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Team Quick Ben
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User is offline Nov 15 2023 12:57 PM

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47 years old
February 2, 1977
Nowhere Specific
Nothing, just sitting. Quietly.

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  1. Guilty Pleasure Reads

    20 September 2023 - 12:19 PM

    Dunno if we've ever had a thread like this, but I was prompted by my buddy (who is mostly a Sci-Fi reader) saying he unabashedly enjoys the Jack Reacher books.

    Mine are the Clive Cussler books, and probably James Rollins too. Just trashy, soapy dude-ish beach reads about adventure, treasure, and Bond-like leads.

    What are your guilty pleasure reads. Stuff you'd not want to admit to your English Lit teacher, but are like popcorn fun for you?
  2. Nintendo Direct 2023

    14 September 2023 - 02:42 PM

    A New PRINCE OF PERSIA SIDE-SCROLLER game?! holy shit you have my attention!

    MARIO WONDER yeah no brainer, I'll be getting that.

    HORIZON 2 looks like something my kids would enjoy playing.

    A SPY X FAMILY game? Very cool.

    MARIO RPG looks like Classic FF in Marion mode. I will definitely play it.

    PRINCESS PEACH does that look that fun? Crazy fun.

    TOMB RAIDER 1-3 remastered....uh....I dunno, I feel like playing these now would not give me the same enjoyment as they did as a kid, even with the remastering.

    UNICORN OVERLORD...huh, not typically my jam but looks really good!

    BANDLE TALE: A LEAGUE OF LEGENDS cozy game? Amaze. Will definitely get.

    EIYUDEN CHRONCILES looks fun...not sure if it goes beyond the generic-RPG-ness...but the character designs and backgrounds look long as the gameplay Is there, I'll try it.

    A few too many Mario games....I get it...but still...

    As a cozy gamer on my Switch for the most part, BANDLE TALE is the one that popped out to me the most as that's right up my alley. Crating? Fishing? Festivals? yeah...that's 100% my jam.
  3. The Social Contract; is it breaking?

    14 August 2023 - 06:56 PM

    So I was prompted to make this thread as I feel like most of us are relatively knowledgable and intelligent, with a diversity of opinions that we might talk about the state of the world right now.

    Note: I was triggered into this by hearing that story of the 50 people who organized themselves into a mob to raid a Nordstrom in LA, and my brain went "Well, that's not normal and what pushed people to do this?" and the answer my brain suggested as a possible "why" was, at best uncomfortable from a societal standpoint.

    So things suck, right? I mean pretty universally. I can speak to Canada, but I'm sure this applies to many of the places we are from and live in. The mass trauma even known as the Pandemic has affected us all in varying and different ways...but it's hard to argue that for about 3 years we all went through something unprecedented and it left many lingering affects on us both mental and physical.

    Starting with that as a BASE, is already a fucking trip...but it only gets worse from there.

    Inflation is bad everywhere, and in most cases this can be traced not to some socio-economic factor, or some pattern or cycle, but instead to the wealth-hoarders and greed. Galen Weston (who owns most of Canadian grocery/drug stores AND many of the brands/vendors themselves) didn't up prices due to the pandemic supply chain issues and then drop them back down after that was no longer a factor...he upped them just because he could, cause he's a rich AF Nepo-baby and wanted him and his shareholders to make unending infinite profit. Our inflation has actually gone down in the last little while a bit... but you would never know it because the prices are still going up on everything.

    This bleeds into another point, that fabled element of modern capitalism, the phantoms of "infinite growth" is no longer good enough to make enough as a corporation to pay your employees, cover your expenses and make a decent those profit graphs need to point up every year, year over year that MUST apparently increase....or your business is considered failing. This once again tracks back to the exact same thing as the above, wealth-hoarding shareholders demanding money to be a constant and increasing flow.

