Planning for my Blog and a New Post Series

Hey everyone,

So, while I’ve revived my reviews site (look forward to a review of “The Stanley Parable” sometime soonish) my main site has remained fallow for some time. There are quite a few reasons for this. A lot of my previous material was either gushing over nerdy news or ranting about politics and religious topics. That’s fine and all, but so many other people already do that, often better than I. The Young Turks is a great source for news and political opinion that often (though not always) reflects my own. There is a mountain of entertainment news and opinion sites.

So what can I offer? My personal life is either too personal, or not exactly brimming with entertainment value, and my reviews site is where I give my opinions on the various things I like. So what’s left?

Well… I will be trying a couple of things. Continue reading

The New Year – 2016

 

Blog Segment - Peeking Through The Window copyYou know, typically, I’m not big on the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing. It has always felt a little bit weird to me to have a specific time of the year to say “Things are going to be different, now!” when that’s generally the sort of thing that I would assume we should be ready to do, and be serious about, on any given day. If anything, having a national holiday (kinda) for it makes me realize all the more how bad I am at keeping “resolutions.” Despite this, I find myself here about to write down a little bit of a wrap up for last year, and a look ahead to this one, with a little of resolve for solutions thrown in the mix. So let’s get started.

Continue reading

A Restructuring? Oh Noes!

Ok, so I’m sure you’ve all more or less gotten used to how I normally put my blogs together in a sort of rambling haphazard sort of way. While that method can be fun sometimes, the amount of time it takes to write something like that is pretty substantial. The typical blog post takes upwards of two to three hours or so, for something that I’m not sure you all want to read. In other words, those of you who want my opinions on the next big blockbuster or video game news may be put off by my opinionated rants on politics, or my occasional discussion of religion gets in the way of you enjoying the latest wacky video I’ve posted a link to. So, to make things easier on myself, and to make it easy to skip the bits of my blog you don’t like, I’m introducing some structure to the blog, specifically in the form of “Segments”
These segments will still have the same writing style you’re already used to, along with whatever wacky pictures I can find for them, but they will each be set apart by theme, with a special header image to set them apart. Here they are:

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The “Entertain Me… nt” segment will be where I talk about any of my hobbies or interests in the realms of media, games, books, etc. It’s fairly self explanatory, and you will probably see this one most often outside of the next section…
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“The Voters Booth” is where I’ll post all my lovely political rants and raving. I’ve also got an idea to include a poll for most of these so that it’s easy for you all to give some form of feedback, even when you don’t have time to comment. Just as controversial in nature is my next segment…
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“To the Side of the Pulpit” is going to be my religious segment, and, as the name and image suggest, it will be full of my opinions that don’t necessarily match up with any specific religious authority, though as with most things there will be overlap. You probably won’t see this one as much, as religion has always seemed to me to be something of a very personal nature. Speaking of which…
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“Peeking through the Window” is going to be the segment where I talk about things happening in my life. You won’t see this one much, and I’ll be rather vague at times to protect the privacy of people I love, but you’ll also get some sense of who I am outside of my interests and opinions. The last segment that has a prepared image divider is…
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“But I Digress…” this segment will be my catch all. If there’s somethin weird or wacky that doesn’t specifically fall into all the other categories, it goes here. That crazy Japanese “Pon Pon Pon” video from last time? Here. NASCAR Prayer Auto Tuned? Here. Somebody built an island out of bottles and hubcaps? Right here. The nature and meditation of Gardening… well, if I ever wrote something like that (not likely) it would be here.
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There are two other segments you will also see in the future, including a segment specifically for writing, and a “Mad Science!!!” segment where I’ll talk about lasers, robots and space travel (Or the lack thereof – R.I.P. space program *tear*).

Along with these segments I’m instituting new rules on myself. No post will be longer than 1,500 (or so) words. There will be no more than 2 posts per week, and no less than one. If I write something above 250 words long, and I haven’t reached the 2 post cap for the week, I’ll post it. Etc.

The idea is, I want to make this blog easier for me to deal with throughout the week, and make it easier for you all to read in one sitting. i hope you like where I’m taking the blog.

