Not-So-Random Thoughts for December 10th, 2006

Apologies in advance if this sounds like I am a little edgy or irritated. Unfortunately, the problems irritating me just don’t seem to go away unless I complain about it.

I Hate Snow! – By now most of us – including everyone in my area (that I know of) – should be or is cleared out from the snow storm on Friday December 1st. Some people enjoyed it, going out and having fun in it the first sunny day that came around. Others, like myself, have had issues.

The day before was my unemployment check night, so after cashing my check, I tried to do some of what I would need to do that night and weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan on getting stuck – not that I minded, as I was at the Amoco/McDonald’s close to home, but the weather made it a little more difficult waiting for a cab that night. Not that I minded, though – at 2:30 in the morning, most people with common sense are at home asleep, especially on a Thursday night. This would be the only night, therefore, that I would enjoy the white stuff.

Friday was a usual night, with an exception: I didn’t make it to Borders due to how late the bus ran. The bad thing about that was that I didn’t get to pick up any of the other 3 books in the Ender series, the latest Vampire Hunter D conversion, or the latest Star Wars novel to come out. The bright side was reading through some of the other stuff. Left IHOP about 3-3:30 in the morning, so I missed my friends at Denny’s – providing they went out, that is. Rather than walking the way to Denny’s like I normally do, I had to call a cab.

Last Saturday I had one goal in mind: eat, then go grocery shopping, then home. Unfortunately, getting off behind Amoco/McDonald’s on State to go to Wendy’s gave me a good reason to avoid grocery shopping: stepped off of the bus onto a snowbank – and fell, landing on what I think will become a bad knee. (It would be skinned.) After that, and talking to a few friends on the phone, went to McDonald’s, where I learned something cool: you can now order a side salad instead of fries with your meal. This was something that always made me mad when I worked for them, so the fact that you could finally order a healthy meal (as compared to their normal fare) was a pleasant surprise. (Wendy’s, in contrast, has offered that for a while – although I had to go with fries because they didn’t have any salads prepared when I went. 😦 ) Another long night of reading, then I was on my way home.

Sunday was when I finally got the groceries. Don’t remember what I had, although I remember it wasn’t as much as I had the night before. It was coming home that I noticed the problem that persists as I type – somewhere in this apartment, either I’m not getting enough heat, or I have a leak. In either case, it has made it a complete problem to do much of anything in cleaning, as many of my tools are metallic, and at least half the walls have windows or doors.

The thing I usually complain about with this weather – drivers who should never have been given licenses – played fully well into this, as a number of accidents happened and a number of delays and slowdowns occurred. Doing anything outside, in my humble opinion, is ridiculously impossible, as people can’t – or won’t – shovel their sidewalks to make it possible to walk. Just trying to get to the bus stop on Harlem road by attempting to take what should have been a normally-cleared side was impossible, and I ended up with soaked feet visiting Lifetouch yesterday from it. (Hey Loves Park police: Don’t complain about people walking in the middle of the road when you can’t hire people to give us someplace safe to walk!)

Most of my time has been spent indoors, watching TV, reading books and soaking in baths to keep warm. The bright side is that, normally, my computer would be going crazy because of how hot it would be in here. However, with the landlord trying to be energy efficient and the problem not being located yet, my apartment is warm enough to not feel the full effect of the outside – I’d guesstimate about 20-30 degrees above the outside temperature during the daytime. (Warm enough that I doubt they could get in trouble for it, but cold enough that I can’t do jack and —- about anything I need to do in here.)

So why do I hate this stuff? It seems to bring out the idiot in all of us. As I mentioned, people get careless and forget that you’re not supposed to go 120 Mph on it, people forget that you’re supposed to take your time in it, and people forget that we’re supposed to be prepared against it. And yes, I consider myself one of those idiots, having left windows open the week before and not preparing enough for this cold weather.

So – anyone for a snowball fight? 😛

Friday Night Lights – For those that work with me, the big party happens next week, when everyone goes on Friday night to Forest Hills Lanes, gets drunk, and – for those who do get drunk – have fun. I wouldn’t mind being there for a part of the night, if I knew I was going to be able to get away from there and still have fun. (Note to anyone who’s doing stupid stuff such as driving drunk, speeding, being reckless, or doing any of the other numerous things to risk your license: Being without a car sucks, especially in bad and crazy weather such as – gasp – snow.) So, no, I won’t be there, I will more likely than not be out on State Street. If you’re coming with, IM me via MSN, Yahoo or AOL, email me, or call me – you know the routes.

