Q: Karyn Graves - Where did you go?
A: I'll hit this one first, since it gives me the chance to explain my absence. After my last post I went back to NH to visit my parents for Christmas. Then I came back here in time to spend New Years at the Stoffel's (which was a great time, by the way). Since then I've just been trying to keep up with life in general. I have been editing and finishing my novel from this year's NaNoWriMo, playing several shows with my band, and watching Season 5 of 24 as fast as I can in preparation for the new season. In short, I've been busy. Is that an excuse? No, not really. If I'd really wanted to get this done sooner I certainly could have done it. I've been lax, and I'm sorry. I hope my answers to this rather eclectic bunch of questions are worth the wait.
Q: Bill Jeffers - Easy question: Wii or PS3?
A: This is not as easy a question as I thought. Both of these two next generation systems have their advantages and appeals in my mind. The Wii is (relatively) cheap, has the ability to play GameCube games directly as well as a huge library of Nintendo and Sega games through emulation (via an online service), and has a very cool game control interface. The PS3 can play the entire library of PS1 and PS2 games, is fully HD capable, and has the ability to play BluRay movies. Both have extensive online abilities, and both have great games that I would go out and buy immediately if I bought the system (Zelda for the Wii and Resistance for the PS3).
If money were no object (and if I could only get one) I would definitely go with the PS3. I've got a larger library of PS1 and PS2 games, and there are a lot of game families that will be out for the PS3 that I enjoy (Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, etc). However, money is definitely a variable in this equation. The Wii retails for $250, while the PS3 can cost as much as $700. With that in mind, I'd have to say that the Wii is my first choice.
Will I buy either of them right away? No. When my PS2 bites the dust, I'll replace it with a PS3. I probably won't wait for my GameCube to die before buying a Wii to replace it, though I'll most likely wait until the price drops $50 or so. We'll see.
Q: Lisa Jeffers - is Santa real?
A: This is one of the most complicated questions that's ever been posed to me. I'm going to tackle it in three different ways: literal, historical, and esoteric. These interpretations depend on what one means by "Santa". Keep reading and hopefully it'll become clear.
Literal: If by "Santa" you mean the fat, jolly man who lives at the North Pole and runs a massive toy manufacturing and distribution enterprise, then no. He is not real. Sorry. Now, the various men (and some women) who dress up in red suits and play "Santa Claus" are real. In that sense, Santa is real because those people are real. Do they run around on Christmas night delivering toys to the good girls and boys? No, probably not. But they are playing the role of Santa, and thus keeping the idea of Santa alive, and I think that counts for something.
Historical: The figure we know today as "Santa Claus" is based on a real man named Saint Nicholas. Many cultures picked up on this figure and created their own interpretations and legends around him. I won't get too much into detail on this one; click here for a really good Wikipedia article on the origins of Santa. It's pretty complete, and I won't try and top it.
Esoteric: The way I look at it, Santa Claus can be viewed as the spirit of giving in the holiday season (that holiday being Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadan, or whatever floats your boat). In that more romantic sense, Santa is real as long as people keep giving gifts to one another. Sappy? Yes, and I acknowledge that. But I get pretty sentimental this time of year, so indulge me. As I've grown older, the real meaning of Christmas has changed for me. It's no longer just about toys and presents. It's about family and giving. I take a lot of joy in giving presents to my friends and loved ones.
Final answer: Yes. Santa is real.
Q: Karyn Graves - How likely is it that there was just one mouse in the house (that we already caught), and so we can put the traps away now? (or should we do some other work to prevent any further occurences?)
A: It's been three weeks since you asked me this question. If you haven't seen any mice since then, I think it's likely that the mouse you caught was acting alone. It's always possible that it wasn't, however. I would keep traps out for another couple of weeks just to be sure. As far as preventing further occurences, you should keep all doors and windows firmly shut to prevent more mice from getting inside. You should also remove incentives for them to be in your house in the first place. Don't leave food lying around, clean up crumbs, etc.
Q: Brett Gobe - Tupac or Big E Smalls?
A: It should be perfectly obvious that I'm neither. Seriously? I'm not a hip-hop or rap fan at all. If forced to choose, I'd say Tupac because his songs were at least slightly tolerable. Big E Smalls was someone I could never take seriously. I heard that he was somewhat of a philanthropist, and if that's the case then that's a good thing, but he still wrote and recorded bad music.