Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Avengers, DVD vs Blu-Ray, and Lost Faith In Humanity

Ok, so this has not much to do with anything.

Last night I was browsing on Amazon.com, because that’s window-shopping for lazy folks. Anyway, I came across the product page for The Avengers movie. (It’s not released yet, but people can pre-order.) I was a bit surprised when I saw a number of 1-star reviews for what I thought was a pretty good movie (I saw it in theaters twice) so I checked them out.

The prevalent gripe seems to be that the DVD version of the film does not have all of the same special features that the Blu-ray version has. And for this, and this alone, some people gave the movie a 1-star rating.

That is just ridiculous.

It would have been one thing if people gave poor reviews if they saw some major flaw with the film, or if there was an error with the disk (the movie hasn’t had private release yet, so they wouldn’t know if it did.) But for special features? Really? Special features have nothing to do with the quality of the movie, and they certainly aren’t grounds for a 1-star review. (Back in the stone age when we all still watched movies on VHS, they didn’t really even have extras.)

Worse, a few people even cited the fact that they don’t have Blu-ray players and shouldn’t be “punished” for not buying them. Another person, one who evidently had some sense, commented humorously pointed out that the movie wasn’t available on VHS at all and joked that he shouldn’t be “punished” for having a VCR (internet high-five for that guy.) Come on guys, Blu-ray has been out for years. DVD will soon be phased out just like VHS was, and you won’t be able to buy DVDs at all anymore. You can buy a used (or even new) Blu-ray player for relatively cheap these days. Get with the times or quit complaining.

But why doesn’t the DVD have all of the extras the Blu-ray has? Is it because companies want to punish people for having DVD players? Is it a clever scheme to make more money? No. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but there is no evil conspiracy at play here and “the man” is not out to get you (this time.)

The answer is simple: Space.

A DVD has 4.7gb of space on it if single-layer disk, and 8.5 if duel-layer. At most, a duel-layer DVD can hold about 3 hours of SD video. Contrast this to a Blu-ray, which has 25gb of space in single-layer, and 50gb in duel-layer, and can about 23 hours of SD video and up to 8.5 hours of HD (depending on the method of encoding) in duel-layer. See the difference? You’re comparing a closet to a mansion here and wonder why you can’t fit the same volume of furniture.

Now, The Avengers has a runtime of almost two and a half hours. That would take up almost all of a DVD’s space that is available to hold video. There simply is not room for extras like there is on a Blu-ray. To hold any considerable amount of extras, enough to really miss, there would have to be a second DVD just for the bonus material. And, what do you know, there actually is a 2-disk DVD addition available (it’s even right on the same page where the complains are, all one needs to do is select it from the drop-down menu!) rendering the “no extras on DVD” moaning completely… well, normally I’d say “retarded” right here, but I’m told that’s a bad ablest habit (and it is.) I rate those reviewers 1-star. Sometimes, I wish I could slap people though a computer screen.

I think this is a problem when just anyone can review anything. Some of those reviews are going to be stupid.  However, they aren’t as stupid as failing to see The Avengers. Even if you’re not into comics or superheros, GO SEE IT!

… What was this blog supposed to be about again?

Drive-By Thoughts: Respecting Choices

I think that I can support someone’s right to make a choice on a given matter without being automatically required to support the choice that they actually make if that choice happens to be painfully stupid/selfish/harmful/etc.

Examples:

Purposely having kids that you KNOW you can not afford.

“Leaving it in god’s hands” – keeping a pregnancy and raising a child that you vocally express that you do not want. (No one will be happy)

Seriously relying on NFP, withdrawal, or any other ineffective method for birth control when you have options.

Willfully keeping a pregnancy that you know carries a very high risk of injury or death for you.

Willfully keeping a pregnancy when you know in utero that the fetus did not develop properly and will result in an extremely disabled child who will never have anything remotely close to a normal, healthy life, won’t have a long life, and/or will never know anything but suffering.

Wasting money on medical resources on IVF.

I really could go on.

Popcorn post: Thoughts On Work And Being Childfree

I have number of posts I’ve been meaning to write, but never seem to get around to. Some of it’s business. Some of it is just feeling burnt out. But most of it is laziness, I admit. Sometimes though, I just have some thought in my head that I can’t seem to get out until I write down, even if the topic in question is trivial compared to other things that I mean to write.

Anyway, I was looking at my work schedule and something occurred to me that I hadn’t really thought about. My boyfriend and I work for the same company, and our manager does her best to make schedule arrangements that give us the same days off work. And that’s just great!

Now, I knew that having kids affects one’s work schedule. I wrote about that a little bit in my list of reasons to be childfree. But there was a new thought that I hadn’t considered before that involves having a partner, and how both of our schedules would need to be arranged.

