PocketBlog Vol. 3 (4/5)

 
Relay for Life 
Yeah, I did that this year for my university.  For those that do not know, the American Cancer Society puts this event on around the world to raise money and awareness for the prevention and treatment of cancer.  I must say it was a pretty profound event.  One of the women who helped run the event was a cancer survivor, along with a handful of others.  At the very beginning, they were able to do a "Survivor Lap", where they got to walk the track by themselves.  A handful of the younger ones were crying through this.  Following that, people from every different organization would be on the track in shifts.  Eventually, we did the premiere event of the Relay: Luminaria.  The Luminaria was a segment where a series of illuminated paper bags were placed around the track.  Every bag was for someone connected to a Relay participant who either survived or passed away from cancer.  Again, lots of tears being shed here.  The rest of the night after the Luminaria, however, was mostly just fun.  Each team had some kind of activity or food they were selling, so on their break different team members could go around and browse everyone else and hang out with their friends.  Someone started a massive line dance to one of the awful songs the student radio DJ was blaring.   Of course, some versions of Relay are infamous for continuing through the night and into the morning.  This Relay was one of these.  I started setting up at 4am, and finally cleaned up and left with my group when the Relay ended at 7am the next day.  I was so damn tired, but it felt great that we did it.  As a school, we raised over $44,000 toward cancer.  To put that into perspective, last year the university only raised $20,000.  Imagine how much money will be going into cancer research if we have an increase like that every year.    
 

Imagine my frustration, then, when I went to bed at 7am and woke up five hours later because my coworker had a migraine and I had to cover her closing shift. I was extremely angry, especially considering this is a common excuse for getting out of work.  I also needed the money though, so I decided to do it.  Ended up being a huge mistake because something was totally fucked in the audits.  And I had to open the next day.  But I prevailed, made a lot of money, and got some serious brownie points with the main store manager.
  
Crunch Week 
It really feels like the first of several hellish weeks of homework and studying.  This week, I have two editorials to write, and two papers.  The editorials are due today, and are very close to being done.  I just have to put the finishing touches on them.  The other papers need a lot more work, but I expect to get one done today and the other done tomorrow and Thursday.  Hopefully I can do it; once again, this blog is a brief break from the writing and then I'm getting back to hitting those hard.  I've also got extra hours at work because we lost one of our front counter managers and I'm picking up the slack until I train the new one.  Finally, I'm also working on the presentation I will be doing at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association conference in Salt Lake City in two weeks.  That has me pretty nervous.

What I'm Playing 
Not much.  I've been alarmingly busy these past couple of weeks.  It kind of sucks because customers at work have come to depend on me to tell them if a movie was any good, and I have not been able to watch anything recently, let alone play anything.  I did, however, set aside some time to play some Homefront and Crysis 2.  I essentially agree with what Alex Navarro said: there's a weird disconnect between the action and the drama, which makes for an uneven and unimpressive campaign, but the multiplayer is great.  It's like old-school Battlefield combined with what Medal of Honor was going for in its multiplayer.  Crysis 2 is pretty fun though.  I didn't really care for the multiplayer.  Something about the feel of it just didn't sit well with me.  Single player is a lot of fun, though.  It's exciting, visceral, and really gives the player a sense of power.  I do find it amusing that the only awesome, memorable music in the game is the theme, which was composed by Hans Zimmer.  The rest was some other dude that no one cares about. 
 
Today is Tron Day 
It is.  Tron: Legacy comes out on DVD today, and as some of you might know, I have a raging Clu when it comes to Tron.  Once I take my next break from homework, I will be going out to get this.  I also special ordered from work the album Tron: Legacy R3CONF1GUR3D, the remixed album.  Basically, it's Oakenfold, Moby, Crystal Method,  M83, and other artists doing the tracks from the album.  In other news, Chrome's spell check apparently only has a problem with the "GUR" segment of that title.  Weird.  
 

 8=============D ~ ~ ~ 

 
Whatever Is In My Room 
Like clockwork, at 2:30 last night the scratching noises started, louder than usual, in a completely different part of my room.  This is really starting to freak the shit out of me.  What the hell is in my room?
 

 Hopefully not this
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PocketBlog Vol. 2 (3/28)

It's finally starting to warm up in Greeley, which means I can start wearing Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts again.  Awesome. 
  
