Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Organized Religion Rant

Ever since Sue and I moved down to Alabama, my opinion of organized religion has been steadily decreasing. For one thing, I have always been a very introverted when it comes to discussing religion with other people. I'm not willing to tell others that their religious choice (whatever it may be) is wrong when I have so little hard evidence that mine was right. This clashes with nearly everything that goes on here in the bible belt. For example:

(1) In the last election, my polling location was inside a church.

(2) On the weekends when I go to work, I often drive by a church where there are always folks at the end of the church driveway waving at people as we drive by. I don't really understand why, but that bothers me. I cannot really put my finger on why, but it really bothers me.

(3) The whole ten commandments in the judicial Building issue down here. For those who were unaware, the chief justice of Alabama decided that all laws come from the Bible, and that a giant 10 ton granite monument should be placed in the judicial building for everyone to see. What bothers me about this one is that the judge in this case felt that he did not have to comply with the federal judges order to remove the monument.

(4) All the laws in this state passed by the religious organizations. There are still several dry counties around the one I live (thank goodness the one I live in is not that way). Also, we do not have a state lottery because "gambling is bad" according to the religious right.

Things like this, where a particular religious group feels the need to FORCE their belief on others has never sat right with me, particularly when the use the law to do so, makes me very uncomfortable and sad.

This Gay marriage thing is another example. What the hell is the argument that Gay Marriage is not ok, but civil unions are? How can you logically be for that? I can at least understand the logic of not wanting to accept gay marriage and gay civil unions (not wanting to legitimize that sort of life-style). I don't agree with it, but at least I can understand it. But what argument can one give for wanting to reserve just the title of marriage to heterosexual couples? The only arguments I have heard is that marriage has always been defined that way. So? By that logic slavery would still be legal and women would not be able to vote.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Trance Music is God's Music

Among the MANY new things that I learned while in CT/New York this month (Paul: wink, wink) is the fact that I love techno. Here in Huntsvegas...By the way, that is what the locals call Huntsville; I kid you not....Anyways, here in Huntsvegas Sue and I have been to the one real club in town a few times with my work buddy Ryan. Every time I go there I always comment to my buddy that I can deal with their techno music, but after an hour or so I just want to beat someone over the head. He commented that this is because the clubs DJ sucks, and that I would not feel the same about real techno.

Oh, before I forget, I should point out that before our little vacation trip, my favorite music was generally "angry white music (copyright pending)". Sutff like Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, A Perfect Circle (if you do not know what this is, GO TO BEST BUY RIGHT NOW AND BUY THEIR CD. I mean it. It is really really good stuff), Tool, Rage Against the Machine.... you get the idea. Not to say that it was the only music I like to listen to, but it was always my favorite up to this point.

Where was I? Oh right, Trance Music. Thank goodness for the Title textbox to remind me.... After going to the Municipal and listening to a REAL DJ spin, I am hooked on this stuff. I have been listening to a "Hard Trance" stream all day now at work. It is really helping me get through the day. It very upbeat which helps to keep me awake and happy at work, but since it has no words, I can pretty much ignore it while I am writing code. Although if anyone walked by my office and saw me bouncing my hand to the beat while I think about the next thing to code, they would think I was a little nuts....

I've tried a few of the other feeds, but I keep coming back to the Hard Trance feed. This is my favorite type of techno music up to this point. I think it is the non-stop bass. I love that. Now all I need is a way to play this stuff out of our home threater system (HTS) from my computer. I am already working on it. I think for starters I will just run a cable to the headphone jack on my HTS from my laptop's out line. But later on, I need to figure out how I can have my spare PC somehow feed raw digital data to my HTS via a better cable. My PC already has a good sound card (thanks to a birthday gift from my wonderful wife), and I always felt bad that I was not using all of the plugs in the back of the box. Maybe this is a good use for it:) I wonder if they make a wireless adapter for that sort of thing.... Will have to investage that at some point. Best to start low tech for now.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

GameCube Rants

Rented Metal Gear: Solid Snake this weekend. I have to say that this is a first game I have enjoyed on the GameCube since I bought it. Its also the first game I have played on my GameCube that has a non-pokemon, 6 and up age game design about (gasp!). I mean, I like the new Legend of Zelda, but I still thought the new graphics were boring, and looked like a Saturday morning cartoon. Maybe I am just too old for video games, or maybe it may be time to give in to the dark side and switch to a PlayStation or XBox system.

Part of the reason I am thinking of finally making the switch from a Ninteno product is the fact that I have burned by several games lately. Firstly, Star Wars: Rebel Strike 3. This game sucked so much that I just could not keep playing after about 5 levels. It took everything that I loved about Rouge Squadron, pitched it in the garbage, and then created a HORRIBLE game with first person action that was about as good as the original Castle Wolfenstin (for those unaware, that was one of the very first first-person shooters). It sucked hard and with commitment, which makes me angry because the first one was sooooo good.

