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There seems to be some confusion about the posts that are marked as (repost). I laughed last night, and it’s not the first time someone has gotten all confused.
“I read that one already.”
Umm… no.. no you did not.
The posts that are marked as (repost) are some of the “lost posts” that were part of WhatAboutStephen.com before May 21, 2009. This blog looked entirely different back then. It ran on Blogger for starters. Now it runs on WordPress. It did not include pictures or movies or links.. or anything… it was pretty much strictly just me babbling in txt form.
Something happened on that day to make me take the blog down, and I didn’t think to save any of my work. At the time, I didn’t think that I’d even blog again, so I wasn’t thinking about saving any of the old stuff. After a month or so I started the blog again, but those older posts were gone… forever… or so I thought.
There are still plenty of posts that are missing, but I’ve found a few old pages. And of THOSE, I’ve decided to post some of the ones that I liked for whatever reason. Very few people reading this blog now would have seen those old ones, and even if they did… well there still might be some value in there somewhere.
So it’s not me just grabbing older posts and posting them at the front of the queue. My numbers do not reflect these posts, because they are not hosted here.
Clear as mud?
Thanks for reading! 🙂
I like to go back and look at the last 100 days of my life periodically, and judge whether I’m moving in the right direction or not. It’s a useful exercise for me, as it keeps me grounded (somewhat). The best way of doing that is by checking back in my journal. It’s been an interesting time. And a very cold one. I’m getting tired of seeing the snow. I know that it comes with the climate. I don’t have to worry about earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, or giant mutant radioactive flying slugs… my curse is snow. It’s a perfect sight for Christmas. The other 4-5 months of the year it’s just a big pain in the ass, and I find it so discouraging to wake up in the middle of April and see that it’s snowed yet again through the night. “Oh, it won’t stay on the ground long” is what most people say. I don’t care. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want to know that it’s there. I just want it to go away. So that’s been a huge part of the last 100 days (and longer!).
Then there’s school. 100 days ago I was trying to convince myself whether or not I should take the plunge and do all three remaining business courses to complete my degree. Well… here I am… only two days away from starting my first of three exams. In another 10 days I’ll be done. Next month I will officially have that elusive degree. Scratch that off my list.
What else? The relationship turmoil seems to have lessened, as far as most people are concerned. It’s far from being neat and tidy, but one day at a time, right?
Work is still somewhat of an enigma… I can never quite tell what’s going on there with any certainty. All I know for sure is that change is coming. Is that a good thing? Ask me in another 100 days.
And surely.. with any luck at all… perhaps at least a few of those days might be warm, sunny, and carefree…
I think I deserve it.
And so do you.
UPDATE Oct 18: I’ve been told that this fix no longer works. Facebook has apparently changed things again. Need I mention how much I dislike Facebook again?
Still using Facebook to stay in contact with all your friends? Sorry to hear that. There’s a better option out there (Google+) but I’ll save that lesson for another day. Since you are still using Facebook, you’ve probably encountered their latest enhancement… the social ticker. This lovely gem sits on the side of your Facebook experience and continuously scrolls random updates, while you try to concentrate on whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. Facebook could have been kind enough to offer a simple way of disabling this annoyance. They did not. Thankfully there are some very intelligent (and very vocal) people out there who dislike having their familiar Facebook layout tinkered with. You can argue whether or not Facebook users have any rights until you’re blue in the face. It’s a free service, and at the end of the day, Facebook will do what Facebook wants to do. At that point, you have three options.
The title is from a song that I can’t get out of my head for some reason. I’m not sure why a song from a 17 year old country music star, singing about the pains of teenage love is bouncing around in my head so much, but I’m sure that there’s a good reason for it. For those who haven’t figured it out, the song is Lovestory, by Taylor Swift. I recently saw her performing this song on some awards show, and it was very well done. They even managed to create some wardrobe magic where she was suddenly wearing a white dress at the end of the song, which is pretty much what it’s all about. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the white dress is for.
I think that I’ve written the final chapter in the whole “love triangle” saga. Wednesday was a very difficult day, but one that had to happen sooner or later. I work on the same floor that She does, and although we don’t directly work together, there is a small overlap in what we do. I might not talk to Her directly most days, but I usually have some dealings with Her group.
We had actually talked a couple of times this week. I think that there was a rekindling of Her emotions, which of course did the same for mine. It doesn’t take much. There was obviously a strong bond between us, but it was doomed from the beginning. Apparently I’m a good writer… I can evoke emotions through the written word. That’s great, but in the end, it’s not enough.