For that matter, I hope I like Where I’m Taking the Blog! O.o

Have a great day!
– Edward L. Cheever II

The Debt Ceiling is Crushed by Lesbians Weilding Norwegian Dice

It's a Bumpy Road, Y'all


There are a lot of interesting and/or disturbing bits of news and entertainment that I want to cover today, so get ready for a bumpy ride. But first, I’ve been a busy little bee, getting out reviews that I should have written a while back. First, check out my review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2” – this may not be my last word on the Harry Potter films as I’m considering a moratorium of sorts for the whole series, but that is neither here nor there, and is likely a long ways off at best. Secondly, here is my review of “Captain America: The First Avenger” – those of you who know me at all might guess how this one goes.

So, let’s get this ride started *revs engines*

Appropriately enough, I thought I’d point out this wonderfully hilarious country-songification of that NASCAR prayer you probably heard about.

It’s just so ‘Murican don’t you agree?

Now NASCAR on a road like this? That might be fun to watch.


Staying in the same light-hearted vein, there is something magical about this couple who grow trees in guided shapes and patterns. I’ve always sort of had this dream that, one day in Heaven, I’d have an eternity to grow an entire garden into a sort of living castle of trees, or something similar. As such, this just makes me practically giddy. I want to do this. I want to know their secrets. I’ll keep you updated in this regard.

Is that not a badass Tree-chair?


Now we get a little more serious, though it is good stuff. You see, there was this couple who, when they saw the kids jumping into the lake to avoid being shot during the Norway tragedy, got in their boat and risked their lives to save these people, many of whom would likely have died without assistance. They are rightly called heroes, or in this case, heroines. Yes, they are a lesbian couple.

Now, to me this is no big surprise, and to many people I know this would merely be applaudable heroism, but as the article I linked to goes on to say, this is important to note because it flies in the face of many homophobic arguments that say these people are immoral degenerates or generally bad people. Now, I’m not saying you can’t disagree with their lifestyle choices because of this; that’s not what I’m saying at all. But some people go beyond mere disagreement to say that this means there is something “evil” about these people, and I find that patently wrong. That sort of perspective isn’t uncommon either, which is why I felt the need to emphasize it here.

Sticking with the Norway theme, it’s inspiring to me that their leaders can see how this act could lead to the same sort of rash and paranoid behavior that we Americans inflicted on ourselves after our own tragedy. Their Prime Minister recently called for cooler heads before making any rash decisions about changing the laws of their otherwise peaceful nation.

Doing otherwise would let this mad-man win his twisted little game. I feel this is a lesson we didn’t fully grasp. We lost that game, and in many ways we’re still losing. Go us? Maybe we should take Mr. Stoltenberg as an inspiration. That’s a period there, not a question mark.

Brief geeky squee note, I love dice, ja? You love dice too, double ja? Are not these the coolest dice??

That reminds me, I need to prepare the next D&D game for my party. Yeah we still be playing. Right now we’re actually painting some terrain miniatures and props that I’ve recently purchased. When we’re done you can look forward to seeing the images up on the site.

Let’s talk pirates real quick. No, not the “AAARRRR!!!” type, but the illegally downloading type. Now, I’m going to assume that you’ve not red any studies on the subject recently (or rather news article on the studies, like me) and ask you this question: “Who do you think spends more legitimate money on media entertainment: Pirates or non-pirates?

Not these pirates either.


Given the tone of my writing you’ve probably already guessed, but here’s one such study to further cement this: It’s the Pirates. You see, the theory goes that Pirates are lovers of media and entertainment. Given no legal method to test whether they like certain bands, movies, television shows, etc. they download the media first online to see if they like it. Then they purchase said media. The average jo-shmo likes media alright, but it’s just too much work to be a pirate to find what he wants, so he doesn’t know what he wants so he abstains from buying anything. This isn’t even taking into account media that can’t be readily purchased or obtained through ANY legal channels.

"Yar! We're only boarding yer ship ta see if we wants ta pay ya fer it."


