Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Wii Temper

There are some people out there who would describe me as a very laid-back, easy-going, even-tempered kind of guy.

These people have obviously never watched me play video games.*

I have long maintained that video games bring out the worst in me; I probably have a harder time controlling my temper -- and my tongue -- when playing a video game than any other time . . . and that includes dealing with The Lovable PigPen.

TopGun has recently borne witness to this less than stellar aspect of my personality thanks to my new Wii. At first he just caught a glimpse when he would get home while I was playing one of the Finaly Fantasy games at the beginning of the month, but I tended to stop playing when he came in so as not to embarrass myself too much. But now he has seen the full force of my video game fueled frustration thanks to countless hours of Wii Sports . . . particularly the tennis game, which seems designed to drive me completely insane.

After my ten gazillionth primal scream of rage at my inability to successfully return a volley with my backhand or keep a regular return in-bounds, I turned to TopGun and said "Sorry, Champ." He told me there was no need to apologize, as he found my imminent mental breakdown highly amusing and entertaining**.

The obvious question is "If you find these games so frustrating, why keep playing them?" Well, the obvious answer is that I am a bit masochistic and a glutton for punishment -- for evidence, see pretty much any blog post tagged "Roughhousing." But even beyond that, the overly competitive side of myself that is responsible for most of my negative outbursts refuses to let me quit. My desire to master the game is more powerful than my desire to maintain my sanity -- unfortunately, my ability to master the game feels nigh unto non-existent at times, and so my grip on sanity and serenity is sure to be fleeting.

*Or play racquetball. Or volleyball. Or anything requiring hand/eye coordination.
**Alternate post title: "With Friends Like Champ, Who Needs PigPen?"


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TopGun's Turn of Phrase

This past weekend TopGun and I got caught up on a lot of shows which had been languishing on my DVR waiting for us to both be free to watch. One of these was the first four episodes of Chuck, including the highly entertaining two-part episode with a heavy focus on Chuck's brother-in-law, Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb. During one scene, Sarah makes a comment about how Devon is great at everything, to which Chuck replied "Hence the nickname." Naturally, this prompted TopGun to turn to me and say "So I guess I should be called 'Captain Awesome' from now on, huh?"

A little later we watched an episode of Better Off Ted in which Veronica and Linda become embroiled in a highly competitive game of Linda-bagel . . . don't ask. Anyway, Veronica has a monologue about how she's great at everything, and the word "hubris" gets thrown around a few times by different characters. So, when TopGun was jokingly bragging about something later, I responded, "Wow, what hubris -- so, should I call you Captain Awesome or Veronica?" After that, while we were playing Wii Sports I settled on combining them and called him "Captain Veronica Awesome" for the rest of the evening.

He played along quite nicely, and soon, whenever he would make a particularly impressive shot he would exclaim "That's Ver-awesome!"

I'm actually a bit jealous he came up with that before I did, but I suppose I should expect nothing less from ol' Veronica Awesome.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

TV Tues - Law of Conservation of Jackassery

I have no idea why I'm still watching Heroes.

What's sad is, this is the third season in a row where I can say that; you'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now. But, no, I've clung on to this train-wreck long past the point where it gave me actual pleasure to watch it.

At the beginning of the current season there was a glimmer of hope; the carnival storyline held a hint of mystery, the new characters were more interesting than annoying on the whole, and there was nary a sign of Mohinder anywhere at all. But it wasn't too long before that glimmer faded and died in the face of the asinine "Put Nathan's memories in Sylar's body" storyline left over from last season, coupled with what I've decided is Heroes' fundamental rule: there will always be at least one character on the show who will be self-righteous for no good reason and/or act like a complete idiot for no good reason, regardless of how the character has been portrayed in the past. Now, most of the time, both roles would be served by Mohinder -- oh, how I loathe that character -- but with him gone for most of the season, the torch of annoyance was passed on primarily to Parkman, although Hiro, Claire, Peter, and Noah have all borne it at one point or another. Last week's episode where Peter storms into Emma's apartment and smashes her cello instead of just talking to her about his vision is one example; last night's episode which found Claire heading to the carnival instead of talking to her dad is another. And don't even get me started on how often people have had a chance to kill Sylar and let him walk. Yes, I know, he's supposed to be immortal, but if you lop off his head, then that takes care of that -- Parkman's attempt to play "Cask of Amontillado" with the comatose Sylar last night drove me up the wall.

