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Archive for May, 2008

Wii Are Hooked

Friday, May 9th, 2008

So yesterday my stimulus check from the govm't came in - a whopping $600 - and right after work Baret and I headed out and bought my Wii.

Until we un-boxed and set up my own Wii console, I had never even held a Wii remote controller in my hand before, much less attempted to play any games on this new-fangled console. I was giddy with excitement, as only a true gamer can be when trying out an entirely new style of gameplay and learning the ins and outs of a brand new gaming console.

To say I was not disappointed would be putting it lightly. To say I am absolutely, madly in love with my Wii still might not cover the depth of my true feelings.

We had everything hooked up and ready to go around 8pm and, from there on, commenced to play - non-stop - until 3:30am (at which time Baret noted we should probably go to bed considering I needed to be up at 5:00am for work!).

We had so much fun!!!

The console we bought is apparently a "sports edition", and came with a ribbed, clear cover over my Wii remote controller. It also came with Wii Sports; which we played first. Not only were the games fun and engaging, each stage in the "Training" section taught us a little bit more about how to use and control the Wii remote controller (or wiimote, as I've seem some people calling them online).

We also bought an extra wiimote for Baret, and his came with Wii Play; another really fun set of games that, also, teach you the basics of wiimote-control while playing hella fun games.

The only game we purchased (at the time) was Carnival Games. Though one of the main reasons I got a Wii was to play Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, I wanted to have some fun games that Baret and I could play together first to give me time to get used to the controllers (the remote controller and the nunchuk controller). RE4 was difficult enough to play on the PS2; I can only imagine how much difficult its going to be on the Wii!

After paying off regular bills and some I'd had for awhile with my paycheck and stimulus check (they came in within a day of each other), I had a little extra and bought a few components for the Wii - they should all be in Monday and Tuesday of next week (thank you free Amazon 2-day shipping!).

I got a Wii Pool Stick because playing Wii Pool was really difficult - we found - with the controller (pulling back was hard because you kind of just hit your chest and sometimes it wasn't far enough). I got Wii Boxing Gloves because I had so much fun boxing (I love destructive games, heh) and my hits just weren't landing right with the controllers. I also grabbed a set of Wii Ping Pong Paddles so Baret and I can play Table Tennis (essentially ping pong) a little easier (hopefully); we really enjoyed playing against each other on that game but the controllers were hard to use for it (of course, we're still noobs just learning and getting used to the controllers, too).

I bought Cooking Mama: Cook Off, because I love the Yahoo! cooking games like Cake Mania, Pizza Frenzy, Cooking Quest, Diner Dash, etc. I also ordered Party Games because I enjoy having fun, interactive games Baret and I can compete against one another on, and that we can play with friends when they come over (plus, it has Darts and Beer Pong!). Last but not least, I nabbed My Word Coach, because I am a linguist-lover and really like games that help keep my vocab strong and vast, and my brain on its toes.

There are other games I really wanted much more - Endless Ocean, Tomb Raider Anniversary, Lego Star Wars, to name a few but they were fairly expensive ($40 and up), so we'll save those for a later time.

Tonight, I am going to try and convince Baret that we must go to Best Buy (where much Wii-stuff can be found) and get Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles with a gun controller and the Wii Grand Slam Sports Pack, since we have Wii Sports and Wii Play, which both use a lot of that "sports" equipment.

Yes, I'm going Wii-crazy and if Baret doesn't smack me to death with my own paycheck for buying so much, I'm going to be very happy (and very busy) for some time to come!

(Oh, and we nicknamed our Wii "Naos" (its a star) - but then changed it to "OoGhiJ MiQtxxHA", a joke from our favorite show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Baret's Mii is "Baba" and mine is "Izzy"!)

Teens and Plastic Surgery

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

This morning, I read a disturbing article at ABC News that stated teens-those under 18 years of age-were getting plastic surgery at an alarming rate these days. In fact, that the number of teens going under the knife has jumped considerably in the past few years:

Between 2002 and 2003, the number of breast implants for girls younger than 18 nearly tripled, from 3,872 to 11,326.