For a long time now, I’ve been asking Her point blank… a simple yes or no question. She’s avoided responding to it, and by doing so, shouted her answer loud and clear. On Wednesday I was finally able to read in Her own words what I already knew. There would be no “us”. Had we met under different circumstances, maybe. But not now. No.
Although it was not unexpected in the least, it was still difficult to acknowledge. I ended up leaving the office for my lunch break, and wandered down to drown my self-pity in junk food, while listening to my iPod. It was hard to read. It hurt. There’s no denying that. But I know that it was the best thing. For months, we’ve been riding the emotional rollercoaster, and that’s not healthy. For either of us. It was best to have a clear definition of my role. There would be none. Friendship is out of the question. The fact that my workplace involvement with Her is sporadic at best, is probably a good thing. It puts a safe distance between us, so we can concentrate on other things. I don’t know if She continues to read this blog, but if She does… I understand. Truly. I do.
So now that THAT’s over, what next? My psychologist thinks I should concentrate on my studies. “It’s a skill..” was something she said to me recently. I could certainly do that. I’m in my last 3 courses, and if all goes well, I will graduate in May…. let the crowds rejoice! There will be music.. there will be drinking.. there will be merrymaking across the land. Perhaps a national holiday is required to commemorate this joyous occasion. Sadly, I think that I will just sit around and wait for my degree to arrive in the mail, so I can laminate it and use it as a place-mat while I’m eating.
There is one other not-so-insignificant piece of the puzzle that will now reveal itself. I recently met someone at school. (I can imagine the eyes rolling.. doesn’t he ever learn?) She’s great, but the timing was not. You can certainly argue that I was not ready to meet someone new until I had sorted through all my baggage of the last few months. I honestly thought that I had, but I was wrong. She reads this blog, so she is well aware of the issues surrounding my life. We’ve never really discussed it, other than eluding to “past relationships”, which I guess weren’t so much in the past as I had thought.
I’ve had this conversation with the psychologist on more than one occasion. The fear of being alone. Ironic, considering I love to push people away.. at this very moment, my cellphone has been turned off since yesterday… my home phone is off the hook.. I’m not reading any new emails from anyone… I don’t live close to family or friends, so there’s no fear of someone stopping by to check on me.. I’ve cut myself off from the outside world.
(Listening to one of the most under-rated gut wrenching songs… Brothers in Arms, by Dire Straits… “Let me bid you farewell, every man has to die” That line slaps me in the face every time I hear it…)
What was I saying? Oh, the fear of being alone. The fear of waking up some morning and realizing that I’m an old man, whose time has passed him by. The house is empty, except for a cat. There’s no warmth or joy within those walls. Just emptiness. So to counter that, do I have unrealistic expectations of my relationships? Probably. Do I cling to the last shred of hope, even when everyone else sees how futile it is? Absolutely. Does it cause the emotional rollercoaster that I seem to enjoy riding so much? Without a doubt.
So that brings me back to the this new budding relationship. After yesterday, I don’t know if it’s still budding or not. It might have very well ended before it even got off the ground. I just don’t know, and because my phones are all turned off, I won’t know until I turn them back on. Before yesterday, we were able to do some things that I had been waiting a very long time to do. We went out for supper a couple of times, I cooked a really nice dinner, we watched some great shows and shared some fantastic conversations. But as positive as all that sounds, I was not really able to give her 100% because I was thinking of someone else. Not all the time. But enough of the time to make me feel guilty and confused because I didn’t think that I SHOULD be feeling guilty.
I think that I’m going to give up on writing about relationships for awhile. It gets so confusing, and I don’t imagine that the reader really cares at this point, since it looks like I just jump from one heartbreak to another without any real thought.
And maybe you’re right.
I like the XMen franchise, but I was quite leery about this particular movie. I guess that I wasn’t really interested in seeing the mutants as youngsters. There’s just something about using different actors for familiar characters that doesn’t always work for me.
Not this time! I was pleasantly surprised by almost everything in this movie. (The one exception was the guy who could fly by bouncing sound frequencies off surfaces… I really thought that entire plot line was just lame… then again, Jennifer Lawrence as a young Mystique… well.. I can overlook Banshee boy… )
But as good as Mystique looked… this has to be my favourite part of the entire movie… there is a series of quick clips where Eric and Xavier introduce themselves to other mutants to recruit them to their cause… and then there’s this:
SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON WATCHING THE MOVIE “KNOWING”, DON’T READ THIS BLOG POST!
