30 March 2007

Capitalism with a capital C down your throat

I was looking around online for some fun games to play. Baccarat is a card game I like, so I looked up some sites that had Baccarat. Most sites offered a program you can download that you can then play on, either for real money or just for fun. Most sites also offered hundreds of dollars in "free" bonuses for new players signing up. This piqued my interest. "What's the catch?" I wondered. Casino sites on the net are about one thing only, and that's making money. There's no way they would just hand over 700 dollars to every person who signs up. I looked up the Terms and Conditions. And you wouldn't believe how hard these were to find in some of the sites... And for good reason. Have you ever read one of these? It's basically a contract that you have to agree to in order to be allowed to play the game, and holy shit are they full of bullshit. One contract stated that "in order to make the game experience as efficient as possible" the owners of the site reserve the right to collect my personal data and distribute it globally to all affiliates, subsidiaries, business associates and business relations without prior notification to the user. So basically, they can give my personal information to anyone they feel like on the planet. Huh? How does this make my gaming experience more efficient? This particular section of the contract could only be found through a link AFTER running an installer program that you had to download and that couldn't be shut down by regular means, unless you actually installed the program first. Oh, and is it any surprise that the installer contained a bunch of trojans?

Another site had a clause in the agreement about the "free" bonus they offered. What it said was that the several hundred dollars of bonus money was divided into several parts. The first part meant that they would match whatever money I deposited into their game. If I deposit 40 bucks, they give me 40 bucks, so that I have 80 dollars to play for. The second part was basically the same deal but with them putting less money into it, about 7 dollars for every 10. BUT the condition for the second part to be applicable was that I first make the first deposit, then wager and lose a minimum of 7 times the deposited amount. After that I get to make the second deposit, but I have to wager that 30 times before I can make any withdrawals. And only certain games count towards those 30 times. Baccarat, for example, does not.

So... let me get this straight. If I deposit 5 dollars, I can play for 10 dollars. Then I have to lose 70 dollars, plus the 5 dollars, plus anything I've won with those 10 dollars. Then I can deposit another 5 dollars, lose about 255 dollars, plus the 3,5 dollar bonus the second time, plus anything I've won. After this, I can make a withdrawal.

Does this make any sense to anyone other than the site owner? If I want to actually win any money at all, I must first basically deposit 10 dollars, then give this dude an absolute minimum of 333,5 dollars, and then when I've payed that total of 343,5 dollars, I can finally deposit some more money and keep whatever I win. Sure! That sounds like an awesome deal! Jesus fuckin' christ on the cross, it's a miracle these sites actually have any customers at all. Their only hope is literally that either nobody reads these agreements or that nobody understands them. Not a single sane person would ever pay money into these sites, unless they were 124,7 % confident that they could win all that money back and more on casino software, programmed by the people they're playing against, on games where the odds are all without exception in the dealer's favor...

Oh yeah. Gimme more of that stuff...

22 March 2007

Comeback

Well, it's been a while since I wrote something now. About time to get back into it, I think. Lots of things have happened. My girlfriend is living with me now, due to a big lack of money and housing. She was supposed to move out to this great apartment she found in Laval, but things sort of went to hell so she can't. Quebec has some of the dumbest traffic laws I have ever heard of... One sunny day Nikki came to pick me up from work with our car. On the way home, the cops pulled us over for not stopping well enough at a stop sign. A pile of bullshit in my opinion, but whatever. The guy asked for Nikki's driver's license and then went back to the car to check on it. It took quite a while, and when the guy came back, he told us that we have to get out of the car because they're impounding it. Huh? Apparently, Nikki had an unpayed parking ticket that she got sometime in april last year. And by Quebecois law, the Saaq will invalidate your driver's licence if you don't pay your tickets. According to the Saaq they sent all kinds of reminders about that, but Nikki never saw any of them because they sent all of them to her old address, where she hasn't lived for a year. So they invalidated her driver's license. Now, the even dumber part: If you're driving a car without a valid drivers license, the cops will take your car away for a minimum of 30 days, and you have to pay them 8 dollars per day that they have it. What the fuck is that all about? It doesn't matter who owns the car, they will take it away because the person who is driving it doesn't have a valid license. Basically, if you own a car and you lend it to a friend who doesn't have a valid licence, they take your car away because your friend's license is invalid. I could repeat this to myself over and over for a decade, it still doesn't make any fuckin' sense. What the hell is the point of taking away the car? It's a fuckin' car! I get that a person without a valid license can't drive, but they wouldn't let anyone else drive the car home either, because they have to take the car away!
The reason Nikki didn't pay the ticket was that a: she doesn't even remember ever getting a parking ticket, and b: even if she did, she doesn't have any money to pay it with. None. She started a new job about two months ago as an insurance broker, but it takes a while before the revenue starts adding up, and hers hadn't yet. In order to be able to do that job, she has to have a car. In order to pay the fines to get the car back, she has to get to work and make money. But she can't go to work, because she doesn't have a car or a license. I mean... gah! This is the dumbest situation I have heard of. She's basically losing her job because of this. She can't make money without the car, and she can't have the car without money. It's moronic!
And without any way of making money, she has no way of being able to pay rent for this nice apartment in Laval that she already signed the contract for. So she can't get the apartment and has nowhere to live. So now she's going to live here for at least another month. She's been looking around for another job, and gone to a few interviews. This morning this one company called back and offered her a job in St Jerome. It's a customer service job for a company that leases out gym equipment. Not a great job and not a great pay, but with no money at all she'll have to take whatever job she can get. I've been paying for her too for the last months, and frankly, I have no money left. I can't afford to keep doing that, I have my own debts to deal with. I have to start paying back my tuition loan this year. If I don't, they're going to start repossessing my belongings. At this rate, I can't even think about applying for a permanent residency in Canada, I don't have the money for it. This really pisses me off. I'm working a full-time job, but I have zero money to show for it. But Nikki doesn't have any family who can give her money instead of me either, they're as screwed as she is. And I'm sure as hell not going to let her starve.
I applied for a position as lead tester at the company today, I really, really hope I get it. It would mean a little more money, and some more interesting things to do at work than just testing.