Now, if you were a buisness, and you had some very loyal customers who poured loads of money into your wallets, but maybe they did things differently than you would like them to, even though they are your BEST customers, would you punish them?
Hint: It’s bad buisness to punish your best customers. They become former-customers, and then there goes all that money you thought you’d be saving.

Now, because we really can’t avoid it any longer, let’s talk about the debt ceiling one last time before the bill is put up to a vote – (and to cover my backside, if you’ve heard the results of the vote, but haven’t yet seen my commentary on it, keep an eye here for an update). -NEWS FLASH, WE HAVE AN UPDATE, SCROLL BELOW FOR MORE –

First, my take on the bill, which is to state, with a blank face, well, it’s a compromise, I guess. But really only in the sense that this one might – MIGHT- pass both the House and Senate, and not in the general idea that both parties gave as good as they got.

What we have is a Democratic party that has more or less capitulated to the Republicans. Republicans got a lot here, no raised revenues, more cuts than ceiling raising, a vote on the constitutional amendment (and let’s not kid ourselves, this is a bone tossed to the Tea Partiers than anybody with brains sees as a hollow gesture destined to die in the Senate), etc. What have the Democrats gotten in return? The promise that some of the cuts might -might, I tell you- come from defense spending and… nothing. Wow. Good job Dems. I mean, I can see that you had to do something. There is no such thing as a clear head amongst the Republican extremist wing (which is more like the entire body by now), and you forced yourself to be the saner ones and be political martyrs for the sake of the country. But still, this is just stupid.

These Tea Baggers just want to win at any cost while looking good to their political base.

Everybody does this. President Obama admitted it for himself, when it was pointed out that he at one time decried raising the debt ceiling.

Here, take a look at these poll numbers and tell me that Americans don’t want taxes on the rich. The fact that current tax breaks weren’t rolled back, at the very least, tells me that while we might get out of this with our credit rating in tact, the people have lost this round.

UPDATE: So the bill passed. Yay?

I mean, we didn’t default but otherwise isn’t this the worst case scenario for democrats and the American people? You know what, I’ll just let John Stewart sum this up for me.

If that doesn’t make you mad, take a look at this article about another recent bill the House passed that makes our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) spy on us and keep records of it. THIS is big brother folks.

The same people in the House decrying “big government” because we might want to tax people who have more money than they can possibly use, are the same people who passed a law forcing corporations (and in turn the government) to watch every click of the keyboard or mouse we make, and then keep that information for at least 12 months.

Yeah, Mr. CIA, I know you’re reading this right now. Did you read that sentence I just deleted a second ago? Yeah, that’s exactly what I think of you and what you’re doing.

Is it sad that I consider this next story a palette cleanser about how one Wal-Mart Security guards temper tantrum ruined the lives of two innocent people?

Yeah. That’s pretty sad. You know what, I’m not going to waste commentary on it. Tell me what you think of it, and anything else I’ve written here, in the comments.

Now for a real Pallette cleanser. Oh you nutty Japanese people! Is this not the craziest thing you’ve ever seen? Well… aside from the current behavior of a certain governmental body anyway…

Till next time, folks,

– Edward L. Cheever II

The Demise of the Summer Writing Challenge and the Return of D&D


So. I’ve pretty much completely dropped the ball on the summer writing challenge for the Rough Writers. I mean, sure, I’ve done some writing. I’ve done a lot of writing, when you count everything I do for the paper especially, but not only is it almost certainly not enough to really have pushed be toward the 45,000 word count goal (all the stories are short), but I haven’t been writing on what I’ve really wanted to work on, namely “Jaine” and this blog.

I take some solace in the fact that I now know the ending and plot progression for Jaine, but mostly I’m just mad at myself for not scrounging a little more time to dedicate to writing. There are lots of things I’ve meant to do. I’ve meant to write a blog about the educational bill here in texas. I’ve meant to write reviews for Kung Fu Panda 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 4, etc. I still plan to, though I’m a bit behind the curve on all counts. But making myself sit down and do it has been an issue lately.

