Monday, June 3, 2013

New Blogs Are Fun!!!

If you're like me, you like the idea of a blog but have yet to follow through consistently.  I think it goes back to putting yourself out there.  I don't want fleeting thoughts about anything from games to politics to necessarily define me and short of writing under a pseudonym I guess I have to be careful about what I put out there.

Publishing things on the internet means you can never take it back!  Unless you make something private and Google isn't compromised as far as security and you delete it then.  Still.... Google likely has a record of it somewhere, so this is why I avoid posting anything I haven't thought through that could be construed in a way I feel does not reflect me.

Anyway... meta blogging about blogging aside I have started a new blog!

As you may know, I recently got engaged!  The wedding is still two years out but the honeymoon will be in Italy.  As the more language oriented of the couple it falls on me to learn enough of the language to survive on our trip.  I will be documenting this on a new blog called Two Years to Italy.

We'll see how much I can keep it up, but if you know any Italian or want to learn with me check it out.  Why not?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

So Many Ideas, So Little Time...

If you're like me, your interests come and go with the tides and what keeps your attention is highly dependent on what looks the shiniest or where the jingling keys are at any given time.  On the grandest (and most expensive) scale this is demonstrated in my choice to go back and take classes to get my Computer Science degree after initially going to college intending to study it but then switching to a History and Latin double major.  Although class takes up a good chunk of time and could constitute a hobby at this point, there are so many things I would like to do but just don't find the time for.


For those who aren't aware, you are currently reading what is called a "blog."  I'm not going to give you a Webster definition for that word, but according to a book I once picked up it has something to do with there being conversation about the topics being written.  I suppose that is what a comments section at the bottom of a post is for.  This particular "blog," (and now that we're familiar with the term I will continue use without quotations) is basically a cheap mix of what I would ultimately like to be individual blogs. 

A Venn Diagram
A blog needs a purpose, a drive, a sort of....... milieu.  Ultimately it needs limits and parameters.  The pretense for this blog is that it is for people who are "like me."  Although I am not a huge fan of the "everyone is a special and unique snowflake" idea, it does sort of hold when it comes to interests.  Sure, we can match up almost the entire Venn Diagram (see image) of two people but at some point the we will diverge.  Of course posts on a blog about a particular topic will not always be engaging to the all of the readership all of the time, but a more narrowed sense of purpose would give someone who doesn't know me personally a potential reason to read it.

The problem is I think doing this would be fun, but it is not a true passion of mine.  A food blog about Minneapolis?  That would be a blast except: A. There are likely dozens out there, B. I don't eat out that much, C. I don't have a good camera to document visits, D. I have no experience in the food industry (though my first job was as a busser), E. I keep coming up with reasons not to do it.  E, as in multiple choice tests, covers the "all of the above" for nearly all ideas about blogs for me.  If it was a passion, I would push through. However, since it is a fleeting jingle of the keys, I am reduced to offhanded comments on a webpage with a .blogspot after it.

Aside from food, I would love, or I convince myself I would love, to have a Computer Science blog to document my learnings and share them with the whole wide world; a Video Games blog to share my love of the about 3-5 games I actually play; a TV Show blog to comment on shows that have already been released for years and I now find on Netflix; a Netflix blog to show my comments on TV Shows that for years released have been; a Podcasting blog, again with the review of maybe a couple I actually listen to; a Book blog to showcase the weird titles for books I come across each day; a Latin blog in which I could break down the lines of the Aeneid and help struggling Latinists cheat on their earliest homework; and dozens of others that come to me during my walking commute and have left me by the time I make it to my computer.  In the course of writing this paragraph two more have dawned on me but I feel the point has been made.

All of these are ideas, all ideas that would take time, time that, history has shown, I don't have or don't go out of my way to have.  Why would I want to blog?  It sounds "fun." But as with many things the idea of something is often more potentially satisfying than the reality, unless you really kick ass at it and know enough about something to educate people on a topic in which you are passionate.  Do I feel better for having written this? Yes, but this is the sort of blog I don't really like to write.  It is a rant, a chance for me to impose my ideas upon you, the reader, without giving any hard evidence or any reason for you to believe me.  Even better, it's about a topic that you can, at best, relate to, but really have no reason to care about.  Not that you don't care about me (perhaps you do, but likely you don't), but this is not the place for me to trumpet every idea I have about every thing that.......

Blogs tend to lead to rambling sentences and paragraphs that make less and less sense as they go on.  Having said this (perfect passive participle, thank you Latin), I think it is time this one ends.  So many ideas, so little time... and that is just on blogging.  Ugh, I won't subject you to my other fleeting interests......... in this post.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

StarCraft 2 on Sale!

