June 28, 2006

Speaking of Pikmin

I actually beat the game a few nights ago but was too tired to post about it. That final boss was crazy. Crazy I say!

Over the course of the game, I unlocked a few new features, including a 2 player cooperative challenge mode and some great commentary by Louie in the "Piklopedia." Yes, there is a Piklopedia. It's great. You can read about all the monsters you encounter there and test their behavior with Pikpik brand carrots. Louie contributes with cooking suggestions for each. It's brilliant.

I thought I would be putting the game aside for a while, but it turns out that challenge mode is pretty fun. Lots of new stuff to handle there, and a movie to unlock in theory. If only Wimbledon hadn't started this week...

Posted by Andy at 04:20 PM to the Games category | Comments (0)

Crabs 'n' Stuff

Yesterday I got to hang out with a couple of new friends, who came down to eat crabs at Anne Arundel Seafood. I know these folks through the internet, which is not typical for me really. Ann-Marie has similar health problems, and her brother Mike helps her out quite a bit. They run a business together in fact. Good situation.

In any event, it was a lot of fun hanging out even though I was too tired to do it. Sometimes you have to take one for the team. I'd do it again, only possibily with a little less bench-sitting and a little more Pikmin.

Posted by Andy at 04:11 PM to the General category | Comments (0)

June 26, 2006

Big Time Philanthropy

Perhaps you heard or read today that Warren Buffet decided to give 85% of his 40+ billion dollar fortune to charity. Over the past year or so I have been informed/reminded about the importance of anonymous donations. It is fantastic when people give privately and do not ask for any sort of credit, but I think this public gesture can do a lot of good on several levels. Firstly and most importantly, the sum of money donated today will be able to help an enormous number of people if handled properly. Secondly, a donation like this can help to set a precedent for other people, wealthy businessmen or not, to act in a similar fashion. Thirdly, conservatives everywhere can use Buffett's example of what corporate executive types can do when their businesses are allowed to thrive without government intervention.

The first two points are probably more important, but the third is still valid whether you approve of conservative politics or not.


Posted by Andy at 11:47 PM to the Politics category | Comments (3)

June 25, 2006

Dinner Party

Nic Kipke and his wife Morgan invited me over to their place along with 2 other couples for a dinner party this evening. As my earlier post today indicated, I was hurting pretty badly going into this, but the night was so fun and informative that adrenaline carried me through pretty well. I'm just going to make a point of totally or almost totally relaxing over the next few days to try to compensate.

I was hoping to learn a bit about the local political campaign process, and I sure did. Everyone attending tonight happens to be involved in the state Republican Central Committee, and all are pretty intimately familiar with Nic's campaign in some manner or another. We all talked politics virtually the entire evening.

... but the evening wasn't just about the political talk. It turns out Nic is pretty proficient with his outdoor grill. Despite the rain, he cooked up great steaks, potatoes (both regular and sweet), grilled vegetables, and ice cream ca... wait a minute. He didn't grill the ice cream cake. Nic and Morgan also served up some broccoli and a great salad to round out a very full table.

So now I'm exhausted, but it was worth it. I shall lay low over the coming days and hopefully regroup and get into my web building anew. Thank you Nic and Morgan for a great evening.

Posted by Andy at 11:06 PM to the General category & Politics category | Comments (2)


I've been working really hard to try to establish myself as a web designer since my radiation treatments ended. I built myself a look for my own site and worked on some others as well in the first few weeks, but since then I have hit a wall of poor health, in this case more mentally than physically, but both are involved.

I've had to handle numerous updates for Nic's site, and yesterday I had to code the latest newsletter for my community's page. Whenever I have updates, that is all I can handle, and sometimes I have to wait a day or until 10pm to even attempt them despite the fact that they're just what you might call "grunt work", requiring no real creativity and little problem solving.

I decided to handle yesterday's newsletter update in the afternoon, because I felt like I needed to push a little bit in order to really hope to improve anything. The update ended up taking me an hour and a half, after which I felt like I had been run over by a bus. I felt slightly better after dinner and was able to make some minor modifications on one of my own projects, but not surprisingly, the bus caught up with me again today and decided to renew the tire marks. How am I supposed to create a web business of any kind when I can't even handle text updates to websites I've already built? I haven't even been able to think about writing the copy for my design website for over a month now, and my efforts to copyright my cards have stalled on account of the printshop I work with requiring micromanaging and constant reminders.

