R.I.P Billy Mays

Sunday, 28 June, 2009

Yes, Billy Mays is dead.  He was found unresponsive by his wife this morning.  Why am I posting about Billy Mays, the infomercial host?  Well, I think it’s to detract from everything that has been seen about Michael Jackson since he died earlier in the week.  I know it’s mean spirited, but, I don’t want to hear any more about Michael Jackson.

I was originally writing–and had a draft of–a blog about the sensationalism of celebrity deaths.  And this week was really driving it all home.  First with Ed McMahon, then Farah Fawcett then the “king of all deaths” (according to the mainstream media) Michael Jackson.  Now Billy Mays.  I am rooting for the “underdog” as it were.

So, here it is.  A short blog ranting about sensationalizing celebrity deaths that, in it’s own way, sensationalizes one.  Not that Billy was a celebrity on par with the other famous people that died this week.  Though Billy Mays was seen more often, in my home, than Michael Jackson’s music was ever heard.  And I will keep it that way.

All the best wishes to Billy’s family.


For the sake of it…

Tuesday, 23 June, 2009

It has been some times since I just sat down to write.  That was made painfully obvious as I wrote to an old friend who I hadn’t seen since middle school.  She informed me that that was 17 years ago!  SEVENTEEN?!  That is enough to make someone feel pretty old, and I do right now.

I managed to encapsulate seventeen long years of my life into one or two paragraphs.  I suppose that’s easy enough to do when the person doesn’t really know all that much about your extended family.  And it doesn’t hurt if you really haven’t done all that much with you life, either.

I know that I haven’t done a lot with myself, and it really pains me to think about it.  There are many things I should have done.  I know I still have time to do them, but, I don’t know if it will be the same as it would have been when I was younger.

Like everyone I have aspiriations, but, I wonder if it will do any good to have them.  I try not to make them too lofty, but, that just happens when you hope, I guess.  Look at these few words I just typed, I realize that I do need to get out there.  Be more adventurous, or something.

I need to experience things, instead of just going on about not having experienced anything in my life.  Will I come back to this blog a new man, the next time I write.  It’s doubtful that it’s something that will change over the course of a couple days (shit, weeks…that seems to be how often I update).  We’ll all just have to wait and see.

Man, this was some good, cathartic writing!  Thanks for being there, WordPress!

Reading frenzy!!

Monday, 15 June, 2009


No, it’s not something that’s happening in a city near you.  It’s just my current excuse for not updating this blog, that’s all.  I even made a (spiffy?) graphic to show I care.  No, giant, fanged books haven’t made me their slaves–though that would be kind of interesting.

I have fallen prey to a reading frenzy, of sorts.  Some weeks ago, I made a list of books (mostly literature) that I haven’t read and really want to.  In the past two weeks, I have been to the library hunting these, the literary gems that I feel the need to read.

Sadly, though, the Plattsburgh Public Library lacks quite a few of the books I want.  By that I mean most of them.  I have seven here–well one, “The Yggyssey: How Iggy Wondered What Happened To All The Ghosts, Found Out Where They Went, And Went There”, by Daniel Pinkwater wasn’t on the list, but, I wanted to read it–that were on that list, and they are ALL the library had.

So far, I have read through five of these seven books.  “Franny and Zooey”, by J.D. Salinger; “Slaughterhouse-Five”, by Kurt Vonnegut; “A Lion Among Men”, by Gregory Maguire; “Dracula”, by Bram Stoker and “Stardust”, by Neil Gaiman.

I am almost done with “The Yggyssey”, and still have “Good Omens: The Nice And Accurate Prophecies Of Agnes Nutter, Witch”, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, to read.  (I don’t know what it is about these incredibly long titles that draw me in, but, they do!).  After those two, I will have to make haste back to the library, and pick some random books, I guess.

Back to reading…

Brain Chef

Monday, 8 June, 2009

While I was doing my morning perusing of certain websites, I came across this awesome game!  BoingBoing had a small article about Brain Chef, which is a browser game.  You choose a side–either a human, or a zombie.  You are given a number of turns to “wander the streets”.

Each time you click “move here”, it constitutes as a turn.  When you encounter an enemy, be it a zombie or game show host, you enter a clicking turn-based battle.  You do battle until you, or your enemy drops.  You can collect items, gold and experience from any enemy you fell this way.

Eventually, you enter an arena where you can enter these turn-based with actual online characters.  It takes four turns to begin a battle with an actual person, and you can only attack enemies from the other camp.  No human-on-human, or zombie-on-zombie battles here.

It’s highly addictive fun, but, I do see a downside.  You only gain 3 turns every half-hour.  I want to keep going!!  Granted, when you confirm your e-mail address, you get 50 turns, but, I breezed through those–and made 2 more kills (what happens when you battle an actual person), bringing my total to four.