Childcare is expensive, whether it’s a daycare dump or some private babysitter. It advises for parents who aren’t absolutely loaded to arrange their schedules in such a way as to minimize childcare costs. We’d have to arrange our schedules in such a way as to have someone home to watch the kid(s) as much as possible. Instead of making arrangements to try to have days off at the same time, we’d need to have alternating days off.

Effectively, this means that my partner and I couldn’t afford to see each other much. That’s pretty sad. No wonder parents grow apart.

As if kids didn’t put enough strain on relationships as it was.

A Few Gripes About My Current Residence.

Currently, I live in a townhome complex. There are multiple buildings, each building having six towhnome units. There are many things about this place that aren’t ideal. The townhome is low quality construction, we have no private yard, the rent keeps climbing, we’re subject to many arbitrary rules, and we don’t get to own anything for our money. But that is all what I expected when I moved in, and I never planned to live here more than a year or two before moving on to something more permanent.

But, in the time that I’ve lived here, I’ve had to deal with a lot of bullshit that I should not have, most of which has to do, not with the quality of the neighborhood, but the quality of the neighbors. I have many reasons that I will be moving at the end of next month, but you’d better believe that shitty neighbors, especially obnoxious kids, are among them.

Gripes

  • The HOA is insane.
    First, they sent us a letter telling us that we must have our dog, Molly, off the premises by X date because she was over the 30lb limit. I found it odd that they presumed to somehow know our dog’s weight. They never asked for any verification of her weight, but we happily provided it from our vet anyway. Our dear Molly is only about 28lbs.Then the HOA got on our case for our window-mounted AC unit which was safely and neatly installed. They even sent us a letter stating that window AC units are not allowed, including the text “no matter what the temperature,” in bold print. Our unit has no central air and our few windows all face the same direction, so it gets pretty damn hot in the summer. Considering how this was an especially hot summer for Colorado, and we can plainly see that the HOA is a bunch of douchers.
  • The units have no yards. What we do have is not respected.What we each have is a small concrete slab with 6ft fencing around it in front of our doors. The neighbor kids evidently don’t think much of our small patio, as they’re always throwing junk in it. Among the trash the neighbor brats have thrown over our fence and onto our concrete slab are candles and crayons (which melt into the concrete and are a pain to clean up,) chicken bones (which are a safety hazard for my dog,) and light bulbs (which shatter on impact with the concrete and create a safety hazard for anyone who doesn’t have the ability to levitate,) among assorted garbage. The same goes for our escape hole in front of our basement window.
  • Beyond that, there is a common grassy area between the buildings, which is likewise not respected.It’s sort of a large, shared yard. It’s always full of trash. Candy wrappers, bits of broken toys, food waste, popsicle wrappers, potato chip bags, children’s underwear (WTF?,) and dog feces that owners fail to pick up. The worst thing I saw out there was a pile of mattresses left out on the green (killing the grass which is no doubt expensive to maintain here) for about a week. The kids used it as a playground, even after it rained several times and was a mildew mess, and had likely become a habitat for who knows what (I wouldn’t be surprised if the dark, damp mattress pile had become home to black widows.) When garbage is finally removed, I’m sure it’s done by workers hired to maintain the grounds, rather than by the residents who should be responsible.
  • The area is full of kids, who, not matter what the age, are left out in the green completely unsupervised.I’ve seen barely-walking toddlers outside with absolutely no adults in sight. No one keeps them safe. No one teaches them how to behave. No one keeps them under control. No one takes responsibility for their actions. Yes, the uninvolved “parents” are a problem all of their own.

    I often see these kids wandering around in the street. Sometimes they’re playing. Sometimes they’re wandering around looking at phones and not where they’re going. And they often seem to think that the road is a smart place to leave their bicycles.

    One of these days one of those kids will get snatched up or run over, and when the uninvolved, apathetic “parents” eventually find out, they’ll put on a great show about their tragedy and claim that they “only looked away for a minute!”

  • The unsupervised kids scream.Constantly. It does not stop. Day. Night. It doesn’t matter. This was a major problem when we worked night shift, but is still pretty unpleasant regardless. The worst offenders are the kids who moved in next door, the loudest of which appears to have some sort of mental handicap (although I can’t be sure) who will randomly scream like he’s being murdered for extended periods of time, with no one appearing to do anything at all to stop him (usually, he’s dumped outside and – you guessed it – unsupervised.)
  • The kids aren’t the only ones with volume control problems.Even the supposed “adult” neighbors are always hollering at each other. Sometimes their fighting. Other times they’re just the type of people who like to hold conversations at ridiculously high decibel levels for no apparent reason.

