WELCOME to the personal home page/blog of Matthew La France. Please enjoy your stay.


I've been sifting through a bunch of new Jpop from the past couple months and I wanted to point out some of the highlights. I like a couple songs from a Nirvana-esqe band called DOES. This one called "Donten" (Cloudy Weather) is the theme song for an anime and is quite good.

I also like Shura quite a bit. Listen to either of these about 3 times and they'll get stuck in your head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma10CKw1kUg

In other highlights, Ami Suzuki has a new one along the lines of Free Free called "One". If you liked the first you will like this one. Needless to say I love it.

I'm starting to really get into Maximum the Hormone. They are kind of a fusion of punk/ska/hardcore/metal but they seem to be getting heavier and heavier which is fine with me. They do really cool songs. You may know them from the second op/ed theme set for Death Note. Two of their songs pretty much topped the charts recently: Tsume Tsume Tsume and [F]. Both are great but just to get more enjoyment, why not lampoon them with misheard lyrics? Sure!

Ok, are you still with me? 'Cause there's more. First it's what's probably the coolest video ever.

Then what's by far the funniest MTH misheard lyrics yet.



In response to the request for an update on the ongoing Xbox BS, here it is. I called again a couple of days ago and started getting creative. Rather than leave a message for Pat who does not seem inclined to get back to me, I decided to see if I could get someone else on the line. I considered typing in a random extension when it asked for one, but I decided to start by pressing 0. "This is not a valid extension" is what I heard, so I just waited. "Please wait while we transfer you to the next available representative." Success!

I proceeded to wait on hold for 3 1/2 hours. It was getting to be around 5pm and I had to use the bathroom and I wanted to make some dinner. I figured my phone may not make it for much longer without a charge, though I really wasn't sure so I decided to put it on speaker phone and return the handset to the base to charge. I switched to speaker phone, returned the handset to the cradle, and promptly lost the call. :( It's been a couple days since then and I haven't called back, but it's mostly because I'm trying to get a day where I can call before noon, with a fully charged phone, and hopefully a weekday morning like Tuesday or Thursday when there may be less people trying to get through.

I may try today just because I have the time, but it's tough. It's sort of hard to do other productive work when you're waiting to argue with someone about why they owe you a $400 console, even when it's obvious that they do. Last time I played Pokemon Diamond for most of the 3 hours.

Speaking of not so productive time however, I spent a large part of yesterday reading "Twilight", some of it outside which was kind of nice. As for the book, it was alright. It was gifted to me and I read it on recommendation. Things like "New York Times #1 Bestseller" and "New York Times Editor's Choice" and hearing that it's the next best thing to "Harry Potter" tends to raise my expectations to difficult to satisfy levels. I will admit I was a little disappointed.

I think that what is impressed upon the reader the most is that the vampire and main character's love interest is super hot. Did I mention he's hot, and like really good looking? And he's a vampire. A really hot vampire.

As a guy reading this book that I knew in advance was something of a romance and had a female lead character I was prepared for this. However, I get the feeling that some of the appeal of the work as a whole may be similar to the feeling of almost genuine love that I felt for the vampire Arcueid as I played her story arc in Tsukihime. As a guy reading this work I could appreciated that the male love interest was ideal in every way, but I was emotionally uninvested in this, so by the 150th description of it I was starting to get a little sick of hearing about it.

As far as the story goes, there wasn't as much going on as I hoped. The first half of the book dealt a lot with bringing us slowly through the thoughts and feelings of the main character, to resolutions that were obvious chapters earlier. There was a certain amount of exposition to get though however, so this can be forgiven. Harry Potter was quite slow to start with after all. The last half did mix it up a bit with a crisis worthy of a suspense thriller and it was not entirely without surprises, though it was far from complex, a bit too simple. I can see that the success of these elements at their intended purpose has garnered this book a lot of praise from those that could appreciate it's other aspects more personally.

In defense of myself and my ability to appreciate shoujo I want to be clear that I watched all of Vampire Knight, an anime with very similar subject matter, about girl who fell in love with a vampire (and a vampire hunter, you can guess where this goes). And while it faltered in the last half, I did not in anyway feel alienated by the romance, on the contrary, I could basically identify with it despite the gender differences. I was also a big fan of the live action version of Nana, though I have not read the manga or seen the anime, I intend to watch the animated version.

I do not believe it was a failing of mine to appreciate a work largely intended for the opposite sex, but of the author to create an interesting main character who did not come across as a manipulative and selfish little girl, and an interesting love interest with admirable qualities aside from being the perfect knight in shining armor. However, most any harem comedies are not written any differently, just for the other gender. Some comedy may have been an improvement.

I'm willing to give the series a chance. I did find it a bit less than I was expecting, but I'll probably read the preview of the 2nd book that's included in the first one at least, to see if it hooks my interest with anything beyond the "dead sexiness" (get it?) of the vampire love interest. It was not an entirely bad way to spend a sunny afternoon at any rate.



So as promised I'll let you know how it went yesterday. I got on the phone around 12:00 noon and talked with someone in India. I explained that I was waiting on hold for a supervisor the other day and was cut off so they (finally) agreed to put me through to one. I waited on hold for about 12min until I was cut off. I called back again and went through the same process until I was put on hold for a manager and was disconnected again after 5 min. I called back a third time and explained that I had just been cut off twice and could I please speak to a supervisor without being cut off. I very nice gentleman (Burt) got a manager on the line for me and transferred me over.