I'm not giving up by any means. I have decided that if I can try to accomplish something of any magnitude every day, maybe I can eventually carve out some form of living. It's a good thing I don't have to cook, clean, or balance finances. I had planned to head up a recreational roleplaying game that I've wanted to run for years now, but it's becoming clear that this is not going to be possible any time soon. I still want to try to take a class in the fall. We'll see. Unfortunately, no amount of resourcefulness seems to be enough to overcome my level of poor health. This latest situation has increased my confidence in my instincts regarding when I should push and when not, but has reduced it in terms of my general ability to handle life.

I have to be very careful not to think to the future too much at times like these. My rather extensive experience has shown me that I am entirely incapable of managing more than one thing at a time when I am able to manage even that one thing. When my parents are gone, well... that is why I have to be careful not to think to the future.

I'm staying mentally on top of everything by means of faith and religious study. I cannot know what my future holds whether experience makes it look bleak or not. I have food, shelter, family, friends, and most importantly, eternity on the horizon if I am able to live my life in a righteous way. Maybe God's plan for me does not include security. I have never entirely bought into the idea of believing that God necessarily provides for all of our dreams if we just pray hard enough. I believe that the proper course is to pray that God's will be realized, and to possess the necessary strength to carry it out as it pertains to each of us. Sure, I pray that I may achieve my personal dreams as well, but I only ask for those things conditionally. It is not for me to decide if the fulfillment of God's will includes my being healthy, married, or anything else.

I will always ask for the strength to endure what I must bear.

That is a prayer that will always be answered.

Posted by Andy at 03:14 PM to the General category & Health category | Comments (2)

June 24, 2006

Polls Tell a Disturbing Tale

Take a look at this poll data, which I found courtesy of Hot Air, a relatively new and intentionally conservative website. It is important to note that the poll was not compiled by anyone at Hot Air, nor does it seem to back any sort of political agenda.

Pew Global Attitudes Project: III. Islam, Modernity and Terrorism: The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other

I have expressed concerns over the ways polls are constructed and used in another of my political posts, but this one appears to be fairly straightforward. I'd still like to see the questions of course.

This data probably should not surprise us, but it should still concern us.


Posted by Andy at 03:02 PM to the Politics category | Comments (0)

June 21, 2006

Question of the Day

I think about this occasionally, and figured it would be a good topic of discussion here on the blog...

Is it possible for a nation to operate entirely on Christian principles and survive?

Posted by Andy at 06:00 PM to the Politics category | Comments (10)


Using my handy dandy StumbleUpon plugin, I happened across Frogger a minute or three ago. Go slack off at work and give it a try.

Posted by Andy at 04:04 PM to the Games category | Comments (0)

June 20, 2006

Deer Encounter

This afternoon around 3:45 we had a couple of visitors in the yard. Click the image below to enlarge.

deer watching

I don't think I've ever seen a deer on the property during daylight hours, let alone two. I think they just couldn't resist eating all of the day lily flowers they could find.

Posted by Andy at 07:26 PM to the General category | Comments (2)

June 18, 2006

Russert is Half-Right

Tim Russert of Meet the Press has been doing the talk and news show tour lately to promote his new book. One of the lines he's been repeating around the circuit is that it is not wrong to question our motives for waging or continuing war in Iraq, and he is right... as long as that is not all one does.

Bush gets a lot of bad press on account of his administration's distrust of and sometimes tight-lipped approach toward the media, but the reason Bush and his people distrust them so much is because all they have ever done is to question the war and its continuation. This is why conservatives are angry for those of you who are curious. Angry, not crazy.

Posted by Andy at 07:50 PM to the Politics category | Comments (10)

June 17, 2006


Thanks to the behind the scenes work of one Joe Chiappa, today's celebratory aquarium trip was a big success. We were able to bring together people whom I know for all different reasons and combine them into one compatible group, I would say. I always enjoy doing that.

Today marks the first time I have ever used a wheelchair during an event to mitigate the orthostatic intolerance problems I perpetually endure. The wheelchair worked well, though the aquarium on a busy day like today was not well suited to its use. Despite Joe's creative wheeling, I was not able to see a fair number of exhibits or was only able to see them in a limited manner. I did get out and walk a few times, and that helped out a lot in the areas that involved stairs. Imagine that!

