Thursday, August 7, 2008

This Blog Posting brough to you by.......

Yesterday I noticed something on television that has assured me that the downfall of western civilization has indeed begun. I was watching FOX, and one commercial before an episode of Simpson's told me quite plainly that the episode was brought to me by Dairy Queen. I then proceeded to watch the episode and was dismayed that it was not candy coated or made into an ice cream cake in front of my very eyes. If something is brought to my by a confectioner, than I damn well better be eating cake or ice cream within the next fifteen minutes!!

*This paragraph has been brought to you by the Walrus*

It has become a very annoying trend over the past few years that everything is branded. I think I first noticed it during baseball games with things such as the "Toyota Spotlight" or the "Wendy's Play of the Game" began to appear with frightening regularity. What in god's name Wendy's really had to do with baseball, I will never understand. This has happened so slowly that it barely even registers that I am being sold something. I understand the nature of it from the perspective of the advertiser's, I really do. There are many, many gullible people in the world who will fall for every line of advertisement that is fed to them. I am equally sure that these companies probably do make more money in the long run because of these completely obtrusive ads. This is not the point, however.

*This paragraph brought to you by YOUR FACE (private joke, sorry)*

I am, quite simply, tired of it and I have begun to notice just how much these ads have infiltrated all of my favorite shows and movies. Now, product placement in movies and tv shows is something that has been done for years with varying degrees of success. I'm sure that drinking games set to those placements in ... let's say a Michael Bay movie, would make the participants quite drunk. This can be done well, though, and doesn't always take away from the overall approachfulness of the movies.

*This paragraph has been brought to you by the great taste of Charleston Chew*

This newest trend though, perhaps designed as an active countermeasure against dvrs and tivos (thanks Jess), really bothers me. I watch the television, fully aware that I will have to sit through commercials (sometimes), to escape my reality (Isn't that the main reason really?) only to be forced time and time again back into my living room when I suddenly realize that my fingers have begun to subconsciously dial the phone for Dairy Queen because I have inextricably developed a ravenous desire for a nice ice cream cake. And while I'm at it, why don't I pay extra to have a picture of MY FACE added to the top so I can have the curious sensation of eating my own face!! Absurd, I know, but I think it gets the point across rather nicely. My greatest fear, now that it has completely encased my beloved television set is that it will make the dreaded, yet understandable (from the company's viewpoint) leap into the video game realm. Not too difficult to imagine since the internet is already rife with a million and one different types of ads. Think hard on this lesson, young Padawan, for this is the future and the future is now.

*Finally, this paragraph has been brought to you by God (who has finally decided to get into the act!)*

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My New Job

My world is, quite literally, about to change. This coming Monday I will be starting my new job, the first post-master's job. It is the first time in my life that I am actually considering a job as a career. I've had a few different types of jobs in my day, including fast food and retail, but this will be a company I plan on working with for years to come. To be honest, this is actually a little bit intimidating yet exciting. So much of my life recently has been in a holding pattern, that I find myself in awe sometimes that I have finally reached this point in my life.

If I haven't mentioned before what it is that I will be doing, let me try to explain here. This is no easy task as there are some aspects of my new job that I am as yet in the dark. First of all, this job is a sales position where I will be trying to convince clients to renew their technical support for the different types of software that Quest offers. This is kind of like those service plans that stores like Best Buy offer where if anything were to go wrong the customer would not have to shoulder the majority of the costs, other than the initial cost of the support.

Since I have a sales background, I felt that this would be an ideal starting position for me. I am also very interested in computers, and plan on building my next one (and hopefully chronicling that endeavor here for all of my faithful readers). During my time at Quest, I hope to be able to greatly expand my computer literacy. Where this might take me in my life, I am not sure, but if I am continuing towards something I love to do there can hardly be any problems there.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Graduate School: A Look Back

This past week I was in New Mexico finishing up my master's degree by defending my thesis. Everything went really well, and now I merely have to wait till I can get the degree officially around December. The last two years have been a time of great personal changes, where I have met many new friends who I don't doubt that I will in contact with throughout the remainder of my life. I have changed my mind many times over during this time about how exactly my life should be going, but I really feel with this job at Quest software that I have hit upon a good career for me.

It seems strange, after so many years of school, that I am now thinking about my life in these terms. I have been eagerly anticipating this time in my life. I have always thought of this time as the point where I would finally be able to enact many of my goals, such as getting some of my fiction published. I'm not gonna lie, now that its here I am a little frightened but also excited about the prospects. Much of what I am now, and how I view the world has been changed by my experiences in New Mexico.

From the first moment I set foot on that dusty soil, I began to think of coming home. In fact, within two weeks time I was on the phone with Jess trying to find some way to come home. For about a day or two I was completely sure that it had been a mistake and that I should go home and not even try. After many conversations, and some harsh words on both sides, I finally decided to make a go at it. I truly believe that this could very well be a decision that will cast a shadow on all future decisions to come. It truly was a crossroad in my life that could have led to a very different life.

