The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now


12.24/12.25, 2007

Seasons Greetings, dear readers (all five of you).

This is old, but great, and it works surprisingly well (NSFW language)

Awesome! These young ladies express their righteous scorn for MySpace better than I did earlier in this blog.

I still can’t begin to express my disgust that I was ever a part of that POS, and how much I enjoy sites that hold MySpace up to the ridicule it deserves. Mind you, I still have offline friends who use MySpace, and more power to them if that’s what they want to do, it just isn’t for me. And that’s completely aside from their buggy, rife-with-errors, and just-fuckin’ ugly site. Even uglier after users “pimp” their pages and/or put up some background so obtrusive that you can’t read the text on the page. That was another thing that just got on my nerves the more I explored other users’ pages.

The individual who persuaded me to start a MySpace account, well, we’re not communicating anymore. As much as I would like to go back and undo the things that made us become hostile towards one another — things that were largely my fault, but not all — I won’t be holding my breath for it. Fundamentally he is a warmhearted and good individual, and I wish him well in his life (and future profession) ongoing.

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But did they really have to can him on Christmas Eve? Now-former Bulls Coach Scott Skiles says the timing is neither here nor there, but still, geez, Christmas Eve.

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Who would have thought the Portland Trail Blazers would become the hottest team in the NBA? They are riding a 10 game winning streak and, led by reigning Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy, are getting solid contributions all around, but especially from Travis Outlaw, James Jones, and LaMarcus Aldridge. Underappreciated veterans Joel Przybilla and Steve Blake are also chipping in. This is a good, cohesive, talented team — despite its youth — that has vaulted to the upper tier of the NW Division standings.

On Christmas Day Night they will meet the Seattle Supersonics in a big game, but for different reasons than might have been the case a few months ago. Were circumstances different, this game would pit No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden against No. 2 overall draft pick Kevin Durant. Oden, of course, underwent microfracture surgery and won’t see an NBA court until next season; Durant is putting up great numbers for an otherwise woeful Sonics team. Now its an opportunity for a national audience to see a team that should be one of the NBA’s feel-good stories in action. What this means, of course, is … Portland cannot relax, because you’d better believe the Sonics would probably love to spoil that win streak and one of the precious few nationally televised games the Blazers will have this season.

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Maryland Terrapins fans — please try not to press the shiny, red, candylike panic button. Yes, it’s horrible and unacceptable that the Terps lost inter-conference home games to Ohio and American (!) in succession. It also leads to the inevitable questions about 19-year head coach Gary Williams and his future.

Bear in mind that these are questions that were asked when Maryland couldn’t get past the Round of 16 in the late 1990s. They were also asked a few short years ago when the Terps missed the NCAA Tournament altogether in 2005 and 2006 just a few short years removed from winning the whole thing.

For what its worth, the 62-year old Williams has now spent a significant portion of his lifetime connected with that institution: In the 1960s he played there under Bud Millikan, and graduated in 1968. When he took the job in 1989, he stated in so many words that this would be the last coaching job he would take (after successful runs at American, Boston College and Ohio State) and would not be looking to leave for another job. Given that he’s still there 19 years later, Williams clearly meant it. And early in his tenure he was clearly tested by the NCAA sanctions that Maryland incurred because of violations committed under predecessor Bob Wade. Williams rode out that storm, needless to say. I don’t question the man’s passion for coaching (although his passion for recruiting is often questioned by some observers) — or the institution he belongs to — at all.

A losing streak, or not making the NCAA Tournament is not the end of the world to me; program-killing or program-shaming NCAA sanctions can certainly be, for enough time that it can take a while to rebuild a program’s reputation.

College basketball is a funny thing, and a cyclical thing. Right now the cycle is not running in the Terps’ favor. The funny thing is, that cycle could rotate back once the team rights its ship and starts winning games. Remember last season when they got off to a horrid start in conference play and then closed the season with a run that included knocking off Duke (twice) and then UNC at home? While those losses to Ohio and American don’t look good on a tournament resume, it is NOT too late the right the ship this season. For that reason, I’m not willing to throw Gary Williams under the bus.

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I mentioned “cyclical.” This brings me to OU, who started their Christmas break by knocking off the then 20th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs last Thursday, on national television, in the All-College Classic.

Mark Few’s team was playing with a slightly-injured Matt Bouldin (ankle), a rusty Josh Heytvelt (who hadn’t played any kind of game since being suspended last February, and is recovering from foot surgery). However, despite being bothered by a knee, Jeremy Pargo went nuts against the Sooners (career-high 28 points). Pargo is the engine that makes the Zags go, and one of those kind of dangerous objects that you don’t want to leave unattended. So imagine my surprise when Pargo’s late-game shot was blocked by skinny little Austin Johnson, who of late has been playing some of the best basketball of his whole time at OU.

