A new year

Alright,

Whew!  Sorry about dropping off for a bit, things went chaotic for a bit, and well now they’re starting to drop off a bit.

So, I know many of us have noticed the climate change, it is tangible, just how desolate things are becoming.  School shootings, attempted shootings, crazy new laws, just everything one right after another.  Honestly it all kind of scares me.  Not the whole “shooting” thing, believe me, I’ve had my fair share of things.  I remember once my friends older brother created a hit list that my sister was on and brought a gun to school to start “checking off” his list.  Do you want to know how that ended?  Quite well actually, apparently the guy was foaming at the mouth furious that someone noticed his weapon and informed teachers while he was far enough away from his locker.  The cops were swift, the teachers acted accordingly, and no one was hurt.  We have to learn to deal with these things.  Do I believe that guns are to blame?  No! here’s why:

Does a gun have a conscious?

no

Can a gun feel?

no

Can a gun walk to a public place and fire itself?

NO!

So why are we allowing the media to get into our heads where they are blaming guns for the violence and not the shooter?   In many of these cases (including the one in my town those years ago) the person attempting to or acting out on the violence did so because lets face it they weren’t all that “right” in the head.  Now in the case of Adam Lanza, do I think his mother should have had the guns she did in that house knowing about her son’s condition?  Hell no! The only thing I have ever seen happen with mentally unstable people and guns have ended in death or violence.  So what in this humble person’s opinion is the solution?  Honestly I really don’t think there is one, because there is only so much that we can do.  First and foremost the one major thing that I do see wrong with the pictures is that mental health care may not have been strongly available.  Let’s be honest there are some people out there that do in fact have a serious condition that should be monitored.  They need to be able to reach out when they know they are heading for a “melt-down” (and trust me, from personal experience you can see when that is coming nearly a mile away), and health-care facilities need to be prepared to deal with any situation a patient may throw at them.

You can speak to my friend James on any normal day and think you are speaking to one of the smartest people alive, but the one thing that he will tell you (and he’s quite proud of the fact too) is that there are some days he is not normal, and that is what all of his medication (and trust me, I’ve seen it, he’s got a lot) is for.  Last month he began not feeling well, just like the time before during school when he’d vanish for a week, turn back up, and then vanished again for the rest of the semester.  I knew that he was heading back towards another one of his “episodes” (well actually more like a feature length film, one of those un-cut editions like the Lord of the Rings), he was spacing out, not eating well, and just in general not there.  Right now, same as the last time, he is in the hospital, a time he usually refers to as an “experiment” phase, one where doctors scramble to find some new non-FDA approved drug that may return him to “normal.”  It isn’t his fault, he never asked to be born with such a high intelligence, but he was and he knows enough to know when his mood swings are coming, knows enough to keep his friends away so that no one will be hurt or see him that way, he is one of the rare ones that even though he can’t control it, knows what he can do to stifle it.  Adam Lanza was not one of those people.

Adam Lanza was not lucky enough to have self control built into his life, or if he did it crumbled like a sand-castle on a beach.  That is why we need better help for people like him that may loose that self control.  Or else who knows who the next name on the news headlines will be.

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It’s Beginning to look a lot like…

Baking season!

lol, yes that’s right, among my many holiday hobbies of getting into the spirit there is absolutely nothing more like the holidays then baking a big batch of warm butter-cookies.  The dough is fun to play with (ie. shape and put cookie cutters into) as it is to eat.  And ladies and gents this is most definitely NOT from a bag/box 😉  my trick?  When the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter or margarine I do half and half, aka 1 stick each.  It certainly changes the game making the dough easy to work with, easier to take out of the cutters, and less likely to stick to the pans and break when you try to free them.  My recipe comes from an old family book, which is filled with lovingly crafted and passed down traditions from many years past.  There is nothing better than the fresh warm smell of a cookie tray in the oven, heck decorating the cookies is almost as much fun too (if they last long enough to be frosted!)

 

So here’s a fun little twist you can do to make your cookies more interesting:

  • Don’t have cookie cutters?  use a glass with a nifty design on the bottom, sprinkle flour on the dough so it won’t stick and press it gently but firm enough to put the design into the dough.  Then carefully take a thin knife and cut around the glass.  You’ll have a neat design to frost or just leave alone.
  • Some m&m’s just lying around with no projects in mind?  Turn those boring cut-out cookies into a nifty m&m cookie.  Just mix into the dough or press them in neat little designs on top of the cookies.
  • Have young children that want to eat more than they cut out?  Turn the cookie cutting into a game, separate trays to each child and challenge them to fill the tray first, the winner will be the first to get a fresh-baked cookie or the first to decorate one 🙂
  • Want to make from scratch but don’t have time?  You can find these neat little pre-started cookie mixes in jars, half the work done, all you have to do is add the wet ingredients and bake.
  • Giving them as a present?  Personalize them.  You can cut a recipe several ways, you can separate the dough into different batches and make them into unique personal gifts that your friends and family will love.
  • Have fun with it!  Baking is a wonderful and joyous thing, so don’t get down on yourself, fill them with love and laughter, trust me you can taste the difference!