With this decision made finally, I set about the rigamaroles of college life that at the time I had not done for over a year. This proved a little difficult to get through, but I eventually settled into a rhythm. If it weren't for several great friendships as well as my two jobs, I honestly don't know how I would have gotten through that first year. Uncertainties continued to plague me at every turn. I would consistently go to bed wondering if I had made the right decision. As time passed, things began to become more comfortable but I still missed those back home a great deal.

Missing Jess proved to be the greatest motivation I could have possibly had, as it has pulled me through many a tough spot and gotten me to where I am today. I want to thank all of you, and you know who you are, that have helped me get through this time in my life. Your words of encouragement have kept me afloat. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review of The Dark Knight

I must first admit that I have never been a huge Batman fan, at least not over any of the other Superhero movies. And yes, I know that Batman is a Vigilante and not a Superhero (thank you Roger). Anyway, I never craved that I love Batman or anything like that. It was a good story with an interesting character but I was never a huge fan of Tim Burton's original Batman or any of the others that followed it. That all change when I saw Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins starring Christian Bale. I'll admit that most of the reason I saw it in the first place was because I am such a huge fan of Christian Bale thanks to Disney's immortal classic Newsies.

Beyond that, there were so many great things about Batman Begins but also some drawbacks. There were some problems with pacing at times, which plagues any genesis story coming from the world of comic books. The film maker must contend with the 'Batman faithful', those comic book afficionados who have been following the stories for many years. In this case, the director and screenwriter must decide how much to leave in the story to remain faithful to the source material as well as how much to change to appeal to a broader audience to rake in more money. I can confidently say that the sequel, The Dark Knight, has found a very good balance , at least I assume so. I have heard some rumblings that they didn't follow the storyline of the comic books but I have never read them.

My rationalization for saying they have a good balance comes from many personal and professional reviews that I have heard in the short time this movie has been out. Comic book fans and those new to the series appear to like it in equal measure. Having just gone to see it last night, I can completely understand why. There is so much going on in this movie, that it is hard to critique it all so I'll start with the acting.

Any discussion of acting must inevitably start with the late Heath Ledger, who will definitely be missed after this oscar-worthy performance. He managed to completely reinvent a character that was so iconically portrayed by Jack Nicholson in the past. His characterization was a perfect way to bring in a new kind of criminal into the slums of gotham city, one that seems more interested in the anarchy involved than in any kind of personal profit. Without giving anything away in the movie, it is well portrayed by the filmmaker's throughout the entirety of the movie. Remember this: how do you make a pencil disappear? Keep that in mind, and you'll like the movie better for it.

The rest of the actor's are equally good throughout the course of the movie. Christian Bale brings a believability to the character that I feel was missing in the other movies. Maggie Gyllenhall and Aaron Eckhart have a believable and necessary connection. Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine are predictably excellent in their respective roles and bring a weight to the movie that only seasoned actors are capable of. The plot of the movie can be somewhat formulaic at times, but never brings down the overall rating of this movie.

In the end, I would recommend this movie to all who like a good yarn. Be forewarned, however, that this is a very violent movie but not in the gory sense necessarily. However, it has more violence than I would have assumed in a PG-13 movie. Other than that, everyone should go see it. You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Retirement

The man and the woman sat chatting while the last rays of the summer sun spilled over them through the thatched roof of the tribal hut. They were here on vacation, something that they had been wanting for quite a long time. The typical trials of everyday life had kept them from doing what they been longing for every day to this point: enjoy their lives to the fullest. It was only with their long-awaited retirement that they were finally able to kick back, relax, and enjoy themselves. This was the fourth stop on a trip that was designed to slowly but surely circumnavigate the globe.

It had started 5 years prior, after their last child had left the proverbial womb and had begun to live on his own. Both of them were a few years shy of retirement age and from this point on they began to plan how they would spend the beginning of their autumn years. He had experienced a large boom in business several years before this and had invested all of his money wisely so money was not an issue. That, combined with both of their retirement plans, gave them the financial cushion that they would need to do things that most never dare dream of doing.

It only took them two years to fulfill the federal requirements for retirement, but it took them another three years to decide the actual course of the trip. They couldn’t initially decide how much of the trip to spend with sight-seeing or how much of the trip to spend lying in each other’s arms. This battle was raging for several months before they looked at each other one day and realized just how silly they were being. After several minutes of out of control laughter between the two of them, they gave each other a nice long hug and he gave her a soft peck on the forehead. At this moment in time, they were content simply to be with each other. This realization forced through to them that it didn’t really matter what they did as long as they were with each other. The actual destination didn't matter as much as the ability to spend it together.

Once all of the plans were set in motion, they merely had to wait until the appropriate time when they would both set off for the airport. As with any trip worth having, this would most likely start at about 2 in the morning! Once there, however, none of the pressure of the trip would get to them because they were spending so much time together and they knew that this would be one of many similar trips throughout the remainder of their lives together.