... from Teen Trend: Breast Enhancement No Biggie at ABC News

Naturally, there are times that plastic surgery is needed for those under 18; there are valid medical reasons that a young person might require plastic surgery. This was the case with Stephanie Kuleba who lost her life after suffering complications from anesthesia during breast augmentation surgery. Though only 18 years-old, Stephanie suffered from asymmetrical breasts and an inverted areola; conditions that caused her suffering from more than just self-esteem issues.

Stephanie's death has brought to light the new trend of young people getting plastic surgery for non-medical reasons. It's an idea that is so commonplace that many parents offer paid-for plastic surgery to their young daughters as birthday or graduation gifts.

It's hard to fathom doctors agreeing to perform such procedures on still-developing young women on no more than the mercurial moods of youth. Bombarded as young women are today with plastic perfection and the need to look like a cookie-cutter Barbie clone to "fit in", it's no wonder so many young girls feel the need to so drastically alter their appearance. Yet should we be encouraging this behavior?

Though a young woman may feel a desperate desire to feel attractive, most that decided to wait until they were older to undergo such procedures often changed their mind. Psychologist consultant Eileen Bradbury counsels young women opting for plastic surgery before they take the leap. She says:

Adolescents often believe they are lot more mature then they actually are. As they lack insight into the difficulties that they might have in the future, they tend to be very black and white.

Adolescents have always been self-conscious. It's just that in the past people have had to wait a longer time, and I would imagine as time passes people drop out along the way. I've had people say to me, 'I thought about having it done, but then when I grew up, I changed my mind.

... from Teen Trend: Breast Enhancement No Biggie at ABC News

However, some consultants - such as Ellen - and psychiatrists do decide that certain teens are good candidates for the surgeries. If a teen shows themselves to be mature-minded and to have fully thought out the consequences and risks of their decision, many doctors will agree to operate on them.

It's disturbing to think that our upcoming generation is so very quick to turn to the knife and undergo the risks of surgery to change their natural appearance. If this keeps up, the world will be over-populated with a sea of Barbie and Ken clones in the next fifty years; a mass of perfectly plastic people without any of the beautiful and unique characteristics that make us different and special.

I would like to see more corporations and media mavens focusing on positive self- and body-image rather than glorifying stick-thin and unhealthy celebs. The message we are sending out to our youth is "if you don't look like this, you aren't attractive - in fact, you're nobody".

Everyone remembers the awkward years of puberty and just beyond, and the agonizing over your looks and trying to fit in and be attractive. It's a difficult time for anyone - but how much more so must it be for today's young teens and adults who are faced with an ideal that is impossible for anyone to live up to. The people they look up to and want to emulate are almost not real - in movies and in glossy magazines they are polished and airbrushed to godlike perfection. In an attempt to look like these painted perfect people, young people are losing their own identities as they wallow in low self-esteem and-often-self-loathing.

How else can one explain the rise in not only plastic surgery among our youth, but in eating disorders, self-injury, and other harmful traits that show a severe and detrimental self-loathing. Young people today do not only have low self-esteem, many of them hate the bodies they were born into. They will actively and determinedly seek to starve, injure, or undergo the risks of surgery simply to "look" better so that they will "feel' better about themselves.

Yet when the bad body image is there to start with, all the dieting, plastic surgery, and new clothes in the world can't make someone feel better. It has to start inside.

Instead of giving these girl's plastic surgery as a gift, these parents should be encouraging their children to be proud of themselves and their unique traits - to love themselves just as they are. Telling them to go out and use surgery to fix whatever Nature has blessed (or even cursed) them with teaches them no coping skills and it is not an effective way to learn how to face challenges and acceptance of life's difficulties.

This rising trend disturbs me just as much as the continuing rise of self-harm and eating disorders in today's youth. Until the mass media makes a conscious decision to stop peddling plastic perfection and questionable role models like they do to our youth, nothing will change. Instead of giving these impressionable minds someone to focus on and worship, teach them to love themselves and see their own uniqueness as amazing. I want to tell them all, "Yes, Miley Cyrus is amazing - but so are you." Until they realize this, nothing will change.