Pargo’s older brother Jannero, a reserve guard for the New Orleans Hornets, also has played on that same Ford Center court. The elder Pargo joined the Hornets before the 2006-2007 season, the last one of the Hornets’ temporary relocation to Oklahoma City in the wake of Katrina.

Despite Gonzaga’s semi-depleted state, this was still a statement game for the Sooners and second-year head coach Jeff Capel. The Sooners have been down for a while, and a win over a ranked (and well-regarded) foe is a milestone in Capel’s quest to bring Sooner basketball back to respectability.

I also think this helps in further distancing OU from the not-that-great last years of the Kelvin Sampson era (speaking of program-shaming NCAA violations).

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Edit/Repost: The REAL Way to Kill MySpace
December 18, 2007, 8:31 am
Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , ,

NOTE: I decided to un-hinge this from the Ice Storm/No Cable bitchfest I posted yesterday in the off chance it might actually be helpful to someone else (assuming they find my site) and also want to sever themselves from The Middle School of the Internet.

Well, sterrapin vs. MySpace is over. They have finally seen fit to terminate the account I so desperately wanted cancelled oh, a couple of months ago. How it finally happened:

First of all, it should NOT be necessary to log into the account to do this, although I did log into my account to do this.

1. Set up a different e-mail address from whatever e-mail address you registered, or otherwise use a different e-mail address from the one you used to register your MySpace account.

2. Don’t bother with the “Cancel My Account” thing in your account settings (I did this repeatedly and got nowhere), and go instead to the bottom of any MySpace page and click on Contact MySpace.

3. When you go to the “Contact MySpace” page, you should see a couple of drop-down menus. In the first one, choose “Your Account;” in the second one, choose “Delete Account.” Click SUBMIT.

4. The next page you will see offers pertinent topics that are in the MySpace FAQ. Skip that and click on “No, e-mail customer service.”

5. That finally takes you to a form to e-mail customer service (instead of this “Tom” character). This is where your super-special new e-mail address comes in.

6. Say you are a relative of the user and explain that he/she has died and to terminate the profile. This is exactly what I did and my profile was terminated within 24 hours. Sure MySpace is a haven for whiny emo kids, attention whores and pedophiles (although not all MS users are like that, I know people who still have MS accounts who are pretty well-adjusted), but it appears they seem quite respectful of the wishes of the loved ones of “newly-dead” users (or perhaps other individuals whose profiles had to be removed for varying circumstances, not necessarily involving terms of service violations like posting nudie pictures, if you know what I mean.)

So yes, I’m alive, thrilled, and laughing my ass off since some wonk at MySpace fell for me posing as my “cousin” asking for the profile to be removed because the user is deceased (in my case, I dropped dead from a brain embolism). Yes, it’s mean and cold-blooded, not to mention fraudulent, but I decided it was the absolute last resort to get my account whacked. I really didn’t want to post nudie pictures … I enjoy nudie pictures as much as the next person but putting them up on any site that I run or whatever just isn’t really my style.

But I am damned happy to be MySpace dead.



Thematic Break: Of Ice and Living Without Cable (Updated)
December 17, 2007, 9:58 am
Filed under: Daily life, Not exactly sports | Tags: , , , , , ,

[IMAGE: My own, taken December 10, 2007 on OU’s South Oval. More frosty pictures HERE]

I owe a better explanation for why I’ve been a neglectful Blog Mom again.

Of course last weekend about this time the ass-kicking ice storm whacked Oklahoma. Tulsa got it worse than the OKC area, but that’s not like OKC got off easy. I had the misfortune of watching a tree limb about the circumference of, oh, one of KU football coach Mark Mangino’s thighs fall on a car belonging to one of my neighbors and being unable to do anything but watch helplessly. I have electric heat, so when the power went out in the wee hours of last Monday morning — roughly a week ago right about now — I was basically screwed. I stayed a while at my work — at least there were lights, heat and a television set there.

The electricity came back on sometime Tuesday afternoon while I was at work, so I wasn’t home to witness that joyous occasion. That actually makes me one of the lucky ones because there are still pockets in Norman and some folks that still don’t have their power restored.

I haven’t had cable for a week, and in some ways I am amazed that maybe I’ve not missed it as much as I thought I would. I miss it a lot less given some of my dealings with the cable company. I realize that this is a stressful situation for them and I realize they are dealing with a lot more angry customers than just me, but that’s absolutely no excuse for being rude to those customers (including myself) or for stonewalling. One cable “customer service” representative (OKC and suburbs — Edmond, Moore, Norman, Mid and/or Del City, etc. are Cox markets) had the gall to ask me if my husband was around because the name on the account is a masculine name (I prefer to call it a unisex name since it is appropriate for both sexes) and he needed to talk to “the man of the house.” I informed him I was the sole account holder and admonished him to address me as “Ms. (sterrapin)” for the remainder of the call. The CSR did straighten up, but was slightly snide and condescending for the rest of the call.