They felt renewed again as they continued with their trip. All of the stresses of their married life and all of the petty arguments melted away under the coastal breezes coming off of the Mediterranean as they sat holding hands. Though they were considered quite elderly by this time, at least by the standards of the increasingly youth-centered society, at heart they felt much the same way they had many years past when they had first met each other. They knew everything there was to know about each other and yet they were finding knew and interesting ways of viewing each other. They knew that when this trip was over nothing would ever be able to come between them, and the realization of this made them happy: happier than at any time during their long marriage. This intense love radiated out from them and made all those who came within close proximity happier, though they could not quite understand its source.

The sun set on the two of them, with their eyes constantly gazing out towards sea but their hands clasped tightly together. Before the light completely failed, she slowly shifted her eyes towards her husband only to find that he was looking at her as well. Their eyes met, and they smiled.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Ranting Superhighway

My god, it has become so difficult to write things of late. I've had several great reasons for my lack of production on the electronic page. I have, as always of late, continued to put my hard earned sweat and tears (most especially) into my thesis. I have been in the thick of a job hunt that seems eternal, as I'm sure it always does but this is the longest I have had to wait since I started working at McDonald's when I was 17. Lastly, Jess and I have moved ourselves body and soul out of our apartment in Dublin to our new house in Clintonville. We still have many different boxes to unpack and furniture to rearrange. I expect that we will be doing this for a good long while yet until we feel completely at home.

It is strange to me how easy it becomes to acclimate to a new environment. Though things are completely new in many ways (eerie noises, I'm talking about you), the familiarity comes from having our material possessions scattered around this new locale. I am sitting here now in my office, the first time I've really felt like I had one all to myself and can thus do with it as I please, typing away to all of you eager readers out there and I feel perfectly content where I am. There is no hint to the astute observer that I am an alien to this space, that I have taken this place over for myself. Well... I suppose the scattered boxes are a pretty big hint, but I could just be a slob as well. No, I don't suppose that Jess would really stand for me falling back to habits of yore. :)

My point here, if there really is one, is to stress the amazing ability that we as humans have to overcome all types of obstacles. Whether it be a serious calamity or a mundane obstruction, we continually find a way to force our brains to function normally when the abnormal comes to pass. I truly think that if we did not possess this ability, this true sentience of thought and of being, that we would be adrift on the tides of time and would fall where we may. Whoah.. I guess I got a little poetic there for a second, but I like the ring of it so I think I'll keep it.

If you are still with me on this ranting superhighway, I applaud you. I would like to speak briefly about the future of this blog. I have many ideas that I am finding it harder and harder to put into play, but they still remain. I haven't had an original piece of fiction on here since October, I think, and I would dearly like to fix that. It is my hope that once I find a job and once this madness surrounding my thesis is concluded that I will fall into a routine that will find me, if indeed a routine were to have self-awareness, writing on a very consistant and daily basis. It is only with this that I feel I can give you as the reader something of interest as well as fulfill my own inner desire to travel along the crazy corridors of my imagination. Thank you all very much and remember that animals are people too!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Trade from a Dying Team

It appears that the Indian's run last year into the playoffs was a one-time thing, and it saddens me to see this team fall so far from the glory and grandeur of last year's team. While they could still technically produce a winning season, at 15 games under the .500 mark at 37 and 52 it seems extremely unlikely. The trade of C.C. Sabathia seems to confirm this, since this trade leaves only Cliff Lee to give us consistent starts. Until Westbrook and Carmona return from there stints on the DL, as well as Hafner and Martinez, it is highly unlikely that the Indians will play like we all know they are capable of playing.

Even when they do return, it will take a complete change in the way the Indian's appear to be playing baseball to make the second half of the season enjoyable for the fans. Right now, from what I have seen, it does not look like a team playing out there. Instead, I am reminded of a little league team where glory only comes from personal accomplishments and a victory for the team is second. Of course, everyone on both sides of a little league game still has fun so does it really matter? They aren't getting paid millions, or at least hundreds of thousands, to play a game. I apologize if I sound a little frustrated, but I am. After watching the heartache of the ALCS last year, I came into this season looking forward to a season of wins not losses. I, like many of my fellow Indian's fans, believed that this just might be the year and that we would finally get the ring that was stolen back in '97 against the Marlins.

I certainly didn't expect this monstrosity of a season, where I have seen one of the most potent offenses of last year fail to score more than three runs in half of the games. This is ludicrous for a team comprised of major league hitters. Absolutely ludicrous and it has become an exercise in futility to even watch them these days. I seriously get depressed watching them, after having lived through the team that brought us to the series twice in the nineties and annually made it to the playoffs. In a year where the Tampa Bay Rays, though I still think of them as the Devil Rays, are in first place over the Red Sox and the Yankees no amount of excuses are enough for this high-profile Indians team. In many ways, it is teams like the Rays, who seem to genuinely enjoy the game and play like there is no tomorrow, that keeps me coming back to the sport. I need to see an Indians team that doesn't appear like rich old men sitting back in lawn chairs while they sip at their wine and talk like Thurston Howell III. They need to, I believe, remember what it is about the game that got them playing in the first place. If they can't do this, I am afraid there is no hope for the current incarnation of the Cleveland Indians.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Respect the Popcorn Gods

Popcorn has finally had its revenge upon me! After years of gleefully enjoying its buttery flavor, it apparently has decided that enough is enough. Jess and I went to go see Hancock yesterday, which was quite good, and halfway through the movie I picked one seemingly innocuous kernel out of the bag and proceeded to bite into it. What happened next was surprisingly painless, but still abrupt. I felt a little bit of pain, but then a sort of pop. I could feel something that was definitely not popcorn in my mouth and I fished it out.

