It’s becoming an all too familiar sight: the cleaned-out tin can with the top removed, the clear plastic jug with a hole cut into the lid, one restaurant chain has gone so far as to purchase an actual plastic gas can, cut a hole out of the side, and place it on the counter with the attached sign, ‘Gas Money For The Crew’. I speak of the tip jar, and the hopes of those businesses that one will feel obligated to drop their spare change..or more..into said receptacle, simply because it’s there. But before I get into that, let’s understand what we’re discussing here.

Miriam-Webster ( defines ‘tip’ as:

Main Entry: (10)tip
Function: noun
: a gift or a sum of money tendered for a service performed or anticipated : GRATUITY

It’s my belief that those tip jars on the counters of places like Starbucks, Moe’s et al don’t belong. In fact, I think it shows some real gall to put one out. These businesses hire staff and should pay them well for rendering their services; that jar tells me that these businesses don’t pay their staff a decent wage to begin with, and they must rely on whatever they can divvy up from the can at the end of the day to bolster their income. Gas money for the crew, indeed; the paltry sum you collect from that can will buy barely enough gasoline to START your car, much less get you from A to B. The wages in your check should be plenty, and if it’s not, then perhaps it’s time to seek employment elsewhere or speak with the boss about promotion and raises. Sorry kids, but my spare change is going into a can marked ‘Gas Money For ME’. And since I’ve brought up gasoline, consider perusing:


Sora’s Addendum: What you should be seeing here is an aerial image of Cineleisure, but Photobucket has banned my account, citing TOS violation, hence the absence of the image.  I can’t begin to describe how pissed off I am with them now.  BOYCOTT PHOTOBUCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Looks like a fun place. Movies, bowling, cafe; a little something for everyone. Too bad they don’t have a waterpark too. 😉

OK, let me explain. I’ve been playing the PS2 game BULLY from Rockstar Games, and enjoying it tremendously. Part of the game is that your character, Jimmy, is able to solicit kisses from the girls to replenish his energy. Well, the powers that be at Rockstar made it possible to get kisses from the guys as well. You can’t do this from the get-go; you must proceed through the game to a certain point before you can lock lips with a particular handsome blond fellow from one of the four or so cliques.

So as the game has progressed for me, two more guys have become kissable, one from the geek clique and another from the rich kids clique. There’s still the jocks and greasers yet, and one primary character that may be unlockable. Time will tell.

Why would Rockstar Games write such a controversial activity into their game? Well, why would they write the sex scene into their GTA:SA game? Marketing, of course. Some kid plays the game, finds the “goodies”, tells a friend or two, then they buy the game, etc. The only difference between GTA and BULLY is that they made it known pre-release that BULLY would have the kissing feature (SLIGHT correction: they did NOT advertise the feature pre-release, but they did not hide it like the GTA scene was-Sora); they didn’t mention the sex scene in GTA until after some parent found out about it POST release and raised holy hell about it. There was quite a bit of hell raising about BULLY too, but Rockstar didn’t succomb to the pressure from the parents groups to remove the kissing, and for that I applaud them. It’s the parents’ job to mind the kids, they shouldn’t rely on game companies to tailor their product so as not to offend anyone. Good job, Rockstar!!

I’m just over 50% into the game (a cool feature, you’re told how much of the game you’ve finished after you save), and haven’t gotten bored with it at all. I can highly recommend BULLY for all you PS2 owners. And no, I don’t spend all my time kissing people. I must admit, I’ve gotten a certain sadistic pleasure from beating the snot out of some of the characters and imagining it’s the real thing against some of my own school bullies from the past. So I guess, in a way, you *might* call the game a bit therapeutic.




I really hate when bad stuff just piles up on you. It seems to suck the life and desire right out of you. Recent turns of events have kept me from being able (or wanting) to go online for at least ten days. Sucks huh? Especially when surfing the net is one of your favorite pastimes. Here’s what’s going on:


