Thursday, October 25, 2007

Speaking of Fires

Of course, my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost their lives and/or houses to the recent onslaught of fires in SoCal. The smell of fire and smoke has permeated most of southern california this week, and that smell always reminds me of two things:

Wineries and campfires.

So.... on with the stories!

My senior year of high school I picked up a weekend job doing menial tasks at a local winery (for those unfamiliar to the Temecula area, there are about 15-20 wineries there, of varying quality). And by "menial" I mean really menial tasks: Watering plants, labeling wine bottles, stocking shelves, etc. It was seriously me and what I am sure were, uh, "undocumented workers" doing a bunch of random crap. One time I was asked to go out onto the property (probably around 10-15 acres, if not more) and count how many dead vines there were in each row. Like I said, menial.

Anyway, on very, very lucky days during the winter, I was in charge of The Burn Pile. So on those days instead of coming into work around 9 or 10am, I would show up around 5 or 6, and we would gather all the dead vines, grass clippings, and anything else combustible and burn them. I was in charge of maintaining a good sized bonfire. Ahh, good times. As any good Boy Scout does, I love fire and I love burning things; and I got paid to do it! Really, that's the only thing missing from my job nowadays: Burning shit.

Now, on my summer vacations in high school, I would attempt to escape the smoltering heat of the Temecula Valley by fleeing to the moutnains, where I worked at a Scout Camp in Running Springs (to see how Camp Helendade faired during these fires, go here). One thing we would do at the camp is retire flags. Most people know that to retire a flag you "burn it," but it's not quite that simple (nor is it complex, really). The idea is that, yes, you burn a flag to retire it, but you do so with respect and solemnity, remembering what the flag stands for. So, on closing nights every week, our camp would hold a small ceremony, inviting retired and active duty military persons to join us as we retired several flags on our camp fires.

The other important rule of flag retiring is that you MUST let the fire on which you retire the flag die out naturally. That means you can't just douse the flame once you are done with your ceremony. So as anyone familiar with camp fires can attest, fires can take a long time to die out. And so it was with these fires. As such, several members of the staff would sit down at the campfire until the early hours of the morning talking, laughing, drinking Jack Daniels and telling stories until the fires had finally died. Those summers were some of the best times of my life.

*sigh* Damn, I miss those days.

So those are the two memories that have been on the forefront of my mind this past week, as all these fires have been burning.

Fear Not, Fires Have Avoided Me

Well friends, I know I haven't posted much, but thankfully that isn't because of fires. I spent some time in West Virginia a few weeks ago for a funeral and while I really (really) would never want to live in that state, it is very pretty and I woulnd't mind visiting it more. Or maybe I should just go visit the Appalachain's in general, so I can go look at coolio rocks!

And then Brandy took me away for a romantic weekend. Admittedly, it wasn't very far "away," but it was an incredibly fun, surprising and memorable weekend (with more miniature golfing and bowling included!) that I think we both needed.

So, as always, distractions keep me away. And they continue to pile on; for last night I took on what will certainly be a huge distraction from this here blog: I created a fantasy basketball team.

Scary, huh?

I haven't drafted yet (and I'm doing the easiest version of drafting - not the live draft), but this is my first fantasy sport team and I'm a little scared/nervous/excited. If anyone has thoughts or suggestions, let me know.

I'll be back soon (I hope!), but for now - Lunch!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"Frequent" is a Subjective Term

Yeah, yeah, I know I suck at this. I have some thoughts on why my posting has been so poor of late; I will get to that later. For now, the updates on my life.

  • Work goes well. I'm starting to tell the difference between the different types of dirt that I see. Oh, how all of you poor fools miss out. You see a pile of dirt and think "wow, that is really uninteresting dirt." I see it and think: "Wow, that is a sandy silt with few (<5%)>
  • The Reva will be proud of this one: I've started watching How I Met Your Mother. I stopped watching sit-coms (and most TV as well) when I shipped off to college a few years back, and hadn't gotten back into the spirit of watching them again until very recently. HIMYM is quickly approaching my favorite show, although it has stiff competition, mostly from Two & a Half Men, but also from another show that is a guilty pleasure of mine that I will not mention here lest I get mocked incessantly.
  • My mom had been out visiting the past two weeks. I wish I could say I spent a lot of time with her, but due to other circumstances (see lower post) she had to leave early, cutting short our visiting time.
  • Over on National Review Online this weekend has been Star Trek Weekend. They have some interesting articles up. The sum of it is that Star Trek was liberal, Star Wars is conservative. Except for TOS, which is more of a Kennedy-liberal, which in today's poltical climate is practically fascist. Some good reads. (I would provide a link to said article, but that website isn't working at the moment. bah!)
  • In Transformers news, the DVD for the AWESOME MOVIE is slated to be out October 19th, so go pre-order people! The second movie is now scheduled to be released Summer 2009. I'm excited!
  • The first Lakers exhibition game is October 9. Who wants bets as to whether the Lakers make the playoffs this year?

So Brandy noted her corruption due to me a while back and I would also like to note that I, too, have been corrupted. For the first time in 24 years on this planet I am excited about a playoff series in a sport other than Basketball. And I can name nearly all the Anaheim Angels starters. And I've been watching football like I care about it! It's definitely wierd, but in a good way. I've started reading TMQ over at ESPN and am getting about half the references. But I'm determined to keep learning about these sports which aren't basketball.

Finally, I have much to say about the style of my blogging, why I haven't done much recently, what I plan on doing to change that, and all that good stuff. But it will have to wait for another post.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

On a Personal Note

My grandmother's taken very ill this weekend; all of your thoughts and prayers are appreciated for her, my mother and the whole family.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What to Post?

Whenever I'm at work I think of things that I should blog about; then, when I have a moment, like now, and I can blog, I can't remember any of it.


Oh well. Maybe next time I'll remember.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mea Culpa

Sorry folks, moving destroyed my blogging abilities. I'll try to be back on track now.

So, what's all the new deals? Well, first, Colton: Yeah, this is where I live now. Everyone (meaning my mother and Brandy) thinks that Colton/San Bernardino is some horrible ghetto. Now, Brandy's excusable, she's lived here her whole life; she doesn't know any better. But my mom? Come on! Do you remember Berkeley? Like, at all? People's Park ring any bell to you? There's just no way that Colton is worse than Telegraph Avenue. And while yes, there are some parts of San Bernardino I wouldn't want to be in late at night, it's still much, much better than Oakland. To me, that's obvious.

The new job: it's... different. Whereas before I was hitting rocks with a sledge hammer, now I'm... looking at dirt. Seriously. I'm drilling holes in the ground and looking at the sand (or silt!) that comes out. There's a huge learning curve that I'm trying to overcome, but I'm making progress. It is definitely interesting, and I like the geology involved. So far, so good there!

Did I mention Transformers kicks ass? I did? Well, it's worth repeating. The new Transformers movie is totally badass.

My parents have finally made the move to North Carolina. They (and the dogs) made it out there in one piece. Apparently it's hot there in August. Like, really hot and humid.

I love my apartment. It's not fantastic or anything, I just like it; maybe because it's mine.

For my friends who read OOTS (who should be everyone, it's a great webcomic), beware, spoilers ahead:
So outside of killing Roy, which continues a proud tradition of killing my favorite characters in a show/series/novel, etc. I read the second prequel book "Start of Darkness." It is, of course, extremely well written. It's not quite as funny as the others, mostly because it is far more sad. It has a definite "Episode 3" feel to me, and solidies Redcloak as my favorite (living) character. When/if Roy is ressurrected I'll be quite distressed as to who my favorite is. Meanwhile, I would kick Xycon in the balls... if he had any.

