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Good Night, Sweet Prince

Monday, September 24, 2007
If my reader recalls, I had a beautiful blue betta named Gustav. I'm very sad to report to the world that he died tonight.

I fed him Friday and he was happy. I went to Portland for the weekend (which I've done before) but got back Sunday evening and immediately went to feed him. However, he was listlessly hanging out at the bottom of the tank. "No big deal," I thought to myself. He doesn't always like to eat in the evenings, so I'd feed him Monday morning.

Monday morning came around, and he was still lethargic and now was listing slightly to one side. I started to worry because he still wouldn't eat. After I got home from class in the afternoon I went to check on him, and his condition had worsened. I went to Petsmart where, describing what I thought his symptoms were, I was told it was probably stress. I bought some supplies to change his water and make it really nice for him.

Two hours later he was dead.

I've never been a big "pet" person. I've never been good at maintaining things - like pets, or plants, or relationships. But I cared about Gustav and I tried to make sure I was taking care of him. His death saddens me.

Movie Review: Transformers IMAX

Saturday, September 22, 2007
I realize that I didn't write up a review for Transformers the first time I saw it, back in the normal movie theater. This was a serious omission on my part and for that I apologize most sincerely to my reader. Let me then sum up by saying it was far too cool for this planet. In fact, it was SO cool that I almost don't want them to make a sequel because, statistically speaking, it's going to ruin the experience for me.

So this weekend I saw the movie again, this time at an IMAX theater.

If you have a chance, I highly recommend it. If you have a chance to see Optimus Prime *sigh* on the big, BIG screen, I highly recommend it. I mean, while I could have easily removed 20 minutes from this film and made it better, as a whole I could watch this movie again and again before growing tired of it. (Indeed, I have.) The movie was my childhood wrapped up in decent writing and excellent special effects. Watching the movie was like opening a gift on Christmas - but instead of getting a new pair of socks, you get a pony. It was THAT much fun.

"Freedom is the right of ALL sentient beings." - Optimus Prime

Avast, Ye Scurvy Dog!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
As I noted last year (right about this time) it's September 19th, which means it's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Let's compare Talk Like a Pirate Day to other holidays:
  1. On the 4th of July we light off fireworks. Today, it's acceptable to set off cannons.

  2. On the 14th of February, you ask someone to be your valentine. Today, it's acceptable to ask someone to be your wench.

  3. On the 31st of October, you dress up in a costume and ask for candy. Today, it's acceptable to dress up like a pirate and plunder candy!

  4. On the 17th of March, everyone is Irish and therefore gets appropriately drunk. Today, everyone's a pirate, and can therefore get appropriately drunk.

  5. On the 12th of October, we celebrate Columbus crossing the Atlantic. Today, we lament letting all three ships make it to the New World.
So there you have it. Enjoy your holiday, me hearties, and may you all have a fine evening of ale and wenching!

Happy Birthday!

Monday, September 17, 2007
'Tis the second birthday of this humble blog. From modest beginnings to poetry (of questionable quality), from political commentary to movie reviews, I've managed to keep this spot alive through hardware failures and power failures. It's been a good run thus far... I'm going to keep working on it!

The Wheel of Time Ends

So CNN.com is running the story today that fantasy writer Robert Jordan (not his real name) has died.

I started reading the Wheel of Time series back when I was a freshman in college - about ten years ago. Back then, there were only about six books in the series. I remember just charging through the books, despite the fact that they weighed in at roughly 1000 pages each. Fun times. However, there was a point - perhaps it was book six, perhaps it was book seven - where the plot was not at all advanced in the novel. The net result of 1000 pages of story was that everyone was more or less where they were to begin with.

This irritated me.

It was then that I lost interest in the series. I realized that there wasn't going to be an end to the series, and I knew - knew - that Robert Jordan was going to die before finishing the series. And, lo and behold, I was right.

Art in Public Places

I saw this just outside my apartment. I have no idea what the spray-painted symbol means. Nonetheless, I've named this "Dumpster of the Luftwaffe".

Dumpster with a spray-painted image on it


Friday, September 14, 2007
It should be pretty common knowledge at this point that I'm a Mac user. Not gonna change that - I generally love my Mac. However, my MacBook Pro (first generation) has not been without its fair share of issues. The latest one is starting to frustrate me.

I've tried to call AppleCare but I can't just sit on hold for 15 minutes (or more) waiting for someone to answer. I looked at their "contact" page, and saw "AppleCare Support". Well, they just want website feedback it turns out, but I tried leaving them a message. No dice, I clicked "Submit" and got an error.

So I now turn to the 'tubes and post my grievance in view of everyone, hoping that the sheer act of venting will give me patience to figure out how to get ahold of them.


I have a MacBook Pro that's not allowing me to use the battery for more than about 40% of its charge before it shuts down on me (it does NOT go to sleep.) Gosh, this sucks a lot when I'm working on a paper or project for school. So I try calling AppleCare two days in a row (since I did shell out for the extraordinarily expensive - albiet generally useful - extended warranty.) Being a starving student, I have very finite daytime minutes on my cell phone and CANNOT sit on hold for "15 minutes or more" hoping that someone will answer. (Yes, I've tried rebooting. Yes, I've reset the PRAM.) I'm also about an hour away from the nearest Apple Retail Store. Can someone help me with my options?

Thanks in advance. I'm sending this through your "Website" feedback since I can't sit on hold to tell you your hold times are unacceptably long.)

- Burton Simmons


Sunday, September 09, 2007
So I am now an apprentice range instructor for TEAM OREGON. This is pretty exciting for me. I get to help shape the minds of young riders who choose to take the Basic Rider Training (BRT).

The BRT breaks down into classroom time and range time - time on the motorcycles. As a range apprentice, I'm only going to be doing sessions on the range (for now.) Furthermore, as an apprentice I'm not paid, since there will be a mentor instructor at my hip for the first few sessions. Once I graduate to "intern" status, I'll be paid as a second instructor (but I can only be paired with certain instructors who are certified mentors.) Finally, I'll be a full range instructor and will most likely see about classroom certification.

Yes, it's a long process. But it's a lot of fun!

I highly recommend the BRT to anyone interested in motorcycling. It's designed for individuals with no riding experience at all. We provide the motorcycles and helmets, and the DMV accepts successfully passing our class as passing their test as will endorse your license successfully when presented with our certificate of completion. It's a great way to determine if motorcycling is something you'd want to do... without having to commit more than about $180 and a weekend. Try it!

New Format

Thursday, September 06, 2007
Okay, so The Dude is in the process of finding yet another site template for his illustrious blog. And that got me to thinking... it's been years since I started this humble site, perhaps it's time for a change?

(Actually, I'd thought about this many, many times, but since I self-host, Blogger's template options are limited.)

So, as wrap up my second year of operation, I've debuting what I shall call "Site Design 2.0", which hopefully retains my preference for a relatively clean and simple design, while giving the site a slightly more modern look. (I had to significantly modify the base template to get this.)

Please, PLEASE, feel free to give me feedback.

UPDATE: I refined the color scheme slightly, hopefully this will emphasize the text better.

UPDATE #2: Based on more feedback I made a few more alterations, including making the right sidebar a little more distinct. I do like the colors, though, as they're very reminiscent of my original scheme.



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