I think I just quit?

Screen Shot 2012-03-23 at 6.24.55 PM
I’ve recently been following a couple of threads on the Star Wars: The Old Republic fora about the game’s lack of a mac-native client and their plans (or lack thereof) for one. I just posted this and it was one of those things where I hadn’t realized I was making a decision until I’d already written it out and was ready to click “Submit.”

“As much as I love SWTOR, with the lack of a decently performing (or even supported!) mac client, and no plan for one in the foreseeable future, I'm just going to unsub when Mists of Panderia comes out and go back to WoW.

I live my life connected to a network for work, play and leisure and OS X/iOS make that lifestyle so much more enjoyable than any other solution available. Having to stop everything, cut myself off from essential services and boot into uncomfortable, inhospitable Windows just to play a game is more than I can take. It's like keeping my hobby in a rackety old shed that I have to walk a mile through brambles to reach instead of keeping my hobby in my clean, comfortable, tastefully appointed modern home.

I had a ton of fun in WoW for 7 years, and I'd hoped to start a new multi-year experience with SWTOR, but Blizzard is much better at keeping me happy, it seems.

Mods, Macs, and much more end-game - WoW is winning me back.”


I wanted to re-post it here because it speaks to a bigger issue. Apple is one of the world’s biggest computer manufacturers (again) and literally the largest, most successful company ever. Companies like EA and Bioware ignore mac-users at their peril.

Ease up, Snarky Jackasses...

Dammit, you snarky jackasses, cut George Lucas a break.

The prequels are exactly what Lucas always claimed they were: Sci-Fi pulp thrillers along the lines of the serials he grew up watching in the 40s and 50s. Shocker: Flash Gordon was pretty goddamn dumb. It’s not Lucas’ fucking fault if you were too old in 1999 to feel the exact same wonder and excitement at a sci-fi movie that you felt as a pre-adolescent in 1978. The second and third prequels were actually pretty damn good. Just appreciate them for what they are, not the unreal expectations they failed to live up to.

method clean happy anthem


The Final Encyclopedia

The Final Encyclopedia
I’ve been re-listening to the audiobook version of Gordon R. Dickson’s “The Childe Cycle,” recently, and I’m currently on “The Final Encyclopedia (TFE). It’s probably my favorite though it really is difficult to chose as every story in the Cycle has amazing characters and elements. That’s probably why I usually think of it as a complete set of works rather than individual books.

I’m not sure how old I was when I read my first book from this collection (probably around junior-high), but I know which one it was. It was “Dorsai!” Dorsai! is practically a pamphlet compared to TFE - 7 hours in audiobook compared to over 30 hours - but it’s the lynchpin of the set. The main character of Dorsai! is Donal Graeme and it’s also the story that introduces Kensie and Ian Graeme, his uncles, that for all the brevity of their appearances have a massive influence to the overall arc of the Cycle.

Lost Dorsai
I can’t begin to describe how influential these books have been to me, but one of the main things that’s been running through my mind is the concept of the Final Encyclopedia, itself. In the books it’s described as a futuristic repository of the sum of all human knowledge (as imagined in the early 80’s). A tool that would allow humanity to unlock it’s true creative potential.

In the main, I think Dickson was right. The Internet in its current form is essentially what he was describing the Final Encyclopedia to be; a tool that a scholar can use to bring whatever knowledge he or she doesn’t already have immediately to hand. And - despite what detractors would say - I think we’re using it to essentially accomplish what it was ultimately used for in the books; the further evolution of humanity.

This is an amazing time to be human.

Elemental Fury + Chain Lightning = Squee!

I love patch 4.3 so much. Nice raid DPS and the more targets, the more mana I get back. Delightful.

Anne McCaffrey (1926 – 2011)

I just heard that Anne McCaffrey has passed away. I’ve read dozens of her books over the last 30 years and they’ve helped shape the person I am, today. I remember looking at the cover of “Dragonflight” in my Dad’s library as a boy and immediately knowing it was a book I wanted to read. I’m so glad I did. That book lead to the rest of the original trilogy which lead to the Dragonsong trilogy, which lead on to book after book about Pern. From there seeing the name “Anne McCaffrey” on the spine of a book was enough for me to want to buy or borrow it. Decision at Doona, The Ship Who Sang, The Crystal Singer, Restoree, and so many others. I can’t count the hours that I’ve enjoyed reading her books. She was definitely one of the greatest and most prolific Science Fiction writers. She will be missed.




Fallon, Morrison and Burton.

This is so amazingly spot-on. He even yells like Morrison. It just totally cracked me up. I actually had to watch it twice.

Damn BBC...

I just watched the final episode of "A Touch of Frost" on netflix. Damn.

I usually don't watch final episodes. This is a perfect example why. Broke my damn heart. I didn’t realize it was the final episode until it was almost halfway over and I was looking at what was coming next. Then I could easily see that they were setting up something big and bad for the ending before it happened.

Still, I did like the series a lot. Maybe I’ll go back and watch the final “Midsomer Murders” episode, as well.

Netflix: A Touch of Frost

Wikipedia: A Touch of Frost

Deathwing flying over Wetlands.


Creepy Crate eats a cow!


My new/old look


A whiny voice still has something to say.

I've been avoiding the cry diary for awhile. Aside from it's effeminate connotations, and it's difficult emotional toll, I've just been tired of crying. Tired of feeling so empathetic with every sorry jackass with a hard-luck story. Sorry of feeling sorry for myself. I have what could be described as a difficult life, and I think I just got tired of dwelling on it.

Today, though, I was noodling with Netflix and found that I could stream Season 2 of the This American Life TV show. I've been a TAL fan since 2000 when my wife and I first discovered it while out shopping and driving from store to store one Saturday morning in the Chicago suburbs. It was the show where Ira Glass was in Paris hanging around with David Sedaris and talking about Sedaris' poor french. We were captivated. Over the years I've slowly found the time to listen to every single TAL episode that was in their website archive (all but 2 or 3 of the earliest shows) and I have become an admirer of Ira Glass and his team of producers. they've consistently educated and moved me - often simultaneously.

