Three Thing Friday

1. Black Friday – Well, here we are with another Black Friday sales day that I did not partake of. That’s right, I missed out on all of the sales through total lack of trying. That is not to say that I didn’t go to any stores today. I went to the local game store, PetSmart, and BJs. I got my normal Friday off shopping done and managed to avoid all of the crazies out there.

It’s not that I do not appreciate the sales, it’s that I would rather not interact with people. Especially people who have been up since pre-dawn, are cranky, and are willing to fight for that sale.

Screw that, I’ll stay home.

2. Star Wars – So, two movie trailers released this week are of great interest to me. And no, not one of them was the next Godzilla film; these were Jurassic World and Star Wars. While Jurassic Park.. I mean Jurassic World is probably a movie I will see in the theater, Star Wars is I film I am actually excited about. You have a new production company, a new writer, and a new Director, and that director did a very good job with Star Trek. I can only hope that he does just as well with Episode Seven. Oh, and make sure you see the international trailer; it is different from the “national” version.

3. Rt. 70 – Yesterday I made the long drive to go visit my parents for turkey day (another day of eating eggplant parm for me). I haven’t been to the town I grew up in since Easter, and so much has changed, and not all for the better. First, my parents finally have a new home to live in. Just under two years since Hurricane Sandy, they finally got a new home to live in. And it is a nice house. It seems smaller than the old one, but the space is better utilized.

However, to get to the house, right now you have to drive a maze of roads. Their street is completely tore up and filled with potholes bigger than the MINI. There are also large sand traps that could easily catch a small car.

One of my favorite places to eat, Stewart’s, is not a 7-Eleven. Central Ave, which used to be a 6 lane “highway” (or 4 lanes depending on where you are) is currently two lanes, which takes some getting used to. The J Street light is just gone.

It was a lot of changes that I have to get used to.

Three Thing Friday

1. Catching up – I have been covering for one of my co-workers for the last three weeks. I have no issues covering for a co-worker, especially since he was the one who covered my work when I was away for my swimming with sharks. But I was gone for just over a week, he was gone for just over three.

Three long weeks dealing with people for the first time. Three long weeks of doing my job as well as his. Three long weeks during what seems like the busiest time of the year.

Yes, I took off during the start of the new fiscal year, but he took off when all of the money started coming in. But he is back now. Now I can start to catch back up on all of my work. And I am thinking of taking two weeks off just to get him back.

2. Cold Snap – So, apparently all of America is currently experiencing a cold snap of epic proportions. It is the end of times. Sadly, this cold snap has killed a few people, most of them due to the snowfall in the more northern parts of the continent. But I, being as weird as I am, thoroughly enjoy this cold weather. Sure, freezing weather in November seems a little odd, but only because we have 9 of the 10 warmest summers in the last ten years.

Of course, people are already saying, “See, global warming is a myth”, but that is not even the official line of the Republican Party. At least their official line is “Global warming is really, but it is not due to humanity.” Ok, not all republicans are sticking to the official line, but at least some of them are.

3. Not Actually Part of the Military – Another unarmed civilian was killed by a police officer, this time in New York. While I admit that I do not know all of the facts behind this killing, it does seem to be happening more and more frequently. Maybe it is just being reported more and more frequently. Or maybe we are not giving police officers the correct training. Maybe we are arming people who should never be given armed weapons.

Maybe these shootings were justifiable. Maybe they were in self-defense.

However, with everything that is going down lately, even I have a hard time thinking that there is a problem with a lot of police forces these days. You have cops running armed drills in Flordia. You have riots in Ferguson. You have undercover cops who let people be assaulted and nearly killed just to stay under cover (ok, I may partially understand that… a little bit).

Maybe it would help if the cops didn’t think they were in the marines.

Three Thing Friday

1. Reminders that I am getting old – It’s bad enough that I wake up with aches and pains, watch TV shows that have been on the air for more than half of my life (Simpsons), and reminisce about the good old days, but yesterday the ride home from work really hit it home. I am getting old. I was listening to “Amazing” by Aerosmith when it hit me, that song was released when I was still in High School, over twenty years ago.

I remember thinking that the members of Aerosmith were old back then. They were, after all, in their forties, and they are now in their sixties!

But as I find myself knocking on “my forties” I realize that either they were not that old way back then, or I am that damn old now.

I also realize that “Amazing” is still a damn good song.