I was told by a friend that working at a paper can suck your life away. What’s interesting is that it has, but not in the way I was expecting. It takes a lot of energy out of my creative and mental processes. The stress and responsibilities involved, while not anything like overwhelming, are enough that when I don’t have work or sleep, I have very little motivation or energy to do anything more strenuous than play video games.

That’s a bit disingenuous, I know. It’s an excuse. It’s something I could learn to cope with. But at the moment, it’s what’s been happening. I work, eat, sleep and play video games with friends.

That’s not to say I’m not shaking things up a bit, or that I don’t have any idea about how to turn this around. The biggest part is learning to budget my game playing time and my sleep time. I’ve made the commitment in the past to a hard bed time hour and it really helped. But, like most things of a scheduled nature, I fell off the bandwagon. But, if I could get back to forcing myself to be in bed by 1 a.m., not getting ready or taking a shower, but actually in bed, then I think my stress levels would ease off, and I would be able to get things done during the day. As it is, I’m barely functioning till about 5 p.m. every day. Being able to wake up and function would help with work, but it’d also help with my writing. when I’m not covering a story I could be jotting down my most recent review, or drafting some dialogue in Jaine.

Of course getting to sleep on time every night is a good start, but actually making myself write stuff is going to be something of a challenge too. As I’ve said, I already do a lot of writing for the paper, and even though I may be very much interested in the stories I would like to tell, the idea of sitting down and typing something out feels like a chore. It always has, but now that it’s associated with work it is doubly so. Why would I spend all day at work typing only to come home and do some more typing? At least that’s how the internal lazy-logic goes.

So Laaaaaaaaazzzzzyyyyy


What’ll be ironic is if I still somehow manage to complete the writing challenge despite this posts’ title.

Eh, but I’ve harped on this for too long, so on to the good news. That being that I’m already cutting back on video game time by getting myself involved in other stuff, namely the return of my D&D game.

Followers of my blog know that I had been running a D&D game with Katie and a couple of friends for a while, and when I mean a couple of friends I mean a “couple” of friends. and so when that “couple” became uncoupled, well it threw a wrench into the semi-weekly game sessions. This was something that we all regretted, as we loved our game, but what could we do, really? And certainly me and Katie weren’t going to try and force them to be around each other while things were bad. So the game went on hiatus for a while. And when I say a while I mean quite a few months. It feels like forever since we’ve last played.

But things are changing. I won’t pretend to know what’s going on between those two friends of mine, but regardless, they’ve managed to hang out together again amicably, and without it getting too weird. Are they getting back together? I have no clue. Are they simply accepting a “just friends” approach? *Shrug* Either way, they both requested that we begin the game up again, so that’s just what I’m doing. I’ve gone over my notes. I’ve gathered up my materials. I’ve built some encounters and drawn some maps, and this monday evening we jump back into the fray.

It has been too long. I can’t wait. ^_^

Time to break out the good ol' dice!


I think I’ve yammered on too long. I’ll leave all the possible blogs and reviews I’ve mentioned above till another time. I hope to start updating more regularly, even if the blog posts start getting really short (as if.) Until next time!

– Edward L. Cheever II

The Taliban Targets Trump’s Hair and Steven Hawking’s Pets Aren’t Going to Heaven

Prophet Cat Knows


I thought I’d get back to the norm with a little bit of a catch-all blog. Let’s start out with something that I found to be hilarious.

So apparently there is a company that you can pay to take care of your pets after you’ve been raptured to heaven. No, seriously. The idea is that if the rapture comes, this company will find you left-behind pets and give them good care.

"And he did shunneth the kittehs and doggehs from the pearly gates..."


I find the image of this to be hilarious, and I’d like to share exactly why. First of all, if the rapture takes place, won’t the world pretty much go to pot? do you really expect there to be enough of an infrastructure left for these people to adequately care for your beloved woofy? Secondly, there is a sort of conflict here. If these people are truly so kind as to want to care for your pets should anything happen to you, then they’re probably getting raptured too. On the other hand, if they’re not getting raptured, then he whole thing is probably corrupt and a con of some kind, so would you really want to leave your pet with them?
I can’t stop laughing.