I had a small widget that links to the site, but, for some reason I cannot get it to post.  So if this interests you, head on over to Brain Chef, and give it a go!!

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Saturday, 6 June, 2009


Earlier this week the HUGE gaming conference, E3, took place here in the US.  Among the announcements by Nintendo was a game that is essentially a Wii upgrade of a DS classic: New Super Mario Bros.  For those who don’t know, New Super Mario Bros. is a game that hearkens back to the roots of a Mario side-scrolling adventure.

This new-ish title uses similar graphics, but, on a larger scale.  It also allows for four-player simultaneous play on the Wii.  Mario and Luigi are joined by two toads of different colors–one yellow, and one blue. Yoshis were also added to the game play, something that has been lacking in Mario’s recent adventures.

All four characters enter the stage, and play through at their own pace.  The Wii allows this by scrolling the screen outwards, as the characters separate from each other.  Each player can play to help the others, or for their own ends, by grabbing coins and power-ups before anyone else has a chance.

Two power-ups have been added to the repretoire, including the Propeller Suit, which allows a gain in jumping abilities–and a slowed decent, and the Penguin Suit, which allows the wearer to slide along icy pathways and shoot frozen Ice Balls at foes (similar to how a Fire Flower allows you to throw Fire Balls).

The Propeller Suit in use by the Toads, and Luigi

The Propeller Suit in use by the Toads, and Luigi.

Mario sliding along in the Penguin Suit.  The Yellow Toad is shooting Ice Balls,

Mario sliding along in the Penguin Suit. The Yellow Toad is shooting Ice Balls.

Also, making another return to the series–since appearing in Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga–are, at least two, of Bowser’s Koopalings.  Screenshots exist showing Morton Koopa Jr.  Larry Koopa was mentioned in a report on the game.  Here’s hoping that all seven show up.

This next generation console release of something akin to Mario’s roots is pretty exciting.  Sure, some of the graphics are recycled–but revamped.  It’s a very exciting prospect to be playing a 2D Mario platform game, again.  New Mario Bros. Wii has a vague release date of Holiday 2009!


Saturday, 6 June, 2009

I haven’t posted many of my own photos here. Maybe a couple from some Winter snapshots I decided to go out and take just after a snow storm. Taking pictures–what I do can not be called photograhy–is something I enjoy doing.

I am sure many of the shots I end up taking are basically…well…throwaways. Some garbage, blurry pictures. Some of them, however turn out pretty nice. And I am not one to toot my own horn. I will post a few, choice photos here, then end the blog with a link to my Picasa page.

Well, they mightn’t be choice photos, but, they are some of my personal favorite pictures I have taken. The first one is (fairly) recent. I took it on a short hiking trip at Point Au Roche State Park.

The fungi have overtaken the tree

The fungi have overtaken the tree

This tree was alive with a collection of white fungi.  It was quite a surprise to come across it–though I know it happens rather naturally.

Another of my favorites was taken right in my own front yard.  I took many quick snapshots in, and around my apartment.  This one was a little endearing.  As if you could just…well…I’ll let the caption explain it.  I might do a better job to see the picture with the words.

You could almost imagine something living in there.  I think a small bird did, once.

You could almost imagine something living in there. I think a small bird did, once.

I could fill this post with pictures, but, some of them are sidewards, and cannot be rotated.  I will leave the post with one more, which is a picture I took in Florida.  We–being me, my father, my brother and my niece–were at the Florida Aquarium.  Birds are my favorite creatures, whether big or small.  Here is a rather beautiful pair…

A pair of roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja) at rest.

A pair of roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja) at rest.

I shall leave a link to my Picasa site, where you can see hundreds of photos–many from my trip to Florida–that I have taken.  A number of them, especially some from the Florida Aquarium, are blurry.  I apologize in advance for those.  You can visit the site here:  John’s Picasa Page.

Back in business–more or less

Wednesday, 3 June, 2009

I finally got my new monitor, yesterday. All is, sort of, well in my world now. I say "sort of", because of some foolishness on my own part.

When I ordered my new monitor, I neglected to notice/remember one thing about the old one. I had built-in speakers! This one has no speakers, whatsoever.

I guess I just took the sound for granted. Meanwhile, though, I have an interim solution involving my speakers that go to my mp3 player. My sister’s friend is going to give me her old set, when she finds them.

It’s good to be using my own computer again, though. Being on the downstairs PC, I felt like everyone was reading over my shoulder. Now, I can do all my typing in the privacy of my own room!

Now, I have tried to post this a number of different times to no avail. I don’t know if it’s just a problem WordPress is having, right now, or not. So I am trying it this last time, using the post from e-mail feature through the My Blogs menu. *crosses fingers*