First, technical difficulties. My PC is a laptop..the type they refer to as a ‘desktop replacement’, for all intents and purposes everything you’d find in a desktop PC stuffed into a laptop case. Well, about ten days ago I walk in to find my screen very dark, with a very deep pink hue. I’d left the PC on overnight; no big deal, I’d done so many times before. I thought maybe it was just a little over heated…I’ll shut it down for an hour to cool and reboot, problem solved. Uhh, problem NOT solved. I reboot and the screen doesn’t light up at all. The glare from the room light hits the screen in such a way that I can see everything on the LCD, so I know it’s still alive, but one wouldn’t be able to work with this for long without difficulty. Some research (on a PC with a working monitor) tells me that the fluorescent tube that is the LCD backlight is dead, or the power supply for said lamp is fried. Great, I think to myself sarcastically. Further reading leads me to info that replacements are reasonably cheap. I can live with cheap. So now I’m toying with the idea of doing what is sure to be some VERY delicate surgery: cracking open the laptop’s LCD assembly. It doesn’t unnerve me too much. I was a tinkerer long before I went to school to be professionally trained at it. The scary part is having never torn into something like this. In order to get the replacement parts I might need, I have to open the LCD assembly to get part numbers from the parts themselves. Yes, I *have* searched online, no luck. Toshiba is notoriously tight-lipped with their information…I’ve been trying for four years to figure out how to access their BIOS, they will not divulge that info. In the mean time, I’ve found a CRT to hook up and use which is the only way I could have made this entry without a very bright flashlight and three days of typing.


Second (oh yes, there’s more), I get hit with the flu, or something very flu-like. I dare say this is the worst sickness I’ve had since childhood. This bug does not want to let go. Several times, I’ve cleared up and thought it was over, only to be ransacked by another set of symptoms or recurring ones a few hours later. Right now, it’s in my ears. I can barely hear, my balance is affected, and the tinnitus is driving me crazy. All I know to do is keep popping vitamin C and zinc tabs, drinking chicken soup, and wait it out.


So, how’s THAT for screwed up? Yes, it could be worse…but it sure could be a whole lot better.

It’s been some time since I posted, primarily because I’ve not found anything of note on which to comment. Actually I should clarify that; there’s been no topic or event that has “spoken” to me, making me want to opine. Then again, I’ve always felt that quality is better than quantity any day, and I hope the content in each of my posts makes up for their lack of frequency. And yet, as I sit here writing this one, I have no real topic. I’d like to be as politically conscious as Phillip, or as creative as Naoko, but it’s just not in me at the moment. I’d like to have something to which my loyal readers (all three of them) can reply and lend a point of view that sparks deep thought or leads to an epiphany. The last thing I want to do is resort to a (gasp!) poll, like the question with four choices type. I want something that requires something more than “drive-by” responses, click-and-go, etc. So I’ve decided to post this question to you: what is the best piece of advice you’ve heard? By that I mean something so powerful and enriching that it guides you daily.

For me it’s this: never belittle anyone’s goal, no matter how silly or ridiculous it may seem to you. Think about it…let’s say, for example, a good friend of yours wants nothing more in life (at the moment) than to open a flower shop/nursery. The idea may seem totally bonkers to you, but they love botany, and would love to make their living at it. So, in a moment of extreme insensitivity, you say to them, “Why would you want to do something goofball like that?” Let’s breakdown the question to find the underlying message: they think to themselves, this person thinks I’m a goofball for wanting to sell plants and flowers. All of a sudden, a huge bit of wind has been knocked from their sails, and your ranking on the friendship scale takes a nosedive. Everyone loses a little something. Wouldn’t friendship be better served by just saying, “Good luck with that”? After all, everyone wants the same thing in life: personal success.

I actually made the above mistake with a good friend before hearing that piece of advice. It took a very long time to heal the wound created by a statement I made with little forethought. We’re still good friends now, but it would have been much easier to strengthen a solid friendship than to try to repair a damaged one.

OK, your turn. Enlighten us with your own words of wisdom.

OK, this may be a refreshing change for some of you (or maybe ALL of you, who knows?) since this journal entry is not a rant, or me breaking bad on someone or something. I just wanted to wish all of you a merry Christmas. While I’m not particularly religious I do maintain Christian beliefs, therefore I wish folks ‘Merry Christmas’ because that’s the holiday I celebrate. If I know I’m engaging someone of the Jewish faith, I will wish them a happy Chanukkah. But, I’ll admit, I’m not aware of everyone’s religious affiliation; I can’t hear a particular surname and determine, “Oh yeah, they are Jewish”, and truthfully I believe it’s wrong to make such assumptions. That being the case, I most likely have have wished ‘merry Christmas’ to many Jewish friends or even total strangers. But here’s the thing: not one of them jumped down my throat for it. None blessed me out for giving them a Christmas greeting, they simply accepted it in the spirit in which it was intended, and I do the same. I have on occasion been wished ‘happy Chanukkah’ by Jewish friends (they knowing full well I am a Gentile), and I return their blessing cordially. If someone thinks highly enough of me to bestow such a blessing on me, I consider it an honor…I’d even go as far as to say it’s an expression of love, and couldn’t we all use much more of that?

