I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Friday, June 29, 2007

To the RIAA

Hey, first of all, with your litigious asshole behavior over the last 10 years, you're making about as many friends in this country as an Amway salesman makes on a crowded bus.

Second, in response to your idiotic actions against net radio, I am officially boycotting any piece of music associated with the RIAA for the next year. I will borrow the CDs from my friends, I will buy them used, but I will not pay for a new album, and thus neither you nor the artist involved will be receiving my money.

That includes all of the albums I had planned to buy since discovering them on the net radio stations I listen to. All those purchases are pushed out a year, and if you keep this crap up, I'll go another year.

That is to say, in order to make my point to you, RIAA, I will have to hurt the people whom I'd rather be supporting- the musicians who associate themselves with you- by not giving them my money. There are a number of albums I discovered through internet radio which I'd really like to just run out and pay way too much for, and I'm going to buy them used or not at all.

So screw you. And all your pig lawyer friends. And politician friends.

Up yours with something scratchy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Giant Bicycles

I have a Giant XTC2 mountain bike which I bought in Japan in March of 2000. It's an aluminum-frame, full-suspension bike which I paid around $1000 for.

Recently, I was riding my bicycle home from work and the rear wheel started to wobble around. It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong- the section very near the rear sprockets which the wheel connects to (the frame) had cracked quite badly and was on its way to coming completely apart.

I have had street tires on this bike from day one, and the roughest riding it has seen has been the occasional enthusiastic jump off of a curb.

The frame of a $1000 bike, broken.

I assumed I'd be able to order the part, and then remembered that I bought it in Japan.

After much poking around, I gathered that Giant had a lifetime warranty on all its frames, and all I needed to do was take it to a Giant dealer so they could see what the situation was.

Well, the Giant dealer here in Portland I dealt with was Bike n' Hike, and they were very helpful and friendly, but in the end the word came back from Giant- I would have to service the bike in Japan, since I bought it there.

An old friend was kind enough to help me out (Thanks Nozomi!), and located the bicycle shop I had long forgotten the name and location of in Gare mall, in the JR Osaka train station- "Cycle World". With a little fidgeting I got their number and spoke with them.

They were puzzled, and of course, much of the feedback was in polite Japanese, so I didn't catch a lot of it. I assumed the guy was looking into the issue for me and I would call back later to find out what he'd discovered. When I called back, the person I got on the phone did not know what I was asking about.

I re-explained all the story to this guy as well, with slightly broken Japanese at many turns, but he seemed to understand what I meant.

He told me the warranty was definitely expired.

I asked him if he knew whether the Giant warranty was lifetime in Japan or not.

He didn't know, but countered with the fact that I'd have to come up with proof of purchase in order to get any warranty anything anyway.

I told him I did not think I had that.

I asked if he could look into getting the part anyway.

He said if it was available, a Giant dealer in the USA would be able to tell me (the part is, in fact, not available to the dealer here.)

So. At present I have a $1000 paperweight. A greasy one.

I turns out I do have proof of purchase- my old habit of holding onto receipts may prove helpful here.

I understand that companies warranty items by country to prevent black/gray market transport and/or devaluation of their products, but these are $1000 mountain bikes pretty much wherever you purchase them- well, $1400 now. Anyway, the cost of getting a container of asian-market bikes to the states is going to void any possible profits...

I am going to pursue both Japan and USA Giant dealers and write a letter to the USA Giant office in Newbury Park, CA- since they have no online support whatsoever- and report back on how my $1000 paperweight is doing.

My instinct tells me this is a waste of time, and that Giant is going to blow me off and I will get nothing but a hassle. However, if they do, I will make sure anyone searching for their name will have my blog come up as a hit concerning their warranties and practices.

Here's a copy of my receipt- I think it has warranty info on it, too...

Wait a minute- it that Giant's phone number at the bottom? Ooooo...


Friday, June 01, 2007


If I have to choose my myths to believe in, I'll take Santa.

He comes every year, if you've been good, and we all look forward to his visits.

He doesn't instigate himself into world politics, or tell you to wear funny hats (unless you want to dress like him, I guess.)

He's just a nice old man who likes to give kids presents.

If there is a more realistic role model for society, it's this one.

Eat whatever you want, be nice, and treat kids well- a little discipline, lots of love.

The world might not be so bad if people just emulated Santa a little more.

I guess the good thing is I can decide to believe in something which I know isn't true. Isn't that cool? And how do you incorporate "Santa" into swearing? Especially if you want any presents?


Now, people like to believe in Astrology, even just because it's amusing- never mind the people who take it seriously.

If there WERE a truth to it, could there be a rational hard-science reasoning behind it?

With this in mind a few years ago I set out to invent and explanation which did not go against science.

Here it is.

First, look at mammals as a whole. If you have trouble with picturing them, mammals are animals which have breasts. Dogs, cows, dolphins, mice, elephants, ferrets, gorillas, etc. In the big picture, MOST larger mammals breed once per year in order to properly be in tune with the seasons- we don't want a new baby in the middle of the snowy winter, or the drought season, etc.

So somewhere inside is a hard-coding for specific behaviors.

At some point in our evolution, humans were animals like this. It seems likely that we may have spent hundreds of thousands of years as such animals.

Now, I can't imagine that in a complicated creature such as a human that a behavior is just a switch, such as "you will dig a hole and live in it for three months now, because it's going to snow", but a suite of behaviors which support this need.

Adaptation and climate change may force such a behavior to fade, but perhaps the supporting activities aren't so completely removed. Such as, you don't need to dig the hole to live in anymore, but you still tend to go looking for nuts and feel like you need somewhere to store them, etc.

Now, back to the point.

If we were born at the same time of year for a very long period of time, then it's possible that the effect of this may still exist in our heads.

If there did exist a 'correct time' to be born, say in June, then you were supposed to be plunged into winter six months later. If you were instead born in December, then your body/subconcious is expecting snow at the wrong time- in June.

My idea is that being born at different grades away from this "original" birth time may cause similar personality traits in people. That is, the effect on your personality of thinking it's supposed to be snowy in June may differ from the effect on your personality of thinking it's supposed to be snowy in March.

Are the ideas pushed by astrology 'true'? No idea. Just fun with thinking.