Recently, I saw a tweet from a webcomic artist I like saying something like, "I know everybody loves TAL, but I've never been able to listen to it because of Ira Glass' whiny voice." Soon, there were a couple other peeps from folks saying essentially, "Ha, ha, yeah. He talks funny. That show sucks." How fucking shallow is that? Here Ira Glass is telling compelling tales of note and substantial emotional weight and they don't like the way he speaks?

Back to today. Today I was watching the first episode of TAL season 2 and was just struck dumb by the power of what they did in the process of documenting the life of a young man with a terrible disabling affliction. He can't move his limbs and is limited only to slight finger movement and some facial movement and eye movement. He needs assistance with eating and even breathing. His only communication is via a joystick input on a MacBook. He uses the joystick to select letters and write out his communication. He's written extensively about himself and now is wanting to try to become independent from his mother, who's been his life-long caretaker. Early in the show they ask him who he's like to play him in a movie about his life and he says either Johnny Depp or Edward Norton.

At about this time, I'm preparing lunch for the kids so I walk out of the room for a few minutes, and when I come back I hear a very pleasant and sort of familiar voice now reading this young man's writings about himself over footage of the young man leading his life. The voice talks about hopes and desires and the dream of independence - at least from his childhood trappings if nothing else. It's a moving story and interesting and slowly, as I'm watching, I realize that the familiar, pleasant voice reading the narration is actually Johnny Depp's.

It just floored me. The story was already compelling, it was already moving, but the fact that they went out and actually contacted Mr. Depp on this young man's behalf, and that
Mr. Depp actually responded and agreed just moved me more than I can describe. I very much am a person who thinks that the greatest hero is the person who comforts the afflicted, and I was moved to find out that this is the type of person Johnny Depp is.

This fact, mashed up in my mind with the recent "I can't be bothered to learn anything from Ira Glass because I don't like his voice" meme and suddenly I was in tears. I was touched and moved by the actions of the TAL people and simultaneously furious at all the people who would simply close their minds to something so touching and amazing over something so trivial as to be irrelevant.

I repeat; How fucking shallow is that?

Achieve with Bane




Ezra Phoenix Chatterton 1996-2008

I've written about Ezra, before. He's the young man who went to Blizzard Entertainment and made a World of Warcraft Non Player Character in Bloodhoof Village through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I just saw that Ezra has passed away.

My thoughts are with his father and the rest of his family. 4 hankies

Craig Ferguson - 10/7/08

At about 7:24 into the monologue, Craig starts talking about Solidarity, and when he spoke about the image of democracy being "one American armed with a ballot," tears immediately sprang to my eyes. 3 hankies

Death of Hellscream

I've written about this, before, but I was playing some Warcraft III, today, while the WoW servers were down, and I got to this cutscene and it made me weepy all over again. 3 hankies

PvPonline.com - 09/25/08


Just read it. 2 hankies

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson - 9/24/08

I only discovered Craig Ferguson a few months ago when he was a guest on NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!," so I don't know how rare or common it is for him to take a serious tangent in his monologue. He did take one, tonight, though. At about 3:50 into this clip (the whole thing is worth watching, though - he is really funny) he starts talking about the financial crisis and proposed bailout. At the end he very seriously, and, to me, shockingly, asks, "Where's the bailout for the 10 million uninsured kids?" and immediately the smile I was wearing at hearing his jokes was knocked off my face and tears sprung to my eyes. He's exactly right. Stable markets are nice, but there are much more serious issues that we've been neglecting for too long, and they have precedence. 2 hankies

The Abominable Charles Christofer - 9/24/08


Today's Charles Christopher brought a tear to my eye. This had been building over the last few strips. 2 hankies

The Order of the Stick #593

http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0593.html 2 hankies

I've been reading Order of the Stick for a couple of years, now. You don't have to read all the back story to be touched by this installment, but you should, anyway. It's not the only stick-figure comic I read, but it literally is the only stick-figure that I actually enjoy.

(I'm looking at you, XKCD... I basically only read you, anymore, so I will get the joke when
chainsawsuit skewers you...)

American Elf

The September 13 American Elf was really touching. 2 hankies

I've been through this, as I'm sure most parents have.

Jonathan Winters on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

Jonathan Winters has always been one of my favorite comedians. I somehow saw some of his stand-up as a kid, and his humor just really appealed to me. It made me a bit weepy to see him triumphantly raise his cane to the audience at the beginning of this segment (1 hankie) and he was pretty funny, throughout. With this interview, though, he really strikes me as a man sort of saying his goodbyes. He's been married for 60 years, and his wife isn't well. With couples who've been bonded so long, it's rare for one to long survive the other. I hope he and his wife live to be 150, but I really had the feeling while I was watching this that this may be one of his last public appearances. 2 hankies

Dog Whisperer: ATF K-9 Gavin

I just finished watching this episode (only an excerpt, here), and it's hard not to be touched by the troubles this dog has, and not to be moved by the way he's recovered and so much healthier, now. 3 hankies

Final PvP piece.


I finally got the PvP shield. It's the only piece (so far) that's from the areana 2 set. The rest is areana 1. Someday, I'll get bored enough to grind out a new set, but for now I'm actually pretty happy with Moofe's gear.

Moofe's Armory

Eye of the Storm


I'm not a fan of non-Alterac Valley Battlegrounds, but tonight I was in one that was just lovely. Not only did we win, but we just decimated wave after wave of Alliance that tried to storm the node we were defending. You'll notice by the scores that I wasn't the only Elemental Shaman there and that we lead the damage totals (and heals, I think). I love to PvP in BGs, but am often disappointed by PUGs. This EotS group was great, though. We watched each others' backs, and just plowed the allies.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

I heard about this the other day on The Rachel Maddow Show. Kathy did an interview with Rachel about this episode - the season finale - where she went to Walter Reed Army Hospital and visited with injured and recovering troops. So I went ahead and set up the DVR to record it. I knew it'd be rough to watch, and I wasn't disappointed. I used about half a box of tissues watching this show. 4 hankies

On a side note, I've never watched anything on the Bravo network before. Seeing the ads for the vapid and shallow other shows on the network, I doubt I'll be watching much else on there.