Saturday Night Fever – As a result of last weeks snow blast, I missed the theaters last weekend, and as a result, won’t see another movie until next Saturday. The bright thing is that another movie I have been waiting on comes out next weekend: Eragon, based off of the first book by Christopher Paolini. Anyone interested in going and hanging out with me to see this let me know – the plan is to go eat somewhere nearby, then go to ShowPlace 16 (It’s unlikely that it WON’T be there, but if it ain’t, Showplace 14 would be the next likeliest, with colonial Village being a last resort), then onto either Denny’s, IHOP, Steak ‘n’ Shake or Perkins, based on where everyone wants to go. (in any case, the last stop will be Denny’s – more on that in a minute.) Anyone who want’s to hang out with me can contact me as well.

The Biggest Loser – No, I’m not putting myself down (I’m saving that for the next posting), although that’s how I’ve been feeling as of late. No, this is in reference to a show that I’ve been getting into as of late: The Biggest Loser. I have decided to audition for the show, and I am asking for help.

Saturday night I plan to have a video camera with to tape comments from people as far as why the producers should consider giving me a chance. (The plan is to spend half of the 5 minute audition on going through my daily life, and the other half on why I should be considered – where these comments come into play.) Anyone who wants to help with this and doesn’t mind being on TV or the internet (the show sometimes shows clips from the audition tapes, and – from what it looks like – on the website they show all of the audition tapes for those who make it) is encouraged to come out. (For anyone who doesn’t want to be on camera, don’t worry: The only reason it’s going to record is to get that, and as a result, no one who doesn’t want to be on there won’t be on there.)

Also, on a side note: Some of you will be receiving emails from me. I need six character witnesses for me (three male, three female) to list, with names and numbers on the form. (You can look at the form in PDF format here (the address is http://www.nbc.com/The_Biggest_Loser/contestants/casting.shtml), in case I can’t e-mail it directly to you.) The ones who will get these emails will be people I feel have known me the longest and – more importantly – can vouch for the struggles I’ve had with my weight. (The selection for who will be on the final audition tape I send will be based on that information as well – Not that I’m against fun, but I have to keep it within 5 minutes.)

I plan on sending the package, complete with video, audition form and picture – all that they request – On December 29th. I will need the help before then.

Idiots with Recording Studios – Earlier this week I did a country survey, figuring – if nothing else – it might actually be fun enough for others to want to do. Normally, with these surveys, I don’t get much of a response – maybe one or two people copying the same survey and fulling it out, but nothing major, and rarely a response.

So imagine my surprise when I got two replies. The first one sounded like it was more in general to the survey itself, and as a result, I answered as such. (The invite’s still there for chatting. 😉 ) The second one, however, made me re-question the first one, as it questioned a particular response I gave:

  • What’s your favorite country song?
    The Devil Went Down To Georgia – The Charlie Daniels Band. (It’s proof that the fault for the majority of bad country songs are not the fault of them being country but the musicians being people who should never been allowed near a recording studio.)

I took the liberty to underline what I believe is the offending line.

My Response: the same. There is country music that I like, and there is country music that I feel is pretty darn good. The problem comes when you compare what I have heard in country to what I have heard in every other genre: you don’t see many country songs being remade by heavy metal, rock or pop bands (In fact, I only know of two songs – “Devil” and “I will always Love you” by Dolly Parton, as ever being done from Country to something else), yet all too often you hear country stars covering and using pop songs as country. (Anything by the Eagles don’t count, IMHO – they’re one of the few true cross-genre groups to ever exist.) If even a quarter of what was done were good, likable songs, I could accept that, and possibly even like it. If they were to improve upon the original song they cover, I’d be cool with it. The sad thing, though, is that not only do they cover songs that I either disliked or was on the verge of hating and made it worse. ” I Swear”, when it was done by All-4-One, is still one of my favorite R&B songs; whether it originally came from or was covered by country, it took a halfway decent song and made a poor, bad, garbage-spewing turd of a song out of it. (In all fairness, my friends would probably call me crazy for liking what is, for all other practical sakes and purposes, an average pop song.) “God Must Have Spent A little More Time With You”, a song I was on the verge of hating due to the overplay of an bad pop song, is the one exception of country making a cover better than the original; however, to consider how low I would rate the song originally, anything would be an improvement. even then, the song still stunk, and I hated the country version as well.