Not much else new going on here. I'll try to be better at updating; can't promise everything though. I'm thinking of revamping my website as well, focusing on reviewing X-Men comics. Again though, no promises. If you're in Colton of course, feel free to call and check out my place!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Iraq Debate

It's been a long time since I've done a political post, and I kind of like it that way. Even so, with debate coming soon over Iraq, and reports of the Iraqi political government sucking ass, I feel it is important to emphasize the importance of the mission over there. General Petraeus, US commander in Iraq, has an interview with the New York Post today which I think is a good read. To me, the crucial part:

Q: Now that the surge is fully in place, what's your sense of the positives and negatives thus far? If you could have more of any one item, what would it be? Troops? Time? Iraqi unity?

A: I can think of few commanders in history who wouldn't have wanted more troops, more time or more unity among their partners; however, if I could only have one at this point in Iraq, it would be more time. This is an exceedingly tough endeavor that faces countless challenges.

None of us, Iraqi or American, are anything but impatient and frustrated at where we are. But there are no shortcuts. Success in an endeavor like this is the result of steady, unremitting pressure over the long haul. It's a test of wills, demanding patience, determination and stamina from all involved.

Sadly, this is the one thing he is unlikely to get. Oh, and to keep things in perspective, make sure you're reading some Michael Yon at least sometimes. From a recent dispatch:

The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11-years-old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man's words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, "What did he say?" Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.
Yes. An 11-year old. Shall we really give up and run from these bastards?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Transformers Kicks All Kinds of Ass

Yeah, I'll post more later, but I saw an advacned screening, and it kicked all sorts of coolness ass. Easily the best movie of the summer; easily.

I'll discuss further later this week, after more people have seen the movie - which I strongly reccomend.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Big Reveal

I can't believe that it's been a year since I graduated (more than that, actually).


If someone had told me how my life would work out between then and now I would've mocked them; although if somone had told me about how my life would work out post-high school I wouldn't have believed them either. Still, I'm amazed at how my life has worked out.

I expected to get a job as a geologist; instead I work as a geophysicist. I expected my stay at home with my parents to be temporary; it's been slightly longer than that. I would never have expected that Candace would break up with me; nor that I would try an online dating servie, let alone fall madly in love with someone from such a service! At this point, though, I shouldn't be surprised by such things. God has proven to me over and over that nothing works out like I expect it to. So be it; I have faith that things will work out in the end.

Nonetheless, this summer will prove to be one of changes for me. So let's start listing them: My parents are - finally - moving out to North Carolina. As for me, I am leaving my employment at GEOVision to take a job as a Staff Geologist at CHJ, Inc. As such, I will be moving out to Colton, CA which, for those who don't know, is basically between Riverside and Redlands on the I-215.

Whew. So there you have it folks; the big news I've been waiting to tell everyone. If you want my new address, let me know and I will send it to you; additionally, if you want a birthday/Christmas card from me, get me your contact info and I will ensure that you receive one.

Pirates 3 Sucked

Sorry Candace.

I wanted to like it; really. And it was better than the second one; unfortuantely it was better in the same way that Episode II was better than Episode I: The first was so bad that the following one had to be better; and it wasn't that much better. It seems that At World's End's major problem was that there were too many subplots that just kept... going... on... forever. So much so that when something finally happened you were too bored with the movie to pay attention!

The thought that I had during the movie was that it would be better served as a series, like Lost. Then it could take all the time it wanted in fleshing out its subplots with no 2-hour or so time limit. Not that something like that is going to to happen.

Meanwhile, Will Turner kicked major ass! He went from "whiny, self-righteous pansy" in the first one to "total freakin' badass" in the final one. He was practically the only thing worth watching in the film (like Ewen McGregor in Episode II, ironically). The scene between him and Davy Jones was my favorite by far.

Personally, I hope that there aren't more of the films, or at lesat if there are that they keep a better, faster pace. I don't know what genre this film was, but "action" definitely wasn't it.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

True Story

So we hired a special consultant to help us out on a job this week, and he came out on Tuesday. I met him, and he seemed nice enough, but something about him bugged me. I couldn't tell quite what, maybe the long hipppy-esque hair, but I wasn't sure. As I got to working with him he seemed like a nice enough guy; willing to work hard and good at his job.

So the second night on the job we're talking about a variety of things and he mentions: "So I went to graduate school at Stanford."


It all made sense then; I sensed his Stanfurdness, and it bugged me. Out of professional courtesy, I forced myself to not respond with a "Fuck Stanfurd" when he told me. But I could only barely hold it in.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I'm bored. And stressed. And can't sleep. And I'm working nights the rest of this week.


It's going to be a long week indeed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Baseball News

Not something you'll hear from me much, but here's a favorite headline of mine:

"First Professional Baseball Game Kicks Off in Israel"

PETAH TIKVA, Israel — Puzzled broadcasters calling the first
professional baseball game in Israeli history struggled with rendering baseball
lingo into the holy tongue of Hebrew.
After a valiant effort at
translating some of the terms, they gave up — lacing their broadcast with
Hebrew-accented versions of ball, strike, out, majors, pitcher and base
Otherwise, the game looked and sounded like real baseball on a minor
league level, though it seemed as out of place in the Holy Land as polo in Manhattan.
There were no peanuts, no Cracker Jack, no
"Star-Spangled Banner." Three thousand fans cheered as the Modiin Miracles beat
the Petah Tikva Pioneers, 9-1.
Wire fences ringed the field, and bleachers
were set up along the foul lines. A fast food and snack stand did good business
on the sidelines, selling hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and soft drinks — all
kosher, of course. The pitchers were a bit on the wild side, and some of the
fielding was sloppy.

First baseball game in 5,000 years. Cool beans.

George Lucas is a Scumbag

First, a Star Wars/movie question:

If someone has not seen any of the Star Wars movies, is it better to watch them in episodic order (i.e. Episode I - VI), or in order of theatrical release (the original trilogy first, then the prequels)? I'm sure that it is impossible to have "spoilers" for the later films, as most of the major plot points everyone knows, but which order do people think is better?

Second, George Lucas is an ass-hole. I watched Garden State this weekend (how I dated Candace for 4 years and never watched this is beyond me, but I digress), and dammit Natalie Portman is a good actress in it! It took me a while to realize this because for the first half of the movie all I could think of is thats scene is Episode III where she's bitching to Anakin about holding her. *shudder* Once I came to my realization, I was irritated at Lucas for being such a horrible director, and screwing up which should have been good movies. Damn you Lucas.

Now, following is a discussion on the current Star Wars novels, and will contain spoilers to things which have occurred post Return of the Jedi. Be warned.
Yeah, the dots mean spoilers, read on only if you don't care.

Ok. I recently finished the book Betrayl, which is Book 1 of the new "Legacy of the Force" series.

So, if you remember, Anakin became Darth Vader mainly out of a desire to save his wife, Padme. He had visions of her dying, and Palpatine/Sidious promised that the Dark Side had the power to save her; thus, in a Faustian manner, Skywalker sold his soul. This, to me, epitomized the old Jedi rule that Jedi's were not supposed to have attachments, as they often led to problems. So far, so good right?