Book of Love

This song popped up on my iPod while I was playing World of Warcraft. I've always liked Peter Gabriel. Solsbury Hill is one of my all time favorites. I actually didn't hear Book of Love until fairly recently. It's just a really, really moving and touching song. 2 hankies


Journey to the Undercity

This is a quest in World of Warcraft. Players fighting certain mobs in the Ghostlands can get a amulet drop that starts a small quest chain. I know the back story of Sylvanas Windrunner from Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne, and evidently the amulet is a long lost gift to Sylvansas from her sister, Alleria. You take the amulet to Sylvanas and the script has her pretending that it's unimportant and tosses it aside, but as soon as you complete the quest, she does an emote:

"Lady Sylvanas Windrunner looks down at the discarded necklace. In her sadness, the lady incants a glamour, which beckons forth Highborne spirits. The chamber resonates with their ancient song about the Sin'dorei...

Then the game starts playing a rather haunting song in the High Elf language while banshee Highborne Lamenters materialize around her, and glowing effects streak around her chamber.

At the end of the song she kneels back down and picks the amulet back up and whispers, "Belore," which is High Elf for "the Sun."

I found it quite touching. 2 hankies

(As always, if you take the time to look, there's bigger fan out there. I found a write up with lyrics (and translation!)

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (DVD) #2

Wow. I took my son to see this in the Theatre, last year, and watched it with him, again, when the DVD was first released, but either he and my daughter are much more distracting than I realized, or I just wasn't paying attention the first two times I saw this movie. I remember being a little disappointed at the changes that had to be made to accommodate the transition to teleplay, but being pretty happy, over all. Well, finally after watching it the way I really like to watch moves (i.e. totally alone with absolutely no distractions) I have to say this movie is just fantastic. Yeah, there were some harsh cuts and changes, but it still carried the emotional punch of the book. That's saying something. I was a tearful mess pretty much from the point where the Order arrived to fight the Death Eaters in the Department of Mysteries. At times I found myself almost at 5 hankies. When Sirius was killed, and again when Voldemort possessed Harry and Harry was reliving the loss of all his loved ones. I feel like I've been through a wringer. I enjoyed it, though. I really, really enjoy these stories.

Whew. That was almost cathartic. I feel more calm and relaxed and ready to sleep than I have in months (I'm a bit of an insomniac).

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (DVD)

In the beginning of the movie, when Harry goes to 12 Grimmauld Place and is reunited with the Weasley's and Sirius had me worked up a bit. This is a hard time for the character of Mrs. Weasley. She has so many loved ones basically putting themselves in the line of fire, and knows that it'd be wrong to try to keep them out of the fray. Sirius, as well, is such a tragic figure. Reuniting with Harry makes him the happiest he's been in years, but it's only for fleeting moments. 3 hankies

I knew this was going to be a difficult movie for me to watch.

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (DVD) #2

The duel with Voldemort and the return to the school. You've seen it, and if you haven't you should. The echoes of Harry's parents coming out of Voldemort's wand, Cedric begging that Harry take his body back, Cedric's father wailing over the body of his son. This was the point where the books got really, really good, and really, really sad. One probably has something to do with the other.

Thomas Jefferson (PBS Documentary)

In the beginning of the documentary, they explained how Thomas Jefferson used to ride to the top of "Tom's Mountain," with his friend, Dabney Carr. They loved the spot so much, that they formed a pact that if one predeceased the other, the survivor would make sure his friend was laid to rest on the mountain. Eventually, Jefferson built Montecello on the mountain.

"In May of 1773, Jefferson's friend, Dabney Carr, died of bilious fever. True to his word, Jefferson saw to it that he was laid to rest at Monticello."

I admire Jefferson a great deal, and I found this gesture for his lost friend very touching. 3 hankies

Discovery Channel Song

I haven't seen this commercial in months, but a short version was just on as I was watching "Dirty Jobs." The first time I saw it I just fell apart. I laughed and cried, and watched it over and over. It still makes me cry. Tears of joy and pride. We are a remarkable species living on a remarkable planet. The very fact that we're capable of realizing this just fills me with hope and happiness. 3 hankies


Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (DVD)

I'm watching "Goblet of Fire," and the story just got to the point of Harry and Cedric touching the Triwizard Cup and being transported to the grave of Tom Riddle Sr. Just knowing what's about to happen to Cedric is enough to make me weepy (1 hankie), but the thought that the end of this movie - good as it is - is going to put me through the wringer is enough that I'm actually pausing the movie. I'll finish it, later, but right now it's just more than I want to go through.

I do this a lot. I have a copy of "There Will Be Blood" that I bought a few months ago but still haven't watched. I know it's going to completely derail me so I keep putting it off.

Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban

Sirius Black is another of my favorite characters from the Harry Potter stories. His difficult adolescence was made easier by his friends, only to have one friend betray another two to their death and frame him for it. It's a heartrending story. Still, I did OK until the movie got to the point where the group of them were caught off-guard by the full moon outside the Shrieking Shack. The way that Sirius pleads with Lupin to try to focus - to try to retain some part of his humanity - moved me. 2 hankies

Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets (DVD)


Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (DVD) #2

"Gryffindor wins the House Cup!"

Good lord, I'm such a pushover. 1 hankie

Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone (DVD)

I'm such a sucker for this story. I got weepy when Hagrid was confronting the Dersley's at the beginning. Not because of what was going on, in particular, but because I know all the backstory and outcomes, already. 1 hankie

Gromm Hellscream

I play of World of Warcraft. I play quite a lot. I've read 4 of the Warcraft novels, and I bought Warcraft III after I started playing WoW so I could see more of the Warcraft lore. You could say that I'm fairly invested in the Warcraft universe. Recently, my son started playing Warcraft III and has been doing fairly well with it.

