Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 The Year in Review

A lot happened this year. Lots of news stories, celebrity stories, TV shows, Movies, and lots of famous people died. So much has happened that it's impossible to list everything. But here are some of the things that I found memorable:

top Sports stories of 2013
1 Lance Armstrong confesses to using performance enhancing drugs and is stripped of his 7 Tour de France victories.
2 Oscar Pistorius murders his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
3 Andy Murray wins Wimbleton Tennis Championship
4 The Boston Red Sox win the World Series
5 The Auburn Tigers football team
6 The Boston Marathon bombing.
7 Jameis Winston wins Heisman Trophy despite allegations of rape.

top news stories:
Paula Deen racism scandal
George Zimmerman trial (found not guilty)
Trayvon Martin
Obamacare (ACA)
Jodi Arias trial (found guilty)

deaths:
Nelson Mandela
Peter O'toole
Patti Page
Jonathan Winters
Larry Hagman
George Jones
James Gandolfini
Slim Whitman
Tom Clancy
Lou Reed
Annette Funicello
Bonnie Franklin
David Frost
Paul Walker
Hugo Chavez
Margaret Thatcher
Marcia Wallace
Tom Laughlin

Celebrity and TV show stories
Duck Dynasty
Jennifer Lawrence
Breaking Bad
The Walking Dead
Miley Cyrus
Twerking

So much for just one year. You'd think it couldn't all fit.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Pretty Good Day

  December 7th, 1941 has for 72 years been remembered as the day Japan attacked Pearl Harbor & brought the US into WWII. Yesterday, December 7, 2013 many will remember as the day Auburn University made it's own mark in history. For that day they earned a seat in the BCS National Championship Football game.
  Auburn had the week before been victorious over Alabama, previously the #1 college football team in the country, and so was playing in the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, GA. against Missouri. It would be a tiger on tiger brawl the likes of which has never been seen before!
  The teams fought viciously fang and claw for 4 quarters with the teams going back and forth. All told there were 8 lead changes, making for a very competitive and rollercoaster game. You can check out the game stats here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_SEC_Championship_Game
  I rode over with a couple friends to Atlanta and met another of our friends there before the game. Me, Adrian and Rick, who drove and had tickets took us. He gets tickets for many sporting events as he's a great follower of all kinds of sports (basketball, baseball, football, tennis, etc.) and a great guy to be friends with. I was lucky enough to be invited along and even though going to football games in person is not something I especially like doing I figured that this was an exceptional opportunity & not just some regular season game. This was going to be something epic. And watching the game I was definitely not disappointed, for the two teams played their hearts out and left everything on the field.
  Here are pictures of me and the other guys I went with at the game just after Auburn won.

  Auburn proved victorious this day and so it was up to two other conference championship game outcomes to determine who would be going to the big bowl games in early January. Michigan State was ranked #10 playing against #2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference Championship. You can see the stats of the game here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Big_Ten_Football_Championship_Game
Me, Adrian and Rick watched most of the game at a popular sports grille in Douglasville, GA called Taco Mac. They have an absurd amount of tv's, all on the games, so it's probably one of the best places to watch and get something to eat while doing so. Michigan State lead early, got tied up at 17-17 then lost the led 24-17, but then outscored Ohio State 17-0 and ended the game by a winning score of 34-24. Needless to say, since Ohio State stood in the way of Auburn reaching the BSC National Championship game, we were exstatic. We also saw #1 Florida State beat #20 Duke as expected to earn their place alongside Auburn in the big bowl game to be held in January. Here's my link to this game here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_BCS_National_Championship_Game
Being from Birmingham, AL. and a fan of local teams I was also pleased to hear that UAB won their basketball game on Saturday too by a score of 74-69. This gives them a record of 7-2 including a win over #16 North Carolina so far this year. Hopefully they can win most of their remaining games and have a good shot at getting into the NCAA Basketball Tourney in March of next year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

One Second To Kill Yourself


  Last night #4 Auburn played the game of the year and beat #1 Alabama. And they did it in 1 second.
  The game had gone back and forth for 4 quarters. Auburn scored first going up 7-0 to end the 1st quarter. But this woke the sleeping giant and in the 2nd quarter Alabama outscored Auburn 21-7 to lead 21-14 at halftime. In the 3rd quarter Auburn repeated the scoring from the 1st quarter and outscored Alabama 7-0 to tie Alabama 21-21. And so they battled in the 4th quarter neck and neck, both gaining a touchdown. Throughout the game Cade Foster for Alabama missed 3 attempted field goals, knocking as much as 9 points off the scoreboard, unusual for their kicker.
  The game was tied 28-28 near the end and with 7 seconds to go Alabama had the ball, T.J. Yeldon drove down the field and was knocked out of bounds at Auburn's 38 with 1 second left on the clock. What to do?
  Alabama had several choices. Take a knee & go into overtime. Throw a long bomb pass for a TD to try & win the game. Or do what they did & attempt a field goal to win. Obviously they'd lost faith in Cade Foster's ability to kick, so they brought out redshirt freshman kicker Adam Griffith to make the 57 yard kick. Doom.
  The choice, though not absurd, was frought with danger. Although seemingly invisible to Alabama, not so to Gus Malzahn and his crew. For, as everyone lined up for the kick one Auburn defender, Chris Davis, instead of staying on the line to try and block the kick, ran back to the end zone to wait and catch it--assuming it would fall short. The kick was up and it did fall short & he caught it. Chris Davis then ran 100+ yards past all of the Alabama players and scored one of the most remarkable touchdowns to win the game in Ironbowl history.
  And so another regular season is over. Auburn heads to the SEC Championship instead of Alabama. And Alabama's hopes for a 3rd consecutive national championship are most probably dashed. And Alabama should have seen it coming.
  With big fat slow offensive linemen on the field Alabama had little chance to catch the speedy Chris Davis when they kicked the ball with only 1 second left. Couldn't they have foreseen this happening? Well, Auburn obviously did. Otherwise Chris Davis would not have been where he was. Nick Saban always talks about giving your team the opportunity to win. But in this Ironbowl game he gave Alabama the opportunity to lose.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nobody's Hero

