Monthly Archives: September 2007

Coming Home

It’s usually a good feeling to be coming home after a trip. I’ve had a good time in Tampa, but I’m a bit of a homebody. There are some places I can be for prolonged periods of time. I never want to leave Colorado, for instance. Hanging out with my in-laws, who leave right by Destin, is another example. But usually I’m ready to come home after two days of being away.

My biggest problem is flying. I’m no pansy, but I HATE flying. As soon as the engines rev up, I get this odd feeling, as if something in my mind and body is telling me that this is simply not natural. We’re not supposed to be flying. Birds fly. Bats fly. Mosquitoes fly. Flies…fly. Humans do not fly! But I am made to fly, although I have nothing to do with it. I simply sit there, perspire, and wonder why I’m clumped together so tightly with complete strangers.

I have to pass the time by reading, messing with my DS, or listening to something on my iPod. It distracts me, but I always freak out a bit when we come in for a landing.

Today Shari and I board here in Tampa at about 12:50 ET. Then we have a FIVE-HOUR LAYOVER in Memphis. Five hours in one of the most miserable airports in America. I have no idea how we’re going to fill that time. Thankfully our friend Jason Avant is picking us up in Shreveport at 9:00, so we don’t have to spend an extra $32 or so on parking

.I’m just praying for fast, smooth flights and a seat next to my wife in the front/middle of the plane.

At Last…

My power cord finally came in yesterday before church. Thank you, dear God!

Now I’m off to Tampa for General Conference. The two biggest reasons I’m going is to see my dad preach Friday night and see my in-laws (along with my sister/brother-in-law). I’m not much of a fan of conferences of that size. Not that I’m anti-social…well, maybe I’m a bit anti-social.

Anyways, as long as the hotel we’re at has free Internet access, I’ll be uploading pics and such while I’m there.

Good times, good times…

Sunday Night Shots

Last Saturday night, Shari and I got back home from a wedding. She had on a “different” kind of outfit, so we decided to take a few pictures in the backyard, using these ultra-bright halogen lights. Combined with the pitch-black darkness, it provided a pretty cool effect. I thought I’d post a few on here (even though they can be accessed from the Flickr widget on the right).

Shari Lou

Shari Lou

Shari Lou

On Fox News’ Web-Site Today

 This picture was on FOX’s main page. I just wanted to share.

Sony’s Woes

I remember the first time I saw a Playstation. Not a PS2 or PS3; I’m talking about the original. You know…silver-colored finish with a circular lid that popped up like a toilet seat?

I didn’t have a clue as to what it was. To me, gaming meant one of two things: Nintendo or SEGA. I wasn’t interested. Then my brother, Jeremy, came home one day and said we needed to buy a Playstation because it had these great games he had played at a friend’s house. We got more use out of the demo disc that came with it than we did with most games. We were locked on: Playstation was it.

Of course, I was hooked on the PS2 when it came out as well. I’m not going to go into a lengthy explanation, I’m just going to say that it was my favorite system of all-time. No game system has ever had (or likely will ever have again) as diverse and amazing of a software library as the PS2. Case closed.

As of today, Sony has sold almost 118,000,000 PS2s, compared to 24,000,000 XBox consoles and 21,600,000 Gamecubes.

Then along comes the PS3. Facing an XBox 360 that’s already been out a year and the hype machine that is the Wii, the PS3 hit the market for $599. It has thus far been a disappointment in terms of sales. Although the Blu-ray capabilities make it an attractive buy for home theater nuts, it has yet to deliver the exclusive software that a blockbuster console requires. Would you rather pay $350 for a console (the 360) and play Madden, or would you rather pay $600 to play Madden with a slower framerate?

Others are opting to go down an entirely different route. 202,000 PS2s were sold in August of 2007, compared to the PS3’s 131,000 units. And of course you know about the Wii, which led the market with 404,000 units sold. The Wii offers a different perspective, broadening the market to includes older people and others who have never been gamers. So far, their “blue ocean” strategy has paid off tremendously well for them.