Well that’s it for now, anyone want to share any special memories of baking with mom or grandma in the kitchen?

A strange and unexpected gift…

You know, as the holiday season approaches faster and faster it takes a lot of restraint to not go wild throwing your money at every retailer that offers a great deal.  Every year I find myself walking through the mall or the shopping centers with no real purpose in mind, instead I like to focus on more of what is around me, decorations, children giggling as they rush ahead of their parents to get to Santa, an older or younger person set up at a table trying to raise money for a cause… They are the ones I tend to focus on, each year there is a new story, a new child somewhere in need.  I believe that there is no greater joy than spreading the spirit of Papa Noël aux petits enfants.  As a child growing up I had many happy holidays, yes we had our share of bad ones too, but the great ones were what really counted.  There was nothing like the excitement of not being able to sleep because you knew if you did you might miss the chance of seeing Santa.  However I know that things are tough, things are tougher than ever, and for some children this could be their last chance at a happy Christmas.

Yes, much as we like to pretend that things will be OK, there is no chance that a child might not see the time of miracles, we must face the reality that there are things out of our control in this world,  This year walking the mall there was a small table being manned by a little girl and her parents, “Would you like to adopt an Angel?” they asked to everyone passing through, no one stopped.  I walked up and asked how much, they said they would take any cash amount, but it was $3 to adopt an angel.  I reached in and found 3 singles in my wallet and handed it to the little girl manning the ‘register’ and was told to ‘pick’ my angel.  I looked at the names randomly (these were paper cut-out angels that will stand when affixed correctly) and was drawn to a little 9-year old girl named Emma.  Emma suffers from a rare genetic condition and was granted a wish by the make-a-wish foundation.  She is local, not a 30-min drive from where I live, and that is what I truly love about these charities.  Yes it is a national name, who hasn’t heard of Make-a-Wish? But the fact that these were local children, children that may not survive to see even this year’s holidays, makes my heart ache.  There is nothing crueler in this world than that of the loss of a child.  So if I can do, even a little bit to ease their sadness, lift their pain for even one day, then I would count myself lucky that I was allowed to do so.  So as I see my little angel standing in the middle of my dining-room table, it warms my heart to think that maybe, just maybe, this little Emma might have the opportunity to enjoy a warm and heart-filled holiday with her family.

So, to many of you that may scoff at these ‘annual’ donation drives, just take a second and think, wow these people aren’t invisible, they have names. they have ages, they actually live near me.  Maybe that’ll make you think twice before you push over some poor bell-ringer, ringing for the Salvation Army, or tell some little girl giving out angels to “piss-off” because if you were in their situation, no matter how mean you’ve been, they’d still help you all the same.

……………………………………………………………………..

And a slightly different yet related topic.  The cat fell out of the bag yesterday that my parents are buying me a new computer O_O, now it isn’t quite what I would have built myself if I had the ability to do so, but it is the great jumping platform for what I could make it into.  So what I would like from you guys, I am looking at putting a new graphics card in it shortly after I buy it, and Newegg is having some pretty decent deals, I need to upgrade to a bigger PSU (current at 300) of at least 400-450 and am looking at (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182022) does anyone have experience with this brand?  I am planning on putting this into an HP with an AMD proc (AMD Quad-Core A6-3650).  I am also looking at this video-card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150659), it takes a PCI x16 slot (which I have 1 PCI Express x16 (available))  does anyone know anything about this brand or processor?

I am trying to run Photoshop CS5 (which has that nice 3D utility I was never able to run), Tomb Raider Anniversary, Fable The lost Chapters, The Sims (with expansions), The sims 3 (with expansions), and several programs for school (Eclipse, Office 2010, Oracle SQL, etc).  Do you think that this card will run well with it.

The “full” computer specs are located here (http://www.samsclub.com/sams/hp-pavilion-p6-desktop-amd-a6-3650-1-tb/prod6950029.ip?navAction=push)

I’m gonna owe karma big for this one *_*

The “touch of death”

I suppose this is one of my “lighter” posts, but hey, someone needs the chance to laugh at my misery.

