "He's coming!"  I started the music and ran to Kevin's room in preparation.  Kevin opened the door, heard the music.

"Oh my God!!" Kevin was obviously scared out of his mind.  He scurried back downstairs faster than any other human in history.  "He's got a stick," Lindsay chimed.  Kevin ran back upstairs and slowly crept in.  "Oh God!!" "Not cool!!" "Oh Jesus!"  Kevin was scared out of his mind.  Ehab's flashing knife sent chills through the poor boy's spine.  I jumped out of his room with his Myers Mallet, and Kevin shuddered like the inhalation of a crying infant.  He saw it was me, and he realized that he was safe.

We got him.

Fawkin' Boolsheet
Ehab and I were roommates for our first year of college.  We had picked a dorm that was farther away from our classes because its floorplan was supposed to be the largest available, but we ended up stuck with a corner room, the smallest available, across from our RA (resident advisor).

Belicia, the RA, was laid-back and tolerant of Ehab's and my antisocial and disestablishmentary ways.  Two times per semester, we were supposed to have an interview with her about how classes and our personal relationships were working.  I really didn't think these interviews were useful to me, so I negotiated to not do them... so yeah, she was pretty cool.  She never did anything mean to either of us; we really had no reason to play a trick on her.

One night, near the end of the year, Ehab and I couldn't sleep.  We had been laughing and talking, and it would take us at least an hour to be tired enough to slumb.  Suddenly, an awesome idea popped in my head...  or at least it was awesome at 1:00am.

Everyone in school dorms seems to enjoy decorating doors.  Sally and Eliza have eighteen leis stapled to their door along with their names.  Derrick's and Adam's schedules are on theirs with four different beer logos.  Awesome.  Ehab and I weren't going to be outdone!  Over the course of the year, we gathered and taped everything we wanted to our door.  We grabbed some outdated posters for the women's health clinic.  Stuck them on our door.  A box of generic brand Ritz crackers. Stuck it on our door.  Anything and everything was good for our door.

Belicia's door (and ours as well) had a dry-erase board.  This is before one's Facebook status was the most important way to his/her mood succinctly.  A board was a necessity.  She also had some photographs, construction paper shapes, and a few other forgettable trinkets.

Anyway, we figured that Belicia was asleep and as long as we were fast, we wouldn't wake her.  My job was our door, Ehab's was her door.  We quickly switched every single thing on our doors and wrote "Belicia has moved across the hall to 210" on her door (our dry-erase board) and "Alex and Ehab have moved across the hall to 209" on our door (her dry-erase board).  We took photographs and ran inside laughing madly to ourselves.  It really seemed harmlessly stupid at the time.  Eventually, after plenty of "we are so hilarious" exclamations and chortling, we slept.

Until 4:30am.  Belicia apparently had gone out drinking that night and, contrary to her normally benign nature, she had enrolled in a three-hour harpy class while under the influence.  I was asleep until our door nearly got bashed in, but upon examining the bloody footsteps in the hallway the next morning, I gathered the full story...

At 4:27am, Belicia, back arched and spiky wings jutting out from her spine, slowly zig-zagged left and right through the hallway towards her room.  It would normally take only fifteen seconds, at most, to get to her room, but she was not in a normal state.  Every few steps she knocked her head back and squawked.  Earlier this morning, she would have drowned her metallic squawk in an entire bottle of Shrilliquor.  But now, she was drunk and cawwing through the hallway.  Finally at 4:30am, she has stomped up to her door.  Only.... wait... it's not her door?!  What!?  The beast begins to beat fiercely on our door (and by "our door" I mean the one behind which we were sleeping).  At this point, I woke up and I remember the rest very clearly.

BANG BANG BANG! The door quaked with the fierceness of ZeusBelicia's mighty fistification of its meek wood body.  "This is FAWKIN' BOOLSHEET!" Beliscreeched Belicia. BANG BANG BANG!

I was scared.  Ehab didn't wake up.

"This is BOOLSHEEETTT!!!"  A (comparatively) faint slamming of her official door marked the end of her hall terror.  I was sleeping again within seconds.