My friend and I went to a movie on Tuesday night. I know… I’m still in shock too. Not that I have friends, but that we actually went out to a movie. With all the latest technology at our finger tips, it’s amazing that anyone goes to a movie theatre anymore. I was broke, so he offered to pay. That pretty much sealed the deal at that point. He wanted to see the new Nicholas Cage movie, Knowing. Sounded OK to me. I remember seeing an ad on TV for it. I thought that I had a pretty good grasp of the plot. Good ole Nick somehow has the ability to forecast disasters, and spends the next 2 hours trying to figure out a way to prevent them from happening. Simple enough.
Our adventure started with purchasing the tickets and concessions through the advanced machine at the door.
“What do you want to eat?” my friend asked me.
“It’s up to you. You’re paying. But I haven’t eaten today, so no pressure…” Oh yeah.. I was gonna milk this for all it was worth. Which turned out to be about $20 each. Remind me again why people still flock to movie theatres?
Then we stood in what might have been considered some form of line, to receive our popcorn. It was more of a blob of people. And even though the ratio of people standing behind the counter was almost 1:1 with the people standing on my side of the counter, Empire Theatres excels at providing some of the worst customer service ever. I have never seen such a slow, lethargic gathering of workers. I think that it’s probably because Empire Theatres does not employ adults. Anywhere. I’m sure that their board of directors is run by 15-17 year olds. It’s pretty sad when McDonalds has a better work ethic behind the counter than this place. And it’s always like that. It’s just a bunch of teenagers running their own show, and it’s frustrating as hell. Look around sometime. I dare you to find someone wearing any sort of company insignia over the age of 20.
So we waited, somewhat impatiently, to make our selection. Popcorn. Coke. Oh… our choice of these 4 chocolate bars? But what if I don’t want a Kit Katt bar? Why can’t I get one of these? No? Only from this selection? But these are the same price in the stores. Fine. I’ll take a Kit Katt. Go back to your skate park.
Then we sauntered off to find our theatre. Hannah Montana Movie? Man-Date (ironic, all things considered)? Ahh.. there we are… Knowing!
We were the second “couple” to sit down. I’m sure that the other couple was disappointed that they weren’t going to have the theatre to themselves. I joked that we should go and sit directly in front of them. That’ll piss them off. I know, because it’s happened to me. Who decides to sit directly beside someone they don’t know when there are plenty of other free seats available? Apparently the guy who ruined my last movie experience. But that’s another story.
We discovered something interesting while waiting for the previews to start. Apparently the pre-previews play from a DVD player! When there was a pause in those stupid “Did you know…?” and “Quick Facts” the DVD screensaver kicked in. We watched a ball bounce randomly around the screen for 10 mins. It was somewhat pathetic.
Then the movie started? Hahah… no.. then the commercials started. Zoom! Zoom! Mazda3. Professional Driver. Closed Course. Do Not Attempt This at Home. Like driving through the countryside is that much of a big deal. THEN the previews started. Saw the one for the new Star Trek movie. Looks good. I’m not completely sold yet on the new Kirk, but the guy who plays Spock LOOKS like Spock. I’m crossing my fingers.
And then the movie started… (18 mins of commercials and previews, according to my friend)
I won’t go into the whole thing. Needless to say.. it was not quite the movie that I thought it was going to be. There were parts in it that were a little too spooky for me. Aliens talking to kids in the middle of the night. A few jumpy parts. And then there were the disasters. The people who did this movie put a lot of thought into the disasters. Maybe too much thought. The first was a plane crash. Good ole Nick is standing on a road when suddenly a large passenger plane comes out of nowhere (there’s a bad storm) and crashes in a field close to him. I turned to my friend said “That was neat! I’d like to see that again!” It looked very real. Unfortunately the scene carried on with people burning to death in jet fuel. And THAT looked a little too real. I was quite uncomfortable with how real it looked and sounded. Not a pleasant scene.
That was the first of 3 disasters that Nick’s character would try to prevent. We knew that he couldn’t stop them all. That would make for a boring movie. Then onto the next one. It was a subway crash. I didn’t think that the crash component was as well done as the plane, but it was still effective. People got ground to mush under the wreckage but at least it was quick and painless this time.
