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I was browsing over at Tech Report last night, and the site’s owner, Damage, was asking about DirecTV and TiVo. I offered my own advice about his dilemma, and then started thinking. I used to be a real TV junkie. Back when I was living with my ex (another Blog entry, maybe someday) we had UltimateTV. Truly, it was wonderful. Anyhoo, back to me thinking. Yeah, yeah, shut up. I was trying to determine if I had actually cut down on my TV viewing time, as I believed I had. Back with the ex, I watched TV whenever I was home. Sure, sometimes I got online and immersed myself in Diablo II, but if I wasn’t at work and I wasn’t online, I was watching TV. Heck, I used to go to Spoons with some friends, to play NTN Network games.

It may be that the amount of TV that we watched ended up contributing to the end of our relationship, but she won’t tell me what happened, so this is only speculation. However, upon reflection, I really don’t watch as much TV as I used to. I get out and mountain bike, and hike with Archon. I spend time at school, but more importantly, I spend time at home working on school stuff. I visit my family, you get the point. No longer is it “get home from work, turn on TV, turn off brain.”

So, now that I’ve come to this conclusion, I ask myself: “Am I really better off now that I don’t watch TV as much?”

My mother is visiting town for Easter. She came over last night, and we watched Friends, Scrubs, Will & Grace, and that other show on Thursday nights. And, I laughed. And I realized that I missed those shows, shows I used to watch every week. I miss The West Wing. I miss Law and Order. I miss The Simpsons.

So, now I find myself in a predicament. Do I continue my negligence of TV? Do I continue to deny myself the simple pleasures afforded by Must See Television? Or do I fulfill my destiny as the one who brings balance to TV.

Er, sorry about that, we watched Attack of the Clones last night.

I’ve decided I won’t start watching TV again anytime soon. For now, school is just keeping me too busy. That, and the fact that the weather outside is so incredibly great, I can’t justify to myself that TV is worth my time. At least not to the extent that it once was. Also, I can’t get the channels that show Buffy and Angel.

So, the site is looking a lot better, at least to my eyes. I’ve been trying to get things set up, everything in place, rather than posting updates to the sections that are ready. I guess I want a complete site with a little content more than I want an incomplete site with one section chock full of content. Thanks for bearing with me during this process.

Also, on the topic of TV, I’ve started advertising for Netflix. If you’re interested in seeing a lot of DVDs every month, not worrying about late fees, and paying a flat fee, then Netflix is for you. I must say, just to be clear, that I used to work for them.

However, that is not the reason I’m advertising for them now. Simply put, I’m a greedy bastidge. No, that’s not it either. Really, I just like the service. They’re currently expanding, trying to get next day service for as many Americans as possible. Still skeptical? They offer a free trial!! Just click the image to your left, and see what they have to offer. I think you’ll like it.

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This afternoon I picked up a few copies of The Mustang, since this was the issue wherein my first story appeared. I had a half-page spread and a picture. Yes, to my resume I can now add ?Published Writer.? To celebrate, I decided to pick up Steven/Archon for some dinner. I offered Wendy?s or Taco Bell, because frankly I?m a cheap bastard.

Steven decided on Taco Bell, so after a quick stop by his mom?s place we headed in that direction. Being a lazy bastard as well as a cheap one, I went for the drive-thru. We were greeted by this recording: ?Welcome to Taco Bell, would you like to try one of our new Cheesy Gordita Crunches? Please order when you?re ready.? Before I could start, the recording was immediately followed by a woman who said, ?One moment, I?ll be right with you.?

This should have been an indication of things to come, but we simply laughed it off. After waiting the customary few moments, the woman returned and asked what we would like to order. I said I wanted a Cheesy Gordita Crunch combo with an extra Cheesy Gordita Crunch. The woman on the other end of the microphone then proceeded to try and sway me from that choice, saying that the “You don’t want that, it?s just a gordita wrapped around a taco.?

I looked over at Steven in disbelief. The woman was actually trying to dissuade me from purchasing their special, the very item their opening recording had been pushing. I turned back to the box, and said clearly ?I want a Cheesy Gordita Crunch combo, with an extra Cheesy Gordita Crunch.? I was sure to speak slowly, pronouncing each syllable carefully to ensure she understood me. She told me the price, to which I replied ?one moment, there?s more.?

Once I had Steven?s order, a #10 with a Coke, I relayed it through the microphone. ?One moment? she said. Again, I looked over at Steven in astonishment. I waited a minute, and then repeated the order. ?One moment please? was the reply. She had already started taking the order, and now was suddenly so overwhelmed she couldn?t continue? Steven simply said, ?Let?s go to Wendy?s man.?

We went to Wendy?s, and of course our order was messed up. They forgot my chicken nuggets and left the tomato on Steven?s chicken sandwich. I guess it just wasn?t our night for fast food.

The site has gone through another tiny redesign, and Archon has informed me that the Stasistech main page should be good to go by Friday. I?m sure you?re all looking forward to seeing the completed product.

