Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Obligatory Presidential Debate Post

Okay, okay. Nobody has said anything about this, but I know you're all dying to hear me discuss the first presidential debate which took place this past Friday. Here are my thoughts:

1) Obama got his ideas about the economy and the financial crisis across better than McCain.
2) McCain actually answered the question about what he would cut in light of the -- now failed -- $700 billion bailout.
3) Obama needs to memorize the name on his bracelet or not wear the thing.
4) McCain pretty much blasted Obama over the idea of talking with rogue nations "without preconditions."
5) But Obama did hold his own. No great gaffs.
6) Obama really is a Marxist.
7) McCain is not a Republican. Seriously.

Who do I plan to vote for? I don't know. It's a quandary for an old school Republican with libertarian leanings like me.

Now I Get It Part 2

I would like to finish my thought from the previous post. I watched the first two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Hulu.com. At first I thought it was cheesy because it had the typical good vs. evil fantasy element going on. There was the Chosen One: Buffy. She had her mortal and completely evil enemy: the Master and company. All the vampires wanted nothing more than to destroy humanity so they could have their "old earth" back. Every few episodes we got what I like to call a "monster of the week." In short, some random character who would likely never show up again came into the show to kill off a few people and then get slaughtered by Buffy. It was always the same. You knew who the bad character was within the first ten minutes of the show. Believe me, I am good at sniffing these things out. The excellent horror elements and cinematography kept me watching through most of the first season.

Then I saw the episode entitled "The Puppet Show." I thought it was a monster of the week episode and it was obvious who the bad guy was: the live puppet. Like, duh. Lo and behold, Joss Whedon surprised me. The puppet character was a good guy. I won't give anymore info away, but that episode kept me watching into the second season. At that point the characters began to develop. The Buffy and Angel relationship became extremely interesting. Then Spike (played by James Marsters) showed up. And here, for once, was a vampire who didn't want to destroy humanity. Finally, I saw Joss Whedon's brilliance come to fruition.

You see, despite some of the cliche, Whedon does manage to make likable, intricate characters. Their dilemmas are not just melodrama. It may take a while to see that (e.g. Buffy's feelings about not wanting to be the Chosen One). But the complexity does show up and when it does it is worth the wait. The humor was a bit forced in the first season, but in the second it makes me laugh at almost every joke. The show can be so irreverent. I love it. At first I said I would never buy any Buffy. Now, I might. I would also like to watch Joss Whedon's Angel. And, frankly, I have a better appreciation for Firefly and Serenity. At the same time, those last two pieces of Whedon's creativity needed more time for development. Great concept, not enough time to discover anything more than the intrigue of the ideas.

I like substance in story telling. I would say Joss Whedon has that. It just takes him a little time to get comfortable with his creations. That's why Firefly got cancelled. That and it should have been aired on the sci-fi channel not Fox.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Now I Get It Part 1

I have often wondered why so many people adore everything in television or cinema which Joss Whedon had anything to do with. Many of my friends and acquaintances were big Buffy and Angel fans back in the day. They probably still are. Then there is Firefly and Serenity. People attend conventions dedicated solely to the Firefly universe. Yeah, I enjoyed the series when I watched it. It had excellent characters and concepts. It was intriguing and scary. But, you know, I can only watch the same 14 episodes so many times before I have to put them on hold for a while. The problem with Firefly is that it didn't pick up. It's a cult classic. I repeat, cult classic.

Up until recently Firefly and Serenity were my complete exposure to the mind of Joss Whedon. I saw two episodes of Buffy when I was a sophmore in college. They were from the first season and I didn't care for it that much. Recently a friend of mine mentioned Hulu.com as a good place to watch tv for free. I'm a sucker for cheap tv and movies -- no money spent on cable or direct tv here. I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on the site. It is amazingly well written and surprisingly poignant for a comedy short. Intrigued I decided to check out some Buffy. I pushed through the first few episodes which were mildly entertaining. You know, that show really picked up in the second season. I find myself caught up in it. I might have to rent or buy more seasons (only two are on Hulu).

I always try to avoid going in for fads. Hence, I waited until J.K. Rowling had written the 6th Harry Potter book before I read any of them. Of course, I didn't like them, so I turned out to be correct about that fad -- I think. With Joss Whedon's stuff I might have been wrong to ignore the fad. I enjoy a good story and he is a good storyteller.

Still, the discovery of a good story -- even one that's been around a while -- is never lost on me. I see my opportunity and I am taking it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Face To Face

Today I would like to take some time to mock the internet. Yes, that's me. I utilize the world wide web for information gathering, email, and blogging. I even made a friend online. Now I'm gonna sit here and diss part of my world. I see the irony and I know how easy it is to pick on technology. However, there are certain things for which the internet is a poor substute: i.e. friendship.