Using a wheelchair to get around with friends is an entirely different prospect from walking as normal. It turns out you don't really get to talk to people much unless they happen to be pushing you, and the persective is, of course, quite unusual when you're new to it. I think everyone should try it once just to understand it a little better.

We ate at the Cheesecake Factory as I hoped we would, because Pat Lenehan got there for us early to put our party on the waiting list. Thanks Pat!. We were there quite a long time, which was tiring but great, because that let us all chat and make up for the lost "friends time" (at least for me) experienced at the aquarium. We even met up with an internet friend of mine with similar health problems who I had yet to meet, along with her brother. I did my best to stay on top of conversations at two ends of the booth. I hope I did ok with that.

Mei also got me another gratuitous but greatly appreciated get-well gift. This time it was the latest Bryn Terfel cd, which I am listening to right now. It starts beautifully. It probably ends beautifully too, but I only just now got it playing. Thanks yet again, Mei.

So thanks everybody for coming out. I hope you had as much fun as I did. This wheelchair angle might open some new doors for fun activities in the future as well, and I'll know a little more about how to maximize its usefulness. I think I'll be doing another one of these gatherings with my family soon, with the Smithsonian Natural History Museum as the target. After that, it'll be (at last) the first croquet event of the summer. You're all invited to attend the Gwen Chiappa Hamster, Twinkie Johnson Kitty and Cancer Awareness Invitational Power Croquet Tournament (the GCHTJKCAIPCT for short) in a few weeks. I'll nail down specifics once I know more about the family trip. Until then, start donating prize money and don't stop until the event.

Posted by Andy at 11:14 PM to the General category & Health category | Comments (2)

June 16, 2006

Pikmin and Passions

... don't mix! Well, that's not entirely true. Amanda Olear swung by yesterday and I introduced her to both, though fortunately not at the same time. It is amusing to see the change from amusement at cute and useful flower workers to horror at the machinations of soap opera morons I must say. Actually, that's only amusing if you're doing the watching. I know firsthand.

I experienced a hefty dose of both today after my wakeup routine as I finished out the "Hole of Heroes" in Pikmin 2. This was the longest and one of the two toughest caves in the game to my knowledge. I have just one cave to go in this final region. If it's harder I'm going to need to be committed to a mental institution.

Posted by Andy at 04:54 PM to the Games category & General category | Comments (0)

June 11, 2006

Pikmin Plus

I just turned off the Gamecube after successfully paying off the full 10,000 poko debt owed to creditors by Hocotate Freight, Captain Olimar's employer. At first I was a little concerned, because the game ended just as I left the cave in which I collected the last of my debt even though I had more caves to explore in other areas. My worry vanished quickly, however, as co-worker Louie fell out of the ship on the way back to Hocotate, prompting a return visit by Olimar and his boss. Now I can finish those caves and explore an all-new region that promises to be extra challenging. As an added bonus, my ship is now gold-plated! It's hard to beat that.

In pikless news, I've been pounding away on websites since my last update, making some decent progress, but having to fight for it pretty hard. This week has been more difficult for me for some reason. Mentally I'm not really functional till around 8pm, and physically, I'm in this new sort of perpetual pain from my waist down. It is frustrating and always slightly scary when something new crops up, but I plan to keep workin' and hope to feel better soon. I am definitely on top of it mentally, even if I don't get decent access till 8. :)

I am looking forward to the big aquarium trip with friends this coming Saturday. Don't forget to buy your tickets in advance, and grab the version that gives you access to the dolphin show unless for some reason you would rather wander aimlessly while the rest of us check out the dolphins. I have nothing against aimless wandering, mind you. Go nuts if ya want.

If you read this and didn't get an email but want to attend, just send me a comment or email and we'll remedy the error.

Posted by Andy at 05:52 PM to the Games category & General category & Health category | Comments (0)

June 09, 2006

The Water Calls

I have a canoe here, and it has yet to be used this year. Anyone want to come down and remedy that?

Posted by Andy at 08:37 PM to the General category | Comments (2)

June 04, 2006

New Record

I removed 20 spam comments from this blog and another 7-10 on the main family blog today. That contributed to the 36 messages in my email inbox today of which 2 were real. You know, comment spammers are everywhere these days, but I find it particularly classy that they post random junk to posts that read "I Have Cancer" or whatever. Just absurd.

Hopefully this will make for a moderately funny story when I hang out with people who have websites.

Posted by Andy at 04:18 PM to the Computers category | Comments (1)