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16 December, 2008

Annoying aspects of Video Games

1. Teh Freeze -You are just about to finally cross the lava maze/obtain the crypt key/sniper the terrorist leader when suddenly the game just freezes. Nothing you can do but hit that big ole reset button and hurl your controller at the wall.


2. Stuck in a wall - Similar to the freeze and perhaps just as annoying is the classic "get stuck behind an object/in a wall" trick that happens when you just go off exploring in a game. I am guaranteed to find myself stuck behind some sort of object during any game only to waste several hours trying to jump and wiggle my way out of it.

2. Slooooow loading times - I'm talking between levels here, people, levels. I remember getting my Ps2 and thinking "Great! This machine will obviously have cut down on loading times". Wrong. They made the games more complicated and so the levels were just as slow to load. Took a while to save too.


3. Lack of load and play - With the advent of more sophisticated consoles we lose the highly underrated ability to just stick a disk in and start playing. Now one must subscribe to the network, download this update, install that file. You have to set aside at least 15 minutes prior to playing.

4. Super slow start up - As RZ reminded me, it is also painful to wait while a game loads. Not because of technology but simply because every developer and their cousin wants their logo to be seen before the game loads up.


5. Video Cut-sequences - Well, actually I enjoy a good cut-sequence. It adds some depth to a game and usually makes good use of the fancy graphics. What I don't like is not being able to skip said video cut-sequences especially when I have seen them 20 times from continued dying.


6. Crap completion sequences - You finally complete the game. All that hard work, blood sweat and tears was for something after all. Yes, a crappy end sequence. Cue scrolling credits (which you also can't skip) and cheesy music. There is no way of stopping it and you have to sit it out just to see if there are any bonuses!


7. Lack of saving - I like to save. I save often. I dislike games were I am limited in my saving ability or it's out of my control. What will quickly turn me off a game is having to perform the same thing again and again because I keep screwing it up and couldn't save it. It just sucks the fun right out!

03 December, 2008

Reflections on bloggers

It's been a while since I commented on bloggers but thought I'd share a few thoughts. Seems to me that you can basically divide bloggers into two main categories:

1. Socially Awkward

2. Socially Outgoing

    These two very different types of bloggers use blogging for different reasons. The Socially Awkward (SA) blogger uses his or her blog to talk about things that they want to talk about. They use a blog to do this as this way there is no need to mess with the whole "rules" of interacting socially. For example, if I want to discuss, in real life, say, why I think everyone should have to wear Mickey Mouse ears or the mating habits of Tibetan swallows then it's difficult for the SA to steer the conversation in that direction or the process and effort involved getting there isn't worth it. With a blog one can simply blurt out the topic with no need for a preamble or "social dance". However, on occasions I have been known to walk up to friends and say things like "So, if I was bitten and turning into a zombie, how would you take me down?"

    The Socially Outgoing (SO) blogger has a different purpose. They use the blog to further their social network, or simply just shout about every problem, accomplishment, wish, desire, need and thought from the day. It can be almost like an online diary, or something crafted to show the humor in everyday life. Topics are discussed in a day-by-day fashion in that what actually happened today fuels the discussion of an important issue or memory from the past. The SA blogger is more likely ruminating on a topic for a week or month before posting what they eventually thought was worthy. The SO blogger tends not to plan so much but is able to self-motivate and just allow daily happenings to aid their creative process.

    It's difficult to say but my first thought is that even in these two categories one can't state that either is particularly anti-social or doesn't enjoy the "social dance" that I loosely define as real life conversation. However, I suggest that blogging is another tool to connect to others (or a tool to just get things off their mind or chest) and whatever the individuals preferred method is in real life situations is carried over into their blogging type.

25 November, 2008

Palin says: Come to Alaska...kinda


I opened up my email this morning and lo-and-behold discovered an invite for ME to go to Alaska from Sarah Palin herself!

Wait a minute...This isn't asking me to go to Alaska. It's simply asking me to go to the official Alaska State Travel (unlike those pesky unofficial Alaska State Travel websites, grr). Is this the beginning of her 2012 campaign?

24 November, 2008

A meeting of two bloggers

Over the weekend I had the chance to meet up with Redzeppelin for "Chinee", discussions about video games, prop 8, and graphic novels. The picture of the event has been edited to keep identities anonymous.

23 November, 2008

Suggestions for the Auto Bailout

Some suggestions for what should be included in the Big Three Auto companies bailout package:

Every new car must have:

1. At least 4 cup holders up front.
2. Permanent "new car" smell.
3. A horn that plays "Smoke on water"
4. Microwave ovens.
5. A digital display in the rear window to tell other drivers exactly what you think of them
6. That red moving light on the front like KIT from Knight Rider.
7. A flux capacitor
8. The ability to fly
9. ...and go underwater
10. Machine guns

21 November, 2008

Old Friends update

Well as of this week I have had a lot of replies to my sending out of emails to my old friends. I have been very pleasantly surprised. Mostly they tell of good news which is great but it's funny what some folks end up doing for a living considering what I knew about them a few years ago.

It's been a worthwhile experience for me so I'm glad I went ahead and did it. Even if everyone doesn't reply I'll be happy. I had a few people say "Why aren't you on facebook??" surprised that I would dare not to join the social networking giant. Well, why would I? You use it to keep in contact with friends. You have my email so just hit reply. Job done.

Guns

I recently read a story in the news that reminded me of an early post of The Film Geek's (Poor Priorities) talking about gun culture. He illustrated an incident of an 8-year old boy accidentally shooting and killing himself. On a kinda flip side of that is this story about an 8-year old boy who is now a murder suspect in the shooting and killing of his father and another man. It worries me that children are encouraged to know about guns, have contact with guns, and use guns and these two stories reflect my anxiety about such an issue.

As a kid I loved playing with guns. I had authentic looking cap guns that simply made the "bang" noise and that was O.K. with me. I got to feel like a cowboy and no-one ended up dead. I fired water pistols and that was great too. I soaked my friends and in return I would get soaked. With no trip to the hospital (or morgue) needed. I would play laser tag, picking off my "enemies" with beams of light. Running around crazily pointing the heavy laser gun and enjoying hearing that "bleep bleep" knowing I'd scored a hit. If I would go back in time and give that 8 year old Allclick a REAL honest-to-goodness gun I have no doubt there would be trouble by midnight because I doubt I'd be able to fully appreciate that I was holding a lethal weapon (just like that time I met Mel Gibson).

At this current point in time there is apparently a rush on gun sales (Dallas News, Sign On San Diego) due to the election of President Obama. Apparently there is some debate about whether or not he will make it more difficult to buy guns or even restricted the selling of "assault weapons". I am not sure I really see the logic behind the mass buying, though. Either you currently own a gun and so buying more guns isn't really a priority (especially when the economy is so bad and you really should be buying things like food and paying off those credit card debts) or you currently do not own a gun and you have managed to get this far in your life without one. The Slate published a pretty interesting look at this issue suggesting that it is really the press who are spooking us about the increase in gun sales.

I'm frankly, much more spooked at the thought of everyone owning a bunch of guns around me, than my access to such a weapon. I can barely trust other people to make decent judgements when they are driving, or shopping let alone their decisions about welding lethal weapons.

Rant over.

Summary: Guns bad. Except fake guns.

16 November, 2008

WTF moments in Comics

Rather than open up my email and send this out, i'll just post this lil linky up here.

http://www.ugo.com/comics/wtf-moments-in-comics/

Surprises and strange but true moments from the world of comics.

14 November, 2008

Word to the wise


When it comes to browsers it's becoming a difficult choice but my main staple is Internet Explorer. Yes, I know it's more vulnerable to attacks and malicious code etc.. but that's what seems to get the job done most of the time. I'm having a very strange tech prob at home. When I load up any blogs on Blogger.com the images and video won't load. Every other site is fine except blogger. So, in an attempt to fix this I thought "I know, I'll download the latest IE". Big mistake. I am now running IE 8 version 2 beta...or something like that. It's a little more fancy (i.e. annoying), my images still don't show in blogger and it won't even work with some web pages now. Perhaps it is more advanced than the website that are actually created. I think perhaps the best thing about it is that it will restore your last browsing session. I wonder where Microsoft got that idea from?


If anyone has ideas about why my blogger images aren't showing let me know.

13 November, 2008

Reaching out: Minor update

Well after sending out my three emails I had two BIG replies back! Both friends stated in two different ways that *I* shouldn't have been out of contact for so long! I didn't mind though. At least it showed they wanted me to get in touch. Spurred on by this response I sent out a flood of probably 10 short emails to old friends today and replied to the two original responses.

I have recently been reflecting after hearing some bad news that I received after contacting one of my best friends via email, and some possible bad news from another friend. I have heard people before say "Why does allow bad things to happen?" and what I'm reminded is that I am more grateful for good things in my life today having listened to my friends bad news. If bad things never happened, then by definition good things couldn't happen because there would not be anything to contrast them with. I suppose it would end up a very bland life indeed.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring to my inbox.

