Month: January 2004

Caffeinated Fun with Food and Drugs

I followed an interesting remaindered link from to a page that discloses the caffeine content of everyday foods and drugs. It’s interesting to see that one dose of Excedrin has more caffeine in it than a single dose of regular-strength No-Doz. That really wasn’t that surprising to me, since I knew that caffeine has been known to help relieve (but also causes) headaches and Excedrin is primarily a headache medicine.

More useful to me, however, is the knowledge that my favorite tea happens to be the second-highest tea on the list. Bigelow Raspberry Royale Tea contains 83 milligrams of caffeine per eight-ounce serving, almost double the caffeine content of a similarly sized serving of Surge! It’s no surprise that a cup of Raspberry Royale sweetened with five or six teaspoons of sugar always provides a welcome jumpstart to my mornings.

Chaser Prevents Hangovers

I saw a commercial last night advertising Chaser, an unusual pill that will “prevent hangovers.” They said to take two pills for every three alcoholic beverages that you drink. This is just what we need: a pill to get rid of the effects of alcohol abuse–that way, you can drink yourself drunk and not have to worry about feeling ill. Last time I checked, hangovers were the reason why most people do drink responsibly, with the obvious exception of college students who need to get it out of their systems or something.

Although, many people said that a birth-control pill that eliminated the possibility of pregnancy from a casual sexual encounter would cause society to go through a sexual upheaval. Not that sexual revolution was worth banning an important drug, but could Chaser have any possible results that are not so hedonistic?

Things that Should Be Mentioned

The past week and a half have witnessed a flurry of activity. I wanted to write something about each event, every day, but I just didn’t have the time. That seems to be a recurring issue in my life: I wanted to, but I ran out of time. Anyway, here’s a list of the past weeks’ events:

1/17 — I took Annie to Baltimore for her Saturday class and hung out in Barnes & Noble and Borders for six hours. I wrote about loitering in bookstores.

1/18 — Annie and I went to see Cold Mountain; it was an excellent movie with powerful messages and acting. It reaffirms my belief that war is dumb.

1/21 — We took a trip to Harrisburg today to see Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees at the Whitaker Center IMAX. It was interesting to see how her relationship with the chimps has evolved from outsider to accepted member of the chimps’ society.

1/23 — Annie and I almost went to Baltimore today so that we could move her stuff back to her dorm room, but her residence life department is just as inept as mine and claimed that she wasn’t allowed to move in two days early, despite the fact that she had class the next day and it’s a 300 mile round trip.

1/25 — I drove down to Baltimore so that Annie and I could practice riding the busses from her school to her internship downtown. The Maryland Transit Authority’s website is generally useless, but the new digital signs in the busses that announce the approaching intersections are a wonderful idea. I wrote about our bus adventure.

1/27 — I moved back to Scranton, with little planning beforehand. It actually entailed staying up all night so that I’d be ready to go in the morning.

So there’s the rundown. There were many opportunities for posts where I actually did something or saw something interesting, but it’s all lost in the recesses of my mind. What a waste of bandwidth!

Meet Global Warming, She’s Schizophrenic

It’s cold outside. I’m not sure if you noticed. I noticed it because as I was cleaning the snow off my car this afternoon, my toes went numb. Yes, I checked to make sure that I was wearing shoes. Our outside thermometer is showing -1F degree, but the wind chill is reported to be about -20F. Just the sort of weather to make you want to go for an evening stroll.

It’s only a matter of time before some newscaster starts cracking jokes about the current lack of global warming. How quickly we forget that it was almost 60F in Pennsylvania less than two weeks ago. Global warming refers to warming the average temperature of the Earth; warming the Earth as much as 1 degree is enough to throw off the climate in strange ways. Places that should stay cold—like the ice caps—will warm up, while wet areas will have droughts, and temperate areas will swing wildly from one extreme to another. Didn’t you wonder why we’re breaking so many weather records? Now you know.

Starving the Beast Makes it Hungrier

I read an interesting article in Time last night. It explained why the Bush “starve the beast” and tax cut policy will never work. A thorough explanation and examination of the Bush Administration’s economic policy coupled with a little common sense shows the tax cuts for what they really are: big business kickbacks that hurt the economy in the end.

Apparently, She’s Retardedly Hot

I forgot to mention that when Annie and I were Christmas shopping at the Selinsgrove Mall, we heard a 20-something shoe salesman in the Bon-Ton tell his female coworker, “I saw this girl the other night and she was, like, retardedly hot.” Way to go, Slick. I’m sure your coworker wants you even less than she did before. Not just hot, “Retardedly hot.” Who says that?

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun for PS2

Medal of Honor: Rising Sun for PS2

The game is not MOH: Frontline. That part is simple enough. While Frontline presented a big leap forward in graphics and attention to detail, Rising Sun makes only modest steps in the right direction. One reason for this may be the terrible rendering of trees and other fauna when viewed closely. While horizon-distance and even mid-range trees, plants, people, and buildings are quite realistic, many plants appear choppy or even two-dimensional when viewed up close. The close-up view of soldiers/people is just as poor; they appear fake or even grotesque (Uncanny Valley, I suppose).

The story line of the Campaign modes is also less intricate than the MOH: Frontline plot. Whereas Frontline allowed players to choose their plan of attack, Rising Sun drags the player in the right direction, like it or not, by setting each scene with few opportunities to deviate from the intended action. Example: sniper shoots at you, kill the sniper… now soldiers are running at you with bayonets, shoot the soldiers… etc. Your intended plan of attack usually must follow the only available plan of attack.

However, MOH: Rising Sun is worth its full price for the Multiplayer Mode alone. PlayStation did not offer two (or more) player modes in Frontline (although Nintendo GameCube did) and the addition is much appreciated. You can fight in Free for All or a Team mode that allows you to set up teams featuring live and computer (bot) players. You may also wage a team campaign, but I didn’t find that as interesting as the Multiplayer arena mode.

Its parts are not the top in their areas of game play, but MOH: Rising Sun is a worthwhile choice as a sum of its parts.

Wrapping Up 2003

I’m not going to go into any detail about what has happened since my last post. I actually finished all of my Christmas shopping on time; it was finished on Christmas Eve, just in time for the main event. Overall, Christmas was pleasant and quite relaxing. I received a good percentage of the items on my wish list, and several other unexpected, but nonetheless good gifts. Annie bought me a happy, little goldfish, which I promptly named Bethias—don’t ask, it’s a long and confusing story. I mention that gift because it’s my first official non-family pet, not because I have any grudges against any other gifts. It’s all good.

I suppose the next big event was New Year’s. As usual, Annie and I went up to Scranton for their First Night celebration, but instead of driving back, we stayed there overnight with some friends. It was a welcome relief, not having to drive home at 2 AM. New Year’s Day, Annie and I hit the stores in Wilkes-Barre on Kidder and Mundy Streets. I can’t believe all of the new stores that keep popping up there. While there, we happened by Circuit City where I used some of my Christmas money to buy SimCity 4: Deluxe. It was a bit of a splurge, considering I am very close to broke, but I just couldn’t resist any longer. The game actually rang up as thirty dollars, rather than the forty dollars that I expected. I love markdowns.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m not going to go into details about everything else that’s happened since the 18th. I will mention that I’m going to update later tonight and post a review of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun that I wrote for Amazon this morning. I plan to write reviews from time to time, and I’ll be sure to post them here for your reading enjoyment.