Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's... Razorhawk?

So, I was browsing the interwebs today, and I came across this video:

Yep. Real-life superheroes.

I know, I did the whole "What the [CENSORED]?" thing when I saw it too.

Yeah, not sure what I can really add to this post, aside from the fact that the World Superhero Registry really exists.

Okay, I admire what they're trying to do, but still... it's kinda... I dunno? Geeky?


Not much I can really add to this.

Monday, December 29, 2008

If I Ran GM

Ever since the auto bailout started garnering serious attention from Washington, I've been thinking. The automakers' problems aren't a result of the current financial crisis, but rather as a result of the manufacturers' own stupidity. (Auto Bailout a Go. Oh No.) So I got to thinking, if I ran an auto manufacturer, say General Motors, what would I do?

1. Gut the bureaucracy. Everything is done by committee nowadays, to the point where deciding what color a car's engine cover will be is endlessly and needlessly debated. Cutting this out will reduce development time and allow designers to focus on the more important aspects of the cars. Also, cutting out unneccesary bean-counters will save millions in salaries and benefits costs.

2. Cut the Top Brass' pay. CEOs and other execs make hundreds of millions while they drive the company into the ground. Not on my watch. Top brass would make $250,000 a year, $300,000 tops. Which is more than most Americans make.

3. Play hardball with the unions. Pardon my language, but the UAW has castrated the auto industry. I talk about this more in my previous blog post on the subject, but that was before I learned that the UAW owns a $6 million golf course and a $33 million retreat to go with it. I'd bring the unions to the table and force them to negotiate contracts that provide fair wages to the workers without causing the company to go bankrupt. If they refuse, I'd pack up and move manufacturing out of union country (part of something is better than all of nothing). Hey, it's worked for the Japanese manufacturers.

4. Focus on quality and aesthetics. Nobody wants to pay $40,000 for a car that looks, feels, and drives like a piece of junk. I'd build cars that people want to buy.

5. Massively reorganize the brands. Right now, with any of the Big Three, it doesn't really matter which of one company's brand you choose, you're still essentially buying the same car with a different badge. (Example: the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300.) That would change with me at the helm. I'd reorganize each brand to focus on a specific area of the market. Also, while they'd still share platforms, each model would be more distinct in appearance, color offerings, perfomance, and options.

  • Chevrolet: Flagship Brand, featuring a little of everything. (in other words, it would stay basically the same)
  • Caddilac: Premium luxury brand, focused mainly on larger sedans.
  • Buick: Budget luxury. For those who can't afford Caddilacs. Might throw a crossover into the mix.
  • Dewoo. Axed. This brand is crap. Last time I heard an add for them, they were offering "Buy one, get one free!" That says something. This brand would either be sold back to the Koreans or just bite the dust all together.
  • GMC. Focus on SUVs (real ones) and utility trucks.
  • Hummer. Civilian production would die, plants would be converted to produce up-armored Humvees for the Military.
  • Pontiac. Re-focused on performance, like in the old days. The GTO and Firebird would be ressurected.
  • Saab. I don't know what I'd do with Saab, honestly. Probably focus on premium perfomance like in the old days, though this would be more rally-oriented than Pontiac.
  • Saturn. The entry-level economy brand. That's what it was, that's what it's reputation is, that's what it should be.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Ninja Will See You Now

For a long time, nerdjedi has been trying to get me to check out this web comic called The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Now, when I say a long time, I'm talking about several months, maybe even a year. Possibly longer. Well, I took a quick look at it back when he first started telling me about it, and I thought it was dumb and didn't make a lick of sense. What I didn't realize is that I was reading the beginning of the second of a three-comic story arc. Silly Raptor. So, anyway, the other night, he got on my case about it big time, eventually sending me the link to the archives and the very first comic. So, having nothing better to do, I read it.

I really should listen to nerdjedi more often.

I like it. Not die-hard-fan-love-it like nerdjedi does, but I like it. It's entertaining, it makes me laugh, it's pretty cool. I think I'll start following it. I'm really not into comics that much, but what the heck. It's goofy enough that I like it.

If you've never seen it before, it's worth checking out. Heck, it's good for a laugh. Sometimes more than one.

Oh, (this has nothing to do with what I just wrote) by the way, I finished Without Remorse last night. Finally! I liked it, not as much as I did the first time I'd picked it up, but only because I've read the first 600 pages or so at least a half-dozen times.