Also, I should definitely design a banner. This blog isn't very colorful :(

3DS 
The hot item this week is Nintendo's new 3DS system. I decided to pick one up on Sunday and I'm very glad I did. Right out of the box, the handheld is beautiful. It is roughly the size of a DS Lite and appears to be made of fairly high-quality materials. It's slightly heavier than the older DS systems but not by a significant amount. I really like the feel of the buttons and the joystick pad. The buttons don't have quite the tactile feedback of the ones on older DS models but they feel solid and the system does not suffer for it. A couple of times the joystick didn't do quite what I wanted during Ridge Racer DS but I think that is more a matter of the hyperactive drifting in that game, since it didn't give me any trouble during Pilotwings Resort.  I really like the touch screen. The older DS models had occasionally finicky touch screens that sometimes require some more aggressive input, but the new touch screen is much more sensitive, similar to smart phones such as the iPhone. It isn't overly sensitive, mind you; however, it is impressively responsive and I don't feel like I need to press hard at all. The cameras make for some fun diversions (as the front two can take 3D pictures) but they have fairly low resolution and won't cause you to give up your digital or even phone camera anytime soon. 

 
How about that 3D?  In a word, beautiful. The stereoscopic 3D effect is a sight to be hold, and turning on the system for the first time and seeing it is quite an experience. The sense of depth in the games is extremely impressive. As far as graphical fidelity, it's definitely better than the DS.  Judging by screens of upcoming games I feel like this handheld may be able to handle Wii-caliber graphics. I wasn't blown away by any of the launch titles, though the 3D was impressive on most of the titles regardless of the actual detail in the graphics themselves.  
 
Overall, I'm really glad I got the 3DS. It's a fine system and the 3D effect is well worth it. 
 
New Music 
My close friend and I have been on a major alternative music kick. Just the other day I purchased from Hastings the Fight Club Soundtrack, Bloc Party's Silent Alarm, Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, and OK Go's Of the Blue Color of the Sky. Speaking of OK Go, these guys have some seriously impressive music videos. All of their music videos are done in one shot and usually integrate some clever artistic element. Take, for example, the original version of "This Too Shall Pass" 
  

  There's also this one, which is impressive mainly because of the amount of time it must have taken and the physical disomfort. The things these guys do for art.... 
  
It's really great stuff. More than many bands, their videos are most than just the band singing along to some obscure story; the unique hook of each video make them a joy to watch. Adrian also got me into Wolf Gang; while their lead singer looks like a love child between a young Hannibal Lecter and a Jewish Lord Voldemort who sounds like Billy Corgan, their style is unmistakably and delightfully European.    
   
Sucker Punch 
I guess I'm one of the few people who enjoyed Sucker Punch. I'm not going to deny that the movie was very flawed and Snyder's reach very much extended his grasp; however, I found the movie's massive ambition to be admirable, and the experimental usage of song and dance was interesting to watch. As with all of Snyder's films, the visuals are the selling point, and the beautifully shot Sucker Punch is no exception. It was also shockingly dark; I didn't expect some sections of the film to be so aggressively grim. I felt, however, that it benefited as a result. I'll have a review up on Screened later, but I'm not going fanboy crazy over this film; I really liked it, but again, it definitely failed on several levels. I look forward to seeing what Snyder can do with a bit more practice at writing his own scripts. 
 
My Room Has Demons 
Seriously, I think it does. Or perhaps I am going crazy.  At 2:30 in the morning, every day, I hear a scratching sound near my door, next to my desk.  I've taken this area apart and not found any mice or anything, and it's not near any vents.  I'm not sure what it is but it does not happen at all anytime else during the day. At other times, I will hear a light breathing sound in my room, almost inaudible. Best of all, there have been a couple of nights where I head footsteps outside of my room and on the stairs. Flinging open my door, I see nothing. I'm not even a wizard and I can definitely say that is fucked up.
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Short Film I Helped Make

Hey guys, here is a short (12ish minutes) film I helped make late last year.  I did not act but I pushed the camera around, designed and organized the lighting, and helped the director with other small things with the production.  It released a few weeks ago and will be screening in Denver, CO later this year, so this definitely is not a random student film where we grabbed the camcorder and filmed some shit. Please let me know what you think. 
 
http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi3208944153/  
 
I apologize, since it is IMDB video I cannot imbed because GB doesn't know the      

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PocketBlog Vol. 1

Apart from my very young Gutenfilm blog that I keep up outside of Giant Bomb, I decided I would also like to start one here for funsies.   
  