So, following ROTJ, Luke Skywalker sets out to re-establish the Jedi order, training young Jedi and so forth. Now, I read one of the most recent books, taking place some 40 years after the fall of the Empire, so imagine my shock to learn that not only is Luke Skywalker a Jedi, and not only is his sister, Princess Leia a jedi, but both of their kids' are Jedi as well!!! And both of them are married; Luke to another freakin' Jedi!! To me, this makes no sense, and goes contrary to the way that I would think that the Jedi Order should be run. And this particular book proves my objections: Han Solo and the Galactic Alliance, whom the Jedi's work for/with, are on opposing sides of a political dispute. Leia (a Jedi, remember) goes out of her way to lie and decieve the GA in order to protect her husband. The fact that a wife wants to protect her husband is no shock to anyone in love, but, as Leia's own father proved, is potentially disastrous to a Jedi. What else will she to protect Han? Steal? Kill? To me, this seems to be the path to the Dark Side. The only one who stays true to the Jedi form, despite his attachments, was Luke, who did not interfere or try to pursuade another Jedi's decision to take Luke's son, Ben Skywalker, on a dangerous mission. Luke recognized that Ben's instructor was best suited to make the decision on weather he was ready to go, not the boy's father.

Sadly, this isn't the only problem I have with the mythos's changing opinions. The end of the book spends quite a bit of time painting moral equivalence between the Light and Dark sides of the Force, arguing that the "dark side" wasn't inherently evil, but rather, was used by evil people. The dark force user who was making these arguments was trying to seduce a young Jedi, Jacen Solo (yeah, Han and Leia's kid, raise your hand if you didn't see that one coming) into being the newest Sith Lord. Crouched in terms remarkably similar to Palpatine's to Anakin Skywalker, this woman talked about how the Dark Side could bring peace and justice, if only the evil Jedi Knights didn't supress it.

Now, another Jedi was with Jacen, and she wanted to arrest the dark force-user (as she was a confessed criminal), but Jacen stopped her - for the greater good. He saw a future of death and destruction if the dark person was arrested, so he killed another Jedi. This immediately calls to mind Anakin's killing of Samuel L. Jackson, err... Mace Windu, and annoys me because you would think that Luke and Leia Skywalker, of all people, would teach their kids the follies of believing the tempation of the power of the Dark Side. Alternatively, the Star Wars franchise wants to make the argument that the Dark Side isn't evil, in which case I'm just annoyed that they are doing so.

So now I'm trying to go back and read earlier books, to see why Luke made the choices he made in organizing the Jedi in this manner, and trying to read the newer books, to see if the moral equivalence continues. In both ways, I'm hoping that the new Star Wars books don't continue to irritate me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Work sometimes takes so much out of me, I get home and have zero motivation to do much other than sleep. But, alas, there is much to discuss, and, if my brother updated, I had better too.

A quartet of states have been added to my list of "Been there, even if only in passing." Maryland, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Now, I can here The Reva thinking: "Wait, Maryland is near me in DC, why didn't I get a phone call?" Relax, I was in MD for about two hours total, an hour layover waiting for a flight to NH, and one coming home.

So yeah, last weekend I did an overnight job in Connecticut, which is a long flight and drive for me. But I thought about some interesting things, mostly Star Wars related (I'll get to those in a different post, no need to nerd-out here). Brandy's birthday is coming up, and I'm excited about at least some of the gifts I've bought her. Of course, I am half-wondering if my excitement means it would be a great gift for me, not so much for her...

Sometime within the next two weeks (hopefully) I am going to have an important post up: important as in "My life is changing dramatically" type post. Stay focused. In the meantime keep counting down the days until July 4, when Greatness Arrives.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Stupidity at its Finest

eHarmony is being sued because they aren't a gay dating service. From a Rueters article:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The popular online dating service eHarmony was sued
on Thursday for refusing to offer its services to gays, lesbians and
A lawsuit alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation was
filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Linda Carlson, who was denied
access to eHarmony because she is gay.


The stupidity of this lawsuit irritates me greatly, but not as much as the fact that they will probably win the lawsuit. I kinda hope that the person suing (a lesbian from San Francisco, no surprise there) is doing so because she wants to make the quick buck, not because she actually believes that all dating services must offer every kind of combination.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More Mini-Reviews

Let's get this out of the way first: I was tired, sore and half-asleep, but yes, I watched an episode of the Bachelor. I was quite irritated at it, to be honest. Watching the season finale I had two choices of women to support: On the one hand, there was the social worker from San Francisco (read: hippie); on the other hand was a medical researcher from Palo Alto. My only thought was: "I have to choose between supporting a hippie from SF or a freakin' Stanfurd girl? WTF?" It was worse than the NBA playoffs (I'm rooting for Detroit?? WTF?)! I tried to mock the show at every opportunity, but I still feel dirty for having watched it.

I also saw Hitch. Now I wanted to see this movie in theaters because I really like Kevin James, and I kinda-sorta like Will Smith. Having now seen it, I'm glad I didn't see it in theaters. Don't get me wrong, it was a decent movie, and I generally liked it, but I'm not sure I liked it enough to have spent nine bucks on it. It was cute though. In a girly-chick-flick type way.

Less girly was Hard Candy, a pshychological thriller featuring the chick who played Kitty Pryde in X-Men 3. I'll never look at her the same; that is a seriously messed up movie. I didn't like it for a variety of reasons, none of them revolving around the quality of the movie. It's worth a look if you are interested in the genre. I'll have more to say on it later, the issues it brings up warrant a full post (though I wonder if I'll actually get around to posting about it, given my track record on these things).

I also saw Shrek the Third; it was... meh. I enjoyed it, but nowhere near as much as the first two. I don't think I would've seen it had Antonio Banderas not been in the movie; he's too much of a badass to not make a movie better. The D&D reference was at once funny and mildly insulting. Thanks for reinforcing a stereotype guys!

I haven't yet seen Pirates, which of course means I haven't played the Wii game of it, lest I get spoilers. But I'm told it's good!

I'm also proud to say that I've made Brandy watch Team America: World Police. Whereas in the beginning of the movie she wasn't thrilled with the theme song, by the end, when I said "America," she vigorously responded. My work then is done.

Well that's it for now; a Happy Birthday to me, I'll be back with all of you before the week is out hopefully.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Updates are A-Comin'

Yeah, yeah, I'll give some more... serious updating soon. On what? Well, Brandy has helped me suffer through a variety of movies and television shows, so I have to share with you all my opinions of Hitch, Hard Candy, and the season finale of the Bachelor. --Oh, God, did I just type that I need to blog about THE BACHELOR??? Sweet Christmas, what have I become? -- But this weekend involves playing WiiPirates - err... The Pirates of the Carribean Wii game - and my birthday! :) So I'll update everyone on those things soon. See, unlike some people, I don't like giving one sentence responses on movies that I watch. Let's see, if this were a television commercial, here's where I leave a cliffhanger that could CHANGE EVERYTHING, so here it is: major changes are a-comin' in the next month or so. I hope to have more info within a week or two, so, you know, keep watching.

And now the best part of my day thus far: I received an email this morning (spam!) dated January 24.

Goodnight folks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sweet Christmas

Sweet Independence Day is more like it.

It took four tries, but finally, finally, there's a good Transformers trailer. And it's a doozy.

One fan's take:

Is it wrong to cry with excitement over a film based on toys? Oh, we know
it's not going to win any Oscars (well, except effects ones - look how shiny and
photo-real!) and, if you think about it, the plot is as daft as a box of drunk
badgers. But the robots! The big fighty robots! With the smashing! And the being
one thing, then another! One, like, really big thing, then another really big
thing – with guns!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


God, that's a bad pun, even for me.