Next up: The Bourne Identity. I've actually allready started it. As awesome as the movie was, the book is even better (naturally).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back From the Holidays

Hey, everyone. The last couple days have been kinda crazy, what with Christmas and all, so I didn't have time really to post.

Christmas was great. The rest of the Raptor clan came over to our place for Christmas dinner. All of the cousins were home from college, so literally everybody was there. It was really great to be able to see everyone. Grandpa Raptor really liked our Wii. He'd never seen one before, and he couldn't get over how amazing it is. I think he might want one of his own.

As far as gifts go, it was pretty low-key this year. I got a ton of books, and a B&N gift card that I used to buy even more. Stephen Hunter, Vince Flynn, and Robert Ludlum. I've got enough new novels to keep me reading until at least February.

Speaking of which, I'm nearly finished Without Remorse. Don't have my copy handy, but I'm on something like page 708 out of 750. I'll probably finish it off tonight, if not than definitely by tomorrow night. Can't believe I've owned it for something like 5-6 years and never once finished it.

On the downside, I didn't get to write as much of Justice Delayed as I wanted to. It's about 7700 words long, but I'm just now getting into the meat of the plot. If you're interested, I've got enough written to post a sample.

Oh, almost forgot to mention, I got the entire first season of 24 on DVD too. Believe it or not, I'm a 24 virgin. I really want to see the show, but I've always had something to do every time the season premieres, so I'll catch it midway into the season and have no clue what is going on. No more. Guess what I'll be doing New Year's Eve? And Day?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Everyone

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to all.

Monday, December 22, 2008

He's Gonna Regret This In The Morning

Pope Puts Stress On 'Gay Threat'

His Holiness says that "saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behavior is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction."

Oh, that one's gonna come back and bite him in the @$$.

Remeber Those Spending The Holidays Far From Home

To all who are serving in the Armed Forces, and who are away from their families this Christmas, thank you. It's not enough, but thank you for your sacrifice.

Iced In, Part 2

18 degrees. That's how cold it is outside. It was 10 degrees when I woke up at 9:30 this morning. I haven't seen 10-degree weather since my stint in Pennsylvania's Siberia, AKA Grove City.

The driveway is still a sheet of ice, even though Papa Raptor salted it twice yesterday. The streets don't look much better. Our deck is an ice-skating rink. Both lawns are frozen blocks of soil. The minivan got left outside during the storm Saturday night (no room in the garage), and the door was still frozen shut this afternoon.

It hasn't been this cold around here in years. Global warming my @$$.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Raptor Is About To Wig Out!

Yeah, didn't get much work done on Justice Delayed today; just three lousy sentences, not even 50 words (in my defense, I seem to be most creative between the hours of 12:00 and 3:00 AM. Don't ask why.).

Haven't read any more of Without Remorse either (no defense here, just lazy).

Got by butt kicked in Scrabble. Lost by one lousy point on the last play of the game! Talk about frustrating.

Put the ornaments on the tree. How annoying. Not the putting up of the ornaments itself, but the fact Momma Raptor has to make sure everyone only puts on their own ornaments and that the tree looks "balanced" and turns it into a production.

That's not what's driving me crazy, though.

My left eyebrow has a twitch in it. For the last two days.

I've tried everything. I ate a whole banana, took an extra calcium with lunch, hydrated so much that I've turned into a living, breathing Greek fountain. No dice. It won't go away!

And it's driving me out of my cotton-pickin' mind!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please, I'm begging you, how do I make it stop?


Now that I wrote this post, my eyebrow stopped twitching.

I'm willing to bet that as soon as I click "Publish," it'll start again.

Iced In

It iced last night. A lot. The Turnpike is closed, the Expressway is closed, the back roads are... I don't even want to find out how bad the back roads are. It's tough to even walk. We usually go to church in the city, but it looks like we won't be going anywhere today. Even the 4-wheel-drive Subaru would have a tough time in this crap.

Gonna be slow around here today. I think I'll work at getting a big chunk of Justice Delayed done. This book is going to be epic (Okay, just a lot longer than I thought) I'm not quite at 6,000 words yet, barely even started on the plot, and it's already more than 1/4 the length of the first draft of More Than a Job.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and The Just Plain Strange

Found this as I was cruising around the interwebs.

