I'm in!

It's done. I registered for the 3-day and did my first training session this morning. I think the walking part won't be a big deal. There's a sample 24-week training program (I have 28 weeks) that assumes you can walk 3 miles at 3 mph without difficulty. So I went and did that for an hour just to be sure, and it was a piece of cake. Hooray for my iPod because, whew, let me tell you, the intellectual stimulation of walking on a treadmill for an hour is astonishingly low. But if I can stave off the boredom beast, I think I'll be set. Now all I need to do is raise $2200.

Yes, that's right. Let me spell it out for you: two thousand two hundred of your American dollars.
Since I couldn't ask my cousin Andre, I used a calculator and figured that's $314.29/month that I need to raise, on average.

"Gee, that's a lot of money", you say. "Good luck with that", you say.

Not so fast, buck-o! Wouldn't you just love to help me out? Wouldn't it feel good to know you've made a real contribution, that you've done something that will save lives and impact everyone who has been or will be affected by breast cancer? Wouldn't you like to make a difference?

I'll bet you would. Tell your favorite pair of boobs you love them and go here, to my HQ (of DOOM!). Donate today (and tomorrow, too, if you feel like it!). Tell your friends to donate. Send them to my site, or send me their email, so that I may do my own panhandling.

For your convenience, I have also included a link to my fundraising HQ in the sidebar. That way, you can track my progress, and, if you're so inclined, help me reach my goal!


The 3 Day

My sister sent me an email about the Breast Cancer 3 Day event, and I really want to do it. The deal is, you pay a registration fee ($90) and pledge to raise at least $2,200 by the walk date (which is the end of October for DFW). If you raise the money, they let you walk 60 miles in 3 days along their little route. I'm the type of person who'd be more inclined to pay 2 grand NOT to walk 60 miles, but this is different. I really want to do this, and it seems like perfect timing since my aunt has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, too, so this is definately an issue that is close to my heart - literally and figuratively!

There's only one hitch... in order to walk in the 3 day, I need medical insurance. I don't have any. The website reccommends getting temporary insurance to cover the actual 3 day walk, but doesn't list any providers. Where can I get temporary insurance and how much does it cost? Do I have to get a medical exam? I can't sign up to do this until I get these questions answered. Any ideas?


My Virtual Reality

I haven't posted in a while - I guess I haven't had much to say. I keep trying to come up with stuff that's "blog-worthy"... but it's my blog, right? Anything can be blog-worthy!

It's that time of year again - time for me to gamble on my conflicted inheritance and see what I get. I'm talking about gardening. If I were going to put this in D&D prestiege class terms (and I'm such a big geek, you know I am!) my father is a Verdant Lord. That is to say, he can simply will things to grow. When he plants a garden, the primary concern is containment. My mother, on the other hand, is a Blighter. Plants wither and die at her touch. She's not maliciously trying to kill all plant life, it's just that she seems cursed to leave herbacious destruction in her wake.

I'm really hit-or-miss with plants. I enjoy gardening, but sometimes things flourish, and sometimes they disintegrate into withered husks. So, when I grow things, it's really like gambling, double or nothing. I'd be content with a happy medium, though.

Having learned a bit about pumpkins from my last experiment, I decided to start them a bit earlier this year. The little cup of dirt and potential is in my windowsill now. I also put some marigolds and strawberries (yummy!) out today, and I'm hoping they'll do well. Especially the strawberries!

In other news, it's Spring Break for me, and I've been doing a whole lot of nothing! It's been nice, but there's definately stuff I should be doing (*ahem* thesis), so this vacation has not been guilt-free. I have been getting A LOT accomplished in Planescape: Torment. This is a pretty old PC game (I think it came out in 1999), but it still looks really good and is a fantastic experience. It's incredibly well-written, has an intriguing story, exceptionally developed characters, and manages to be dark and funny at the same time. If you have not played this game yet, do yourself a favor and make it a priority. Don't worry - your POS machine will run this. I also made a brief return this week to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and quickly remembered why I stopped playing it the first time. It sucks. When I play it, I am plagued with the sense that the game is cheating me - not fun. It claims to be an authentic D&D experience, and this may be true if you play under a power-mongering DM who is unconcerned with your entertainment. If you love tedious fetch-and-carry quests, hate fun, and are trying to cultivate some angst, play this "game".