I'm sure you will all be pleased to know that I/we finally got through the damn fishing experience in Zelda. And, after two hours of gameplay, finally got a damn sword. Just a wooden one, mind you. So now what are my opinions? I'm not a big fan of the sword slicing technique. You have to swing the Wii-Remote, which is ok, I think I'm just used to having a button to smash, but you put your sword away really quickly. Also, I'm having a bit of trouble adjusting to the camera movement. The Remote/Nunchuk vs. normal controller is difficult mostly because it's different. If in most video games the controller (metaphorically) requires you to pat your head and rub your stomach, this set up requires you pat your elbow while rubbing your knee. I can do it, but it takes me a little while to figure out the best way how. Next week I actually get to go out into the world and meet the Princess; how exciting.

Wii Sports is definitely growing on me. I kinda really like the boxing one; it certainly can easily build up a sweat. Although that shouldn't surprise me, considering the Wii Fitness program says I'm an age of 53. And still I'm carded at bars! I guess I'm gonna have to work on that one...

I also played Paper Super Mario. On the plus side; they attempted to add a plot. On the down side; they attempted to add a plot. What's the plot you ask? Well, basically take Kingdom Hearts, delete any cool Square-Enix characters, replace Donald and Goofy with Mario and a freakin' butterfly polygon and there you have it. Someone other than Bowser has kidnapped the Princess, and now you have to stop him from using The Void from destroying all the worlds!! I would prefer to stick with Sora, thanks, although I can imagine some women-folk finding the game cute and funny. I wonder if it was imported from the DS... The only really interesting part of the game is the "dimensional switch" where you can change from a side-scrolling, 2-D map to a 3-D one for a short time. This reveals special pathways and secrets. I think it is really neat, to be honest.

Oh, and the villain's name is Count Bleck, and he refers to himself in the third person constantly. It's fantastic.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Blending of Nerdiness

So apparently, National Review Online is having s "Star Trek Day." It seems they will be having Stark Trek-themed conservative gear such as T-shirts which say: "Live Long and Cut Taxes." This almost freaks out even me. Nonetheless, I know I'll be buying at least one of these shirts for Phil, does anyone else want one?

UPDATE: Here are some of the other possibilities. Me, I'm for the Four Lights one.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Goin' Mapping

Behold! A map of the Internet!

I've always enjoyed mapping, from my Boy Scouting youth to my geological mapping college days to even now mapping subsurface utilities, something about mapping is really satisfying to me. Of course, this particular map also has the joy of looking like a Dungeons & Dragons or Final Fantasy map, so maybe that's why I enjoy it so much. Meh. I think it's cool.

h/t Candace.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Work once more has kept me away from my adoring reader(s?), but now I am back with some updates! Specifically, some reviews:

Nintendo Wii: Well, after spending 20 minutes playing a friend's, the new girlfriend Brandy went out and bought her very own Wii, along with a variety of games. Needless to say, I've spent some time playing it. And, well, my only reaction is: Meh. Where other consoles (*cough*PS3*cough) have spent an enormous amount of time and effort making graphics improvements, Nintendo seems to have focused on changing the way the games are played. And in that, they have been hugely sucsessful. The Wii remote - which senses your movements and follows it on the screen - is amazingly accurate and sensitive (sometimes too sensitive). And certainly, it's pretty neat to bowl or golf or whatever using the actual motions. But, once the initial coolness fades, you're left wondering "Is this it?" Currently, there are precious few games which could be graciously described as "good" on the system. Wii Sports is basically a tech demo that Nintendo decided to package with the game and has graphics that the N64 could beat; the only Mario game is freakin' Paper Super Mario? Come on. Even the new Zelda game (see below for more on that) has been released on the GameCube, so why bother buying a system for it? I can see the Wii putting out some really neat shooters, the Remote and Nunchuk thing (that's its name, seriously) seem well-suited for that, but where are they now? A new Metroid game in that fashion would've done wonders for the system! Instead, we're left with WiiPlay and Smooth Moves. So, in summary: A fun party system, with a neat, innovative style of gaming, that will make some really neat shooters eventually, but thus far I'll keep my PS2. Maybe the Pirates of the Carribbean game that's coming out this summer wil change my mind.

Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess: Ah, the new Zelda game for the Wii. Let's start with sometihing positive: It's pretty. Not quite Final Fantasy XII pretty, but pretty in any case. Also, there's still no voice acting, which may or may not be a bad thing. And, unlike the last Zelda game I played, Ocarina of Time, you don't start out as a little kid, and the damnable fairy doesn't keep trying to tell you things. Other than that, it's a standard Zelda game of solving puzzles and collecting items to stop the bad guy. Well, I have to assume most of that last sentence, because I've spent the last half-hour playing trying to do one stupid task: Catch a damn fish! Apparently, the most frustrating part of the game comes right at the beginning, and it's a doozy. Now, I know that - in real life - people spend hours sipping beers and fishing. But, when I play a game, I dont' need that much reality involved. Catching a damn fish within the first hour of play shouldn't be this damn hard! But it seems that Link's a Druid in this game (sorry, D&D reference) since he can turn into a Wolf later on. If/When I get past the fishing, I'll update you all.

Runaways: A friend let me borrow the colleciton of comics titled Runaways. It's good. Really good. The story is: Six teenagers find out that their parents are part of a secret cabal of super-villains and so they run away from home, each gaining or learning about special powers of their own along the way. It also includes a genetically engineered dinosaur from the 87th century. Always helpful with a book. It's really well written and neatly drawn; I would encourage everyone to read it, as it's not your typical spandex-wearing superhero smackdowns.

Spider-Man 3: A great movie. I mean, a really great movie. A lot of stuff goes happens, as contrasted to, say, Superman Returns, where nothing happens. There are a few scenes that don't make sense, but overall, a very well done finale to the trilogy. And Kirsten Dunst is a bitch. Her MJ is going on my Emma Frost list (*sigh* more of my friends need to read comics). Anyway, go see it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Great Weekend Fun (Update)

Sorry for the lack of updates of late, being out of town for work tends to exhaust me, leaving me little time for updates. That said, I leave again to be out of town all week on Monday, so prepare yourselves for another week with scant contact from me.

In the meantime, though, I was home this weekend, and what a wonderful weekend it was! I simply cannot fully express how much I enjoyed this weekend. I only wish I could say what made it so great; really I didn't do anything but hang out with the new girlfriend Brandy. But that was really (really) fun. I did take my first trip to a Dave & Buster's restaurant. Now, I had seen commercials for this place, but had never been and I must say, I really really want to like it there. I mean, where else could I sit, drink beer and play video games all at the same time? Without looking like a hermit by sitting at home? But the choices of video games was... subpar at best. No good fighting games, no good "classic" games. Anyone remember that old, 80s X-Men game? Man, if that were there, I would be in heaven. So, I guess the best way to sum it up would be that I like the concept, if not the execution.

So two things need to occur for this weekend to slide into my Best-Weekend-Ever spot: First, my parents (and dogs!) need to like Brandy, whom they are meeting this evening for dinner; Second, the Lakers need to beat the Suns. If these things happen, this will definitely be solidified as Best-Weekend-Ever. I wouldn't bet on it, though. I have high hopes for the first criteria, the second, not so much.

