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Month: November 2006

Turkey Day Wii Fun

Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and despite a few food-related setbacks (remember to leave the oven on the whole time you're cooking a turkey…however, the two hours of letting it sit after an hour of cooking left the bird extra juicy!), my family and I had a great time playing my Wii. We spent hours playing Wii Sports after creating a Mii for everyone.

While we played a little bit of everything, the bowling and boxing games seemed to draw the most interest. Bowling I understood because it's easy to pick up, but hard to master. Plus you can get four people going with just two controllers, which is all I've got right now. Boxing was popular just because it's hilarious to watch people duke it out. I've got some footage of my parents going head-to-head, and it's like they're just flailing at nothing. There's not much strategy to it either (at least none that we've been able to discern yet). Of course, the best part is seeing the winner throw their hands in the air like they just won an actual match.

I'd like to get that footage off the camera eventually (along with all the other stuff sitting on the video camera from the last year) and get it posted on here. Very entertaining!

With family fun like this, the whole Wii phenomena may just become huge!

Edit: Oh yea, if anyone else out there has a Wii and their friend code handy feel free to drop it in the comments below. Let the Miis mingle!


I'd just like to wish all my American brethren a happy Thanksgiving Day! I'm looking forward to spending the day with my family as my wife and I host them for the first time. Should keep us pretty busy!

But let's make sure to take time amongst all the food, parades and football to remember to be thankful for all that God has given to us. For that's the intent behind the first Thanksgiving. The pilgrims were thankful for surviving their trip to a land where they would worship God freely. We should feel privileged to live in a land where we can do so ourselves, especially when there are so many places where one can still not do so around the world.

Give thanks to the Lord!

O'Reilly Claims Technology Divorces Us From Reality

In case you missed it, Bill O'Reilly recently went on a rant about how technology divorces people from people from reality and causes anti-social behavior. Of course, this is coming from the guy who's "no spin zone" regularly demonstrates how out of touch with reality he is himself. We'll just add another tally mark to the board for this one.

But don't you love how these news show yammerers like to jump on the bandwagon of a small minority and then get out their biggest paintbrush to paint the general population with. When I have kids, remind me to block Fox News and CNN so that my kids don't become idiots themselves. Heck, Teletubbies are more educational!

Wii Will, Wii Will, Rock You!

So, I spent Saturday evening at my local Wal-Mart Supercenter, sitting in the Lawn & Garden section with my sister. What were we doing there? Waiting in line for the Wii, of course!




After about 3 hours in line, they let us know that they only had 27 available (after they had earlier told us 30+ would be available) and passed out tickets. We were a little nervous, because we knew we were pretty close to the 30th in line. So, as they came down the line, we got ticket number 26 (and were thankful at that). However, it took them another hour for them to start taking people back for the sales, and almost another 45 minutes before I got my chance to get one.

That experience in itself was interesting. I was just happy that the crowd there was much calmer and relaxed than many of the PS3 crowds you’ve seen on TV. Probably a combination of twice as many Wiis as PS3s being available and a more family-friendly crowd (I actually saw a few whole families in line!)

So, of course we raced back to my apartment to check it out. An few hours later, we had created Miis of ourselves, played tennis, bowling, baseball, and boxing (all in Wii Sports), and tried out several mini-games in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz. By then it was 3 AM, and it was time to crash, whether we wanted to or not.

After having commitments most of yesterday, I still haven’t gotten a chance to try my hand at Madden ’07 and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess yet, but I plan on doing that soon. Add to that the downloads of Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda (original NES) that I grabbed for the virtual console, and I’ve got lots to keep me busy!

I have to admit that the new controls so far are very foreign for me as a gamer. They’re intuitive, unlike most video games, and that takes some time to get used to for me. The full level of control is impressive (though some games aren’t implemented as well as they’d like to think…Monkey Ball has a few of these problems…hopefully Mario Party won’t have these when they get around to releasing it), and the controls are responsive. It’s also more tiring than average gaming, since you actually have to move to play! Can’t say that hurts, since who couldn’t use a little more exercise (besides Jack LaLaine, of course)?

I’m very happy with the purchase! I’ll also let you know what the rest of my family thinks after we get to show it off while hosting Thanksgiving at our apartment this year (and with my little brother already a PS3 fanboy, it’ll be interesting to hear what he thinks).

Missing Keys and The Day of The Dog

Well…let's just say that I didn't have my best morning thisJake in a Jacket morning. As I was getting ready to head out the door for work, I couldn't find my keys. I figured my wife had grabbed them to take Jake out this morning and just set them someplace I wouldn't normally look. So, I spent the next 15 minutes scouring the apartment and coming up empty.

When I couldn't find them, I tried calling Marci, who was on her way to school, but got no answer. I tried again and again, but to no avail.

I wondered if my keys might have fallen out of my sweatpants in the car when we came home last night. I thought I had remembered opening the apartment door with them, but I thought I'd double check just to be safe, and I had a spare car key around. So I propped the door open just enough that Jake wouldn't get out, and then took the elevator down to the garage. After a quick look, I still couldn't find them.

So, I made my way back up to the apartment, and when I got to the door I found that it was shut. The dang dog had managed to knock the prop loose and shut the door as he was trying to get out and follow me. Thankfully, I had everything I needed for work today, but I was left with two problems: 1) I had no jacket, and it hasn't gone over 50 degrees all day and 2) when we're gone, we normally leave Jake in his crate, and now he's roaming free until Marci gets home around 5pm. Hopefully he won't get himself into too much trouble.

Thankfully, I finally did get a hold of my wife, and she's pretty sure she knows where my keys are, but it definitely made for an interesting morning, and may make for an interesting evening if Jake doesn't behave himself!