  I saw an article on Yahoo.com today about an attractive woman hunter who travels around the US and even the world to hunt. She went to South Africa recently and shot and killed an adult male lion-"the king of the beasts", at least in the animal kingdom. There has very quickly been a great uproar over this & a petition signed by 250,000+ people now demands that that country bar her from entry so that she could pursue hunting there.
  I imagine that she never expected so many people to feel negatively towards her actions or if they did to not go to the extreme of creating such a petition to ban her activities, which are legal where she does hunt. I'm sure she knows perfectly well there are many people opposed and/or repulsed by the act of hunting animals for whatever reasons.
  It seems to me that the opposition has arisen due to her blatant displays of pride and joy at what she does, and that they are totally unnecessary. I did a little research on her and it seems she grew up hunting and fishing quite a bit so the activity is second nature to her. There's a disturbing trend to what she does too it seems to me & that is that she needs bigger and better things to hunt to keep herself satiated.
  Anytime people do something repetitive they get used to doing it and become desensitized so to speak. Lets say you are Evel Knievel. You start out your career jumping one car. The crowd cheers you on because they think it's great. But soon one car isn't enough. They've seen you do one, now they want two, three, four, a dozen. And you too need to jump more to satisfy your curiosity and ego. "I can do more than that." you tell yourself. And the crowd's support only makes it worse. You start believing what they say about you: that you're a hero, that you are the best ever. And then you go and try to jump the Snake River Canyon in some crazy steam-powered rocket contraption (Skycycle X-2) and end up failing miserably.
  I give this example to say this: I think Melissa Bachman is bored with only hunting the "easy things". So she has to go all over the world looking for something bigger, something more dangerous, something harder to kill than the last thing she killed because simply stated she is a bored woman. Apparently she has the money to do these things. Flying around the world isn't cheap. Plus the hunting gear is expensive. But that's beside the point. My point is that she is bored:
Bored - definition = 1.tired and impatient: tired of and slightly annoyed by a person or situation that is not interesting, exciting, or entertaining. Yep, that fits.
  She even says so herself in an article written by her in PetersensHunting.com:
Bow hunting is a sport that many of us enjoy year round, but we all get bored with just shooting at targets in the summer. One way to combat this is to spend an afternoon or weekend bow fishing your local lakes. Carp have become a real nuisance in many area lakes in Minnesota and around the country, so not only are you honing in your skills as a shooter, but you’re helping take out some of these pesky carp as well.
  At any rate if I were her I give some thought to publicly hunting certain animals, and especially to being so overly blatant about how overjoyed you are that you've killed it. I'm not an animal rights activist or anything. I'm just a guy who is reading and watching articles like this and wondering why such things are happening. Personally I lack the understanding of why she would get so stoked at the killing of a large animal like a lion. I mean, was it really that great of an accomplishment? Is it like she won the noble prize? Did she cure cancer? Did she save someone's life? Did she even teach anyone some important life lesson? Nope. She was bored, so she went and killed a big animal. Not because it needed to be killed. Not because it would make the world a better place. Good going girl.
 
 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

New Cat In The House

  We lost the cat that was living in our house recently. Tinkerbell was 18 years old and, although I didn't know her that long, I enjoyed my time with her. I moved in here a few months ago and Susan the homeowner had had her since she was a kitten. It was a difficult loss for her I'm sure.
  A few days ago Susan found a new friend on Craigslist. A kitty that someone else couldn't keep. She named it Jayjay. It is a male kitty, 1 to 2 years old, and very lovable. He loves to cuddle up with you and be petted. He'll climb all over me if I let him. He's really playful and curious and just the type of cat that I like and I'm glad that he's in our lives.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Cardinals Are The Luckiest Sons of #*%@!!!

   WOW! Watching last night's World Series game was pretty entertaining. It was a close game. Either team had chances to win. I like it that way. I despise blow-outs. They're no fun at all to watch. But man, is it me or are the St. Louis Cardinals the luckiest sons of bitches?
   In game 3 last night, in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 out, Allen Craig scored the winning run to give the Cards a 5 to 4 victory over the Red Sox. He did this by being 'obstructed' by the Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks who had just fallen trying to receive a throw from the catcher was called by the umpires as being in the way of Allen Craig who was trying to run from 3rd base to  home. Craig tripped over the 3rd baseman, delaying him a second or so, and although the later throw home and tag would have otherwise made him the 3rd out of the inning--the obstruction call superseded that, thus advancing him safely home for the winning run. Crazy huh?
   The Cards winning this way is starting to become routine however. Because last year, in the Braves vs. Cards wild card game, St. Louis benefitted from another controversial call by the umps in that game as well. The call last year, an in-field fly rule call, although in itself not costing the Braves the game, surely hampered their momentum and I believe probably cost them at least one potential run. At that point in the game the Braves were trailing 6 to 3 in the eighth inning and if the call had not been made would have had the bases loaded with one out. After this McCann walked, leaving the bases loaded with 2 outs. But then M. Bourn struck out and the inning was over. The Braves managed to get 2 base runners on in the 9th inning (C. Jones & F. Freeman), after 2 outs by M. Prado & J. Heyward, but then D. Uggla groundout for the 3rd out & the game was over.
   Later in the 2012 NLCS the San Francisco Giants defeated the Cardinals and went on to play in the World Series. This year in 2013 the Cardinals beat the Dodgers (who previously beat the Braves) to face off against Boston in the World Series. The call last night was the latest in bizarre situations that seem to happen in baseball, and quite often with the Cardinals. At least this year my team the Braves didn't have to suffer losing in such a disappointing way. I'm sure that Boston fans are still grumbling about last night's obstruction call, though truthfully even though I disagree with the umpire's call I think he got it right. Looking at the rule more closely I couldn't find anything to dispute his judgement. Yes, I know that the 3rd baseman did nothing wrong & did not do it intentionally, but technically he did obstruct the runner. You can second-guess intentions all day long, but it was the right call. In my view, if the catcher hadn't gotten 'greedy' and thrown the ball to 3rd base in trying to get the runner out they wouldn't have gotten themselves in that situation to begin with. He could have held the ball instead and let play resume. Maybe they could have gotten the next batter out & the game would have gone on to the 10th inning. Then maybe Boston could have won. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. It is what it is & we'll play another game today with the Cards leading 2 games to 1.
http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/10/27/text-mlb-obstruction-rule-invoked-in-th-inning-world-series-game-3/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/infield-fly-rule-braves-cardinals-wild-card_n_1944240.html

Update: Even with the Cardinals luck in game 3 they fell short again to win the ultimate prize and were bested by the Boston Red Sox in six games, winning 4 games to 2. So, after the bizarre turn of events in game 3 Boston then lost no more games to the Cardinals. And once again the Red Sox are World Series champs.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Enjoy But Don't Take Them Seriously