(To give you a rough idea of how I feel about covers, country is the exception to the rule: Most covers I have heard have done a good job of capturing or improving upon the spirit of the song. In fact, “Turn the Page,” originally performed by Bob Seger and covered by Metallica, and “Bullet The Blue Sky”, performed and written by U2 and covered by Payable On Death (P.O.D.), are two excellent examples of good cover songs: In “Turn’s” case, the song equally applies to the Bar band scene as it does to the road trip stadium scene, while “Bullet” did a fair job of giving a different perspective to the same song. Hmmm…)

Covers are only a minority of the songs; in the case of Country, though, it’s an example of the direction it has gone and the things I dislike. I’m not against genres crossing and making something new, as many of the bands I like could be considered Nu-Metal and Rap-Rock, but Country Rap? Maybe as a joke, and maybe if it was done right, but “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” at it’s best, makes me cringe with how god-awful this idea can be. (I’ve heard farts that sounded painful that were more enjoyable than that song!) The Bon-Jovi & Sugarland song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” at it’s best, is likable, and I will admit to even singing along sometimes. Most of the time, though, because certain stations don’t get that I can not listen to a song a hundred times a day, it’s annoying.

That’s the way I see it with most of today’s country music: they have the right idea, but the implementation is way off the mark. If you were to ask me what country songs I like, there wouldn’t be many on the list; that’s because I don’t particularly listen to the stuff outside of the radio. Most of the stuff I would list I wouldn’t even know the name to. Most of what would be listed, however, would fall into one of two categories: the slow country song and the story song. Most of the songs I like in pop and country, in general, are slow and sad songs, but country seems to do a very good job of this, and story songs are a speciality of country songs, as most other genres can’t do them as well as Country can. The other thing you’d notice is that I like the older stuff more than I do the new stuff; While I wouldn’t be able to stand it for too long, I’d enjoy it more.

To be fair, there is some new stuff I like. The Dixie Chicks, while some people are against them for stupid reasons, have a good idea of what country should be; so does Garth Brooks, in my opinion. Carrie underwood, the American Idol, has a beautiful voice, even when I can’t stand the music long; and there’s some Reba that i think is pretty cool. Likewise, my comment applies to every genre, not just country. The biggest reason why it was inserted, though, is that’s how I feel about most country music today: There’s a few people who have the right idea and too many in-between who don’t.

They asked for my favorite country song; I figured I’d spark a discussion. Too bad my barb was received by the wrong people.

The Six Enemies of Wayne C. Winquist – The past 7-8 weeks have not been like I planned. On the bright side, I got the much-needed rest I was craving for the past year and a half, and I am so energized to return to work now. To get through it, I had go through a lot of emotions and problems I’ve been repressing for 2 and a half years, to dig into the skin and find the things I think are eating away at me. That meant putting aside many projects, sitting down and thinking for times on end. That meant fighting through a strong, sad wave of depression that has only been building up.

The bad thing is that, had I a girlfriend or a room mate, they would have gotten sick of me or left already. I’m not very likable, I think, when I get depressed, and it’s hard for me to shake that feeling. Even if I had someone beside me, there’d be a lot more work for them than I would have liked. Sometimes the best thing is for a person to work things out on their own, and I seem to be good, if slow, at it.

The good thing is that I now have a few things to take with me to the Doctors and psychiatrists when I return to work and get health insurance. Some of this stuff is obvious; some I needed to see from the outside.