At first, I didn't even realize that anything with my tooth had specifically happened. I thought that I had encountered a steel-hardened popcorn kernel. Then I looked at it and it was definitely white, or as white as I could perceive under the harsh illumination of my cell phone screen in the darkness of the movie theater. Even then, I did not connect the dots really that it was a part of my tooth. My original thought was that it was a filling, of which I have several old ones from my youth, and had popped out of its cavity. Then my brain started working correctly and I reasoned that if that was the case that I ought to be feeling some pain from this previous hole in my tooth.

Not quite knowing what to do, but secure in the fact that it was painless I kept watching the movie and also continued eating popcorn! Of course, I made sure to stay away from the left side of my mouth. At some point during the movie, I reached in to extricate a bit of popcorn fluff that incessantly gets stuck in-between teeth. While I was in there, I felt around a bit more and realized that there was a very sharp edge on my back molar, much sharper than on the other side. After feeling around a little bit more, I came to the conclusion that I had actually cracked my teeth while eating popcorn.

Luckily for me, there is no pain and I feel comfortable waiting till Monday to schedule an appointment. In the future, though, I will be certain to pray to the popcorn gods before devouring them so as to allay any righteous actions on their part. I have been taking advantage of them for far too long, but let me be the first to say that they deserve our respect and we should give it to them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The State of the Sean Address

I have finally received the green light from my adviser for my thesis. Finally, I have finished my thesis as to content. I still need to reread pretty much the entire thing to do some minor grammatical changes but the important part, at least to my impending graduation, has been completed. Now I must figure out the best time to get together with my committee, but it needs to be in enough time to graduate which makes it tricky. I still need to figure out the bureaucratic part of the whole thing, but with Rani's help I think I should be fine.

Beyond that I am still looking for jobs. While I am continuing my search, I will be working part-time at Blockbuster. This will be nice, I think, because I will once again be able to enjoy the free rentals. I don't anticipate the job hunt to go on too long, however, as I am confident that I have quite a few marketable skills. The trick, as it always is, is to figure out how best to put these together with the current job pool. In the meantime, I am busy with the move to the new apartment and all the grown-up things that correspond to moving. But.. as of July 12, 2008 Jess and I will be officially moved in. It is very exciting.

Beyond that, there isn't a great deal going on in my life. I am trying, sometimes in vain, to keep writing. Sometimes I just need to sit myself down and make myself do it, as I have done with this post. The funny thing is that as soon as I do sit down and run my fingers across the keys I instantly remember how much I enjoy writing and I can feel the creative juices stirring. Unfortunately, it is becoming harder to make myself do it sometimes. I am attributing that to the stress of finishing my thesis and finding a job and moving into a new house. I fully expect that I will find it easier when Jess and I are better situated into the new house. Until next time, it is never a good time to settle on anything.

Friday, June 27, 2008

To Play or Not to Play

I have recently noticed that Barry Bonds, despite his willingness to play for next to nothing, is still without a team to play for. This seems utterly ludicrous to me, even though I know that he did use steroids (allegedly), and I am certainly against cheating in baseball. But with all of the continued scrutiny on his position, the chances of him continuing to use steroids under the shadow of his indictment are slim. There are many good reasons to put him back onto a major league team at least until his trial and it wouldn't be a terrible distraction for the remainder of his season since his trial isn't until 2009.

Since every homerun ball he hits from now until eternity is a record-breaking homerun and thus potentially priceless, I firmly believe that overall attendance at any baseball games he attends would greatly pad the pocket books of those in power. At a time where offense seems to be waning (odd how this happens right in the wake of the steroids controversy), it seems to me that baseball needs attendance. It is even possible that the people who come solely to see Barry Bonds might even rekindle some lost kernel of passion for the game and start to go to more of their teams' games. Either way, it seems very unlikely that the game will lose money with the reinstatement of Bonds (especially since he has agreed to be paid the league minimum, which is around 300k!!!!), but the game stands to make a great deal of money in ticket sales as well as corresponding concession sales.

This may sound odd, but his steroids usage doesn't matter to me right now because one person does not a team make. I don't agree with it, but I am not so alarmist that I believe that it is so incredibly pervasive as to give one team a tremendous boost over a 162 game season. I would certainly be more inclined to go to a game if given the option to see the all-time homerun king, even with his tainted record. It is still a record until a decision is made to strike him from the record which I don't see happening. The worst I could see happening is an asterisk put to his record, a la Roger Maris with his historic homerun season. Maybe someone will read this in the right position and give this poor (:() guy a break. Or perhaps not.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Night at the Indians Game

Yesterday was alot of fun as my buddy Potts and I went to go see an Indians game at Progressive field (You shall always be Jacob's field in my heart). We got there exceptionally early, over 2 hours prior to game time because I wanted to camp out on the homerun porch and snag homeruns during batting practice. Unfortunately, my carefully crafted plans went awry as the majority of the ballpark was closed until six so we were forced to sit in the right field seats to have any hope whatsoever of catching a batting practice homerun. It was exceptionally hot there, but it was quite close to the baseball players down on the field.