And yet, I'll be sticking with the show at least through the end of the season and, if it somehow, miraculously gets renewed, there are good odds I'll be watching it next year as well. Because, if history has taught us anything, it's that I'm a glutton for punishment.

Besides, I have to have something to complain about in my TV Tuesday posts, right?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Movie Mon. - "Well Played, Kable."

Only one review today, my blog monkeys; I'll try to pick up the pace next week.

a sci-fi action flick starring Gerard Butler as Kable, a death row inmate who gets drafted into participating in a game that could allow him to win his freedom by being a living avatar controlled by a teenager playing in a flesh-and-blood video game. At times quite predictable, but for me it was worth watching just for a handful of surprising (and sometimes surreal) scenes, including a cameo by Milo "Peter Petrelli" Ventimiglia as a pervy character named "Rick Rapist" and a bizarre song-and-dance number by Michael C. "Dexter Morgan" Hall. As a mater of fact, most of the scenes I enjoyed in the film were ones featuring Hall as the eccentric genius responsible for the technology used in the game. Not a great movie by any stretch, and the ending felt forced and inorganic -- especially the horrendous "Well played, Kable," line -- but on the whole, I enjoyed it for its bursts of randomness if nothing else.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

If TopGun Tells Me "Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body" One More Time . . .

As mentioned last week, I am once again on a quest to lose weight and get in shape. As part of this I have drastically reduced my soft drink intake, cut fast food out of my weekday diet, joined a gym, and -- perhaps most telling of all -- got up at 6:30 AM this morning in order to exercise before heading to work, and plan to do the same thing Monday through Friday from here on out. As anyone who has had to live with me can probably attest, a morning person I am not. But, since there's always a danger when I work out solely at night that my evening exercises will be derailed by the siren call of the recliner, a morning workout seems to be called for. Not to mention the benefits of kick-starting the metabolism first thing.

I actually got on the early morning workout kick several months ago, when TopGun and I were doing P90X. Granted, we didn't make it up every morning; there were multiple times when I would roll over to see my cell phone flashing with a text message from TopGun saying he wasn't going to work out that morning due to insomnia or sinus problems or what have you, but that I was more than welcome to go on without him. I, of course, almost always declined to get up and workout without him. Solidarity, you know. Still, despite the occasional hiccup, we managed to keep to the morning workout schedule for several weeks, before other scheduling conflicts made it too difficult to maintain at the time. But now those conflicts are behind us, so back to the early workouts we go.

It's good to have TopGun around as a workout partner, as his overly healthy eating habits and obsessive need to work out tend to shame me into trying to emulate him. Not to mention that I always push myself harder when there's someone else working out with me than when I'm working out alone. TopGun likes variety in his workouts, so we are now on probably the 4th or 5th different workout schedule since he moved in last May. That includes the time we did P90X and the much more intense Insanity. It was at the end of our first month of Insanity that I got really sick for a few weeks, so TopGun had to finish the second month without me -- considering that Insanity was about to make my knees explode at the time, I wasn't too heartbroken. Of course, the downside was that by the time I felt up to working out again, I had lost a lot of the strength and stamina I had gained before.

At times it's hard for me not to focus on things like that; even now, I have to force myself not to dwell on the fact that I'm not as strong as I was back when I was working out regularly with Cap'n Shack-Fu and Li'l Brother a year or two ago. When that happens, I try to remind myself that, while I may not be back to where I was at the peak of that time, neither have I fallen back to where I was at the beginning. A small comfort, perhaps, but I need all the help I can get, if for no other reason than to keep TopGun from smacking me around for getting all mopey and self-deprecating.