12 November, 2008

Reaching out

It's nearly Christmas. That's right. I said it. I know this as Wal-mart is currently playing Christmas music. I can usually rely on Wal-mart to tell me what time of year it is and have disposed of my calendar. Christmas is no longer a one day event but a huge 60 day on going affair of celebration and "spend"-ery. As it will soon be Christmas, it's time to start thinking about buying gifts and sending cards to people you know. This process is usually straight forward. I just buy things for people in my direct circle of contact or my closest family members. I decided to reach a little further out of my zone this year and get in contact with old friends and send them a card too but it was a difficult decision to make. I began writing my first email to a friend and asking for their home address. It may have seemed a little strange as we hadn't been in contact since January 2008 but I thought "what have I got to lose?". As I was writing I was overcome with a feeling. I suppose it was anger or just confusion. I mean, why was *I* the one making all the effort. Why haven't I been contacted for my address? I had to push through this and sent the email.

I figure that perhaps they are saying the same thing and if everyone continues to say and think that then nothing will ever happen. So, I made the first step. This morning I had zero responses in my email. I think I managed to finish three emails so far so I'm "oh" for three right now. But I'll keep my chin up, my upper lip stiff and continue down my list.

07 November, 2008

Annoying Phrases

Thankfully SOMEONE at Oxford is doing important research and this is what they have come up with. 10 annoying phrases:

1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It's a nightmare
8 - Shouldn't of
9 - 24/7
10 - It's not rocket science

If you have spent at least 5 minutes in any office situation you are bound to hear one of these beauties. I would add to this list "Think outside the box" and "Playing Phone-tag"...

"Oh, looks like we've been playing phone tag!" Yer, that's just not cute or funny mister. The truth is I called you a bunch of times and you didn't answer so I didn't bother answering your call because when I call YOU it's because I'M ready to talk. I'm eating/working/scratching/sleeping now so I can't answer your call so leave me a message and if you say "phone-tag" I'm going to cover you in mouthwash and set you alight. Ass.

And if I COULD think outside the box I wouldn't need someone to tell me that. Especially someone who will just say that phrase but give no directions about how to do so. How inconsiderate. Why don't YOU think "outside the box" and come up with a new phrase. Ass.

And breathe out...

I have been away a couple of days and have been off the blogger grid. I checked in today to see what was happening upon my bloglist and it seems that since Tuesday night every blogger has lots to say. It's like a second wind has descended on West Virginia bloggers. I am pleased that everyone feels they need to share their thoughts over this week and irked that I now have so much to read and so many sarcastic comments to formulate.

03 November, 2008

Go vote

Typically, voting is boring. You go in, it's quiet, you walk behind the booth and then Bam! you vote. No fireworks or music or fanfare. Just you knowing you voted and possibly a thank you on the way out. Tomorrow it's probably going to be even more boring as from what I've heard (Insert: impressive link to many web sites showing long lines at polling stations) the lines will be long. But hey, it's for your country, it's for demo cracy, and it's for people that can't vote but will feel the consequences.

Plus the weather should be nice.

29 October, 2008

Freaking Mercury! Part 3


Halloween Americano

Halloween is nearly here. 31st October in case you didn't know. It was quite easy to forget in blighty. It really wasn't celebrated that much unless you were under 12 and even now I don't think people really bother too much with it. We would get a few trick-or-treaters toting a guy fawkes in a wheelbarrow and asking for a "penny for the guy". I'd usually give them some sweets and tell them to naff off and please don't dump your rubbish on my front garden. I enjoyed it as a kid. Bobbing for apples and dressing up in a scary costume and now living in the states I have found a new love for the holiday because you folks sure go all...out. I understand dressing up as something scary for the holiday but don't really understand the logic in just dressing up as...well... anything. What I think is another key differences is that in this land of the free, a place where freedoms were fought and independence was sought, the trick-or-treating date and time is dictated to y'all. It's not even on the 31st this year! It's like kinda like deciding when Christmas will be this year so that it's convenient. If it were up to me I wouldn't like this "big brother"-esque decree. So, if you hear your doorbell ringing on Friday make sure you have some candy for me.

Freaking Mercury! Part 2


Freaking Mercury!


28 October, 2008

Saw V


It's Halloween so time for another Saw movie! Yay! I was never much of a scary movie fan but there is something about the Saw movies that has always captured my attention. I'm pretty sure it's not a sadistic tendency to enjoy seeing other people's tortured but rather it's the plot that I enjoy. For me the focus is on the unraveling storyline present in the previous four movies, and Saw V doesn't disappoint. Whilst a group of individuals play out one of Jigsaw's games there is a simultaneous story of the detective trying to crack the case while giving us further back story about John/Jigsaw. Instead of getting tedious it heightens the suspense as you wait to see the clues and the next puzzle the group faces. I also enjoy the puzzles as they are always unique and clever rather than simple torture devices and there is usually some sort of twisted logic behind them. This wouldn't be much of a horror movie, however, if there wasn't a fair amount of gore and a body count so this is probably not one to take the kids to. Another strength this movie has going for it is that it cleverly ties into the previous films. If you haven't seen those already, check them out. Even if you are a little squeamish as once you get past that, there is much more. On the downside, the plot is constrained by the other movies and so doesn't have the originality of other serial killer movies such as "Se7en". A solid entry in the Saw series for fans and good fun for Halloween!

24 October, 2008

Cinema Review

Yes, I've reviewed movies but how in the devil do we get to see such magical moving pictures on a massive screen without the Cinema? As it stands I can get to six theatres fairly easily, at least until that new one is built at the Barboursville Mall.

Total Score formula: APP+PRI+FOD-PUN = Total Score. Max Total score = 30. Min = -10

Park Place Cinema, Charleston

Appearance: 6. Pretty outdated in a "neglected" rather than "nostalgic" way and the screens are more like side rooms.
Prices: 9. $8.00 BUT $5.50 before 6 ($13.50). Very reasonable, you can order online and these allow you to spend more money on...
Food: 7. Pretty cheap and the popcorn is mighty tasty. But no cherry soda.
Punk kids rating: 9. Very high. They can walk right off the street.

Total Score= 13/30

Marquee Cinema, Charleston

Appearance: 8. This whole place is pretty well tucked away but looks in fairly good shape. Small amount of screens.
Prices: 7. Fairly standard aka too expensive. $8.25 adult. $6.00 before 6pm. ($14.25)
Food: 7 Good but expensive food and service.
Punk kids: 6. Based on my experiences I haven't seen too many punk kids here. Most likely they can't find it or are hanging at the Maggie Moos.

Total Score = 16/30

Great Escape, Nitro

Appearance: 9. A semi-remote setting but looks inviting. Lots of parking and a big open foyer. Even the arcade machines are semi-hidden.
Prices: 8. Standard really. $8.00 adult and $6.00 matinee. ($14.00)
Food: 6. Food is usually decent. They have cherry soda and the popcorn is good but the wait is usually way too long.
Punk kids: 8. It can depend. Sometimes there are many, many punk kids.

Total Score = 15/30

Teays Valley Cinemas

Appearance: 8. It's a little dark in there and hard to find which number screen you want. Lots of parking though and a open foyer.
Prices: 6. Standard pricing but reduced price is only for shows before 5pm. $8.00 and $6.00 before 5pm ($14). What's up with that?
Food: 8 Fairly good and the wait usually isn't all that long. I did receive some free candy once, also. Which may or may not have made me sick.
Punk kids: 8. It depends but more often than not, yes. Especially when school is out.

Total Score = 14/30

Marquee Cinema, Huntington

Appearance: 10. Looks has an outside ticket booth thing and a big open entrance. Pretty snazzy and the movies are digital. Plus it's in the nicest part of Huntington.
Prices: 7. Same as the other Marquee. $8.25 and $6.00 before 6pm.
Food: 7. A good selection but there is usually a long line and lots of line jumping due to the amount of people serving.
Punk kids: 9. You betcha. Not just in the screens but hanging around all over the place outside.

Total Score = 15/30

Second Run Theatre, Cinema Theatre, Huntington

Appearance: 6. Old in a kinda old-timey way, rustic way but cozy despite the lack of screens.
Prices: 10-5. Awesomely cheap. $3.00 and $2.00 before 6pm ($5.00). BUT -5 because it doesn't play new releases.
Food: 7. Pretty good but this is where they make their money I suppose.
Punk kids: 2. Not really. Even at movies where you expect punk kids.

Total Score = 16/30

23 October, 2008

Personal growth

I've been thinking about personal growth this week. What are we all doing to help us grow(and growing outwards from the waistline doesn't count as growing)? This kinda ties in with my thoughts about growing up. I said that growing up was about gathering responsibilities and dealing with them and I still stick to that. But there are other ways we can encourage personal growth that I overlooked.

