Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Resolutions

I never much saw the point in New Year's resolutions until two years ago, when a Cracked article changed my perspective on resolutions completely. Rather than setting vague, wishy-washy goals for self-improvement, I could set clear, actionable goals for myself for the next year, and self-improvement would be a byproduct.

It's worked out pretty well these past two years, so it's time to set a few more goals for 2015.

Best of 2014

Everybody likes looking back on the year and comparing their experiences to see what stood out most for them in their field. I don't really have a field in which to determine such things, but I'll see what I can do with what I've experienced: video games, hikes, movies, blog posts, podcasts, and TV shows. Alas, I didn't really read many books this year.

On that note, I'm judging things that I experienced this year, not things that were made this year. There are too many things that were made this year that I didn't experience, and too many things I experienced that weren't made this year. Also, this list is limited to things I experienced for the first time this year, so things like my Final Fantasy 7 play-through don't count. Given that, here we go:

Movie Review #52: The Wolf of Wall Street

The end of the year kinda snuck up on me, so in a panic I turned to Netflix for my final new movie of the year. The result: The Wolf of Wall Street, which appeared on Netflix a surprisingly short time after being released in theaters.

Short review: definitely interesting and engaging, and perhaps at times even inspiring. It's not a feel-good movie or a funny movie, and there isn't some moral lesson to be learned from the movie--not really. It depicts a fascinating thing that happened, and you can take from it what you will.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Presidential Approach

Last time I explained what a president can actually do. Next I want to talk about my own approach.

Presidential Powers

On my drives to and from Louisiana I spent a lot of time thinking about three things: my D&D campaign, my game idea, and my presidential campaign in 2020. I won't be posting my D&D notes here since some of my players might read this blog, but I may write about the other two things so I can record my thoughts while they're still relatively fresh.

I'll start with the presidential stuff.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The "Conservative" View

The silence in my house is deafening after two whole days of riding in my car listening to music and podcasts. I'd enjoy the silence more, but in the final few miles into Tucson I decided to explore a few radio stations rather than fumble around with my phone again. I stumbled into the middle of a radio talk show, which I listened to for a few minutes to kind of wrap my head around it.

The show consisted of the host basically going on about how Obama is a dictator, how the Republicans are enabling him, and how the president is systematically destroying the country. He then took a caller who basically agreed with the host, then went on to say he knew from the beginning that Obama was Satan (literally, Satan in disguise) ever since some fiasco about when Obama didn't hold the Bible the right way or something when he was inaugurated.

Now I'm just thinking about conservatism in general, so I figured I'd write something about it.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Movie Review #51: The Interview

I honestly wasn't interested in watching this movie, but given the hype and controversy around it my parents were kind of interested. Since it was available to watch via the Internet fairly cheaply, we all sat down in my parents' living room and watched it last night.

Short review: it's certainly what you'd expect from a Seth Rogan movie. Goofy, kinda smart sometimes, but mostly just a bunch of friends having a good time. Comedies like this aren't really my thing, though.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014


My mom has been catching me up with the things she's been going through, which seems to mostly involve her opinions about neighbors, family, and her general worries about safety. She's been watching a lot of this channel called "ID," which seems to be primarily crime investigations, crime recreations, and other shows that generally seed distrust in the rest of humanity. My mom recognizes that this channel has not done her any favors, but she keeps watching it anyway.

This has generally made my mom paranoid about criminals, thieves, and murderers, and it's made me start thinking about the effect paranoia has on people.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Stories for Back Home: Traveling (Other than Japan)

More notes I can refer to when talking about stuff to people back home. This time, regarding my various travels around the country.

Packing for Travel

Tomorrow morning I'm going to be leaving Tucson, heading toward Louisiana to stay with family for Christmas. I'll be gone for pretty much an entire week: two days of travel to get there, three days with family and friends, and two days' travel back.

So, what does someone like me pack for a trip like this? Let's run down the list.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: The World of Ice and Fire

I picked this book up shortly after its release. Game of Thrones fans are eager for the next book in the series, but that's not going to happen any time soon. In the meantime, I'm not sure how everyone else feels about fantasy world-building, but this book was right up my alley.

Double-Ventana Weekend

Ventana Canyon was the first hike I went on this year, and the account of the trip can be found elsewhere. This time, though, I hiked this trail twice in rapid succession: once yesterday, and again today. Let me tell you a bit about why.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Stories for Back Home: Japan

It took me a month to decompress from my trip to Japan, but I don't have a month back home. Instead, I'm going to have to zero in on some choice tidbits to tell family and friends about. Let's see what we can do.

Falling Gas Prices

I've been riding my bike a lot lately, so I was pretty surprised when, during one of my rare drives a few days ago, I noticed that gas prices had dropped to about $2.25 per gallon. I'm pretty sure that's the cheapest it's ever been for as long as I've been driving. I have vague, foggy memories of gas for less that $2 per gallon when I was a kid, but I never thought I'd see anything similar ever again.

What does all of this mean, though? I'm not sure, but I have some thoughts.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stories for the Folks Back Home

I'm pretty much the worst conversationalist. What I catch up with people, the conversation usually goes something like, "Hey! How's it been?" "Great! And you?" "It's been good." And then the conversation kind of trails off unless my partner in conversation has something interesting to say.

