25 random things

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

1. I served four years of active duty in the USMC. Joining was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

2. I was the one who gave the ultimatum to get married. Thankfully, she agreed. Another of the best decisions I have ever made. One for which I am thankful everyday, most especially since we have had our daughter with whom I am totally smitten.

3. I converted to the Catholic Church in 2005.

4. If I could, I would live on pork lo mein or the classic turkey dinner.

5. My birth certificate shows four names. I only use three when I write my “full name” on legal documents.

6. Years ago I had success on the Atkins diet but quit when I realized I couldn’t live without being able to eat mashed potatoes.

7. I have only one more test to complete to get my Master’s degree.

8. I am an introvert – significantly so according to the Myer’s Brigg’s indicator. I wish I wasn’t.

9. I’m looking for a new job, preferably in the Las Cruces, NM area. Anyone need a tech writer?

10. I am one of the two funniest people I know*. My friend Darin is the other (the only person who can regularly make laugh until I get tears.)
*(Your results may differ.)

11. I am currently reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, and The Hand of Chaos by Margaret Weis & Tracey Hickman.

12. My favorite recipe for spaghetti includes Velveeta. I learned how to make it from my Grandma but she made it better.

13. My cholesterol is in the “good” range. (Just got the test results back)

14. My glucose is a little high. Doc says to cut back on the carbs and sugar, but life without root beer is like…well, life without root beer.

15. Considered giving up the Internet for Lent this year, but realized that would be impossible with my remaining grad school commitment.

16. Not used to our dog Cowboy being gone. Still get the urge to take him outside before I go to bed.

17. I was a talk radio junkie until I got an iPod and discovered podcasts. Now I’m a podcast junkie.

18. Favorite musical artists: Steve Taylor, The Sundays, and Hootie and the Blowfish.

19. Favorite drink: rum and Coke. Haven’t had one in over 8 years. Wow, has it been that long? (sigh).

20. Favorite cake: Rum cake. Had some last month.

21. Was known to skip class in high school to go play racquetball.

22. Want to start a podcast. I’m thinking of a skeptical examination of conspiracy theories. The outlandish claims about the Jesuits are some of my favorites. Like the claim that it was Jesuits actually masterminded 9/11 using the CIA/FBI to execute the plan.

23. Grew up in Phoenix, AZ. I do NOT miss the heat. Much prefer the experience of all four seasons that I get in Colorado.

24. I believe that Christmas actually is “the most wonderful time of the year.”

25. Is proud to have a daughter. It is more rewarding than I ever imagined.

A new age? Not yet.

President Obama was inaugurated yesterday as the 44th President of the United States of America. No, it was not the signal of an ending to racial prejudice. If there was any hope that it would be, that was banished by Rev. Joseph Lowery when he closed the inaugural ceremony benediction by saying:

we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around … when yellow will be mellow … when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

The reverend forgot that over 350,000 men (overwhelmingly white) from the Union side died in the Civil War fighting for an end to slavery. Yes, discrimination continued and it was whites who walked with Martin Luther King Jr. to obtain equal civil rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed by a congress and signed by a President that was again overwhelmingly white.

Notice how Lowery portrays race relations. Black, yellow, and red have no obligations to act while white people are assumed to be universally wrong and the contributions of those white people who struggled against racial prejudice are ignored. Who is the racist?

A new President.

President Obama was inaugurated yesterday as the 44th President of the United States of America. I was in a training class and later had an unexpected invite to go to a Denver Nuggets game (to sit in a suite no less) so I didn’t have time to write on that momentous day. It is time for me to note my observations now.

Our training class did get a break to watch the swearing in and the inaugural address. It was a great moment to be an American. And I’m not talking about Obama’s race. Yes, it was historic to see the first black man sworn in. I’ve also said before that true racial equality won’t exist until there is a “first black to do X” and not be labeled as the “first black to do X.”

What I appreciated even more was witnessing the 43rd consecutive peaceful transfer of executive power in this country – a streak the runs over 200 years. That is a stretch unparalleled in the world.

I disagree with Obama’s stated economic policies. I’m convinced his Keynesian economic policies will only worsen our economic recession like FDR’s policies extended the Great Depression.

Even so, our society has accepted that elections determine which leaders. Those who claimed that “Bush is not my President” were wrong, just as those who want to say “Obama is not my President” are wrong. Obama is my President. I will vote against him in 2012 but that doesn’t change the reality that I am an American and we one President – no more, no less and that President is Barack Obama.

Let us pray that God grants him wisdom.

Guitar Hero for real

Disney and Washburn Guitars have announced at CES 2009 that they will release a Guitar Hero-type video game that uses a real guitar. The idea is that you can really learn to play the guitar through this computer game (PC and Mac) due for release this summer. This is cool – a video game that helps you learn something. Reasonable price too: $200 with guitar included. Other versions will be also come out for keyboards and vocals.

The drawback? Being a Disney property, it is being aimed at kids. The guitar that will come with the game will be 3/4 scale and be aimed at the “tween” demographic with ties to Hannah Montana and other Disney properties (although any guitar should be able to work with the software). Looks like this means that the songs will be mostly Disney songs from the current stable of Disney shows.

Disney is missing out here. While there are young kids that are playing Guitar Hero, it is older audiences (teens and 20s) that have spent the bulk of the billions of dollars raked in by the Guitar Hero/Rock Band games. They aren’t going to want Hannah Montana songs to be the first they learn to play on guitar.

I’d even be tempted at picking it up if the game wasn’t filled with tracks from “High School Musical 3” like the demo video. I’d guess that Disney will quickly see the demand and versions for older audiences must surely follow.

I bet that in the next 10 years, we’re going to see a popular musician who first learned to play on Disney Star Guitarist.