As far as things around here are concerned, I should have the links section up and running Friday morning. I decided against images, and instead will focus solely on text. I haven?t had the time to work on any reviews lately, but as soon as the SlimX and Scarlet?s Walk reviews are finished I?ll post them. The SlimX review might be on the main Stasistech page, but we?ll see how that works out. The articles section will be a kind of potpourri bin where I put things that don?t have a home elsewhere. Like my pet raccoon, Bernard, and Jimmy the Smelly Sock.

Yeah, I know: it?s late.

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First off, apologies for not updating recently. I said earlier that I was sick, and this week has been staggering in the amount of work I’ve had to do. Yessiree, it’s that time of the year: research projects are getting completed, book reviews are being finished, and finals are just around the corner. Well, to start off this post, I’ll relate the story of my Saturday. I attended a symposium entitled “The Native American Experience.” It was held at my school, WNMU. Basically, it was a day of events aimed at introducing various aspects of Native American culture to the public.

Why was I there, you ask? Well, I was writing an article for The Mustang, the student newspaper here on campus. Yes, I have a new gig, “semi-regular writer.” It seems as though their online issues aren’t current-current, so unless you can get a hard copy you might not be able to read a story of mine for quite some time. Oh well.

Regardless, the symposium was wonderful. I could write an entire post on the discussion of Native American spirituality, but I’ll only remark that the speaker had an incredibly sound outlook on life. To quote him, “You cannot acquire what you want to obtain through ego.”

There was also a group of singers and dancers that performed, and I can only say that the entire performance was beautiful. The dancers were all young girls, the youngest being at most 9 or 10 years old. They showed remarkable skill and coordination, and I thought that was commendable. I’ll try and dig up some links if I can.

After the symposium, I decided to head out to Little Walnut and hike my favorite hike, Gomez Peak. Seven minutes into the trail, I saw a young woman approaching with a dog walking un-tethered at her side. She paused to place the leash back around its neck, and continued on towards me. I remarked on the day’s beauty, she smiled and agreed, and suddenly the dog reached across her body and bit me on the leg!

Now, it didn’t hurt too bad, I simply walked it off and then finished the hike (incidentally, I cut 13 minutes off my previous best time getting to the summit). However, she didn’t stop to see if I was OK, nor did she apologize. She scolded her dog, turned away, and continued on down the trail.

This truly surprised me, since I was accustomed to the friendliness of hikers I had encountered elsewhere in the Silver City area. Perhaps she was embarrassed, or perhaps she noticed that I didn’t react to the bite and felt I was OK. Either way, I still am shocked that she didn’t offer an apology. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by all the other wonderful people hiking the trails I love.

Well, I’m not sure if it was the dog bite or not, but I’ve felt sick ever since. I’m feeling better today, and think that by tomorrow I should be back up to snuff. Time to run; have to be up early tomorrow for class. Posts might not come daily for a few weeks, until school is out. Please understand. Or course, I still welcome comments and feedback. A link to e-mail me is at the top of the page. Take care.

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I’m sitting here working on a review of my iRiver iMP350, and listening to Scarlet’s Walk again. I’m truly amazed by this album. I listened to it during another hike today, and when I got back in my truck to drive home I felt cheated, since I wasn’t still listening to Scarlet’s Walk. Suddenly No Doubt didn’t seem good enough. Some of you might think No Doubt is ever good enough, but that’s another topic.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s showing of Bill Maher’s Real Time. One of his guests will be Arriana Huffington, one of my favorite political speakers. She has a new book out that I want to pick up, and her weekly newsletter is always an interesting read. She managed to put Dennis Miller in his place the last time she appeared on the show, which IMHO is no small feat.

After Real Time is Da Ali G show, which is some of the funniest TV I’ve seen in quite some time. Combined, these two shows provide an hour and a half of quality viewing. Though Bill Maher usually puts a leftist view on things, he also has a good spectrum of guests which balances the discussion. Da Ali G show never takes itself seriously, and this is never more apparent than during the host’s interviews with people like James Baker, Newt Gingrich, or former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

I’m currently reading the fourth book from my History of Early Modern Europe class. They are as follows:
The House of the Medici: Its Rise and Fall
The Trial of Mary, Queen of Scots
Richelieu: Profiles in Power
The Burgermeister’s Daughter

The selection is wonderful. My professor did an excellent job of choosing titles that are relevant to the course, are interesting, and easy to read. If you’re interested in seeing the roles of the Renaissance in Northern Italy check out the Medici. If you want to read about the beginnings of Absolutism in France, then Richelieu is your man. For an interesting look on legal issues at court in the 16th century, check out Anna Buschler, the Burgermeister’s daughter.

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I went for a hike today. Nothing that would normally be seen as out of the ordinary, except this time I went alone. Usually, I try and head out to the trail with my grandma or with Archon. But, I was tired of reading and studying, and decided I wanted to get outside and think about a few things. I also decided not to ride my mountain bike. When I ride, my mind is too engaged in staying unhurt and on the trail that it isn’t exactly relaxing. So, I filled up my Camelback, grabbed my walking stick and headed for Little Walnut. I also decided to take some music along, in the form of my iRiver SlimX.