A few weeks ago, I got a message from one of the Parkerites letting me know that several of them are taking part in The Cowtown 5k at the end of February, and asking if I wanted to participate. Now, on the one hand, it would be a good excuse to see the gang, most of whom I haven't seen since the weekend of GMC's wedding, as well as serving for an additional motivator for getting in shape. On the other hand, I've never been a fan of running at the best of times, and my current weight makes it hard on my knees. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the danged thing, and so on my next trip to the gym for some cardio I will be heading to the treadmill instead of the elliptical. Depending on how that goes, I might have to reevaluate the idea . . .


Friday, January 15, 2010

Fragmented Fri. - Goodnight, Champ

Since I haven't blogged regularly for quite a while, I thought I'd use today to catch all you blog monkeys up on what's going on in my neurotic little world . . . but then I realized there really isn't all that much to report.

I suppose there is one thing; remember last year when I resolved to start eating better and lose some weight? Well, I'm resolving it again, only this time I'm hoping to stick it out a bit longer. My current goal: to fit back into size 34 jeans while I'm still 34, which gives me about 4 1/2 months to do so. Today marked my 5th day without a soft drink of any kind, as well as my 5th day without fast food. TopGun and I have been working out, and tomorrow I plan to join the gym so I can have access to an elliptical and work on my cardio again.

This past week on Facebook has somehow been declared "Retro Week" prompting people to replace their normal avatars with younger pictures of themselves. I decided to be a good little sheep and follow the trend.

Zinger asked me if this retro-picture would be accompanied by some retro blogging. "Is there something exciting from you past you haven't blogged about yet?" he asked. Sadly, I'm still drawing a blank.

Last night The Lovable PigPen came up to Denton to hang out for a bit. He was about ready to leave around 11 when he decided to challenge me to a quick game of tennis on the Wii; despite my better judgment I agreed, and so it was that "one quick game" turned into several hours worth of game play. I wound up not getting to sleep until almost 3*; it was a lot like when we were still rooming together and would stay up all night playing video games, with the exception that neither of us picked a fight with the other this time around. Oh, well, maybe next time.

A while back, TopGun and I were watching a movie where somebody sent their kid to bed saying "Goodnight, champ!" I turned to TopGun and told him that's what I was going to say from now on when he went to bed; surprisingly enough, I have done this pretty faithfully for several months now, and now "Champ" has become the real-world nickname I use when I text/email him**

I don't normally talk about my friends' relationships here, but I just had to mention that my best bud Li'l Random McEvil is now engaged to be married, so I'll be heading to Florida next year for his wedding. Congrats, Li'l Brother!

*This evening TopGun told me I needed to inform PigPen he's not allowed to come over on school nights anymore
**Much like how in real life Li'l Random is Li'l Brother, Cap'n Shack-Fu is Bubba, and The Lovable PigPen is Ginger Bastage


Thursday, January 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo Year 2

As I mentioned before, last November I took part in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) for the second time, and once again was successful in meeting the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. The experience was a little bit different this time around for a few reasons.

First of all, I didn't start off with a massive lead like I did the first year. Part of this was because in Year 1 the 1st of November fell on a Saturday, giving me a full weekend's worth of virtually uninterrupted writing, whereas Year 2 fell on a Sunday. Add onto that the fact that I was sick that whole weekend* -- plus I didn't have the extra incentive of trying to build a buffer to allow for moving like I did in Year 1 -- and I never had the commanding word count lead this time around. Of course, not being thousands of words ahead of everyone else did reduce the amount of death threats I received from fellow participants, so that was a bit of a bonus.