    Oligopolies rule the roost in Canada and abroad:

    - Want to travel within Canada by Air? Cool, you gotta deal with Air Canada who charges extortionist prices for a flight from Toronto to Montreal (for example)...and what happens with more little guy airlines come into the fold to try to diversify the options? Gets bought out by Air Canada.
    - Want to ship something? Cool, you gotta deal with Canada Post who charge you an AUTOMATIC $15+ on anything larger than a LETTER. Decimating anyones chances of having a viable seller business by mail in Canada.
    - Want to get a cell phone? Cool, you gotta deal with our Bi-fold carriers Rogers & Bell who both charge you some of the highest prices in the WORLD for telecom services...want to try to avoid them and pick smaller guys for your cell phones? Yeah, you can but they ALL have to use Bell and Rogers lines cause there is no other infrastructure being built.
    - Want to get internet service? Cool, you gotta deal with our bifold ISP's Rogers & Bell who both charge you some of the highest prices in there world for internet services...want to try to avoid them and pick the smaller guys for your cell phones? Yeah, you can but they ALL have to use Bell (Fibre) and Rogers (DSL) lines cause there is no other infrastructure being built.
    - Want to get groceries? Cool, you gotta deal with out tri-fold mass corporations Weston, Empire, or Metro who charge you some of the highest prices for groceries in the world...and have even been caught MORE THAN ONCE colluding together to fix high prices on certain items...want to try to avoid them and pick the small guys? Can't, Weston OWNS about 60% of the smaller guys, Empire owns 30% of the rest, with Metro owning the remaining 10%....the free market is never going to sort itself out with things like this. Weston and Empire buy out/take over ANY of the smaller ones that start up and try to diversify the goods.
    - Want to use a bank? Cool, you gotta deal with one of only five banking institutions in the country, and economic constraints hinder other banking institutions from joining the market and competing with these corporations.
    - Want to use oil and gas? Cool, you gotta deal with Husky Energy, Imperial Oil, Nexen, Petro-Canada, Shell Canada, Suncor Energy, Syncrude Canadaor, Talisman Energy ALL of whom take their marching orders from OPEC....a group of people who were proven only last year to have sat in a room and talked about increasing prices for no other reason than BECAUSE THEY COULD.
    - Want to buy concert tickets? Cool, you gotta deal with Ticketmaster who set pretty insane prices for even lesser artists concerts. Wouldn't it be easier for the venues to sell their own tickets? It would be and it used to be, but then Ticketmaster BOUGHT the owners of the vast majority of Venues when they merged with Live Nation...and the only time ANYONE has ever fought against this clear and unprecedented oligopoly (Pearl Jam), Ticketmaster/Live Nation basically bought OR Doomed ANY smaller venue for daring to sell cheaper tickets by telling Major Artists and Record companies that if they set up gigs at those smaller venues that they would gatekeep their artists from them. So they own the only ticket-seller and all the major venues in town.
    - Want to travel by rail outside the GTA? Cool, you gotta deal with VIA Rail as they are the only game in town and charge prices that are worse than air Canada does for FLIGHTS....and when you complain? Well, there is no infrastructure for transit like rail so you have to use the only corridors that exist, as no one will buy more and thus allowing other competitors to even EXIST.

    Now, what could be done to solve much of this? The governments (Federal and/or Provincial) COULD either set up laws/rules or reinstate old laws that have since been removed (see Scalping essentially being legal these days when it used to be quite illegal) to prevent oligopolies and foster a wider are market with much more varied choices...but they don't. I expect much of that is due to lobbying by the money behind these EXACT companies to make sure no changes occur that hurt their bottom line, and some of it is due to the desire to stay in power for some governments, amongst other issues. But no one is doing much of anything to stop anyone.

    Housing is another biggie. In Canada it's EGREGIOUS. Real Estate makes up the majority of our GDP. It's a stock market. You get that? Our whole fucking economy is propped up by a bubble of an imaginary infinitely growing housing industry. The people in power know that if they force that bubble to burst, the ENTIRE Canadian economy would crash and they want to avoid that. Even putting hardcore rules in place for taxing multi-property owners and big hedge funds that own massive property would be untenable as the big boys would pull out of their (up till now) guaranteed investment. The problem with kicking this particular can down the road is that eventually that bubble WILL burst. Economically it CANNOT go up forever. At some point the snap will occur. The offshoot problem is that many people will say "It has to go up, it will always go up, it won't crash, they've been predicting a burst for 25+ years now...tell me another one"....yes it has been going up for 25+ years....but it's till a bubble based on housing being an INVESTMENT that was enticing to stands on nothing else. And no one is going to be buying houses when they are 1.5-2million STARTING everywhere...So when that bubble DOES burst, the catastrophe will make the 2008 financial crash in the States look like a fucking cakewalk. This whole country will collapse under that weight into what I assume will be a depression. So no one wants to fix it...because fixing it means crashing the economy. The bank of Canada is trying to slow walk this by pushing up the interest rate and forcing a recession....this isn't working becuase the investment is still not poisoned enough for the big boys (like Blackrock) to bail.