If you're like me, real time strategy games (RTSs) are a large part of your gaming heritage.  For me it was Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Rise of Nations, Empire Earth, and other cheaper games I picked up for 5 bucks at Target.  One that I never got into was StarCraft.

Photo from Wikipedia
Although my RTS strategy doesn't work well in competitive online gaming, I was a fan of building up a big force, a strong economy, and only after a good 30-50 minutes would I make my move hoping for an epic sally from my fortress (my college roommates can attest to my love of walls).  StarCraft just seemed too fast paced back in the day.  I had installed it, tried it a bit, and never got into it.  Perhaps it is unfair of me to judge it so harshly on just one 20 minute experience, but based on the title of this post I think you will realize I have not shunned it forever.

When StarCraft 2 was announced and I started seeing screenshots and hearing news about the upgrade to the decade's old RTS I will admit I was interested.  Perhaps at this time (years after my first experience with the game) I would have enjoyed the first iteration, but I had other things going on.  Initial impressions of watching others play the game definitely had me intrigued.  StarCraft 2's Starter Edition, which allows you to play through the first few missions of the campaign for free, took me from interested to fanatic.  What kept me from it? The $60 price tag. Amazing how that can temper excitement.  I have been waiting and waiting for the price to drop, and as you can guess this has finally happened!

Aside from some initial deals at the game's release, the price has not budged from the $59.99 starting point more than once or twice.  With Black Friday on the horizon however, Blizzard is once again throwing a bone to the players and is now selling StarCraft 2 for only $20! This is extremely tempting, and I think people should take advantage of it.  Unfortunately I don't get a commission if anyone buys it from that link, but still.

The only thing holding me back this time is the same thing that prompted this sale: Black Friday.  Without a doubt Steam will have some sort of Thanksgiving Sale that basically gives away games in a way that you can spend $100 without even realizing it.  My budget for games is very small this year, and quite honestly I shouldn't be buying any.  I still have a good chunk of things I haven't even touched from the Steam Summer Sale.

Having said that, I hope you all have a great gaming season and take advantage of some of the deals that will be out there.

Happy ThanksGaming!

If you have any deals I should know about or you'd like others to, please post a comment and ruin my social life that much more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dave Grohl + QotSA = Awesomeness

If you're like me, you follow Queens of the Stone Age and pretty much anything Josh Homme and have heard that they are recording a new album.  While this alone would be reason to celebrate, my recent obsession with Google Alerts has made me privy to the news that for their 6th album, QotSA will reunite with an old member of the band.  Yes, the one and only Dave Grohl will once again pick up his sticks and be drummer for the upcoming album.

For those of you who don't know, Grohl previously drummed for QotSA's album, "Songs for the Deaf."  He has also toured with them a few times and was drummer for my favorite version of their song "Avon."  It also consistently competes for my favorite QotSA song at any given time.

"Songs for the Deaf" had some of my favorite songs and I really hope getting him back on the drums will mean a killer next album.  Thank you for your work Joey Castillo, but Dave Grohl is back!

If you need to sate your hunger for either Homme or Grohl (or John Paul Jones for that matter), check out Them Crooked Vultures if you haven't.  I had a lot of fun listening to that album and would be happy to get some more of those vibes in the unnamed upcoming album.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Google Alerts

If you're like me, keeping your blog with up to date with timely news is of the utmost importance (see my rant about bad DQ commercials only about half a year after they were released).  The problem is, without my own reporters I have a tough time staying on top of things and making this blog the go to place for all your Science, Sports, and Lifestyle news.

As a Google nerd I am embarrassed that I did not know about the featured product in this article earlier.  In fact, I was told about this from an entomologist who used it to stay on top of all things insects.  But better late than never I always say, so without further ado I give you:

Google Alerts allows people with G-Mail accounts to get a Daily, Weekly, or even "As-it-happens" digest of news from across the internet on different topics you are interested in.  You simply enter the search terms you would normally put in Google to find your news on a topic and voila! E-mails of all new hits on that search sent to your inbox.

I have only just gotten started with this but I see real value in this for anyone who actually needs to stay on top of things.  The afore mentioned entomologist gets alerts for bed bugs and dutch elm disease.  Not my cup of tea, but you understand how that could be valuable for someone who makes a living being an expert on such things.

For me, it is how I get my news on my favorite Doctor:

-"David Tennant"

News on upcoming games:

-"Dust 514"
-"Rome 2 Total War"
-Steam Valve

and upcoming TV Shows:

-"Arrested Development"

Since it is a Google search, you can have quotes to search for a phrase, or just enter in all terms you want covered.  My initial digest for Steam was a little much, but I've thrown in Valve and so far I don't get many results dealing with water pressure.

There are more options and I would encourage you all to experiment with this.  My only concern is that if I don't check my e-mail for a few days I am going to come back to an inbox filled with these, so far though I've kept it under control.