What is paranormal/supernatural?
According to wikipedia:
Paranormal is a general term (coined c. 1915–1920) that designates experiences that lie outside "the range of normal experience or scientific explanation" or that indicates phenomena understood to be outside of science's current ability to explain or measure.Paranormal phenomena are distinct from certain hypothetical entities, such as dark matter and dark energy, only insofar as paranormal phenomena are inconsistent with the world as already understood through empirical observation coupled with scientific methodology.
Thousands of stories relating to paranormal phenomena are found in popular culture, folklore, and the recollections of individual subjects.In contrast, the scientific community, as referenced in statements made by organizations such as the United States National Science Foundation, maintains that scientific evidence does not support a variety of beliefs that have been characterized as paranormal.
Okay. Thanks Wiki.
I guess another word for paranormal could be supernatural. Things like magic, witchcraft, ufos, etc. fit into this category too. Pretty much anything that can't be explained rationally or without speculation. IE: if you have to guess at what it was you saw, or heard, or felt, etc., it could be categorized as paranormal/supernatural simply because you  cannot positively label whatever it was. I think it's not only a shame that people in our current world believe that paranormal/supernatural things exist, but it is illogical. For instance: many people believe in ghosts. And yet there is no definitive proof that they exist. There is just conjecture and speculation. Saying that you saw a ghost is not proof any more than saying you saw Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. I'll agree that you saw something-something you cannot explain. That gives you no right to jump to conclusions and say that what you saw was a ghost. This is just one example of the plethora of ridiculous stories that surface everyday. I try to look at things logically and without bias and not jump to conclusions. If I witness something I can't explain I don't then assume that black magic is involved or that aliens are suddenly visiting our planet. Here's another way to look at it: 2 + 2 = 4. (When we can see all integers in the equation the result is obvious). On the other hand: 2 + X = Y. (Until we have a value for X we cannot determine the value for Y). This is what is called logic. This is what is called using your brain.
On the other side of that coin, however:
I understand the need for imagination and fanciful thought. Hell, I thrive on such stuff. I'd much rather play a video game like WoW (magic/dragons/etc.) than Ghost Recon (current-day military simulation). In other words, I like delving into fantastical situations rather than playing a game than just simulates real life & things I could actually do in the here and now. To me there's no point in playing games that involve things that do actually exist. This goes for books too. I write stories about the things I like to imagine. Not about what already exists in the current world. Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, these are the stories that interest me. Either take a familiar world and twist it into something different, or create something totally new.
At any rate, I just thought I'd rant about this topic as it was on my mind today. I wanted also to include a couple website links to Tv shows and movies of the paranormal/supernatural vein. As far as entertainment value goes I highly recommend them. As far as anything else goes just don't take this stuff so seriously.
http://idoubtit.wordpress.com/paranormaltv/
http://www.ranker.com/list/supernatural-movies-and-films/reference

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Episode 1 of Season 4 Thoughts

I've I guess become a bit of a fan of the TV show The Walking Dead on AMC even though I have issues with it (the characters act stupidly for one thing-I could go on and on). Sunday they had a marathon all day showing all season episodes back to back and leading up to the premier of the new season 4 episode. Several things were happening in this episode including:
Episode 1 = "30 Days Without An Accident": (10-13-13)
* there are more children at the prison now & it seems that Carl is having to keep watch on them.
* Rick ran across a woman in the woods who had some 'issues' and ended up killing herself.
* A pig kept in a pen in the prison dies after becoming sick.
* Michonne is searching for the governor (from season 3-I guess to kill him).
* On a supply run to a large store seemingly devoid of walkers an accident alerts the dozens on the roof towards them and they start pouring in. Zach (Beth's new boyfriend) is killed when bitten and crushed by a falling helicopter.
* Beth when told of Zach's death shows little to no emotion over losing him.
* Patrick, a new character, becomes sick and dies in the shower room then reanimates into a walker.
Okay, this is a lot to take in. People die--several that we were just introduced to this episode. The one I wanted to talk about was Patrick. I caught a glimpse of something that happened before he became sick that I am wondering about. At one point in the show Daryl is introduced to Patrick & they shake hands. Daryl was eating some food and he 'cleaned his fingers' by licking them before he shook the boys hand. Previous to this he had hunted in the woods and bagged a deer (which I think they were now cooking over the grill). Okay, here is what I think might have happened: there is some sort of disease affecting the animals and Daryl has now brought it back with him from his hunt. It's already killed the pig & was spread to Patrick by contact with Daryl. I'm guessing that some people are immune to this disease (maybe adults) & only children and animals are susceptible (because Daryl seems fine & no others seem infected yet). We will have to keep watching future episodes to see if my hunch is right & that Daryl is the one that unknowingly brought this disease into the camp.
Episode 2 = "Infected": (10-20-13)
The reanimated Patrick proceeds to devour multiple people in his cell block, turning them into walkers as well. The walkers at the fences have multiplied after someone is revealed to have been feeding them with rats. The walkers inside the prison increase as the inhabitants evacuate the primary cell block, although the walkers, including Patrick, are quickly killed by the rest of the survivors. Carol goes to the care of a man, Ryan Samuels, who is the father of children Lizzie and Mika, and realizes he has been bitten in the arm and neck. Ryan, coming to terms with his imminent death, asks Carol to take care of his children, while Carol decides to bring his children to him to say goodbye. She comforts the children, and encourages them to stay strong. Rick and Daryl discover that Patrick has been killed by an aggressive flu strain that causes the infected person to choke on his own blood. The survivors decide to quarantine those who might be infected to prevent the virus from spreading. The outer fence of the prison is about to give way to the walkers, and the group tries to hold off the undead, discovering the rats in the process. Rick drives out the walkers by reluctantly feeding them his pigs, which are deemed to be a possible host for the new virus. As Rick scraps his pig pen, Carl discloses to his father that Carol has been teaching the children how to use weapons. Rick gives Carl back his gun, disappointed that his attempt to live a quiet life has failed. Tyreese visits his girlfriend, Karen, who had been infected; he is horrified when he discovers two burnt bodies, Karen being one of them.
 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

My New SUV

I've been busy this month with work and other things. Among the "other things" is my purchase of a new vehicle. It's not exactly new (it's a 1994 Oldsmobile Bravada), but it's new to me. I won it from an Ebay auto auction. I wasn't actually looking to buy something at the time - just window shopping really for what was out there - but it fit the bill so to speak. I wanted to get an suv with a tire on the back (not inside or underneath) so that you had good access to the spare. I had previously looked ay Jeeps, Rav4s and a few other suvs. When I came across this listing on Ebay motors I realized that I had the money to bid on it and it fit was what I was looking for. So I placed my bid on it and waited. Only one other person placed a bid & they gave up, so I won it. The price was pretty good. The bad thing was the suv was located way up in New York (I live in Alabama) so it was nearly 1000 miles away. I considered taking a Greyhound bus up there & driving it back here and this would have been the cheapest alternative, however, if I had done so it would have taken me nearly 2 whole days to do it. I ended up having it shipped home, costing me almost as much as the suv itself, but it finally arrived. It had a starting problem so I took it to a local garage. They diagnosed and fixed the problem fairly easily (a fuel pressure problem) and now it starts and runs great. I had had my previous car (a Chevy Corsica) for about 5 years and had won it from an Ebay auction as well and I only hope that this suv runs and lasts as good. So far it has, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Here's a picture of the Bravada.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

MONEY GAMES

   There has been a lot of talk lately about changing the rules for college athletics which say that the players cannot be paid for playing their sports. I guess the main reason for this is because of the enormous amounts of money the television networks, the BCS and others make off the broadcasts of the games, especially football and basketball games. Then there are the college athletes, some of whom have complained that although they have been compensated by scholarships it just isn't enough to cover all their day to day expenses. Then the NCAA is called hypocritical by selling player items = thereby making money off players while it forbids the players to do likewise by being paid to sign autographs or whatever else they could to make money. So there are two sides of the fence to stand on in this debate; either you believe that how things have always been is fine & dandy, or you think it is best to adjust the compensation amounts to the player athletes.
   I too have issues with the way the NCAA has run things. And I guess they have taken a lot of criticism from people lately judging by the number of NCAA officials bailing out. Perhaps they sense that this organization is a sinking ship and are getting off early before it goes down. And if the NCAA does go away what happens then?
   The way I see it the NCAA has done their best (mostly) to make the system work in a justifiable way. It is not the NCAA's fault that we live in an unjust world. Unfortunately this is true and will be as long as the almighty dollar rules everything. Prices continue to rise and so everything else skyrockets. I wonder where it will all end. It seems to me that our monetary system may eventually become so crazily expensive that it will all just explode. Then maybe we can regain our senses and come up with another system to live by that is more sensible. It will probably take some leaps in technology for this to occur-like replicators from Star Trek-something that can produce usable items and materials from useless matter. When and if we can ever do this or something similar maybe then we can live by a higher standard and let go of the idea of money.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