Next on the list is Harry Potter: Quittich Cup. This game also sucked, although I think it might have been less the fault of the developers then the fact that the rules of Quittich just don't make a whole lot of sense. For those unaware, the rules basically say that if you are not 150 points in the lead when someone on the other team catches the snitch, you lose. Its like Family Feud, where the last round more or less makes all the previous rounds meaningless. Not only that, but the game revolves around you trying to set up combos of passes in order to use "special moves". Special moves basically allow you to score if you have the ball no matter what the other team does. I guess I was expecting more of a Hockey on broom sticks sort of game.

Mario Kart is not bad, but the battle modes they added in are the best part of the game, which is a little odd for a racing game. I have to admit though that I have played battle with Sue's sisters for hours at a time without any sort of boredom, which is a testament to just how good the battle part of the game is:)

Well, Eric and I have enjoyed a nice quiet weekend. We had to do some lawn and garden work since now is when everything is growing here in Alabama. It has been in the 80's and sunny the past 5 days. Nice. We do have a lot of unwanted guests though: Wasps and bees. Eric has been assigned the task to kill them all. I have been trying my hand at some gardening but my flower bulbs are growing too slow for my taste.

Yesterday we went to see the movie Jersey Girl. It was a good movie. We both enjoyed it. It is different from all of Kevin Smith's other movies and we knew that going into it. It still has quite a bit of humor. Even if you do hate Jennifer Lopez, she is only in it in the first 15 minutes and she dies so give it a chance. We also rented Runaway Jury, since we are behind in our movie renting. That is also a great movie. It keeps you guessing until the end! It helps that John Cusak is in it and I love him! It also has Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, the chick from the mummy movies, and some others.

I guess I should stop procrastinating about doing homework and just do it. Later y'all!

Friday, March 26, 2004

Today is my last day of spring break! Dern!! I had such a great spring break, but ufortuneately I have school again on Monday. I still have a bunch of homework to do that I should have done the last two days I had off, but I procrastinated and I got a cold from traveling. Recycled air in airplanes............yuck.

Spring break recap: E and I flew out Saturday March 20th at 7:30am (Argh) and arrived in Hartford, CT where P. M. met us at about noon. We then went and assembled the party crew, including K. T. who flew in the night before, and prepared for a night of partying. It was blast. It was so great seeing P. M., S. O., and K. T. again. It was especially great meeting P.M.'s friends who were a lot fun! After getting very little sleep we returned to P.M.'s house on Sunday and spent the day chilling out. Monday we took a train to NYC where we stayed for two days. We started out at Grand Central Station where we arrived and then went and checked into our hotel across the street. We first hit the Chrysler building which was cool to look at, but then we moved on. We then visited the U.N. building. After that we circled out way to the Empire State building where we waited in line for almost 2 hours to go to the very top and look out over the city. It was quite cool and a little sad to see the hole where the twin towers once stood. It is hard to believe that they were standing tall just 2 years ago. We then ventured to Times Square. We walked around past TRL and went into the biggest Toys' R us ever! It had its own ferris wheel inside. We then walked down Broadway and found ourselves at Rockefellar Center. We watched some people ice skate and looked at the NBC studio. Then we walked along the fancy-smancy stores, inculding Tiffany's. There were no price tags on the jewels and so we knew it was out of our price range. It did house the second biggest diamond in the US (Sue must have........). We tried to go to FAO Schwartz but were sad to see that they were closed for renovation. We saw part of Central Park but we had to run back to the hotel to get our Broadway show tix. We ran and grapped some dinner at a place called Giggles Bar and Grill and went to see Rent! What a great musical and seeing it on broadway is even better! If you haven't seen it, see it! It is not like the classic, musicals that you probably have seen like Les Mis and Phantom, so keep that in mind. It is modern, but very lively and fun to watch. Finally we got back to the hotel at midnight and rested since our feet were very angry with all the walking we did. We walked about 3 miles or more!!

The next morning we got up bright and early and went over to Rockefellar Center to catch the Today show! We saw Matt Lauder and Katie Couric! What fun. We took a bunch of pictures but they did not walk to where we were standing so we did not get to talk with them and Al was in California! Dern it! We glimpsed Tom Hanks as he left the studio behind us! We then had to get warm since it was so freakin cold so we stepped into the NBC store to thaw out. Then we decided to walk through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. What a long walk that was, but the park is very beautiful. It is so cool that there is this peaceful park in the middle of such a huge city! The giant buildings surrounding it are cool to see in the background. There is another regulation size ice rink in the middle and we watched some professional skaters skate for a bit. This is also where everyone in Manhattan takes their dogs so we saw a lot of those in the park. Finally we made to upper Manhattan and to the museum. The museum was cool. We only saw part of it because it is so huge and we had to catch a train back to S.O. that day. So we grabbed a cab and had it drive us to the hotel ( what a great idea!). The cabs in NYC are not as crazy as those in Rome though! We caught a train back and hung out with P.M. and S.O. and then Wed. we caught our flight back to AL where we slept for a long time the next two days. We were glad to be back with the dogs, but I miss P.M. and S.O. already! We love y'all! It was also so good to be in a liberal state with normal northern people again! Freedom for a few days!!!! Later. S.W.

This is Sue's first Blog entry. I rock!

This is just a first Post to test my mad posting capabilities.