We sat there in the sun, munching on peanuts for about an hour. It was definitely not boring though as there was an older woman leaning over the wall and shouting down onto the field for Omar Vizquel to, and I quote (though I would rather not) "get his sweet bod over here". This woman was yelling so loudly that I could have sworn that the entire stadium could probably here her. Before the giants got into the outfield, they were stretching near their dugout on the first base line and to a man they all looked over when she yelled at them from the outfield. She was definitely not shy about welcoming Omar back to the ballpark for the first time since he was traded.

Prior to the game, there was a tribute to Omar that was actually quite touching. As someone who grew up watching the Indians in their heyday in the nineties, Omar and his fellow teammates from those years embodied what baseball truly meant. They really played as a team, which I am sad to say is sorely lacking not only in the current Tribe but also throughout baseball. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who seem to be hitting to get their personal numbers up that they negatively impact the team. It is amazing that the Indians this year have scored three runs or less in half of their games! That is an absolutely astounding number for major league hitters. Especially in the American league with the DH rule.

This game ended with a 3-2 win for the Giants, but the Indians had plenty of opportunities yet failed to capitalize. A strange thing occurred in Giants ninth when Omar came up to bat with men on first and third. He performed one of the best squeeze bunts down third base that I have ever seen, and all kudos to him. He performed it with such alacrity that the man from third scored and he was also safe at first base. The strange part of this incidence is that probably half of the stadium cheered because Omar did his job. I have a feeling that Omar was probably a little bit saddened by the lack in compassion for the modern incarnation of the Tribe. When he was playing, during a five year stretch that saw daily sellouts, this would never have happened. To have half of the park cheer when the opposing team scores a run is just very strange. I mean, I was happy to see Omar play, and the tribute before the game was really nice, but once that game starts he is the enemy for the majority of the park. We are a long way from San Francisco, so there really weren't that many Giants fans in the crowd.

So this was yet another loss for the struggling Indians. I am fast losing my patience with this team, and really don't see any way for them to come out of this hole unless they completely change the ways in which they have been playing baseball. They need to drop their pride and start playing together as a team. The talent is definitely there, but I fear that the motivation is missing. If I had bet in Vegas before this season started that both the Indians and Tigers would be playing sub-500 baseball this late into the season I could probably retire quite easily to some nice beach house down in the Caribbean with half of the attendance at last night's game.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Fresh Beginning

For those of you counting, though at this rate I wouldn't blame any of you for not reading this anymore, it has been over two months since my last post. Starting to sound a bit like I'm in a confessional. I confess my sins to thee, and hope that thou doth forgive me. Forgive my strange speech, but I am been reveling in Shakespeare of late thanks to a wonderful new device called Librivox. This website consists of a collection of audiobooks, read by real fans none of whom are getting paid. All of the books are those that are no longer subject to the long arm of copyright law, and thus William Shakespeare is a part of this. I urge anyone who likes literature to check this out. The talent is mixed, but the enthusiasm for the literature is something that has inspired me to lend my voice to this wonderful project.

This is just one of the many things that I have been doing to alleviate the boredom that I find myself in. It is a strange thing that the more time I have free, and thus the more things that could occupy my time, the less I inevitably get done. Instead, I have been in the habit of lying about like a bum for too many hours on end. Luckily, I have just enough motivation left in me right now to finish my thesis and look for a job. Speaking of my thesis, just 20 minutes ago I dropped off the latest draft en route to my adviser in New Mexico. *Fingers-crossed*

My job hunt has been oftentimes frustrating so far because it has been very difficult to find jobs in GIS (Geographic Information Systems). I have been going farther and farther afield until it seems that I am not fully using the degree for which I have labored much and given much over the past two years. Then I sit back and realize that nothing can ever replace the experiences and the friendships that I had over those two years. Even my relationship with Jess, which was in many ways put on hold for that time, is stronger for these experiences. As such, I am confident that even if I don't get a job that is specifically in my field it will all be worth it in the end.

I pledge to all of you faithful readers that I will make more use of this blog now that my life has settled somewhat. The stability that having a job and a steady source of income brings will allow me to focus all of my creativity and keep writing. I pray to God that I never lose my compassion for the written word and that I am always comfortable enough in myself to never fear writing what I feel needs to be written. Stay tuned, for even I never know what will flow from my rapidly typing fingers and through all the circuits onto the monitor. Wondrous things may be ahead for us all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Hunt for a Degree

Hey guys, I've resurfaced from my self-imposed exile. While my life is nowhere near as dramatic as that, it still is fun sometimes to think that it is. Right now, as I sit here procrastinating the inevitable, I am finishing my thesis in order to defend in May so that I never have to come back down here again (although I like it enough so I'll probably come back). My thesis is mostly done, with the statistical analysis sitting next to me right now with a copious amount of notes written on it. My task as of right now is to distill the essence of these statistics into pages of text that will make sense not only to myself, but also to my committee (and considering how highly educated they all are, it is surprisingly difficult to get my point across as I see it playing out in my head).