One Problem With Better Technology

    Technology is the making and usage of tools humans do to better their lives and I would say that we humans are always striving to constantly create more and more advanced technology in order to make this world a more livable place. Invention of new gadgets is a part of this and that's what I'm writing about today: the invention of the DVD player.
    Before the DVD came along we used VHS tapes (mostly) to record and playback TV shows and movies. VHS tapes worked well but they had certain problems associated with them; they were a bit bulky, they were prone to accidental erasure, their shelf life wasn't all that great, you had to rewind them, etc. DVD's solved some of these problems; they were more compact but could hold more data, since they were digital instead of analog you could watch it from exact points in the show and didn't need to rewind it, they would last longer, etc. So, overall they have been an improvement over their predecessors. I, however, have found one issue while using DVD's that VHS tapes I think would be considered in a way superior. It may seem like an odd consideration, but hear me out. The issue I'm referring to is when there is some sort of damage or corruption in the file on the disc. Or, maybe there is just some dust or foreign material obstructing the laser of the DVD causing it to not be able to read and interpret the data. Whatever the case may be I have run into this problem several times lately (from REDBOX DVD's I've rented) and it has sometimes made the movies halt mid-movie at certain points & many times this is followed by an error message which states that the movie cannot be played. It is rather frustrating when this happens needless to say. It seems to me that this great technology that we've created is falling victim to smudges. How sad. In the old days of the VHS tape such occurrences weren't a problem. VHS players, being what they were, would simply play whatever was on the tape, smudges and all, and keep on playing. It would take an atom bomb (in the form of a tape being damaged severely) to stop it from working. So, in a way it seems to me that the VHS players have an advantage over DVD players in this one regard. A little error/bit of dirt/or whatever that really means nothing to the overall movie or TV show cannot stop the VHS player, while it can kill the movie watching experience of someone with the so-called more advanced DVD player. I just wonder if this issue has been addressed by anyone of the DVD manufacturers or if they even realize it exists. I would imagine that they must surely know of it, though it seems that, at least as far as my DVD player is concerned, they did nothing to alleviate the problem other than detect the error.
    Perhaps too much power has been given to the machines. What I mean by this is that we have made it the machine's job to try and fix whatever problem might arise while playing a movie & it expects the file it is reading to be perfect.
Perhaps they should not expect perfection-VHS players didn't and they functioned fine.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Bubble vs Under The Dome

   There's an interesting new series on TV adapted from the book Under The Dome by Stephen King. It chronicles the lives of the people from the small town of Chester's Mill-a rural town-which one day becomes encased in a huge dome of force that cuts them off from the rest of the world. No one knows as yet who or what has created this dome and when it appears it causes a bit of damage (it cuts houses and a cow in half & causes a small plane to be destroyed and crash). There are supposedly going to be 13 episodes and I'll gladly watch them all if the show continues to be as interesting as the first episode.
   When watching the show I was however reminded of a movie I saw back in the 70s whose plot was extremely similar. In the movie people from a small town become trapped within a huge glass-like dome. It took some searching on the Internet but I do believe that I found it. The film The Bubble was in theatres in 1976. It originally was shown in 1966 but was re released later & that's when I think I saw it.
   I just wonder where Stephen King got his idea for Under The Dome. Had he seen The Bubble long ago like I did? Who knows? I guess it doesn't matter much, he's a famous writer and will sell a ton of these books. Who cares if he may have gotten his idea at least partly from a little known and unsuccessful film from 40+ years ago.
The Bubble movie info:     http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060396/
The Bubble on Wiki:        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bubble_(1966_film)
Under The Dome on Wiki:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Dome_(TV_series)


Interestingly, in 2007 the Simpsons Movie also had as part of its plot the town of Springfield being covered by a dome as well. I was just rewatching the movie and saw this & had forgotten it. Will the bizarre similarities never end?
 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A MMORPG IDEA

A few years ago I played a game called Dungeon Runners. It was a free to play game similar in look to other 3D games (such as Everquest, WoW, etc.) but featured a different style of world. In DR you began at a starting town that served as a safe zone free from monsters and which contained everything one needed while away from dungeons (other players to interact with, a bank, merchants, and quest givers). I thought it was a fun game to play in the short time it lasted (from May 24, 2007 til Jan. 1, 2010). I copied maps of the many dungeons to help me in my explorations and played it eagerly for a good while. When I discovered it had gone kaput I was gravely disappointed and I will always miss being able to log in to this virtual world.
At any rate I had an idea for a mmorpg much like Dungeon Runners. See the illustration below:
This starting 'HUB' would be enough to get players started in their exploits in the game and other hubs could be added as needed, accessed perhaps via a portal system from the starting town (which would take one to some other town with paths leading to higher level dungeons (Dungeon Runners had a system like this in fact too).
Another note about the dungeons of my game is that they would be random each time you visited them. Dungeon Runners had this feature too, but in only slight ways. In my game the dungeons could be extremely different each time you entered, with different bosses and paths to take. Overall it would resemble Dungeon Runners a good bit, but would be at least as enjoyable and hopefully even more so.
An example of the differences in my dungeons might be that the number of paths to explore/and therefore the number of bosses to defeat/would be different each time visited. Also the type of terrain or environment might change from visit to visit or perhaps even path to path inside the dungeon. some paths might be underwater-some in very cold or very hot areas. Some paths might lead on to others or come to a dead end. Or some might be inhabited by poisonous plants, etc. There could be dozens of boss types to randomly choose from that the players would have to fight. Some bosses would be greater than others and there could even be like a hierarchy system for them (like some might be like princes, some like queens, some like kings, etc. You wouldn't always get a king to fight, and if you did it would be a special run & drop much better treasure, although the fight would be much tougher)
I think it would be cool to try and design a game like this & I'll be looking in to ways in which I could try and make it happen.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_Runners


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revisiting My Thoughts on the College Football Playoff System

   Concerning my post from May 4, 2013, I wanted to show an example of how a post season could look if it followed my idea. In my system every game in the post season (after conference championship games) would still be bowl games, the difference being that the winners from these games play again in another bowl game the following week vs. the winner from another bowl (or one of the top 8 seeds if in round 2).
   The advantages of this system are threefold:
1>Every game means something (you're playing for a chance to get to the BCS Championship Game)
2>If you win you'll play in another bowl game (doubling the profits made for your university)
3>The fans will be more interested in watching because the games are far more important & not just
    a way for their university to make some money after the regular season.
In the graphic below I've shown a fictional example of how the 2012-13 postseason bowl games in my system might have turned out. I listed the top 23 bowl games actually played, and so did not include 11 of the bowl games (because they were lesser quality games and because in my system I only have room for 24 teams & currently there are 35 bowl games. A bit too many I think).
 
