Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh, no.

I know that I haven't posted much this summer, and there's many a reason for that, starting with travel and visitors and ending with a new addiction and increased work responsibilities. So I figure I'll promise to write more when I can, and - for the time being at least - leave you with this very scary news from the world of comic books and all things Disney:

Disney To Buy Comics Juggernaut Marvel For $4B

My question is: being that the Marvel comic book characters are at the Universal Studios theme parks in Hollywood and Orlando, will this merger be the death knell for the "other park in Florida?" Universal will be opening the Harry Potter / Hogwarts area next year, but with Marvel leaving, will it be enough to survive?

"Curiouser and Curiouser," said Alice.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

For or Against - Can We Just Stop the Shouting?

I'm seriously over the health care debate. Not that the system doesn't need serious repair; it just needs serious people to think and talk and work seriously towards that goal. All the news seems to be showing are morons screaming at each other using terms like "Socialist," "Communist," and "Totalitarian," as if the ones trading accusations had any idea of what these terms mean.

I'm a firm believer in free speach; I just don't want to have it plastered all over the news wire if it is completely devoid of intelligent content.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Need a Dog Like This!

"Comfortably Numb" is turning out to be a tad more difficult than I imagined, but it's still a very enjoyable learning experience. Drink Man is telling me I need to learn several songs simultaneously so I do not become bored. Must be the A.D.D. approach to music. I don't know about that, but he did call me last night and tried to teach me a few songs over the phone. Very weird, and extremely ineffective. Oh, well. He's recently purchased two guitars, and they should be delivered today. One's a Kramer, modeled on the '80s hair band preferences. The other one's a new model by Ibanez, and looks awesome (at least the pictures I've seen look awesome). Hopefully he'll bring them tomorrow.

As for me, I've promised myself that when I master "Comfortably Numb" and know it backwards and forwards - including the two solos, the second one I consider to be one of the greatest guitar solos of all time - I'll purchase the Fender Fat Strat that has recently caused me to drool. The owner of the music shop where I take my lessons has tried to convince me to buy one of the new Schecter models he's getting in (an Omen Extreme, in case you're curious) he's getting in stock. But my point is: I already have a guitar with two humbuckers, and a good one at that. Why would I want to drop $400+ on another one? If I do buy another guitar, it's going to be one that produces a completely different sound; one that can be used for different styles of music other than distortion laden metal (not that there's anything wrong with distortion laden metal! I love it!). I asked him if Schecters could do that, and he said, "Well, er, uhm, uhhhh, no. Not as such." So there you go.

Fortunately, with the financial situation that One Ring and I have found ourselves in, Drink Man did not follow through with his plan to buy a Fat Strat wholesale and then pass it on to me. It was one of those "I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy" kind of things. Good deal, but there was no way I could come up with the money no matter how much it was. So I'm glad that fell through. Plus I can use the goal of getting the Fender as motivation to learn the song.

Okay, time to go back to working with patients. : (

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Good Idea Goes Bad

First off, a position statement: I am for the legalization of Cannabis for medical use.

Now, having said that, let me clarify. Marijuana does have its good points, and I have seen those in action - reducing nausea, improving appetite, and easing pain - in cancer and terminally ill patients. However, there are other - legal - medications that are work just as well for people who are not in such extreme situations. I'm pretty sure that these individuals do not need to have legalized marijuana.

This is on my mind today because of what's going on in California with the whole legalization movement. Apparently you can fix whatever ails you with, not a prescription, but simply a recommendation from any doctor shady enough to give it. As this article shows, there are now parts of LA where Marijuana clinics outnumber McDonald's and Starbucks by 2 to 1.

Pot-Friendly California: Amsterdam In America?

Houston, we have a problem.

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Let's Put Some Perspective on the Debate ...

Saw this. Like it. 'nuff said.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Yeah, I'm Still Here

Tired, but still here. Nothing major going on, just trying to keep awake as this non-clinic day winds down. Drink Man has been really uptight today, as Annoying Coworker is once again trying to make people look inferior (it never works, really, but that doesn't stop AC from trying!). So I spent my lunch break talking him down from the edge of rage and helping him put things in perspective. Since we both have degrees that allow us some mobility in the workplace, neither of us is trapped here. I'm particularly mobile, considering One Ring's going to be looking for work in a year or two. So why worry about AC, the boss, or anyone else's neuroses if I'm going to be heading off to unknown lands before too long?

So that's work. In other news, One Ring has taken two of her three comprehensive exams, with the third coming up on Friday. Two weeks from Friday is her verbal defense and her dissertation proposal. And from there on out, she's up to her eyeballs in research and writing.

Meanwhile, I'm working on the guitar (Current song: Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb"), just bought a new computer, and am playing a 14 day trial of City of Heroes. I'm probably going to get the full game and subscribe to COH once that runs out. I'm really enjoying it, and the alternative, Champions, has been getting some rough reviews on the Internet. Of course, the game hasn't even released yet (I think it comes out on the 17th), so all of that might not even be true. But I'm playing COH for the time being, anyway.

I've also been watching Season 1 of Supernatural on DVD. I caught one episode a long time ago, and thought it interesting, but never could remember what channel it came on (The CW, I later found - your source for melodrama and teen angst!). Anyway, the premise seems interesting, but it's quickly wearing thin. I like that they're using urban legends and mythology as sources for the creatures the characters fight (Bloody Mary was a particular favorite of mine, as was the way they combined the ghostly hitchhiker and the weeping woman of Mexican lore). But after reason some summaries of the subsequent seasons, I grew less and less interested. Characters seemed cardboard, the plots seemed thin, and the main characters seemed to always know exactly what they were dealing with and how to kill it. Maybe later episodes are different, but the ones I saw got repetitious quickly. Shame.