When I awoke, I checked the doors to find that Belicia's mark of pissed-offness. The board on my door said, "Bullshit? Much."  Apparently she wasn't happy.  We took pictures, switched everything back to normal, and went on with our day.  We never spoke to Belicia about this ever. Ever.

We got her (in her drunken harpy form).

Cross Dress Country
Perhaps you have seen the video.  Ignore that for now.  Let me retell the story seven years later...

Levi had a crush on a girl in our school's cross country team.  Well, actually it wasn't our school yet; we were about to enter high school, so no one really knew who we were yet.  But as far as a school is concerned, we could no longer call our middle school, which we had just finished, OUR school.  I'm sure you get the idea.  Anyway, Levi wanted to impress this girl in his own secretive way, although we weren't going to be able to reveal what we were about to do....

He wanted to dress someone up as a girl and have them infiltrate the cross country team.  Of course, I was more than happy to do this.  Using one of his mom's wild selection of wigs (she eventually supplied wigs for Kirk Mannican's Liberty Mug), some goggles, one of Levi's sister's bras, napkins (for filling the bra), and fingernail polish, I garbed my new Womanattire. I was far from hot, far from womanly, but near hilarity.

At 7:30am, Levi and I found their meeting at Furman University, and Levi stayed far back with a video camera.  Everyone was very curious who I was.  In falsetto, I creaked, "I'm Suzie. I'm new. My dad wants me to do cross country."  Acting ditsy, I looked around cluelessly for about ten minutes as more kids rolled in.  Everyone was chuckling and curious who I was behind my back.  Once it was time for warm-ups, I made sure to stick my butt out a great deal to accentuate my feminine figure. Right.  When we ran laps, I kept falling and making an ass of myself.  Soon, the time came for them to start running their nation-wide distances.  I trailed behind and disappeared.  Levi and I escaped.

The video wasn't great, so we had to go back again two days later for their next meeting.  No one expected that!  Same routine this time as well, but we got a better video.  No one knew it was me for years!

We got them!

What Happened to Your Computer?
Joe and I were supposed to hang out with Bob one day.  We were about to ride over to his house (this is back when we couldn't drive and we needed to organize rides in advance!) when suddenly he called us.

"I can't hang out because I'm going to the movies with Esmeralda."

WHAT?!  That freakin' bastard. Now Joe and I had nothing to do.  Damn.  We eventually came up with the plan to go hang out with Bob's twin brother Dan.  We didn't really like Dan all that much at the time, but we figured that it would at least piss Bob off a bit...

After playing some games with Dan, we decide to give Bob a bit more unhappysnack.  Bob loved his computer, and the quickest way to his heart was that damned machine.  We turned that beast on and proceeded to ruin it.

First, we opened Kazaa, searched for gay porn, and downloaded every single result.  No, we didn't watch it; we wanted to fill his hard drive full of crap.  Then, I opened up his display properties and made everything on his computer bright pink and green and increased the size of all fonts and objects.... it was nasty.  To finish it off, I took a screenshot of his computer, made it his desktop image, hid his taskbar, and deleted his icons.  Beat that.

He would have been pissed off... if he hadn't made us fix it.  We totally had just done the bitchiest thing to him, but he somehow turned it around!  He got back to his house and saw what we had done, and in a subliminal-messages-on-records-aren't-real-but-somehow-Bob's-voice-had-the-desired-effect-of-the-myth sort of way, he simply growled, "You are going to fix it."  We did.  No questions asked, no humor.  Damn.

He got us.  How?  Damn.

Joe's Technical Ineptitude
Here are two short ones.  When I bought my first computer, I didn't have internet access.  I had a floppy disk drive though, and I generally conducted business on my computer, stuck it on a disk, and moved it over to the family (and internet-accessible) computer.  Emails were saved as text files, software registration had to be done through "other computer" options, etc.  One day Joe saw a floppy disk sitting on my desk.  "I can read that," I said grinning.  Joe didn't know that was not possible. "Really?"  "Yep.  With my eyes."  There's no way he could believe this.  "Wow.  What's on this one?"  Oh my god....  I knew the contents of the disk, spouted that out, then stuck it in the computer to show me.  Joe believed it.  He was very impressed.  He believed that for two years (of course my other friends helped me lie to him).  No joke.