UPDATE: As expected, dinner with the family was good, the Lakers less so. So Labor Day maintains its spot as Best-Weekend-Ever, with this past one coming in a damn close second. How close? Well, my German Shepard didn't even bark at Brandy. That's how good.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Out of Towning

Sorry for the lack of updates this week folks, but I was in the field all week, and even now am out of town for work. I'm up in Goleta, near Santa Barbara. It's really (really) pretty, but there's nothing around. It's gonna be a long trip, and I can't wait to get home.

Soooo... in other news, I suppose I might as well share my wonderful news of the week: I met someone last weekend (Holy Saturday, actually) and am just crazy about her. Her name is Brandy, and while we met online, she is most definately not one of those crazy ones that you can meet. She is wonderful, and my heart is filled to overflowing with happiness every time I see her, which hasn't been much I regret to say, having been in the field and out of town all week. She hasn't met my parents yet (or the dogs, for that matter) so wish us luck on that, as she will be just as soon as I get back into town.

Oh yeah: our first date was bowling. Of course I lost, but I had a great time. Of course I had dinner in Perris (not to be confused with dinner in Paris) with her and had a great time as well, so I wonder if it's possible to go out and not have a great time with her.

I'm sore and tired from work, but I will try to keep everyone updated on life. Someone let me know if the world ends while I'm away, God knows I won't notice.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

God, Love & Relationships (UPDATED)

I debated quite a lot about posting this; I didn't know if it was appropriate. And then I thought: "Well, if I can't write about this stuff on my blog, where the hell can I?" And, Easter's a pretty good time to do this. So, here goes:

For a long time I’ve felt that in a relationship Love is all that you need to make it work (yes yes, a cliché to be certain, but one I strongly believe in). I of course have had arguments about this with friends of mine who just as strongly disagree. So me, being me, have been thinking about the “why” behind my belief. After weeks of thinking, I believe I have come up with a response, or at least the beginning of one.

It begins with God. Christian theology teaches that God is pure Love. Everything that God does and plans are acts of Love. Our relationship with Him is based on us loving him. When we stop loving Him, our relationship with Him weakens. God’s Love is perfect.

So if Love was able, through God, to create the world and perform all the miracles, then why couldn’t it make a relationship work? If God is Love, and through God all things are possible, why isn’t Love all you need to make a relationship work? Although I had this discussion originally in terms of a romantic relationship, I believe that all relationships, be they familial, platonic or romantic are based on Love, though different types of love. Take an example of mine: My best friend Micah and I shouldn’t like each other. We are so different, in every aspect, that we shouldn’t be able to stand each other. I’m the guy he would beat up in high school; he’s the guy I looked down at. But because we met so early in childhood we developed a close bond and our love for each other makes us friends in spite of all our differences. We’ve both done things that would normally make us stop talking to each other, but we don’t, because we love each other too much to just write off our friendship.

So I don’t’ think you can say: “I love you but that’s not enough to stay in the relationship.” If you love someone enough, then that is all you need. A more accurate statement might be: “I don’t love you enough to make the relationship work.” Or again: “I don’t believe you love me enough to make this work.” Or what I would guess would be the most accurate: “I don’t have enough faith in our Love that we can make this work.”

Perhaps most people just feel this way and don’t express it correctly. I’m not sure. It’s possible that when someone says “love isn’t enough” what they mean is “I don’t love you enough” and just don’t know. But this is what I’ve come up with thus far. Obviously, this may stir up some feelings in people; this is one of those subjects that I really want to have a discussion about. I welcome your comments and opinions about this, because this is a hypothesis that is still forming in my head, and I think it needs to be challenged and tested (do I sound like a scientist or what?).

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter (or Passover!).

UPDATE: I respond to Mike's comments below. Now that I think on it, I should've done it here. He raises an interesting point, but one that I dont' feel diminishes from my own point of view.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Gas Guzzling, Beer Brewing, and Soul Searching...

Well, I wish I could say I've been busy this week... but then I'd be lying. In reality I've been working at the office, which is code for "doing not a whole lot and getting paid decent money," but whatever. I spent last Sunday making some beer with my buddy and his dad. That was a pretty neat experience. I think everyone should be forced to make some beer on their own, just to say you've done it. It's still fermenting, I'll let you know how it turns out in a few weeks though.

In other news, some of you may have heard that the EPA changed the way they formulated how much gas mileage your car gets. I was so busy at work, I looked mine up! Turns out my mileage went down from an average of 31mpg to 27mpg. Disappointing, but not terrible.

Actually, it reminds me of a West Wing episode. Some agency came up with a new way to calculate the number of people living in poverty and it, of course, went up. The best spin that they could put on it was that there aren't more poor people, we're just noticing more of them. I don't have worse gas mileage, I'm just noticing how poor the mileage is.

Moving on....

It's decision time here at Romano central: What to do, what to do... Some decisions are made for me, some I gotta make on my own. I got no clue what I'm gonna do, NC or CA? Corona or Temecula? *sigh*

I know, I know: Leif's a bitch, right?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Warning: D&D Reference Ahead:

So I saw this post on NRO where someone (half-jokingly) argued that having a "conservative political outlook" makes you more able and likely to defend yourself and I couldn't help but ask:

"So if one of my D&D players espouses conservative political thoughts in-game, that gives... what, a +2 Competency bonus on their AC?"

One day I'm going to stop having thoughts like this, and I'm not sure if that will be a good day or a bad day...

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Defining "Bored"

So back when I was at Bezerkeley, I thought I never went out. I mean, what did I do? Go to BCR? Occasionally parties down at Chilton? Sometimes I was out with Candace's co-workers. But pretty low-key. I thought I never did anything.

When I moved home last May I thought: "Wow! So at Berkeley i went out a lot! This must be what doing nothing's like!" I mean, what did I do? Spend most weekends with Candace and sometimes get drunk with Eric? Not terribly exciting. Which isn't to say I wasn't happy! On the contrary, I can think of fewer times in my life that I was happier than last fall. I just thought I didn't do much.

But now, oh now, I realize just how much I used to go out. Now I find myself re-defining boredom on an almost daily basis. I do absolutely nothing these days. Just how bored am I? Well, I'm filling out MySpace surveys, so that should clue in anyone who knows me at all how bored. But there's something worse: I sit at home and I'm bored of reading comic books and playing video games!

I pretty much went to college just to sit in my apartment and read comic books and play video games! And now I don't want to! Ugh! Then I watch the Lakers get womped by every team out there and I think that everything that I used to enjoy is being taken from me!

I need to get out more; I need to do something...

Well, I have a plan, dammit! And let's just hope The Reva was right when I talked to her a month ago...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Lakers Update

So, I'm watching the Lakers play the Houston Rockets and I'm thinking:

Yao Ming is really, really ugly.

I feel bad thinking this, 'casue I'm not one to speak, but damn. I mean, he doesn't look bad in the picture, but on television, it's just... ugly.


Traffic Sucks

It's really saying something when I choose to take the 91 Freeway over the I-15.

It's worse when the 91 has the best traffic my entire drive home.

Maybe God's trying to tell me I should move.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Many, Many Updates

Wow, that's a lot of updates today! Yikes! Yeah, I was pretty bored at work today, and had to fight the strong urges to do those evil MySpace surveys. God save me when this weekend comes... Anyway, make sure you scroll down and see all the cool things I posted!

How Embarrassing...

State Senator Abel Maldonado is proposing a toll-free number for people to call to report.....


Yes folks, because when I think of the most important things facing my great state of California, what do I think of? People abusing the carpool lane. Good God. Hey, it oculd be worse, he could try to tell me what kind of light bulbs to use.

By the way, no, that is definitely NOT me and Candace precinct walking for Abel. Must be some kind of conspiracy.