As for what each bowl paid to each team selected to play in them:
Armed Forces Bowl: $600,000
Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: $837,500
Heart of Dallas Bowl: $1.1 million
Independence Bowl: $1.1 million
Liberty Bowl: $1.4 million
Meineke Car Care Bowl: $1.7 million
Pinstrip Bowl: $1.8 million
Music City Bowl: $1.8 million
The Holiday Bowl: $2 million
Sun Bowl: $2 million
Russell Athletic Bowl: $2.2 million
Alamo Bowl: $3 million
Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: $3 million
Gator Bowl: $3.5 million
Outback Bowl: $3.5 million
Cotton Bowl: $3.6 million
ChickfilA Bowl: $3.9/$2.9 million
Capitol One: $4.5 million
Rose Bowl: $17 million
Orange Bowl: $17 million
Sugar Bowl: $17 million
Fiesta Bowl: $17 million
BCS National Championship Game: $18 million

It might be necessary to adjust these payouts, otherwise the team which wins in this playoff system would take home around $40 million or more (is that too much?)
Another thing to remember however is that it costs the universities a lot of money to send their teams to these bowl games. One of the greatest expenses being tickets-the teams have to buy thousands of tickets. Also, their is lodging, travel, food, etc. So, after all is said and done many times the teams either barely make any money or actually lose money. So much for the big payouts.








Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mamma Mia! The Nonsensical Movie

Just thinking the other day as I was driving down the road-as I am wont to do-and I thought on the popular film called "Mamma Mia! The Movie" From my recollection this film is about a girl who invites 3 men to her wedding, one of whom she believes may be her father (she doesn't know which one is her father). It was a very popular film making back over 10 times its budget (possibly due to songs by ABBA making up the majority of those used, particularly the title song Mamma Mia).
I had a major problem with the film as the premise of the movie is that the main character (Sophie, the girl getting married) wanted to know who her father was and yet the issue of a paternity test never arose. The possibility that a DNA test (which are 99.99% conclusive today) was never brought up or given a moments notice, but instead she invites the 3 guys over to her parents' villa to talk with them before the wedding in order to accomplish this. Okay...So the only possible explanation for this I could guess was that the film was set in a pre-DNA testing time. At this point I gave them the benefit of the doubt-at least until I did my research.
Research done, low and behold I discover that, although this film was produced in 2008 it was adapted from a 1999 Broadway musical of the same name. So, it was not originally created before say the 1980s (when DNA parental testing could be done with 99.99% accuracy). Of course Broadway musicals don't give much mention as to the setting-at least when it comes to exact year. The film from 2009, however, did make some mention of a year setting. That info found I also discovered that the setting for the film (though a date was never specified in the film) was probably in the late 1980s
due to there being mention of Sophie being a kid in the 1970s.
So neither the original adaptation nor the setting were pre-DNA paternity testing days.
My only conclusion therefore is that DNA was totally ignored as existing even though it would be able to identify without error who Sophie's father was-which was the whole premise of the movie. Why is science being ignored? I could maybe understand it if either the original adaptation or setting was from say the 1950s or earlier, I wouldn't object to that, but neither are. So I'm just at a loss for the logic here.
However, logic be damned, the movie was a big hit. I guess it matters not to people if something makes no sense as long as it looks and sounds great. I'm an ABBA fan myself (I like me some ABBA songs, which were used in abundance in the film). Hell, I liked the movie Muriel's Wedding in at least some small part due to ABBA's music in it as well, though the premise of the film made much more sense than Mamma Mia!
I guess that if they made more movies like Mamma Mia! the studios would be rolling in money, seeing as how people loved it so much.
Here's some ideas for other movies that don't make sense, but could make millions if put to music:
Yay! Here Come The Unicorns!
Moby Dick, The Resurrection
The Texas Chainsaw Highschool Musical
Rocky 8
You get the point.
There was one funny item of note I found while
doing my research on DNA paternity testing. This
was the fact that parental testing can be performed
easily through established companies in the US with
AABB accreditation (American Association of
Blood Banks). I thought it interesting the similarity
of ABBA (the rock group) to AABB. (Same letters,
just in a different order).

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Thoughts On The College Football Playoff System

   I was at a college baseball game today with a friend and while discussing various sports related things the topic of college football came to my mind, and with it the problem with  its playoff system--or lack thereof. This I'm sure has been mulled over by hundreds of sports writers before: the fact that, at least as far as the division 1 ncaa teams are concerned, although college baseball and basketball participate in post-season tournaments there is no such animal when it comes to division 1 football. The College World Series (CWS) has been held in Omaha, NE since 1950, and the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship began in 1939. College football has, however, had no playoff or tournament system and has simply utilized bowl game(s) since 1923, starting with the Rose Bowl Game (humorously enough aka: the Tournament of Roses) in Pasadena, CA.
   I'm sure that there are logical reasons why this has transpired in this way. The most obvious reason I can think of for why college football plays bowl games is money (teams are paid to participate in bowl games). In 2010 70 of the 120 division 1 teams played in bowl games that year. That's 35 bowl games! And while I suppose 68 of those teams were glad to get paid for participating, and maybe some people enjoyed watching those games, none of those games really mattered. Only the best 2 teams, the 2 that played in the BCS Championship Game, were playing for a shot at being the national champion. Isn't that what the post-season is really about? To determine what team in the country is number 1, and not about how much money the university can get by playing some meaningless post-season bowl game that most people probably don't care about.
   College football has never really done it right. Oh, it was once kind of special. After the Rose Bowl began the number of bowl game grew to five: [Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl(1935), Cotton Bowl Classic(1937), Orange Bowl(1935), and Sun Bowl(1935)]. By 1950 it grew to 8. By 1970=11. By 1980=15 games. 1990=19 games. In 2000 we had 25. Up to the dreaded 35 of 2010 that we still have today. More and more teams have jumped onto the gravy-train to cash in, with the American public
sitting back all accepting of the situation. Is this really what the people of US want? I know that football is probably the most popular sport in the US, so I would guess that showing more and more games would in one way please their senses. However, should this be done to the detriment of the sport? Playing so many bowl games for no real reason other than to pay those teams who participate in them and to have something on TV to watch I suggest makes zero sense. Especially when
we see how brilliantly the post-season is handled in baseball and basketball.
   Rather than the current schedule of bowl games where those teams participating play their games and are then one-and-done, a much more logical approach, and one worth actually playing for the teams involved, would be a playoff system. It might seem impossible to many to implement such a system in football (where it is normal to play at most one game per week), but I've given this some thought and feel that it could be done--even using a great deal of what already exists. Bowl games that are currently scheduled could serve as the event locations for where the games would be played. The only major change to our current system would be not knowing ahead of time the teams to be matched up against one another. And although I'm sure that this would be a problem for some people it is unfortunately the way it need be done (and it is how both basketball and baseball are handled, fans be damned). The tournament locations involving basketball and baseball could care less who is playing at their venues. All that matters is that the games are being played to determine an ultimate winner. This is how football should fare as well. Currently fans have weeks if not months to plan and prepare for their team's bowl game(s). This would be reduced to a much shorter time frame-perhaps as little as only 1 week. I understand the difficultly this imposes. But I also realize that somehow the baseball and basketball crowds seem to cope with these difficulties perfectly well. So I would ask that the football crowds follow suit.
   At any rate below I've created an example rendering of how a ncaa post-season might look. Instead of the current number of teams (70) I'd start with 24, but give the top 8 teams first round byes. This would give us a staggered 5 round bracket and a total of 23 games (instead of the current 35), so the total number of games would be greatly lessened, while keeping fairly close to the current schedule of game days. The major advantage to this system is that every game means something and is not simply a money-maker for universities. We would have no more than 4 games played on any particular day, due to the staggered play arrangement, which is a common occurrence already.

