Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pretty soon I'll be trying once again to restart this blog. My reason for hope this time is I have a smart phone & season tickets to the Pirates. This means I can blog from anywhere & won't even be tied down by wi fi. I figure the down time at baseball games will give me plenty of time to write & the game itself can be a subject I can write about when I'm at a loss.
Also, I have had some recent success in getting my life stabilized. I've lost about 40 pounds and shaved off my gray beard, so I apparently look younger. At work, my job is as stable as I think it can be in this day and age. Now I just need to work on my social life.
So starting early next month, if not sooner, expect to see regular posts here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Last Wednesday night was a sad night. Not because the Penguins lost. It wasn't that kind of sad. I'm a fan of five major pro or college teams. In any given year, at least two are in somewhat serious contention for a championship or a major bowl game. Most years, none have won it so I'm used to that kind of sadness and usually get over it quickly.

No, the sadness Wednesday came from walking out of the Civic Arena for probably the last time. For me, the arena wasn't always about hockey. I have seen numerous hockey games there, as well as a Penguins practice that was open to the public. But I also saw soccer (Pittsburgh Spirit), Football (Pittsburgh Gladiators), and basketball (Pittsburgh Panthers and Harlem Globetrotters) games there. My parents took me there to see the rodeo, the circus and even the Ice Capades. I've seen concerts there by the likes of Prince, Aerosmith, and The Eagles. I swear I was even there once when the roof was open, although I can't remember the exact occasion. I've stood down close to the ice when it was set up for hockey and I've stood up in a luxury box during a Globetrotters game.

I remember the year after they put in the 'F' level, going to a game with my brother and his college friends. He got a seat that was separated from the rest of us in the 'E' level by the pillar that holds up the 'F' level. We also got tickets once for the igloo club back when I was almost old enough to drink. Then there was a time I won Penguin tickets at a gentlemen's club. Don't ask.

I remember my first hockey game. I was around 10 years old. It was against Calgary. I remember this because I had never heard of the city of Calgary. We had to leave that game a little early because my brother got sick and was throwing up in the restrooms. Last year, I got to take his son, who has our love of sports, to his first hockey game.

The walkways at the arena are tight and so are the seats. When I was small, though, they always seemed huge. And going there always meant seeing something new and different. Going there became more routine when I got older, but it was still a unique experience from any other venue I've been to. I'm looking forward to the new arena, but it won't be the same experience. Whether it'll be not having to walk down two levels to get to a restroom or concession stand or seeing a major concert that would have bypassed Pittsburgh in the past because of the arena, I'll be missing the arena.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Okay. So my plan to blog more was kinda dependent of me having a laptop, which started the year off out with a serious case of key logger. But it's back, so here goes.
I'm re-starting things off with a subject I've been planning to address for a while: Words that need to be added to the English language.
1. A non-gender-specific term for niece/nephew.
I have nieces and nephews and when I talk about them, I have to use the unnecessarily wordy "nieces and nephews". This was even more awkward when I only had one niece and said "niece and nephews". There's parents for "mom and dad", childrens for "sons and daughters", and siblings for "brothers and sisters". Cousins don't even need a gender term. A word should be added to the English language to fix this.
2. And while we're at it, same goes for "aunts and uncles".
3. Sticking within a genderless theme, there needs to be a gender neutral equivalent to he/she that doesn't also remove the humanity. Referring to someone as "it" could quite possibly get you hit.
4. Another gender-related term we need is a female equivalent to "guys". Guy/guys is a convenient word. It's doesn't come off as formal as "man" or as scientific as "male". And "boy" sounds like you're talking about a small male child. Guy is a useful term. Yet there's no female equivalent that quite fits. "Girl" has the same problem as "boy" and "gal" comes off a little condescending. And "doll" is perfect if you're a '30's gangster. Otherwise, no. And these terms all, if used in the workplace, could lead to a nice conversation with a representative from HR.
Now, guys can work as a gender neutral terms, especially when used in plural describing a mixed group of men and women. But calling a woman a guy can only work in certain situations and even then could have mixed results.
5. For the last one, I'm getting away from the topic of gender. There needs to be a word for someone who is in a long-time committed relationship but isn't engaged or marry. Basically a word that's husband or wife for people who are, for all intent and purpose, a married couple but haven't made it official. Boyfriend/girlfriend is the word currently used most often, but they sound so "high school". Also, there should be different terms for a coupld who have been dating only a couple weeks and a couple who live together, have kids, own property together, and even have stuff like joint bank accounts. My last girlfriend once said she didn't like me being referred to as her boyfriend cause it sound like we were in high school and both of us were well into our 30's. She said I was "her man". But that sounds less like a partnership and more like ownership.
Speaking of partnership, partner is sometimes used, but referring to someone as your partner requires further explanation to distinguish between business and love. And life partner, I'm sorry, just sounds stupid. And significant other is so unweilding and cold.
Of course, this new term would be of use to gay couples. On that subject, I say if the only thing keeping a couple from getting married is that it's illegal, I say go ahead use the terms associated with marriage. Call yourself husband & husband or wife & wife. But if you're serious and committed, but not marriage serious and committed, the new term, if created, is for you, too.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm writing this at the bar on my lunch hour, so I'm going to write this quickly. This is my annual list of goals for the coming year. Most are the same or similar to goals of years past. Last year was a failure in most, if not all, of the goals, but this was a unique year dominated by a new job and a second move when I hadn't recovered from the last move.