*Sigh* I'm so ashamed.

Strangest Story Ever

My favorite author Mark Steyn shows me the story that keeps getting better:

It starts:
A man charged with deliberately spreading HIV allegedly tricked his lover - who had registered himself with the local council as a dog - into having unsafe sex on the basis he could not transmit the disease.
Let's take this one phrase at a time: First, a man is charged with intentionally spreading HIV - a fairly disgusting charge to begin with -but he " tricked his lover - who had registered himself with the local council as a dog." Wow. This story is already bizarre. So HIV guy's lover registered himself as a dog??? Can I do that? I would love to be a freakin' dog! Second"with the council"? What council? I really don't know. And finally, some idiot believed that someone HIV positive couldn't transmit the disease? What kind of strange concoction of a story must that have been? But let's continue:
Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday that Michael Neal, 48, accepted a dog tag from his lover as a "sign of commitment" in their master-slave relationship.
Kinky? Yes. But it's a sad day indeed when the above is the most normal sentence in the whole damn story.
[He] allegedly "deliberately contracted" HIV by having sex on the altar of a Catholic Church with two men he knew were HIV-positive.
First, read that statement a few more times, and let it sink in.


Ok. Now, this guy is seriously messed up in the head.

The witness yesterday told the court he was in love with Mr. Neal.

"I was pretty much besotted by him and under his spell, which made me very gullible and stupid," the man's statement said.

Indeed. The story goes on, and I swear it's not by The Onion; I mean, I know it's a messed up story, but I just can't read it and not freakin' laugh.

Bush Jokes

I quite enjoyed reading President Bush's remarks from the Radio and Television Correspondants' Annual Dinner. Agree or disagree with his politics, there were some funny lines there. Among my favorites:

  • A year ago, my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my Vice President had shot someone. (Laughter and applause.) Ahhh, those were the good old days."
  • "I have to admit we really blew the way we let those attorneys go. You know you botched it when people sympathize with lawyers."
  • "Considering what's next -- President Clinton, of course, wrote a very successful presidential memoir, with 10,000 pages or something. (Laughter.) I'm thinking of something really fun and creative for mine -- you know, maybe a pop-up book."
  • "[I]t's good to see Speaker Pelosi tonight. (Laughter.) Well, some have wondered how the two of us would get along. Some say she's bossy, she's opinionated, she's not to be crossed. Hey, I get along with my mother."
Most touching to me though were his comments of sympathy and good wishes not just for Tony Snow, but also for Elizabeth Edwards:

"Someone who is not here tonight is Tony Snow. (Applause.) When Tony called me and told me the outcome of his surgery, my heart just sank. But I know Tony is a fighter. And, Tony, we're all looking forward to the day when you come back to the White House. (Applause.) Last week we all heard the news about Elizabeth Edwards, and again, your heart just sinks for what she and her family faces."
A real class act I say.

And speaking of Mr. Snow and Mrs. Edwards, NRO points to some websites to send your good wishes.

South Park

Now, I haven't watched the infamous show in a long while, though I'm a huge fan, but I read a strange synopsis of their most recent episode and how to ask:

Has South Park jumped the Shark?

I hate to say this, because I love the show so much, but reading about last night's episode I couldn't help but wonder: WTF? It sounds wierder than a Family Guy episode, and less funny. I'm not sure what it is: Perhaps any show which focuses on Hillary Clinton's genitalia is... distressing to me; or maybe the odd way Cartman decides to pick on the Muslim kid, or perhaps I dislike the Queen killing herself. I dunno, but the whole things feels... wrong to me.

My caveat to all of this is that I think most South Park episodes sound ridiculously stupid - who would've thought my favorite episode would involve a talking towel that gets high all the time? - so maybe it's just one of those episodes you need to see to enjoy. I hope so. I would hate for South Park to start sucking.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I Need a Life

I'm so bored recently I keep wanting to fill out those damnable MySpace surveys about "What's your favorite thing" and "When's the last time you did this" crap. I HATE those things. But I keep having desires to fill them out. I need to get out more.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Why I love Dogs, Part 2,394


Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, really is man's best friend — or in this case, woman's. Debbie Parkhurst, a 45-year-old jewelry artist who lives in Calvert, Md., says her dog Toby saved her life last week after she began to choke on a piece of apple by giving her the Heimlich maneuver, the Cecil Whig reported. Parkhurst was home alone Friday afternoon eating a snack of sliced apples when one became lodged in her windpipe. After smacking herself against a chair to dislodge it, she started beating herself on the chest, which she thinks alerted Toby to the problem. "The next think I know, Toby’s up on his hind feet and he’s got his front paws on my shoulders," she told the Cecil Whig. "He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest."

Even if cats were physically able to do that, they wouldn't. Of course, I don't think my dogs would save me either. One's too stpuid, one's too lazy, and the other is too easily distracted by pigeons outside. So I'm pretty screwed, but most people with normal dogs should be fine.

h/t NRO.

Movie Madness

So here are some movie notes for all you who care:

First, Transformers: Hugo Weaving appears to have been selected to voice Megatron. Weaving is best known for his roles in The Matrix movies (as Agent Smith) and in V for Vendetta. I personally was hoping for David Kaye, whose voiced Megatron on the Transformers cartoon shows since the mid-90s show Beast Wars, but hey, I won't be complaining about this.

Then Iron Man: Many don't know that Marvel's armored avenger is set to be in his own live action movie coming out in 2008. Strangely enough, it looks good. Among its cast are Robert Downey Jr., Gweneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges. Now, Marvel has had some poor choices in casting in the past (see: Daredevil), but these all seem like good moves! I'm actually pretty excited about this movie. It's the most promising sounding franchise since Spider-Man, IMHO. Now I can't wait for an Avengers movie.

Kobe Bryant is a Beast

I was concerned there for a while about the Lakers. Shame on me. I should have known Kobe Bryant wouldn't let me down. His recent streak has brought the Lakers out of the free fall they were in and solidly in sixth place, where they will almost certainly be taking on the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Tough match up, but we'll see. Kobe can do it. Know why I think that? Because he's the best player in the league. Period. Though he'll never be accepted as that. As ESPN's Jemele Hill says:
"Kobe can't please anyone... Kobe will never be forgiven for Shaq's departure... The shame of it is that Kobe might finish his career without a MVP, even though his ability can be compared only to that of Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. All this time we've been looking for a player who is better than Jordan, but most of us can't get beyond whether we like or dislike Kobe as a person to recognize his contributions to the game."
How will the Lakers fare in the playoffs? Who knows; all I can say is that it'll be damn fun to watch. I hope the Lakers stay healthy enough to keep competitive. April come sooner...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Hard Week

As predicted, the last week at work was brutal. I travelled out near Glamis, CA to do some seismic refraction and resistivity work there. I worked 18 hours on Thursday, about 15 on Friday and got paid for 8 each day. Some days...

As if that wasn't irritating enough, I forgot my work boots at the office, so I was left destroying a pair of tennis shoes instead, so now I have to go back out and buy some shoes. And it rained on us, not that that stopped us from working straight through it. So now my legs are sore from swinging a 20-lb. sledge hammer, my hands are sore from pounding in 112 stakes into the ground, and my neck is sore from carrying a crap load of equipment.

Not a pleasant week, but at least it's over. Times like this, I wish I had a desk job...

Here's Another Reference No One Will Get...

But right now, I feel like Archangel in X-Factor #86 (during the X-Cutioner's Song). I know, no one cares. But I do, so it's ok.