Has anyone here heard of Azriel?  If you haven’t Azriel is commonly known as the “Angel of Death.”  Now I know what you’re thinking, where the hell is she going with this? Well, truth is that lately I swear I’ve been followed by the damn thing, probably because they can smell the death around my house at the moment, my dog Lady left us just a few weeks ago, but I suppose to as they say lighten the mood Azriel decided to have a little fun.  It started pretty simply, something big, something huge, something holy crap that I need… my computer.  FML.  Oh now you go start blaming the Angel of Death for your computer’s misfortune, well ladies and gents I am afraid that it isn’t the only thing suffering.  You see I have a fairly new Keurig coffee pot, not even 4 months old, and yet it labors and sounds like a dying old machine!  Again, how can I blame something so odd?  Well just yesterday I was working on a very important final project, you know, college final project.  The worst thing possible happened.  My flash-drive not even a WEEK OLD crums out on me.  And oh it get’s better! It was wiped! and oh no the fun is not over yet! Completely write protected! ahhh now I really am doomed.  I have no back-up as my 8 GB became my new “Hard-drive” for my Xbox 360.  Oh well, at least I might be able to take it back to Walmart, then I can replace it with something else that might not break.

 

Well, I would like a laugh, anyone else got a ‘technology issue’ they want to share?

The Toughest Time of Year

So, it’s finally that time of year again, December.  A great time to realize your humanity and generosity towards your fellow man.  But what is it about this time of year that seasonally depresses a decent chunk of our society?  Is it that their chestnuts were burned over an open fire rather than toasted?  Is it that Santa dropped the ball and didn’t get them the Super sparkly pretty, pretty rainbow princess to go with the prince?  Or is it something much deeper than that.  You see to most of us Christmas time is a season we remember and enjoy because of the happy and great memories that we found or created as a kid, but for some people it can be a horrible reminder of something sad or tragic that occurred that they never could get over.

I mean hell, my family never put up any decorations or the tree until after December 17th, sure we’d beg or plead to put them up, but my parents would never budge.  Then I was gently reminded that the date December 17th was the day my dad had had his accident.  Oh.  It took a lot of years for my parents to even consider budging with the whole “tree” thing, sure we’d try to be sneaky, we’d offer to get the artificial tree set up, they wouldn’t have to lift a finger!  But sadly they’d shake their head, threaten to take it down if we put it up, and we’d give up until the next year.  Flash forward to just a year or so ago.  It is Black Friday and I am stuck at work, just wanting to get home and sleep is my main goal.  When I finally run out the door and hit my car it takes all my energy to stay awake.  About 15 minutes later I throw my car in the driveway, slam myself out of it, and push myself through the door.  Inside is the weirdest sight I have ever seen.  There’s my sister putting the tree together, my dad untangling the lights from the year before, and my mom in a bright cheery voice saying  “Hi! welcome home honey!”  I did a double take at my watch thinking I had just stepped through the Twilight Zone and asked them what day it was and how long I’d been gone.  My sister looked at me oddly and told me “I dunno, whatever time you left this morning until now?”  It was the strangest thing “But I thought we wouldn’t put the tree up until after the 17th?” my mom kinda had this look of ‘oh’ and my dad chimed in with the coolest thing “Well I wanted it up now, so how do you like that?”  So as tired as I was, as purely exhausted as one could feel, I threw myself into helping put that tree together and helping deck it out as lovely as we could.  And I came to realize something, maybe people can heal after all.  That whole “Bah Humbug” spiel can be thrown away, but it takes a long time to do it.

So for all of you kids out there that have a “no tree or decorations before (this) date” keep the faith, it may take a while, but the path to healing is a long and difficult one, so yes the holiday may be marked up with grief, but you know what?  You can learn to heal that pain and turn it into something bright again.  And even though the tree is late going up this year (we have a puppy this time around ><) it doesn’t mean that it won’t go up at all.  Turn towards the light and joy of the holiday and let it fill your heart and make it light, trust me you’ll be glad you did.

A new face creates inspiration and new beginnings!

this is my MSD Asian Ball Jointed Doll Sera, It is my greatest aspiration to grasp the ability to give her a beautifully painted face.  I hope that I have begun to make progress

this is my MSD Asian Ball Jointed Doll Sera, It is my greatest aspiration to grasp the ability to give her a beautifully painted face. I hope that I have begun to make progress

 

So, remember on that introductory post of mine I mentioned something about ‘BJD’s’?  Well this my friends is what a BJD is.  They are hand-cast in resin (which is a true artform in itself as many pieces do not come out of the molds correctly) and created from a hand-sculpted work of art.  Each delicate piece is carefully molded as to properly fit together and could be easily broken with a harsh fall or applied pressure.  They are held together by a thick elastic cord which can be tightened when the doll seems to be ‘floppy’ or ‘disjointed’.  There is an art form in being able to paint a face this small, which is why I endeavor to improve my skill of customizing these beautiful pieces of art (and maybe someday I will be able to sculpt one of my own, as of yet, I am nowhere near good enough to do so).