That's about it for this time. I need to clean up my room and I want to do a little painting, too. Maybe this weekend we'll go down to Austin to see my aunt, her family, and "the brother", who has recently moved there from El Paso. I have to find someone to feed the menagerie while we're gone, though, and my options are quite limited. So limited, in fact, that there may not even be any options. I'd best get cracking.


Party Animal

I don't condone giving beer to cats, but this is great! Apparently, Spat likes to party.

As you can tell from the picture, this was taken from stuff on my cat.com. Tandy has a link to it from his site (which you can link to from my sidebar!)


Can you smell what Paul Simon's cooking?

*sigh* Blogging is such a strange thing. Sometimes I suffer from total writer's block, and other times, ideas rush to me so swiftly I can scarcely keep my head above the rushing tide.
There were a lot of other things I wanted to write about, but this thought came to me and I couldn't push it aside. Roll up your sleeves, guys; we're going in.

I'm not sure what made me think of this guy I grew up with, but he and his current circumstances popped into my head (while I was drying my hair this morning) and led to an interesting question. We'll call this guy "Al". I grew up with Al. He's a bit younger than me, so I don't know him particularly well, but I know him well enough. We were never best friends or anything, but we were always over at each other's houses, playing with each other's siblings, that sort of thing. One of those background kids that you know but don't know. Al's a nice guy. Good kid all around, really. I like him.

Al grew up, as all neighborhood kids do. He fell in love, and got married (at a rather young age in my opinion, but that's not the point here). For the life of me, I can't remember Al's wife's real name, so I'll just cross my fingers and hope it's not Betty, because that's what I'm calling her here. (Hooray for old songs!)

Al and Betty are, by all reports, a happily married couple. A good old blue-collar couple, neither went to college, and they both work as baristas at a coffee joint. I think Al may also be a youth minister at a church, but I'm not sure if he gets paid for that. If he does, it's apparently not enough money for him to give up working as a barista.

So, it's my understanding that Al and Betty are very poor. There's no shame in that.

My problem is that they're breeding like rabbits.

Al and Betty are Catholic, and don't believe in birth control. If you are not familiar with this phenomenon, please consult Monty Python's classic anthem, "Every Sperm is Sacred". *snicker*

Okay, silliness aside, I'm not arguing that Al and Betty don't have a right to their religious beliefs. Of course they do. I'm questioning whether or not I should have to subsidize those beliefs.

You see, at last count, Al and Betty have been married for about 2 and a half years, and have at least 3, and perhaps 4 children. They don't show signs of stopping. But let's be realistic here. They both work as baristas at a coffee shop. Where are they getting the money to support themselves and these kids? My guess? Government programs. Programs, I might add, that you and I pay for.

Now, I'm all for government programs, and I certainly don't believe children should be made to suffer as a result of parental irresponsibility or poverty. But if Al and Betty know they can't pay rent or buy groceries, how can they conscience getting pregnant? If they expect "God will provide", I might point out that it is in fact the American taxpayer that is providing in their particular case.

Here's another example. This one fits more closely with what I believe these government programs are for.

Sally went to college. She spent a few years being an idiot, and then got her act together. Except suddenly, she ended up pregnant. (Once again, the Catholic method rears its ugly head.) But, like I said, she'd gotten her act together by then. She married Dan, the father, had the baby, and has spent the last two years working hard both in and out of the home. Sally and Dan don't have a lot of money, either. They want to have more kids - but not until they get themselves in a more stable financial position. To this end Dan finished college, the family moved so he could start his full-time job, and Sally also got a job at day care, so she can make money and take care of their child at the same time.

During and after her pregnancy, Sally used some government programs, like WIC. That's what those programs are there for. What Sally did NOT do was become a serial baby-factory.

The problem is this. Betty and Al have a religious belief. Because of this religious belief, they choose not to use birth control, ever. That's their business. It becomes my business when Betty and Al can't support their burgeoning family and turn to public monies for help. Naturally, their religious beliefs are protected, and Joe Taxpayer has no right to demand or even ask Betty and Al to use conventional contraceptive methods. So, in effect, Joe Taxpayer, who (for the sake of argument) doesn't share Betty and Al's religious beliefs, still ends up paying for those beliefs. Without wanting to, Joe is subsidizing Betty and Al's religious choice.

It's kind of a sticky wicket, isn't it? Seperation of Church and State versus Religious Freedom versus Personal Responsibility versus Public Responsibility.... Clearly, the only way to settle this one is....A WWF SMACKDOWN!!! (Hey, this is Texas, after all...)