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Friday, November 29, 2013

WUMF: November 2013 Edition

Novemburrrr is more like it.  Holy crap!

YouTube Update
It’s been hard to keep up with stuff, but I’ve been trying.   At the time of writing this, I have three series going and possibly revisiting a one off I did with Bailey months ago.

Of course, there is the main series, Mongo Smashes:  Minecraft.  Additionally, I am still navigating a Sim Mongo through Sims 3 and side scrolling through Limbo, an indie game.    While it’s been loads of fun playing these, I just don’t have talent big name Tubers have in attracting viewers.    Also, I don’t have the time.   Because I’m not just doing  a straight play through of a game, the recording process is hard.  I hate to waste recording of gameplay when I’m not “feeling it”   This is something I hope will change in the next few months with some bigger changes in the works.  

It’s also very hard to pull this off with a shoe string budget.   For any of you who have ever edited video with Windows Movie Maker, it’s a process.  I don’t whether my PC just doesn’t have the capacity to handle the demands of the application.  There are several starts and stops due to excessive processing going on in the background OR it’s just a crappy application that comes out of the box with Windows.   In any case, I can’t afford to get Vegas or some other top notch editing program.   

I’ve heavily relied on the editing process and music to really create a better quality product and frankly, I think I’ve done quite well in that aspect.   Yeah, the comedy is a bit dull and I have a harder time proactively “making the funny” vs. reacting to something but it’s getting better.  Really do check out my Sims vids for some hilarity.   The pre-outro jokes added some great moments to the videos.



This one is finally finished.

Lesser Man Project
I have a post in the hopper for my recent trip to Virginia and I’ll have you know, I was on the treadmill almost every night while staying in a hotel.   I recently cracked the minus side of 260 and took steps to help keep trending in that direction.   It’s going to be harder heading into bad weather and holidays. 

That being said, I’ve upped my game by walking a mile almost every weekday on a hill behind my work.  It’s about 0.2 of a mile long and I do the hill three times up and three times down.  It takes the full 20 minutes to complete the circuit back to my car, so I am not caving like I would some days just circling the parking lot.

My legs hurt but I have more energy than I used to which makes for a better quality of life.  I just need to avoid going nuts with the holiday food.

My Mood
In case you've been wondering and I'm pretty sure you haven't...  I'm fine.  The posts have had a somewhat reflective, emo quality to them and that's bad.   Sorry.

Maybe the weight loss is affecting my mood.  Maybe it's other things.  Some days it's hot and cold running meh.  Next year I might clue you all in but I don't know.  It's not cool.  Just know, I'm fine.  I'm healthy.   I've got two certified professionals who can attest to that, so no worries.

Holy crap, we got a shot at the playoffs?  WTF?!?!?!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The War On Thanksgiving

This has been heating up on social media and it’s beginning to piss me off.   I get it.  We shouldn’t be shopping on Thanksgiving.  We should be staying home with our families instead giving into the corporate machinations that drive greed and force retail workers to be on hand during the holidays instead of at home with their families who are probably hateful, drunk, and dysfunctional anyway.

The problem is that it’s not a perfect boycott.   Here’s why.
  • Gas station attendants have to be on hand for you when you decide to pack up the family and go to grandma’s.
  • Toll booth workers have to be on hand to collect on the turnpikes and expressways
  • Hotels have to be staffed for you when you have to stay at the Comfort Inn because grandma has fifteen cats and you’re allergic.
  • IT Analysts and System Admins have to be on hand for when Amazon or eBay breaks down because everyone who says, “I WON’T SHOP IN TARGET ON THANKSGIVING!” decides they will buck the trend by point and clicking their way through shopping instead of courting the brick and mortar versions of their favorite retailers.
  • I could go on.
Look, I spent three years working on New Year’s Eve, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Thanksgiving in a hotel where the biggest problem was I had to cater to other peoples’ families instead of sharing in the holiday with my own.  It sucks, but it’s life.   Declaring with a graphic and a like that you won’t shop on Thanksgiving while doing other things that require support staff to handle your other activities is just hypocritical.  How about stay off social media on Thanksgiving.  Some poor IT person at Zynga or King or Facebook  has to be on hand because you’d rather stay home and play Candy Crush or Famville instead of shopping at Walmart.   And… some intern at Twitter has be on hand when you tell the world, “Gassing up at BP and turnpiking it with my fam instead of shopping at Target.  Suck it Wall St!”