The final disaster was actually the end of the world. Throughout the movie people had been complaining that the weather was quite hot. Well, it appears that a large super solar flare was coming from the sun (where else would a solar flare come from?) and would hit the earth and probably wipe everyone from the planet’s surface. Even moving underground would prove ineffective, as the radiation would penetrate the surface and you’d fry there too. Great. Well, that’s ok.. Nicholas Cage is on the case. We’re going to be saved, right? Hell no! The movie ends with him reuniting with his father who he had not talked to since his wife died… and the solar flare hitting the earth and burning everything and everyone… great cities erupted into flames and then dust.. people vaporized… it was like formatting your hard drive.. all gone.
Thankfully, the reason the aliens had been talking to the children was that they were choosing a few to save, so that Earth could be repopulated when the time was right. That meant that Nick’s son was one of the chosen few. After the earth is wiped clean, the final scene of the movie is the little boy running through a field with his little girl friend toward what looks like a Tree of Life…
The movie ended. The lights came on. People began to filter out. My friend and I sat there and read through all the credits.
“Well, that was depressing”
I’m not letting him pick out movies any more. The last one we saw was Zach and Miri Make a Porno, which I picked (surprise surprise)… easily one of the greatest movies ever to grace the big screen. Should have been nominated for an Oscar.
OK, maybe not.. but at least we didn’t feel deep despair when we left the theatre!
Zynga recently unveiled the long-awaited coin store (complete with in-game customizations) as part of their Hanging With Friends game for IOS and Android systems. Using real money, you can now purchase coins which can be used for lifelines, or to customize your character or balloons. If you’re not interested in paying for coins you can still accumulate them the old fashioned way by playing the game, and building them up through the point value of each letter / word.
But be warned… if you’re considering saving up to get some spiffy new balloons, it’s gonna cost ya… Anywhere from 75 to 4000 coins to be exact. That’s ok, though. You can just dip into your real bank account and purchase a set of coins from the low price of $0.99 (70 coins) to the not-so-low price of $49.99 (5000 coins). Yup! $50 can get you a wicked set of virtual balloons to hover over molten lava with! If that seems like a great deal of real money, that’s because it is! But look on the bright side. They’re yours for life! Seems like a good deal now, doesn’t it? No, me neither.
I did upgrade my balloons from the default colourful to the rather drab looking grey (150 coins). Some people might consider that to be a downgrade, but I’ve always been rather partial to that colour scheme. (Just take a look at the current blog theme)
So imagine when you find a random opponent with some of the 4000 coin balloons! You know that you’re up against someone who is serious about their Hanging With Friends! Or they simply have a lot of spare change laying around the house, and nothing better to do with it.
Aside from the balloon upgrade, you can now choose a premium character starting at 500 coins. (Zynga also promises to release other goodies on a regular basis) I don’t have a problem with the balloons, but when it comes to the characters, I think that Zynga might not be going about this in a smart way. My issue is this:
Some of the “premium” characters are not exactly special or unique in any way, and charging 500 coins for them is ridiculous and wrong. I like to use the example of the blonde girl, but there are others there as well. She is the only blonde female character to choose, and if I was a woman with blonde hair, I would probably want to use her as my character. For some reason I would have to pay 500 coins ($9.99 if you don’t want to have to build up to 500 coins through the game, which would take forever) to get a character that resembles me. Why does the red head get her character for free? Or the brunette? It just doesn’t make sense.
Now when it comes to special characters, I’m all for paying for those. If I want to be a pirate, it’s gonna cost me some coin. And presumably Zynga will add more exciting character to choose from… maybe an astronaut, lion tamer, or blogger. The choices are endless! But there should be a distinction made between the ones that are free, and the premium characters. I hope that Zynga adds to the number of free characters. Hey, maybe even a bald guy… or a guy wearing a ballcap and a hoodie.
I actually like the way Microsoft XBox 360 allows you to customize your avatar right down to facial hair, footwear, and jewelry. Now THAT I would consider worthy of shelling out a few coins for.
So if you’re looking for a new addiction in your life, give Zynga’s Hanging With Friends a try. It’s a lot of fun, and you really don’t need to worry about any of these enhancements or buying coins. You can certainly play the game just fine without ever spending a penny of your hard-earned money. And the stability issues I mentioned in another post seem to have been resolved for the most part.
Look me up by my username “Dunnik“, and please… go easy on me! 🙂
[Updated 9 Apr 12] On a related note, I have noticed a real lack of resources and strategies for Hanging With Friends. Sure you can find an article here or there, but nothing comprehensive. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to change that! I am getting close to unveiling my ultimate Hanging With Friends membership site, and offering people the chance now to sign up for instant notification when this goes live. A few quick notes about the membership site:
I woke up this morning with a bit of a problem. I breathe through my mouth while I’m sleeping, and this morning my mouth and throat were as dry as a desert. I tried to swallow, and it was like rubbing sandpaper together. Not a pleasant experience. I had to get up and get a mouthful of water and ease it into my throat. Then I was off for my doctor’s appointment. Time for a blood pressure checkup.