And that little piece of happiness holds over to Donald Trump announcing he will not seek the GOP nod for Presidential contender.

His hair is still considering it though.

Halleluia! Not that he could have beaten Obama, of course. He’s got waaaay too many problems for that. But having him in the race at all makes me feel like it de-legitamizes the whole thing. As much as I don’t like the Republican philosophies of governance at the moment, I would like to see an intelligent, genuine and serious contender out of them. That party has been lacking a sense of identity (and brain-waves, for that matter,) for a long time.

This is, of course, reflected in the fact that the GOP has no obvious front-runner to go against Obama. For instance, Mike Huckabee, a religious favorite of the party, has also announced that he isn’t running.

Huckabee waves goodbye to the stress of the campaign trail and has a hard time keeping in the happy.

Who’s left? Romney? Bachman? Newt Gingrich? Please. Obama would eat them for lunch. I think that is the problem for them right there. Nobody wants to waste their personal funds on a race they can’t win, or at least feel like they can’t. Since I don’t like any of the potential candidates, this is a win for me, and hopefully for the direction of the country (not that Obama is the great hope we’ve all been wishing for), but this is a sad thing for the democratic process. Intelligent debate is the machinery of progress.

Moving on from there to less fun material, Steven Hawking recently gave his views on death and the afterlife. Of course he can believe whatever he wants to believe. That’s all well and good. It’s the way he derides other perspectives on death that I don’t like. I simply feel like there is no way to know for sure what happens, but we have all the reason in the world to hope and believe that there is something yet to come. In fact, despite hard evidence, I take the general (if modified) Christian afterlife idea to be true as an act of faith. So when someone as truly brilliant as Hawking derides my belief system, well it’s unfortunate, even if it doesn’t impact my personal beliefs at all. I simply don’t see how his faith in “spontaneous creation” is any more esoteric and weird than my belief in a thinking loving god. Why can’t both faiths coexist?

Meh. On to darker stuff.

I’m always amazed at the horrors mankind inflicts on itself. How could so many people forego using words and instead stoop to violence to make their points? I don’t know. It is unfathomable to me. But then I have a good life; I live in a 1st world country with a good job, freedoms not felt in other parts of the world, a circle of loving family and friends. It’s pretty easy for me to coexist with people that don’t agree with me because, hey, it’s their life, right?

Well, that’s not the case for some people, unfortunately, as seen by a recent bombing in Pakistan by the local Taliban in protest of the death of Osama bin Ladin. They killed 80 people, their own kindred even, with suicide bombs, and wounded around 120 others. These people only know violence.

That might sound hypocritical of me, being an American and all who felt a little thrill of patriotism when I heard of the death of bin Ladin.

What with our wanted posters and all...

It kinda is, no lying. But I’m not particularly proud of myself for taking pleasure in the death of my enemy (and if his behavior and philosophies were any indication, he was very much my enemy.) Furthermore, both America and radical Islamic extremists are rather vocally at war with one another. People die in war.

Instead, what I mean by saying that these people only know violence is that when they want to protest their own country’s non-intervention in protecting them from the “evil Americans” they blow some people up. How does biting the hand that feeds you help your situation?

But I guess that is why they call it terrorism. They deal in fear. I can’t imagine what kind of miserable lives they lead, always keeping that hate and fear festering in their hearts. It’s not a good way to live.

America has lots of problems too, however. Now, I’m not that big a fan of Michael Moore. I think he tends to spin stories to fit his world view, even if it means some facts get stretched, squished or conveniently forgotten. But I recently read his ruminations on the death of Osama bin Laden and I have to say it was extremely well-worded and right on the money in pretty much every way. I highly recommend you give it a read, and put your preconceptions about Moore behind you for a few minutes. It really is a fantastic piece.

That’s pretty much all I have for you guys today. Have a great one!