I have moved three times in the past 3 years. Albeit the third move was five miles away from the place I lived after the second move. It still requires new habits. For example, I don't get to go to the laundromat anymore with my overloaded bags of dirty clothes. I started chatting with one girl who worked there. I mean, we weren't friends or anything, but she was pleasant and interesting. I enjoyed getting to say a few words. I enjoyed going to get my coffee while she kept half an eye on my stuff. Now I do laundry at home alone. It's convenient. Plus my washer and dryer work much better than their coin-operated counterparts. Yet it feels like I am missing something. I am missing face to face contact. The grocery store is the same story. I decided to do my shopping at the store where I used to go. It's only five miles. Sometimes the managers will open up another check-out lane just for me. The guy at the meat counter always knows what I am going to get before I ask. No, I don't have deep conversations. Yes, I do get treated like some kind of VIP and I have an excuse for human contact.

I am not a total loser. Sorry to burst your bubble. I do make friends rather easily despite my shyness. I enjoy the company of almost everyone I meet. Even the people I dislike I can learn to accept. My nature is to find the good in people. People are interesting and unique. They are fun to watch and even more fun to interact with -- I sound like an a.i. or something . . .

The online community can be a lot of fun too. I get a kick out of reading humorous blogs. I read a lot of news and editorials. I like to read comment threads in people's blog posts and watch the back and forth. Still, something is missing. I find myself wondering, what do these people look like? What facial expression might this blog author have had when he or she wrote that post? Wouldn't it be more entertaining to have an entire conversation with somebody or several somebodies? I know there is a lot to the virtual world. Blogging alone can include video, audio or written word. Then there are webcams and those are very useful if a loved one is far away.

All these innovations still miss the face to face discussion. The enjoyment of being in the presence of a friend cannot exist in the virtual medium. Internet just can't take the place of real people and real places. Furthermore, I do better with my blogging when I am having real experiences and hanging with my real friends -- no offense to you computer people -- then when I am isolated and get most of my daily interactions reading stuff online. So, I guess this was my long-winded way of telling you all to quit reading my blather and go make a friend.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here I Am

I am such a bum. Again. I know. I tried to swear off my bum-hood about a year ago. But it came back. I guess I will have to start working on that again.

I quit my job as many of you know. Now I am in the process of not only getting a new one, but figuring out what it is I really want to do for a career. So far it's looking like I might go back to school. I am not sure. I am tired of analyzing and analyzing.

That's me. I always analyze everything. I take my good old time. I sleep on it. Then I think about it all day. Then I sleep on it again. There are factors I know I need to consider that I have not considered. I have to keep thinking. Eventually the path will become clear.

No, it won't. The truth is, sometimes you have to make a decision based on how well you know yourself and your interests. Nobody can make that decision for me. I need to take a step forward. But that would mean I have to stop analyzing and start doing. That's scary. Freaking scary.

Someone once said (I paraphrase) that if you think something through carefully enough the answer will become clear. Whomever that was I wish he or she had not said that. It is good to think things through. But frankly, thinking just leads to more thinking. Thinking is not what I really need to do in terms of getting a new career. At least, not at the moment.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My First

Craig and I are in our new house. I have already got used to it. I feel like I'm home. Finally. To stay. I don't want to move away from this town. I know we will outgrow this beautiful house someday. It is the perfect first home. Perfect. It has two bedrooms of decent size, one and a half bathrooms, a very large living room, a formal dining room, and the friendliest kitchen you can imagine. Everyone who has come into this place has seen its potential. It's just adorable.

The move was interesting. We didn't get a moving truck because a) we didn't have much furniture to move and b) we had to move in the evenings after Craig got off work. Many of our friends in the area came and helped us move stuff into the house. I didn't realize how many friends I had until we found ourselves in a bit of a pinch here. They just came out of the woodwork to help. We got out of our nasty, centipede apartment with the moronic, upstairs neighbors a little over a week ago. I feel so free.

There were few mishaps despite the abnormal nature of the move itself. One of the mishaps included the loss of about 65% of our fine china. The good news is it's a replaceable pattern and you can find good deals on it online.

I spent our first few days in the house catching up on my sleep. That is, after several of my family members stopped by and after we drove to Kansas and back for a wedding. Busy, busy, busy. I am finally breathing a sigh of relief and getting back to the job hunt. Oh, didn't you know? I quit my job. It was a good idea. I am going to find a job that will lead me on my chosen career path. Not quite sure what that is yet, but I have some ideas.

Today we made our first furniture purchase for the house. A desk chair. This is not just any desk chair. It's all leather and it has a high back and it swivels and it can be raised and lowered. It's cool. I got it for super cheap at a consignment shop. A consignment shop that is pretty, darn close to my new house. I love this town. Oh yeah.