Secondly, I hacked Joe's website with a keylogger by getting him to log in and show me his website configuration utility.  Yeah... that was short.  But you can read about it here!

I got him twice!!!

Ms. Elroy... Has a Nutsack
But Joe was a prankster in his own right.  I don't feel completely qualified to tell this story for him, but I was somewhat involved, so I'm the second best option.

Ms. Elroy was one of our high school Spanish teachers.  Ehab and I had her and left the class convinced that she was absolutely nuts.  Joe then entered her class.  He hated her; he always made fun of her and other students in class.  He also knew that he could possibly, if he tried hard enough, make her mind completely unravel.  On the last day of the semester, my true Joe gave to her Joe was going to give his best shot at cracking the poor woman.

His decision was to make a cassette tape of strange voices talking about her, hide the tape in the ceiling of her classroom, and have it go off during the final exam time to really defeat her remaining ounces of sanity.  Since I had the only computer recording and manipulating software of anyone he knew, I was enlisted to help him produce the recording.  Joe recorded things like, "Ms. Elroy has a nutsack..... Ms. Elroy is a cuntswaller," and various cracks at her mental health.  He did this for about half an hour.  I then pitched the recording up and transferred it to a CD.  He recorded the disc onto a tape (after 15 minutes of silence to delay the onset of the sound for the stunt to even work), bought a portable tape player, bought some portable speakers, and constructed a K'Nex wagon to hold his materials.  He connected everything together and covered it in monstrous amounts of tape to secure it to his wagon.

The morning of the final exam came.  We had to get that tape in the ceiling.  Mr. Rodney, a teacher next door to Ms. Elroy, allowed early students hang out in his room, instead of the cafeteria, while they waited for the bell to ring.  Joe and I got there as early as possible.  When Mr. Rodney left to get coffee minutes before class started, we had to act and act quickly.  Like Solid Snake, Joe crept into the room while I, the bouncer, manned the door to ensure no one would enter.  He hurried and grabbed a chair, pushed it against the wall, pushed the tile up, rolled his cassette tape wagon (after pressing play of course) as far as he could, put the tile back, and ran out of the classroom.  Hot.

Minutes after Ms. Elroy administered the final exam, a strange voice began to play in the ceiling.  At first, she was unsure whether or not it was merely the voices in her head, but after a few minutes of persistence and class uproar, she had figured out that there was something above her.  She opened the tile above her desk to see... a bomb?  Uh oh, Joe.  Fortunately, Ms. Elroy was too curious and she reeled in the Nutsack Cart.

"Oh goody.  Someone left me a trophy."  Joe never got in trouble for it, and Ms. Elroy wasn't back the next semester

Joe got her.

Vote for Everybody!

In 2004, Chad, Joe, and I gathered every single George W. Bush sign
from every yard we could find into the back seat of Chad's car.  Then,
we stuck the forty-something signs in the yard of one of Joe's
crushes.  Then we set off some bottle explosions in their yard (dry ice
and water in a closed bottle bursts!).  It was exciting at the time...

There was not gotting to be gotten.

If you know me and you have been in my kitchen, you know that I've got Goldfish.  Pepperidge Farm got that shit right, man.  I love to have a big eight-gallon box of cheddar Goldfish for munchin' in the mornin', munchin' in the evenin', munchin' at suppatime.  The proper way to eat these is to throw your hand in that box and grab a heaping pile to shove directly into your face.  No bowl is necessary.

Back before ZoŽ, my sister, became a vegan, she would munch on them bitches along with me. One day, mother and I were in the grocery store, and I saw Giant Goldfish (they should have been called Cheddar Whales or Lifesize Goldfish, but I suppose Giant works). Hmmmmm.... I thought of a great idea!  I grabbed a box of those bad boys, and we left.

When I got home, I cracked open our (I wanted, at this point, to make an analogy of the Goldfish carton being as large as a PODS storage unit or a U-Haul truck.  But I didn't because I couldn't word it properly; I'm tired of writing.) carton of regularly-sized Goldfish and poured in the new giant ones.  I shook it up and hidisposed (That's disposing of something and hiding it simultaneously.  This is a distinctly different act from just throwing an item away at the top of a pile of trash.) the Giant Goldfish box.