Today, I was in Orgrimmar with my shaman when my son came into my office. He got excited.

"Show me where Hellscream is buried!"

I said, "He's not buried in Orgrimmar, but there's a memorial here. Let me show you."

So I rode over to Grommash Hold (named, of course, after Hellscream), and showed him Mannoroth's skull and armor. I read the inscription aloud:

"These demon plates were worn by the creature that first cursed our people with Bloodlust. By the heroic act of one brave orc - he was defeated. Mannoroth the Destructor is no more. Let these plates always remind us of how far we've come and how hard we fought to regain our honor."

- Thrall, Warchief of the Horde

Of course I started choking up at the "by the heroic act," part.

He looked at me closely, "Are you crying?"

"Yeah." I said.

"This makes you sad?"

I explained, "Well, Grom Hellscream died to save his people. He's a hero. He gave up everything to save those he loved. When people do that it makes you kind of sad, but also kind of proud."

He chewed on this for a moment. "Show me where he died."

So we left Orgrimmar and rode across the Southfury River into Ashenvale and Demon Fall Canyon. We rode up to the monument and I read it for him.

"Here lies Grommash Hellscream, Chieftan of the Warsong Clan.

In Many ways, the curse of our people began and ended with Grom. His name meant "Giant's Heart" in our ancient tongue. He earned that name a hundred-fold as he stood alone before the demon Mannoroth - and won our freedom with his blood.

Lok'Tar ogar, big brother. May the Warsong never fade."

- Thrall, Warchief of the Horde

Naturally, I teared up, again. My son, however, was dry-eyed.

"That makes me sad, but without tears."

I laughed, wiping my tears. "There's nothing wrong with crying," I said, "but being sad doesn't always have to make you cry."

Except, that doesn't really seem true for me, anymore. Most people can weather emotional turbulence without breaking into tears. Why can't I? There are times when I'm glad that I'm able to have such depth of feeling, but other times it just leaves me feeling slightly foolish.

I mean, come on - a
video game?

PvPonline.com (Avery Brooks Post)


This post had me tearing up. What a special moment to meet your heroes. How exiting to meet the people who's work has had such a large impact on your life. 2 hankies

The post also had me a bit angry at the raucous, jackass culture that has sprung up that is completely unable to do anything but mock and scold. It's a frightening lack of empathy, and empathy is a large part of what makes us human. The fact that a celebrity was a couple sheets to the wind isn't significant - we've all done it and it's not even remotely inappropriate given the time and place - what's significant is that they were having a relaxed moment and ended up mocked for it. Which probably is a large reason why it's simpler to stay isolated and keep such wonderful moments rare.

I would hate to be so emotionally damaged that all I had left was mockery and scorn and that I couldn't - even vicariously - be happy for others.

Stephen King's "On Writing." (Audiobook)

I first bought this as a book on tape when we were living in Chicago and I had driven back to Arkansas for a couple days, leaving the wife and kids in Illinois. I bought this for the drive back and ended up sitting in our apartment's parking spot for half an hour before I turned off the car so I could finish it. I've loved Stephen King books since junior high, and this one is amazing. It's an autobiographical look at the craft of writing.

I bought the digital download version of this, again, today from audible.com. The guys on macbreak weekly mentioned it, this week, and rather than try to find an actual cassette player, I just went ahead and bought it, again. It's worth it.

In the book he describes finding out that his first book's paperback rights had sold for $200,000 when he was still teaching for about $6,000 a year. He then goes on to describe how, when he explained the news to his wife, she broke into tears. That, of course, made me break into tears. 2 hankies

Mythbusters #74 (Dog Myths)

During the episode, CC (Adam's dog) was very intimidated by Adam and acting very submissive. She was crawling on her belly and urinating on the floor whenever he got too close. The trainer helping Adam explained that CC had most likely had been mistreated by previous male owners. She was a beautiful malamute and it just broke my heart that she thought of herself as the omega of her pack. 1 hankie

I do value humans more than most other animals and I don't oppose the use of animals in research, but I do oppose unnecessary suffering or cruelty. Besides, dogs are special. They may have very well evolved into domesticity and they can bond with us like no other species. I've had a few good dogs in my life, and wish my home situation were a little different so we could get a dog. It's an experience I'd like my son to have, but with all the work and care involved in taking care of his sister, I'm just not up to raising a puppy.

Thankfully, the trainer and adam were able to work with CC and boost her confidence. She was a much happier dog by the end of the episode.

Please, not Leonard Nimoy, again...

My son is a huge Star Trek fan. I liked Next Generation and Enterprise, but my son just drinks up all things Trek, including Voyager, DS9 and the original TV series. He watches episodes that our DVR records off satellite, and he reads Memory Alpha and Beta and he even watches fan vids on YouTube.

Well, today he somehow found the old video of
Leonard Nimoy singing "Bilbo Baggins." (He actually told me that he thought that Leonard Nimoy was a great singer.) At the moment he's stomping around the kitchen singing it at the top of his lungs.

I've got to find a distraction for that boy, and fast.

15 Great Games That Are Playable On Low-End PCs (Especially Blizzard Games)

This article on Digg made me slap my forehead in dismay. Of course I could install some old games on our old 800MHz PIII and I happen to have a couple of the ones on the list (I'm not including WoW - if my 1GHz G4 PowerBook can barely run it, it's too much for my PC. Hell, it even only runs middling-well on my dual 1.8GHz G5 with a 256MB RADEON X800).

So I went ahead and installed Warcraft III and discovered there was an unexpected - but in hindsight perfectly predictable - secondary effect: My son wanted to play.