You know, some people have no family.  Some people don't want to be around their family on the holidays, so working that day at time and a half pay might be something they enjoy or at least look forward to.  And you're robbing them of that because YOU feel YOUR AGENDA is the way it should be.  

Do I think stores should be open on Thanksgiving? No.  Black Friday?  Definitely, NO!  But it's not my problem.  It's not my place.  If people want to be assholes and corporations want to be greedy.  That's their business.  It's the framing of the argument that I take such issue with in this case.   Where do we get off high horsing our views and being placated because of it?  What entitlement crap gives us anymore say in this matter.  Vote with your dollar and don't shop.  But don't shame others into believing they're horrible because they do.  You're just as bad at other things that require support staff so don't act all high and mighty feeling that your own beliefs are solid and infallible.  Mind your own business. 

Oh, and don't read this on Thanksgiving.  Got it?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Textually Active

Mongo don’t text.

OK, that was true about five years ago.  In fact, I held out on getting a cell phone for as long as I could.  I think the first one I ever had was an LG flip phone from 2004.     I was 29…   To that point, I waited until I was 27 to get a credit card.  I lost that battle when I became a homeowner.   I regret what my balance is today.  Evil little plastic thing!

Even with that giant leap in gadgetry I resisted texting.  For one, I have meat hooks.  Banana hands.  Flippers.  All the dexterity of an oven mitt.  For me to get my plump digits to correctly type out a message using nine numerical keys, waiting for the right letter to pop up or T9word  suggestions takes too long.  I could call you, have the conversation, talk about nothing for ten minutes, and be done before I hit send on the first text.  Secondly, why would I have an entire conversation  this way?  Emails can be long and contain multiple ideas.  Texts are basically you spamming a keyboard with  “OMG”, “K”, or “WTF?”

However, these days that has all changed.  I have become a little more adept at texting, though some days it’s like playing the Game of Thumbs, I win or I diet.  I miss words, it takes forever to spell something out, and I have only advanced to an LG Cosmos.  I’ve had it for probably four years, now.    Why do I not have a Smartphone?  Because my bill is only $92 a month and that covers three phones, texting between two people and enough minutes to never run out.   If I move up to a Smartphone, I will probably increase my charges 3x and the temptation of using a Smartphone like most people do will become a problem…  Remember my credit card issue?

Now, as far as texting goes, I do only get 250 a month.   In the past that wasn’t a problem.  In fact, I didn’t have a texting plan before 2012.   If someone sent me a text, I paid as I went.  Then, we opted to get 250 for an additional $5.00 a month.  Which, wasn’t too bad.   Of course, my wife decided that she needed to up hers to 1000 last year for an additional $5.00 a month.   That’s another story for another time.   Still, I maintained my 250 limit and was fine.

Until it was not fine.  In the past year, I’ve found myself going over my 250 threshold and it feels like I’m breaking the law.  Actually, I was getting treated like a common criminal for doing so, with no reason.   With no conTEXT, there was a lot of speculation.   Turns out, I have friends who text.  I work in IT and we text issues back and forth.   I am on the hook for being an application admin and when it breaks and I’m not around, I get pinged.   Sometimes people text me an entire thought, one word at a time.   Don't ask me why.  Still, even at its worst, I’ve only ever gone over my 250 limit by no more than 10 texts.

Now, how bad is that?  Why don’t I just up it to 1000 and pay the extra $5.00?   I could.  It would be no skin off my nose.   However, when I look at my average amount of texts per month, I’ve gone over maybe four times in a year.    Like I said, I’ve never gone over by more than 10 texts.   Beyond my limit, I pay as I go.  That whopping overage is $0.10 a text.

four months at $1.00 per month = $4.00
12 months at $5.00 per month = $60.00

Now who is smart?  Eventually, I will have to get with the program and get a new phone and new plan.   I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.   Not to mention, they want you to pay them $30 just for the privilege of paying for a new phone and staying on as a customer.   Mongo also doesn't double dip.  If you want me as a customer, show me the money.   Waive the fee, upgrade the phone, and let me pay like I should, for a phone and a plan, not for loyalty.