"Let Us Not Fall Into the Hands of the Enemy..." 
I come here today on a brief break from a term paper I am writing for my Psychology of Religion class.  The paper is on Jim Jones, the People's Temple "cult" that he started, and the infamous mass suicide/Kool-Aid drinking incident.  It is definitely some profoundly disturbing stuff, but also incredibly interesting.  The documentary I am using to base my paper on can be found here, and I highly recommend it if you have the stomach for some material that is most definitely NSFW.   
 

It got me to thinking that this whole event, beginning with the early years of Jones's life and continuing through the mass suicide, would make for a profoundly interesting dramatic film, especially as a way of illustrating the dangers of a figure with absolute power over a group.  I especially found it interesting how Jones began by aggressively stating that he didn't want to control lives or become something like a Nazi youth program, and ended with him rejecting religion and leading over 900 people to their deaths.  I've been digging around for more material on Jones and have already begin scripting something.  Nothing will come of this but by exploring this man's psyche I can reach deeper into my thesis. 
  
"Good News, Everyone!"
When I'm not working on the paper, I've been relaxing over Spring Break by finally delving into some Futurama, a show I have up until now not really had any interest in, but checked out a week and a half ago just for the hell of it.  I had just finished Venture Bros, had nothing else to watch at the time, and was craving some animation for adults. Considering that the entire series is on Netflix streaming, I gave it a shot and it quickly became a favorite.  There's something therapeutic about the characters of Futurama.  In particular, I cannot get enough of Farnsworth.   
 


  
 
Dragon Age: ORIGINS
I did things a little weird in relation to Dragon Age.  I played through about a third of Origins on the console but could not really digest the nonintuitive control scheme.  Armed with a swank new computer, I bought the signature edition of Dragon Age 2, but before playing beyond the demo, bought Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition on the PC so I would be able to carry over my save file, and so I could see what all the fuss was about concerning the PC version.  Turns out it's really damn good.  I'm hooked to this game, and I usually invest 1-3 hours a night in the game.  Unhealthy, but I can't resist.  I'm using a mage with the Blood Mage specialization and primarily elemental powers.  Casting Walking Bomb first thing in a fight and then throwing out a couple of AOE spells proves to be devastating to the Darkspawn armies.  My party as of now is Oghren, Shale, and the highly doable and adorably bitchy Morrigan.  Every once in a while I'll stop in camp to give Alistair some shit.  I hate that guy.  The high point of my game so far was finding the Alistair doll and giving it to Morrigan so she could do horrible things to it, which immediately sent her approval rating of me up by 50, effectively countering the negative approval I garnered from her for helping the citizens of Redcliffe (which I only did for the Blood Mage specialization).  Can't wait to finish and play DA2, as the demo was a lot of fun.  Haters gonna hate. 
 
Illegal Windows 
Someone sold me an illegal Windows key, and now I can't update Windows or have the totally badass apocalyptic wallpapers I was rocking before.  This guy has 3 more days to refund my money before he gets reported to Microsoft.  Even so, a legitimate copy of Windows will still set me back $200 :( 
 
Life At Hastings 
In the days since we got robbed at gunpoint at Hastings, I have been on the road to recovery, getting a little better every day but still trying to find a good psychiatrist so I can be properly diagnosed with PTSD if that is indeed the case.  I'm normally against drugs but I might make an exception.  I've been a manager at Hastings for about a month and a half, and as a result of my low tolerance for other people's bullshit, have already issued more written warnings that any other manager at the store have done in their run as a manager.  This has led to labels such as "sheriff Sheridan" and "The Iron Fist of Hastings".  If it helps weed out some of the fucktards that work there, then fine.  They're only dragging the store down. 
 
Time to return to my paper and get some food, but hopefully you all enjoyed the PocketBlog.  I plan on refining it further in later editions.
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Happy Saturday 8/21

This week was interesting.   
 