  1. Obesity – This is probably the most obvious, even to a person who has never heard me speak or seen me. when you’re over 400 pounds, saying you have a problem is only small when you’re a 20 foot tall giant. At six feet, I seriously doubt it’s a small problem.
  2. High Blood Pressure – This would be obvious to a doctor or to anyone who has it; to the average joe it may not be easy easy to notice without a conversation or two with me. I’ve had the problem since the first time I went solo looking for a diet; this is one that, more likely than not, got worse as a result of not seeing a doctor.
  3. Diabetes – Unlike the first two, where even without seeing a doctor it’s obvious, this one I can not confirm yet. In fact, the only part I can confirm is that, because of family history, every time I give up or try a new doctor, and probably every year even after I lose the weight, I will have to be tested for it. Combined with the habits I am noticing in myself, particularly the increase in drinking of sodas and juices, it would surprise me that I am not. (In many ways, I am also hoping it isn’t – from what I understand, where I might be able to get insurance with weight loss I may have a difficult time having “diabetic” on my medical history.)
  4. Clinical Depression – This is the biggest thing that has always caused me to fail, next to laziness. Every time I have been laid off, every time I feel pressure, every time I have something bad happen, the setback usually accompanies a depressions. Sometimes, I deal with it right away, and in a few days it’s gone; sometimes it’s put off until I can deal with it, which is usually during a layoff or a bad time for me. Most of the time it just builds up until something I was in the middle of explodes, and bang! everything hits. It cost me all 77 pounds I lost the time I had my best diet so far; it cost me a bunch of friends, some for a period of time, others permanently. It should be noted that this was often the reason why I was missing from classes during the day, as I went to see certain social workers.
  5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – So why did I stop going to see the doctor? What was the breaking point for me? Well, within a month of seeing this guy, I found out the doctor I had was leaving, and the dietician I had also left. Both got better jobs in different places, and I wish them well. This new guy must have had a bad day or something, because the moment he came in he seemed like he had a bug up his butt, mumbling stuff under his breath and generally not giving me much of a chance. The only thing I really caught from his mumbles was “OCD.”
    As you can imagine, someone with an attitude rubs a little bit of it on me – as a result, I was fed up with them. I knew about the dietician the previous month, and I think I should have made the last appointment to see her. The Doctor I got lucky, but just barely: He was supposed to be gone on the day I was supposed to meet this new guy. To have two people I thought could have helped, who’ve been helping me for a year and a half, suddenly leave and bring in a new guy who who has a chip on his shoulder? No, no, no.
    I think I tried to see him once more, but got the same response. So you want to have an attitude? Don’t want to treat me? That’s fine by me. In spite of his chip, the idea that I was OCD stuck around for a while.
    It makes a lot of sense: I can see times where I obsessed over different things, and certain bad habits are compulsive. More importantly, though, is my near-perfectionism at work: If I am working on something, I don’t let up until it is perfect. During home projects, this isn’t a problem, but at work, I often overdo a project or a job that other people get by with less on. On the one hand, some of the places I have worked at don’t work the way I feel they should. On the other hand, it may cause me to overwork something, and worse, worsen the depression I feel when I fail.
  6. Bad Teeth – Like the rest of these, this can visibly be seen, if not immediately, when I speak. Unlike the rest of these, where therapy and drugs can help to fix the problems, and where there’s speculation, the road to recovery on this, while faster than the rest of these, will require dental surgery. My high blood pressure prevents me from getting Novocain; as a result, I have to take a substitute drug that wears off too fast and doesn’t do as good a job. As a result, the 4 wisdom teeth that need to be drilled out and removed can’t. To make it worse, I can’t leave them like this for too much longer, as they can affect and worsen my other conditions.

All of my physical problems are the results of years of bad habits; if I had been more active, ate considerably less, and took care of my body better, none of these problems – save the teeth, of course – would have happened. (In the case of the teeth, I felt and knew what was happening before the dentist explained; they are my back teeth, and they should have been removed either way.) The solution, likewise, is what I should have done all along: eat healthy, be active, and take care of my body. It’s also why I care the attitude about my looks: How can I be ugly when I have never seen what’s underneath my baggage? There’s no way to know what I look like.

The mental ones are a different subject. One of the reasons why I hope to prove that John is my father is that that side of my family has had mental issues which have required medical attention. By proving he is my dad, not only may I be able to prove some truth on that side of the family, I might also be able to find out why I have the instabilities that weren’t on my mother’s side of the family.

The other thing about the mental problems is that, like the Diabetes, they have yet to be proven clinically; Unlike the Diabetes, the reason they’ve not been proven is that they’ve not been searched. As a result, what I am searching for is based upon self observance and stories I have heard, both about myself and my families. I’m not assuming anything other than something is wrong at the moment; that’s the only safe thing I can assume. This is only what I am bringing to the doctor that I think can be proven, one way or the other, as being the problems I need to focus on. even if I don’t have something wrong, as in the case of Diabetes, because of high risk factors and other criteria, they may want me to work as if I did, just as a means to prevent it.

The Apple Game System – It seems like every year around this time the Apple crack-heads seem to come out of the woodworks, their speculations and theories of what will be coming out making it difficult to decide whether to ask for a new Mac for Christmas or wait until next month when all sorts of new goodies that they may want to come out. (As a general rule, unless – like now – I am in bad need of an upgrade, I try to avoid asking for a new Mac for Christmas. Not that anyone would be insane enough to get me one, though.)

Among the rumor mill this year is a product announced in September as being in development but not going to be introduced to the public until next month’s expo: the iTV, which people are currently re-dubbing as the Mac Media Capsule, which is a set-top box that is supposed to connect to your TV and (if I recall correctly) be able to pull wirelessly your media files from your Mac. It’s about half the size of a Mac Mini, and bears a lot of similarities in looks.

Also hitting the rumor mill this year is the possibility that Apple is considering making a game system. Although nothing official has been talked about in either direction about this possibility from Apple, it has fueled blogs, Mac sites and magazines with some speculation for the past couple of days. The evidence seems to stem from some inquiries Apple put into Intel’s Xenon tri-core processor housed in the XBox 360, as well as recent hirings of game developers.