I had a discussion with a friend a couple of days ago about the impact of going to college. She had moved out of her home town to go to undergrad and was thankful for the experience. It wasn't just the learning and continuing education that helped her grow up, but she was in a new community, a new location. She didn't know anyone or anything around her and so had to begin to fend for herself. It included an increase in responsibility such as cooking, cleaning, and paying the bills for the first time but it was also more. The whole was greater than the sum of it's parts. You enter a new system in which you can try a new approach to social interaction. You can attempt to be more extroverted or introverted, kinder, more light hearted and so on as you are able to define a new "you". You have the choice to stay as you are and perhaps you will be sculpted by the new people around you. It's a time that you make friends for the first time probably since you were around 6 and just knowing you still have this skill gives you confidence and makes you examine what else you could achieve. The friends you gain aren't simply people who you had to sit next to in school but they are people you choose to spend more time with and learn about.

I had a friend who dropped out of school around age 17 and he went off to work. It was a good fit for him. He started earning money. A heck of a lot more than I was earning as a broke student and he was pretty generous with it which was nice when he came to visit me at uni. I was always pleased to see him but he was a symbol of the old "me". He only talked about old memories from when we were at school together but I had moved and grown away from that. I had new stories, friends, ideas, ideals and interests. I was interested in the present and the future rather than discussing events from the past. He carried on working and still lives at home with his parents today and I wonder if I could take him back in time would he see his old self from 5 years ago fail to see any differences?

I'm not discounting working full-time though. It had an impact on me and made me realise a few things about what I like and dislike in a work place and how important and complicated office politics and the office culture can be. It also taught me a lot about some of the people who didn't go to university. I just feel like I grew a lot more completely out of my comfort zone at uni.

The point to all this? I guess I'm encouraging inner reflection. How have you changed in the past few years? What encouraged that change? Why did? Who was involved? Are you still changing and growing today and in what ways? The conversation I mentioned with my friend earlier is an example of something that I think I try to do regularly to change. Just a small thing like asking another their view of the world and their experiences can help re-frame your own life and help guide you in your own personal growth.

22 October, 2008

To-do upgrade

I never did find that to-do list. I guess it made a run for it, so it's time for a new tactic:




21 October, 2008

2nd Monday

I spend my week in two places and so I get to feel the experience of two Mondays. Today is my 2nd Monday and it's already been a little rough. Barnaby (Boo Boo) is out of sorts this morning and doesn't appear to be feeling very well. He has chronic problems with his sinuses and will often sneeze a couple of times a day which is good because it clears out his nose. Unfortunately the heat in the house or lack of humidity will dry his nose up and we have yet to teach him how to blow his nose and so he gets frequent nose checks which sometimes we can clear and sometimes we can't. Hopefully he will be doing better when we get home tonight.

I am also in a semi-state of anxiety today after losing my stupid "To do list". I thought carrying it around in my pocket would be fine but I either left it at home or I have lost it. So, it looks like I will HAVE to wear it around my neck tomorrow and consolidate my second "To-do list" from today.

Stupid 2nd Mondays.

20 October, 2008

Quarantine

Ever since the Blair Witch Project shaky camera movies have really taken off. You may remember Cloverfield that used it pretty deftly and I surprisingly only felt motion-sickness towards the end. Quarantine has a similar approach, it is filmed documentary style focusing on a reporter riding alongside the local fire department. After a call out to a apartment building, they are sealed inside to deal with the sick who go on to become pretty darn crazy in a zombie kinda way. The movie actually uses the documentary style as a real advantage. It displays some graphic, violent scenes in long continuous shots as well as emotional scenes which is difficult both from an actors and directors stand point. The special effects in the long scenes are also impressive. The story seems to make sense and it's basically a smooth ride without plot distractions and hundreds of side issues. By sticking to the human emotions and creating a suspenseful, tense atmosphere through an observers perspective I feel that it adds to the horror genre and has frankly been the most frightening movie I have seen all year. It receives a fairly average score on IMDB but horror movies always do. There is never enough gore or dead bodies for some people or other simply want cheap shocks. Anything that requires a little empathy and thoughtfulness are swept aside.

New attempts

I consider myself a problem-solver. I love doing puzzles, playing video games and listening to others and I think all those three things tie into problem-solving. I like searching for solutions and not just picking the first and easiest but coming up with a few and trying them out, see how they fit and whether or not they were as a good idea as when I first thought of it.

A consistent problem with me is not staying focused, not staying organized, procrastination and prioritizing. I have to try and work on this everyday. My latest attempt to try and tackle this involves getting back to basics. I wrote a list of everything I need to do. I've tried this in the past and I kept it somewhere at home where I would see it every morning. Trouble is the things I needed to do usually involved me being somewhere else and I would completely forget my list.

So, I toyed with the idea of putting the list on a string around my neck. I just happen to have a name tag holder-thing that would be perfect. I have even thought about writing "ASK ME WHAT I NEED TO DO TODAY" to further help me. Would that be just too weird? Would that foster a dependence on others to remind me and get my own brain off the hook? I think it would really help me so would that justify doing a slightly odd thing? Perhaps I could pretend I was involved in some sort of memory study. I haven't got to this stage yet. The list right now is in my pocket...and writing on my blog isn't even on it.

15 October, 2008

Putnam complaints

Yes, I'm moaning about Putnam county again but hey, someone has to give a crap about the "taint" of West Virginia. I'm still annoyed about the lack of restaurants and it seems there is no foreseeable fix for it. The new Arby's and Taco Bell are up and running but mean while La Sha's, Smokies and Rocky top Pizza have all closed. Three unique-ish places that you can't find in every small town USA. There are nice flat pieces of land being cleared along the main road through Teays Valley. One was cleared earlier in the year and a Tim Horton's was built. Great! A place I can get ok-ish Donut's and a fairly decent breakfast. However, another is being cleared now and a First Sentry Bank is moving in. Further down the road more housing is being built. Everytime I see construction of a new building I used to feel hope but now know it's going to be a car dealership or a phone store. Surely there needs to be a focus on business that will..you know..create business and interest in visiting Putnam. Perhaps it is forever to be a mere stop-off point for the drive to Huntington/Charleston. A place to grab a bite of fast-food to eat, take a leak, do some banking and then quickly forget about.

More thoughts as November 4th draws near

I was thinking again about how to choose a candidate. It's a lot easier when you don't have the pressure of actually voting. I thought again "it's easy, pick who you know believes in the same things that you do" but then I had a flashback to my school days out on the playground waiting to play some football (real football :-p). If I were team captain who would I choose...my best friend whom I respected, liked his opinions and thought he was an all-round decent bloke, or the little squirt who spat, swore and dressed like a punk but could well have been Pele's love child.

My best friend forgave me eventually.

09 October, 2008

WV Blog chat - with RedZeppelin - Part 2

Part two of my interview with RedZeppelin. If you are interested in signing up for the Allclick interview treatment then let me know at allclicknopoint at gmail dot com.


Allclick: Sometimes I get a little slack at responding to comments. I usually feel like I'm the conversation stopper.
RedZeppelin: A blog about David Lynch or Quinten Tarantino movies isn't going to do much for me. I have zero fascination with fire or feet.
It's tough to find that balance between letting people comment and responding to them enough so they feel like you value their thoughts.
Allclick: Have you overcome the "0 comments" message that flashes back at you like a neon sign outside a shady nightclub?
RedZeppelin: Honestly I was only worried about it at first. Then I reminded myself that first and foremost I'm blogging for myself.
After all, I read several blogs and don't comment on every post.
Allclick: That should be the bloggers creed. Blog for yourself.
RedZeppelin: Amen.
Allclick: Sometimes it disappoints me still. Usually when I feel it's an important topic but no-one else seems to think so.
RedZeppelin: I fully admit that much of what I write about is of no interest to anyone but myself.
Allclick: And then when I post something completely stupid everyone says something.
RedZeppelin: Naturally.
But at the end of the day if you're writing for anyone but yourself without getting paid for it you're doing it wrong.
Allclick: and by everyone I of course refer to the 25 people who search for "weather clip art" on google and end up on my blog.
RedZeppelin: Hah.
Allclick: How do you feel about those that DO get paid? Or make money from their blog with adsense or whatnot
RedZeppelin: I found yours by searching for "I hate the Dutch"
Allclick: ha there is a phrase I have picked up since being here "What not" I don't even know if it's two words or one!
RedZeppelin: Or was it "Margaret Thatcher nude"?
I can't remember.
Allclick: Ha! My hatred also extends to Dutch Miller by the way.
(Thanks to our Sponsor "Dutch Miller")
RedZeppelin: I think it's awesome if people can make money off their blogs. I'd be very flattered if enough people gave a darn about my thoughts and opinions to make my blog profitable.
It's that every blogger's dream? To sit back and blog all day and get paid for it?
Not mine.
Allclick: Just thinking about Margaret Thatcher nude is enough to want me to delete my blog just in case I accidentally DID make a post about such a subject...and then poke both my eyes out.
RedZeppelin: Well, it will be on there now.
Allclick: That's an interesting question. I have wished I could make money by blogging all day. But i'd also hate to have that immense pressure to "perform".
RedZeppelin: Your audience will skyrocket!
Allclick: pokes eyes out
I wonder if the folks at WSAZ are forced to do their blogs.
If i make the number one slot on google for "Margaret thatcher nude" I'll buy you a beer.
RedZeppelin: Oh, I'm sure.
I'll hold you to that. Since you're buying make it a Newcastle Brown.
Of course if I'm buying it's Old Milwaukee.