Sunday, I finally got my voice back from my tonsillectomy.  The road to recovery was significantly longer for me, considering my age and the extreme inflammation of my tonsils.  No matter, I had my voice back, barely, and though it sounded weird I felt a lot better.  I also inherited a very old turntable from my parents, so I can start on my record collections.  The only nuisance with this turntable is that the speakers that come with it emit a very loud and alarming burst of static when they first turn on, or when the volume is adjusted.  I bought two records to begin my collection: Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet and A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step.  Good albums.   
 
I was looking forward to not having work the next day and relaxing.  Unfortunately, it turns out that there was a problem with the schedule and a very serious miscommunication, so actually I was supposed to go into work on Monday.  I ended up being two hours late, but I didn't get fired.  The manager and the assistant manager forgave me and everything is cool again.   
 
I needed to get my textbooks this week for my upcoming classes.  One of them was supposed to be $180, but I found it on Amazon for $40.  Score!  I found another one I needed on Amazon for a good price as well, but for the others I needed to go to my campus bookstore.  One of them was a painless $36, but the other was $145 used.  USED.  The price for the new book was $160.  I was about to bite the bullet and then I decided to hit the other campus bookstore (the "more" official one), and luckily they had a rental book.  The rental price is about half the price of a new copy, so it cost me roughly $70.  Not quite so bad.  When I got to the desk, the computer froze during my transaction, and then the other two froze, so I was waiting for a good 25 minutes to get out of there.  Didn't bother me too much, however.  I felt sorry for the nice girl behind the counter.   
 
I suddenly had a massive craving for some Asian cinema, so I quickly moved the Vengeance Trilogy and a film called The Chaser up to the front of my Netflix instant queue.  I also rented a movie called The Good, the Bad, the Weird from my place of employment.  Let me say, that was one of the most supremely entertaining movies to come out of Asia in years.  The next movie I rented was Ip Man, a semi-biographical movie about the man who would eventually mentor Bruce Lee, and it was fucking badass for the first half hour, then the disc stopped reading.  So I need to go grab another copy to see the rest. 
 
I have an internship this semester with the Public Defender's Office, and this will involve me having to make court appearances as part of the job.  The woman who took me on requested that I get a suit for these court appearances.  Luckily, I had an old suit in my closet that was too big for me a few years ago, but now it pretty much works, so that saved me about a hundred dollars.  I did need to get some new shoes, though.  And a tie.   I didn't realize until today how ridiculously expensive ties are.  Either way, the tie is pretty powerful (red and black diamonds that sort of "shift" if you change perspective") so I don't feel like I really wasted my money.  Either way this week's necessities set me back pretty bad so no more spending until the next paycheck on Thursday.   
 
 School starts on Monday.  I'm a little nervous about being swamped, but excited because I'm tired of being bored. 
 
Last.... 
Watched: Ip Man 
Listened:  "In the House, in a Hearbeat"--John Murphy
Played: Bioshock 2

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Random Musings From A Deranged Mind

So I decided two days ago that I want to start collecting records.  My first step is to find a good turntable.  I found a good one at work that will only cost $50 when the discount is applied.  My mom offered to give me her old one, since she recently got a better one.  I might take her up on that, but on the other hand this turntable is bulky and I'm pretty sure it requires those huge-ass speakers that those old-fashioned turntables have.  I also have to decide what my "first" record is going to be.  It's an important decision, much like choosing a car.
 
I fucking hate the Daredevil movie.  But I watched the Director's Cut and rather liked it.  Massive improvement over the PG-13 theatrical cut.   The darker tone, extra half hour, added subplot, and more brutal violence work wonders and it's actually a pretty good movie now.  One that I wouldn't mind seeing again.  I don't think I've ever turned around this much before.  
 
A customer at work told me that our rental system is stupid and he's going to start using redbox.  I said "ok" and thought how funny it would be if I Spartan kicked his young son right in the face, and then broke the man's DVD in half and stabbed him in the neck with it.  Not because he's going to Red Box, but because he gave me a dirty look.  He kept staring at me so I stared right back.  Intense stare-down, but I ended up winning.   
 
This is creepy....there are footsteps on the stairs but no one is home.  Maybe this house is haunted, after all it's 100 fucking years old.   I poked my head out of the door to make sure, and there was no on there.  This wasn't just creaking, either...legit footsteps pounding up the stairs.  
 