I thought I had written about this before, I seem to remember doing so at that other journal which I no longer use, but I just can’t find it, so here it is redone, or done for the first time, I don’t know. So, even though the greeting is somewhat belated, merry Christmas to all of you! Yes, I’m still celebrating Christmas, days after the fact, even though the stores are having their post-Christmas clearance sales, and the radio stations have put away their holiday selections until next year. For me, it’s Christmas until the ball drops on Times Square…I guess I’m odd that way.

Nationwide two-way radio is a fine tool to have at one’s disposal. I think it’s rather intelligent of whomever figured it out to use the same call phone carrier signal to send a quick voice message to another subscriber. But I ask you, fellow subscriber, must you be so damned annoying when you do? First, there’s the “chirp”, that rapid succession of tones the phone sounds when a transmission is begun; it seems like all the phones equipped with the two-way feature are set to sound them at the highest volume possible. That would be fine if one wasn’t standing right next to someone using their two-way. Another thing: it appears that these devices are intended to be used by those who are hard of hearing, as they sound more like megaphones than cell phones.

And then there’s the general usage. As I understand, the two-way feature was intended to be for a quick blurb to another subscriber, e.g., “Hey Philip, call me on my cell, please” or, “Honey, pick up a loaf of bread on the way home.” Instead I see people yakking back and forth for half an hour or better. If you’re going to converse as though you were using the cell phone, wouldn’t it be better to use the cell phone rather than the two-way??


I ask you, as one who does not understand the reason for such an annoyance but wants to, are the features of these devices not adjustable? Can you not reduce the speaker volume? Can you not lower the volume of the chirping or, for that matter, not change the chirp to something a bit less distracting like a chime or a short whistle? I have considered purchasing a phone with the two-way communicator feature (‘radio’ seems to be a bit of a misnomer once you understand the technology involved), but if using it makes me an inconsiderate, obnoxious wretch, then I want no part of it.


On a side note, since I’m on the subject of cell phones, why are there no versions of the phone we’d like to have that DON’T have a built in/on camera/video recorder? For those who don’t have such devices already I’m sure it’s quite convenient to have them bundled with the phone. I love my LG vx-8000, but I already have a camera and camcorder, so the camera part of the phone is unnecessary to me. When I asked the Verizon rep if there was a version available without the camera, I was told that there wasn’t. “I don’t know” was the reply I got when I queried further. Sure I could have gotten a model without a camera, but I didn’t want another model, I wanted this one. I’d send a suggestion to the manufacturer if I thought it would do any good, but I most likely would get a ‘…thank you for your suggestion, now go away.’ form letter back. Oh well, no biggie anyway. I figure cell phones will be obsolete in a few years, and then we’ll be using these for communication:

Sora’s Addendum: What you should be seeing here is a comm badge as seen in Star Trek:TNG, but Photobucket has banned my account, citing TOS violation, hence the absence of the image.  I can’t begin to describe how pissed off I am with them now.  BOYCOTT PHOTOBUCKET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When you see this post, I know you’ll probably ask yourself, “Where does he come up with these posts? What’s the logic/inspiration/purpose?” Truthfully, I’m amazed at how, for no apparent reason, I’m inspired to opine on what some may consider useless fluff, but here goes.

At my job the other day, I overheard a co-worker (a high-schooler) speaking to another about being on the school’s wrestling team. I’m unsure how it came up, but he mentioned a requirement that the wrestlers pass a hydration test. I asked him about it, and he stated that a wrestler who is deemed dehydrated is disqualified from competing. I thought to myself, finally someone has chosen tho stop ignoring the risks these athletes are taking.


I wrestled when I was in high school; my record was not one which would qualify me as an all-star, but I wrestled nonetheless. I spent my first 4 high school years in England, in a U.S. Air Force base school. Going to wrestling meets was not a quick trip; the “crosstown rivals” were at least 1½-3 hours away by motor coach at another U.S. base or American-run facility (the American School of London for instance). For those of you not familiar with wrestling, the sport is divided into several weight divisions, ensuring that competitors will be equal, in physical stature at least if not ability. The general consensus among wrestlers and coaches is that lighter is better, so the wrestlers will take whatever means necessary to shed those last few ounces (yes, OUNCES) to qualify at a weight below what their normal weight is. On these “cross town” trips, I saw on a regular basis teammates who would ride to the meet in what used to be called “sauna suits” and wrapped in blankets. Yes, it was October/November in England at the time, but they weren’t trying to stay warm, they were trying to stay HOT. I saw a few times some of them fall victim to this self-imposed regimen and pass out from the resulting dehydration, and then a few hours later, don a singlet and try to go six minutes on the mat (it may not seem like that long to you, but trust me, six minutes can seem like hours if you’re matched up with someone of equal ability). In most cases, they were beaten, but their defeat took place on the bus instead of on the mat. Actually, it probably happened sooner than that; for a week or so prior to a meet they would typically eat as little as possible and drink not more than a few swallows of liquid a day, leading up to the day of the meet.


