Friday, December 3, 2010

The Walking Dead

          Tomorrow is the Season 1 finale of The Walking Dead. If you’re unfamiliar, you’re dead to me. Well, maybe that’s a little too harsh. Let me scale it back a bit. If you are unfamiliar with The Walking Dead I’m going to give you a crash course.

          The Walking Dead is a comic book series that is written by a good ‘ol Kentucky boy named Robert Kirkman. It is centered on a group of survivors of a zombie apocalypse, primarily Rick Grimes. Rick wakes up in the hospital after he was injured in a shootout (he’s a cop) and the whole world has gone to hell. It’s pretty gripping and fantastic reading. The story follows Rick as he tries to figure out what is going on and where his family is. Contrary to most zombie movies, TWD focuses more on the people who are left and not the monsters. Of course the zombies are a large character in the book, but there will be occasions when you won’t see any for several issues at a time. Kirkman also excels at making you believe these characters and making you realize that the zombies aren’t the most threatening thing left in the world.
          AMC picked up TWD and ran a six episode season starting on Halloween and ending tomorrow night. (By the way, AMC is running the first 5 episodes consecutively before the season finale.) When episode 2 aired, the series was renewed for a second season and that news was received by the geek/dork community with huge applause. Not only that, the show has been critically acclaimed as well. AMC has a great line with TWD, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men. This network is slowly but surely becoming a powerhouse.
Now, several purists are a bit upset because the content of the show doesn’t mirror the content of the book. I admit that I am the first to point out differences, but I understand that it can’t be the exact same as the comics. One, comics don’t have a budget. You can do anything you want as long as it can be drawn. The same is not true in television. Two, mixing it up a bit gives the show it’s own legs and exposes it to an audience that would never have read the book. My inner Martha Stewart keeps telling me that “it’s a good thing.” Yes, I have an inner Martha Stewart. Don’t give me that look. Stop it. My mother cooks well and loves crafts! It’s not my fault.

Happy Saturday!

The Black Death

This morning my coffee is serving a dual purpose. Obviously, it’s waking me up, but it’s also soothing my sore throat. Apparently, in the Ragsdale house we all have The Bubonic Plague. Seriously. I’ve considered loading up our used Kleenex to catapult onto our enemies. As you can most likely imagine, because of the sickness, our home life has not been a lot of fun lately. Cranky kids. Cranky parents. It’s a lose lose situation.
Largely, our current malady is destroying our sinuses, but it feels as if it’s affecting our very soul. I’ve never had this experience where four people who live in the same house and are sick try to pretend like they’re not and the keep going even though they’re slogging through a river of mucus. It’s a testament to the human condition. Or maybe it’s a testament to how dumb we are that we just can’t take a break and get better. Either way, we’re soldiers. Soldiers in a war on germs.
Sorry if today’s post is a little weirder than normal. Last night while assembling our Christmas tree I had an allergy attack. The only medication I could find to soothe my itchy, watery eyes was a single Benadryl capsule that expired in 2008. Needless to say, I’m in a bit of a fog today.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wifeasaurus Rex

Yesterday I spent all day hanging out with my two best friends in the world: my brother and my wife. Stacey and I woke up and we dealt with our sickly little ones, then Matthew came over at 11:30. We spent all day hanging out and cracking jokes and playing D&D. It was one of the best days I've had in recent memory and it has everything to do with who I was with.

In the last 5 years, Stacey has proven an invaluable asset for me to keep my sanity. She's learned all about my geeky ways and not only accepted, but embraced most of them. I've seen her play Rock Band, read comics, and play D&D with me and I truly think that she understands why these things appeal to me. It's fantastic to have a partner in life who is willing to give my passions and hobbies a shot and I consider myself very lucky to have stumbled across her.

Not only is she my friend, but she's an awesome wife and mother and I'm extraordinarily proud to have her in my life. She's extremely supportive of me and my endeavors. She knows how and when to get through to me when I'm being an idiot. She's honest with me (some times to a fault) and she will tell me exactly what I need to hear. She sacrifices a lot for me and my dreams. One day I hope that I can repay her for that with a level of success due in large part to her. I am thankful every day that I have her and that she is an amazing wife to me. I can't imagine where I would be without her guiding me. 

Thank you, Stacey, for who you are and who you've helped me become. I love you very much.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


          Procrastination is something that I know plagues most of us as we go throughout our lives, and I’m the first to admit that I have been and still find myself a huge victim of it. It’s something that I have always struggled with and, I suspect, I always will.
          Today, while listening to the newest SModcast, I heard about this test called the “Marshmallow Test.” What this consisted of was putting a child in a room by themselves and giving them a marshmallow. The children, ages 3 and up, were told that could eat their marshmallow whenever they wanted to, however, if they waited until adult came back to eat it, then they could have two marshmallows. This test was actually originally conducted in the 60s and 70s and Dr. Walter Mischel, the creator of the experiment, actually followed up with these children well into adulthood.
          The “Marshmallow Test” concluded that the children who could wait the few minutes for the second marshmallow were, overall, more successful in life. Of the children who ate it quickly, a large portion ended up having difficulties in school and ended up with an average of 200 points lower on their SAT. The children who immediately ate their snack were victim of “present bias”.