In essence, I have already completed my thesis and come up with my answers and my statistical analysis. Now, I just need to pull everything out of my head and splash it onto the digital page. Though it might not be as profound as a Jackson Pollock painting, I do hope that it will at least make a lot more sense. It has always struck me how difficult things can get sometimes when the tunnel at the end of the light, so to speak, is blinding in its ferocity. At that time, everything seems to get much harder and elusive where before it may have been extremely clear and as easy to pick out of the brain as so many apples on an apple tree. For instance, now that I have most of my ducks in a row and have started looking for a job (which takes a great deal of my brain away from other things at times) all of the other things seem like they take longer and longer.

Of course, I know what this is and I've been through it before. Senioritis is a nasty thing that many people from time immemorial have dealt with and gotten through just fine. As such, I know that I will be fine. NO WORRIES! As I'm sure is blatantly obvious, this rather eloquent blog posting (full of many strange allusions and big words) is really just a symptom of the greater disease. Since my purpose down here is to finish my thesis and come back to Ohio to really start my adult life, I will finish this posting and get back to the task at hand.

Friday, March 14, 2008

An Imperfect Blogger

Well, folks, I finally did what I swore I would never do when I originally started this blog! I have let posts lapse past a month. I would love to say that school has kept my nose to the grindstone so much that I have just been unable to spare but a moment to throw my thoughts onto this site like wet paint on a canvas (allow my alliterations please, I'm in that mood right now). Unfortunately that is fiction, and I have been the main culprit in keeping my printed words off of the electronic page. Just really haven't felt like it, though I need to start making more time for it because it really is a very soothing break from all the strange monotony of my life at school right now. I fervently hope that I will start writing on a more regular basis (daily, if my time will allow) because I have so many damn ideas that they seem to be creating a backlog in my brain and crowd out other things such as the remembrance of birthdays. Sorry to anyone's who's birthday I have forgotten now or in the past!!!

Besides my obvious faults as a human being (dramatic sigh issues forth), I have made great progress on my thesis; though those keeping track of my other blog would not realize it (I have not kept up with that well either). My database is completed and my answer is burning a hole in the folder on my hard-drive. Now I find myself in a strange period because I have analyses to do but am unsure of the exact types to do. Also, I have no idea what to write to finish my thesis and hope that a lightning bolt hits me soon (not really worried folks, but I'm in that mood to make jokes both good and bad).

As a quarter-centarian (that's 25 to the uninitiated; cue snobby upturned nose), I think it best to attribute my problems with keeping up this blog to the swiftly approaching senility. If I start forgetting things, take pity on my poor soul and point me in the right direction.

In other news, Gerald Ford was mauled to death by ravenous wolves (hopefully, you are thinking about Dana Carvey in SNL right now or this joke is completely lost). In real other news, I am presenting what I have of my thesis today in front of friends and faculty in Breland 96. I really hope that it isn't as boring to them as it sometimes seems to me as I dive into all the data. That's about all I've got for you today, and I promise to write another posting within the next month even if its complete and utter jibberish (which this seems to be at times).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

School Update

I have been working fairly steadily over the past few weeks, ever since coming back from Ohio, and I am pleased to say that my working is progressing even faster than I had hoped. At this time, I am looking to defend my proposal (essentially a formality) before the end of February and defend my actual thesis either in late April or early May. This would be just in time to come home around May 10th and start looking for an apartment so that Jess and I can finally start our lives together. I can't wait, and I thank everyone who has helped me get through this time.

I plan on starting to look for a job beginning in March. I feel that this is more than enough time for me to find a good job before I come back in May. Even if that doesn't turn out to be the case, at least I'll be starting earlier and the chances will increase as time goes by. After all, I have a master's degree in Archaeology with a minor in a computer-related field. I feel very confident.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Video Game Censorship

So, I was cruising online today and came across a youtube video from Fox News. It is about the horrible sex scenes in Mass Effect, a roleplaying game for the Xbox360 that I happened to have greatly enjoyed. The people at Fox News claim that this game allows for fully interactive sex scenes along with full-frontal nudity. Anyone who has played this game all the way through knows that it does no such thing. In fact, the announcer in the video as well as one of their "experts" admits that they have never even played the game. I am sick and tired of people making complaints about things when they have never even experienced what they are fighting about.

This hoopla about Mass Effect is really only the latest in a long line of controversies that the video game industry has had to endure. Ironically, it almost seems that people are complaining about games more now than they did in the past. I suppose this has alot to do with the overall prominence of video games in this culture: far more than in the past. This is ridiculous because the video game industry is far more regulated now than ever in the past, with the regulation enforced by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board). Prior to that, there was no watchdog in the industry and many blatantly sexual or violent games were released to the general public. Custer's Revenge is a famous example of a blatantly pornographic video game, where the soul point was to have sex with the squaws.