It's an outfit called The Spaghetti Western Orchestra. The song they are, uh, performing is the legendary theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Definitely my favorite western and one of my all-time favorite films. Clint Eastwood is da man. Can't wait for his newest film, Gran Torino, to hit theaters.

"Get off my lawn!" Man, that sounds more intimidating than "Make my day."

Congress Just Gave Us The Finger. Again.

The economy's in shambles, unemployment is at record highs, the auto industry just got a major bailout, and what's Congress done?

Given itself a raise.

Yep, $4,700 more per member per year, which is roughly another $2.5 million that us taxpayers have to cover.

Needless to say, I'm pissed. These boneheads can't do anything right when it comes to running a country, can't even find a bathroom without an aide, and they think they should be further rewarded for their efforts? Yeah, right. [/sarcasm]

My advice: find out who voted for the pay raise, then we vote them out of office.

Status Update:
Without Remorse: pg. 208 of 750
Justice Denied: 5,566 words (spent most of the day running errands)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Auto Bailout a Go. Oh No.

It's finally happened. The Government's going to bail out GM and Chrysler. 17.4 billion dollars in "low-interest loans" to help get the automakers back on their feet.

In my opinion, this is a very bad move. The automakers' problems are not, as the CEOs have repeatedly claimed, as a result of the current financial crisis. Nope, their problems go way, way back to the early 1970s.

Back when gas prices started skyrocketing (the first time), the market suddenly turned from the big, powerful cars Detroit was pumping out and started looking at smaller, fuel-efficent cars like the ones Japan had just begun importing. Detroit put out fuel-efficient cars too, but unlike the Japanese, theirs were cheap, underpowered econoboxes. That trend lasted into the 90's when the gas glut caused the market for puckups and SUVs to take off. Then, when Hurricane Katrina hit and gas prices started to skyrocket again, buyers started to turn away from their big trucks towards hybrids. But Detroit kept on pushing the big, gas-guzzling trucks and then wondered why they wouldn't sell.

Another problem is the UAW. I think unions have their place, but they're not trying to secure safe work environments or revieve fair pay: OSHA and federal laws take care of that now. What the UAW has done is, quite literally, castrate the auto industry. The lowest-paid UAW workers, the ones who sweep the factory floors, make the equivalent of $70 an hour once you factor in retirement and benefits. (Auto workers at places like Nissan and Toyota, for comparison, make the equivalent of around $45.) And during negotiations during the crisis, the UAW leaders refused to accept a pay cut or reduction in benefits, even though the Big Three looked like they were about to go under. Never mind the fact that if the companies folded, the UAW's members would be out of work. What's that old saying, "Part of something is better than all of nothing?"

Honestly, IMHO, all the bailout is going to do is just prolong the inevitable collapse of the American auto industry because the automakers, in all likelyhood, will not change their ways despite the governments requirement to do so. Bankruptcy, on the other hand, would make such neccesary changes inevitable.

There was a editorial on the subject a few weeks ago in my college's newspaper. You can read that here.

Status Update:
Without Remorse: pg 84 out of 750.
Justice Delayed: 9 pages, 5,403 words.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Declaration of Intent: Without Remorse

I was just staring at one of my bookshelves, looking over my massive collection, when one particular title suddenly jumped out at me: Without Remorse by Tom Clancy. It suddenly occurred to me that, although I have owned the book for at least three years now, I have never finished reading it. I've started it at least four times, twice making it through 3/4 to 7/8 of the book, but I have never actually finished reading it. I really liked the book too, it's definitely one of my top Clancy pics, but every time I read it, something comes up and I never get a chance to finish it.

Well, now I've got 24 days of Winter Break left, nothing big going on, and nothing major looming in my future. So I'm making my goals for the remainder of vacation:

  1. Put a very big chunk in Justice Delayed, if not finish it entirely.
  2. Read Without Remorse from cover to cover.
I'm a much faster reader than I am a writer, so I'll probably finish reading Without Remorse long before I finish the first draft of Justice Denied. Figure I'll be done the book in, oh, two weeks. I'll let you know when I finish. Do me a favor: If I don't report that I've finished it by January 12, get on my case about it.

Free Plug for Free Rice

A long, long, time ago, I came across a website. Okay, fine, I come across websites all of the time, but this one is different.