    My least favorite adult noise polluter lives in the building just across from us, who has two dogs who she pays no attention to and leaves cooped up inside all day, never allowing them to so much as touch grass. At best, the dogs get to go outside on the small, fenced slab of concrete. Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid that either of these animals should make so much as a peep and this woman starts shouting at them at the top of her lungs “SHUT UP!” Her boy now does the same as well. I’d like to give this woman a hint that standing in the doorway screaming at a dog will not encourage it to approach and pass you in order to “COME INSIDE!”

  • Then there are other noise problems.There’s the typical problem of a neighbor (or even someone in another building) having their music entirely too loud. That much is expected (although still unacceptable behavior.) Lately, it’s apparently become a thing for people to randomly set off fireworks. This puts BF on alert sometimes as the firecrackers often sound like gunfire.

    One night, around 10pm, we heard a long horn blast from someone’s car. That wouldn’t have been unusual (although it’s still a dick move) except it happened again. And again. And again. This went of for a long time before I finally had it and went outside. At first, I had trouble locating the source of the horn blast. I quickly realized that this was because the vehicle was moving and was evidently circling the complex, horn a blaring all the way. I eventually intercepted and waved down the car, and the driver gave me a look like I was the stupid one. He had some choice words for me when I threatened to call the police, including “I dun care. Call da fucking cops!” His bravado quickly dissipated when I produced my phone. With a final long blast of his horn, he sped to complex exit and onto the road. If it hadn’t been so dark, I would have gotten his license plate and really called the cops. I do not know or care what he was thinking.

  • The kids are destructive.The possibly mentally handicapped neighbor kid (PMHNK – I’ll refer to him a lot) also seems fond of random destruction. With his bare hands, he’s been pulling apart the panels of the wood fence dividing our slab of concrete and his. I do not approve.

    Also, the corner kids have dug a hole in the common grassy area, which is not their property to dig in in the first place. I once had the misfortune of stepping in this hole and hurting my ankle. Immediately, the two kids who had been following and interrogating me (“where are you goin?” Can you bring Molly out to play?”) proudly admitted that they had dug the hole. I told them to fill it in and they said that they would. Needless to say, the hole is still there weeks later and will not be filled any time soon.

  • The neighbor kids also like to pound on our connecting wall.Kicking/hitting it repeatedly for no apparent reason. I no longer spend much time in my own bedroom, partly because it shares a wall. Again, PMHNK is the worst.

    Not long after they moved in next door, I heard a loud “thump” that shook everything on my kitchen wall. I waited, and heard it again. And again. And again. As I listened closer, I realized that I could hear footsteps that grew louder leading up to the “thump.” PMHNK (at least, I’m pretty sure it was him) was taking running starts and slamming his body into the connecting wall. This had been going on for something like 10 minutes and, evidently, no one was doing a thing to stop him. Either no “parents” (I used the term very loosely) were home watching their kids (I have no idea how many kids there are, I just know that there are a lot) or, worse, they were home but just didn’t care if their child, their special-needs child, was harming himself (never mind caring that he was possibly damaging rental property and bothering the neighbors.)

  • Did I mention that PMHNK is a streaker? He’s a streaker. |Either he takes his clothes off and no one bothers to stop him, or his parents don’t bother dressing him in the first place. Just the other day, as I was letting my dog out on the common, PMHNK ran out in front of us, screaming his head off, in nothing but a shirt (no pants or underwear.) There were no parents anywhere in sight, and certainly none chasing him with a towel. No one was even looking for him. This is, according to the neighbor on the other side of us, a regular occurrence. I’d be very surprised if no one has called CPS. This time, Molly returned him back home (she sometimes herds children.)
  • Molly is very popular in the neighborhood. This is a problem.The neighborhood children like to play with her, which I don’t mind. The trouble is, those children will sometimes interrupt us when we’re trying to train her, purposely distracting Molly with toys and calls when I’m trying to teach her “stay” at distance. It’s a problem.

    The corner same kids have even gotten into the habbit of following BF and me around when we’re going to and from work, or even knocking on our doors to ask if Molly can come out and play. It gets old.