Normally I'd be expecting similar conversations with my friends and family back home when I'm there for Christmas, but I'm going to try to prevent that this year. With the exception of that one of you who reads this blog (Aaron), most of them don't really know what I've been up to this past year. As it turns out, I think I've done some interesting things. So, I'm going to list them here and maybe flesh them out a bit more in future blogs in order to prepare to tell my stories.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taking Stock at 29

Yesterday I turned 29, which gives me just one more year of being in my 20s. I'm going to take stock of my life to get a feel for where I am, where I'm going, and just generally seeing how much I can relate to the Five Iron Frenzy song "At Least I'm Not Like All Those Other Old Guys."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Fight a Dragon

I've been spending a lot of time playing Dragon Age: Inquisition when I'm not working. On weekends I can get sucked in completely, as I did yesterday. So, I'm going to talk about it a bit, specifically about fighting dragons.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Only So Much You Can Do

Fretting is useless, and it's something I rarely allow myself to do.

That said, there are two situations going on right now that I'm tempted to fret about.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gonna Make This a Thing

I wouldn't say that the 15-minute blog post worked out that well, but it served the goal of getting me a write a bit, and that's the important thing. Given the fact that time is going to be at a premium for the next week and I've still way behind on blog posts, I think I'll keep up these stream on consciousness posts until I'm caught up. So, here we go:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

15-Minute Blog Post

What can I write about in 15 minutes? Can I write enough to be satisfied that I actually wrote something today? I don't know, but I'm willing to find out. It's currently 1:45AM, and it's too late for me to spend much time on a proper post. Still, I'm also way behind on posts, and I'm not willing to slip even further behind tonight. So, here we go.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Gifts

Christmas is a tough time for me. I don't mean it the way that it's a tough time for most people who say that, though. I understand how all of that family and togetherness can get overwhelming for people who lack those things. Even if you have those things, the darker sides of commercialism certainly rears its ugly head around this time and threatens to cast a pall over the season.

That said, I'm fortunate to be both surrounded by lovely friends and friends during Christmas, and even in my numerous holiday seasons working in retail I've always felt that the good more than makes up for the bad during this time of year.

No, my problem is gift-giving. It's a stressful experience for me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Inspiration for Creative Time

I've spoken about Creative Time and, specifically, this video before, but I haven't actually seen this video for a couple of years. This is primarily because shortly after the first time I watched it the video was removed from YouTube, seeing as how the video belongs to a group called Video Arts and it was not them who uploaded it.

After some searching recently, I managed to find the video somewhere else. It was just as awesome as I remembered it:

I'm going to spend the rest of this blog post recapping the video for my own purposes. Feel free to simply watch the video and ignore the rest of this post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Revolutions Podcast: The American Revolution

The English Revolution was filled with the names of lords and provinces I was not terribly familiar with. I remember Cromwell, and I remember the kings Charles I and Charles II, but beyond that all I really remember is general military strategies, diplomatic deals, and religious movements. The exact people and places are kind of lost in the mist already.

That's not the case with the American Revolution. I was raised learning the broad strokes of the American Revolution, so this season of the podcast had the much easier job of filling in the details. If you're not a scholar of revolutionary America, I highly recommend listening to this season of Revolutions, even if you don't listen to any of Mike Duncan's other work. I guarantee you'll learn a lot.

Movie Review #50: Big Hero Six

Laura wanted to go see "Robot Movie" as she calls it. I heard good things, so I was down.

Short review: definitely a fun, charming movie.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Revolutions Podcast: The English Revolution

After completing his massive History of Rome podcast, Mike Duncan focused on raising his newborn baby for a while before starting his next venture: another history-based podcast called Revolutions. In it, each season of the podcast would focus on a different revolution in history--revolution being loosely defined as a time when a new regime violently overthrew a previous one, whether the new regime managed to maintain itself permanently or not.

His first season was about the First English Revolution, which I was almost completely unfamiliar with before listening. As it turns out, though, the events of the English Revolution were instrumental in changing the world into the one we live in today.

I'm a Loner, Dottie. A Rebel.

I wonder what everyone else makes of my loner nature. This is something I think about a lot when I'm working by myself.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Work Hours

It's that time again. A few days ago I worked ~16 hours in a single day, which I admit was a bit overboard. However, that's the holidays for you. There's a lot to do and not enough time in the day to do it.

So, I'm going to talk about my particular brand of self-destruction: working too hard.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Movie Review #49: Seven

I'm pretty sure that the thing that kept me from watching this movie up to now was the fact that it's spelled SE7EN on the cover, which really ticked me off for whatever reason. It's on Netflix now, though, and the hook grabbed me, so here we are.

Short review: forget the dumb name. The movie itself is very good. It's also disturbing, with many scenes featuring dead bodies and lots of blood everywhere, though it's worth noting the that violence itself is not committed on-screen--this is a murder mystery, not a slasher film. If you've never seen it, go ahead and give it a shot and don't read the rest of this review. The ending is to good to spoil, and though spoilers don't bother me much, I'm glad that I didn't know the ending of this 20 year old movie going in.

Basic Income, Part 2

In my last blog post, I wrote about what Basic Income is as well as many of the reasons it would be very difficult to implement. This time I'm going to talk about why we should take a closer look at the idea.