Saturday, June 28, 2008

Diablo III is coming! I have reached Nerdvana.

If I could be a giddy 12-year-old school boy for just a moment, the computer game Diablo III has just been announced by Blizzard and I just about peed myself. I hit a note that could break a dual-pane E4 Andersen replacement window.

You can read all the game details here:

Most of my adult friends will say, "And I care why?" You don't. Unless you also played this PC-based action RPG (role-playing game) along with millions of others.

I've been following the rumors for years, all which led to disappointment. Over the past month, I've been following a much stronger rumor that an announcement may be coming at the Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational conference in Paris, France, which began today. Even yesterday, after following stories all month, I thought the big announcement was actually going to be about their World of Warcraft franchise, which from a business perspective made sense - it's the most successful MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) ever and is still going strong.

But the announcement I've been waiting to hear for seven years was made official today. It would be equivalent to Gary Larson announcing he's starting up The Far Side comic strip again.

I am probably most tickled that there is something coming (some day, there's no release date yet) that will help take my mind off of the real issues (even if just for a few hours at a time) that I struggle with each day as I try to think of possible solutions or even ideas that could ignite change. Issues like corporate (oil) and personal (real estate) greed; alternative energy sources and a real plan to get them in place (not just a prototype); eliminating handgun deaths (while keeping the 221-year-old U.S. Constitution intact, even the misinterpreted militia-based items); promoting human respect and common decency (instead of hatred and incivility); and encouraging and living by an allocentric (instead of egocentric) perspective.

See, the world is a total downer right now, and we need some fun. So I'm excited. Really excited! This is bigger than Mulder finally proving we're not alone, or the return of Star Trek to TV, or Lucas saying he's got a decent Star Wars epilogue in the can.
Well, let's not get carried away...


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Good Early Morning to You Today, America!

I am not a morning person, unless it’s marking the end of my day. I like to ease into my morning routine and slowly accept that I eventually have to head into work. I already get plenty of stress from my caffeine-induced morning commute. So today’s question: when watching any of the national morning news programs (GMA, The Early Show, or Today), what’s up with the 25-second interviews?

You can’t rush a hurricane victim who's lost everything because you have three more segments before the national weather report (which is apparently so useful we get six every hour)! I understand that structure and tight timing is required in a live television program, and things don’t always go as expected. But if you’re going to speak to someone about anything sensitive that requires patience, respect and at least a little decorum, don’t put them in the speed slot and rush them along! There’s nothing more distasteful on these shows, in my opinion, then cutting someone off a mere 15 seconds after they've been asked how they’re coping after a tragic event, just to get to the Cooking with Crisco segment.

“When the doctors told you your son was slowly being poisoned from the peanut-free macrobiotic meals you had been preparing for him with unknowingly tainted well water, what went through your mind?”

“Well…it was just awful. I kept saying ‘This is all my fault. [tears] I was trying to protect him from packaged foods that could trigger anaphylactic shock and all this time I was—’”

“I CAN ONLY imagine. Well, Tracy, thanks for taking the time to be with us here this morning. All of us here at NBS have you in our thoughts. [beat] Gordon, what ya got cooking over there? I’m thinking peanut brittle!!!! And it smells delicious!”

Look, if you can’t spare enough time for a non-celebrity to at least respond, don’t have them on your program. It’s uninformative, insincere and leaves all of us with a bad taste in our collective mouths. Almost as bad as peanut brittle.

Honestly, I watch a lot of ESPN’s SportsCenter in the morning so I’m up to date on my favorite sports and, more importantly, everyone else’s so I can maintain my man card at the water cooler. I get my national and world news from NPR’s Morning Edition on my drive in. I get my local news from an RSS feed to my local rag, the Baltimore Sun. And I like the national morning shows for human-interest stories, regional weather envy (it’s always nicer somewhere else), watching bands perform outdoors in 22-degree weather at 7:30 in the morning, and blog fodder.

Back to you, Chet.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Graduation Day Advice

My daughter graduated from high school today. I know she's on cloud nine, and it's deservedly so. It was an incredibly satisfying afternoon for me as well for all the reasons you can imagine, and a few others that shall remain where they belong, private and in my own heart.

But I am inspired to share for any graduate who cares to listen from the vault of "I actually know now what I didn't know then."

  • It's your life so they have to be your choices.

  • After earning a bachelor's degree, no one asks if you went all four years, and often don't even care where you went.

  • There's no shame in community college, only an easier commute and the same general electives at a tenth of the university price.

  • Work on your own timeline - 2 years, 4 years, 6 years... it's all relative to your own goals and schedule, and not that of others. I'm not recommending you burn through a 6-year bachelor's on your parents' dime, but if you need to take it slowly, especially in the beginning, the degree will still be waiting for you when you get there.

  • If you somehow have the finances to take the time to study abroad, or intern within your related field, it's a worthwhile extension of your educational schedule.

  • Eliminating career choices is just as important as choosing them.

  • There's no shame in skipping college altogether if you want to pursue a trade, an art, a vocation, a calling, a job, a family, military service, etc.

  • A college degree doesn't make anyone smarter than anyone else.

  • It's OK to be undecided.

  • It's OK to change your mind.

  • It's OK to change your mind again.

  • If you didn't graduate, there's no shame in taking the extra time to finish what you started.

  • It's never what you expect when you get there, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy the ride.

OK, enough serious talk. Here's what else you'll learn:

  • No one needs whole-life insurance.

  • It takes two to tango, three to make it interesting.

  • Learn the symmetry test now: if you have it on both sides of your body, it's supposed to be there.

  • Pyramid schemes will not bring you instant fortune - the only thing that grows exponentially are the number of victims. Remember when you repeatedly asked in algebra class, "When will I ever use this stuff in real life?" This would have been one of those times.

  • You'll be oddly willing to start paying outrageous sums for adult phys ed, also know as health clubs, gyms, spas...

  • Set up your reunion web site now so you won't have to search for everyone in ten years. I didn't say "five years" because time will begin its acceleration now and you won't feel that different after such a short span. Reunions are a lot more fun when everyone has physically aged, and you get to see first hand that Karma has taken care of all those people who were so mean to you these last four years.

I'll add more as they come to me...feel free to add yours in the comments!