Yes, my phone sucks.  The reception sucks.  Half the buttons don’t work.  It’s not cool.  I look like that old guy in the commercial “Two cans and a piece of string!”   But, hey, I have $56.00 extra in my pocket a year to spend on worthwhile things.  Remember when we actually used phones to call people?  Those were the days.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stealing Inspiration From a Dead Man

While I was in college, I spent a summer working at an amusement park in Ohio.   During that summer, I dated a few girls and left miserable.

I dated the first girl during the first couple weeks of the summer and it was a complete disaster because, well, it just was.  I mean how else do you explain someone who goes out to the bar with you, gets shit faced drunk, grinds all over another guy, then comes home with you to her room only to leave and go hot tubbing with guys in another building for the rest of the evening and into the morning?  

The second was at the end of the summer and I spent the bulk of the gap between those two swearing I would never ever date another girl from that particular room.  I even made a rule about it.   So, we spent the better part of that summer just being lunch buddies and friends and it never amounted to anything else until I was set to leave due to being sick with severe bronchitis.    As the news hit that I was leaving, I realized that she was interested and I asked, "Are you kidding me?  Why am I just finding this out now?"  She said, "Well, you were the one who made the stupid rule."

So, we went out once and it was the date I had been hoping for all summer long.   You see most people at the park called a good date getting completely drunk and hooking up with someone cute.   There was no sense of romantic ideals because you're only there for three months.  Why bother with romance or ideals?   And that led another girl to tell me that I would make a great husband one day.   No 21 year old male wants to hear that come from a woman of the same age, especially one they find attractive. 

When I got back to school, I felt that it would be appropriate, if not romantic, to write her and being the theater major I was, I sent her one of Shakespeare's sonnets in the letter.  Why?  Bitches love sonnets. 

What I didn't realize was that it was completely stupid to do this because for one, she had no clue about Shakespeare as far as I knew and two, I was basically going out to a book and looking for whatever applied to the situation or my feelings and copied it down.   I was leveraging the words of someone else to further my own intentions.   I was stealing inspiration.

If I truly, truly had a sense of romance, I would have come up with my own, but at 21, I was not that clever.  I was half the writer I am half of now and I lobbed a softball of sentiment towards the unsuspecting head of the intended recipient.

But as time has gone by, I've decided to lean on the poets and bards of history as a source of inspiration and citation and not as a spokesperson for my thoughts.   I am fully capable of saying the words that need to be said in the time that they should be spoken.   And one day I will. 

For I am the greater fool who is tired of making stupid rules and I am willing to bend the heavens to prove that ruination is not a permanent state.  I will get the paint to stick if I have to strip the surface of every layer of hate and loathing that has been applied by other tenants.

It's a work in progress... as am I.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


There is a ride in numerous amusement parks which is essentially a giant swing with a harness.  At Kennywood, it’s called The Skycoaster.  At Cedar Point, it’s called Ripcord.

The concept is simply this.  Up to three riders where a harness apparatus, much like you are Cyrus the Virus from Con Air.  You get strapped to a winch and are raised in the air 180 or so feet in the air.  At the top of the arch, you sit and wait for the “all clear”.  Once that is given, one rider pulls a “ripcord”,  you free fall, and swing in a downward arc, back and forth.

You spend more time on the climb than you do on the fall.  

That fear.  That anxiety of knowing where you are headed.    There is pretty much no real danger in what you are about to do, but that fear of climbing to such a scary height and waiting to pull that cord is scarier than the actual fall will ever be.  And what is it that you are so afraid of up there?

Falling.  The fear that it won’t stop.  The fear that everything will break apart and you will hit the ground like a bullet.  Your insides will essentially be pushed through the top of your being.  Not to mention, anyone with you.   I mean, they might have agreed to go through this, maybe even paid for their share.    However, in the end, it was your decision.  They might have pushed you into it, but you are just as responsible for being strapped into this apparatus and suspended over the Earth, without a net.   Being given that ripcord is a big responsibility.   Sometimes that’s the biggest fear; actually pulling it.  And by now, you are stuck and the other person is regretting their decision, but it’s too late for that.