Probably the biggest difference between Year 1 and Year 2 was the type of story I was trying to tell. Not in subject matter, but in structure and complexity. Year 1's effort, Gateway Drug, was, with the exception of an epilogue, told entirely from the perspective of the main character. As such, I was able to to just let the story unfold organically, following Panic** through his misadventures as they occurred to me. However, with Year 2's effort, tentatively (very tentatively) titled Talent on the Rise, I started out with four different sets of characters in four different locations and then had to figure out how I was going to do justice to each of their individual arcs and still bring them all together for the climax without forcing it or resorting to a deus ex machina. So, a few more balls to juggle this time around.

Along those lines, when writing Gateway Drug, I honestly had no idea how it was going to end. The beginning was crystal clear in my head, but until I started writing, I didn't have a clue where Panic was going to wind up. With Talent on the Rise*** however, I had an idea of where I wanted it to start, and how I wanted it to end, but very little idea of how to get from point A to point B.

Then there was the interference from my borderline-OCD which flared up when I was trying to structure the rotating P.O.V.s in the story. After some fits and starts, I finally wound up deciding to have it rotate not just between the four locations, but also between the protagonists and antagonists. So, I'd have a chapter from the P.O.V. from a character from Location 1, followed by a brief interlude with the P.O.V. of an antagonist somehow connected to Location 1; then the next chapter would be the P.O.V. of a character from Location 2, followed by an antagonist interlude; and so on for Locations 3 and 4, at which point it would loop back around to Location 1. This worked out well at first, and actually forced me to flesh out the characterization and motivation of the antagonists, which was a definite bonus. Unfortunately, as some portions of the story zipped towards the climax more quickly than others, and I had to find ways to make one group of characters mark time until the other groups could catch up, it became cumbersome. But I was committed to it at that point, and so persevered until I reached the word goal and stopped, even though the story wasn't even close to done yet.

And yes, that's another difference between Year 1 and 2; in Year 1 I brought the story to an ending, even if it was very cliff-hanger-ish, but with Year 2 I pass the target word count and said "That's enough for now" and took a break . . . a break which is still going, even though I'd planned to resume writing again over Christmas break. I do want to finish the story, if for no other reason than this story has lived in my head in one way, shape, or form since I was in 6th grade, and I really, really, really need to get it out of there. I just hope I can find motivation to do so sometime before next November.

*Being sick that weekend meant I missed out on the Singles Halloween party on Friday and the church's Carnival 31 festivities on Saturday for the first time since2003.
**Yes, the character's name is Panic
***Man, I hate that title; as placeholder titles go, it's okay, but I really want to come up with something else.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog? That Is the Question.

Been a busy day, started to type up a post about NaNoWriMo earlier but wasn't able to make much headway. I could finish it and get it posted, but that would interfere with my attempts at getting onto a better sleep schedule. And so, I find myself being forced to put up a filler post in order to honor my "something every day" commitment; however, I realize that I might get a pass for posting something so frivolous once or twice, but that I'll need to step up the content/entertainment quotient quite a bit before the blog monkeys start to get restless.

And speaking of restless, it's time for me to get some shut-eye. More substantive blogging tomorrow (I hope)


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TV Tues - My Winter Schedule

In my last TV Tuesday blog I looked at the then upcoming Fall season and predicted which shows I would and wouldn't be watching; figured today would be a good time to update y'all on how my viewing schedule has panned out


7:00 How I Met Your Mother (CBS), Chuck(NBC)
8:00 Two and a Half Men (CBS), Heroes (NBC)
8:30 Big Bang Theory (CBS)
9:00 Castle (ABC)

As predicted, Castle, HIMYM, 2 1/2 Men, and BBT are still squarely on my schedule (although 2 1/2 Men is increasingly hit or miss with me) while Accidentally on Purpose barely lasted two weeks before getting deleted from the DVR. Not a horrible show, per se, but not nearly engaging enough to keep me hooked.

As for Heroes . . . ugh. Think I'll save all of my ranting and raving about the train wreck that is Heroes for its own post. And yet, I'm still watching it . . . I have a sickness.

The one addition to the viewing schedule for Monday is Chuck. I haven't had a chance to watch the three hours worth of episodes that aired over the last couple of days, but they're high on my list.