Got anything you think I should add to alerts or are you already using this?  Feel free to comment below!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Remember, Remember the 6th of November, and Vote No

If you're like me, you never read the comic book but loved the movie V for Vendetta.  Having Elrond dawn a mask and kick a bunch of guys with guns using only knives was pretty bad ass.  It is interesting that this year a day noted as a day of bucking the government (November 5th), falls on the eve the United States Election.

As a Minnesota resident, there is something that, to me, seems more important than the vote for president.  Don't get me wrong, the presidential choice is a big one, possibly the biggest in our nation's history, but I am not going to change your mind about that, there are TV and YouTube advertisements to tell you who to vote for (all sarcasm aside I hope you are smart enough to think about the issues and make an informed decision).    Anyway, there are two amendments to Minnesota's constitution on this year's ballot and I urge any Minnesotan reading this to Vote No on both.  I'll quote myself here from another site where I posted about this:

I generally prefer people make their own decisions and avoid using social media to express my political views. However, with tomorrow's election there are two amendments to the Minnesota constitution on the ballot that I would regret having not done what I could to prevent if they were to pass. 

Regardless of who you are voting for, President, Senate, or House I urge you to put politics aside and Vote No on both of these amendments. This is not a matter of political affiliation, this is a matter of human rights. I cannot endorse passing a voter ID law that targets a specific demographic and creates barriers to citizens trying to exercise one of their human rights in this country. A barrier that would cost local and state governments millions. I also cannot endorse passing what amounts to a government repressing basic human rights for some of its citizens. 

For those who say marriage between two individuals of the same sex should be called a "Civil Union," sure, as long as they are for all forms of union, including man and woman. "Separate but equal" has not worked in the past and it will not work now. If you say Marriage is a matter of the Church, that's fine. There is a separation of Church and State in this country and until we have a civil institution that covers traditional marriage for couples of the same sex, we have no right to limit it. No one is making your church allow gay couples to get married and voting No on this still does not allow gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones. A vote yes is a vote to ban same sex marriage, a refusal to have a discussion about the rights of a significant portion of our State's citizens. 

Personally, I do not want to forever be from a state marred in a history of limiting human rights. I want to be proud of a state that took a stand and was willing to have a discussion about human rights before we ignorantly snuffed out something that maybe... we just did not completely understand. Minnesota, please Vote No, on the amendments to the constitution tomorrow. A constitution should be about civil liberties and what we stand for as a State. I do not want to stand for intolerance and injustice against those who might happen to be just a little bit different than me, but are human beings trying to gain life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Just like myself.

Now, I do not want this to become a political blog and other than this post and maybe one once the results are in, I am 99% sure you will not have to read another for 4 years.  I just think this country is in transition and I am afraid of becoming known as the equivalent of one of the deep south states and slavery in terms of gay rights.  There are more important things than building an economy at a time like this.  I will not trade civil injustice for a bigger paycheck.

Until these two days have passed and we can move onto lighter things, have a good night.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


If you're like me, you've always had a little writing bug in you.  You read profusely as a child and you got lost in worlds much more fascinating than the one in which you lived.  But it did not end there.  You wanted to not only experience but create those worlds.  Hours were spent day dreaming about magic, intrigue, and even romance if you are honest with yourself.  However, your dreams of being an author are just that: day dreams.

In a day and age where self-publishing can be a legitimate way to get your work out there, it is becoming harder and harder to have excuses as to why you haven't wrote that novel you've been working on.  I feel the biggest block to most people is starting.  Even if you don't think you have the time, you really do.

I once was at a banquet where Jim Lehrer (which by the way Google wants me to spell check to Fuehrer) was the speaker and someone asked him "How do you have time to write so many books?"  He said that he gets that question a lot and that he makes a point to write every single day.  He might not have time to sit down and just write a book every day, but he makes a point that whether it be 10 pages or some notes on a napkin, he write every single day.  "Could you write one page a day?" he then asked.  Many people in the audience nodded or made some noise that indicated he should continue with his point.  "What do you have when you do that every day for a year?"

Photo taken from
This idea has really stuck with me, and although I enjoy writing, I have to admit I have not actually taken this advice.  This blog is about the best manifestation I've come up with, but if YOU want to get going on your novel there is no better time than now.  November is Nation Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  That means starting today you have one month to write, write, write.  The goal is to write an entire (if imperfect) novel from beginning to end during the month of November.  I feel this is a good alternative November activity for those who can't grow epic beards.  Even if you can't write a whole novel, it's a hell of a start.

If this idea intrigues you, I would encourage you to visit the official website for this event at:  You can track your progress and join a community that is there to support you and help you get that novel done.  So go out there! Do it! You can be an author!  Just think, you write just one and you can always introduce yourself that way.  The name's Bond.  James Bond.... author.