 
   Next year we'll be going to a new system where in addition to the meaningless bowl games the top 4 teams (chosen by a committee) will compete for the national championship. This would be the closest we've come to a legitimate playoff system for ncaa division 1 football, so maybe we're at least headed in the right direction. Many would say that letting the top 4 teams compete for the title is plenty, while others, myself included, want a greater number. Who's to say what that perfect number is. But I will be looking forward to see how next year's playoff pans out.






Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dexter Has His Problems

   I'm a die-hard Dexter fan and can hardly wait for the new season of the show to begin. I've watched it for the past few years and have loved nearly every minute of it (some of the characters I could do without = Maria LaGuerta being one, and it actually made me happy to see her get killed off last season, lol).
   It's fun I think to watch the show & see how Dexter avoids getting caught doing the horrible things he does. And now his sister is involved as well, being the one who shot Maria to keep her brother safe. This year we'll see just how far she's willing to go to continue doing that. Of course now she's a murderer as well, so it's not just Dexter that she's protecting anymore.
   Dexter has lots of problems with his life besides keeping himself out of jail however. Mentally he would probably be considered a fruitcake. I made a short film of some of the problems he has from day to day. Some are dream sequences where he imagines what might happen. But even though he has so many problems he keeps on keepin on. Or will he? Only time will tell...
Enjoy the flick

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Read This Theory F.B.I. And Mystery Buffs

   So, I've been watching TV and saw (I think it was on the National Geographic Channel) a documentary on the D.B. Cooper Hijacking. The man is needless to say an American folk hero in the eyes of many, while also being the lowest form of criminal to others (lets say that most of these being the police/Federal agents who have been on his trail ever since that night on Nov. 24, 1971. Whatever he may be he has managed to be quite elusive one way or another.
   Many theories have been put forth to explain what happened when he jumped from the 727 at 10,000 feet at about 8:13pm during a heavy rainstorm somewhere over Washington State on their journey from Seattle, WA to Reno, NV. Maybe he died in the attempt (either by his parachute not opening or by hard impact with the ground) or somehow soon afterward. Or maybe, if he made it safely to the ground, perhaps he became lost or could not otherwise survive the elements. But maybe he did manage to make it to where ever he was going, either by luck or by help from others. It is a mystery that has puzzled us all for over 40 years. And though I think that someday his disappearance will be solved, I'd almost like for it not to be, because our world is I think a more interesting place when we have riddles to confound our sensibilities.
  But for those who like to ponder the possibilities, here is one of my theories on who D.B. Cooper really was (actually he identified himself as Dan Cooper). So everybody put on your thinking caps and open your minds to the following:
   On June 11, 1962 three men (Clarence and John Anglin and Frank Morris) escaped from the prison on Alcatraz in San Fransisco Bay. Since their escape they have never been seen or heard from or ever recaptured. It may just be coincidence that both D.B. Cooper and these three men are really good at avoiding detection-better than most people it would seem that escape from prison and/or are on the run from the law-I, however, think that maybe it's not just that-maybe the same persons are involved. Or at least two of them: they being the Anglin brothers.
   It is known that the brothers John and Clarence operated together to rob banks in their early career before being caught and sent to Alcatraz. Perhaps, years after their escape and desperate for money, they planned an elaborate crime to give them enough funds to live off into retirement. In my research of these men I found some startling and undeniable evidence, that may not be proof of my theory, but should at least make one take a close look. And in that regard, take a look at some comparison images:

   In the above images we have the drawing and description of the hijacker on the left, and the photo and description of Clarence Anglin on the right. The photo of Clarence was taken in 1962, 9 years before the hijacking, so he would look a bit older. But otherwise, the descriptions of the two men are very similar. Same height, weight, hair and eye color. Even down to their complexion looking latin or Hispanic. It is uncanny how much alike they seem.
   My theory is that Clarence and John planned this hijacking for months. Clarence would do the actual hijacking while John would wait for his brother in a getaway vehicle (at least that way if one was captured maybe the other could get away). By 1971 Walkie Talkies existed, and Clarence could have secreted one in his briefcase or on his person to contact John (possibly even from the plane, as they had a 2 mile range & the plane was at about 10,000 feet, but definitely when Clarence was on the ground to contact John that he was okay). Timing the jump from the plane so that he would land nearby and be able to quickly find his brother would have been I think the most critical part. Otherwise Clarence would have had to find some other way to escape from the manhunt which soon followed.
   Whatever the case may be, whether D.B.Cooper or Dan Cooper died or got away, we will forever wonder what did happen. At least until the truth is revealed.


Friday, April 12, 2013

The New Regions Park in Birmingham

      On April 10, 2013 the Birmingham Barons played the first home game of the season in their new stadium. It opened to a sold out crowd. The Stadium cost a reported $64 million in construction costs. It had been about 30 years since the Barons have played in a ballpark in Birmingham-since last playing at Rickwood Field, which is now used for some high school games and the annual Rickwood Classic=a game played during the summer where the players wear throwback uniforms.