– Edward L. Cheever II~

Thor is Hiring Writers in the League of Legends


It has been what feels like ages since I last wrote on my poor lonely blog. Not that I don’t have reasons mind, and I know what you’re thinking, “excuses, excuses…” and you’re right, I should have still found the time to post a tib-bit here or there. Well, here’s to a renewal, eh?

So what exactly have I been up to these past few weeks or so? Mostly, a new job. Yup, folks. I now have a real-world job. I’m still more or less on call for SWAU media, and I hope I’ll have time to help tutor in the Write Spot next semester, but for now I’m working as a staff writer at the Burleson Star, one of the star group newspapers who cover a bunch of cities in north Texas.

I cover the hardest hitting stories, my peeps.


I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the idea of getting out there and getting a real job. I suppose I always had visions of the world being a solidly ugly place where, once you left your comfort zone, you’d be lucky to land a job where everybody just ignored you, and if you were unlucky you were surrounded by incompetent jerks.

Thankfully that is not the case. My boss is great to work with, and doesn’t make me feel like I’m being scrutinized for a deficiency in some vital area, as I have at a job or two on campus. I have some funny coworkers, and while they aren’t the type I really care to hang out with all the time, they’re cool to work with. One guy even helped me find my way around on my first assignment. The only person I feel uncomfortable around in the entire building I don’t see often, and my interaction with him would be minimal anyway (he is way above me in hierarchy, for instance.)

In wind and foul weather!


The work itself is mostly in my wheelhouse. The writing part is more or less easy. Time consuming, sure, but not a challenge. The real challenge comes in attending events. Anybody who knows me off the internet knows I am an introvert around anyone who isn’t a friend of mine (and sometimes I’m introverted around them as well.) So, getting into the reporter mind-set, where you’ve got to sort of be a loud and obnoxious, push-to-the-front type of person, who isn’t afraid to jump into conversations and introduce yourself… well, I find that a tad difficult. I’m managing, of course, but it’s a learning experience.

It seems to require the same mental muscles I exercised when acting as Tartuffe in Tartuffe last year. I’m not sure what that says about the reporting business, or what it says about me. Maybe I don’t want to know? O.o

Aside from that, I’ve been utterly absorbed into League of Legends. and it is times like this when my mental faculties fail me, as I can’t remember if I’ve ever discussed my latest obsession here. Simply put, it’s a free-to-play mostly top-down strategy-like game that is centered around team competition. Each team has a base located in a corner of the map called a Nexus, and that Nexus is connected to a series of three lanes that lead around the map to the enemy’s base. Each team also has three massive towers that guard these lanes, and AI controlled waves of minions that spawn from the nexus and proceed up the lanes. The players control special hero units with special powers and abilities, and the heroes’ jobs are to turn the tide of the battle and push all the way to the opponent’s base and destroy the nexus.

It’s a simple game on the surface, but there are all sorts of nuances that are introduced by the differences between heroes, and the ways that items, purchased within each game, can affect the strengths of a hero. Trust me when I say that a newbie would be eaten alive by anybody of high level. Trying out heroes, and getting your item build just right, not to mention the adrenaline of competitive play, are extremely addicting. This, combined with long game times, means that much of my days are swallowed whole by this game.

I’m hoping to turn this around, however, and bring some balance back to the force by cutting back on my league of legends play so I can get back to reading some books I’ve borrowed, and hopefully even finish Red Dead Redemption (I’ve been stuck in Mexico forever, and yes, there are some striking issues with the storytelling and consistency of John Marston’s character in those sections.)

On top of that, I’ve really got to get my life in order so I can be ready for the Rough Writer’s summer challenge coming up in a few days.

*scribble*scribble*

Starting the 15th of May through the 15th of June all participants are going to try and write 45,000 words, or 1,500 words a day. I haven’t even put any thought into the outline of the rest of Jaine yet. *SIGH* The work is never done.

All in all, life has been pretty pleasant. I’ve even been able to go and see some pretty great movies as of late. In fact, I think I’ll finish today’s post with a link to my latest movie review.

Son of Odin, lightning it up.

This one is for Thor. Go read it, and have a great day, everybody. I’ll try to be back around more often.

– Edward L. Cheever II~