He's 9 and he's played a little WoW in the past, but mostly it's just riding or running around the world of Azeroth with my characters. He did start his own pally, but the gameplay is still a little involved for him to really get into. Too many spells and abilities to learn and remember. He just wants to explore and be entertained.

Well, Warcraft III is actually a lot more his speed, it turns out. So far he's doing as well as you'd expect a 9 year old to do, and he does have the odd distinction of already knowing quite a bit of the lore from he and I talking about WoW (I'm a warcraft lore junkie - I actually have ready a few of the novels and have a few more that are just waiting for an opportunity to be picked up). We were watching the cenematic at the beginning of the human campaign and he was ecstatic to see the Lordaeron throne room. He immediately recognized it from the ruins above the Undercity.

I don't know if really turning him onto computer games at this age is a good idea or not, but I'm glad to see him so excited.

Maxed Out

This is a heartbreaking documentary about the lack of consumer protection for middle- and low-income people in the US in regards to predatory lending. They had story after story of people pushed to the edge or actually committing suicide because they were just overwhelmed. Even college-age kids. One widow, in particular, had a heartbreaking tale. Her husband passed and she couldn't keep up with her house payments and basically sold every item she owned trying to stay afloat but was still being foreclosed. She tearfully revealed she'd thought about suicide, but her son had killed himself and she couldn't put her family through that, again. 3 hankies

The 27 Things I Learned at Nerdtacular ‘08

I listen to a World of Warcraft oriented podcast called "The Instance" and this week one of the hosts had his annual "Nerdtacular" event. I also subscribe to his site's RSS feed, and he had a post on the feed titled "The 27 Things I Learned at Nerdtacular ‘08." All of this is a roundabout way of getting to the fact that when I followed the link from the feed, the first thing my eye caught on the page was:

"12. Handing a free Wii to a 11 year old kid is beneficial to the soul."

I don't know the back-story, here, or who the kid was, but the absolute truth of this statement just sort of struck me. I bet it's like giving gifts at Christmas, but even more so. The thought of some kid being so outrageously happy in that way kids do at receiving such a cool gift made me a tad weepy. 1 hankie

This American Life (#359 Life After Death)

This episode was about people haunted by feelings of responsibility for the death of another person. Death is a pretty tough subject for me to discuss for what I think are obvious reasons, but I did pretty well listening to this show. There was one point, though, when the narrator of the first segment was telling about meeting the parents of the girl who'd swerved in front of his car on her bicycle, that was very painful to listen to. My heart just bled for everybody involved. 3 hankies

Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Tortoro)

This movie is so charming yet so enigmatic. It was set in rural japan, and was a story about two little girls with a sick mother. There were a couple of times where I almost got misty eyed, but held it together. At the end, though, there was nothing I could do. It was so sweet and moving I couldn't help myself. 2 hankies

America's Funniest Home Videos

My son absolutely loves AFV, and since it's not star trek (long story), it's one of the things he watches that I can still stand to watch. Today, we were watching a time-shifted re-run from 1990 and they had a clip of a young man surprising his girlfriend as she came home with a proposal of marriage. He was on one knee in the living room and had the camera on and was just waiting for her when she stepped in the door. Her reaction was funny, but also very, very touching. Evidently, he'd taken the time to talk to her family and obtained (I think) her grandmother's wedding ring and evidently this was just the right thing to do. She was floored, and just cried and cried. It was very moving. 3 hankies

(I searched, but couldn't find it on YouTube.)

Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix (Wii Game)

I guess I have to finally publicly disclose my love of the Harry Potter books. When the first movie came out, I'd never heard of the books but my wife and I were completely taken with the movie. So I decided to buy the books available at that time (1, 2, & 3) and see what I thought. I read a few pages of the first book and put it down. I never put books down. I usually will finish even bad books by force of will if for no other reason. This was a kids book, though, and at the time those few pages read like a children's book to me. I just didn't see how a 500 page Dr. Suess book was going to keep me entertained.

Fast forward a few years. The kids and I are back in Arkansas and we're grocery shopping and I see a DVD bundle of the first four Harry Potter movies. I picked them up, and we just
loved them. At this point, wheels started turning and I thought to myself, "these are movies based on novels. If the movies are this good, there has to be something more to the novels than I assumed..." So I went back and gave book one another go. Loved it. Moved on to Chamber of Secrets and ended up going onto amazon to order books 4, 5, and 6 (which were all that were available at the time). I was hooked.

Well, now I've read the whole series and I even have the magnificent Jim Dale read Audiobooks for the whole series. I've read each book twice and listened to them twice, as well, over the years, so I'm pretty conversant with the story. And, yes, there are points in the story arc that make me cry (especially in the last two books).

(Finally all this preamble pays off...)

Today, I was playing the Order of the Phoenix Wii game that we bought last year but never got around to playing until I started, yesterday, on a whim. Today, I got to a point in the story where Harry'd just had his vision of Mr. Weasley being attacked and he and Ron warn the Headmaster then are sent on to Grimmauld Place. Well, the first thing you see when all the cut-scenes finish is the living room of Grimmauld Place and standing there are... Lupin and Tonks. Thinking of Fred Weasley and Sirius Black usually makes me teary, but every time I bump into Lupin and Tonks in the stories I just lose it and really start crying. I'm crying as I type this. The fact that they found each other, were so good for each other, had a child together yet were only together for a such a brief time before Harry lost them both... well, it really rips me up. Two lovable characters that absolutely didn't deserve the fate they got. 4 hankies (seriously)

(I made a tactical mistake when looking for an image to use with this post - I followed a link to YouTube with "Lupin Tonks" search criteria. There are some very lovingly made and touching fan videos out there, and they absolutely tore me apart...)

Stone Soup - July 9, 2008

This story line has been going on for a few days, but it's definitely worth going back to read. This strip is the culmination of the story line and just perfect in timing and tone. Plus, it was just the right resolution for the dilemma these two characters were in, and so sweet that it made me misty-eyed. Essentially, outside forces were putting unhealthy pressures on their relationship, and the creator making the boyfriend do this perfectly disarmed the situation and released the tension that had built over the past few days (probably enhancing the emotional reaction). Even the hair-stylist's reactions in the background is a nice little cherry on top of the sundae.