    The next two biggest contributors on our list for GDP are manufacturing and the financial sector (banks, another oligopoly) not a healthy country economically by anyone's definition, that's three investors in a fucking trench coat.

    And add a little spice to the whole thing, the Boomers as a generation are not naturally dying off fast enough. Callous as that may sound, it's simply a valid data point. The Boomers hold the VAST majority of the wealth in this country and south of the border, be it in investments, or even just in housing they bought for pennies 4 decades ago. They are also CLINGING to the jobs they should have long retired from because the world they created (in which they were given every opportunity to get all the things they wanted, the things they told US Millennials we could also have if we just worked hard like they did) doesn't exist anymore, and they are being financially pressed upon as much as we are, so they are staying in jobs LONG past retirement age to try to make sure that their parachute will open...but they've left none of the rest of us parachutes as a result, and they are hanging out in the overstuffed plane with us and refusing to jump until they are sure their parachutes will work. They also control the vast majority of the political spectrum due to their voting body having been the largest one for decades, so any decision making that doesn't concern them directly in having their lives be as they are, does not matter to them.

    Ask a Boomer about providing affordable housing, or daycare, or any other social program they don't ACTIVELY use or think they benefit from on the regular....they will 100% tell you that they don't GAF about it, and they feel it should not be even mentioned. Jeezus even talking about raising the minimum wage gets them all hot and bothered and annoyed...THEY didn't need those things, so why should we? Right? Want to know what they DO care about and WILL raise a stink about? Try to raise the (already bargain basement) property taxes on those houses they own that they bought 4 decades ago for peanuts. They will rant and roar about it. My FIL is one such. He lives (on his own, as a 78 year old man) in a 3-story 4-bedroom fully detached house in one of Toronto's most affluent neighbourhoods that he's owned since the early 1980's. When he leaned that Olivia Chow had been elected mayor the other week, he was so angry about it that my wife said "don't talk to him right now, he's angry and he knows you voted for Olivia Chow"...I asked why and it was due to the sole fact that he knew she would raise his property taxes. I told him (eventually when he was not as angry) that EVERY mayoral candidate would HAVE had to raise property taxes...anyone who said they would not was a liar just trying to get elected, Toronto is DEEP as fuck in debt and that's a massive source of revenue they needed...naturally he didn't believe me. But yeah, the only thing that gets a Boomer riled and wanting change to their beloved status quo is if you try to take a little of what they hoard to help the rest of us. They feel that if they worked for those things in a world that at the time rewarded that behaviour, that we should do the same... in a world they don't understand is MUCH changed. They prevent SO much good from happening by greedily clutching their treasure in old castles they paid nothing for. If you could go back in time and tell the free love/no war/anti-govt group of hippies that one day they would shut themselves up inside fortifications and then stonewall any and all progress because the world THEY FUCKING CREATED scares them in their old age? They would likely have called you a bootlicker. What a change a few decades makes.

    So what does all this mean? People toss around eat the rich, and the French revolution, and things like this....but honestly just making the wealth hoarders pay a fair share in taxes, and punishing those that break those rules with jail time and not fines, or hell even just holding CEO's salaries to like 10-30% of their lowest page workers so they stay as just "well off" people VS billionaires with enough money individually to SOLVE HOMELESSNESS (for example) would be enough to foment change. But the rich have their hands in the control pie, the government. Until we remove money from politics I don't see that happening sadly.

