Jun 302020
 

If I Had A Million DollarsActually this is more about if I won the lottery, I just felt the song by the Barenaked Ladies seemed fitting for this random thought. The age old question: What would you do if you won the lottery? They say money changes people and while that may be true for most I do know wealthy people, personally, that are still pretty down to earth.

So I want to start out by saying that, first and foremost, if I won the jackpot I wouldn’t let it change me. In fact I’d want to remain as anonymous as possible. I’d hire a lawyer or proxy to accept the winning on my behalf. I’d even try to maintain my anonymity from family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that greedily. I don’t want them to treat me any different and obscurity is the best way to maintain that dynamic.

What Would I Do With The Money

I’d keep working and hope that I can work without becoming too cavalier. I imagine that when you have no fear of losing your job you tend to become lazy. Besides, I’d need something to do during the day or I’d go nuts. I wouldn’t move either. I’d stay in my current home for a couple more years and I’d keep my car until I actually needed to buy a new vehicle. In the meantime I’d make a few investments and some charitable donations (of my choosing). I’d also put together a couple of trust funds for my future generations.

The hardest thing, I imagine, is trying not to be too ostentatious. I’d still buy reliable vehicles, not something luxury just because I can afford it. I’d still only buy a new technology when it was necessary instead of always buying the latest model. I’d still keep my purchases simple and economical (no “dijon ketchup”). See I think the more money you have the more frugal you should be. After all a fool and his money are soon parted. Honestly, what will probably suffer the most is my DIY skills. Instead of attempting to remodel a room myself, I’d hire a professional to do it for me.

/cheers

The things that go through my mind when I’m alone with nothing but my thoughts for entertainment is dangerous. Some might even say eccentric. Consider this your warning about today’s Random Thought of the Day

 

Jun 252020
 

Book Review The Swarm (The Second Formic War, #1)The Swarm by Orson Scott Card
My rating:
(Click here to view on Goodreads)

Ask anyone that knows my taste in books and they will tell you that I love the Ender’s Game Series. It even made my Top 5 Books list. So when I heard about these series of books that are essentially prequels to Ender’s Game, I was immediately interested. Honestly I wasn’t even aware there were books about the first Formic War until I began reading this book. Now I guess my list has grown bigger (since there are still books in the “Enderverse” that I haven’t read yet).

The Swarm is the first book of three in the new Second Formic War series. The third book has not been published, yet. This series follows Mazer, Victor Delgado and Bingwen as they face off against the Formics again, after the tragic events of the First Formic War. This book focuses on the International Fleet’s struggle to gain a tactical advantage over the Hive Queen and her swarm. When a Formic ship is discovered on an asteroid in the Kuiper Belt Bingwen, Victor and Mazer race to gather as much intel as they can to assist the IF and save the human race.

Biggs’ Review

I didn’t do any research about this book before reading it. We found it on sale and decided to buy it because I love the Ender books and my wife had heard good things about it. The rumors are true. I enjoyed this book just as much as I enjoyed his other books. While I haven’t read the First Formic War series, this book begins setting up much of what we see in Ender’s Game. I’m excited to read The Hive to see what other “origin stories” are ahead. Unfortunately I don’t own a copy … yet.

If you’re an Orson Scott Card fan and/or an Ender’s Game fan then this series seems right for you.

View all my reviews

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Jun 242020
 

It's Time for a Fitness UpdateIt’s been a while since I regaled you with my fitness efforts so it’s time for a fitness update. I believe the last time I wrote about it was my “Bad Idea Birthday Run” challenge. The COVID has created new challenges for staying in shape. Stress and quarantine create the perfect storm for indulging in snacks, desserts and vegging on the couch. It’s a huge motivation killer.

I don’t know how other people are managing, especially when gyms were closed. Personally, I never went to a gym because 1) I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for a membership and 2) I’m too introverted to workout in front of strangers. Be that as it may, I’m still maintaining a consistent workout during these crazy times.

Going The Distance

I haven’t had any spikes in weight gain, on the other hand I haven’t had any record weight loss either. In fact I’m more or less maintaining my weight. Granted that’s far better than consistently gaining weight. I am, officially, running 5+ miles a day and I’ve run 8+ miles at least twice on my push days during this pandemic. If you do the math there, that means I have run a combined 13.1 miles (aka a half marathon) over two consecutive days. I’m honestly thinking about just skipping the Flying Pig this year and just push for the Half Marathon in 2021.

As I said, the current state of the world has really negatively impacted my motivation. Sudden changes in my daily routine makes me quite uncomfortable and stressed. It’s been a Catch 22; running reduces stress but I’ve been too stressed to run. Now that summer is officially here that means heat and humidity which makes running especially difficult. Despite all that I’m still trying to run 5 days a week (I might miss a day or two depending on weather and other curve balls). At the time of this post I’m at least 63% of the way done with my Walk to Mordor challenge and I suspect that is a little behind my progress at this time last year.

I feel my motivation slowing returning but with the brunt of the summer upon us it begs the question, how long will it last? Enduring the heat is a challenging obstacle. Time to dig deep!

How have your fitness goals been during the COVID, before the gyms reopened?