So here's the list:
1. Not let my mind keep turning constantly on subjects that negatively affects my life. Yeah, this is still a problem. My mind can't get off of thinking of certain things that are problems in my life, which makes them more of a problem than they really are.
2. Get in better shape. Another one that has been a failure this year, although during my layoff, I did exercise regularly around the apartment complex in Delaware. The problem isn't my weight, which is a problem, but it's my energy level. I need to get into better shape so I have time to get other things done. Time I currently spend sleeping/resting.
3. Go to atleast one state I've never been to before. Missed this one in 2009, although I was tempted to do a roadtrip to Michigan on Christmas weekend. The closest two states are Michigan and Kentucky. Both are states I've been to, but only to the airports, which doesn't count. This year, a friend is moving to southeast Ohio, so a side trip to Kentucky would be definitely doable.
4. Go to atleast one away game for a Pittsburgh team. Got this one last year. I've decided the spirit of this goal includes neutral site games outside of the western PA area since the object is to see one of the teams in a venue you normally wouldn't. This year, I saw the Steelers play the Cardinals in the Super Bowl in Tampa.
5. Make a trip to Vegas. FAIL. Maybe this year. Anyone interested in making the trip with me?
6. Make one trip to visit friends in Jersey. In the past, this was to go to the Jersey shore, something I never did enough of when I lived in Jersey. Now that I'm back in Pittsburgh, just getting to Jersey is enough of a goal.
7. Do three things I've never done before or go places I've never been. This does not mean ordinary things like going to a normal store that I've never been to before. In the past, Spelunking and going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art satisfied this goal. In 2009, I'd say going to the Super Bowl definitely counts. I could count sleeping on a boat, which I also did in 2009. This year, I'll be on the lookout for things to satisfy this goal.
8. Go on more dates this year than last. This should be easy cause with the layoff, the move and the new job, I did not go on a single date this year. So let's say to accomplish this goal, I need to go on three dates with at least two different girls or have a relationship of atleast two months with a single girl.
9. Get my apartment in good shape. On the plus side, moving twice as made be throw away alot of stuff. Especially stuff that accumulated with being in the Jersey apartment for over four years. However, my apartment is a mess from not being unpacked. So this goal includes unpacking and making the living be in good enough shape to have guests over.
10. Get a full time employment position. In the past this has been a wild-card goal that has changed every year. It has been to "watch 150 movies and read 5 novels" which was a fail and "fill out the 25th anniversary Hooters passport", which required taking the passport to 25 different Hooters location, which was a success. This year, I am a contractor. Instead of a fun goal here, the goal here is for me to work and have a fulltime position either at my current job or at a new company.

Those are my goals. Feel free to give suggestions or help with any of them.

Updated 9:19PM
I forgot two other goals that I had intended to include into my goals for 2010, but forgot about them. So I list them here as bonus goals. A sort of extra credit goals.
First extra credit goal: Have a date for next New Years Eve. This should need no explanation.
Second extra credit goal: Meet at least one person from my facebook or plurk friends list. I've been keeping Facebook friends mostly to people I know personally. There are currently only four Facebook friends I haven't met, but considering this year, I've met three of my friends who I previously hadn't met, meeting one of them isn't unreasonable.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

I saw Avatar recently. I saw it on IMAX 3D, but got there late and ended up sitting in the front row. I do ot advise this. Since the glasses you have to wear do limit your range of sight to a small degree, sitting in the front row means having to move your head to see the entire action on the screen.