MLK Jr. Monument

While it's nice to see that a memorial will be built for the remarkable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have to admit that it seems a bit excessive to build one that will cost $100 million. Heck, King himself might even be rolling over in his graving knowing all that money was going to a memorial and not to helping further the cause of equality.

For all the good intentions, I can't help but shake my head after reading about that…

Hawk Tunes

The past few weeks, I've been spinning a lot of songs from the soundtracks for the first four Tony Hawk Pro Skater games. While it does bring back fond memories of sitting around in dorm rooms with the guys taking turns as we tried to beat some of the near impossible tasks set forth by the game, I have to admit that most of the music is just awesome in general.

Seriously, I could just listen to most of it for hours; and the funny thing is that I probably couldn't identify 75% of the artists without my iPod in front of me. (Honestly, I had no idea that one of the songs I really liked was by Xibit, who became That Guy Who's On "Pimp My Ride" Because His Albums Don't Sell, But He's Funny To Watch.) It's like the game developers said "I don't care who it's by, we're just going out to find really good music that fits the game." What a novel idea!

After all, there are few things that can kill a game faster than a bad soundtrack, and few things that can lengthen the life of a game than a great one.

TV's Nielsen Problem

I'm officially growing sick of "This Week's Top TV Shows" Reports, and the dependence upon which the television industry places upon them (for advertising purposes, which then influences program decision making). While the Nielsen ratings are often taken as de Facto proof, they are, in fact, a very loose approximation of the viewing population.

According to Nielsen Media Research, they pull from a representative population:

"Our samples include homes from all 50 states, from cities to towns, from suburbs to rural areas. We have homeowners and apartment dwellers — some with children and some without — across a broad range of demographic categories. We include people of all ages, income groups, geographic areas, ethnicities and educational levels — all in proportion to their presence in the population at large."

While this will give you a nice demographic of the population in general, it leaves out a major criteria in TV viewing: viewing patterns. For example, I am a sports nut, and am more likely to watch a random sporting event than I am a half-hour sitcom. However, there are people who wouldn't watch sports if they could help it. If one type of person is selected over the other, it will skew the accuracy of the results.

Now, lets take that example and expound upon it. Let's take 20 people who all fall into the same demographic category and group them by their viewing habits:

  • 2 who prefer historical content
  • 5 who prefer sports and competitions
  • 6 who prefer comedies and sitcoms
  • 7 who prefer various types of dramas

Let's assume that Nielsen Media Research uses a 10% sample to calculate their viewer approximations. Regardless of who is chosen to be in the sample, the results will be skewed to different degrees (for example, if both history buffs are chosen to be in the sample, the viewer approximations for the larger group will be very inaccurate in comparison to actual viewership).

Even as the general population is increases and the likelihood of a more representative sample group increases, there is no guarantee that every viewing habit will be accurately represented. This is the inherent flaw in the system.

It might also be why "Dancing With The Stars" always has such high ratings, but the only person I know who watches it is my mother.

With the advances in television communications technology, they may soon be able to collect more data to give more realistic approximations, but until that happens, or Nielsen works to get better representations of the population, we're stuck with a flawed system of approximations.

So the next time your favorite TV show gets canceled, look to Nielsen. Their methods may have been the inadvertent cause of the cancellation.

Helicopter Parents Make Bad Pilots

One of the most atrocious and laughable phenomena of the last few decades, the 'Helicopter Parent' has reached new heights as their kids have aged. They're now highly involved in their children's job search process.

For those not familiar with 'Helicopter Parents', you probably are and just don't realize it. These are parents who hover over their kids lives, getting far to involved in aspects which they don't need to be a part of. Some examples are parents who call up college professors and complain about bad grades their children got.

Well, now their attending job fairs and answering questions about the student's backgrounds for them. Some parents have even gone as far as to call an employer asking why their kid didn't get a job after an interview, or if the child did get hired, asking about job performance reviews.

If you're one of these kids, welcome to the 7th Level of Loserdom. If you can't prove yourself without mommy and daddy's help, then you're of no use as an employee.

It's bad enough that these parents act like this, but it's even worse that these children let them do it this long. I'm sure it seems easier to have someone else do everything for you, but then there's no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction.

Oh, and if you're one of these kids, please don't ever bother interviewing with me for a position. I know that if I get a call from your parents for any reason, they'll be hung up on faster than a helicopter blade can spin.

Whither The Election

Well, election day has just wrapped up and the nation's leadership for the next few years has been chosen. Now, whether or not the Diebold machines got it right remains to be seen. But it brings me to a point, or set of points about elections, which I'll open with the following statement:

I didn't vote today.

Now, there are several reasons I didn't vote, including not having registered as a Pennsylvania citizen yet (still switching things from Ohio slowly). However, even if I was registered, I'm not certain I would have voted today. The primary reason is simple: there's nobody worth voting for.

I've heard it rumored that one people voted for the person who was most qualified/suited for the position or the person who they thought represented them best. I'm not sure how long ago that was, but in my lifetime the goal has usually been to elect the person who is least corrupt.

Some of this comes from the awful smear campaigns that have become standard fare for an election year. Some of this comes from the great ways that some politicians conduct themselves. Add to that the poor job that most politicians do (especially thanks to Lobbyist influences) and the minimal accountability that they have, and it's no wonder that politics has become so synonymous with corruption.

Then there's the growing frustrations with the current two-party system. While the two parties definitely have their lines drawn, people are beginning to see that the two behave amazingly similar in most cases. A lot of news is made when the House or Senate has a "power shift", but the average person typically sees few changes. It's amazingly frustrating to just watch the system perpetuate as is.

So, basically I've been told that by not voting, I'm not making my voice heard. Well, to me that's the point. I'm not willing to support a candidate that is not worthy of their elected office. In my opinion, it's time to reform the system, and it's not going to be done by playing within the system.