Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Update Rollup July 2007

To borrow a term from Microsoft (hopefully I won't get sued, LOL) I'd like to use this post to update some of my past blog posts. Some I've thought about going back and adding to, but what's said is said, and someone who may have read that post wouldn't think to go read it again, even if I provided a list of blogs I'd updated. So, I'll link to each one, and add what I will. Going from most recent, back...

"Punk'd by a damn burger!"
There was one thing I'd forgotten to mention. The hamburger meat had been frozen, thawed, refrozen, thawed, and then left in the fridge for a few days. I didn't want to waste it, so I cooked the last of it. Jen didn't think it would be any good when we used the first part of it, but it was fine. Then I left it in the fridge for a few days, and, well part of it looked partially cooked, you know, brown. It didn't smell bad, but it didn't look quite right. Still, I thought it would be fine. I would not have served that meat to anyone else, but I was hungry, it was there, and my mama taught me not to waste.

I don't know if the meat not being 100% fresh had anything to do with the smoke. I still can't explain that horrible smoke. I know I had it up too high for how thick that burger was, but it was more than that. The Italian seasoning? The minced onion? Perpahs I should have sprayed some Pam? But I figured the beef had enough fat. It's 80/20 (in NC they give you the meat/fat ratio - they didn't in CA) and it usually works. Oh well, the burger wasn't bad.

I did take a picture of it, which I'll post here (edit: no I won't, photobucket's down). It looks raw or close to it in the middle, on the edges. It didn't taste quite right - it's by far the worst burger I ever made. But then it didn't taste too bad, it's just I've done better - much better. Like last time, it was almost Fuddruckers good. Almost. And that's on a skillet - I'm sure they grill theirs. They got to, to be that good.

"The ethics of Emulation"
Discussing this on a certain popular gaming site, some forum warrior pointed out that Nintendo's new Virtual Console - an online service associated with the new Wii system - is offering many of these old games for sale. That would be a compelling argument, but for two things. First, you can't get a Wii out here. Walmart and EB Games don't sell them. They're still coming soon out in North Carolina, at least where I've been. I haven't been shopping for the Wii, but still, I've never seen one for sale - just the games. And second, the deal killer - Virtual Console requires broadband, which isn't out here, even if you could order a Wii off the Net or buy one in Raleigh or Charlotte.

So to get Virtual Console, I would have to move - and that is out of the question. I would not tell someone who wants to play Japan-only titles to move to Japan, as opposed to downloading these games - that's just too much to ask for a damn game. Moving any distance can't be justified by entertainment. I moved for love. Moving for money - for work - is also acceptable. For a bloody game, though? No. Virtual Console is not an option for us and our neighbors and peers, end of discussion.

Oh, and third - two of my three favorite games are, from what I hear, not available on Virtual Console to start with. So currently, the only way to play Super Metroid or Secret of Mana - barring getting an actual SNES - is to emulate them. And another I want to play, Seiken Densetsu 3 (the sequel to Secret of Mana), is only available in Japan, in Japanese, and for the Super Famicom (Japan's SNES, basically). The one going around the 'Net is translated to English. So that absolutely must be emulated - learning Japanese is also out of the question.

"Funniest videos on the Net"
I swear, I have showed the video of the little girl who can kick that monster's ass to at least a dozen people, young and old. I showed it to our 7-year-old nephew, forgetting he saw it the same time I did, on his grandmother's computer. I figure it's OK to show kids with a little discretion. This kid's heard a lot worse, and besides, at the end the mother corrects the child, tells her the right word to use. And it's not like it's obscene. I think one woman I showed, at work, was a little offended seeing a 3-year-old swearing, but she still laughed at it. Even a couple would-be tough guys had a good laugh at it.

"Never wanted to grow up"
With this blog, I set out to say something profound, and I think I hit the mark. I may have stretched it a little much, maybe I could have trimmed it some, but I said what I came to say.

There's not much I can add to it, save for that all the things I've seen (if not actually done) I sort of feel as though most of what teenagers could do (between sex and drugs) doesn't quite touch what I've seen. And I've seen some bad shit. Not as bad as some people have perhaps seen, but probably worse than more than half Americans/Westerners (I won't put myself in league with Africans and Middle-Easterners who see death and terror and disease and other stuff we take for granted in the West).

Sex and drugs are part of a natural stage called teenage rebellion, and while it does claim a few lives; while it does permanently scar and maim a few, we teach our kids right from wrong and can just sit back and hope that it was enough. Sometimes it doesn't matter, stuff just happens that can happen to anybody, and other times it makes all the difference in the world, that your kid knowing the difference between right and wrong is enough to save her life, stop her from crossing that fine line between fun danger and fatal danger.

Also we should remember that for the most part, we shame and punish our daughters for doing the very same things we reward and praise our sons for doing, in general. That is, most fathers will praise a son for his first kiss (or lay), and maybe give him "the talk", but a father hears about his daughter being kissed, he's ready to murder a teenage boy, doesn't matter which one. He's going to first think his daughter's a slut, easy, then become disappointed... and that isn't right. People are going to pursue pleasure regardless of their gender.