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

Jun 212020
 

HMDYK About Sir Alec GuinnessAll right, we talked about two bad guys so let’s cover some neat trivia about a good guy. The good guy! Of all of the good guys in Star Wars, I don’t think anyone compares to Obi-Wan Kenobi (except, perhaps, Yoda). The man endured the loss of his best friend/brother to the dark side and even witnessed him slaughtering younglings. Satine Kryze, the woman he cared about most, is murdered right in front of him. He is betrayed by his first in command because of Order 66 and becomes, essentially, one of the last remaining Jedi. After ALL of that, he is never once tempted by the dark side. A Jedi as legendary as Obi-Wan Kenobi can only be initially portrayed by a legendary actor. So how much do you know about Sir Alec Guinness?

Sir Alec Guinness passed away in 2000 from lung cancer at 86 years old. In 1959 he was knighted by Elizabeth II for his contribution to the arts. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received a lifetime achievement award in 1980. He was only married once and has one child.

Unlike the previous actors, Sir Alec Guinness’ film career spans only 63 credits. However, similar to Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, he has portrayed some pretty notable characters. I really think he is one of those actors more people need to talk about and appreciate. Before we get into his other roles, I want to share some behind-the-scenes Star Wars trivia.

A Love-Hate Relationship

He apparently claims it was his idea that Obi-Wan Kenobi is killed in the first movie to reduce his involvement with the film. He never hated the movie but he did hate the fact that it’s the only role people knew him for despite all his previous roles. I, honestly, don’t blame him; as you will soon see, he had a great career. The other actors in the movies claim he was very professional and very kind, however he once told a fan to “never watch it [Star Wars] again”. Despite his mixed feelings fans, actors and even Disney continue to honor the man that brought us Obi-Wan. Ewan McGregor would spend hours studying his earlier films in preparation for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the prequels. Disney and J.J. Abrams even **cast his granddaughter, Sally Guinness, in Rise of Skywalker to honor his memory.

As I already said, Sir Alec Guinness should be appreciated for more than his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He has a lifetime achievement award for only 63 films so you know there is more to this mans’ career than a decrepit hermit Jedi. In the 1940’s he was in a couple film adaptations of some fairly well known novels; Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. Fun Fact: the voice for Watto was modeled after Guinness’s performance as Fagin in Oliver Twist.

He’s in a few other movies you may have heard of; Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai. The latter two films both won Best Picture. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the role that would make him famous but seeing the distinguished career he had prior to Star Wars I feel inclined to go back and watch his other films.

Other Links and References

** just a note about this link, I don’t approve of Screen Rant. I’m not a fan, however this link does provide sufficient coverage of Sally Guinness’ cameo and only for that reason I included it.

/MTFBWY

Confronting fear is the destiny of the Jedi.

Jun 172020
 

WoW Hiatus BeginsAs I alluded to a few weeks ago, for the first time in 15 years I let my World of Warcraft account lapse. It was strange seeing the warning on the launcher that counted down the days until expiration. There was a small part of me secretly hoping Blizzard would release some kind of patch that would entice a stay of execution. Alas, that did not happen and there’s not a chance in hell I’m playing Classic. So as my WoW hiatus begins where did I leave things and what do I hope to get done when the Shadowlands pre-patch finally drops? I’m assuming there will be something to do during the pre-patch, however the contents of it is as elusive as the release date.

Farming and Grinding

I’m going to assume that whatever content is available in the patch, it won’t consume all my time. Therefore I plan to resume my mount farming and grinding out any rep that is left (if any). I’ll likely resume doing the invasions and emissary quests. Those paragon chests can have some really nice gold rewards. I’ve decided that I’m going to give up on the AH mount (Caravan Brutosaur). I’ll take my chances with the Black Market Auction House in Shadowlands. Besides my main is an Engineer and often has access to an Auction House in places where other players don’t.

I’ll wrap up any remaining profession tasks; by that I mean max any remaining professions and/or complete any Tricks of the Trade quests. The former being the higher priority. I’m not going to level any additional alts. I do have a couple that I’ve started, including a Mechagnome hunter but it’s rather pointless to grind out 120 levels when you only need to get to 60 after the expansion drops. I should also try to grind out some Island Expeditions; I regret not doing more of them (especially for the mounts).

It’s going to feel really strange when I can’t log into WoW, albeit brief. I am even expecting a bit of withdrawal. Have you ever stopped playing a game that you’ve played for 15 years? How did you handle the change?

duke-nukem-sm If zombies attack the world, everyone will run and hide. Except for us gamers, of course. We’ve been waiting for this all our lives!

 

Jun 052020
 

Top 5 Books

I’m going a different direction for the June Top Five. Let’s direct our attention away from movies this month and talk about books. This could be one of those topics that I could have split into genres. I’ve read a lot of books that span many genres. However, when I sat down to write this post I went with the books that stood out the most in my mind. All the books in the top 5 are books I have read at least more than once.

Most of these books do have corresponding movies, however don’t watch the movie in lieu of reading the book. You will not only cheapen the book but you will also be cheating yourself.

  • Lord of the Flies – I got my first copy in middle school; I literally read the cover off
  • Moby Dick (unabridged) – Used this as part of my senior research paper. I’ve loved it since
  • Ender’s Game – This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone
  • Ready Player One – Any gamer and child of the 80’s should be reading this book
  • Kubrick’s Game – I cannot say this enough, this is an excellent book, especially if you’re a fan of Stanley Kubrick

Of course I have some honorable mentions. Animal Farm really needs no explanation. I haven’t read this one in a while but I remember enjoying it a lot back in high school. In fact this book might move up on my re-read list. A Confederacy of Dunces was recommended to me by a stranger in a Barnes and Noble. This book is the reason I’m often inclined to read any recommendation even from a complete stranger.

What are some of your favorite books?

(See last month’s Top 5)

I Have Spoken!