08 October, 2008

Updates:

Video Game update: (for those who want to know)

Yes, I finally completed Resident Evil 2 (mainly thanks to Ms. Allclick) with Leon A and Claire B. I really haven't the heart to go through it again (Claire A/Leon B) but that will be a good option to count on a couple of years down the road. What is my latest challenge, you cry? Clocktower. Which is actually clocktower 2. Strange. Have only played a little while but have already had to wash my sofa coverings and sleep with the light on. There ain't much scarier than a immortal dude with a huge pair of scissors running at you.

Car update:

Gas pedal still sticking but just when the car starts. Once you warm it up it's fine. My latest quote from the nearest car garage - $240. Despite the fact that the part should cost $45. Hmm. Here is to a second quote and some help from others ;-)

Opinion on "SNL weekly update" update:

Is that all Seth Myers does now? The weekly update? I wish Amy and Seth could at least try and deliver the lines without laughing. SNL hasn't impressed me this year really. The opening sketch is usually pretty good because I like impressions and I'm an Andy Samberg fan so I love his digital shorts. The rest I could happily fast forward through.

I caught the first episode of "Little Britain USA". My initial thoughts are: Fairly funny but too crude in most of the sketches. I hope as the season goes on it improves. My fav sketch had to be "Computer says no" lady. I'll be saying that all week now.

Swing Voters

I hate getting all political. It's kinda like me talking about cars. I have very little knowledge and a whole lot of catch phrases. Regardless, I'm interested in people. And "People" sometimes get involved in politics. Some of these people are called "swing voters" as I understand it or people who are undecided about who they will elect president. Here is a heads up for you people. You have about 27 days to make up your mind.

The undecided people make me curious. I want to know why they are undecided. There are some fundamental differences between the two candidates so either you agree with one or the other and vote for them or you disagree with one and so vote for the other. Is it a personality thing? You are watching each debate looking for who "acts like a president"? Are you waiting to see what the polls say and back the winning horse so you don't look stupid at work the next day? Perhaps you are waiting for the polls to back the underdog and prove those pollsters wrong. "HAHA!" you'll cry "I completely screwed up your demographic by being undecided and then voted against your polls". Perhaps it's the vice-presidential candidates that you are watching before you make your decision. Are you a conservative and McCain isn't conservative enough? Or a liberal and Obama isn't liberal enough for your liking? Perhaps you are undecided because it makes you look cool, hippy and independent and may get you a spot on TV being interviewed at a debate. Are there some unknown to me factors that I'm completely ignoring?

I spoke to a genuine, undecided person yesterday. Infact, everytime I see him I say "Have you picked your candidate yet?". I'm interested to see what the factor will be that finally persuades him to choose. I wish they would include that on the ballot.

"Please put a check mark next to your candidate and then state your reason why."

If the reason includes words like: "Terrorist", "Maverick", "Winking", "Old", "Veteran", "Muslim", "Change" then the vote is discarded instantly. Maybe there should even be a short answer section.

I tend to think that people make up their opinions about most things pretty quickly. That is why first impressions count for so much and parents can have such an influence on our understanding of the world. If you ARE still undecided what will it be that tips the balance? Answers on a postcard.

06 October, 2008

Tax breaks for all!

Yay! Tax breaks!......Does it? Perhaps. But it certainly doesn't break the mining industry's banks thanks to the bail out. Incredibly bad puns aside, I was a little surprised to read about this. I didn't even know the mining industry was in trouble. I was just thinking to myself the other day, if anyone needs a tax break it's those mining companies.

The comments (oh, how I love comments on news stories) are mixed. Pointing fingers at Republicans, no democrats, no it's Rahall and Byrd and so on. If you supported the bail out, and hence are FOR coal then you are a bad person. If you are Joe Biden and say you are against coal then you are a bad person. I'm glad I'm not famous sometimes.

01 October, 2008

Cat Profile - Cooper and Barnaby

I am lucky enough to live with two great cats, Cooper and Barnaby. I have wanted to get something on here about them and immortalize them in the annuls of the blogsphere, so as an introduction here are their profiles:

Name: Cooper
Nicknames: Cooper-pooper, Pooper, Poop, Coop, Coo-poop, Grey cat, Coopooperus Maximus.
Age: 15
Breed: Domestic Long hair.
Appearance: Grey with a white belly and pink nose.
Favourite food: Tuna, any kind of soft food, meat. cheese powder commonly found on snacks like cheetos.
Likes: Catnip, rubbing his face on walls, cabinets, people, fighting, his cat mat (aka boogie mat), sleeping in corners, meowing, having his belly rubbed for hours, sleeping under a blanket, chasing a laser pen, sleeping in weird places, attention.
Dislikes: Going outside, going to the vet, getting wet, getting picked up or "scooped".

Name: Barnaby
Nicknames: Boo Boo Barnaby, Boo Boo, Tiny face, Stripey face, Baby face kitten, Stripey cat, Stripey, Barnibus, Barnibus Arrelius.
Age: 15
Breed: Domestic Short hair
Appearance: Stripey brown ish. White spots on his paws and his a big white spot on his chest. Orange nose. Frequently snotty.
Favorite food: Ice cream, Wendy's Chilli, soft food.
Likes: Getting picked up, strangers, sitting in the window, sunbathing, fan heaters, snuggling, getting brushed, hairball paste, chasing a laser pen, having his chin rubbed, having his face stroked, climbing into laundry baskets, chewing on shoelaces, being watched while he eats, bottled water, hairclips.
Dislikes: Getting wet, having the tip of his tail poked.

I am sure I have left things out that Ms. Allclick will remind me of and I'll come back and update this. Maybe even with some new pictures.

29 September, 2008

Car problems - Part 2

Well, I still have a sticky gas pedal, which, as my boss would say, is a "sticky wicket". Once the car warms up a bit it's really not noticeable but still a pain in the rear. I went back to get it looked at again and they said I need a new throttle cable. They were able to tell without even taking a second look! Even better than that, they couldn't even give me a ballpark guesstimate on the price of such an item.

"Sometimes a distributor charges $5 for a bolt. Sometimes it's $25".

After searching through Google for at least 30 minutes I was no closer to discovering an answer either (although I do have a great lead on buying an Audi throttle body if anyone is interested.) I contacted a car dealership to see if they could fill be in (after Autozone told me they don't do that kind of thing) but they couldn't help either as their "parts" department isn't open until Monday. I've been told it's simple job to do once you have the part, which will make things worse when they charge another $60.

26 September, 2008

Friday Observations

Stepping outside the comfort zone -

I'm in a street lined with mobile homes. Speed bumps dotted along the broken road.
Rush Limburg is on the radio. Taking calls from people supporting his view. Rush gets more excited and determined with every call.
A dog wanders aimlessly, investigating every new scent. He circles the car and moves onto the next yard.
No flags can be seen from the roadside.
The houses are named comforting, relaxing names like "Woodwillow" and "Meadowville". Some of those signs are broken.
A car drives past. 3/4 years old. A deep dent in the corner of the bumper.
Many cars are in the driveway.
A satellite dish hangs precariously from a wooden porch.
I see a child playing with a ball off in the distance.
A collection of wind chimes stand motionless next to 3 pots of cactus.
Two bicycles lay in the grass and a forgotten basketball hoop lays dormant.
A police tape marks off a space where a house should be with "caution".

Car trouble - Sticky Gas Pedal

I will never ever say that I'm a "man's man". I'm only mildly interested in sports, I'm not great at fixing things or building things, I don't like mowing the lawn or painting and I don't know much about cars. When it comes to cars I know where the oil goes and where the cd goes. That's all I need. Turns out this wealth of information has no use when I'm out on the road with a gas pedal that is stuck and my speed is creeping up to 50 with my foot on the brake.
I may not be a"man's man" but I can be a bit of geek and so I did my research and discovered that the car's "throttle body" is most likely filled up with crap. Off I went to Appalachian Tire to get it fixed. Waiting in line another gentleman was on his phone:

"Yer, I'm at some place getting my tires fixed or something....uh huh..yer I don't know where I am."

Strange.