I rejected this method of preparation for a meet. I always held the philosophy that weight training should be used for preparation, and when I explained this to teammates and coaches, they scoffed. “You put on all that muscle, you’ll go up in the weight classes” was the typical reply, to which I would respond, “Yes, I might, but I’d rather move up a class and be stronger than move down one and be weak from thirsting and starving myself.” None of the other wrestlers ever accepted that reasoning; the “lighter is better” idea was constantly being hammered into us by the coaches, which was ultimately the reason I stopped after two years. Winning a medal was not worth risking my health, and I’m happy to see that today’s coaches and intramural sports program administrators are realizing that as well. If it’s due to a fear of a wrongful death lawsuit, then maybe the change is for the wrong reason, but at least the change is in place. But how far does the policy extend? What questionable practices are taking place in other high school sports, such as football and basketball, and what is being done to prevent the students from taking extreme measures to enhance their performance?

    I’m so happy, nay, honored that you took the time to pay my little journal a visit.  I must admit, I’m not as active with my journal or as politically conscious as Eternal Wanderer is, but I do hope you will find something that will prompt you to exercise your mental “muscle”.  I can’t promise that you’ll agree with all of my opinions, or to be non-controversial, but then, what fun would that be if everyone agreed with absolutely everything?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to exercise my own mental “muscle”, as I have a LOT of catching up to do with the NaNoWriMo event.

OK, I like having fun as much as the next person, and I’m all for other people having fun, but when your chosen activity/fad puts others at risk of injury or property at risk of damage, then it’s not fun anymore. The fad that has me so full of piss and vinegar is skateshoes. For those of you who have not yet experienced this fad, they’re basically sneakers except that the last two or three inches of the heels are angled upwards slightly to accommodate a urethane roller, recessed in the sole. Because of this design, the wearer can walk on them like they were plain sneaks; the skate part happens when the wearer angles the foot(feet) back so that they are riding on the roller part of the sole.

    Now they don’t work like traditional skates, to take full advantage of the design, the wearer gets a running start across some hard surface and comes down on the roller on the last step and then the other roller, gliding on the heels (picture yourself sliding across the tile floor in your socks as a child, same general idea). The hard urethane rollers and the bearings encased within ensure a fairly long glide, depending on the speed of the buildup run.

    I recall the first commercials for these shoes a few years ago. The kids were shown having a grand time on these skateshoes rolling along the sidewalk. That’s right, every shot was an OUTSIDE shot: a sidewalk, basketball court, driveway, etc., and that’s just fine. Now imagine if you will these kids doing the same thing, say….in a mall, or an airport concourse, the lobby of a movie theater, a grocery store, where there are lots of people walking around, not expecting Junior to whiz past them missing them by inches, or worse, actually running into them, knocking them (and whatever they may be carrying…their groceries, food and drinks, their newborn child perhaps) to the floor. I’ve witnessed people almost being clobbered by these little punks, hell, I myself have come close to being knocked down; I’ve yet to see an actual collision, but I’m sure it will be ugly when it happens. The incident itself for sure will be, but I imagine the words exchanged between the victim and the child and/or their parents will be far uglier. “What the hell are you doing?! You’re not supposed to be doing that in here!!” “How DARE you tell my child what they can’t do!” “Well *someone* needs to; obviously YOU’RE not doing the job!!” And then it just mushrooms from there.

    I’m siding with the victim/potential victim in this one. More often than not, I see the kids tear-assing through a crowded public area, on and off these skateshoes, and the parents don’t say word one to them admonishing them for their improper behavior, but let some third party say something to them, even in the most polite manner one can muster, and it’s ‘Katie, bar the door’.

    Now kids being kids are going to want to romp and play and have fun, and again, I’m OK with that. Parents (and kids), an important part of having fun is making sure you’ll be safe while having that fun, but please sure that others around you will be safe as well.

    Maybe this little rant wasn’t about skateshoes as much as it was about the piss-poor parenting that has become evident, at least here in the U.S. The sad part is that these kids, because their own parents didn’t have the backbone to discipline their kids (and I’m not talking about spanking, “whoopin’s”, etc.), won’t have the first clue how to discipline their own kids when the time comes, because no one set the example for them. And as far as the skateshoes are concerned, know this, kids: I’m watching for you, and when I see you coming, I’ll brace up…and we’ll test that whole irresistible force/immovable object theory. And on top of that, I learned a few things from watching the roller derby back in the day that I bet you don’t know.

September 2019
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