7:00 - 9:00: Better Off Ted and Scrubs (ABC)
9:00: Blue Mountain State (Spike)

I would be more specific with the airing information, but ABC has been burning off episodes of both shows like crazy, and I never know from week to week which one will be on when. Once again, thank heavens for my FIOS DVR.

My parents got me the first season of Ted on DVD for Christmas, and mom and I spent the two days dad had to work over break plowing through the DVDs. So far the second season has been just as entertaining as the first, which makes it all the more painful to know that its ratings aren't that good and it probably won't get picked up for a back 9 episode order.

I'm not quite as enamored of the new iteration of Scrubs, although it is growing on me, and seems to be a lot better now that J.D. is gone and the new characters are really getting a chance to grow. Doubtful that it will get a back 9 order either, though.

Of course, in about a month it won't matter anymore, as their time slot will be taken over by the final season of Lost. February 2 cant' get here fast enough for me.

Tonight's the premiere of a new comedy on Spike, Blue Mountain State which looks like it might be funny; we'll see if it manages to work its way into my viewing rotation.


7:30 The Middle (ABC)
8:00 Human Target (Fox), Modern Family (ABC)
8:30 Cougar Town (ABC)
9:30 Tosh.0 (Comedy Central)

The (mercifully) short-lived Hank was pretty much as bland and unfunny as I had expected it to be, so no surprise there. What is surprising is just how much I enjoy every other sitcom ABC has airing on this night; even more surprising is that all three shows have become big hits, and as of today have officially been picked up for a second season.

Starting next week, Glee's time slot will be taken over by The Human Target, an adaptation of a DC comic book about a man who pretty much gets hired to stop assassination attempts. In addition to the comic book angle hooking me, the show also features three actors I really like: Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. Hoping the quality of the writing is up to the quality of the cast.


7:00 The Deep End (ABC, iffy), Survivor (CBS), Community (NBC)
8:00 Grey's Anatomy (ABC), Fringe (Fox, definite),
8:30 30 Rock (NBC/Hulu)
9:30 Archer (FX)

Remember how in my previous post I said "The Office is a no-brainer"? Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. After a string of episodes that left me either cold or uncomfortable instead of amused, I have relegated the show to my "will watch on DVD someday" list.

For the record, I did watch almost all of FlashForward, although I still need to catch the mid-season finale if it's still online. Think it's an okay show, but I'm watching it more for answers to the main mystery than for any of the characters. Although, the fact that there's been a bit of a regime change in the show-runners gives me hope that when it comes back from hiatus in March it will be improved. In the meantime, its slot will be filled by a new lawyer series, The Deep End, which benefits enough from a likable cast that I might give it a try . . . although probably only if it's available online, since I can't miss Survivor or Community.

The other addition to this night's schedule is the animated spy spoof Archer on FX. TopGun and I caught a sneak preview of it several months ago after an ep of It's Always Sunny and enjoyed it quite a bit.


8:00 Dollhouse (Fox), Caprica (SyFy)

Even though it's almost over, there's still one more episode of Dollhouse to air this week, so it's getting a mention, dagnabit!

I know it was a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it show, but I fell mostly on the "love it" side for Stargate: Universe so I'm looking forward to its return in the Spring. Until then, I have the BSG prequel Caprica to fulfill my "spin-off of popular Sci Fi show I loved" jones.


Now that college football is over, have a feeling Saturday will become my day to get caught up on DVRed shows and DVDs.


7:30 The Cleveland Show (Fox, iffy)
8:00 Family Guy (Fox)
8:30 American Dad (Fox)

Yes, I'm still a sucker for Seth MacFarlane's shows; even American Dad has grown on me.