Anyway, so I explained what *I* thought the problem was (in an authoritative "I know about mechanics and use terms like throttle body every day" tone) and after looking at the car they agreed with me. I was more surprised that anyone but tried to not let it show. He said "If this happens again you will need a new throttle cable". I thought it was a strange thing to say but what do I know about cars? The car was finished with in about 45 minutes and I was driving home shortly after that with a much smoother gas pedal.
Then 4 hours later, the pedal is sticking again. Is it a coincidence that he predicted it would stick again and therefore assumed I would bring it back for the new throttle cable? Or did it need a new cable all along? I guess the answer depends on my scepticism about mechanics. It's due an oil change anyway so perhaps when I take it to another mechanic this weekend all will be revealed. I just wish I could have taken "shop" in school.

24 September, 2008

Growing up

I was discussing the issue of growing up yesterday. What does it mean in today's world? Should we be measured by what our parents were doing at our age or has the world began spinning so fast that it is no longer fair to compare? I have lots of questions about it as I struggle to admit that I need to somewhat grow up (notice I've already downplayed my responsibility with a "somewhat" clause ;-) ). I mean when my parents were in their mid-twenties they already had one child and a house. Is that as likely today? Should I be playing video games still and getting online to email, answer quizzes, read the news and blog? My parents certainly didn't do that and I doubt their parents would approve either. Instead of looking to our parents for guidance, then, should I look to my peers? Well, some are married and some aren't. A few have children. Some play video games. Some like comic books. Others are constantly on their cell phones while some play beer pong and visit taco bell regularly. "Growing up" should, therefore, be more about the responsibilities ones takes on or has to accept. Like paying bills, taking care of your home, being moderate in your behavior, making car payments, keeping your checkbook balanced and being respectful towards your partner. That means that it can still include playing video games, sleeping till 1pm at the weekends, watching Postman Pat on HBO Family and reading comic books ;-) Woohoo!

As the old Irish proverb goes:

You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

19 September, 2008

Friday thoughts

Have you seen those E-harmony adverts? It's the one were it shows a girl then a boy talking about when they joined and "found love" and then shows the happy couple together. I'm not certain whether or not it's a REAL couple but it's often pretty cheesy but I think there is one thing that gives it away. The people in the adverts look like models looking into one of those crazy, distorted mirrors at the fair.

Everywhere I go, recently, there are signs up about the importance of hand-washing and how it will prevent SARS. I thought the SARS scare had died out a long time ago. I guess that shows how much I was paying attention. The soaps usually available scream at us "Kills 99.9% of all bacteria". It's like the age old diet coke complaint "If they can make it only 1 calorie why can't they make it 0 calories" or in this case "why can't it kill 100% of bacteria". That .1 percent may be the cause of SARS! I don't mind that it doesn't kill 100% so much as that what do all the other soaps that I've used throughout my entire life do? What percentage have they been killing? Like 20%? 5%? .1%? Was I better off just rubbing my hands "clean" on my pants?

16 September, 2008

WV Blog chat - with RedZeppelin - Part 1

In an attempt to get to know other bloggers better and try my interview skills I decided to have a one-on-one with RedZeppelin from Destination Unknown. Strangely, we end up discussing a Margaret Thatcher, Pam Anderson, what a good blogger should be and another WV blogger. Here is what happened:


Allclick: Greetings
RedZeppelin: hey
Allclick: Thank
you for indulging in my new way to create blog posts without putting in any real effort.
RedZeppelin: haha
Always glad to help without putting forth an effort myself.
Allclick: yes, I noticed on your blog that you have resorted to coping text from fiction now.
RedZeppelin: hehe
I figure as long as I keep at least a 2:1 ratio of my words to theirs I'm ok.
Allclick: I always thought it was odd that plagiarism is a sin, but imitation is the most sincere
form of flattery.
So what got you into the whole "blogging" thing?
RedZeppelin: Boredom?
Actually I was looking for a creative outlet in my otherwise humdrum life.
Blogging seemed like a nice way to express -- whatever needed expressing.
How about you?
Allclick: I guess I wanted to share things that were interesting to me, or that I found funny, and gain other perspectives about it. I hopefully wanted to make others laugh or gain some inspiration or think about something just a little harder
RedZeppelin: Ah, an optimist!
I gave up on making people think or reconsider their positions years ago.
Allclick: I think I still have the same aim but now just use it
as my own venting post.I write it on my blog so I don't have to dwell on the issue in my head any longer.
haha yes I'm an eternal optimist struggling to be a realist.
RedZeppelin: Most people cling to their beliefs like a shipwreck victim clings to a life preserver.
Allclick: that's very true!
RedZeppelin: There is far too little doubt today.
Allclick: I think with the posts that you have on your blog, though, you ARE making people think. Whether they want to or not. And whether you want them to or not! ha
Can you explain the "too little doubt" any further?
RedZeppelin: Well, people find news/op-ed sources -- a cable news channel, radio talk show, opinion blogs, news websites, etc. -- that always agree with them, assuring that they're only
going to hear or see opinions they share. That makes them feel good because the last thing they want to do is be exposed to a well-argued contrary opinion, because then they might have to consider for a moment that their position might be wrong. So hearing nothing but agreeing opinions all their lives they begin to feel certain that theirs is the only correct position, leaving no room for debate. When there is no doubt there is no room to learn. In order to learn anything you have to have some doubt in your own knowledge, or lack thereof. That makes you willing to accept new information that might change your opinion.
Allclick: I see what you mean. It IS comfortable to read articles that "prove" that one's opinion is the right one to have. I think that the comments section on News articles online has become so popular because it's satisfying when someone else can describe your argument but in a much better way.
RedZeppelin: True. But the problem is we NEED to be exposed to contrary beliefs. Even if it doesn't change our mind it makes us better thinkers by forcing us to reinforce our existing opinions. But the problem is we're moving the opposite way. Despite the full spectrum of opinions available at the click of a mouse, people are choosing only the information that agrees with them.
Allclick: Do you think that opinions can change in any circumstance?
RedZeppelin: Certainly! Smart and/or open-minded people will often change their opinions because they're always taking in new information. Unfortunately when a politician does it it's called waffling, a derogatory term.
Allclick: I think bloggers are almost of a different breed. I mean that they are likely to be more open to different opinions and seek out alternatives to what they have established.
Not that there aren't exceptions to that rule of course
RedZeppelin: In some cases, yeah, but some simply add to the echo chamber of concurring opinions.
Allclick: So how does one go about finding contrary opinions?
RedZeppelin: It's hard not to find them.
Read op-ed columns in newspapers you don't usually read. If someone makes a comment on your blog disagreeing with you and they have a blog, check it out. Opinions are the easiest things to come by on the net (aside from naked pictures of Pam Anderson). The problem isn't finding them, it's continuing to read them. Some of the best blog posts I read were by our pal
Jedi Jawa when he was in full pro-Hillary Clinton mode. I despise Hillary, but it interested me to read comments from someone passionately for her. I'm sure you've changed your mind on big issues before.
Allclick: and these pictures of Ms. Anderson can be located... where?
RedZeppelin: My hard drive? Oh, wait.
Allclick: That's what I really enjoy about blogging. The comments and finding other bloggers who may agree but in a slightly different way, or completely disagree. Or at least find someone who is passionate enough about the same topic to share any words.
RedZeppelin: Yeah. By the way, I don't want to come off holier than thou. I can be as guilty as the next when it comes to staying in my comfort zone and reading concurring opinions. It's very uncomfortable reading opinions that are contrary to yours.
Allclick: I don't remember reading those posts (on Jedi-Jawa's blog) but I can understand the interest. It is always interesting to read articles about something the author is obviously passionate about even if it's cloud formations or
hot dogs. Especially if it is an opposing view to your own.
Too late, Mr Holier than thou
I'm just trying to think about any big issues that I have changed my mind about. I can't think of a good example now but I'd say my views on immigration have changed a whole lot in the last 2
years. I tend to form an opinion on most matters but feel safe in discussing the idea and keep myself open to other view points.
RedZeppelin: And you still hate the Dutch, right?
Allclick: passionately. even the phrase "going dutch" or "dutch courage" gives me shivers.
So what do you look for in a good blog?
RedZeppelin: Naked pictures of Pam Anderson.
Allclick: Is that because you despise Pam Anderson and need to research opposing viewpoints?
RedZeppelin: Exactly.
Aside from that, a sense of humor. A blogger who doesn't take themselves too seriously. Someone who interacts with comments.
And naturally someone who blogs about things I'm interested in.

--------------

15 September, 2008

Time for a laugh?

Did you manage to catch the premiere of SNL this weekend? I caught the last sketch. If only I could remember what day it is on. Turns out it was its best season premiere since 2001 and the most watched SNL since 2002. A few writers have speculated the reason such as Tina Fey returning to the show to play Sarah Palin and that the host was Michael Phelps. These seem like pretty poor reasons for tuning in. Here's why:

a) I had no idea Tina Fey would be on the show, and was not surprised to find out she did appear as Sarah Palin (have you ever wondered why you never see the two of them at the same time?). So extrapolating from my information about me I can deduce that other people might also be unaware/unsurprised that she was on the show.

b) Michael Phelps, while very talented in the pool, has no acting or comedic experience (that I know of or that was evident in the last sketch I saw). Watching him talk about his experiences and training in an interview would be entertaining but watching him try and act could potentially be painful. Therefore, could he really be that much of a draw? Maybe in Baltimore.

