Friday, September 28, 2007

The Art of the Game

Sonosaur is a great video gamer, is programming, and ultimately wants to be a game programmer and designer despite my hopes that he'll become a psychologist making $200 an hour.

Yesterday he was sitting next to me as I worked on the computer, flipping through his gamer magazine and reading portions aloud to me on some of the newest developments in gaming. Finally he sighed and tossed the magazine on the desk, picking up another.

"You know," he said, "no one's coming out with anything original anymore! I can see a sequel - heck, I can even see a trilogy! But some of these games just go on and on and on! Do we really need a twentieth Tomb Raider?"

I pointed out that there were some young men who might disagree (in fact, *I* love the Tomb Raider series). He rolled his eyes in disdain, as he is a gamer for the art and the challenge only.

Then he said "Don't these game designers think any more? Everyone's doing a game based on a movie which is based on a book. Now ME - *I* am waiting for the game about a book based on a movie based on a game!"

I stopped typing for a moment and glanced at him. He gave me a quirky grin, and resumed reading.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Divorce (AND My Honorary Daughter's P.S.)

It saddens me that an honorary daughter of mine appears to be heading for divorce.

If we had only been in the loop, we would have told him "Don't come home after being gone for days, and plop down to play World of Warcraft for hours, virtually ignoring her."

We would have kept telling her "Communicate more with him. Tell him why you're unhappy and what you need to make this marriage work."

We would have told him "Stop trying to smother her and keep her locked up in the house. She's only 21! Encourage her to go to college or at least get a job. Stop making her feel like you disapprove of such things. You must allow her some freedom."

We would have kept telling her "Stop trying so hard to compromise your life doing only what HE wants to do. Start doing some things for yourself. With any luck, he'll join in."

We would have told him "Take her out on a date at least once a week. And stop drinking so much when you go out. Give up the gambling and save some money for the future."

We would have told her "Stop hanging out so much with his roommates. Don't spill your guts to them, or tell them the troubles in the marriage. Young men are predators, and they will happily take down a wounded deer."

We would have told them all this, but now it looks as if it's too late.

My Wonderful Honorary Daughter's Additional Notes:
(I know for a fact that everything she says here is true from all the things she's told me over the last year)

I am definitely on my way to a divorce. No question there. I haven't called I've been a lil stressed from being kicked out of my own home.

I have tried numerous times to talk to him...he will even admit it. The one thing he always says to me is "why are you getting angry?" I'm not! I'm trying to talk! Then he walks away and crawls into bed. So I go and pull down the covers and say "I was talking to you why do you always walk away?" He says "ok lets talk now then."

Well you know what - if he is not willing to take the time to talk to me...why should I make the time when ever he feels fit? Disrespecting me in public and in front of family...I will not stand for it...because I do NOT do it to him.

As for the roommate, he and I did not talk about my life with my husband. We talked about everything but. First it started with his girlfriend then he and I started to cook dinners together by using his cook book. The other roommate I hardly talk to.

My husband would encourage me to go to school and get a job but at the same time he put me down. Example: he suggested I go to school for nursing. I thought about it and it was a great suggestion so the next day I turn to him and say "I will go for nursing." He replies "Are you kidding? Do you realize how much you have to remember?" So what is that - all of a sudden I'm not good enough! WOW - it just doesn't end with him!

I have some graphic text on my phone to this roommate (friend) of mine about a kiss! A picture of a kiss and I told my husband yes there was a picture of a kiss and in it I kissed my roommates (friends) cheek. I admit there is a lot more to everything but at the same time for 1) I would NOT and will NOT ever cheat on my husband 2) I told him a few weeks ago I was leaving him because I can't make people change they have to be willing. and 3) I would never leave my marriage for another man. I am doing this for me and me only!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Reclining Bike

As many of you know, I had neck surgery a couple of years ago. Once you've had your spine fused, it's not much fun to bicycle. The standard bike (I purchased a Trek last year) is the sort that you have to lean over, biking while you look up, torquing your neck out at a difficult angle. Needless to say, that isn't very comfortable.

Enter the reclining bike!

I just purchased a fabulous reclining bike, after taking one for a test ride at a local bike shop. These bikes are made for people who, for varying reasons, can't ride a standard bike. However, people that are perfectly healthy still enjoy reclining bikes because they're relaxing and afford a more scenic view to the biker, who can look upwards and outwards as they ride along.