When the doctor walked in and asked me how I was doing, I told her that my throat was bothering me. It felt like there was a large piece of skin or something in my throat, and it was difficult to swallow, and even to talk. So she looked in there with the large popsicle stick and a light.
I’m not sure how many years of medical school it took to learn those technical terms, but I laughed. And then she told me that I have a very large uvula. I, of course, took that as a compliment. “Why thank you”, I said…. knowing full well that it was the dangly thing in the back of my throat, but feigning ignorance. It’s always been larger than normal, I guess. Today, it’s even more impressive.
I typically head into the clinic once during the winter complaining of sore tonsils, and get the standard 10 days of penicillin. It works like a charm. Goes away in about 3 days, and then I spend another 7 days trying to remember to take the remaining pills. For some reason, I’m better at remembering those pills, than I am with my blood pressure pills. Getting back on topic, I remarked recently that I had not visited a clinic this winter. Well, the doctor looked at my uvula and tonsils and decided that she’d better write me a prescription for ole faithful 10 day dose.
Then she took my blood pressure. Hmm… not so good. People ask me what the numbers are. If I don’t write them down, I never remember them. But they weren’t good. She decided to double my daily intake, back to the original 10mg. She had cut it in half 2 years ago when I had dropped 40 pounds, but now that I’m regained all of that… well.. the numbers are back up, and the 5mg simply isn’t working. And she not-so-subtly reminded me that I need to start exercising again. And eat better. Supposedly there’s some sort of correlation between diet, exercise, high blood pressure and heart attack that I should be aware of. I told her that I would familiarize myself with the basics and see what I could do.
Oh, and she asked me if I snored. I laughed. Do I snore? Umm.. yeah… you could say that I do. I’m sure the neighbours would agree! She’s going to have someone from a sleep study contact me, because apparently my snoring, and potential sleep apnea, aren’t all that good either. Something about strain on the heart. And sure, I’m young enough (for now).. but.. I guess that this is one of those things that we don’t want to let go on forever.
So it’s off to the drug store now to pick up my new prescriptions wait for the sleep guys to call!
After a humiliating defeat yesterday, I decided to up the ante. If the fancy plastic re-usable traps featuring a “unique design virtually guaranteed to stop a mouse from getting the bait” wasn’t going to work, then I went with Plan B… good ole fashion wooden single use traps. I suppose that you could use them more than once, if you wanted to pry their broken bodies out, clean off the mouse guts, and set it again… but that seems like too much work to me. Besides, those traps are pretty inexpensive. Hardly worth being so stingy.
So this morning when I got up to use the bathroom, I glanced over to where I had set two traps… the plastic one that had proven useless the night prior, and a wooden one. Guess which one had snapped on a little grey bastard? Yup! The wooden one. To be fair, I don’t think that the mouse got anywhere near the plastic one. It still had the peanut butter bait. I can just imagine the thoughts going through his little rodent brain as he saw not one, but two offerings of peanut butter for him… Heaven! And that’s exactly where he is now. Good riddance.
I decided to check the lone wooden trap that I had placed in the summer kitchen. It’s technically not in the house, but once they get in there, it’s a simple matter of moving into the main area. I laughed when I saw that trap. The mouse was literally hanging in the air, with its little head trapped, and the rest of the body dangling off the shelf. It doesn’t look like he even made it to the shelf. Just climbed up, went to take a sniff.. and *SNAP* . End of days.
That’s right, my furry little rodent opponents… End of Days!
You know what it’s like. You’re doing something completely random and suddenly an idea pops into your head from nowhere, and you think “Aha!”. It all makes sense. You can see it clearly, and you know exactly what you have to do!
I just had one of those Aha! moments, when I least expected it.. in the bathtub. Don’t worry, I’ll keep this blog post clean… but that’s seriously where the proverbial light bulb popped on. Now comes the hard part… clinging to the initial energy and taking action. Too many times I have one of these moments, and am too slow to seize it. I go to sleep, and the next day it’s a fading memory. Not this time! This time I have a domain registered (no thanks to GoDaddy’s insane up selling attempts!) … I have notes! I have a plan!
Unfortunately it’s time for bed…
And we know what that means…