     Over the last year I've been capturing photos of the construction of the new ballpark to make into a kind of slideshow movie. I just finished it-I made it with MS Movie Maker. The song is Lights by Ellie Goulding. I hope you enjoy it:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Basketball Fever Has Gone Away

   Well, college basketball is thru for another year with the completion of the NCAA mens and womens tournaments. Louisville beat Michigan for the men, while Connecticut beat Louisville for the women. I had high hopes for my bracket picks this time-of which I made about 30-but as usual none of them came to fruition. This was thanks in large part to such teams as Florida Gulf Coast (15), Harvard (14), and La Salle (13) upsetting the higher ranked teams in their regionals. I picks a good many upsets in the collection of bracket contests I entered, but in none of them did I pick any of these 3 teams to win past the first round. Florida Gulf Coast will probably be remembered as the cinderella team of the tourney, beating both Georgetown (2) and San Diego St. (7), to then be beaten by Florida (3). I guess next year, when I enter these bracket contests again, I'll need to make a few more upsets if I'll have any hope of picking a perfect bracket.
   Check out all info about the tourney at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_NCAA_Men%27s_Division_I_Basketball_Tournament

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Got My CoCo Swag

About 2 months ago the Conan O'Brien show aired the Occupy Conan episode (where fans submitted their own user created content in hopes of winning a VW Beetle if chosen for the best submission). My own submission was a little cartoon-like animation sequence featuring Conan and Andy Richter as dogs & Anne Hathaway (the first guest on the show) as a cat. I saw a glimpse of it during the airing and my name in the credits of those whom sent in submissions. Needless to say I didn't win the bug, but I didn't come away empty-handed either.
Today I received an unexpected package at my residence, and upon opening it up found that I had been chosen as a runner up in the contest. This earned me some "CoCo Swag". Amongst the three items sent were a sticker, a shirt, and a coffee mug. I'll probably end up giving the shirt away to someone-as it is way too small for me to wear (its like a child's shirts & I'm a 3x size guy, lol). I might find some use for the sticker & mug however-even though I don't drink coffee (I can still keep them as souvenirs from the show). It was a fun experience at any rate and I hope the Conan show does it again someday.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MARCH MADNESS!


Here we are again - it's March Madness time! And with the college basketball comes all the pickem contests & the prizes you could win that go along with em & make it all worth the time & effort we put into choosing. Last year I entered 16 of these contests, more or less, but had no luck at winning anything. Well, I'm upping the ante this year by entering 26 contests - eleven of which have a $1,000,000 grand prize for picking a perfect bracket. I'd be happy to win any of these contests however. There were actually even more contests than the ones listed here, but those I could find had prizes of less than $1,000, so I skipped entering them. Good luck to all & let's hope for some greatly entertaining basketball to watch whatever may happen!

$$$$$MILLION CONTESTS:$$$$$
https://americasfirstperfectbracket.mdmgames.com/tourney/                 
http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/collegebasketball/tourney/?nicmp=BC13&nichn=FSROS&niseg=HPFEATGAMES
                                                                       
http://bracketcontest.com/college-basketball-madness-contest/index_college-basketball-madness-contest.php
                                                                     
http://charlotteobserver.collegebasketball.upickem.net/collegebasketball/registration/login.asp
                                                                       
http://lowellsun.collegehoops.upickem.net/collegebasketball/registration/login.asp  
                                                                       
http://790wtsk.com/ncaa-bracket-contes/                               
http://991wdgm.com/ncaa-bracket-contes/                                
http://theurbandaily.collegehoops.upickem.net/collegebasketball/registration/login.asp   
                                                                       
http://wtug.com/ncaa-bracket-contest/                                
http://sportsillustrated.collegehoops.upickem.net/collegebasketball/registration/login.asp
http://www.libertymadness.com/                                             
                                                                       
$$$$$100,000 CONTESTS:$$$$$
http://www.houlihansbracket.com//                                       
http://fantasy.thescore.com/thescore/bracket13/home  
                 
$$$$$UNDER 100,000 CONTESTS:$$$$$
$60,000 = http://athlon.bracketbreakdown.com/  =  athlon                          
$10,000 = http://www.isportslinks.com/ncaa2013/2013bracketchallengeentry.html     
$10,000 = http://www.cleveland.com/marchmadness/brackets/#jsx-content-provider    
$10,000 = http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/t1/reg_bracket?rfl=frontpage#
$10,000 = http://games.espn.go.com/tournament-challenge-bracket/en/               
$10,000 = http://www.al.com/marchbrackets/                                       
$10,000 = http://www.oregonlive.com/brackets/                                     
trip worth $10,000 = http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/ncaa-tournament/brackets/games  
$3,000 = http://www.realmoneyfantasyleagues.com/fantasy-basketball/free-march-madness-bracket-contest.php                
  
$2,000 = http://madness.nbcsports.com/#thebracket                                   
$1,000 in gift cards = http://poolhost.com/jiffytixmm/                                           
msi gx60 laptop (worth about $1,000) = http://msi.pooltracker.com/tourney/                                       
big screen tv = http://www.pbbracket.com/                                                

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lying Is Too Easy These Days

It has always been this way in trials for people on the stand - although many of them (especially those defendants who agree to testify, even though they don't have to) put their hand on the bible and answer the question, "Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?", it is pretty obvious that responding "yes" is only the first of any number of lies soon to come out of their mouths.
Take for instance the current trial of Jodi Arias vs Arizona. She has been on the stand for weeks testifying to what she knows & doesn't know. She is a proven lier-that's a fact caught on tape by the police. And we're supposed to believe anything she has to say while she's on the stand? It seems very convenient for her that in her testimony 99% of what she says paints Travis Alexander (who she admits killing) as a sex-hungry pedophile who attacked her causing her to kill him in self-defense. And according to her word she should only be given a slap on the wrist for her crimes because none of it was really her fault.
It's a shame that she thinks we're so gullible that we'd fall for this. She must really think that people are either stupid or that her charms can just win over everyone. She's not the first to try this, nor will she be the last.
In the trial of James Holmes vs Colorado the judge has made a ruling that he be given truth serum when interviewed to see if he really is mentally deranged (or just faking it). Many oppose this decision. I personally don't know if it will work. What we really need I feel is something better than this truth serum.
What we need in court cases is some sort of device that can read the person and tell if they are lying & alert us to this fact. Perhaps something we've already been using in other capacities - DOGS!
Yes dogs could be the answer. They are used to detect things we humans cannot see, or hear, or smell already. (like hidden drugs). They also in some cases seem to be able to detect things in us that we cannot see. For instance, they can alert people with medical problems who occasionally have seizures of an upcoming episode, so that they can prepare themselves by lying down or something. I've also heard tell of dogs in hospitals who can detect when someone is going to die soon.
Things like this prove that dogs have sensory abilities that we do not & that might be utilized more extensively - like perhaps to detect lying.
Imagine a courtroom where next to the stand sits Fido, the truth detecting canine, who is given a treat when he senses someone giving false testimony. Oh, what a world that would be.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bad Plot Idea For The Walking Dead