My particular reclining bike is a hybrid: It's semi-upright and looks very much like a standard bike, but all the weight is thrust to the back, so the rider doesn't have to bend over and look upward to enjoy riding it.

WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: I wish I could devote myself more fully to this post, but when I think it over, there is truthfully little else to say. When I get a chance, I'll post a pic of the new bike. ;o)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gainesville Campus Police Violate Student's Rights

Yesterday in our town of Gainesville, Florida, John Kerry made an appearance at the University of Florida. And Andrew Meyer decided to attend.

By now, many of you have seen the video. If you haven't, it's published below.

Meyer is apparently a very impassioned young liberal, who is quite taken with the views of the extreme left, and had just finished reading a book that had really inflamed him. He ran up to the microphone, cutting in front of everyone, and proceeded to both preach at Kerry and the audience and then attempted to ask three questions of Kerry. Incidentally, if you watch the video you can see he wasn't outrageously extreme, and was obviously a fan of Kerry's and not a heckler (as Glenn Beck has claimed).

At this point, campus police rushed him as if he were a dangerous criminal. Using excessive force, they subdued him. When he continued to demand to be released and asked why they were responding in such a manner, they tasered him.

During the entire incident, Kerry drones on limply in a monotone, quietly telling the police that he'll answer the questions. If it had been anyone else, they would have been screaming at the police to stop! Kerry apparently felt it best to quietly protest but not get deeply or passionately involved. Does the man take a stand in anything?!

What really alarms me (more than this obvious police brutality) was that almost all the conservative talk show hosts yesterday made fun of Meyer and laughed over the incident. The only one that saw it for what it truly was, was Michael Savage.

Say what you want about Michael Savage... and yes - he definately lacks the suave polish of most of the others... but Michael got it right, and the others were dead wrong.

And I remain alarmed.

Yes, Meyer was rude. And yes, he's gained the reputation of being the campus weirdo - the annoying gadfly that nobody really likes much. And yes, he's known as being a practical joker. But simply being weird or annoying doesn't constitute an offense worthy of this reaction! Such police behavior is reminiscent of the brutality seen in the early 1960s civil rights marches.

This is the danger of putting tasers in the hands of the police. Tasers were originally meant to be a humane substitute for a gun! Please tell me that no policeman in his right mind would consider shooting Meyer under the same circumstances!

Obviously many people will choose to enroll their children in other colleges instead of the University of Florida as long as such gestapo tactics are sanctioned there.

Also obvious is the whopper of a lawsuit that Meyer now has. Thank goodness he didn't have a medical condition, or it would be his parents suing for wrongful death, instead.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Positively Negative Experience at Curves

I went to Curves this morning to work out. My friend loves working out, and we try to do it together, so she met me there and we began our routine.

For those of you not familiar with Curves, it's a club for women only, where we can get a 30-minute workout. There are 15 stations positioned in a circle: There are 8 workout machines and 7 platforms. You spend a minute at each station as you work your way around, either working out on the machines or doing whatever keeps you moving when you're on the platforms. The idea is to never stop moving, and do it vigorously, for 30 minutes. There is vibrant get-up-and-go music blaring loudly, and every minute, a woman's voice smoothly says "change stations."

But today something had changed.

At first we worked through the first two sets, not realizing that we hadn't heard "change stations" yet. Then we heard a new woman's voice chirp cheerily "Be positive!"

"What's going on here?" we asked the attendants. We were told that they were trying out a new style, where instead of hearing "change stations", we were to be spoon-fed bromides to help motivate us.

Oh puhleeze!

We protested loudly, not because we are negative people (as one of the attendants implied). If we were truly negative, neither of us would be the success that we've become. But we are both so very repulsed by this newest "quick fix" idea.

Although (obviously) most people have average IQs, are they really so gullible as to be easily influenced through not-so-subtle exortations? And must we all be put through a mindless series of messages, droning on repeatedly?

"Be beautiful!" "Be Dynamic!" "Be Happy!" was all we heard every minute during our tiresome 30-minute workout. The only way this new program will help as a weight loss is through the nausea that it induces. It also disrupts the concentration and is an irritant to the mind.

What was Curves thinking? Obviously someone in their marketing department has just bought into one of those newest, recycled management fads (as I wrote about here). Too bad the American consumer has grown resistant and resentful of such fads, overall.

