Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Free At Last

I have a secret to divulge... I don't much like rap. That isn't to say that the style as a whole offends me or that I "don't consider it music", but the genre typically just fails to enthuse me in any way. Granted, my exposure to rap has been mostly through the speakers of cars in which I am not riding, or as played by my college suite mate. Most of what I have heard has been either unintelligible or quite profane. I have found most of the rap interludes in popular culture to be typically inoffensive, but rap as a pure genre has never held appeal for me.

I'd like to say that my dislike of rap was based solely on its own merits, but there's a tiny little voice that still wondered if I just didn't like it because of how black it was. Since much of the music I listen to is performed by black artists (albeit from prior decades) I would have thought not, but a hint of the question remained.

Well, this week I got my answer to that question. Ladies and gentlemen, make rap as white as you want and I will still not like it. I present for you Nerdcore. I can now unabashedly say that a bunch of nerdy white guys rapping about video games or computers is just as uninteresting to me as any gansta diatribe.

I feel oddly liberated by Nerdcore. I am now free to not like rap as much as I want, and never feel the need to, say, make token attempts to appreciate it for its cultural significance like some condescending amateur anthropologist all pepped on on NPR. It's just music and I'm not particularly fond of that type of music.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Birthday, plus Nervous Peer Pressure

Yesterday my dear Sarah turned eight years old. We had a small party at the house in the late evening with a couple friends from the neighborhood, and will be celebrating again this Saturday at my parent's house with the cousins. I was really struck yesterday with the fact that she's turning the corner from small child to young lady. Yes, she still likes to play with baby dolls (she's always been a nurturer) but I can start to see what teenage Sarah is going to be like.

I call Sarah and Lily "my lovelies."

While driving to get the fruit tart that Sarah wanted as her cake, I noticed that gas stations couldn't decide if they wanted the price raised or not. I observed a differential of 36 cents, with some stations right next door to each other having a six or seven cent difference. I'd say that it was related to location, but the gas station nearest me, normally quite cheap, was one of the highest priced. It almost seemed as if there had been a little "price change panic" as one gas station raised their price significantly, then others reacted to it. The high/low price yesterday was $1.899 and $2.259 for regular unleaded. (What's the point of saying unleaded at this point? It's like pointing out that your grocery store milk is homogenized.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I haven't been posting a lot of pictures of my painting lately (for partial explanation, see post "The Critical Missing Piece" below.) I've been working on a large commission work for the past six weeks or so. The order is two complete Eldar army boxes, and I'm just now getting to the point where the end is in sight. I have all the infantry (sans one lone commander figure) assembled, and some of them are primed and basecoated. Tonight I finished assembling the two Vyper jetbikes, and that leaves only the two Falcon grav tanks to assemble. Yes, there will be a fair bit of painting after that, but the end is finally in sight.

In other painting news, the fellow who commissioned the two Cygnar jacks was very happy with the work, and will probably be sending me more painting after I finish my current backlog. I painted up Skorne warlock Makeda and gave her to Angelos (to sell or keep as he sees fit) as a thank you for sending so much commission work my way.

Speaking of which... the current backlog:
Skorne starter box
Skorne Titan Cannoneer
Skorne Praetorian unit (6)
about 50 dwarfs

...and that's it! I may be able to paint a few figures of my own soon!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Raise Your Lighter

I played Guitar Hero 2 at my brother's house for hours yesterday. It is, without a doubt, the most fun I have had playing a video game in at least a year.

The game has deceptively simple mechanics. On a guitar shaped controller are five colored button, each taking up a single fret. Where one would normally strum the guitar is a bar that can be moved with a roughly strum-like motion. The game is played by matching a series of colored notes (colors) coming down the screen, ensuring that the correctly colored key is pressed and that the bar is hit at the correct time.

Dave has had the game since Christmas, and is quite good at it on medium difficulty. I tried several songs, but then had to try the ultimate guitar anthem: Freebird. I got booed off the stage. Twice. I took quite a liking to "Heart Shaped Box" by Nirvana and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" by the Rolling Stones. At least the crowd let me finish those.

Stef's response to seeing me play: "I know what you're getting for your birthday."
(come on birthday!)

Grow Up

No commercial gets my hackles up like the Gerber "Grow Up" Plan. All the talk in the commercial is about protecting your baby's future, but all they are selling is a life insurance policy for your child. Do you know who my life insurance policy doesn't protect? Me, that's who.

Okay, pop quiz: Does the policy pay off if the child does or doesn't grow up?

If some universal rule had been discovered ("Murphy's Law"?) that made some event less likely the more you plan for it, then this policy would indeed be a way to increase the survivability of your child. As it is, it's pretty much just funeral insurance.

(In their defense, they have recently added a section to the commercial that explains that they are selling life insurance, but the focus of the commercial remains on protecting your child for the future.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

<$2 w00t!

Last night when I drove home from work gas was $1.999!!! This morning when I drove in, gas was $1.969! Wah hoo!

In the immediate wake of 9/11, some gas stations in Michigan jacked prices up in anticipation of a panic reaction. Some stations were as high as $5. In reaction, the Michigan Attorney General promised to prosecute gas stations that gouged consumers at that time. His definition of gouging was $2/gallon.

I'm oddly thrilled that we're down to what was considered a criminal price gouge only five years ago.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Critical Missing Piece

I'm almost done with the Wraithlord for an Eldar commission army. Last night I wanted to take a quick picture for the photobucket "work in progress" album, but discovered that the memory card from my digital camera was missing. Last I remember, I had it plugged into the front of Stef's computer to upload some pictures I have taken.

Stef's computer sits on the floor.
...where Jay can reach it.

Uh, oh.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Breakfast Showdown

Reese's Puffs cereal by General Mills
  • 13 servings per 14.25 oz box
  • 120 calories per serving
  • 3.5g fat per serving (1g saturated)
  • 180mg sodium
  • 22g carbs (1g fiber, 12g sugars)
  • 2g protein
  • 10-25% of vitamins A,C,D,B and a bunch of minerals
  • $4.29 at Meijer yesterday
Kroger brand Christmas Butter Cookies
  • 14 servings per 14 oz box
  • 120 calories per serving
  • 3g fat per serving (0.5g saturated)
  • 125mg sodium
  • 21g carbs (<1g fiber, 6g sugars)
  • 2g protein
  • no pretense of any nutritional value
  • $1 before Christmas. I think they're 50% off now.
I suppose if I was using a breakfast cereal as my primary source of vitamins and minerals, the Reese's Puffs come out the winner. I should buy Cookie Crisp for the next showdown. It will be fun to see how it fares against actual cookies.