I started out on the trail, and got going at a pretty good pace. I was hiking up to Gomez Peak, a fairly strenuous climb that basically entails a series of switchbacks up the side of the mountain. My pace may have been influenced by The Chemical Bros., and after I started huffing and puffing I switched over to Tori Amos’ Scarlet’s Walk, a CD I had not listened to twice since picking it up 6 months ago. The music was more suitable to the occasion, and I continued my stroll at a more doable pace.

Halfway up the trail, I found my way blocked by several piles of brush and stones. I knew that there had been some recent trail work going on, but it seemed that what was being done was more extensive than I had imagined. I decided to make my way up the brush and found a new trail moving perpendicular to the old trail. For the rest of the hike I used this new trail, and it turned out to be a very nice stretch.

The amount of trail maintenance that had occurred got me to thinking about a situation prominent in a lot of wilderness areas in America. There’s something of a struggle over land usage going on. Nowhere is this more evident than in Marin County, CA. The area where mountain biking was born has some of the strictest regulation for cycling in the nation.

I remembered an article in the March 03 issue of Bike Magazine. It seems that there is a proposal to create more trails open to mountain biking in the county next year. The trails would basically be a conversion of two fire roads into trails on Mt. Tamalpais. To sum up the cyclists perspective the magazine states, “If the plan weathers the cries of outrage from equestrians and hikers (who are already up in arms, in spite of the fact that the proposal is one of the most environmentally conscientious and proactive acts to go into effect on the mountain thus far), construction of the new trails would begin next fall.”

It seems amazing how the different groups in America will fight or bicker about anything. People simply trying to spend time outdoors, and get some exercise, arguing about who has the right to use the trails. Instead of uniting in an attempt to protect the forests from logging and other development, they focus their energies on meaningless power struggles. And every group is as liable as the next.

So, I’m working with a few people in town about getting a mountain biking club going on in town, and I’ll see what I can do to promote a little understanding with others trying to use the trails. Fortunately, in most of the wilderness areas around Silver City, the trails are open to most everything.

Incidentally, “Scarlet’s Walk” is really good. This was my first real exposure to Tori Amos, and I must say I’m impressed. She’s no Fiona Apple, mind you, but that’s comparing Apples to oranges, so to speak. Yes, I know, I’m so funny with my puns. I’ll try and get a review of the CD up ASAP, just for shits and giggles. Next time I go to Gomez Peak, by the way, I’ll take Archon’s camera (unless he won’t lend it to me, in which case I’ll just take him). Maybe we can get a shot or two of Silver City up for your viewing pleasure.

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Well, as Archon pointed out over on the main page, it’s a new month. He said something about the year going by very quickly, and I must agree with him. It does seem like the year is progressing at a steady, fast pace. I tried to put my finger on it, and it took me a while before I could really determine why. My first thought was the situation in Iraq. But upon further reflection, I figured that the news was too monotonous in the first 2 months of the year. Now that I think about it, the news only made the time drag.

My next thought was of school. In my situation, I think that’s a cause, for two reasons. The first being my sister’s upcoming graduation from Northwestern University. Now, she started a couple of years after me, and although I took a few years off, I’m still feeling a little, ahem, jealous, of her…

Heh heh. At the same time, I feel immensely proud of her accomplishments. It does seem, however, that the time of her graduation is approaching rapidly. She only has one quarter left. I almost think I feel the stress of her graduation as well. Stress of the job market, stress about what she’s going to do, stress about her final term with a bunch of friends she probably won’t see ever again.

Coupled with that is the second reason I feel school is affecting the pace of the year: my own studies. It’s been awhile since I played this gig, with the classes and the learning and the reading and writing. While I feel I’m doing well in my academic endeavors, I had forgotten how precious a commodity time is when you’re a college student, or a student at any level, for that matter. I feel at times overwhelmed by the coursework, my desire to get outside and ride in the mountains, and my desire to spend time with my family and friends.

Regardless of the causes, one thing is readily apparent: 1/4 of 2003 is already over. Finished. Done for. April is upon us. For me, that means finishing 3 research projects and studying for finals. For my mother, it means Cherry Blossoms in D.C. For my father, it means testing and the promise of a day off for Easter. For my sister, well, the beginning of the end of her college career as a bachelor student.

For everybody out there reading this (all two of you) I hope that the portion of this year that’s already passed into history was fulfilling in some small way at least. I also hope that the rest of your year holds the promise of further fulfillment.

As a final note, I promise to stop stealing Archon’s ideas for rants. I’ll start doing my own stuff soon. I’ll try and post regularly, when time allows, so if you’re interested in what’s going on with me, check back often. Also, some of these won’t be rants, they’ll be raves. What a rave is, exactly, well, you’ll just have to come back and see.