          Present bias is thinking about the present first and leaving your future self to deal with the consequences. It’s like being on a diet: you tell yourself you’re going to start on Monday, then, when Monday rolls around, you would rather eat the cupcake than scarf the salad. Instinctually, this is how people are wired. Don’t worry about the future because it’s not guaranteed; concern yourself with the here and now. Philosophically speaking, that’s fine, but what happens when you have a 20 page paper due on Friday and it’s Thursday night? Present bias kicks you in the rear then.
          We need to stop acting so instinctually and stop listening to self help “gurus” who say to not worry about the future. Of course we need to worry about the future! If not for the future, then why are we doing all of this work in the present?
          I’ll link an article on procrastination at the end of this blog today that I hope you will read. It’s extremely interesting and the guy who wrote it knows way more than I do. I’m just acting as a knowledge conduit for you. I’ll lead you to the knowledge, but I can’t make you drink. Or something. I’m off to go eat some marshmallows with Grayson.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Typical Monday

          Today had been, well….a day. In typical Monday fashion, I woke up around 8 to a screaming almost 9 month old. So we got up and we got our day started with a little boost from Folgers (me, not the baby) and started hanging out. Then my 3 year old woke up around 9. Enter Dora the Explorer. So, with my television commandeered, I headed to the computer to work on a super secret project which I was really getting into until I realized that I had to get ready for work, find clean clothes for Thing 1 and Thing 2, and get me and Thing 1 showered and fed lunch. Again, typical Monday.
          I dropped the boys off at my in-laws at noon, and then off to work where any will to do anything but work on my super secret project was missing. All I thought about all day was working on this. Sometimes, being employed sucks (most of the time if you’re me.) So after a very long, very slow day of dreary weather and few customers I am finally home. I do love being home. A little bit of drama with the wife and mother-in-law with two vaguely sick little ones, but all is, for the most part, good.
          Now I’m sitting behind my familiar black and silver Compaq keyboard and I can’t make myself work on my project that I have been so amped about all day. Work fried my brain today and now all I want to do is sit on the couch with something to eat and watch television until bedtime. It’s taking every ounce of creativity and will to sit down and write this blog for tomorrow. The sad part is, is that with Christmas rapidly approaching, I know that work is going to sap me of any desire to think.
It is hard being a working parent because all I want to do is spend time with my kids and occasionally sit behind this old CRT monitor and mash some keys. I really need to be able to make money doing this, that way I could tell the soul-sucking retail industry to kiss my…well, you know. The bright side to today is that I know what I’m working towards. I know I want to be able to be at home more and spend more time with Thing 1 and Thing 2 (and the wife too). I have a goal and I’m going to renew my efforts to try and reach that goal. I will continue to keep up with my blog 6 days a week and hopefully, my brother and I will resume our writing project soon. Plus I have a comic that I need to write more of, a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I am starting in a couple of days, and my super secret project (which I will talk about after Christmas if all goes well.) I have tons of outlets for my creativity coming up as long as the clothing industry doesn’t commence with the full frontal lobotomy. 

Monday, November 29, 2010


            A few nights ago Stace and I were corralling the boy and trying to watch some television and she ended up putting it on WE TV. Women’s Entertainment. I bet you can imagine how excited I was. I started watching because, well, if there’s a TV on and it’s not sports, I’ll probably watch it. The program was called “Downsized”. Basically it’s a family with seven children (think Brady Bunch) and they are going through a tough financial time. The husband, Todd Bruce, was a very successful contractor. In 2007 he made 1.5 million dollars. Then the economy started slipping. In 2008 he made only 500 thousand. In 2009 he says he didn’t make much at all. Laura Bruce is a teacher; I think the show said she made around $40,000 a year.
          With the decline in the economy this family is sacrificing to ‘downsize’ there lifestyle. Their house was foreclosed on and they’re living in a rental. When business started to slump, Todd started financing his company payroll on his personal credit cards hoping it was just temporary. His company went under and now he is stuck with the debt. This family has way more money going out at the end of the month than coming in.
          I feel like the show is pretty interesting, if not a bit unrealistic. At their current income (hers plus whatever he can get with his new construction company) they’re making more money than a large portion of Americans. The big crisis of the episode we watched was that the wife, Laura, was used to spending $150 a month on Starbucks coffee. What. The. Hell. Who does that? Even when making 1.5 million why would you spend that much on coffee? It seems absolutely ludicrous. So, she had to figure out how to make her own (it was one of those cold coffee frappuccino things she was obsessed with) so they could cut that much out of their budget. The 10 year old also had to drop cheerleading because it cost $145 a month. That’s more than my power bill.
          I think this family is displaying courage in opening up their lives to the cameras, but maybe they should have had their heads removed from the asses first. These people had borrowed thousand form their children. They’ve been put onto foodstamps. And yet, they have a reality TV show and their big problem is gourmet coffee.
          This is a stunning example of what’s wrong with our country. They didn’t put a middle class family on the show; they picked a family that was rich and is now middle class. Sure, it’s a great step down for them, but the show I want to see is what to do when a household is making $50,000 and their income gets cut in half. Then what? That’s the problem Americans are having. We need to be realistic. This show can help, I guess, but it’s entertainment. They’ve edited it cleverly to make more dram than (most likely) there is. WE wants ratings, so they’re going to get them. I wish this family luck, and I will probably check back in, but this show just seems the disrespect people out there who are truly struggling.