Friday, October 26, 2007

I saw these guys! In person!Go ahead and guess who was at Marzoni's (apparently known as Marz to the locals???) in Duncansville last night. You know what, just stop guessing because you'll never get it right. The USC Men's Volleyball Team! That's right, I'm talking about the University of Southern California's NCAA men's volleyball team right here in central Pennsylvania. At first when the host at Marzoni's said that the USC volleyball team was going to be there I thought he said USAV because honestly, why would USC come to Altoona, PA? I was obviously proven to be mistaken though when The Trojans walked thru the restaurant doors and sat down at their reserved tables. So of course since we were within touching distance of the team we decided to listen in on some of their conversations. Not surprisingly they were not impressed with the Altoona area or Harrisburg International Airport, the airport they flew into. Seriously though, what are the odds? Oh and their reason form meandering The Railroad City? A pre-season game with PSU. How nice must it be to fly cross-country, skip a day and a half of classes and play volleyball for a day? If I would have had a camera with me, I would have taken a picture. Of course I would have been in it, wearing a Trojan's sweatshirt and hoisted above the other players like a set of dumbbells!

Monday, October 22, 2007

How do they move it?I'm not a huge fan of the food stores changing around their inventory from time to time. I mean, I guess I can see their little gimmick going on there. They figure that if they just suddenly mix up and re-organize their products, they can catch those product shoppers that know-exactly-what-they-want-and-go-right-to-their-spot off guard, and force them to look at, and pass by products that they otherwise would not. And frankly, I guess I'm okay with that. I mean I am one of those shoppers, but really this only gripes me a couple times a year. Usually I'm more irritated by the grocery store no longer carrying the exact product I desire. What I'm really curious about though, is when in the heck do the stores have time to do this? At night during closed hours obviously but in my opinion this would take much longer than a single night shift. Think about it. There are isles upon isles of items counting easily into the thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, that need moved from one side of the store to the other. Of course some isles cannot change like the refrigerated, fruit and freezer sections, but usually everything else will get completely re-routed. Somehow I doubt the workers are just filling up cart after cart pushing this stuff around the store all night long. Then as if that doesn't take long enough, all the price tags need to be moved around too. You know, those plastic tags on on the shelves that, as a little kid, you used to queue up and slide all the way down to the end of the isle with your index finger. Oooh, my mom would go ballistic when she caught me doing that! Secretly though I think the stores have "isle movers" that just lift the whole blasted shelving unit high to the ceiling, then maneuver it to the the other side of the store and lower it back down. Because seriously, that would be flippin' awesome! And of course who wouldn't want to see something go wrong and suddenly there is the domino effect going on with the shelves in the entire store!

On a completely separate note, I love pumpkin flavor! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin fluff, pumpkin bread, I love it all! So why do we only have it during this time of year? I'm pretty sure if we can grow apples and oranges all year long, we can do the same with pumpkins. Why do we have seasonal foods at all really? If I want a delicious soft ice cream cone in the middle of the winter, then I should be able to get one! As long as it's not pumpkin flavor. Pumpkin ice cream just doesn't sound like something I'd like to stuff into my mouth. Not while I'm conscious and breathing anyway.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's that time of year again. The time when waves of new, unseen and ridiculously awful horror flix skip the big screen and head right to DVD and Blu-ray. The time when the air starts to get a little colder, then a little warmer, then a little colder, then crazy hot! The time when the entire outdoors smells like that time your college toilet backed up for three days. The time when bad Christmas movie previews start making their way to prime time. Yep, you guessed it, it's Autumn once again, or Fall as some people may have you believe. So what is there to do this time of year? Not too much, but I'm sure if we brainstorm long enough, we can come up with something.