That about wraps it up; I'm sure there will be some changes when more new shows start premiering/returning following the Winter Olympics.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Movie Mon. - Six Degrees of Star Trek

Considering that I haven't done a Movie Monday post since last June, odds are good that there are plenty of films I could talk about; heck, I watched at least a dozen films while I was at my parents' house over Christmas break. As usual, I tried to introduce my folks to a few films that I figured they probably wouldn't watch on their own -- Tropic Thunder, Watchmen, Dr. Horrible, etc. One thing that really stood out to me during the break was how many people from the recent film Star Trek film popped up in other movies we watched over the break. Chris Pine (Kirk) played a massive jerk in a B-grade horror film called Carriers; Zoe Saldana (Uhura) was in a different B-grade horror flick, The Skeptic, as well as the big budget 3-D extravaganza Avatar; Anton Yelchin (Chekov) turned out to be a young Kyle Reese in Terminator: Salvation; Eric Bana (Nero) turned up as Adam Sandler's romantic competition in Funny People; and Chris Hemosworth (Kirk's dad) was pretty much unrecognizable as a possibly sociopathic hitchhiker in the highly entertaining A Perfect Getaway.

My point? Don't really have one; just probably won't have time to do real reviews this week, and needed something to post to keep my new blogging commitment fulfilled.

Speaking of the reviews, do any of you blog monkeys have any thoughts on them? Would you rather I keep doing the pellet reviews of everything I see, or do more in-depth thoughts on films that really affected me one way or another? I figured after such a long blogging hiatus, I might as well examine my format a bit.


Friday, January 08, 2010

The Great Texlahoma Blizzard of Aught-Nine

As most of you blog monkeys are probably aware, this past Christmas Eve was marked by an enormous blizzard that shut down highways throughout Texas and Oklahoma. Luckily for me, I headed up to OK on Tuesday afternoon -- stopping off in Tulsa to hang out with Cap'n Shack-Fu before heading on up to Miami on Wednesday -- so I was able to avoid getting caught in the horrible weather. Many of my friends weren't quite so lucky: it took Coronela 16 hours to get from Ft. Worth to Oklahoma City; TopGun's normal 5 1/2 hour trip to his family in Midland took him 19 hours, with people skidding out of control all around him; and the winner of the "longest Christmas Eve ever" award goes to Shack-Fu's sister and brother-in-law, whose 9 hour trip from Houston to Pampa took them over 28 hours due to the highway becoming a virtual parking lot at times.

And then there was The Lovable PigPen, who called me while he was on the road to let me know that if we ever decide to go on another ski trip, we could probably take his car, which was handling fine in conditions very similar to what we encountered on our way home from Breckenridge a couple of years ago . . . of course, then he wound up getting stuck while turning into his mom's driveway about 50 yards from her house, so maybe we should rethink that suggestion . . .

When I got PigPen's call I was out doing last minute Christmas shopping with my parents in Joplin -- my mother was all giddy about shopping on Christmas Eve, and I was along for the ride. The bad weather didn't hit us until we were heading back to Miami, and it didn't really start coming down hard until after we made it home. We did venture out once more that evening, heading to the video store so we could rent some movies for Mom to watch while we were snowed in, but after that Mom and I didn't leave the house until Sunday afternoon when we went to visit my Grandma Ann.

A great deal of my entertainment/exasperation on Christmas Eve came courtesy of my parents' cat, Snitzelfritz. Not too long after we got home, Snitz decided that he wanted to go outside, and so positioned himself by the back door and meowed to be let out. I opened the door, and as the bitterly cold and damp blast of wind hit him he backed up, shivered, looked at me with a baleful stare, and emitted an accusatory meow that I couldn't help but translate as "What did you do?!!?!?!" That was the amusing part; the exasperation started to set in as his tiny cat brain seemed to think that if he waited three minutes the outside conditions would change completely, and so he would be at the door meowing again, only to turn tail and run as soon as the door was opened and the cold hit him. I have no clue how many times we went through this ritual before he had a burst of feline inspiration and demanded to be let out into the garage instead. Of course, my parents have it set up so he can exit the garage and go outside, so probably 10 minutes after letting him into the garage there was some frantic scratching and meowing at the back door as the dummy* desperately tried to regain entry into the house. This, too, was repeated several times, until finally the fact that being out-of-doors was not a viable prospect for him finally sunk in.