One day, someone will get my references and I'll be elated. "Until that day..."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Phone Service

Here's an interesting story I meant to tell you all about from a few weeks ago:

So I had The Reva's phone number saved into my phone from when we were at Cal together. A few months back I tried to call it, but got a wrong number. I figured she must have changed it when she went to Duke. So when I was planning on being in North Carolina, I emailed her and asked for her number so we could get together. She emailed me her number, and once I was in Durham I typed it into my phone and gave her a call. But when I dialed the number it came up as the same number I had saved. The Reva answered the phone, so I thought maybe there had just been a mixup when I had called the first time.

The next day I called again, but this time calling from the number saved into my phone, and AGAIN got a wrong number! But when I later manually re-dialed the EXACT SAME NUMBER I got The Reva.

Weird Shit.

Monday, March 19, 2007

See, This is Why...

I didn't want to have a MySpace account and/or blog. Twice now, I've decided to write something interesting on MySpace but feel compelled to share it with those who read here, but not there.

"But John," my rational voice cries, "why not just keep MySpace and dump this blog?" "Because Krista, I hate MySpace with the same ardor which I hate hippies with, so to sacrifice this Blogger account, run by my masters Google, would be borderline blasphemous. And it would be like the fifth time I've moved my blog. I have a hard enough time keeping readers to begin with.

Although, I must admit, Blogger and MySpace seem to both conspire against letting me stay signed in no matter how many times I hit the damn "Keep my Signed in" button.

FYI: "Krista" is in fact NOT a strange name I call myself when I speak in the third person (I'm weird, but not that weird), but rather a good friend of mine who often acts as my conscience and reins me in when I start to act stupid. Or she tries to anyway, often with mixed sucsess.

Oh, and this is my 50th post, can you believe it? Here's hoping for a bit more regular schedule for the next 50.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Over on my MySpace blog I answered a survey type thing. I usually don't do them, but I did, and if you are interested in the strange behaviors that I have check it out.

And I still hate MySpace.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Week in Review

This has been a pretty good week for me:

  • Work was EASY! I've never worked in the field so much so easily. Two days in Aguanga, two in LA, and all four I was home by 3pm! It all evens out in the end, since I'll be working my ass off next week.
  • For whatever reason, I've woken up every day this week at 5:05am. No alarm, nothing. Just "Hey! I'm awake!" Kinda blows.
  • I caught up on my comic reading. Interesting stuff going down.
  • And the week will finish up with a D&D session and an official day to get drunk! Hoo-hah! Can't complain too much about that.
Well, have a Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

UPDATE: Bah! No D&D for me; it appears that the crapiness which next week is guaranteed to be begins early. Bah!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


So I've been searching through my pictures trying to find good ones of myself to put on MySpace, and have come to much difficulty (must... resist... urge to... make D&D reference...). It turns out that my whole life I thought i was photogenic, and I was wrong. I look like CRAP in pictures. And worse when I've been drinking! It's not like I just look drunk, which I wouldn't necessarily mind, it's that I often look like I'm faking a smile, when I know I'm not!

MySpace continues to frustrate me, even indirectly. (must... resist... urge to... scream... Khan...)

So I suppose if anyone has coolio pictures of me, let me know. Which is to say, pictures that I look decent in.

Or, you know, if anyone wants to hang out with me and take new pictures, that would be cool too.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I saw this commercial a few weeks ago. It is without question one of the most adorable commercails I have ever seen. If you don't say "Aww" when watching it, then you have no heart.


I think the last scene is what is really the clincher for me.

Nerd Sensory Overload

In my life I think I've met one person who would appreciate what I am about to say nearly as much as I do. Ironically, he wasn't even really my friend...

The Avengers and The Transformers are having a crossover.

And it's going to be in continuity - for both series.

To paraphrase Xykon: I think I just had a nerdgasm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mr. Barclay

No no, probably not the one you're thinking of.

While on my trek back east I also took the opportunity to read a book besides Mark Steyn's latest. This was a book by one William Barclay on the subject of The Lord's Prayer. Mr. Barclay has written a series of books which examine the New Testament, many common prayers and other religious-related items. I find the books to be very interesting as a lay person who doesn't know much beyond what basic Catechism teaches. Barclay takes each verse or story and delves into what the words are truly trying to say, often coming up with multiple answers. He looks at the Greek or Latin origins of different words, how different translations present words, and the impact that the differences makes. He also looks at the historical and cultural perspectives, showing why certain phrases, which we often take for granted, would have had a much more profound impact on the audiences of Jesus' time.

While the books certainly won't impress a true theologian, for those like me, who are just looking for a little deeper understanding of the faith, they can be extremely helpful, allowing us to ask questions about our lives that we may not have thought of. I highly reccomend the books to everyone. I've thus far read three: The Gospel of John; the Gospel of Luke and the aforementioned book on The Lord's Prayer. His books can be purchased here.

A Bookeeping Note: I (finally) fixed the link to Candace's Blog. So for those of you who kept wondering why the link was broken, no, I wasn't smiting Candace, I was just being lazy. Typical, I know. Anywhoo, it's fixed now.

America Alone

Ah, Mark Steyn, how I do love thee. For those who don't know, Steyn is a conservative columnist that specializes in humor. Think Jonah Goldberg, but smarter (not that Jonah isn't smart!). Anyway, he has a (kinda) new book out titled America Alone that looks at the changing demographics of Europe (and Japan) and discusses the implications of those changes in regard to the War on Terror, and western civilization more generally.

The basic thesis is this: The Secularized West is having fewer and fewer kids and a greater number of deeply religious Muslim immigrants. Within a few decades many western European countries will have a majority of Muslims living in them; this will have disastrous effects upon the West as a whole.

The sheer demographics are frightening and impossible to deny. Fertility rates have dropped massively in Europe (and to a lesser degree in the US) and the only reason population hasn't dropped in those countries yet is because of large immigration. Imagine: France without the French! While that might sound nice in theory, when the French are being replaced with poor, uneducated, pre-Enlightenment Muslims, problems can arise. In this scenario, the Danish Cartoon controversy and the French riots two years ago were just the opening shots in a cultural war which dwarfs anything we've seen thus far.

Why is it that Muslim immigrants can cause such problems? Primarily because the West has embraced the philosophy of multiculturalism, where no ideology is too radical to condemn. Thus, imams are free to preach hatred to their worshippers, radicalizing a large segment of the population. This, combines with the lack of a strong economy encourages fanaticism.

It is a very interesting book, and I highly recommend it to anyone (like me) interested in this sort of thing. Steyn argues that the West is voluntarily killing itself, and wonders whether we have the will to correct this. He's skeptical. Me too, though I guess one shouldn't give up hope.

As Rattrap always says: "We're all gonna die."

Friday, March 09, 2007

MySpace, Revisited

You know what I hate? I mean, what really irritates the crap out of me? When I email or ask someone(s) for their opinions, and they ignore me. Come on people, when I ask a question, ANSWER ME!

So, by the excessively high vote count of 2-1, I've chosen to keep my MySpace account. What I am going to do with it (once I figure out how the damn thing works; some people make it look easy, and I really don't know if I care enough to reall learn) is to use the blog to post what I update. What will I update? Mostly random shit, a few pictures and differing music. I like a bit of a wierd mix, so I'm going to be changing the song posted on my MySpace page fairly regularly, and talking about the songs I post.

Of course, naturally, as I decide to do this I find out that loading songs on your MySpace page is a pain in the ass...

*Sigh* Nothing's ever simple these days.