Bah, it's hard to really describe so just go back a week or two and read all the strips up until today (and keep going, if you like - this is a good comic). See if your reaction is any different than mine. 1 hankie

Amy Silverman & Sophie

At the risk of being self-referential, Amy Silverman (the mother from the July 30th, TAL#358 post) left a comment on that post that made me misty-eyed (1 hankie). It was touching to see that she'd been moved by my post and that she'd found my blog in the first place. She also left a link to her fantstic blog. It's beautifully written and (not surprisingly) a little heartbreaking. It really captures the joys and tears of parenting with a special needs kid.we g

My Name Is Earl #39

When Josh's friends eulogize him, I got pretty teary-eyed. Remembering those we've lost is pretty damn important. The whole premise of the episode was the fact that they couldn't find anybody who knew him, and therefore nobody to mourn his passing. When they discovered that all his friends were online, and finally had a proper funeral for him, it was fairly moving. Yes, even comedies make me cry... 2 hankies

Don S. Davis: 1942-2008

Don Davis passed away (the actor who played "General Hammond" on Stargate SG1). I was never a big fan of the Stargate TV show, but my mom was, and it wasn't bad so I ended up seeing quite a few episodes. And I did like his work in X-Files and wherever else I saw him (and he worked a lot). Hearing about his passing made me a bit misty. 1 hankie

Todd and Penguin

He did it, again.

http://www.toddandpenguin.com/d/20080702.html 2 hankies

World of Warcraft (Ahab Wheathoof)

I was wandering around Mulgore, today, and Ahab Wheathoof started muttering about his dog as I crossed the Stonebull Bridge. Ahab always makes me weepy because I know the story behind the character. 1 hankie

This American Life (#358 Social Engineering)

TAL is always awesome, and usually has something touching or powerful that - of course - makes me cry. There were a couple of things in this episode.

The middle part was about Dave Dickerson and his father and an incident that happened 30 years ago when he was still a boy and a lesson his father taught him. The lesson didn't work out the way it was intended, but what Dave learned was that there can be second chances and learning that helped his father feel better about the incident. There was a very touching moment at the end of the piece that made me pretty weepy. 3 hankies

The next piece was by Amy Silverman, the mother of a daughter with downs syndrome. There was some question about how high-functioning her daughter was, but Amy still came to the realization that being her daughter's parent was going to be a life-long task. I have a daughter with severe autism who I'll likely be taking care of for the rest of my life. I don't mind that so much, but I do weep at the thought of the life that she
won't be able to lead. No crushes, no boyfriends, no husbands or careers or children. No epiphanies, conversations, or passions. All I can do is keep her as happy as I can. 3 hankies

Blue's Clues (Blue's Sad Day)

At the end of the show, the green puppy just didn't understand that repeatedly knocking down Blue's block tower was making her sad. Made me tear up a bit in sympathy with Blue, which made me laugh at my pushover-ness. Evidently, even frickin' Blue's Clues can make me weepy. 2 hankies

Appurushîdo (Appleseed 2004)

Toward the end of the movie, just before the final fight, Doonan makes a little speech before jumping out of the building essentially saying that it doesn't matter that the computer projections see a dire future for humanity: the future is what we make it, so we have to fight to make it better. Then she jumped from the building into a falling power suit, and proceeded to engage in one visually amazing battle. Corny in spots, but absolutely visually beautiful movie. 2 hankies

Todd and Penguin

I read a boatload of webcomics. I have 50 dailies, and about 30 M,W,F and maybe 15 weeklies that I read. One MWF that I really like is Todd and Penguin. It's one of three comics by David Wright, and they're all side projects for him (he writes for his local paper, if I recall). He and I have corresponded in the past and he's a nice guy doing his thing: raising a family with his wife and working on comics when he gets a chance.

Not too long ago, he introduced a new character to T&P in the form of Sicily the dog, and today, I guess he ended her story line. That's a rather unsympathetic way to phrase something that actually made me cry a good bit. It was a tenderly done strip and really got me weepy. 3 hankies


You should go back and read the whole series, or at least go back to when Sicily was introduced in order to get the full effect.


Northern Exposure #90

The episode has a 3 ghosts of Yom Kippur theme (like the Dickensian Christmas Carol) and toward the end when Joel is asking - begging - the ghost of future whether the death of Heyden was possible or certain I got a little teary. He obviously 1 hankie

Also, during the episode, when Ed sees the pain that Holling is in over the fact that he feels that he failed his oldest child, Ed offers to literally be a scapegoat and carry Holling's sin in order to give him relief. After the hunt, when Holling thanks Ed, it felt very sincere and made me even more weepy. 2 hankie

Northern Exposure #87

Maurice has the violinist cornered and comes to the realization that he's ruined this otherwise good man and lets him escape. When Barbara the Trooper confronts him, and he lies to facilitate the violinists escape, even when he knows it will cost him his own hopes of a relationship with Barbara. Standing up and doing what's right even when it will cost you... how can that not be worth a few tears? Pride, determination and a bit of sorrow make the eyes go misty. 1 hankie

Although I do occasionally wonder why I relate so strongly even to fictional characters.

Northern Exposure #84

Ron and Eric's wedding. Weddings always make me misty-eyed. Been there, myself. It's hard to link yourself to one person supposedly for life, no matter how much you know you love them. Worth it, though. I wouldn't trade my years with Dawn for anything. 2 hankies

(Special side note: Northern Exposure was way cutting edge. Taking on gay marriage in 1994? Brilliant!)