I tend to think the real reason for the large audience is partly the fact that it's election season for el presidento and mostly because people need a good laugh. America has been hit by a couple of major hurricanes recently, there is serious trouble on Wall Street, the housing market is in serious decline, gas prices are "soaring" and television has sucked over the last 4 months. It's no surprise that folks are tuning in to watch a show that says "Hey, we understand what's going on at home, at work, at school. It sucks and here is why it's funny". Plus, who can resist McGruber.

12 September, 2008

News Roundup

1. Walgreens opens a new Hurricane store.
Perhaps in light of Ike landing down in Texas they could have rephrased the headline of this. Anyway, I had seen many adverts was Walgreens and wondered what the heck it was. I suppose I'll be able to find out now because of the new Hurricane and Huntington Walgreens. It's nice to see business growth in Putnam county but is there really a need for another pharmacy or another car dealership? Mayor Edwards seems to be pleased with the new Arby's and Taco bell that are being built alongside the new KFC but when are real restaurants going to be built in that area? If the only place to eat outside of the home is Taco Bell, KFC or Arby's I wouldn't be surprised to see the obesity levels increase. Why don't they put in an Outback, Longhorn, Chili's, O'Charleys? Somewhere where you can sit down and eat with your family or hang at the bar and watch "Footbaawwwl". Thanks Major Edwards but keep trying.

2. WV Bans School Bus Drivers Cell Phones
I'm not a parent but if I were I'd be pretty happy about this. The only thing I wouldn't be happy about is that it had taken so long to happen. So previously drivers in charge of 30(ish) kids safety would be operating a large vehicle while chatting to their buddies, with only one hand on the wheel? It would be hard enough concentrating without using the phone.

3. City Council awards paving contract (Herald Dispatch)
Yay. At last some of those road in Huntington are getting paved. 4 miles doesn't seem like a lot but I have a better idea. Instead of all the 26 separate projects (290 feet on one street, 1140 feet on another etc) just take that 4 miles of paving and fill in every single pothole. It should work out about even.

10 September, 2008

Something about Socialism




What is the deal with "Socialism"? It sure sounds like a nice word doesn't it? It even has the word "social" in it and everything with an -ism makes it sound way more fancy yet still there is an almost allergic reaction that takes place whenever the word is mentioned. I'm still not entirely sure why except the fact that people seem to associate it with Communism and Big Brother (not the TV show) type governments controlling everything. So, I asked my pal Mr. W. I Kipedia and found a heck of a long article that I wasn't much interested in. I instead narrowed my focus to socialized medicine *groan*.
Until I came to the states I had never even heard the UK's National Health System (NHS) refereed to as "Socialist" and it still makes me chuckle when I do hear it because it's said through gritted teeth. But the more I read about "Socialized medicine" the more I had to agree with Mr. Kipedia that it *SHOCK* already exists in the U S of A *SHOCK*. I know of more than one veteran who happily receives all their medicine and health needs from the local VA. A government run health care facility that is paid for by...taxes. Medicare and Medicaid can also be included in that they are a publicly funded system. Or so I am told.
As I delve deeper in the jungle of American culture like a confused, drunken explorer with a blindfold I wonder more and more about these kinda things. I don't really see where the problem is with adopting a complete health care system for all. In the current system Veterans, low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities are currently taken care of, potentially, by socialized medicine but apparently the rest of society does not deserve health care from the government. I suppose the wealthy few among us can afford to pay for private health care, as is sometimes the norm in other countries, so it is up to the individuals who are in the middle ground to fend for themselves.
The only problem with adopting this system is the taxes have gotta go up. Yes, yes I know. Taxes suck. But it's better than paying endless medical bills, paying for ambulances (this still surprises me) and emergency care as well as your health care insurance. I can almost hear the simultaneous clicking of a thousand mouses* closing the browser at this point and I doubt I'll sell anyone on the idea. But it's worth a bit of a deeper thought. Well this liberal aka limey thinks so anyway.

*probably more like 3 based on my current site meter count.

09 September, 2008

And back to the point

Well I'm going to wade out of politics and elections as that really isn't my strong point...and instead lets talk about sci-fi. Something that I do have a passion for. But first...

I watching tv the other night when the missus had put the FX channel on. A staple in their movie selection seems to either be X-men or I-robot and luckily this evening it was the latter. As we enjoyed the end of the movie I leaned over to Ms. Allclick and said "You know, this is nothing like the book". She wasn't interested in knowing that and I don't blame her, there was really no response. So, I began thinking about the nature of blogs and where the content comes from, as I frequently do. An obstacle for me sometimes is that I'll have a topic that I want to blog on, then I'll speak to someone about that issue, get it out of my system and forget about. In this instance, I didn't speak to Ms. Allclick about it so I get to share it on my blog. In other words, a discussion I didn't want to inflict on people I know gets to be read by people I don't. I wonder if that is true of other bloggers. They cannot find an audience at home for their thoughts and opinions so it gets voiced digitally.

On the other hand, I sometimes rant and rave about an issue to the other half and then end up venting some more on here but with a better perspective/stolen argument/bitter rage.

Seems I didn't get to mention much about sci-fi. If I don't get a chance to tell anyone in person about Issac Asimov, I'll be back.

04 September, 2008

The Dis-United States of November

I caught a part of the RNC last night. Mostly Sarah Palin's speech as I was attempting to read "Duma Key". As I listened to the whoops and cheers I couldn't help but think how divided the country will be come November. I mean, even after the election. Those on the "losing side" are going to feel alienated. Left out by their own country. Like their rights have been tossed aside. This feeling can only be increased by the spin doctoring and bad mouthing that each party do against each other. It's not "let the best man win". It's "make the worst guy stand out". I really hope I'm wrong but for some people there is going to be bitter resentment.

Why even have this division into parties? Why not every year whoever wants to become president forms their own party. I wonder who I can send this suggestion to.

03 September, 2008

This week...


I have been mostly playing: Resident Evil 2. Great stuff.

29 August, 2008

So little time

Thought I'd put in a brief appearance on my own blog to say that I'm still alive, just haven't found the time/inspiration/effort to put in a decent post for a while! Hopefully I can be back on it soon but from now until Christmas will be uber crazy for me. I'm hoping the time will pass quickly but at the same time feel guilty for wishing away the next 4 months of my life. Sometimes I get out of blogging because I feel like I haven't anything that I wish to share on my blog. Sure, I have plenty of opinions I could throw out but sometimes the effort of articulating your thought just right is a heavy burden. So, for now I'll just keep to reading other blogs and leaving sarcastic comments! Yay!

19 August, 2008

The things people do

I visited one of my favourite places yesterday. The Chinese buffet. A fantastic invention if you ask me. It really opened my world to Chinese food, the first time I tried it, as I could go up and try a little of everything (well most things) and then see what I liked. It's far too easy to eat way too much though. At one buffet I saw that they weigh the food if you are taking it out from the buffet to eat at home. They should weigh everyone on the weigh (haha - way) in and then charge them depending on how much food they ate.

Anyway, isn't it annoying when you are settling down to eat a nice meal and you just want peace and quiet when someone decides to start and continue an argument at another table? I mean she was really mad about something. I would be surprised if she even took time to ea her food in between breathing and arguing. I say "arguing" but it was more of an angry monologue than anything. I am old fashioned or is it just best to keep that kinda thing behind closed doors? At least for the sake of the other diners if not yourself? Perhaps she was frustrated at the lack of MSG's.

13 August, 2008

Friendship


Isn't friendship a difficult thing to manage? After playing "The Sims" video game I often wish that I had a way of finding out how close I was to someone and how close they were to me, simply by reading a bar with a number on it. It would be really easy to tell when someone didn't like you. "Oh, I see I met Dave the other week and he seemed like a pretty nice bloke *checks relationship number* crap. I like Dave 45 out of 100 and he feels -10 towards me." Much, much simpler.


When I was at school I tended to have a lot of acquaintances and people who I liked and who liked me but never really had a close group of "friends". I could tolerate being in a group of people and was accepted but I could only ever feel close to one person at a time. Today I still have a great friend from my High school days and he is able the only person I wanted to stay in touch with. He has always been there for me, we have a lot in common, a similar sense of humour. He even wants to travel over here to visit.


When I went to University for my undergrad, I didn't know anyone and no one knew me. It was like a fresh start. I ended up meeting and gaining a large group of people I considered my "friends". They cared about me, looked out for me, respected me and importantly made an effort in our relationship to spend time with me and want to spend time with me. One of my closest male friends would always ask me to join him no matter what he was doing, he would listen to my stories and crazy ideas and support me when I needed it. I hope I did the same for him.