Anyway, that's all from here. My caffeine level is dropping and Annoying Coworker just came by to chat. So I need to get out. One hour and 30 minutes and I'm home free with the week half over!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

End of the Day, Friday Blahs

The Doctor called in sick today, which pretty much killed my work load. Seriously. Aside from one phone call from a patient, I have made all of three phone calls and led one process group. The rest of the time has been wasted - er - spent surfing the web, checking email, and chatting with coworkers. Even Annoying Coworker seems to have been having a case of the Fridays today, as he has spent today and much of the week away from my office. Hmmm, I would guess he's reloading, but even he shouldn't take that long!

One Ring is taking the first of three qualifying exams today. Once she passes those, then she'll have to work on her dissertation proposal and then the dissertation itself. I figure that should keep us here for another two years or so, and then we'll move to wherever she can find work. I've given her a list of my preferences - near the coast, cooler climate, blue state - but we'll go where the work is, I guess. I've also teased her that she's about to become my "Sugar Mama," and I couldn't wait until I could stay at home and watch TV and grow fat while she did all the financial heavy lifting! I believe I was hit by a heavy object at that point, though my memory is a tad fuzzy! : )

Tonight we're supposed to have dinner with a bunch of her long-suffering classmates, one of whom is taking her exams as well. After that, I suppose I'll work on the new computer or practice my guitar lesson. I've been pretty lazy about that of late. Not sure why, but I find that I'm easily distracted. I am excited about the song we're working on, as it's one of my favorites - Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. It has one of the greatest guitar solos ever written, and I've promised myself that if I ever master it, I'll consider getting that Fat Strat that I was looking at a week or so ago. In the meantime, it sounds good enough on my Epiphone SG-310. I just really want to have that David Gilmour sound, and Strats are excellent for blues inspired rock.

Okay, one hour to go, and I have one more chart note to write. Guess I'll amuse myself with that and get ready to fly out the door as soon as the clock hits four. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

One Ring and I finally got around to replacing our desktop PC, which had some parts at least 5 years old and the newest drives and chips no less than 3 years old. Needless to say, the difference was immediately noticable in terms of speed, graphics, and memory space. I dumped most of my old hard drive onto the new one, and it barely registered! Then again, considering the old hard drive was roughly 1/20th the size of the new one, I shouldn't be surprised.

So now I have all this space and power just hanging around. And what do I want to do? Buy games, of course!

In a burst of geekiness, I have been re-reading many of my old graphic novels (I would be reading the original comic books, but those I gave to a young member of one of my churches - they weren't worth anything more than sentimental value. Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post, I was surprised to see that Champions, an old pen and paper superhero role playing game that brought me hours of enjoyment as a kid, was making its way to the net. It debuts on September 1st.

After doing a little checking around, I found a second superhero online game already running - City of Heroes. So now it's a matter of doing research and finding out which one is the best value and will offer the best experience.

The irritating thing is that both charge a monthly subscription fee to pay for customer support and upgrades to the game. It looks like City of Heroes runs around $15 / month, while Champions hasn't listed any pay scale, save for a $60 for a 6 month subscription and $250 for a lifetime subscription.

Add to that the cost of purchasing the game itself. City of Heroes has been out for five years or so, and has come out with several expansion modules. Each one contains the original game in addition to the new content. The latest one, City of Heroes: Architect Edition, is available on Amazon for $20 (and $19.99 at Best Buy), and is probably cheaper elsewhere. The architect spin is that you get a program that allows you to build and upload missions to the game. Champions is currently available for pre-order on Amazon for $46.99 (and at Best Buy for $49.99), and there is talk in some of the forums that players will have to pay for things like changing the name of their character and adding bits and pieces of costuming.

So if I go with playing an online superhero game, which does sound fun at the moment, I'll probably go with City of Heroes, unless Champions changes its pricing structure and loses the nickel and dime routine.

Has anyone out there played either game? I'm curious to know if it's worth it.

And yes, I do know that there are several pirate MMO games out there. Disney (obviously) has a Pirates of the Caribbean game out, and there is also the Pirates of the Burning Seas, just to name two. But I'm thinking of moving in a different direction at the moment.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Never Got into World of Warcraft

Or anything else like it. But I just heard about this, and I just might not be able to resist the temptation - especially considering the new computer I'm getting this week!

I used to play Champions as a kid - it was/is a superhero pen and paper role playing game. But apparently as that type of rpg is fading into oblivion (curse you children for preferring video games to your own imagination!), Champions is now moving over to the MMO world. I'll have to keep an eye on this!

I also took a quiz:

You walk a mystical path, and are a creature of the spiritual and the supernatural. You are introspective and self-reliant, but nobody will ever question your bravery or commitment to justice.

Take the quiz!

Not sure what this says about my masculinity, casting me as a female character ... but I like the description.

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A Minor Choice

I've finally decided what design to use for my tattoo, should I ever get around to having ink done - and should I ever be able to convince Pooh to go along with my plan when she comes out to visit One Ring and me a day before her husband Tigger joins us! It's called an Enso, and is a type of Japanese Zen calligraphy. Usually it stands for enlightenment, oneness, realization, completeness, etc.; all the things that I'm working towards understanding in life. Enso come in all sorts of different styles, some are closed and some, like this one, are open. I chose this one because I like the visibility of the brush stroke and the way the circle doesn't look like an oval, as do many of the designs I've seen.

Oh, and I'm not adding the characters to the right and lower left of the picture. I have no idea what they say, and I'm really hesitant to ink something I can't read!

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