I explained to them that I was interested in getting a replacement for my non-working and now apparently non-repairable system. After being explained to that there was nothing that the supervisor could do for me, I asked if I could be escalated to the corporate level who I had gotten a call from the other day. He said that he might be able to if they had left contact info which they had. He gave me the number and extension of Pat who had called me before and I thanked him for his time. I immediately called Pat and asked him to give me a call.

Today I have still not gotten a call. I called him around 3:00pm and left another message explaining that I'd like a new Xbox and I'd like to speak with him and for him to give me a call. I called back a few minutes ago but still just voice mail. I'll try again after I take care of a few things.


Microsoft "Repair" Center Breaks Already Broken XBox 360, Blames Owner

(visit post page to digg it: http://www.mattsmessyroom.com/2008/08/microsoft-repair-center-breaks-already.html)

I've held off on posting about this for a while because I thought there might be a fair and timely resolution but it's obvious to me that is not going to be the case so I'll fill you in on what's going on.

My Xbox 360 failed over a month ago giving me the notorious "red ring of death". I called 1-800-4MY-XBOX, performed their automated troubleshooting steps, talked to a support person, and got confirmation to send my system in for repairs. There was some trouble getting it shipped back since I'd requested they send me a shipping label rather than wait for the "coffin" to arrive, but they had the wrong email address on file so I never got the email. After I cleared that up however, the system was on it's way.

I got it back a couple weeks later with a letter that says, (I quote) "An inspection of your console has revealed that damage excluded from that covered by the Xbox Limited Warranty, has occurred." I immediately called them up for an explanation. I was scheduled to receive a call from the service center which I got on the scheduled day. I was told that there was damage to the console, and when I inspected it I had to agree. There was a piece of plastic broken beneath the disc tray and a small tab next to it was also broken. Please not that I had packaged the system very safely in a large box full of packing peanuts with extremely large "fragile" stickers on every side. However, I assumed it may have been damaged in shipping, and after speaking to support I was directed to the package carrier UPS.

I called them up and they promptly came to my apartment and picked up my system for inspection. Of course it was not in the original box but a new box it had been repackaged in at the service center. UPS gave me back the system a few days later and said that a damage report had been sent to the service center. I waited for a little while and called 1-800-4MY-XBOX again to find out what the status was. They said that they did not know and were still waiting on pictures of the system from the service center but agreed to have the service center give me another call. I waited a couple of days, no call. I called 1-800-4MY-XBOX again to find out the status. They said that they had gotten info from the service center about why the system had not been repaired and went on to tell me the various specifics.

One such specific was that a small red dot sticker on the front of the console, coincidentally located underneath the broken tab on the front was not supposed to be red, but should have been a different "Microsoft" sticker.

image of red sticker

Also that the green bit of plastic that just happened to be exposed underneath the broken plastic below the disc tray should not have been green, but white. Also that the foil "Microsoft" sticker that spans the two halves of the plastic case on the front of the console was "wrinkled" and apparently two locks on the back of the console underneath the console case were broken. Though I've never opened my case to see, I can hear something rattling around in the back of the case that I assume my be said locks.

image of green plastic

So all (or most) of these things are evident, but what do they mean? Am I supposed to believe that there is some Chinese factory creating counterfeit Xbox 360s and sneaking them into the supply channels of Wal-Mart where I purchased my system? Am I supposed to believe that gypsies broke into my apartment and switched my legitimate Xbox console with one that had Microsoft anti-tampering stickers altered mysteriously? Am I supposed to believe that I'm suffering from some selective amnesia regarding a time when I apparently switched white plastic parts for green ones in a fit of mouth-frothing insanity? Or am I to believe (as I do) that the service center made these alterations to my Xbox 360 and then blamed it on me.

I'd be lying if I said I do not regret neglecting to photograph my system before I sent it in but there is no use crying over spilled milk as the anachronistic saying goes. I have far from given up on getting a new system. However, it's not really the lack of a system that has me upset, but the fact that they really seem to think they can treat people like this and that people are going to stand for it. Why in the world would I or anybody stand for this?

I've written the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, an email at this address steveb@microsoft.com which got me a phone call that very evening from Xbox support (1-800-469-9269) from a gentleman who said there was nothing he could do for me. Today I called the above number back twice, once when I was transferred to a supervisor and was hung up on as the transfer went through (intentionally or not I do not know), and once to get back to the supervisor which I was then told would be a 14 min wait. Unfortunately I lost the call on my end and had to leave to an appointment but I plan on picking up tomorrow where I left off today.

I've signed a petition which I urge anyone reading this to sign (http://www.petitiononline.com/360recal/petition.html). It's a petition for a recall on Xbox 360s that has 7552 signatures total. I'm number 7553. I'm planning to send another email to steveb@microsoft.com with a copy of the text from an email I recently sent a friend as well as what I've posted here and a link to the petition I signed.

I'll be blogging daily about my calls to Microsoft until I reach a resolution. The local newspaper said they'd cover the story if I ever take MS to small claims court which I think is hysterical though I have no plans to do so yet. I'll be chronicling everything here at any rate so please check back for further details.


As usual I'm late to an internet meme (thank god!). However, I recently ran across this due to the single hitting the Japanese charts despite it being a Swedish song that's almost 10 years old. I'm speaking of course of caramelldansen.

The Wikipedia article has all the sordid details, but suffice to say the f**kers over at 4chan created a monster that took off big in Japan and lead to a maxi-single of ウッーウッーウマウマ (as it's known there) with this video featuring anime versions of the two female singers and a cast of dancers. Suffer it's cavity inducing cuteness.

Below is a mis-heard lyrics version that had me rolling on the floor for a little bit.


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