I lived with three guys. It was actually a surprisingly clean house and we didn't allow parties...mainly because we didn't want to clean up anyone else's crap. I lived with them for three years and so we were able to get pretty close. One night about 6 years ago now I was out clubbing with my friends and housemates. I was on an upper balcony and was gesturing with my bottle of beer over the rail. Turns out the security guard under me wasn't too impressed and raced up to quickly escort me out of the building. I wasn't too happy about that at all and felt pretty alone and embarrassed out in front of the club. I started the long walk home. I was maybe 40 feet away from the building and I hear my name being called out behind me. It was one of my housemates. We walked home together, grabbed some food and chilled out at home. It was totally unexpected and still means a lot to me today, that someone would give up their evening (and it about 9pm or so) to keep me company, not desert me and cheer me up.


For the last couple of years I've struggled with friendships. Being miles away from my old friends makes it difficult to keep a good relationship going. Thankfully we now have emails and text messaging and skype (and yes I do remember a time before these inventions) but still that human presence can mean and do more than 100 emails or texts or phone calls. When I meet new people now it's almost like I'm starting off at a disadvantage. Investing in a new friendship is something which I feel I have to do so I can have that sense of trusting someone (who isn't Ms. AllClick, my best friend) and knowing that when I'm sick someone cares, or when I have a happy moment I have someone to share it with. So I feel I'm at a disadvantage because the people I meet already have friends and best friends and well established relationships. They don't need to put the effort into a friendship with me as if it doesn't work out it's no big deal to them. They have "Bob" they have known for 15 years from high school or "Dave" they used to work with 20 years ago.


What I liked about going to University for my undergrad was that everyone I met was in the same situation as me. On their own. So there was that desire and need for relationships. I haven't seen that near as much with my grad degree.


So to finish I recommend getting in touch with an old friend. Maybe their "Sims"-esque friendship bar is still 100 with you even though you think it's a 50.

12 August, 2008

Lego Star Wars: The Video Game


After finally completing "Resident Evil" with Chris and Jill, I had a chance to crack open my Lego Star Wars video game on the pc. Two words. Awe. Some. It's easy to get started, the controls are simple, the game play is incredibly fun and it's challenging but doable! The two player drop in action means that you can play alongside your spouse, son, daughter, grandma and they can take a break while you still light saber your way through the levels. There are plenty of hidden items and bonuses so that even after you complete the game in one weekend and a Monday you will still want to go back and find the other 20 characters you missed when you played it through the first time. It sticks pretty close to the main storyline of the movies and is actually more enjoyable in Lego that it was on the silver screen. Heaps of fun.

07 August, 2008

Did you know...

Did you know that according to recent statistics a 5th of America's population is a direct descendant of Brangelina?

06 August, 2008

304blogs.com

Can you say 304blogs.com three times, quickly? Yer, me too. It's pretty easy. I just wanted to give a big shoutout to the site. It kinda pools together all of the best blogs in West Virginia into one handy-dandy place! Thanks for the add, guys.

05 August, 2008

Where's my rights?

For some reason the title of my post has me singing "Where is my mind?" by the Pixies. Weird. Anywho, people who know me know that I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke. So generally i'm pleased when I hear about smoking bans because it means I can go places and not have to smell the smoke or breathe any in. I have nothing against the smokers in general and would be quite happy if smoking only affected the one with the cigarette. It seems that it's a pretty prickly issue over in Kanawha county, however, in that bar owners feel they are losing business. Smokers feel like it's their right to smoke where they please and non-smokers feel like it's their right to breathe in fresh air. What a pickle. I read through some of the comments on the news article and wanted to reprint this one which I thought was particully articulate:

Smokers choose to participate in a lifestyle that shortens their life expectancy as well as the life expectancy of those around them. As a human being it is my right and the right of every other patron to be able to go into a bar or restaurant without the fear of being bombarded by a hazardous environment. The minute smokers enter a bar they immediately "own" the air inside the bar simply because there is no way to contain cigarette smoke. Since this smoke has been proven hazardous, and the bar owner has given up his/her rights to the air inside the establishment, it is the duty of the government to stand for the basic human rights of the non-smokers. Don't like it? Stop smoking. It won't kill you if you do.

Thanks to "Allen" whoever you may be.

04 August, 2008

The first to be last

I was disappointed to hear about the latest statistics for business in West Virginia. Apparently WV is the worst state in the country for business. How can that be so? We told everyone we were "Open for Business" right? Even worse than being 50th this year is the fact that we have held this title for two years running. Add to this trophy another; WV is ranked last in the U.S. for it's legal system by Institute for Legal Reform and considered a "Judicial Hellhole" by The American Tort Reform Foundation.

This kinda thing is way out of my usual zone of reading but when you want the best for the state it's kinda important to me to know the facts. I can't really give an analysis of the problem or a solution. So, instead here is a lawyer joke:

The devil visited a lawyer's office and made him an offer. "I can arrange some things for you, " the devil said. "I'll increase your income five-fold. Your partners will love you; your clients will respect you; you'll have four months of vacation each year and live to be a hundred. All I require in return is that your wife's soul, your children's souls, and their children's souls rot in hell for eternity."The lawyer thought for a moment. "What's the catch?" he asked.

01 August, 2008

Just 'cause it's Friday


"Cheers!"

10 things never to say to a West Virginian (ish)

Some things I've learned never to say to a West Virginian through trial and error:

1. "I can't wait until they get rid of those Mountains. More coal the better if you ask me."
2. "So, do you live near Lynchburg, or Roanoke?"
3. "I hear owning a gun and/or hunting is a way of hiding homosexual feelings."
4. "Those Ohioans sure know how to drive!"
5. "Why do you all talk funny?"
6. Do not mention "Deliverance". Or say "Georgia, my ass" after mentioning it.
7. "That Senator Byrd is full of himself, isn't he? What has that old codger ever done for the state?"
8. "Open for Business".
9. "Coleslaw? On a Hot Dog?!?"
10. " 'Course we need higher gas taxes. Joe Manchin's gotta pay for that new east wing on the mansion somehow!"
10.2. "So, this is West Virginia, huh? Where do I pick up my free degree?"

Low-tech meets High-tech

Isn't it great when the world turns full circle. A bit like buying flares and skinny ties in the 70's and then being able to dig them out and still look semi cool and fashionable 30 years later. It's especially great when you can use some old discarded technology and meld it into a solution to a modern problem. Simply take your low-tech cassette CD converter tape from the 90's (pick one up on ebay for about $3 if you foolishly tossed yours out with the Discman):

Aka "Old and Busted"


And insert into your car's cassette player (unless of course you bought one of those fancy modern automobiles and upgraded to a CD player - like a fool, Mr La-de-da). Then insert the prongy end into your MP3 player of choice and start playing the hits. Problem solved.

31 July, 2008

Summer Drought

Last summer I posted a blog post about the lack of water in the Teays Valley area because the reservoir had run dry. They ended up driving(?) in truck loads of water. Strange. Driving through the area recently I find myself worrying again about the low level in the reservoir. I mean guess who has to pay for those trucks to drive(??) that water in? That's right, the water users. Despite any attempts by the water company to educate and promote or enforce water conservation. Anyhoo, at the moment the reservoir looks like crap. I mean it is honestly ugly. Murky, brown, muddy water. Lots of debris. Some sort of pump-boat that is half sinking. Hardly a "tourist trap" or even something pleasant to look at for anyone in the city park. This could be a really nice area for people to go and enjoy but instead the city is too busy catering for mega food marts and car dealerships. Still, at least that new Arby's will be built soon.

Gone Baby Gone

The great thing about cancelling your subscription to Blockbuster Total Access is that when you do resubscribe a few months later you have a dozen of decent movies to rent. Such as...Gone Baby Gone.

The title kinda put me off this movie before I even knew what it was about. Sounded like a chick flick in which someone weeps about their loved one leaving them and then Patrick Dempsey appears. Fortunately there was no sign of McSteamy at all. Or is he McDreamy? Thankfully I can not answer that.

This movie is all about a kidnapping of...well a kid. It really is about a baby that is gone. Ben Affleck's debut as director actually is surprisingly decent. Set in a neighbourhood in Boston, two private detectives are asked to investigate a missing child despite major police and media involvement. Casey Affleck is the lead and carries the story well. The story is well paced, has enough twists and turns to keep you interested and reveals more about the Boston underworld and human nature than a simple kidnapping movie. It is clever and disturbing at times. Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris also put in some solid performances and Michelle Monaghan probably would have fared better if her character actually had more to do. A convincing thriller.