ZoŽ did not know the monstrous variation of everyone's favorite cheddar seafood-shaped cracker existed.  Therefore, the next day, when she reached into the box to have a handful of happysnack, she didn't expect big crackers.

"OH MY GOD! THEY'RE HUGE!!!" ZoŽ had a crackerattack.  It was very emotionally charged and frightful.  And hilarious for me.

I got her.

Happy To See Me?
Here's one that most people who know me don't even know about.  And it's the best one!  I'm tired though, so let's hope I make this as interesting as possible...

I wasn't yet eighteen.  In fact, most people at my high school weren't yet eighteen; this was the first half of senior year.  In class one day, one of my acquaintances informed me of a large alcohol-oriented party thing they were going to be involved with that weekend.  The party was being held by Sharon Clapton, the biggest bitch in the whole wide school.  Sharon's mother was our English teacher the prior year, and she was going to be gone for the weekend. (It's important to note that her mother thought Sharon was The Perfect Child.  Screw that shit. Sharon sucked ass.  Sorry, but it's true.)  I kept this in the back of my mind because I thought it would be a great idea to play some sort of prank on their get-together.

That Saturday found Joe, Dan, and me bored.  We went to eat at Jack-In-The-Box.  Across the street from the fine eating establishment was Pandora's Box, an adult sex shop.  Hmmm...  Collectively, we came up with an amazing(ly disgusting and hilarious) idea.  Enlisting the help of a high school graduate that we met in a parking lot nearby, he and Dan entered Pandora's box and bought a flesh-colored, penis-shaped dildo.  We went back to my house and concocted some fake semen (ingredients: flour, water, and honey).  After we had our shaft and goo ready, we headed over to the Clapton house.  We had to assess the situation first, so we initially passed by to see how large the crowd was.

Then, something went wrong.  We had a tail.  Esmeralda (remember, Bob went to the movies with her ditching me and Joe?) was carpooling a large group of girls.  Apparently these were the kind you see in movies like Death Proof rather than Sleepover.  They followed us (because they recognized that we were in Dan's car - oooops!) and we had to zoom out of there and lose them.  In the process we also lost ourselves; it took quite a while for us to find our way back, but eventually we found ourselves walking in the dark up to Sharon's house.  At this point, the plan was to make a splooge accident with our special sauce on the doorstep and have a peotomized/castrated fellow's odd rubbery shlong take the blame for the icky mess.  However, before we got to the doorstep we spotted familiar headlights.  Esmeralda's vehicle was approaching.  Retreating like a hopelessly outnumbered army, we barely escaped with our lives as we jumped into Dan's car.  Phew... we made it out.

But we hadn't.  Esmeralda's bloodthirsty crew was right behind us.  We took a wrong turn, they followed.  Crap!  The next seven minutes played out like the ending airplane chase in The Heroin Busters (1977), exciting at the time it occurred, but upon second viewing, painfully slow and hardly life-threatening.  At the time though, the adrenaline was pumping, and we were able to escape onto the highway and lose them.

Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call.  "Were you just at Sharon's house with Dan?"  I said that I was not.  "Where are you?" I lied by saying I was at home.  "We're coming there to see if you're lying."  Perfect.  We can at least clear our names.  Dan rushed me back home and headed back towards Jack-In-The-Box to stay out of the way for a bit.  I hurried inside and turned on the TV, lights, etc.  Esmeralda's gang arrived shortly and I acted innocent/clueless/curious about the whole incident.  I also vouched for Dan.  He was at the movies, obviously.

That plan was ruined, but we were absolved.  Later at school, I found out that they were thinking about calling the cops because the car chase left everyone at the party a little bit freaked out.  Serves them right.  But I think the wrong people were calling the cops.

What to do with our f(aux)leshy little beast+sauce?  Dan wanted to put it on his sister's doorstep.  We did.  It was pretty hilarious at the time.  Dan's parents insinuated that something curious had been found at the sister's house in order to get a confession, but we remained completely blank over the whole ordeal.

We got them four ways: 1.) scared the party, 2.) made a hilarious fleshy sauce gag, 3.) didn't get caught for #1, 4.) didn't get caught for #2.  Now I've told you the whole thing.