Thursday, July 26, 2007

Are Bloggers the Modern David?

Half Blood Prince Google Search Results

You'll need to look at the image above to understand the rest of the post.

Sometimes even the little people get lucky. This doubled my hit count for the last several days, but it's come back down. I sometimes see these anomalous results on a post, and scramble to add content, and correct grammar on the post after the fact.

It's fun outranking the NYTimes, and Amazon.Com for awhile - but it always goes away.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Illinois - World's Mold and Pollen Capital

Atmospheric Mold After Just 120 Hours Of Incubation

Realm of the Black Knight reveals in his most recent post a very scary incident in which he blacked out at the wheel. Cause? Sinus infection. I too suffer from chronic sinus problems and wanted to make a few comments about Central Illinois notoriety when it comes to mold, and pollen.

The earliest perceptions I had of people who mentioned having allergies were usually of either hypochondriacs, narcissistic personality types, or effeminate males. I can thank the mass media for creating this perception by portraying those with allergies as self absorbed weaklings.

What Is the Solution?

So it was quietly shocked when my buddy at the11thhour admitted to me when we were teens that he had an allergy or two - and get this - had to take allergy pills! What a wimp I'd secretly tell myself. It must be a sign of personal weakness on his part. Only wimps get allergies. Next thing you know he'll be crying for mommy! But I never told him about my misgivings, and he may in fact be shocked while reading this that I ever had this initial reaction to his problem.

For many years I had noticed a growing problem that I had with stuffy noses, and itchy reactions. Some nights I'd leave my window open, and I'd find myself itching so much I simply couldn't sleep. I'd wash all my sheets, and blankets and I'd take a shower, and I'd still itch.

Eventually I'd break out sneezing.

Weather.Com's Spore Map - Just Gotta Love Those Spores!

After many of these episodes I came to the conclusion that I had developed an allergy.

I slowly got the nerve to start buying antihistamine tablets, and dealt with my allergies that way. Yet I soon discovered that over the counter remedies at that time had a way of interrupting sleep, and dulling the mind.

It wasn't long until no drowsiness antihistamines made of molecules so large that they couldn't pass the blood brain barrier were developed, but at the time I didn't have health insurance and couldn't afford shelling out over a hundred dollars a bottle for them.

Eventually the FDA forced the makers of Claritin,. who were being sued by several health insurance companies, to release Claritin as an OTC. And now Loperamide is available as a generic. Walmart sells a thirty day supply for three dollars! This was a drug that was selling for nearly a hundred dollars a bottle just six years ago.

Despite this easy to obtain, safe, and effective antihistamine I still find myself hit with sinus troubles. I usually don't recognize it until it's too late. The sudden onset makes itself known in the headaches, and facial pain. The dizziness when moving the head around is a clear give away of sinus troubles.

Illinois is the worst state in the nation as far as ragweed, and corn pollen are concerned. Illinois also is the worst state in the nation when it comes to mold, and when it comes to summer time right when the corn plants are man high is about the time when allergies start getting bad.

Weather.Com's Weed Pollen Map

Relief often doesn't come until November. I live in Jerome, and we actually still allow people to burn their leaves, and other yard waste. This is insane, and causes me several allergic breakouts each year. And so November is really the first month in which allergies begin to subside for me.

Many people actually move to other states due to their allergies, but sadly states like Arizona, and Nevada which have seen a huge increase in population are no longer the havens they once were offering clean air to those in need.

A Mix of Pollen

This morning was particularly bad for me as I woke up with sinus problems which I had gone to bed with the night before. I lost hours of sleep from it, and decided I had had enough, and called in sick.

I can see myself as a teenager chuckling at anyone who suffered from allergies, thinking they were weaklings. For after all what's a little allergy? Today however I know better. The immune system slowly but surely builds allergic responses sometimes over reacting to harmless substances. We all eventually develop allergies if we live long enough. It's a matter of learning to deal with them.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Simpson's Movie Poster? Eat My Shorts!

I know if I don't get a Simpson's the Movie Poster I'll just..,

I think the whole idea of finally identifying which Springfield is the Simpson's Springfield sort of backfired. Ever since I found out that Springfield, Vermont was elected as the official Simpson's Springfield I've lost interest in the long running cartoon series. I've lost interest in just about everything else too. Food, Sex, the Joy of Work, nothing seems the same anymore. I guess you could say I've been in a funk.

I mean what did we do wrong? Springfield, Illinois is a good little city isn't it?

I had always assumed that Springfield, Illinois must be the home of Bart, but I guess I was always wrong. From the very earliest days of the show I had watched. Even before the show obtained its own time slot on Fox I had watched.

Someone at work had dutifully told me that the cartoonist was actually talking about Springfield, Illinois. He seemed to know what he was talking about I thought. And that's how it all began I believe. All in a moment so many years ago I was convinced that it must be my home town where the Simpson family lived.

Over the years I kept looking for the clues, the similarities between my home town, and Bart's. I found many. Look, there's another clue I tell myself, and others! For many years I believed that we were special. It isn't your typical city which has its own cartoon, especially one as hip, as cool as The Simpsons.

I Just Know I've Seen These People Here In Springfield, Illinois!

Years later I began to recognize an often repeated phrase in reference to the Simpson's and it went something like this, "The show is set in Springfield, but exactly which Springfield hasn't been revealed". That when I began to wonder.

Could it be that my Springfield, Illinois wasn't the Simpson's Springfield? Could it be that all those people who told me that Springfield, Illinois just had to be the Simpson's Springfield were totally wrong?

Possibly so, I thought.