23 July, 2008

Water Verdict: Good for...ummm..drinking

So here we are 2008 and we still don't know what the heck water does to our body or how much we really should be drinking. 8 glasses is it? 2 liters? What about if I'm on a diet? What about if I am pregnant/trying to lose weight/was drunk last night/have been out in the sun/did a lot of exercise this morning/don't like water? Who knows. Turns out though that we've been doing it wrong. This article from the BBC recommends that people should drink "only when thirsty" and not to overdo what you are comfortable with. I'm pleased to hear it. It also says that the whole "science of detox is unsupported by evidence". Intriguing stuff. I hope no-one tells this to the multi-million dollar industry the bottled water market has now become.

22 July, 2008

The Dark Knight

Well I just had to write a little about this movie. It was an absolute epic and not just due to the 2 hour and 40 minutes of roll time. A roller coaster of emotion. A perfect mix of story, dialogue, characters and action all melded into one. Don't be fooled by the PG-13 rating. The story alone is way too involved to be comprehended by kids and there won't be enough action sequences and "hero" moments to keep them entertained. For the mature adult, however, there is a goldmine of enjoyment waiting to be uncovered.

Fantastic performance from the late Heath Ledger who takes a familiar character and makes him his own. It's a dark, disturbing but complicated villain who is both a genius and insane at the time. Aaron Eckhart is also perfectly cast as Harvey Dent. Gotham's white knight. He brings an air of politician, cop and gentleman all rolled into one as well as a darker side. The fact that both these two characters alone have so much detail in the character should show you the complexity of the movie. Gary Oldman also does a great job as Chief Gordon. Compare him to his roles in Leon umm I mean The Professional and The Fifth Element (two of my fav movies) and it illustrates his versatility of playing the smart and humble guy. Much more praise and focus should be given out to The Batman himself, Christian Bale.

Unfortunately there is not enough Bruce in this movie. Just a few rare glimpses of him. His back story was firmly established as the focus of Batman Begins and so now we see a more subtle development of his character. Bale seems to be suffering from his own success in that having always put in great performances and not been recognized means it is now hard to label a current performance as Oscar worthy as he always has had high standards. I suspect he may earn one of those "this movie wasn't great but you have been a great actor in a lot of other movies so here is an Oscar" Oscars that actors get after a while in the movie biz.

Another odd thing about the movie is that it is all so...light. Especially compared to Batman Begins. I wonder if this is to subtly show the change in Gotham from crime ridden to practically crime-free. It is hard to tell. It doesn't really affect the movie either way so I give my full recommendation in going to see this. You will not be disappointed.

17 July, 2008

When the highly paid continue to be well paid

I read in the news today that a WVU official has taken a $50,000 pay cut after the degree scandal. Instead of earning $135,000 he will now only earn $85,595. I suppose that second home in the Florida Keyes will have to wait a couple of years. At least he can relax knowing he's making at least 3.5 times the average West Virginian.

15 July, 2008

Thank goodness for spoiler alerts

Thank you IMDB.com. Reading through the plot keywords on movies I was interesting in seeing was spoiling the film completely for me. I'm so glad you have made them into a spoiler so that I will only see them when I roll my mouse over them. If it wasn't for this action I might have accidently discovered that in the film "Jaws" for example there is:

Female Rear - Nudity - Famous Opening Theme - One Word Title - Gore - Breasts

and reading these plot keywords: *possible spoiler ahead*

One Man Army - Girl Power - Insanity - Gangster - Atmospheric

Would have completely spoiled the new Batman movie.

10 July, 2008

Movies movies movies

I see TFG has been catching up on some summer flicks! Whilst I have not had the chance to see Wall-E or Hancock yet, I will be off to see some Hellboy II action this weekend. I finally got around to seeing the first movie a few weeks ago and loved it. Del Toro is really bringing an art form back into movies.

Other movies on my "Must-see at the movies" list include (but are not limited too):

The Dark Knight - (of course. Possible Oscar nod for the late Heath Ledger but Christian Bale needs one soon, right?)

X-Files - (Ms. AllClick really wants to see this. I'll want to see it but I'm a little scared it won't live up to it's potential)

The Mummy 3 - (It will be fun, won't it?)

Star Wars: Clone Wars (I actually thought that this looks pretty darn good!)

Pranxiety

I'm almost certain I've mentioned this before but today I had a good example of Pranxiety. Pranxiety is basically procrastination because you are afraid of what the outcome will be when you do something. It's the anxiety of "I need to do (x), but when I do that I'll know whether or not (y) is true/false/broken/upside down/yellow etc".

For example, putting off calling a hotel because you know that if you do call you will find out the truth that the room that you really wanted is no longer available (that was available last time you called) and that not having that room is awful and will ruin your vacation. Of course, the cycle then begins as you feel more anxiety about calling you therefore delay calling, and then the chances of the room actually being taken increase and you feel even further anxiety about finding out whether this is true or not.

Does that sound familiar?

Well, at last I finally made a call that I had been putting of due to Pranxiety and...it turned out fine. If I had of made the call a month ago I would have saved myself a month of feel Pranxious and probably could have enjoyed myself a little more than I did. If it had of turned out not fine at least I would have known and changed my plans accordingly and still not worried about it. The important thing is though, that Pranxiety does not help a situation, but making a decision and following it through can save a whole lot of worry.

I just need to remember that next time.

07 July, 2008

The price of gas in the UK

Now, I'm not a car buff by any standards so I need a hand on this one. I was looking through the British headlines and found this cool little article about the "Top 10 most economical cars". At number 3 is the Mini Cooper. Nice little car but it states it does around 72.4MPG. I flick over to the American headlines and find this little article about the "EPA's Fuel Economy Leaders". And now the Mini Cooper is only managing 28/37 MPG. I'm fairly certain that a mile is a mile is a mile. Perhaps it's the Gallon part....

Yes..it is. I figured it out. A UK Gallon is about 1.2 US Gallons.

So to use this new found knowledge lets take a look at gas prices..as I get asked this a lot..

Price of gas in WV today $4.00 for one US Gallon (for ease).
Price of gas in Hertfordshire, England £1.24 (GBP) for one Litre (UK)

1 Litre (UK) is the same as 0.26 US Gallons.

so 3.85 Litres (UK) = 1 US Gallon (roughly)

so £4.78p (GBP) for one gallon of gas here.

Which is $9.42 for one gallon of gas.

Phew. I guess that sounds about right. But remember the average wage in the UK is £23,607. (around $45,000 in 2002) compared to average wage in the US ($38,651 (2006)). And cost of living differs too, though I can't find some hard stats to prove that :-p AND we've been paying around that amount for..well years and years.

Still the articles are worth reading because with the rapid decline of trucks and SUV's thanks to the "soaring gas prices" we may be seeing a lot more of these economical vehicles from Europe and more of the ones that are already here.

Have you noticed how much the news like to use the same phrases...like "Soaring gas prices" or Pain at the pump".

02 July, 2008

Going skateboarding in Milton? Grab your wallet

Looks like the people of Milton have a thing against skateboarders. Hope that isn't an area of choice for you, Jackie. $50 is a little steep and who has to pay it? The skateboarders? The parents? Plus you have your 'board impounded for 30 days. I can see now the Milton officers practicing their Nollie kickflips and tailslides outside the station.

I used to love getting out on my skateboard. It was a really cheap and crappy skateboard that really was just a "show" board in that it was designed to look good not actually function very well. Toys R Us probably still makes it. So, it was easy to just stand on the thing and head down hill but trying to turn the thing usually resulted in bloody knees and a scolding from my mum. I'd love to start up again someday but I'm not into all that Vert ramp stuff. I'd just do mad street skills like my main man Rodney Mullens.


Rodney Mullen - Funny home videos are a click away

Finding your blogging niche

I have amazingly been blogging for over a year now and racked up over 200 posts. I never knew I had so much to say. I still kinda feel like I haven't found my niche yet and I don't know why. Perhaps I just like change, I enjoy throwing out different topics, styles, themes. Perhaps I get bored quickly with posting the same kind of thing. Or maybe I like to challenge myself to be original within the realm of my own blog. Perhaps after another year I will know. I suppose one never actually needs a niche. It's my own online web log so I can do as I please with it. In a way that is the niche.

Anyone know what happened down by the river in H'town today? Saw three police cars, two fire trucks an ambulance and the rescue boat. It shot across to the other side of the river and picked up a shirtless dude. Wsaz were there so i'll guess it will be on the news tonight. Whatever it was.

01 July, 2008

Outside the comfort zone

I have decided today to take a stroll outside my little familiar blogging comfort zone and read some unfamiliar blogs. I'll report back some findings and encourage you to take a step outside your comfort zone today and see what happens. I think i'll stick in the A's today.

Some blogs of note that I happened by:

Appalachian Greens
A Mountain Journey

Some observations:

Not all bloggers post something every single day (I'm just lucky to enjoy a group of bloggers that do).
Not all bloggers post something every month (the selfish buggers).
Not all excellent posts receive comments.
Not all blogs have to be funny to be an enjoyable read.
The amount of blogging styles is endless.