On to the review. This is a movie worth seeing. It is a amazing movie on a visual level. At no time did the compuer-generated world and images seem like cartoons. In fact, I kept forgetting that the blue creatures that inhabit the world were computer generated and not actors in makeup. Much has been made of the budget of this movie, but alot of it was spent creating new technology. Technology that can be used in future movies without the price tag of inventing it. Much the way technology had to be created when Star Wars was filmed, the same is true here. Even if the movie never makes a profit, it will be judged a success based also on how this technology is used in the future.

Despite this movie being known for it's visual effects, it does have a plot. James Cameron has never been one to leave out the plot in his sci-fi. In Avatar, the plot might not be completely original, but it's done well. The plot is basically the same as any politically correct movie about Europeans settling America. Think Disney's Pocahantas in space. The earthlings have big spaceships that requires an element that can be found in abundance on a planet. The planet has a race of people that are in tune with the planet and nature. Their god is a tree and they can attach them selves to horse-like animals via plugs in their long hair. The earthlings have scientists that want to be peaceful with the inhabitants of the planets, but mainly they have soldiers whose sole purpose is to fight and destroy. Leading the soldiers is a executive at the energy company who is only concerned with profits. A soldier is assigned to the scientists, gets exposed to the inhabitants' culture, falls in love with them and,.. well, if you can't figure out what happens next, then you'll probably enjoy the movie even more.

But the big thing is, there is a plot. It makes sense with relatively few holes for a movie that is two hours and forty minutes long. And for a movie that long, it doesn't seem like it is that long.

And some people might be turned off from seeing a movie where the buzz is about the budget and the visual effects, but at least it was a risk taken. It's a high budget movie that is not a sequel, a remake or an adaptation of a popular book series. I saw the trailer to the Karate Kid remake recently. Everytime a movie that takes risks fails, it makes the studios less likely to take a chance in the future and more likely to go with something like the new Karate Kid. If you haven't seen the new Karate Kid trailer, find it online and ask yourself if a lack of originality and risk taking could be the problem with movies today and not big budgets.

Ignoring that motivation to see the movie and judging just on the basis of the movie itself, I give it a rating of "Worth paying full price" with an additional rating of "worth paying extra to see it in IMAX".

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a little late, but here is my weekly review of How I Met Your Mother from last week.

HIMYM was a little controversial this week. The show is told as one big story a father is telling his two kids in the future. This allows for some flexibility in the continuity of the storyline. They can do stuff like insert a bartender into scenes from a previous year by asking if he had mentioned the bartender before. They can hint at a forthcoming event by mentioning it, then have the narrator simply say that it must have happened a year later. And since it is a father talking to his kids, he often cleans up certain activities like changing "marijauna" to "sandwich". (Still, it's amazing what he does tell his kids.)

So this week it is revealed that the whole gang smoked. The father had not mentioned this before cause he didn't want his kids to know him or their aunts and uncles smoked. Now I know a couple people who didn't like this episode cause it centered around smoking and liked the characters less because they smoked. Now they are only a couple years younger than me. While we grew up in the "smoking is bad" era, we didn't grow up in the "smoking is evil and everyone who does it is also" era. Most groups of people around my age has atleast one person who either smokes or has quit smoking recently. Also, it's not like they were unapologetic smokers. They, like alot of smokers, were trying to quit and would quit for extended periods of time. Anyway, they are the same people we knew, only with an additional flaw. If your opinion of them changed from love to hate because you found out they once smoked, then that says more about you than it does them. And I really liked the last scene where they said when each quit for good and that made the rest of the episdoe worth while. Knowing that Lily and Marshall both quit for their first kid and Ted quit for his wife added an additional quality to them, especially the relationship between Ted and "the mother".

So yeah, I like the episode. It was good. I'm not sure how I feel about Robin's new love interest, but I like the idea that local anchormen and women don't wear pants behind the desk and don't care what happens cause nobody is watching. As someone who once hosted a radio show that nobody listened to, I can relate.

On BBT, you had another guest star this week. Christine Baranski returned as Leonard's mother. She annoys me more often than not, but her interacting with Penny and not just giving her opinion and blowing off anyone else's point of view as ignorance let to some funny moments. Her insistence that Howard and Rejesh are gay makes for hilarious moment. And having Penny teaching her to drink, having her want to hit on the busboy and then kissing Sheldon was genius. But lets face it. Making Sheldon uncomfortable is always good for quality laughs.

I'm judging this week on most amounts I had full loud laughs. Both were funny, but BBT gets the win and takes the lead in the season series 6-5.

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