Oh, and for you astute viewers: Yes, I did read "America Alone" by Mark Steyn. Yes, it kicks all kinds of ass, and everyone should be rightly horrified about the implications discussed in the book, and yes, I'm going to discuss it at greater lengths right on this blog, but no, not now. Now, I have to go Google damn HTML language so I can get pictures of my Heroes onto god-awful MySpace.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Return from Far, Far Away


I made it back from the East Coast in one piece. But just barely. The woman I sat next to on my final plane flight was so annoying I tried to decide if I could bust open the window just to escape her G0d-awful annoying laugh. Two nights later it still haunts me...

But Durham was great fun. I forget how much I enjoy spending time with The Reva. I was also going to say I relived my college days of drinking games, but then remembered that I didn't play drinking games in college. Ah well. So let me instead say that I played Beer Pong and Flip Cup. Though I greatly enjoyed the former, I was much better suited for the latter. I also got to see a UNC basketball star get his nose broken on TV. Heh. Blood spattering can be so cool sometimes.

I watched a lot of TV while I was away, as I always do on these trips, and this time got to enjoy watching Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Well, I almost enjoyed Jedi, until it got to the end, and they showed that stupid-ass Anakin kid from the prequels standing next to Obi-Wan and Yoda. I spent the next half hour cursing George Lucas all over again. I also watched quite a bit of CSI, including a two-parter directed by Quentin Tarantino. It had some typical Tarantino scenes, but was damn good. I would go into more detail, but that would involve talking about ants, and the last thing I want Candace to do is freak out about ants and go into a berzerker frenzy trying to eliminate all the ants that she thinks she sees. I've probably already said too much. Anyway, good episode.

Though I have more to say, about a book I bought, news and events, MySpace and Civil War (Candace, you'll be sad), my body is still on Eastern Time so I will instead finish my Perroni (Birra Superiore) and sign off.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Update from Georgia!

So, uh, Georgia still sucks.

I guess that that's not a completely fair description. I've come to think of it like college frat parties: Yeah, the scenery's nice, but the amount of crap you have to put up with to enjoy the scenery makes it a pointless venture.

Case in point: My co-worker and I were getting dinner the other night fairly late (~10pm) at a fast food place. Looking around he says to me: "Do you ever feel like Ya just don't know?" Puzzled, I asked "What do you mean?" He shrugged his sholders a bit, looked around awkwardly and responded: "You feel like you're in East LA but you're too stupid to realize how bad that is."

Yeah, here's hoping North Carolina is better.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Things I Should Talk about and Don't

Ho-Kay: The following are the items that - when they occurred - I thought: "Hey, I should blog about that" and never did. I would've said more at the time, now it just seems so moot:

The Elections: Yeah, last November sucked for Republicans. But what's the saying? Can't win 'em all right? I thought that, all things considered, the Dems could've come out better. And I haven't I heard rumblings that Lieberman is considering switching parties because of the war vote? Man I love that guy.

Marvel Comic's "Civil War": God I hated this "event" as it was dubbed. Now that it has finally ended though I don't even want to talk about it. I'm just glad it's over.

Oh, but for Candace, since I won't ever remember to tell her about this over the phone, here's the big SPOILER that you may care about (be warned folks): Aunt May got shot. Probably dead. Typical.

The Lakers: This is one topic I'll come back to, especially as April approaches, but for now I will just say: WTF? For three months they play damn fine basketball, like they're a contender, and then fall apart without Luke-freakin'-Walton? Ugh. Losing six straight's painful even for me. Is this what Clippers fans generally feel like? Icky.

Rome: Great HBO series. I wish I, you know, had it to watch the rest of the season. My brother told me that it costs like $2 million per episode to make, which is why they are only making two seasons. Still a good show (though to be honest, it's got a little too much full-frontal-nudity for my taste).

I was gonna talk about the '08 elections, but I'll wait. That deserves a full post to itself, and I ain't gonna do that now. I have to pack for my trip to Georgia tomorrow. Pray for me for good weather.

Friday, February 23, 2007

More Life Updates

January: Well, all the night jobs and travelling to Vegas caught up to me and I got sick. Not fun, I assure you. Following that I went to Bakersfield and found another place I would never move to. Oh, I also bought a house (I guess technically I did that at the end of December, but ah well). More on this later. Ah, and I watched a few of the new episodes of Rome. Damn that's a good show.

February: Well, while the month isn't quite over yet, the most dramatic thing was discussed a few posts down, but additionally I spent a week at the Santa Clarita River! The month will end for me with trips to Georgia (again), Ralegih, NC (hi Reva!) and Brawley, CA. There are days I travel tons at work, and days I don't.

So about the house, since I know people will ask. I bought the house my parents owned in Temecula. I'm not living there yet because they (my parents, that is) still have a renter in there. I'm not sure preceisely what I'm going to be doing either. I obviously need a roommate (so if you know someone, let me know!). Anyway, it's cool and exciting nonetheless, and it certainly will help me build into a future house if I don't want to stay in Temecula.

Oh! I almost forgot: I still am looking for more feedback RE: my MySpace account. I've gotten a few responses, but would like more. (Really, it's all just a ploy to get my blog to have lots of comments, making it seem like more people read it then do.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Life Updates

So, I said before there was lots for me to talk about. What are they? Well, they start with:

October: I was in Augusta, Georgia for Halloween. In fact, I've been to Georgia twice since October, and I'm leaving again on Monday. What have I learned? I never, ever want to live in Georgia.

November: The big event in November of course is Thanksgiving. I spent it at home with Mom, Mike, Candace, her parents and Pam & Larry. A fun afternoon, to be certain. Also, I obtained a copy of Final Fantasy XII. It's a great game, but I learned another lesson: EB Games sucks ass. I got the game, and didn't play it (due to time constraints) for a few weeks. Then, when I did, the game had a scratch on it! When I took it back to exchange it, the salespeople gave me attitude because new rules says that it has to be returned within a week! How crappy is that?

December: I spent Christmas at home (again, Candace came over) and had a really nice day. Then I went to Las Vegas for New Year's with my Aunt and Candace. She spoke of it briefly here. I don't have much to add save that I had a blast, I think Candace did too, and I know my brother would have if he could have come.

Well, that partially catches me up; I'll have more to say in a little bit, as well as some actual discussions of things rather than just lists of what i've been up to. Until then, friends...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Well, here's the first update on my newly-promised, I-will-update-regularly-even-if-it-kills-me, happy blog: Do I keep my MySpace account?

Candace made it for me many moons ago, I've never really done anything with it. And now, I think, should I just dump it?

State opinions below, please.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Things it Takes...

Here's a new post! I've got a lot to say (as not posting in several months tends to cause), but I shall begin with the impetus for my new desire to blog: Candace and I broke up. Fortunately, it wasn't something evil or horrendous, and nothing happenned where we hate each other or something like that, we just, well... *sigh*

Anyway, I could use a hug.

I promise to update again soon.

Update: So I told my mom this morning. Later, she sees me walking around rather unhappy and says: "Smile John, you look like you just lost your best buddy in the world." I look back at her and reply: "Well, I kinda did." WTF? She expects me to be giddy and elated after losing the light of my life? Ah well, my mom's always been like that...

I wish more people read comics. Here are some references to how I feel that no one will get (X-Men related):
Shadwocat, Uncanny X-Men #183
Cyclops, X-Factor #53
Meggan, Excalibur #69
Colossus, Uncanny X-Men #304
Gambit, Uncanny X-Men #350