I’m sure I don’t need to remind people of the Pippin. For those who have no clue what that is, Apple and Bandai teamed up to create a game machine based on similar specs to the Performa 6200CD, but was a dedicated game and web machine that was doomed to fail and lived to expectations of anyone with half a brain. The performa 6200CD was my first Macintosh, based of the second-generation PowerPC chips, but worse than the first generation. If it was maxxed out at that time, it was a halfway-decent – but very-low powered – multimedia and internet machine. Nowadays, it’s only good as a TV, if anything.

While Apple has improved considerably since then, the fact remains that there should be no speculation on any sort of idea. Apple’s idea for media-center machine alone should tell you this: No HD for recording, no DVD for playing, and no iPod dock. While many media centers from other companies may lack the iPod dock, they usually have the capability to record TV or insert media. Because they’re PC’s, they’re also capable – although, in most cases, unlikely – of being halfway-decent game machines, either using emulators to play games from older systems or playing current PC games.

Even if Apple decided to make a true media center, complete with the capability to surf the net and chat with friends while watching a movie or TV, the gaming system part would be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. Everyone lists price, but Price could easily be overcome if it stuck to being a media-center machine first. The big failure would come from the lack of software: although the Mac has its fair share of developers, both porting over PC and console game and creating new and original stuff, the fact remains that there aren’t many game developers for the Mac. You bring compelling developers with games that everyone will want to play, the system will sell itself. This is the model that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo employ, and that’s why they succeed.

That’s not to say Apple ain’t capable of it: certainly they’d be able to create a machine capable of gaming and multimedia at a profitable cost to them, and even if it was a little more than a Top-of-The-Line PlayStation 3, with the right software the demand could – theoretically – grow. (For proof, look at the iPod – it cost more than most MP3 players of its time, yet it’s the most popular mP3 player today.) Those of us who use Apple Products on a daily basis know that Apple is also more than capable of creating a software front-end that could probably take on – and beat – everything else on the market. In Terms of creating software that developers would love to take advantage of, that’d be debatable, but I doubt they’d have much trouble in this area. And, even though they’d employ a lot of DCMA tactics to make it difficult and illegal to utilize the stuff you you record and buy from the net, they’d still probably come up with something that, in comparison to Sony, Nintendo, and especially Microsoft (*cough* – Zune – *cough*) would be genius and work well for everyone who uses it.

There’s also the factor of the developers themselves. Much of the reason why recording companies are backing the Zune is that, should it succeed like every other Microsoft product, they have a better shot at making money than they would with the iPod and the iTunes Music store. In addition, they seem to be having difficulty swaying the movie companies onto the iTunes store, while they’re going towards other alternatives. (Part of this is due to companies like Wal-Mart and target threatening to order less of their DVD’s to sell, while part of it is the difficulties the record companies have with Apple in control of the price.) There’s also the factor that Apple has, in the past, tried and failed to embrace gaming – their most recent example with Quake 3 Arena and their deals with certain other companies around that time.

While I would still prefer a Non-DCMA Apple Entertainment System, the reality is that they’d never be able to get the developers on their side. Apple has to have the developers making enough system-selling games to even consider the gaming market. For that mater, they have to develop something on par with, or better than, the rest of the media center PC market – something I feel the iTV sorely misses the mark on. It’s a nice idea, but like the iPod Hi-FI, we’ll be lucky to see it go beyond where it’s at.

Off to bed I go, if I want to fix things up. If I don’t post again before Christmas, Have a Merry Christmas!

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2 thoughts on “Not-So-Random Thoughts for December 10th, 2006

  1. I admire your wish to prove once and for all your paternity, but proving John as your biological father will not necessarily prove that any of your psychological/depression issues are inherited. Yes, John’s mom had what was called at the time a “nervous breakdown” and has had issues since. (She’s still alive) But, I think I told you this before hon, John was adopted. His folks didn’t tell him that til he was about 40 so no one on your mom’s side of the family knows about it. He has no clue as to his birth parentage.
    Hope you’re doing well.

  2. I realize that you’re not going to believe me on this, but the info never originated on my mom’s side. Yes, what I do have originates from there, as well as from you and my half-siblings, but the info I have is based on a theory that has yet to be proven wrong, in terms of my experiences. The fact that he chooses not to test is his choice – not mine.

    You may choose to believe him on his word. I only choose to believe the evidence I have – and right now, it’s stacked against the possibility. Even if he is indeed adopted and I am wrong, I choose to go further and find that info, regardless of his choice not to. If indeed that stays his choice afterwards, I’ll respect his wish and not inform him of it.

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