It's called FreeRice. What it is is a Flash-based (I think) game that gives you a vocabulary word - Puzzlement, for example - then list four possible answers - assistance, foe, perplexity, and exactness - and you pick the correct answer. (By the way, the answer is perplexity).

Okay, it's a simple vocab game, what's so special about that? Here's the deal. The site works with the UN World Food Program, and every time you answer a question correctly, the site donates (via its sponsors) 20 grains of rice to third-world nations in an effort to end starvation. It's not much, I know, but the site is really challenging and can be quite addictive, so you can wind up donating thousands of grains to the starving.

English Vocab isn't the only subject available either. There's also Math, Chemistry, Grammer, Art, and multiple foreign languages, too.

I'm under no illusions about this site. I know it's not one of those be-all-end-all will-end-world-hunger things, but it's something.

You can check out the site here, or else click the link in the sidebar.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Russia's New Treason Laws: Back To The Bad Ol' Days

Vladimir Putin, Russia's ex-President/current Prime Minister recently introduced a new anti-treason bill that most expect will become law. You can read about it here, but the short version is that anyone who cooperates with a foreign company or "Non-Governmental Organization" in a way that the Russian Government (Putin) feels harms Russia's interests will be guilty of treason.

Why is this bad? Because the bill applies any non-governmental organization from anywhere in the world that has offices in Russia, including international aid groups. So in other words, if Vladimir goes to Amnesty International to report abuse by Moscow Police, he's just committed treason. The same thing applies to those seeking aid from the European Court on Human Rights or the World Court, if what they want conflicts with government interests. And last time I checked, they still shoot traitors in Russia.

The article says that activists call this new legislation "a throwback to the days of Hitler and Stalin." I'm inclined to agree with them. In the Bad Old Days, if you disagreed with the State at all, then the State made you disappear. You'd be lucky to end up in a gulag in northern Siberia. Somehow, I get the feeling that when this bill passes (and since Putin's backing it, odds are that it will), the vanishing acts will start up again. Ever since he was elected President, Putin's been slowly but surely turning democratic Russia back into the totalitarian USSR. There's a constitutional change in the works that could allow Putin to run for office again, possibly indefinitely. If that happens, then I can see the Cold War starting up again. And given the way our next president has said he's going to deal with foreign threats, that's a really bad thing.

Celebrating Obama: Hold Your Horses

Recently, I've been seeing commercials on TV for Barack Obama commerative plates and commemorative coins. I've heard that several schools are renaming themselves after him. I've seen a report (but been unable to confirm) that St. Lois, MO wants to rename the historic Delmar Boulevard after him. I've even heard a rumor that a county in Alabama wants to create Barack Obama Day as a county holiday. Now, he's been named "Person of the Year" by TIME Magazine.

That's all well and good, but aren't we celebrating a bit to early?

Brack Obama hasn't done anything yet. Okay, he won the election and has appointed most of his cabinet, but he hasn't even been inaugurated yet. We have no idea how good or bad of a leader he will be, and yet we seem to be celebrating him as the greatest President since, well, Washington.

I won't deny that an African-American being elected President is nothing short of historic, and the occasion of his election should be celebrated, but really, this is going a bit too far. We don't know what he's going to do once he takes office. All I've heard from him are the same vague speeches about Hope, Change, and Equality, along with his Redistribute-The-Wealth rhetoric (Which is socialist. No, really, it is. Look the word up in the dictionary) and promises of so-called "Common Sense" gun laws . I don't know what exactly he's going to do once he takes office (though I can probably guess), and maybe he will turn out to be a good president. I don't know. But I think we should hold off on the celebrating until we know just what kind of a leader our 44th President turns out to be.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why I Plan To Carry

A 21 year-old girl calls 911 to report she is being attacked by a stranger. The police arrive. 48 minutes later, after her attacker had brutally murdered her. You can read the full story here.

The police are supposed to protect us. That's their job. But, as this article clearly shows, they are not always around when we need them. You're being attacked, you call 911, then what? You need the police now, but they're minutes away if you're lucky. Ultimately, your own personal safety is your responsibility.

That's one reason why I plan on owning and carrying a gun (my age and present housing situation currently prohibit both). No one has a right to harm me or take my life from me, and I have a right to defend myself if someone tries. And I know for a fact that the police probably won't show up until it's too late.