Everyone on the ground is looking at you, telling you to do it.    Even the ride operators are giving you that chance before they have to manually bring you down.  How embarrassing is that.   That’s one of the biggest problems, though isn’t it.   You got yourself here and now you’re looking for someone else to do the work.  You’re the one who wanted to do this and now that it’s time and everyone else is telling you to do it, you’ve suddenly shrunk back into the harness like a turtle in its shell.  

Then, you look at the person with you and see the fear in them.  Now there’s a ton of reasons to not pull the cord.    Maybe, if you just stay there for awhile, they will stop being afraid.   Maybe, the cord will just pull itself.   Maybe there will be a huge issue and the ride operators need to bring you back down for your own safety. 

That’s when the adrenaline kicks in and you realize that everything in your soul says “PULL IT!”   There’s never going to be a perfect moment to free fall.   A thousand things can go wrong and kill you.   You are now responsible for yourself and the other rider.   They flat out refuse to let you do it but you know you can’t stay here.  Yes, you came up here for a reason, but the problem is, you don’t belong up here anymore.   You need to get back on the ground where everything makes sense. 

The other rider still looks at you in fear and even though you assure them it’s the best thing to do, they look at you as if this some sort of selfish act.    “No, up here, I’m safe.  We’re strapped in tight.  If you pull that cord, you will kill us.”  But you know the fear is only for a moment.   You’re just as safe up there as you are after pulling the cord.  It’s all part of the same thing.  But staying up there is not good for anyone.  Eventually, you have to come down, though.    





Friday, November 1, 2013

Your Last Message Did Not Reach Its Intended Audience

All this technology and we still can’t communicate.

We live in this world of ones and zeros where the screen is like a shield, giving us this false sense of invincibility.   We mock, we demean, and we basically say a lot of things, but we don’t listen to each other.    Why is it so hard to say the things that need to be said?  

There was a time when I thought that there were no boundaries.    I could say anything.   And yet, it got me in trouble.   So, I kept my mouth shut and just went along with the flow, not making waves.  Because even if you think that the ship might be strong enough to carry you,  it’s still a balancing act to keep it from flipping.

Honesty may be the best policy, but even honesty has its drawbacks.   And if the truth will set you free, why are the words so razor sharp that they feel like they will tear you to pieces when they come out.   And in that sense, you can only imagine what they’ll do to the intended audience.    They’re also heavy.  They’re heavy to bear in your soul.   They carry so much drag.   They have only gotten heavier in time.    So much time, so much weight.  So much fear to unload.  So little time in this world to make it count. 

Then, there’s the ones you think you can say anything to and yet you hold onto the thoughts because you have to.   Code helps a bit.   Half thoughts and analogies mask your intentions.   You only hope they have their Little Orphan Decoder ring and know exactly what you mean.    But, do they?  Does it matter?  Do they feign ignorance to be funny or is it more?  And because you know the things you want to say may not be welcomed at these times, you hold on to them and those words weigh in your throat and your soul.

We have so much capacity to heal and harm with a word.  We’re better than 1000 cures and worse than a 1000 missiles.  Yet, when given the chance, we can pretty much expect to not say anything at all.   The Cold War of communication continues and that wall grows increasingly thicker between people. 

Maybe we need to tear down these walls and get it all out there.   Maybe it’s time to stop hiding behind the shields we cling to, like silicon, plastic, and anonymity.    Maybe the invincibility needs to come from not being afraid to feel what you feel.    Maybe we need to tell those who need to hear it the things we hold onto out of fear.   Maybe they need to hear them to be able to feel what they need to feel.  Like a chain reaction of healing or something, we can maybe give life a little push.

Or, we can die, choking on our own words.   We can hold onto those thoughts and just go through life, suffocating on our feelings.  We can ignore everything and just take a pride pill, swallowing it hard and smiling as we do it.   Is it melodramatic?  Cathartic?  Stupid?  Maybe it’s just honesty  Maybe that’s what we need to use as our shield.   

We don’t have to be evil.   Just be honest with our message.   Hope for the best, expect something close, and have faith that we are somewhere in the ballpark of the intended reaction.   The least you can say is that you tried.  You tried to be the person you should have always been; the one you used to be before you stopped communicating.   You can shed so much fear if you accept that there are things beyond your control and that’s OK to live without the ability to steer and guide every little thing in your life.  You can live free in the knowledge that you did what you could with what you had and even if it ends, you did your best. 

Communicate.  Say anything, but be honest and true.  

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