Northern Exposure #78 (2)

The birth. It was a cute mash-up of the town being excited and the impending parents working their way through the labor. I've said it before - childbirth is one of the most amazing experiences of a person's life. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #78

Shelley meets an apparition of her soon-to-be born daughter at various stages of her upcoming life. It's a hokey device but still got me weepy. Watching my son grow from infant to toddler to boy has been one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I'm excited about watching him become the man he will be. 1 hankie

Discover Magazine - The Body Electric

My son and I were watching a Discover Magazine on the Science Channel, and we were watching "The Body Electric," about how electrical impulses help control the body and various functions. The first part of the show was about a young man named José who was paralyzed in an accident. Here, we had to stop the show so I could explain to my son what "paralyzed" was. I explained that the accident had broken some of the bones in José's neck, and the pieces of bone had then damaged the nerves that allowed José to control his arms and legs. He immediately started to cry for José. Which made me cry. It took us awhile to calm back down and watch how they were using technology to try to help José regain some finer motor control in his hands. It was pretty rough there for a bit. 5 hankies for him, 3 hankies for me.

Daily Show - Jun 17, 2008 - Lara Logan

"...And I looked at the reporter and I said, "Tell me the last time you saw the body of a dead American soldier? What does that look like? Who in America knows what that looks like? 'Cause I know what that looks like. And I feel responsible for the fact that no one else does...""

An amazing young woman. She had me and the show's audience spellbound with her frank honesty. 2 hankies.


Jun 16, 2008 Daily Show - Moment of Zen

This hit me hard. This laid me low. I was immediately sobbing not only because this man by all available evidence was a fantastic father and son and his family is deeply hurting, but because I knew exactly what he was talking about. I was there for the birth of both my children and I wept each time I saw one of my children enter the world. 5 hankies.

Northern Exposure #73

Joel loses a patient in this episode. Somebody he cares about and admires and who he desperately wants to not die. But she knows it's her time, and is accepting. He isn't, though, and he shows up at her house to try one more time to raise her spirits only to discover that she's just passed.

I held it together until Ruth Anne said, "We put her in her green dress. You know, the one with the white collar. She always wore that for company." I had to chose the clothes my wife was buried in. I didn't pick her most professional suit, or her most ornate; I chose a casual outfit she'd purchased just a week or two before that she was excited about and really looked good on her. It was a brown sweater skirt combo that looked so lovely on her olive complexion and I remember she was so proud of it. I remember being torn about choosing it. She loved it so much, so it was appropriate, but she had just bought it, and something seemed wrong about not keeping it. The fact that it would never again be worn if I
didn't choose it still hadn't sunk in.

2 hankies.

Watching MSNBC Russert Special Report

It's tough to watch, but I'm watching MSNBC's special coverage remembering Tim Russert. I didn't always agree with him, but you couldn't help but like the guy. He was honest, if not always thorough. Truly Journalism has lost one of the greats. And far too young. Far too young. 4 hankies.


Keith Olbermann is in tears on the air. 4 hankies.

Requiem for Tim Russert

When a giant falls, it shakes the very foundations of the Earth. RIP, Mr. Russert.

Digg Zinger

Digg zinger

Just about the perfect response with "It's a trap!" Made me laugh out loud, but, more oddly, it also made tears spring to my eyes while I was laughing. 1 hankie.


Northern Exposure #63

The scene where Shelly is singing to the crib and Holling joins in - totally made me laugh and cry at the same time. Very touching. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #60

The fight where Bernard talks the Millers out of fighting and where one of the Millers says "It'd be like tearing down a wall that I've been leaning on for my whole life." I laughed out loud with tears in my eyes... 1 hankie

In the same episode, where Joel reads the Kaddish for his uncle. Very moving scene. 3 hankies.


The Instance #109

"The Instance" is a World of Warcraft podcast that I listen to, and this week, they dedicated the episode to a man, a father of a listener and a WoW player, himself, that had recently taken ill and passed away. 2 hankies.


Northern Exposure #58

As the episode finishes and fades to black, before the credits roll, there's a dedication for this episode.

Dedicated To The Memory
Of Our Good Friend

These always make me cry. This obviously was a person who touched the lives of others, and now they're missing him, deeply. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #58

Toward the end of the episode, Maurice is sitting in the house he grew up in and is visited by an apparition of his dead brother as a child. Maurice gets the opportunity to apologize to his brother's memory for long unforgiven, almost forgotten childhood grievances. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #56

The end of the episode Chris reveals his light sculpture and they play Ebudae by Enya (from "Sheperd Moons"). Don't know if it's the Enya (I have every album through "Memory of Trees" but literally haven't listened to any in years) or it's the epiphany point in the show. Just moved me. 2 hankies.


Why did we find Nemo, again?

Over the years, my kids have loved the various Pixar movies. Unfortunately, since my son is typically in charge of the kids DVDs, we've lost not a few. A couple of days ago, I re-purchased some DVDs we'd owned, before, but no longer had: Bugs Life, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. My son just put Nemo on and now I'm remembering why I never enjoyed this movie much. I'd been a widower for less than a year when we got the DVD, and I remember now how much it shocked and hurt me to see the Marlin character have to lose his loving spouse and have to struggle on and raise his kid as best he could, alone. Ugh. It still twists me up, inside. Six years out from the accident, now, and I'm doing pretty alright, but also I just don't think about it much.

This movie makes me think about it.

30 Days - Coal Miner #2

The miners got Morgan a going-away present. A knife engraved with, "For Morgan, now you're one of us." 1 hankie.

30 Days - Coal Miner

Morgan interviews a coal miner who hopes for a better future for his kids than coal mining. During the discussion it comes out that his father, too, was a miner who also hoped that he wouldn't become a miner. This is a dangerous job and it breaks my heart to see people shackled into a life they never chose by an economy they were never allowed a say in creating. 1 hankie

My Name is Earl #27

At the end of the episode I got weepy when all the freaks showed up to cheer Earl on for his dive and decided they weren't going to be ashamed, anymore. 1 hankie

Today's Ctl+Alt+Del Comic

First, read the comic in question, then come back and see if I make any sense:


My first reaction was, “Does he have kids? A wife? Has he been through this?” I have, and it’s something I almost never talk about. My third child (a little boy we’d already named) was on the cusp of the third trimester when my wife was in a car accident. I lost them both. The joy of my two older children made me feel the loss of this almost-little-boy so strongly because I already knew what I was losing. It’s scary how much you love your kids, and I knew I’d never get to know him and love him. Just mourn for the life he never got to have.