2. Going to the movies – I rarely go see a movie in the theater anymore. Very rarely. It’s just a little rule of mine. Plus, most of the time it just does not seem worth the money to see a film in the theater when I can wait a few months, buy the movie, and watch the movie on my 60-inch TV in the comfort of my own home with no one else around.

I will make exceptions to this rule of mine. There are certain films I will go to see in the theater. Godzilla, because, well it is Godzilla. Fast and the Furious, because of an agreement I made with a friend. The Bond films, because it is James Bond and has become a ritual. Other than those few, I usually skip the theater and wait for the Blu-ray.

However, this week I went and saw the film “Interstellar” because it was a movie that a friend wanted to go and see. And the movie was amazing. I would recommend seeing this film in the theater if only for the amazing views you get on the big screen. And the movie itself is a great movie. They tried to make it as realistic as possible, so when the rocket engines fire in space, there is no sound. The story line was good. The acting was good. The special effects were good. It was a good solid film.

While this film may not be for everyone, I do think it is a film that is worth watching. It caused all of my friend to discuss time paradoxes for a good portion of the next day. How many films do that?

3. A shot in the dark – As everyone should know by now, the European Space agency landed a small probe onto a comet this week. Think about that, a man-made object made a soft(ish) landing on an object that is hurdling through space. It was a trip of 3.75 billion miles that took 10 years. But those 10 years doesn’t even cover the full extent of this mission. This flight was approved in the 1990’s, so with design, construction, and planning, on top of the flight, this mission is 20+ years old.

So sure, not everything went according to plan. The probes harpoons meant to secure it to the surface didn’t fire. The battery on the probe is losing its charge faster than expected. The probe may have even bounced on landing three times.

But we, humanity, have landed an object on a comet. That gives us a 100% success rate. Our attempts to land on Mars have only about a 50% success rate. I’ll grant that landing on a planet is a little harder than landing on a comet that has no atmosphere and low gravity.

So, while I get lost trying to get to the airport even with a GPS, some people much smarter than I am landed a probe on a comet after a 10 year trip. Wow.

Three Things Friday

1. Not Blogging – I have to say, taking a week off of blogging was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I spent the last week posting one or two blogs on the gaming site, and just considering what I would blog on this site. We passed Election Day, another weekend, a long week at work, the Bengals forgetting that they play in the NFL. There was a lot of complaining that I passed up on. I am still not picking up the ball and running with it, but another Three Thing Friday should be an easy blog to post before I drop off the blogging world again.

Of course, I still read blogs. I haven’t actually fallen off the edge of the Earth; I am having a hard time finding it. Plus that stupid gravity seems to want me to remain where I am. It must be some sort of magic, it can’t possibly be science…

2. Forced Voting – Since we have passed Election Day, I thought I would make a short comment. Australia fines people for not going out to vote. That’s right, if you do not use your right to vote, you get fined. At first, I was against that idea being moved over here to the states. But the more I thought about it, the more my thoughts about this have changed.

I was originally against it because it bothers me when uninformed voters vote. I am not saying I have issues with people who disagree with me. I mean I do, but in different ways. I have issues with people who vote, but do it in an uninformed way. But apparently there will be some good side effects to forced voting. Apparently in Australia, the average voter actually cares about whom they have to vote for. They actually try to become informed voters. Second, they have approximately a 90% turnout for their elections. That is far ahead of the 40% to 50% we get here in the greatest democratic nation in the world.

Finally, apparently the politicians actually care about the swing voters in Australia. It seems, from some articles I have read (though I cannot vouch for their accuracy), that the politicians actually work for the swing votes rather than the corporate vote. I am sure they work for that as well, but when you have 90% of the population voting, you want those swing votes.

Maybe in this country a fine wouldn’t work. But there are other options; we could give a tax break to those who votes. The republicans would love that; it is a tax break after all. However, the republicans (and the democrats) don’t actually want the swing voters to vote. That may actually swing the votes and show them what the people really want. We cannot have that.

3. Not that big of a deal – This week I caught a YouTube video of a baby seal in Guadeloupe. Having been diving there a couple of times myself, the video did bring back some great memories. But the big deal was that this seal entered a cage to avoid being eaten by a large shark. Except, I am not sure that the seal was ever in any real danger. The waters are so clear there that the big sharks cannot sneak up on the seals. Yes, this shark was close, but it was going after a tuna head more than a baby seal.

I did enjoy the video. And yes, the seal may have been in some minor danger, but it didn’t really seem that the shark was all that threatening.

Of course, since I want to swim out and hug a great white, maybe I am not the best judge of what is or is not a threat.