A few months ago, somebody broke into the house around the corner from mine. The woman who lives there called 911, but by the time the police responded the guy was long gone. I wasn't home when the break-in happened; I actually wound up sort-of following one of the responding officers there. It was no more than five or six minutes from the second he turned on the lights and siren and blew passed me to when I drove past the woman's house as I turned onto my street, but that fast the guy (I think I remember learning that it was the homeowner's ex-husband; they'd just gone though a very bitter divorce) was in and out. Thankfully, the homeowner wasn't harmed. But she was lucky. Brittany Zimmerman wasn't.

Major Blog Renovation in Progress

As you've no doubt noticed, I've altered the blog's template again. I was tired of the old template and thought this one looked a lot nicer. I'll probably be fooling around with the color scheme and trying out new gadgets over the next couple of days. Let me know what you think about my experimentations.

I've also made some major changes to my profile as well. I'm just Raptor now, not jedi_raptor07. Image profile has also been changed. It's a peregrine falcon to fit with the Raptor name. The URL has also been changed. It didn't fit with the theme I had going with the rest of my URLs, so I decided to change it. That, and since my profile name has changed, I wanted the URL to be relevant to the new name.

Finally, I've deleted my Raptor's Reaction's blog. Honestly, I thought it was silly to have a dedicated blog for meaningful, intelligent posts while devoting my main blog to just pointless junk. I did integrate all of the posts from Reaction's into the main blog, so nothing was lost. Any new "reactions" will just be posted on the main blog. This change doesn't affect my movie review at all. That will remain separate.

That takes care of most of the major stuff (for now, anyway). I've made some changes to the sidebar and added a "Quote of the Day" gizmo above the posts as well.

What's the point of all these changes? Quite frankly, I was disappointed with the way the blog was, and I'm going to try and take it in a different directions. Hopefully now the posts will be more meaningful instead of the random junk I was posting earlier. This is most likely going to result in two major changes. First, I'll probably be posting more of the short microfictions that I put up occasionally. Second, the blog will probably be getting a bit more political in nature, so consider yourself warned.

Right now, I've taken the renovations about as far as I've planned to. However, this whole thing started out with me planning to do nothing more than simply changing the template, so we'll see what happens.

I Wonder What Amazon Thinks of Me?

Over the last year, I've made exactly three purchases from First, for five books on the New Testament for my bible class. Second, for a textbook about movies and an a scene-by scene analysis of Psycho. Third and most recently, for an old Doctor Who series (for nerdjedi) and a three-disc Queen collection (for myself) Now, to make purchases from Amazon, like most online retailers (in my experience anyway) you have to create an account. After you purchase stuff, Amazon sends you these "Amazon Reccomends" emails that suggests items they think you'd like based on what you've previously bought from them. I can only wonder what those little gremlins who put together those emails think of me. "He likes books on religion, old horror movies, old British science fiction TV shows, and 80s rock bands. O-kaaaaaay....."

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ' Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ' Nam ',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
" So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Sunday, December 14, 2008

That Was Odd

Yeah, I have no idea why I wrote my last post. I wasn't even cheesed off about anything when I wrote it. Not even remotely agitated. Yeah. That was wierd.


Finals are over, so that means I'm off for the next month! Sweet!!! Plans? Not much, really. I'm probably going to spend most of my time rewriting More Than a Job, which I've re-titled as Justice Delayed. I re-read it a few weeks ago, and while I love the characters, the basic premise (Pierce as a hitman) was just too cheesy, especially since I'm going to try and have it published once I finish writing it. Aside from that, I really don't have all that much on my plate.

So, yeah, not much going on in my world.

Still no idea why I wrote that last post.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

10 Things That Really Cheese Me Off

In no particular order...