It took me almost three years before I was done grieving for them, and it’s now close to six since the accident and I’m only writing about it because it’s upsetting to see people (even fictional characters) in this situation. At first, I thought that Tim Buckley (the creator of CTL+ALT+DEL) must just be tossing this in for drama and not have any real experience with it from his own life. How could he? If you’ve been through it, blithely tossing it into your gaming webcomic to “stress test” (his words) his characters’ relationship is just not something you’d do.

Except he says he
has been through this (though, he manages to sound extremely ego-centric and self-aggrandizing and oddly flippant when he does talk about it).

Some many years ago, long before I started the comic, I was in a relationship and we suffered a miscarriage. Now, this relationship was toxic to begin with and doomed to fail regardless, so that the miscarriage was the straw that broke the camel's back came as no surprise. It was a pregnancy neither of us wanted in the first place, so the event didn't effect me nearly as much as it would, say, a couple who was trying for a child. Still, I saw the emotions it can bring up first hand, and I saw how it could truly hurt someone.

Someone. Just not him, obviously. I’m sure somebody could write about this in a meaningful and profound way, but, again, just not him.

I already don’t read this comic. I tried, years ago, when I first encountered it, but it’s always been too vapid and shallow and almost too masturbatory (his real audience is himself - other readers are just incidental). I saw a twitter about it, this morning, or it would’ve gone completely under my radar. So I’m not trying to start controversy or shame the writer or cost him readers (I don’t think his typical readers would understand either, to be honest). I’m just saddened by the associations this particular comic dredged up, and and disappointed that Buckley’s not deep enough to truly grasp the emotional depth of his current subject matter.

Northern Exposure #48

End of the episode. Vindication, epiphany, reflection. Very emotional. 2 hankies.

On a side note: I'll be glad when I'm done watching these Norther Exposure DVDs. They're too well written and I succumb too easily to their charms. I can think of the shows completely on a technical level and still be moved by them. Of course, those are the DVDs worth buying.

Northern Exposure #48

When the judge is calling up the townspeople as character witnesses on Chris' behalf, Holling is explaining how Chris had helped Holling pay back taxes with an "indefinite loan," (pay back as you're able, no pressure) and that "that's the kind of friend he is. That's the kind of man he is." I know these are fictional characters, but the raw expression of friendship and admiration for a person worthy of it is pretty powerful. It really came across in the delivery by the actor who plays Holling. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #48

In the first courtroom scene where the argument is first made that Chris isn't the same Chris who'd jumped bail six years earlier, the judge says she's hear the case after a one hour recess. Chris' lawyer pipes up and says, "I could really use two, your honor." The judge looks at him over the top of her half-moon spectacles in a a withering way and says they'll recess for one hour. That made me laugh, but I also teared up. I honestly have no clue why there were tears in my eyes, but there were. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #47

The final scene, where Joel calls Yvgeny in Isreal and haltingly tries to explain why he's calling really choked me up. 2 hankies.

Northern Exposure #47

The Joel character is explaining to Ed the suppression of the Russian Jews as he looks over Yvgeny's dossier. He explains how Yvgeny's life is repeatedly disrupted for practicing his faith, but then says, "Don't worry. That's not the end of the story. You know where he is now? Israel. He made it." Made me tear up pretty heavily. I'm a total bleeding heart and the idea of escaping oppression is a powerful one. 2 hankies.

Battlestar Galactica 410

When Admiral Adama was boarding the Raptor and Apollo and Starbuck were saluting and they had that little call back moment about "nothing but the rain." Made me a little misty-eyed. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #42

Got a little misty during the scene when Chris was cooking a meal for himself and his deceased friend Tooley. The wistfulness and sadness of eulogizing and reminiscing about lost friends made me choke up a bit.

Northern Exposure #40

At the end of the episode, the character Chris said, "who would have thought such a slight tilt in our Earthly axis could make such a big difference in our lives..." Something in the phrase made me contemplate how small things can have big consequences and how my own life has sometimes turned on the smallest of decisions. Got me misty-eyed. 1 hankie.

Northern Exposure #38 (5)

Cicely dies. 3 hankies

Northern Exposure #38 (4)

Cicely collapses at the town meeting. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #38 (3)

Cicely falls ill with what’s obviously consumption. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #38 (2)

Teared up as I laughed at Rosalyn punching out the bully and asserting her dominance over the rest of the ruffians in the bar. 2 hankies

Northern Exposure #38 (1)

Teared up when Rosalyn and Cicely first appeared in the “Cicely” Episode of Northern Exposure (the idea of love despite obstacles always chokes me up) and teared up some more immediately after when Rosalyn extended a hand to the boy in the gutter and gave a little speech on human potential and how evolution was about humanity rising up from the mud, not being stuck in it. I have a feeling this Episode will have a lot of hankies in it. 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #37

Got a little weepy during Chris’ monologue presiding over Adam and Eve’s Wedding in the “Our Wedding” episode of Northern Exposure. 1 hankie

Flushed Away

Got a little weepy (while laughing!) at the scene in “Flushed Away” where the Jammy Dodger boat sank and the girl rat said “Goodbye, me old mate.” (And the ship’s crane-arm waved farewell). 1 hankie

Northern Exposure #35

Watching “The Final Frontier” Episode of “Northern Exposure.” Cried at the end of the episode during the little wrap-up of the episode where the town re-mailed the package, Chris reads “Paddle to-the-sea” and then Holling finishes burying Jesse the bear, with Enya “Carribean Blue” was playing over it all. 2 hankies