This is the kind of evil genius that could only come from China

Long story short: Chinese man buys a refundable first-class ticket from Eastern China Airlines and uses said ticket to eat at the VIP lounge at the airport for almost an entire year by virtue of rebooking his ticket on every visit, over 300 times and returning later and getting back into the lounge to eat some more.

Honestly, this is pretty incredible.  Evil, but incredible nonetheless.  Of course it had to come out of China, too.  Where they’ve got people practically living in their knockoff IKEAs, using rail stations as makeshift commodes, and some people who have figured out how to live in the sewers; why not be where a dining exploit could be found too?  And in the end, it’s hard to blame the guy, because nowhere in the ticket’s literature did it say that his first class ticket entitled him to exclusively one access into the airport’s VIP lounge.  In the end, he outsmarted the airlines, and they were lucky that he was the only one clever enough to realize the loophole in their system.

It’s a win on so many levels too.  Sure, we don’t really know how much resources went into routine travel to the airport, and sure there’s always the aggravation of having to go through security checkpoints and possibly customs, but there was always a freshly prepared meal waiting for him after he bypassed such nuances.  I’m really curious to know the quality of the cuisine at this VIP lounge, if it was really legit gourmet food, or if my expectations are too high being a fat American, and it’s really mediocre stuff.  It really doesn’t matter, because essentially it’s free as long as you’re holding a first class ticket.

The interesting thing about the story is the fact that the airline admit that they technically couldn’t stop him from doing this, because it is something that wasn’t disclosed, but they gloss over whatever tactic they did in order to get him to stop.  “Confronted” is a pretty PC way of saying “intimidated” probably, but even in spite of the moral victory of getting the guy to stop mooching off the airport lounge, he still got every cent of his initial ticket purchase back.

“Owned,” doesn’t even really begin to describe what this guy did to Eastern China Airlines.  Restaurants can try and save face and claim the actual low cost of materials and cooking labor was no big deal, but when the cost of it all is something compared to zero, you’re still a loser.  The guy ate over 300 meals at the airport, and didn’t spend a single cent in doing it.  Internet hero.

Still stuck at home on account of Snowpocalypse

This is a picture of the outside of my house.  If you notice, the ice on the roads has melted a good bit, yet precisely where the asphalt of the street begins right outside of my driveway, the ice has not melted, and is still somewhat thick.  My office has been closed for two days now and I’m fairly confident that they will be open tomorrow, but the thing is that this ice directly in front of my driveway is still going to be somewhat complicating, especially in the early AM hours when I am expected to be heading to work.

It doesn’t look like a lot of ice to traverse to get back onto solid asphalt, but the thing is that it’s going uphill, and my car is front-wheel drive and compact (read: lightweight); there’s no guarantee that it will be an easy task.  Conversely, I could always go downhill, and loop around on another side street of my suburban sprawl, but what’s not seen in the picture is how much further beyond my house that the ice continues to be present, all on a downhill.  I’ve seen cars sliding down my street in the past, and I’d rather not be one of them myself.

So, unless a good bit more ice melts, regardless of the state of my office’s operating, I may still run the risk of not being able to go to work tomorrow too.  It’s like playing an older Final Fantasy, where literally the only thing stopping you from going out into the vast and expansive world map is one town guard perfectly positioned at the one-tile wide exit, waiting for you to fight some ghost or do some menial task before he leaves you alone.

Make no mistake, as much as I have enjoyed sleeping in the last two days, I’m pretty ready for Snowpocalypse 2014 to be something in the past now.  Not because of the cold weather, not because of the cabin fever, but primarily to be beyond all the incessant chatter and arguments and white knighting I’m seeing all over social media and the news about the topic.  I get it, Atlanta and Georgia are unequipped for the snow, the city and state’s government is full of incompetent greedy bureaucrats who don’t care about the population, and laugh at us if you will but that makes you an asshole especially if you don’t know the facts and you’re still a dick even if you do.

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Snowpocalyptic musings

As it seems to be the case every three to five years in Atlanta, snow has befallen our fine city.  As it seems to be the case every time it happens, the entire city is in utter chaos; as the city and the state are ill-equipped when it comes to snow removal equipment, the roads often go unsalted and unplowed, and as the temperatures dip, everything freezes solid, and it’s safe to say that for the next day or three, it will be a very, very bad idea to get in a car and attempt to drive anywhere.  The irony in this statement is the fact that it’s literally two inches of snow that’s causing all this mayhem, because the city and state are completely incapable of clearing it from the roads.

The last time Snowpocalypse hit Atlanta, I ended up missing an entire week of work, which at the time was most definitely not a good thing, because I was still doing freelance work, therefore not being at work meant that I was not getting paid.  However, this time around, the circumstances are different, and I’m not terribly penalized by Mother Nature’s horseman.

Snowpocalypse has already been pretty brutal as is, and I’m very likely not going to be physically capable of going into work tomorrow, perhaps the day after, because like the last time, the hill that is the street directly outside of my house will undoubtedly be a sheet of ice, and it will be unable to be overcome by vehicles.  Coming home from work is generally a 29 mile commute that even on a bad day is roughly 50 minutes, took nearly three hours and several additional miles, due to road closures due to ice or accidents on account of ice.  I drove  no faster than 32 mph at any point of the trip, and I was often times in the 2 gear of an automatic vehicle, and the number of vehicles I saw that were wrecked, abandoned, in a ditched or spun out, I lost count at some point.