  • The corner kids who live near where I park my car (when I actually can park in the spot that I pay for – more on that later) are irritatingly nosy.“Where are you going?” “When will you be back?” “How old are you?” “Is that your car?” “Where are you going now?” “Why?” This happens every time they catch me going to my car. Every. Time. I mostly just ignore them. I think that they are starved for attention because their parents ignore them.
  • My vehicles get no respect.According to the good neighbor, the neighborhood brats have been climbing around on my BF’s truck. I haven’t seen this myself, but it would not surprise me in the least, considering that I once caught the mother of one of the accused children sitting on my own car not long after I bought it. At the same time, the ice cream truck driver who she was chatting up had parked his truck so as to trap me in my parking spot. When he finally moved, another guy who had been out there chatting asked me for the soda can I had in my cup holder, which he only could have possibly seen if he had been bent over, scoping out my car. Not. Cool. Another time, my BF parked slightly cooked, one wheel partially outside the parking lines (no one parked in the spot next to us anyway as the unit that spot belonged to was vacant at the time.) Whoever patrols that property left a large sticker on my BF’s truck window, which was a real pain to remove.
  • Seeing as how our units have assigned parking (meaning that we pay for our parking spots in the same way that we pay for our bedrooms) you’d think I could expect to actually be able to park in mine. Nope.
    Visitors to the corner unit (the home to the hole-digging, truck-climbing, question-asking children of the woman who uses my car as a couch) have an irritating habit of taking my spot. Well, they’re just too special to use visitor parking and walk an extra 50ft, you see. Of course I should have to use visitor parking after arriving home at odd hours, exhausted from work, no matter how much I have to drive around to find an available space within a reasonable distance to my unit, even though residents using visitor parking is against the rules under the penalty of being towed. I’d like to think that the reason that I can usually use the spot I pay for now is because of the notes I started leaving on cars after I finally got fed up with it, but more likely, it has more to do with my hours at work changing so the hours I park have changed.

Then other vehicles like to park on the street behind me (it’s perpendicular parking against curbs, so the only way out is to back up, BTW) so I cant’ get out of my space, such as the ice cream truck I mentioned earlier. OR there will be people parked like that so I can’t even get into my spot. Either way, I get very annoyed. I pay for my spot. I should be able to use it.

  • Animal neglect.

Those same people in that corner unit used to have a pit bull puppy that they used to leave chained up outside. The thing was, it was chained up OUTSIDE their fence, so it would always want to climb on and nip at whoever happened to pass (since I parked there, that was me.) The owners were never outside with their puppy, which is abuse in and of itself because dogs, especially pups, are not meant to be left by themselves. Furthering the abuse, the dog wasn’t even left water, no matter how hot it was outside. The pup was completely untrained and unsocialized and no one cleaned up after it. It was eventually taken away by animal control, and probably put down, after it bit a girl. The blame falls entirely on the irresponsible owners.

I already mentioned the woman who communicates with her dogs only in the form of yelling at them. I also have reason to expect that she hits her dogs, but I can’t be sure.

TLDR: My complaints about where I currently live are:
The HOA

  • The kids
  • The “adults”
  • And general disrespect for other people, animals, and property.

My good neighbor said that the area used to be a very nice place, years ago. He said that they even used to be able to grow flower gardens without unsupervised children tearing them up. He said that the general quality of the neighborhood dropped sharply when the rental companies began accepting Section 8 (there is a difference between being of a low economic class, and having no class, the latter of which seeming to be the case for many of the neighbors.) As much as he paid to buy his unit, and as much as I pay to rent mine, it’s sad that our neighborhood often feels like it’s only slightly better than a ghetto.

And so I’m very happy to say that we are buying a home and will be closing at the end of next month. 

The home is big. It has four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The master bedroom connects to its own bedroom, as does the guest room downstairs. The two other bedrooms will be offices, BF and I will each get one. Downstairs, there’s a lovely fireplace room that I think would make a lovely home for comfortable furniture, lots and lots of books, and maybe even a piano some day. Upstairs, there is a living area that we plan to transform into a movie theater room. We’re very happy that there is a two-car garage in which we can store two of our vehicles. Our third vehicle can stay in the driveway or curbside on the street. The kitchen is open and spacious, and has a sliding glass door with a walkout onto a large, raised deck. The master bedroom also has a deck walkout. If one follows the stairs down from the deck, they’ll meet our hot tub. Beyond that, there’s the yard. It’s large and has a high privacy fence, and is, I expect, something our dear Molly will me most pleased about. I am very happy that we will soon be moving. We close on our home at the end of next month. Our monthly mortgage payment will not really be much more than our current rent. And when we factor in gas and vehicle maintenance savings due to having a closer proximity to work, we actually expect to come out ahead.

My BF and I are ecstatic about getting our own home. We are just tickled that buying such a wonderful house will, even with interest, cost less than the average cost of raising a child (and then that child still needs somewhere to live.)

Letters To A Natalist World: What Every Parent Needs to Know in Terms of Social Child Behaviors (MOVED!)

Woops! This blog post has moved. You can find it at its new home HERE.

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