The biggest downside to the bad weather** was that it derailed my post-Christmas travel plans; even if the weather was supposed to be okay in our neck of the woods on one day, then it was supposed to be bad somewhere else along the route -- and then the conditions would be flip-flopped the next day. By the time it was all said and done, I didn't head back to Denton until New Years Day, which meant I missed out on the Singles New Years Eve party with its super-hero theme. Luckily, I had thought to drop the stuff I'd promised they could use for decorations beforehand, so all of my action figures were available to guard the DJ from evil-doers.

But unfortunately it meant I didn't get to see all of the super-costumes everyone had thrown together.

Although I'm even more upset that I didn't get to have fun playing with the visual sound effects.

On the plus side, by heading back on Friday, it meant I got to stop off in Tulsa and see my best bud Cap'n Shack-Fu again for a bit, and as he's the closest thing to a real Action Hero I know, it was practically like being at a super-hero party. Only, y'know, fewer girls in interesting outfits.

Yes, they're wearing super-hero boxers; Marvel on the left, DC on the right.

*When I visit my parents, I often amuse myself by coming up with "Weird Al" style songs about how stupid/crazy the cat is. The festive one I settled on this time around was "You're a Dumb Cat, Snitzlefritz" to the tune of "You're a Mean on, Mr. Grinch," which was probably on my mind mainly because Zinger had sent me this link while I was there.
**Besides the fact that there was tons of snow and none of my friends to play in it with


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Arctic Blast!

Last night TopGun and I had a lot of fun mocking one of the local news channels because of their panic-mongering "Arctic Blast!" coverage; TopGun, having lived in Colorado for over a decade, was highly amused by the people going crazy over a drop in temperature with next to no precipitation forecast. However, it appears we mocked a little too soon, as his early morning drive to work found him encountering a lot of black ice, and my not-quite-as-early morning drive was non-existent as I got an Eagle Alert text message around 7:15 this morning letting me know that UNT was closed for the day. Which was followed about 10 minutes later by an Eagle Alert phone call with the same message. Which was followed by anohter Eagle Alert text about 20 minutes later. Which was then followed by a third and final Eagle Alert text another 15 minutes later. Someone needs to let UNT know that not all of us have unlimited texting. Still, better to get multiple notifications than none at all, I suppose. I feel bad for any of my co-workers who went in before the notification went out; they missed out on getting to sleep in some more.

So how did I spend my impromptu day off work? Well, after I finally got up, I spent the next several hours playing one of the games I rented for my new Wii which I got for Christmas. Yes, that's right; after 34 years my parents finally gave me a video game system. According to my mother, they had to wait to make sure I was mature enough first.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Monkeys . . .

I had every intention of starting up the blog again on January 1st, with a resolve to post something new every day . . . the fact that it's now almost a week later and I'm just now getting around to it probably doesn't surprise anyone who's been waiting on a new blog post from me since August.

It's strange looking at the numbers; in 2006 I wrote over 300 blog posts, in 2007 and 2008 that was fell below the 200 mark, and then in 2009 I wrote less than 30. Quite a drop off, I know, and there were plenty of reasons for that, but really what they all boiled down to was that 2009 was a year where I was lacking inspiration: inspiration in my blogging, inspiration in my teaching, inspiration in most anything and everything I did. I started to come out of that by the end of the year by forcing myself to partake in NaNoWriMo again -- yes, I met the word goal, but I still need to finish the novel itself -- but every time I'd sit down to write a blog post it would be like pulling teeth. I'm hoping to overcome this blogger's block the same way I made it through NaNoWriMo: by not obsessing over trying to find the perfect phrase and just accepting that sometimes getting words down on paper is enough.

With luck, this will last longer than every other time I've made this same resolution.