I often quote my grandmother, who was the repository for pithy sayings. Here's yet another one that applies: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Parents Scramble to Remake Nick Hogan's Image

In an obvious attempt to remake Nick Hogan's image, Hulk Hogan's wife spoke out in a St. Pete Times article today.

Talk about shutting the barn door after the horse got out.

Not many people had heard of Hulk (Terry) Hogan's spoiled son until Nick Hogan's car crash on August 26. This crash sent Nick's friend John Graziano to the hospital (Graziano was completely non-responsive when we last heard of him at the vigil that I wrote about here). Stories came out shortly afterward indicating that Nick had been drag-racing regularly up and down the street he'd crashed on. Eye witnesses reported seeing Nick repeatedly racing another car which turned out also to be owned by Hulk Hogan.

Then a damning interview turned up.

The St. Pete Times unearthed an interview with Nick Hogan that had occurred shortly before the August 26 car crash. In the interview, Nick bragged about how he'd been pulled over 3 times within minutes of each occurrence, and had been warned each time by a cop that he needed to stop speeding. However, he was let go twice, since he was a celebrity's kid, even though (as he admitted) he was speeding drastically fast. Only on the third time did he receive a ticket.

Incidentally, these incidents occurred in the Miami-Dade area. I would hope our police aren't as influenced by celebrity status, although to the best of my knowlege they haven't charged him with anything yet.

Further in the interview, he talks about how the yellow color of his car makes girls want to drop their panties and calls his car "a pussy magnet".

Nice kid.

When John Graziano ended up in the hospital, the Hogans became that family's bestest friends. As Graziano's gullible mother defensively stated, the Hogans were immediately by John's bedside, helping out the Grazianos financially, and being generally supportive.

I'll bet!

With any luck, the Hogans will be able to make this all go away quietly. Meanwhile, they're hiring the best spin doctors and lawyers that money can buy (one of these lawyers is a specialist in DUI cases).

So in the paper today, Nick's mom (Linda) produces the usual baby snapshots and informs the incredulous reader that although Nick seems to be a brash, nasty boy he really is an adept businessman with a heart of gold. What's really incredible is that he's this marvellous and he's only 17. Wow! We have a child protege in our midst!

Linda also glosses over Nick's repeated speeding tickets by saying "What 17-year-old doesn't get tickets?" Ah, what an excellent point. Sure! We all know tons of teenagers who get speeding tickets for 106 mph in a 70 mph zone and 82 mph in a 45 mph zone, and then brag about how often they're able to speed and not get caught.

It's not an accident that Nick finally hurt someone. Why didn't his foolish parents take the measures that were needed? But the Hogans (a.k.a. Bolleas) luck is holding so far.

They were very lucky that Graziano was a friend, so that they could be allowed into the hospital to start their spin control. They're also lucky that Graziano's mother is willing to take money and expressions of sympathy over justice and a lawsuit.

Let's hope that their luck runs out.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Our Kids Are in Danger

As I wrote here in May of 2006, terrorists did a dry-run on a local school bus in Hillsborough County, Florida. If you go to that link, you can read the details. Increasingly, authorities are admitting that such incidents as that one have been cropping up all over the country.

The terrorists are getting ready to hit our schools and our children, in a mass attack, and the government is very reluctant to let you know this for fear of wide-spread panic.

This week, Glenn Beck is beginning a series intent on proving that the terrorists are ready to strike.

Examples abound. A large number of school buses are missing in Texas. Middle Eastern men are trying to buy school buses. They've been seen outside of schools throughout the nation, taking pictures, watching and waiting, learning traffic patterns and more.

The real question is not if they are planning it. The real question is, how can we thwart it?

Some schools have been trained by the FBI in counter-terrorism. But will it be enough? And what about the schools that haven't been trained?

And what about the schools that are seemingly well-fortified, but could be breached by a car bomb or simply a determined group of Islamic terrorists with automatic weapons?

Parents are being encouraged to contact their schools and find out what's being done. But, will that be enough? Schools can make assurances of protection, but unless we've seen it with my own eyes, and we have everyone in those schools doing regular terrorism drills, we can't know how effective it all will be until it's too late.

The government needs to come out with some standards, and they need to move quickly. Schools need to be forced to at least meet or exceed those standards. These new standards need to take into consideration as many possible alternatives as they can.