What the Playstation 3 desperately needs is a “real” price drop. The price of its 60 GB models was lowered to $499, but only until they go out of stock. The new 80 GB model remains at $599. If Sony doesn’t want to get manhandled this holiday season by the surging Wii and the still-strong XBox 360 (despite it’s hardware malfunction issues), they need to drop the price to a more realistic $400. If Sony does this, they will lose even more on each console sold, but they could gain back what they lose in eventual software sales.

To fall so far behind so quickly does not bode well for the PS3. Though Sony lists a 10-year plan for the PS3, it will never last that long in the minds of consumers, who seem content to go to the Wii for Nintendo-style gaming and the 360 for hardcore first-person-shooters and racing titles.

Sony, if you want to maintain your place in the gaming world, DROP YOUR PRICES!

Not that it affects me. I’m perfectly content with my Wii and DS. 😉

Open Mic with Ahmadinejad

Ahma..di...whatever

From Reuters

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went comedic while speaking to Columbia University students. Well, at least he gave it a shot…

When Ahmadinejad, speaking in Farsi, actually tried to crack a joke, it drew no laughter, although maybe the nuance was lost in translation.

“Let me tell a joke here,” Ahmadinejad said. “I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, or testing them, making them, politically they are backward, retarded.”

The crowd seemed uncertain how to react. Some applauded that pacifist sentiment, others seemed befuddled by the insensitive use of the word retarded.

Hilarious?

Maybe letting him speak wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

iPhone Hackers Beware

From MacWorld.

I love the way that Apple phrases this…

Apple ended its silence on unlocking the iPhone via third-party hacks with a warning Monday that unlocked iPhones may become inoperable.

“Apple has discovered that many of the unauthorized iPhone unlocking programs available on the Internet cause irreparable damage to the iPhone’s software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed,” the company said in a statement.

In other words: “We’re going to put something in our next software update that will SURE TEACH YOU!”

Come on, Steve Jobs. Just say it! If you hack your iPhone, Apple is going to brick the thing. It’s that simple. It’s not going to be an accident.

Hitler: Honorary Guest(?)

I’ve always had a thing against liberal universities. How many prominent left-leaning liberal universities are there out there? Harvard? Yale? Columbia? Stanford? I think, for the sake of brevity, that one would have a much easier time making a list of conservative colleges out there.

Liberal bias in America’s colleges isn’t exactly a shocker of a topic. Everyone knows it takes place. It’s just an accepted fact that no one can do anything about. Most of my professors in my looooong college stay have been liberals. To be fair, most were not close-minded towards their more conservative students, but the tilt is highly evident.

Columbia’s college dean admitted they would give Hitler a platform upon which to speak if he was to make a visit to the present-day United States? Well, of course he did. And, yes, I’m sure they would say something like, “Well, we DID say that it would be an open debate where Columbia students would be allowed to challenge him publicly!”

I’m sure this makes them feel noble and proud about their free-speech credentials, but my idea for a United States tour for Hitler would be something more like this…

1. Arrest him the moment he steps foot in the country.

2. Put him in an oven. It only seems appropriate.

There’s your free speech.

Power Cord Woes Continue + eBay Junk

Oh, how exciting…I had a friend use his cord to charge up my PowerBook two days ago, and I’ve been saving the power for today so I could check my Email at home. I’ve been using the Mac Pro at church for all the essentials.

I received an Email today from an eBay “powerseller” who I bought my new power cord from. “SAME-DAY SHIPPING,” it said at the bottom of the listing. Well, my payment cleared two days ago, and the power cord shipped today. Well, no problem, you would think! Just give them a neutral or negative feedback score on eBay. Problem solved!

Um, not really.

I have an eBay seller score of 4. I have been involved in nine or ten purchases, but I only have four feedback ratings? That’s because only four members saw fit to leave any feedback, while I ALWAYS leave feedback (and all of it has been positive). I need some more positive feedback. I want to be able to use the BUY IT NOW feature, which is only available to eBayers with ratings of at least 10. I need to have a strong positive rating in order to attract buyers with more consistency.