How about watching butt loads of TV? Why not check out the new Fall lineup? I might recommend new episodes of The Office, House, and even the new sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Shows to avoid: Life, and really anything that comes on ABC. If the temperature ever gets colder outside you could go out and play some football with your friends. I'd recommend playing in the rain and mud (especially if you can get some chicks to play). Why not go for a drive, check out the changing leaves, however you might want to avoid all those construction zones. Don't confuse the orange road work signs for oak tree canopies though. Hey how about checking out some Homecoming dances? Can't find your own? Nothing like crashing one with a buddy, or chaperoning a high school one. Might I suggest avoiding the wall of stank leading to the teenage dance floor. Finally how about checking out the latest in clothing and personal apparel and gear. That's shopping for those of you that don't understand the words that I type. While I don't condone such behavior, if you're looking for a break from your way-to-clingy girlfriend, it can be a great suggestion. Need more ideas? Here's a final idea. Think for yourself and go have some fun you sexy trunk monkeys!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What do Halloween and Winnie the Pooh have in common? While I may not know, it appears that department stores around the area have some kind of demented clue. Today, in my car I past a giant inflatable Tigger dressed as a vampire. Of course it was Tigger so I wasn't really that scared, but still, who ever came up with that? Heck why not dress Lisa Simpson up as a jumbo turkey and put her on your lawn for Thanksgiving? Or better yet, let's stick a beard on Bugs Bunny and give him a tall, top hat and inflate his gray, hairy little body up for Presidents Day? I think these holidays and giant inflatable objects are getting out of hand. Do you really need cartoon vampire tigers with capes in front of your houses? Do you really think you are amusing people that much that you feel the need to purchase such a thing to put it on display? I'm waiting for the day I see the inflatable Halloween Playboy Bunny! Apparently tis the season for all women to dress up as sluts and hookers anyway. Might as well promote it as much as costume shops, the Internet and Hugh Hefner. I still don't understand why the majority of women dress up like that for Halloween. What am I missing? Is there a day when I can dress up as a Chippendale's performer without anybody judging me? Because if there is, I don't want to know about it, nor do I want to even entertain that thought. I'd much rather have a day where I can dress up as my favorite Star Wars character without the world thinking I'm some crazed nerfherder. Although people do seem to get used to it after a few months . . .

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Into gaming as much as I am? Probably not if you're reading this blog, but in any event I'm going to tell you all about the great new Nintendo Wii games coming out in the next couple months. You'll find me owning probably all of these games as soon as I can get my trigger happy fingers on them. Heck, since this is going to be a list, I might as well make it, Captain Jimmy's Upcoming Kickass Wii Game List! (oh yeah . . .)

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - Yes ladies and gents, Samus Aran is back and that spicy little fox is rapping up her final a** kicking for the end of the the Prime series. While this is the firstMetroid game to utilize the Wii-mote, I'm informed that the first-person shooter style is nothing but simple and uber fun to use. If you have a Wii, be sure to download the video demos of the game in the Wii Shop. It's nothing but pure, jaw dropping, eye watering, brow sweating (and possible spandex wearing) action! Any chick that shoots aliens with plasma guns and wears an armor suit that can become a magnified ball is okay in my book.
Release date: August 27, 2007 (I know, that was over a month ago, but I haven't gotten a chance yet to go buy it).

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock - You knew it was coming. As if I wasn't addicted to GH2 enough, once this puppy comes out I might as well submit my two week notice because I won't be leaving the house anymore. Luckily Activision decided to release this baby for about every system out there: PS2, PS3, XBox 360, Wii, even PC and Mac versions. With an awesome new battle mode and a co-op career mode, GH3 should just about rock out everybody's world! Jam out to many more songs by the original artists such as "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses, "Sabotage" by Beastie Boys and even "One" by Metallica. So much for all that cover crap. I also hear the push ups and pull downs are even easier in this version. I might as well start making my YouTube videos now of me rocking out like a crazy mo-fo, or 8-year old boy!
Release date: October 28, 2007.

Super Mario Galaxy - Let's face it; the last great Mario game that came jumping into this world was Super Mario 64 for the N64. Sure Super Mario Sunshine was fun, but what the flip was going on with that animated water hose backpack?Anywho , Super Mario Galaxy promises to have all the the great world artistry we have come to expect from the Mario Bros. series. Only, if you haven't gathered, this is galaxy, not world. Prepare for a planet hopping, spherical rotating extravaganza! This time you'll be collecting star fragments and even have a few new jump techniques in your plumber pants. Remember that thing you called sleep? Well you won't be doing it once you start playing this game. Oh yeah, the auto-camera is supposed to be a bazillion times better than the manual ones you're used to. Oops, I just wet my pants.
Release date: November 12, 2007.

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 - Who knows when this precious gem will find its way to stocked store shelves but be prepared for a frenzy when it does. With completely re-engineered multi-player action and a random Story Mode that will give you new games each time you play, the latest coke sniffing developers of this crazy who-haw should not disappoint you. Fact! Screaming, gurgling babies sound a lot like Rabbids. If only I could beat them and throw plungers in their faces, I'd be one happy gamer.
Release date: November 13, 2007 (provided the bunnies don't take over before that).