Nowadays, every game is rated from E for everyone to AO (Adults Only) along with between 3 and 6 descriptors of what is to be found in the video game. For instance, it might say something like 'partial nudity' or 'simulated violence' or 'suggestive dialogue'. These may seem kinda vague, but in video games that may occupy dozens of hours of a gamer's life it is very difficult to portray everything a game has, without publishing a small volume. It would seem that it would be much easier to rate movies, yet many movies get released at the PG-13 rating that I would not want my children to see.

It seems that in many ways our society as a whole is getting desensitized and callous about sex and violence. Regardless of your own individual viewpoint on what should or should not be allowed, it seems blatantly obvious that more of it is being allowed on TV and in the movies than ever before. This has never really bothered me because from the time most of it had been allowed on tv I've been old enough to view it. Video games, however, seem to provide a unique controversy with many conservative individuals.

Traditionally, video games seem to have always been child's play. Many of us in our twenties have grown up with video games and they have consequently grown up with us. As such, they have increased in complexity over the years even as they have become more and more adult-oriented. While there may have been some games, like the aforementioned Custer's revenge, that could never have been considered to be a kid's game the amount of adult-oriented subject matter in today's games has increased exponentially as the same kids who used to thrive off Super Mario Bros. now find more pleasure in killing aliens (Halo 3) or in killing prostitutes (Grand Theft Auto). Since this is what the general populace seems to want, can you really blame the companies making the games for making what their audiences want?

I guess my point is this: with so much crap going on in the world why are people so worried about this entertainment industry that has done more than any other entertainment industry to try and regulate what is being produced. With the ratings boards, and the family-settings on many of the xbox games presently available, they are making a valid attempt to keep games that have to much violence or sexuality from out of the hands of those who are not mature enough to handle the subject material. How can it possibly be their fault when there are parents out there who would readily hand over any games their children want regardless of the rating simply to placate them or get them out of their hair. The problem is with the individuals and should not be laid at the feet of the companies' making all the games and the video game systems.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The First Week of School

I have done a pretty good job so far, after 3 days (I know, its such a long time period), of keeping with my schedule and working on my thesis every day. For anyone interested in my daily progress, come on over to my Thesis Blog and see what I am doing. Because of the unpublished nature of much of the material, I have mad it closed to the public. Anyone who reads this blog and is also interested in my thesis needs just contact me and ask me to invite them. You are all welcome.

Looking forward to my posting on this blog, it might be somewhat sparse until I finish my thesis. Though if I can keep with my schedule, I should still have my evenings largely free so it is possible that I might even post more than last semester. I am currently working on a story, but it seems to be spiralling out of control and is already over 12 pages long and I have no idea on its eventual length. I would like to post some more short stories, however and I will try to keep that foremost in addition to my personal logs. As usual, if anything should catch my eye in the news or elsewhere and I have a personal opinion on it, I might just blog about it. Until then, have a great new years.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back to School

Today was the true beginning of my last semester. I spent the majority of the day working on my thesis, and pursuing teaching assistant related projects. This includes a whole lot of scanning that I still need to do. It really feels good to know that this is my last semester, and I feel much more motivated for it. The proverbial light is at the end of the tunnel, I can see it and I am sprinting towards it. In order to keep all of this going, I am instituting a rather strict schedule that sees me in my office from 9-5 on Monday through Thursday. I think this will really work well since I only have one class on Saturdays. If I can keep this up, I have no doubt that I will finish in good time and be able to use the extra time to make my thesis that much better.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

2007 in Review, Part 3

With this past summer behind me, I went back down to Las Cruces for my 3rd semester. I had reached the turning point in this whole venture, and I began to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. To be perfectly honest, I seem to remember little from this semester. This is owing to the fact that it went by so damned fast that I can hardly believe that as I sit here now I am only days away from returning for my 4th and final semester. The latter part of the year was characterized by the continuing revisions of my proposal, which always managed to hover around 50 pages no matter how often I cut, added, or transposed. It's a good thing though, because for the most part I will be able to copy and paste almost verbatim into my finished thesis.

During the rest of the previous semester, I spent a good deal of it hanging out with friends of mine in New Mexico. It really is going to be quite hard for me to leave them and come back to Ohio when I graduate, because I have made some really great friendships that will most likely last the rest of my life. It will certainly be bittersweet when I leave Las Cruces, it has been my home for almost two years now and it will be hard to forget.