There's No Doubt This Is The Simpson Family At The Washington Park Lagoon

Still I chose to believe. What the heck, who was there to say anything different. Even the creators of the Simpson's weren't talking. It was a neat way to handle the distress of having been sold out.

For years and years the comfort of my faith made life livable. Bart and Lisa went to a school that looked just like one in Springfield, Illinois. Homer was obviously driving to, and from the nuclear power plants in Clinton, Illinois. The Davey Crocket styled founder of Simpson's Springfield were based upon Springfield, Illinois pioneer founders, and what about those occasional references to Abraham Lincoln! Not to mention Shelbyville!

And then there came Simpson's The Movie!

Springfield's Beloved Nuclear Power Plant In Nearby Clinton, Illinois

For some insane reason, publicity I guess, the powers that be decided that it would be fun to pit one Springfield against another. That there should be an online vote, and that winner would take all. And through some weird fluke a small hole in the wall town, Springfield, Vermont managed to steal Springfield, Illinois unofficial claim on being the true Simpson's Springfield.

Springfield, Illinois came in second place in the online voting. I suspect, and still do that foul play was involved. It is too late now, and there is nothing it seems that anyone can, or will do to place the crown back upon the true king - Springfield, Illinois.

There's nothing it seems anyone can do to stop this travesty, this mockery of all that is good and right, to restore the way things really should be.

We Know The Simpson's Live In Springfield, Illinois We've Seem Them!

I guess in some bizzaro world alternate reality Springfield, Vermont or any of the lessor Springfields out there were experiencing the same feelings that we in Springfield, Illinois had been. They actually believed that their Springfields was the Simpson's Springfield. But they were wrong. For I know different.

And now due to some insane mistake Springfield, Vermont has been "Chosen" as the Simpson's Home Town. And I can barely sleep at night thinking about it.

But there is a consolation prize!

We are being offered trinkets. Just as the native Americans were offered beads and bobbles to pick up and leave their rightful lands we Springfieldians have been given a box of movie posters, and a handful of free movie tickets as a consolation prize.

Who needs it?

We Know Who Jebediah Really Is And He Didn't Found Springfield, Vermont

While I'd surely love a Simpson's the Movie movie poster, and a chance to see the Simpson's Movie for free I'd feel uncomfortable taking either if it means I must accept living in a Universe in which the Simpson's Springfield isn't secretly about Springfield, Illinois.

And so I must say in my strongest voice possible, and it ain't so easy to muster folks as it was before, "Eat my shorts"! Eat my shorts all of you who live in Springfield, Vermont!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter - Deathly Hallows

My Harry Potter Flier and Wristband

Potter Fan Experience to Obtain First Edition

I went to Barnes and Noble on Friday night, and picked up a wrist band, and colored flier. I had already called a week before to reserve the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I didn't hang around to long for the Harry Potter Fan's Party, although it looked kind of neat.

I then came home knowing I had to come back at around 11:15 P.M. I spent the time scanning my flier, and wristband, and goofing around on the Internet looking for book reviews.

There had already been a crowd at around seven thirty when I came to pick up my wristband and so I kind of figured there'd be one when I came back to queue for the book.

And there was.

Harry Potter Party - Pretty Young Witch With Wand Waving A Strange Glowing Hand

I was fortunate as the crowd was friendly, and in such a festive mood that I moved easily toward the front. I took many photos.

There were lots of very friendly people. Families with kids, and a large number of teens in the same age as the main characters in the book series.

I saw teens wearing Hogwart's style clothing, and gothic styled people too.

One thing I didn't see was any kind of disruption or disrespect at all. I was surrounded by teens who never made any kind of smart remark to anyone - and we were waiting in line for hours!

There was one family in front of me that drove from Pittsfield. The kids and parents were very happy to be in Springfield standing in line for the last Harry Potter book. I was amazed at how nice this family was. One gentleman opened up a folder, and began reading Harry Potter Jokes, and was quickly surrounded by people wanting some sort of diversion while standing in line.

Barnes and Noble Clerk Who Served Me

A Race to Defeat the Spoilers!

I got home around 1:30 A.M. with my Harry Potter book in hand!

I read until sunrise, and then crashed. I woke up, and began reading, and kept reading all weekend long. I finished reading about 11:30 Sunday night.

I can only say I felt spent after reading the book. I normally wouldn't have read a 757 page book in two days, but I really had no choice. Going back to the office on Monday means being surrounded by people who will have read - and those who will have skimmed and pretended to read - the book. I can tell you they'd have ruined the experience for me, and there'd be no one to blame but myself.

Harry Potter Party - Is This Young Woman Waving Or Is That A Spell Being Cast?

It's one thing to spoil a movie, it's another thing to spoil a book, and it's even worse to spoil a seven book series!

I read a news article in the Indian Times and at least some of the children in India are attending class during the summer. The article quotes teenagers saying they expected to skip school on Monday to give them time to finish school, and to prevent spoilers from getting their thrill by spoiling the book for others.

Sadly I felt I had to read the entire book before going back because I am surrounded by Harry Potter fans, who would have intentionally, and accidentally ruined the book for me.

They can't do it now! Ha!

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows - Review

Nice book. Nice ending to a book, and very nice ending for the series.

There must be sacrifice, and people must die, even those we care about. There really is no escaping death, but we can live a life worth living, and we can celebrate life, and be celebrated even after we have departed.

The last book was a bloodbath, and many beloved characters died, but the story itself achieved closure. The Harry Potter series is indeed a classic. A hundred years from now I see teachers inspiring their students to read by having them read the Potter series. I'm sure that children, and adults alike in future generations will find the series as fun as we have. We've been very fortunate to have lived in a time in which this series was introduced.

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