Super Smash Bros. Brawl - Possibly the most anticipated game for the Wii ever! Remember the last version; Melee? I do. It kept me up all night during finals week at college forcing me to partake in a weeks worth of tests without a lick of studying. Did I pass all my courses? Of course. Was it way better than stressing out over some crappy tests and study habits? Hell yes! Will I be doing something like this again when Brawl gets released? Probably. Although instead of skipping study time for finals I'm thinking more about getting to The Workplace late and leaving The Workplace early. As a plus, it looks like this game can be played with the Wii-mote, or the virtual console controller, or even an old-school GameCube controller. New characters such as Diddy Kong, Zero Suit Samus and Wario promise to make this action packed game more fun than a room full of River Dancing chimpanzees, or giving your little brother a swirly. Maybe even more fun than giving that little weird nerd with the goofy clothes at school a swirly. Let's hope so anyway. The Captain still resents you for that.
Release date: December 3, 2007.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The American people are hypocrites I think. More exact, the people of Central Pennsylvania are hypocrites. Of course I'm just making a generalization here. Forgive me if I have incorrectly included you in my generalization, but for now you'll have to deal with it. Why do I think this way? It's simple really. People complain until the cows come home about energy costs and pollution, but when given the option of switching to clean, renewable energy, these same people go ape poop! Let me give you an example. Within the last few years Wind Power has become quite popular here in Central PA. We're in a prime location for it! Thanks to our geographic location, The Appalachian mountains, and U.S. weather patterns, the wind nearly blows constantly at many locations in this Commonwealth. Why not harness that naturally generated power? Years ago 6 giant wind turbines were built in Somerset County to generate power for countless people across this state (and possibly other states). In fact, one of my college professors paid extra per month to get that power pumped out to his home in Grantham, PA (because, unlike even Heaven, you know you can pick your energy provider here in PA, at least that's what the commercials used to portray) simply because it was clean, renewable energy. Within the last year, nearly 100 wind turbines were constructed on a mountain ridge not more than 20 miles from my home. In fact, on a clear, crisp evening you can see their tiny, distant silhouettes against the bright orange sky. It's really quite a site to see

In case you're new to this term, Renewable Energy, I'll explain it because it's simple really. Renewable Energy is energy that can be generated without harmful emissions, and frankly, will never cease to be generated by losing its source. Current energy technologies such as burning coal, and nuclear power all have ends in site. When we run out of nuclear fuels, or fossil fuels, we are out of power and out of luck. Who knows how many years we have left of that stuff, but I can tell you, it ain't long. Sure maybe our kids' kids will still use that power, but probably not much further than that. Enter Renewable Energy! Like its name states, it's renewable. Examples of this type of energy are solar cells, wind turbines, and water turbines. Obviously even these sources of energy have an end too, but the human race won't be around anymore to see the end of our Sun or water. Water turbines have been used for decades to generate electricity. The best example of these are dams like the Hoover Dam. There the natural flow of water turns giant turbines, generating electric current. Newer hydro-electric generation technologies are coming in the form of harnessing the power of oceanic waves, and hi-tech (and so far highly expensive) hydrogen extraction of water. Solar cells have also been around for years, but are still pretty expensive and rather inefficient. This brings us to wind energy. Pressure differences across the planet will aways exist causing the phenomenon we have all come to know as wind. Using the natural occurrence of atmospheric pressure differentials, we are able to spin giant turbines, some of which the wings easily stretch the length of an entire football field, to generate a whole crap load of electricity. The cost of these units is quite minuscule compared to a giant electric plant, and maintenance costs to keep the turbines functional are minimal as well.

So what do people have against these renewable forms of energy? Really stupid stuff like appearance, damage to the surrounding environment, and possible noise solution. In reality what it is coming down to is people not knowing enough about renewable energies in our environment, yet still trying to make decisions. Sort of sounds like your workplaces doesn't it? Well guess what, the whole country seems to operate this way! Unfortunately decisions aren't made based off fact, education and long term benefits, but are "more importantly" based off money, personal interest, and possibilities of instant gratifications. Thanks to the American people's decision making process wind turbine farm proposals across Bedford and Blair counties are being shut down because of our inability to base decisions off of fact. We just assume that since these are big machines, and near crucial water supplies that they will destroy said water supplies. So we hire expensive environmental engineers and consultants only to refuse to listen to them because of what they know is too different than what we think we know.

What point am I trying to make here? Support any local renewable energy plans that are proposed to your communities. Okay, so maybe a 100 wind turbine farm does not express beauty the same way as trees do, but they are quiet, and sort of have their own beauty. Plus if the government wants to build them on your property, they'll pay you for many many years to come. More importantly though is the fact that you'll be involved in the generation of clean, renewable energy that even your kids' kids' kids will be able to experience (that's your great grand kids by the way, and if you plan on being around to see them, you better start thinking of how to make this planet better for them and not how you, yourself can profit from it).