    But is the social contract breaking? If 50 people socially organize to ransack a Nordstrom en masse....what is the line between "looking the other way when a parent steals food or formula" and "people eating the rich by taking the rich and selling it so they can afford to live" Are they robin hoods? Of course not, they are still criminals...but the boldness in such numbers smacks of the bigger issue which is that the disparity between the super wealthy and those just trying to get by each month or pay for their kids to be looked after is way wider than anyone is willing to admit. If these things are happening at this level, how far off is further social unrest en masse? At the biggest Weston grocery store in the city they just put up a bunch of security gates everywhere and are checking receipts now...and you have to wonder "If the average Joe is angry enough at people like Galen Weston for wealth hoarding while we struggle that they are worried and putting up security gates/checking receipts to prevent theft at self-checkouts...that not just a policy to prevent petty theft (something they've never bothered about before)....that means they absolutely KNOW that the social contract is seemingly breaking and average people are fed up enough that a bunch of gates had to be placed to prevent it...that's insane to me.

    Anyone have anything else to add or want to discuss? I thought it would just be good to have a discussion type thread where these convos can be had about this stuff. Is the social contract slowly breaking? Is the wealth disparity coupled with climate change and other factors pushing everyone to a breaking point?

    I've never felt as bereft and depressed living in this country as I do now, and seeing things like the Greenbelt being sold off in plain sight with no one to stop them from doing it, just the most recent in a LONG line of govt scandals that prove no one really has our best interests at heart and everyone can clearly be bought by the highest bidder. I'm bit lost and I wonder if anyone else feels like that. I don't know how we fix any of this. It feels like every industry out there is seeking record high profits every quarter and greedily fleecing everyone every chance they get, there is no shame anymore, no hiding it, and just putting up prices because they can...and when we can actually GET people engaged enough to vote in decent numbers, we STILL can't outvote the Boomers so we stay here...treading water as the tides keeps rising...

    Required watching on such a subject: Kurosawa's 1963 film HIGH & LOW ~ "I don’t know. I’m not interested in self-analysis. I do know my room was so cold in winter and so hot in summer I couldn’t sleep. Your house looked like heaven, high up there. That’s how I began to hate you.”
  4. WGA/SAG-AFTRA Strike

    18 July 2023 - 04:58 PM

    Figured we may as well have a thread as this is going to go on a long time.

    Here's a thread showing the SAG-AFTRA asks, and the response from' fucked up how little ground the studios are willing to give...holy shit.

  5. The Olympian Affair

    25 May 2023 - 04:04 PM

    I don't know if I'm going to read it (I'm still not ready to forgive Jim his covid shenanigans)...but it's nice to know that this book is FINALLY coming out. And who am I kidding, I'll probably read it.

    The cover change is good. The old cover was too much like Dresden and the art was kind of meh....this I like because it will look different to Dresden. Nice that they are re-releasing book1 with a matching cover too.

    Anyways, November 7th.

    You can see the cover here.


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    01 Feb 2023 - 20:02
    ... where I'm going, I don't need roads ...
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    01 Feb 2023 - 15:02
    Thanks man, you're always the first to wish me a happy bday due to you being slightly in the future!
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    01 Feb 2023 - 14:27
    and another one
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    01 Feb 2022 - 20:07
    Huh, comment disappeared. Happy birthday dude.
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    01 Feb 2022 - 20:06
    Jeez dude, are you 45? I feel old.
    Happy birthday, hope it's a good one.
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    01 Feb 2021 - 20:31
    happy 44th!
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    01 Feb 2019 - 18:04
    Thanks man!
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    01 Feb 2019 - 18:01
    Happy #42 - the meaning of everything!
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    01 Feb 2019 - 18:00
    Happy #42 - the meaning of everything!
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    01 Feb 2018 - 20:08
    Thanks man!
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    01 Feb 2018 - 19:57
    Happy #41
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    04 Dec 2016 - 01:55
    Done, sorry Ando, I didnt realize it was full.
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    03 Dec 2016 - 18:00
    Hey, could you make a little bit of room in your inbox?
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    17 Mar 2016 - 22:32
    lol, I focused right on 'redolent' too! Not sure why, but I felt like it was worth pointing out with my post :P
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    02 Feb 2014 - 13:11
    LOL. Truth. Thanks Sombra.
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