Well, that pretty much does it for the year. I left out much, but feel I have done a serviceable job in recounting the most important aspects. Looking towards 2008, I will be setting up a thesis specific blog at where I will be keeping as daily a log as I can about what I am doing with my thesis. I am keeping it private, because I haven't published anything yet. If you are interested in keeping tabs on it, let me know and give me your email address so I can invite you to view it. Wish me luck during this final semester and have a happy 2008.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2007 in Review, Part 2

The last we heard from our intrepid archaeologist, Sean Arata (again cue Indiana Jones music), he was suffering through a field season full of gale force winds and other such indignations. Needless to say, he (I) was ready and willing to take my A in the field school and spend the rest of the summer in Columbus with Jess. The summer was a great time, as it marked the halfway point of graduate school. It really began to sink in that I only had a year left before finding a job and being able to start wedding plans in earnest. This turned out to be a very pivotal time period, as this coincided perfectly with the genesis of this here blog!! (You can probably turn off the Indiana Jones music now, gets kind of tinny after awhile)

I have really found a new/old passion in my life, and have tried my hardest to keep it going. It is new because I finally feel much more capable of putting my life down in words, not to mention other/ fictional lives. Though I have been writing stories since I was much younger than I am now, I have never embraced the very real possibility that with enough sweat and tears (and don't forget practice) I could actually in my lifetime pursue a career as an author above and beyond what other job I may have. Though of course I would never completely forsake the time and energy that went into getting my Master's degree. I had a type of defining moment recently, during my current spate of attempting to write fiction.

It happened as I was taking out garbage the other night. I looked up into the stars. Even with all the light pollution plus clouds that were in the sky at that time, my mind's eye was able to pierce that dark veil and imagine myself what was up there. This initial imagination didn't take much. After all, I've seen stars all my life. For the first time in my life, however, I could really imagine what might be up there. I've always wondered what strange and quixotic things are evident not just in our own milky way galaxy, but in the millions of other galaxies out there. Then came the stunner: "Why, I could create what might be up there". This seemingly innocuous statement hit me like a thunderbolt. Is it really that easy, I thought. The back of my mind said, "Sure, why not. You can string words together. If monkey's can create Shakespeare, certainly you can create some new kind of intellectual property!"

In the end, I really have Jess to thank for this. If she hadn't told me during the summer that I should start this blog and start writing again (of course, she mostly did this because she was tired of me whining), then I don't think I would have started it up again. Without her positive backing and constant shoves in the back I would still be a forward-thinking man walking backwards in this escalator ride called Life. Thank you, babe.

I felt the need to expound so thoroughly upon this past summer and what it started, that I think I will have to finish up this 2007 retrospect in my next posting. Happy new years to all, and to all a solid paycheck.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

2007 in Review, Part 1

Well guys, my blog has survived through the holiday season!! Though it has seen its highs and lows (read, long time without posts), I am refusing to let it die. It is very important to me that I continue writing and getting my feelings out for the world to see. Every person out there who reads this, you know who you are, gives me the impetus to keep putting the figurative pen to the figurative paper. I believe that since this blog has begun I have become much better at translating my rather confusing thoughts into coherent and cogent sentences and paragraphs. I daresay that it is also helping me out with my thesis and other school-related writing.

2007 was a very big year for me in many disparate ways. It was the first, and last, full year of graduate school combining the fears and doubts of the beginning of graduate school with the resolution and the forward thinking of the end of graduate school. It began with tragic heartache with the death of my grandfather Louis, a man beloved and honored by multitudes of people in and around the Cincinnati area. His funeral was difficult, especially since it combined with a different type of heartache associated with the necessity to leave all my family here in Ohio (especially my wonderful Jess) and relocate for yet another semester of graduate school down in Las Cruces.

Perhaps as a way to cover this inauspicious start to the year, I tried to delve deeper into my school and work my way through the semester with the endgame in mind. This was the quarter where I really solidified my thesis topic and my schedule aimed at getting me out of there by Spring '08. As far as my grades were concerned it worked and I earned straight A's that semester: a feat that I have rarely accomplished over my academic career. Though I would have loved to have been able to come home and spend the entire summer at Jess's side and visiting friends and family, I saw an opportunity to ensure that I would be able to graduate on time. The difficulty arose when I realized that my Geography minor added an extra six credits onto my schedule, which would have kept me in school until the very end of 2008. In order to alleviate this, I signed up for a six-week field school that was set to take place in Deming, NM an exceedingly tiny town rife with prehistoric Native American artifacts.

This field school was an important step in my education as it made me realize how little love I had for field archaeology. While I may have had moderate success with the theoretical aspects of Archaeology and Anthropology, such as the nature of culture and unilinear evolution, I realized real quickly that I did not enjoy working in the dirt with toothbrushes. Ironically, I seemed to enjoy the paperwork more than the actual fieldwork. I have reached halfway through the year of 2007, and this is looking like a fairly long post already, so I'll end it here and just ask you to wait with what I am sure is baited breath for my next posting where I chronicle the continuing adventures of Sean Arata, Archaeologist!!! (cue Indiana Jones music).

Before I go, I would like to send my regrets to a dear friend of mine who's grandmother passed away over the Holidays. I'm sure that her and her family are still reeling from this great loss at such a joyous time. My thoughts are with them in this time of need.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Futurama Returns!!!!!!!!!!

I found this little gadget on which is a site set up by the creator's of Futurama. If anyone who loves this show as much as I do is interested in any information about its continuation, this is the site to visit.