AMC's The Walking Dead is a popular tv show, maybe because stories about zombies/infected are popular now, and from what I've seen of it it seems fairly well made. I'm not that into this type of story myself, however, which is why I don't regularly watch the show. But, while flipping the dial so to speak I caught a glimpse the other night. And what I saw made me really question the writer(s).
From what I think I understand the show is adapted from a comic book. This is unimportant. I saw a sword-wielding woman walking along chopping the undeads heads/arms/etc. off left & right. I assume that she's supposed to be somehow special-I don't know her comic universe history-and perhaps she is therefore better at this than most people. The problem I have is that I just don't buy it. Sword swinging in my humble opinion can be easily taught to most normal people, just get a sword and swing it for a while. Of course some people will be better at it than others, like anything else, but you don't have to be a samurai to get the job done. Especially considering the zombies/infected move very slowly & are nearly impossible to miss since they don't try to dodge or anything.
When I first saw the show it began with a guy with a gun shooting the zombies in the head. To me this was a scary situation: guns run out of ammo eventually. When they do you either have to run away, club them with the gun butt (very dangerous since they then get real close to you), try to find more ammo & reload so you can shoot again (possibly dangerous if you fail), or fail worst of all & let the zombie get you & kill you. There were no sure-fire easy kill methods to dispatch these monsters-even though you had guns you could miss with your shot/run out of ammo/etc. But now, after the show I saw the other night, that's all gone. All you need is a big sword & the will to swing it & no problemo. Zombies heads will go flyin'. So I say that putting this into the show was a major mistake-they should have never done this-because I feel that any reasonable person would see that all you'd need to do is arm everyone with samurai swords from the local sword emporium or whatever place sells them, learn how to swing em for a bit, and then your zombie problems are no more! Hell, let's go zombie hunting! Turn the tables on them for a change.
So, ultimately, introducing the use of a sword to so easily clip heads off to eliminate the zombies basically kills the show for me & there's no reason to watch it-not saying I did much before anyway. It makes the zombies too weak. Of course, to counter this I guarantee that this stroke of brilliance won't occur to the other characters (IE: they'll not realize that they could just all arm themselves with swords & go head chopping like Michonne (the woman with the sword in the show). Instead they'll let the zombies remain threatening by doing what they've been doing like idiots. The thing about her using the sword is that she's a baddass & it looks cool. Well, why can't everyone be like her-she doesn't have to be unique. Are there for some reason no other swords available?
Too bad The Walking Dead-you've lost me by reason of absurdity.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Taking A Little Break From the Trilogy

Over the last month or so, after publishing book two of the Andy Brighton and the Dragons of Wyrme trilogy (The Magic of Dragons), I've been busy coming up with ideas for book three-the final installment in which we'll see who wins the battle of the Light vs. the Dark/Danival & the Techanis vs. Andy Brighton, the Rysouri & the Dragons of Wyrme. The time has given me a lot of resources to work with, so to say, and I have a pretty good idea how book three will go. But I got an urge in the last few days to work on something other than the trilogy & it is too strong to ignore.
I think that I want to write a children's book-like of nursery rhymes. It is a project I had thought of earlier while writing book two. In writing my second book I came up with a few poems I call the Legends of Nyx. These are short poetic tales of a legendary dragon once told to the dragon younglings of the Golden Scales (Grandites). They are very old, as Nyx was a dragon from long ago when the world of Wyrme was still young, and they have been told many times over the eons and passed down through the generations as a sort of fabled folklore, but also as morality stories. The youngling dragons always found them enjoyable to listen to as well & so were likely requested whenever a mentor dragon would speak to them during weekly discussions.
I have three already, but for a whole book I imagine I will need 10 or more. So for the next few weeks I'll be working on them & also some illustrations to go along with the poems-it will be a children's book & needless to say it will need to be full of artwork.
Taking a little break to work on something different is not that unusual for me after finishing a long book. I did it after finishing my original book one (that I later reedited/retitled). I then spent about a month or so creating a novella called Tymespell. It detailed how & why the haunted forest of Wyrmewood was created & gave information on the magical people of Tyme who went into hiding because of it. I go into greater detail on these people (the Rysouri) in book two & Andy Brighton ends up meeting them & actually becoming one of them. This turn of events is pivotal to the story and has a lot to do with what happens ultimately.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Yesterday I attended my first author expo at the public library in Birmingham, AL. (where I live). It was a 5 hour event and 100 local authors signed up to display their works and mingle with fellow authors. My neice Beth Shelnutt was there with her books of poetry and my father-in-law J.D. Weeks was there as well with about 5 of his many books on geneology and postcards. You can find their books on Amazon and also here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/jdweeks?searchTerms=&pageOffset=2
I brought along my two paperback books that are available on Amazon-the first two books of the Andy Brighton and the Dragons of Wyrme trilogy. The collection of works available on Amazon (both paperbacks and Kindles) can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=james+shelnutt
I spoke with a good number of people at the event, about my books & other books and it was an entertaining opportunity to participate with other authors and book readers.
 

 
Additional information about the expo held at the Birmingham Public Library can be found here: http://www.bplonline.org/programs/LocalAuthors/
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Occupy Conan An Interesting Experiment

Last night the Conan show (the late-night comedy talk show starring Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter) was just a bit different as it was the Occupy Conan Episode, where viewers sent in their own clips of a previous episode in hopes that these would be chosen & aired in the show. There were ~ 60 total clips (or segments) of air-time available and hundreds of clips were submitted by the viewers. I have to say that watching the show was quite an experience & something unlike what most other shows would dare to do. Conan is I think brave to try something like this & I applaud him for it. As usual I enjoyed watching the show & some of the clips were very well done. I personally submitted a clip of my own in hopes that it would be aired & was eagerly anticipating seeing it as the time came. Unfortunately, they chose to show a couple clips from other viewers, ones involving live actors, and that's okay. I did see, however, at least one image from my clip. It was the opening image of Conan sitting at his desk. You can see it pictured below. (At the end of the show many clips were rerun as well as clips and images from clips such as mine that they'd not used in the first viewing). Also, at the end of the show a list of credits was displayed-affectionally named Conan's Occupiers-that told who created the clips. I saw my name listed amongst them, so that gave me some measure of happiness. Here are both the image shown from the Conan show and the full-length video I created and submitted for your enjoyment:

        
 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

You Can Find These Books On Amazon

Using a Carosel Widget:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Catfish Tales

    What it is about relationships these days? Somehow people are finding one another online, texting, emailing, sending photos, etc., but not actually talking or ever meeting in person. There's even an MTV reality show about it (appropriately called Catfish). Manti Te'o, linebacker at Notre Dame from 2009-2012, is the latest and probably most well-known personality to have been pulled into this type of phenomenon, and it has blown up into quite the scandal for him.
    Either done as a joke, or to lure someone through social media by pretending to be someone else, it has become prevelent in this day and age where it is so easy to connect with others far away who you might never actually meet.
    If I had to categorize who is doing this I would say that they might be lumped into the hacker community. There are a variety of hacker classifications--or specializations if you will--of hackers. The hacking done in this case being that of deception where the target of the catfish scam is deceived by the other/originator. The reasons for doing this again can be many; as a prank, to elicit information, to con money from the victim, etc. In some cases maybe the instigator wishes they were someone else and through social media can live vicariously through their fantasy persona.
    I myself enjoy playing games (such as World of Warcraft) where I get to create characters and take them into an alternate world and in a way live another life through them. I know that it is a virtual existence, just a game and just fantasy, however, and when I turn off the computer they cease to exist. Playing the game for me is an enjoyable pasttime, a way for me to relieve stress and explore the worlds that game programmers have created.
    A lot of people enjoy losing themselves in activities outside their real lives, be it in books, movies, games, what have you. Perhaps catfishing is just one of the latest forms of such expression, and as more and more people find out about it its prevalence has also grown.