By yesterday, cable service had been restored to my neighborhood, all except for me. Cox kept telling me to reboot my box — I did that repeatedly and followed the instructions to the letter and the box would not receive a signal. I tried disconnecting the box altogether and plugging the wall line into the back of the television set. Nothing. I told Cox CSRs this so often I had it memorized like a school recitation. The final time and the final straw with a CSR was Saturday afternoon when I got someone who made me set a password and provide an answer to a question that only I can answer before he would even hear the reason I called to begin with — and that took almost 10 minutes. And oh yeah, when he asked where I was calling from, I told him the obvious answer: Norman. He came back with, “You must choose one of the following: Tulsa or Oklahoma City.” I’m like, “are you fucking kidding me?” So I told him, “Well, I guess since Norman is close to Oklahoma City, then Oklahoma City.” When I finally got to my spiel, about how I had called Cox every single day since Wednesday asking when my cable would be restored, the guy on the other end informed me that it would be December 28 before they could even fit me in for an appointment. December 28. Yes. Even though all my neighbors that have cable have their service restored to normal and for the most part my neighborhood is back to normal except for the shattered trees that sort of look like they were plucked from the forest at Bastogne post-Battle of the Bulge.

For what its worth, I have decided to terminate my cable service. I have much better things to spend $65 a month on. If I want news, I can listen to National Public Radio (actually I’ve been a donor to my local NPR station for several years); if I want sports updates I can listen to ESPNRadio, either over the local affiliates or on the internet; NBA Audio League Pass is FREE this season and I’ve not missed many Blazers or Bulls games thanks to that. If I want to follow the college teams I care about, the internet comes in handy for that too. But for now I suppose I’ll be watching a hell of a lot more DVDs (some recommendations of late: The Virgin Suicides; American Hardcore — a documentary about what I at least consider MY “’80s music”; and the film version of the Broadway version of John Waters’ Hairspray. John Travolta in a fat suit and a dress as Edna Turnblad is a must-see, and he does it well).

But damn … no NBA games on “free television” until Christmas Day (and a game to look forward to still despite the inactivity of Greg Oden — Blazers versus Sonics), and no college basketball unless its on CBS, which means having to tolerate Billy Packer, and furthermore only getting to see what CBS wants to show us, which means not a lot of ACC games, not a lot of Big 12 games unless they’re teams in the Top 25 (yeah, like I want to see Kansas, or Texas, or North Carolina … I do actually, but not that much).

I will gladly listen to games, but I’d rather watch them.

But I’m not sure I want to be a slave to a cable company anymore. Because I live in a garage apartment, a dish is kind of not an option, so it has to be cable or nothing, and as far as cable service, there is zero choice because this company has the contract (read: monopoly). And honestly, outside of sports, or whatever’s interesting on PBS or the History Channel, or checking the Weather Channel, I don’t really watch a heck of a lot of television. You can take your sitcoms and hourlong network dramas, your precious 30 Rock and The Office and Desperate Housewives and shove them, I’m not interested. CNN, Fox and MSNBC? Forget them they all suck. I’ll own up to one TV vice: Adult Swim. But during hoops season it gets passed over, and even so by late October I was exasperated with the number of reruns of shows like Robot Chicken, Metalocalypse and The Venture Bros. I was seeing versus fresh episodes … and on Mondays I wasn’t getting home from work in time to watch The Boondocks (huge favorite of mine).

Maybe I can no longer justify the expense, and like I said, I could spend that $65 a month on other things.

I’d kill to be able to just buy the channels I would want on my cable system, but I’ll give up on that dream.

[UPDATE: I arrived home from work to discover the clock display on my cable box, something I’d not seen in a week and was probably a good thing. Much to my shock, they’ve restored my cable service. I’m still disenchanted with the cable company though … but they have promised to pro-rate my bill for the week my service was out. That’s fair. I really SHOULD kill my television, though — even though I tend to be very selective about what I watch — so this is something I will give more thought to in the coming weeks.]



Thematic Break: sterrapin vs. MySpace, Part Deux
November 18, 2007, 2:46 am
Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , ,

I will beg and plead now.

WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE GO HERE:

My Profile

And please report it for abuse so that my account may be terminated.

I have gone through the appropriate channels more than once to cancel this account, they still have not cancelled my account. I am through being nice about it but I’d like to stop short of posting nudie pictures (a surefire way to get tossed) because I really don’t have time to look for any and I’m certainly not going to post any of myself (sorry).

And BTW, I put the remarks about Fox News there in an attempt to infuriate MySpace’s parent company … while I tend to be liberal-leaning and yes, abhor the Fox News Channel, I do actually consume more sources of news and try to make up my own mind about issues.

So come on please, you’d be doing me an incredible favor. I’m so sick of that site I can’t stand it anymore.

I also don’t want to junk up my new computer (the reason I’ve not been here lately — yes, being a bad Blog Mom again) with all that crap that permeates MySpace that makes my computer slooooooow.

Thank you kindly.

–sterrapin.