I think the real problem guys have, is we remember how we treated girls in junior high and high school. Even if we didn't (such as myself), we remember how we thought about girls. I was raised by my mother and my stepmother, and my favorite people in my latter teen years were younger girls (cousins, and their friends), but before that I thought of girls and women as objects to be stared at or used. So I, so we know that the teenage boys of today are thinking the same thoughts, and worse because each generation starts earlier and gets a little more extreme than the one before it. In my parents' generation, teenagers kissed. Their parents, it was holding hands. My generation, there was some sex, more heavy petting and fondling. This generation, we hear about a lot of oral sex in schools. So what we need to do is drop the double standards, for starters, and beef up the education. That's all easier said than done, of course, but it's what needs to happen. Otherwise, they'll be more prone to victimization. Sure, they'll still do what they do, but they'll know right from wrong.

See, this has gone way beyond the scope of the original blog post, and I'm glad I didn't go this far with it. This was almost - no, it was - its own topic, which I should get into more.

"New comment system"
Heh. Despite requiring my approval, two or three spam comments (illegal pyramid schemes, and scams) have been posted. I guess the fools have some automated system to do it. There is an option to require typing in some letters and numbers to post a comment. That should eliminate bots (which I suspect it is) but I don't want to create an inconvenience. But then those systems are becoming more commonplace (Yahoo has them all over) and they're fairly straightforward.

But at this point it's almost a non-issue. I get maybe one spam comment a week, and I can reject it right from my email inbox. Not a problem.

"Health problem - my right leg"

To cover the easy part - the asthma problem - I found out that that special inhaler, the Maxair Autohaler, would be $40 with insurance. The $10 price I was expecting was only for generics. So I told Walgreens what they could do with that Maxair inhaler (no, I was nice about it) and the next week, I got a perscription for regular-old Albuterol. $10, bigger inhaler, and the medicine I've used for years. It gives me a little energy boost - and it's mildly addictive. I took two puffs off it the day I got it and the 2-3 days after that, but only when I was short of breath. I haven't used it in a few days. I carry it, but I try to use it only when I consciously feel the need to, and even then I think about it, ask myself if sitting down, relaxing, and taking deep breaths won't help. The inhaler really is a last resort before the problem escalates.

Back to my leg. I didn't mention, but the doc put me in an Unnaboot - basically, medicine-soaked gauze wrapped around my leg, and then covered with an Ace bandage. I had to wear this sucker for a whole week! When it came off, my leg was pruned to all hell, but the ulceration, as she called it, was noticeably smaller. I would say it's 15-20% smaller, and healing. It doesn't ooze as much, and when it dries, it's more of a real scab than just the oozing stuff hardened. Yeah, I know that sounds graphic, but this is a health update.

"Women who find Ma'am inappropriate (DearAbby)"
I hadn't thought of women who consider "Ma'am" to refer to an older woman, but some do. Now I remember, you call a woman under 45, maybe 40 in California, ma'am and she'll take it as an insult. They say they're years away from being a ma'am. Down here in the South, though, it's acceptable, even if she's in her late teens. A waitress, for example. Or a customer, depending on where you sit/stand. I think it might be silly to call a child "ma'am", and a little sarcastic, because it isn't respect, it's patronization, but then if it's your kid or a friend's kid, a kid you know, and she's being bossy (our neice is like that) it might not be inappropriate.

"Game Review: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (NDS)"
I mentioned the "Julius Mode", where you go in after the main character, Soma, has failed, and you fight through in much of the same order Soma has done. Some things are different - you have different abilities, but cannot collect souls or weapons or armor or items. The gameplay is more like the Nintendo and Super Nintendo Castlevania titles - much simpler, much harder. Julius can only regain health after a boss fight, or by saving - the latter of which, is without consequence or limit, save for that you must find a save spot, and they can be far apart. But you have a map and conservative planning is not hard.

The Julius mode has been fun, as a novelty. You play a Belmont, you have the classic powers... But it just became a lot cooler for me. Right in the beginning you get a second character, who you can switch to on the fly. She's not very good, but I'm sure she has her uses. But now I've just got the third character, Alucard from Symphony of the Night. This is my favorite Castlevania character. The son of Dracula, he's dedicated his life to fighting evil, though he still has a few of his father's powers. He can throw three fireballs in a vertical pattern, he can morph into a bat, he can rocket right up into the air, and he carries a sword. Oh, and he glows. He just about has Sephiroth style, but not quite - nobody's Sephiroth but Sephiroth. He's close though. Julius is fun to play as, but it's amazing having Alucard again. I just wish he were playable from the start, and could collect weapons, items, and armor, but not souls, and swap Menace at the end for Dracula.

"In sickness and in health"
Jen is doing much better, thanks to all for well wishes. Her wound is mostly closed up and no longer requires stuffing (packing), but she still keeps either a band-aid or a gauze bandage over it. She's well on her way to a full recovery, much farther than I am. (Although, as she points out, at least mine's not on my butt.)

And with that I close, my longest blog entry to date, I do believe. (But alas, Photobucket is currently down, so I will put up my images later.)

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