The Islamic terrorists feel that if they kill, rape, and torture our children (as they did in the Russian middle school in Beslan), then they will be able to bring the nation to its knees. Additionally, if America's children are no more, there will be no future generations that can arise to fight these monsters.

We are overseas, fighting a war elsewhere, while our borders and schools remain relatively unprotected. It's like going on a lecture tour about preventing home robberies while leaving your front door unlocked.

We want to live in peace, but they want us to die in pieces.

If you are as concerned as we all should be, then write or call your congressional representatives today to ask that they make a concerted effort to protect the children of our nation.

To contact your Senators, go here.
To contact your Representative, go here.
Or, simply click on the envelope at the bottom of this post to forward this article to them instead.

Do it. Before it's too late.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fred Thompson

I have been impressed with Fred Thompson since his early years in the senate (way before Law & Order). He was and is as close to a Reagan Republican as I've ever seen, and can be a very polarizing influence on the elections.

Right now we're dealing with candidates that are enough alike to be scary: The classic neocons (motivated by money) and the classic democrats (motivated by money). Their philosophies and views are very similar as well, with just enough variation to give them something to debate about, but do any of them take their beliefs seriously? It's hard to tell because most of them don't have a very extensive voting record in the public eye.

For instance, Hillary obviously only moved to New York in order to find a state that was sympathetic enough to her to elect her so that she could gain some "street creds" toward a run for the Presidency. After all, it wasn't enough to be the true (but officially unacknowleged) Vice President in her husband's Presidency. But, because it's obvious that everything Hillary's done has been for one calculating reason, we have to suspect it all. On the other hand, to her credit, Hillary is a poll watcher. I am sick and tired of Presidents who behave in a patriarchal manner, ignoring the will of the people.

Barack Obama is likely to become Hillary's Vice Presidential pick. Frankly, America is not ready yet for someone who has any Muslim ties whatsoever, and his attendance at a local muslim school as a child is of concern to many people. Additionally, he is young and inexperienced although he's charming. American had that once before in JFK.

If JFK hadn't been killed in a dramatic manner at an early age, many Americans would never have idolized him as they have. But JFK joins the ranks of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean: People who died young and pretty and therefore are easily memorialized. However, JFK was, in reality, a President with as many or more flaws than the current President. Many fiascos abounded and were partially covered up due to the desire to keep him a legend: The reality of JFK's presidency is kept among the scholars. Are we ready to allow yet another inexperienced President? Hasn't President Bush done enough damage to our country? So, if I had to choose between Barack and Hillary, I would vote for Hillary.

Then we have Rudy Giuliani who is another neo-con, like the current President, but with even less experience than Bush had when he entered office. Bush was Governor of Texas, and he still wasn't equipped to run the country. I would submit that a jump from a State Governor to President of the USA is a larger leap than from state Senator to President, because at least as a state Senator you know your way around the hallowed halls of Washington D.C.

Since Rudy is apparently the current front-runner, I won't bother with discussing his other opponents outside of Fred Thompson.

Fred Thompson is an interesting candidate. I've followed his career from when he was a U.S. Senator onward. I was very surprised to see Senator Thompson playing a part in Law & Order, as I had only known and admired him as the Senator from Tennessee (he made quite a reputation for himself while on Capital Hill).

Thompson has the charisma and proven track record to rise above the other Republican candidates. He has the best chance to carry the White House next year.

I spoke to someone who is organizing the local group of "Fred Heads". I mentioned a slightly unpleasant call I'd had with someone high-up in the local Republican party. When I'd asked for information on the group with Fred Thompson, he grew a little chilly, then recommended I go to the Guilianni dinner instead. "Yeah," the Fred Head said. "What's up with THAT? We're already the social outcasts!"

I am convinced that this is due to the length of time it took for Thompson to decide to run. Because of this, we are dealing with a large group of Republicans that are loyal to Guiliani simply because they cast their lots with him in the early stages of his campaign.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Our Trip to NASA

Over the Labor Day Weekend, we went daytripping. You already have seen the pictures taken at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. Now here are the photos from our trip to NASA.

One of the people that went with us is a young lady that I've helped raise for the last 7 years. She loves photography, so I gave her her first digital camera and this is the result.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lowry Park Zoo

Over the Labor Day Weekend, we went to nearby Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. One of the people that went with us is a young lady that I've helped raise for the last 7 years. She loves photography, so I gave her her first digital camera and this is the result. We had a wonderful time and I thought I'd share some of our photos with you!