It's weird when I open my profile and I have a million old women screaming at me.   
 
I helped film a movie last week.  I was just the key grip, but I had a lot of fun doing my thing and helping out.  The movie set experience is a grand experience indeed.   
 
I went to a party on Saturday.  Biggest party I've ever been to.  I just stood in the corner with my beer and my cigar, quietly watching the rest of the party-goers playing beer pong and whatever the hell else they were doing.  I started attracting weird glances so I reluctantly began to mingle. Met some interesting people, but I didn't get shit-faced or laid.  I think I might have been spiked though, because I went home after the party and when I woke up the next morning my 360 was on, my clothes were in the wrong place, and my lights and clothes were still on.  I had also fallen asleep on top of the covers.  I only had like two drinks so I wasn't drunk.  My butthole felt fine though so I guess nothing terribly bad or traumatic happened to me.   Nothing out of the ordinary or mundane, anyway.  
 
I really want to get back into composing and writing. I was supposed to compose a piece for a friend of mine who's a director, but it's been done for a week and he isn't returning my fucking calls.  I guess this gives me time to polish it up, but still.  I haven't written any fiction in a while, and that makes me sad.  I have a lot of ideas that I want to put on paper but I always find something to do.  Maybe tonight I will work on something, or maybe I will just fall asleep. 
 
Is it wrong that I LOVED the movie "44 Inch Chest", in which a man's wife cheats on him so him and his mates kidnap the other man, bind him up, and flip a coin to decide if they should kill him?  I loved it because the same thing happened to me with my ex and this was like a vicarious fantasy fulfillment for me, playing out like I would have wanted.  You should have seen my grin when the coin landed on tails for "skin him alive", it was fucking scary.   
 
Cheers. :)

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A Crazy Idea That Just Might Work

Given the insane popularity of Deadly Premonition, and the incredibly catchiness of the theme song, I have decided to attempt my own version, this time using my personal favorite arrangement: a 24-piece orchestra.  It's going to take a few months, but I am sure as hell going to attempt to get this done.  

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Happy Fun Time Update

First of all duders, thanks for the words!  They helped.   
 
So I went to the place, and here's the weird thing.  The doctor came in and started messing with my lymph nodes and noticed that my left tonsil (on the same side as the lymph node) was very swollen, which was what was causing my problems swallowing.  He then sat down and said, "You look perfectly healthy to me.  Looks like your allergies are just acting up really bad right now.  I'm the guy who can spot the cancers and diagnose them, and I don't think you have any.  If I could notice anything wrong, we wouldn't be here, we would be in the Operating Room right now.  We can do a CAT scan and take some blood if you want, but if you were my son I would say hold off for now."    He was actually quite surprised at how "healthy" I looked, and told me I really don't need any tests. He did have me go on a vaporizer at night, use nose spray, use saline rinse, and take antibiotics, but he said my problem is allergies, stress, and lack of sleep.   
 
Honestly, he is the best doctor I've ever seen.  He had a great personality, and I think he detected my nervousness because acted extremely warmly toward me and kept squeezing my arm in a fatherly fashion.  He gave me his email address in case I have questions or something comes up or changes with my condition.  He said to come back in six weeks to see how I'm shaping up, and at that point he said we could schedule to get my tonsils removed, which would be a huge relief because I'm tired of having so much trouble swallowing and breathing all the time.  The tonsils (mine have been abnormally large from birth BTW), he said, are also what is causing my sleep apnea.  Getting them out would make me much more comfortable.   
 
So, bottom line is that there is nothing seriously wrong with me.  Thanks for the care guys!

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Happy Fun Time With Cancer Screens

So, I have a swollen lymph node, and my doctor said I need to get a biopsy to make sure it's "nothing bad", like cancer or something.  So that's what I'm doing today.  Getting a needle jabbed into my neck so they can suck out part of the lymph node tissue and look at it under a microscope and make sure it's not cancerous.  Enjoy your breakfast, kids.   
Kinda hoping I don't have anything wrong.  I probably don't, but I'm not sure I would be able to rock the bald look very well.  In all seriousness, I joke but I am a chronic hypochondriac and I can't help but worry.  Wish me luck.

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