  1. Che Guevera T-Shirts. This man helped to incite violent revolutions in Guatemala, Cuba, Gongo, and Bolivia, ordered the deaths of thousands simply because they disagreed with his political views... and you want to put him on a T-Shirt?
  2. Verizon. We upgraded to FiOS this week, which is cool, but now Verizon is calling us and telling us we ordered a whole lot of extra packages that we didn't order and that we owe them more money that we really don't. We'll get it sorted out, but it's still a royal pain in the @$$.
  3. Liberal Fanatics. I like a lot of Democrats. I have several good friends who are outspoken proponents of the Democratic Party. It's the rabidly politically correct, bailout-everyone, ban-all-guns, Christian-muzzling, George-Bush-is-evil types that drive me up a wall. Especially the ones who refuse to even let the other side speak (This means you, Ms. O'Donnell)
  4. Christmas Carols in November. Don't get me wrong, these seasonal songs have their place: the two weeks before Christmas. Not the day after Halloween. You want to start playing them after Thanksgiving, that's fine. But 24/7 for two months straight? I swear, if I hear It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year or Have a Holly Jolly Christmas one more time, I'm going to completely lose it.
  5. The Big Three. They spend the last 30 years digging themselves into a hole, and now they expect Washington to bail them out at the taxpayers' expense? No way, Jose. Maybe it they'd built cars that people actually wanted to own, they wouldn't be in this mess.
  6. Nintendo Power. I used to really like this magazine. Heck, I've been a subscriber since the 5th grade. Since they switched publishers last summer, though, the magazine has really started to suck. Now it's like almost every other generic game magazine; ads, a few previews, ads, a major review of a game or two, more ads, maybe an interview with a developer, even more ads, a lot of 2-paragraph micro reviews, still more ads, general bragging about how great they are, and, oh, did I mention ads?
  7. The Mainstream Media. Our economy is in the crapper, Somali pirates are hijacking at least one ship a week, Russia changed its constitution in a way that will allow Putin to remain in power, Venezuela recently purchased several billion in new weapons from Russia, yet these barely seem to rate a 30-second blurb while reporters camp out in front of a hospital for days waiting for Brangelina's babies to be born. Plus, most of them don't even bother to check the facts on their stories any more. Dan Rather ring a bell?
  8. Frivolous Lawsuits. Actually, people who won't take responsibility for their actions in general make me mad, but it's when they turn around and sue that my blood really starts to boil. If you spill hot coffee on yourself, you should clean yourself up, not clean out the company who sold you the coffee. My personal favorite: the couple who sued New York City's Metro Transit authority after they were hit by a subway train while making out on the tracks.
  9. Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. Two more magazines that I really used to like. I've been "borrowing" my dad's issues of PopMech since I was 8, and I subscribed to PopSci since I was in middle school. However, that was before they went politically correct, i.e., green. Now, most of their articles are about some new technology that is going to replace fossil fuels or save the planet. I've got no problem with that, but there's more to science than green technology, especially when most of it is either decades away or will never work to begin with. Even nerdjedi is sick of PopSci now.
  10. Writers who publish online but don't finish their stories. Now this really cheeses me off. I cannot tell you how many times I've come across a really great story on FanFiction.Net or FictionPress.Com or some similar site and follow the story for months, only to have the author suddenly abandon it for another story because they're bored with it or suddenly got a new idea. ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! Finish the story, **** it!!! I want to know how it ends!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ford Fiesta: A Subcompact... Amphibious Assault Vehicle?

Starts off like a standard Top Gear review, but trust me, it gets interesting towards the middle.

Go Marines! Even if you are from Formerly-Great Britain!

I promise, this is the only Top Gear video I'll post for a while.

Also, I am now officially cheezed off at YouTube. Now that they've gone widescreen, the videos no longer fit perfectly in blog posts! Boo! *throws rotten tomatoes at YouTube*

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor Day

December 7, 1941

A Date That Shall Live In Infamy.

2,402 Killed.

We Shall Never Forget.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Truth About College

How true, how true. Except during finals week, of course. Then, money suddenly becomes a nonissue.

Sanity, or Good Grades? Hmm... I think I'm leaning towards the latter.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy (Late) Thanksgiving

First of all, let me say a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all of my readers. I'm a few days late, I know. Things have been absolutely crazy around here for the last few weeks.

My grandmother was in a car accident about two weeks ago, wound up in ICU with bleeding on the brain, and has been living with us since she was discharged. She's doing much better now, thank the Lord. If you would please keep her and the rest of the family in your prayers, I'd really appreciate it.

As if that wasn't enough, finals are next week. Ugh. I've got lots of long-term stuff coming due in the next two weeks, so I'm gonna be busy as heck (worked pretty much 11 hours straight nonstop today). Didn't get as much done as I wanted to over break either, with cousins from both sides of the family up. Fortunately, I'm keeping a decent (if hectec) pace, so everything should get finished in time.

Yeah, so...

Pics of the new 2010 Mustang are out. I didn't like it at first, but I think it's starting to grow on me. What do you think?