I’ve gone out of my way to be communicative and polite with every single member, but I still don’t get feedback. Well, if this business receives negative feedback from me because of the late shipping, what are they going to do? Leave me negative feedback, of course. So my hands are tied, while they have a positive feedback rating of…*drum roll*…3,724. They can afford a negative feedback or two, but they also realize that people with such low scores such as myself aren’t going to buck the system and try to prove a point, just to get slapped with a negative feedback rating. They have a 98% satisfactory rating. If they give me negative feedback, I’ll have an 80% satisfactory rating. That’s a huge deal when you only have 5 buyers/sellers who left feedback.

And so my hands are tied. When the power cord arrives (likely on Tuesday), I’ll due their bidding and leave a sweet little feedback message like, “Great Seller! Highly recommended! AAA+++!!!” If you eBay, you’ll get that joke.

And without the power cord, I’ll continue to blog very little until it comes in. The end. 

The Jena Six

Haven’t heard about the Jena Six? I’ll give you a quick update.

On August 31, 2006, three black high school students decided to sit under a tree at their high school in Jena, Louisiana. One of the students had asked the principal in jocular fashion if it would be okay if they sat underneath it. The principal predictably replied that the students could sit wherever they wanted.

They day after, the students discovered that some white students at Jena High School had hung three nooses from the tree that the black students had sat underneath. Naturally, there was a considerable public outcry. The white students were suspended for only three days; the school board decided that it was a “prank” instead of a thread. Not satisfied with the meager punishment, black students and Jena citizens were outraged and tension built steadily in the community.

Fights broke out at parties, at school, and elsewhere. One black student, Robert Bailey was beaten for crashing an all-white party, for instance. The fight had been instigated by adult white males. The next day, Baily got into an altercation with a white student, who ran to his truck and grabbed a shotgun. Witness accounts contradicted each other (surprise!), and Baily was charged with theft of a firearm, second-degree robbery, and disturbing the peace.

On December 4, 2006, a white student named Justin Barker was jumped and assaulted by six black students. Witnesses say that Barker was knocked unconscious from the first punch that was thrown. He collapsed to the ground, and the six students continued their assault for at least a minute. Barker was treated at the hospital for a concussion, and was released two hours later with an eye swollen shut; he went on to attend a school ring ceremony that night. The newly-dubbed “Jena Six” were arrested.

One of the Jena Six, Mychal Bell, faced up to 22 years in prison for aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery. The prosecuting attorney classified Bell’s shoe as a “deadly weapon,” under the grounds that Bell could’ve lethally wounded Barker while kicking him in the head while he was unconscious. The charges were later dropped. Bell has a history of violent behavior, having been convicted of four other violent crimes. Bell was also under probation at the time of the attack.

The other five have been charged with aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy; their charges will not be altered because they were all 17 at the time of the attack, making them adults under Louisiana law.

For more information, check the Wikipedia article entry “The Jena Six.”

Several mistakes were made here…

1. There should have never been a “white tree” at Jena High School. The fact that the school board had knowledge that the school grounds had been sectioned off by students according to race with nothing being done about it is reprehensible.

2. Three days suspension for hanging nooses from a tree was not enough of a punishment. A month suspension should’ve been the bare minimum punishment. Hanging nooses from a tree is not a prank, it is a threat. It calls up memories from the 20th century of pictures taken of black men hung from a tree, the result of a public lynching. Personally, I would’ve expelled the students.

3. Despite my feelings concerning the student-imposed segregation and the noose incident, the Jena Six absolutely deserve whatever punishment the jury concludes is appropriate. Barker was knocked unconscious almost immediately; everything that happened after that could’ve killed him. To kick an unconscious person in the head repeatedly indicates a desire to do more than fight someone or even hurt them. It shows that the intended desire was to maim them. Even if the rage passed and the Jena Six regretted the crime, such a violent act cannot be tolerated under the law.

Jena is being looked on in disgust by most of the nation right now. The inaction of an impotent school board, the racism of its students (no doubt passed down from their parents), and the violent rage from both sides leave a taste in our mouths that we are unlikely to forget. Too many seem content to excuse the actions of those involved depending on the color of their skin, forgetting that there is a lot of blame to pass around to people on both sides.

It’s sad that we’re still going through this.