Before I continue on, I’d like to say that I’m sincerely glad that people I know in Atlanta are all seemingly well and safe, and that they’ve either made it safely home, or to at least the care of people who can provide them warmth and shelter.  There are many confirmed reports of those not nearly as lucky, and are at the mercy of makeshift shelters in unfamiliar stores, offices, and in some cases, the homes of good Samaritans willing to house complete strangers.

Needless to say, this has been the worst Snowpocalypse that I’ve seen since I’ve lived here, since none of the other snow storms in the past have had this many casualties that I can recollect.  But at the same time, I’m given the impression that this is the worst Snowpocalypse ever not just by what I’ve seen with my own two eyes, but also by the influence of social media, since prior to late-2012, I wasn’t on Facebook.

Being on Facebook was something I long resisted, but eventually relented, because in spite of my resistance, I was becoming somewhat of an island of a person, and I was losing touch with numerous people, so I eventually relented.  I’ll admit it’s not the end of the world like I made it out to be; I still don’t like the niggling idea that it’s one gigantic massive voluntary database of humanity in a sense, but at the same time, it’s nice to be able to see what’s going on in the lives of people I know, and to have somewhat of a convenient means of communication if I felt the need to correspond with people directly.  It’s also nice to be in the loop with social events that I felt that I was losing touch with by being unconnected.

The last year and change of being on Facebook haven’t been terrible for such reasons, but at the same time, my own participation is limited to sparse attempts at trying to be witty with observational humor, and giving snarky rebuttals to the status updates of others.  Otherwise, I typically tend to maintain a safe distance from the machine as a whole and try not to get into any in-depth discussions, because the message board mentality third parties adopt I find somewhat unappealing.

But the topic of Snowpocalypse brought forth a short-lived discussion that embodied everything I typically dislike about social media, and leaves me with feelings of discontent, uncertainty and a general below-average state of being.

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WWE Power Rankings going into Wrestlemania season

Apparently, it’s a good thing I didn’t see the Royal Rumble, because the general consensus from scuttlebutt is that it was pretty much the worst show on the planet, worse than last year’s Wrestlemania, the fans were unhappy all over the internet, and from the sounds of it, the fans at the venue were none too pleased either.  Thinking back to the results, the heel(s) won every single match, and piggy backing onto the notion that HHH cronies always benefit, it’s a valid complaint seeing as how the New Age Outlaws took the tag belts, Randy Orton retained the World titles and Batista won the actual Royal Rumble.  Hell, even Kevin Nash made a little appearance coin by being a surprise entrant in the Rumble.  From the smarky perspective, it makes sense why there’s a lot of unrest amongst “the Universe.”

But I’m not here to talk about the unrest, or Mick Foley’s (IMO worked shoot) Facebook post that is taking the smark interwebs by storm.  I’m here to be a little more backhanded and indirect, and I’ve got nothing else to write, so this seemed like as good as anything to write since it’s intriguing to me today.

A while back, I took it upon myself to share what I felt the value of the numerous WWE title belts were, in comparison to previous wrestling belts in history.  The end game was to reveal that the belts of the present were pretty low in prestige, and in some cases was less valuable than things that weren’t even belts at all (IE, Money in the Bank briefcase).  Anyway, I feel like making some wrestling comparisons again, but I’m going to take a little bit of a different approach.  Instead of just talking about belts themselves, going into Wrestlemania, I think the best approach is to go more of like a power ranking system, since the thoughts swirling around in my head don’t all pertain towards belts exclusively.

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The Moneyball of online dating

Long story short: math whiz conducts data research on OkCupid’s question survey profiles, and uses the data to more thoroughly compile potential compatible women for him.  After gathering enough information on what he’s typically looking for, he massages his own profile(s) to become a mathematically high-percentage compatibility match for the types of women he’s targeting.  In the end, he manages to go on a bunch of dates and ultimately meets a girl he’s now going to marry.

So I wonder when this is going to be made into a book by Michael Lewis or Ben Mezrich?  And then how long it’s going to take to be made into a movie directed by Steven Soderbergh?  I bet the movie will have the main character played by Jesse Eisenberg or Andrew Garfield, but definitely not someone that actually looks like the real person.

Anyway, I found this story to be pretty entertaining.  I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I’m not in any hurry to join the ranks of single unattached people who feel that the easiest path to romantic companionship is through online dating sites, and in some regards, a story like this only justifies why I really shouldn’t be.  Because even if in this modern society, where online dating sites is seemingly the simplest way to land a first date, it’s painfully apparent that it’s still extraordinarily difficult for people to get them anyway.  I don’t need that aggravation ain’t nobody got time for that.

However, it doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy this story.  Sure, he had to use some slightly underhanded means to compile data on the thousands of women filling out profile surveys which is obviously not within every other ordinary Joe’s repertoire, but it’s not like anyone was getting hurt in the process.  It really is like some Moneyball shit going on with it, because he’s really maneuvering around a realm of information that isn’t just underutilized, but he’s basically the only guy playing on an empty playground.

Granted, I’m sure the article kind of glazes over the part where he’s essentially lying on his profile to make himself more statistically compatible with the general types of women he’s trying to attract, but the proof was in the pudding that even in spite of the ingenious method of doing a lot of mathematical weeding, it still took over 80 dates before he found someone he felt he was genuinely compatible with.

In the end, it all seemed to work out for the best, and I think it was an entertaining read and a story regardless.  Obviously, if it were this easy for everyone, everyone would do it, and it would be back to square one of being difficult to find a date, but it has to beg the question that the mathematical methodology sites like OkCupid are using now must be inefficient and flawed if they’re capable of being improved upon so drastically with a little bit of know-how, time and research.