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Hollywood Thoughts

In Movies, Uncategorized on September 9, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Hollywood Thoughts

As anyone who knows me can attest, I love movies. Watching movies, writing movies, reading about them…I think that movies are a great way to express ourselves in a visual medium, much the same way that blogs are great to express ourselves in the written form, too. However, just because I love something, doesn’t mean it is spared from the chopping block, as it where. Just the opposite, in fact. I love something so I am goinng to speak up about it, hopefully it will reach someone in Hollywood, and change the industry, but I doubt it

What Made Movies Work

I remember when the film “Miami Vice” came out, starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, my dad said “TV shows back then worked because the cast had to spend time with each other, and built a chemistry over years. These movies are made in less than six months, and everyone has to be kept separate from everyone else, there is no chemistry, and he was right. Think about it for a second. The TV show Miami Vice did great, and was a ratings juggernaut. The aforementioned film? Sucked, and I do not recall it making much of a dent in the landscape.

Does that mean that is was a bad idea? Yeah. Yeah it does…See the reason that the movie failed, is because it failed to capture the magic of the TV show. Don’t get me wrong, both Foxx, and Farrell are top-notch stars, and their work speaks more volumes than this blog can about their talent. The problem is, at least the way I see it, that Hollywood has run out of ideas, and they feel that rebooting a series they can capture that lightning in a bottle, and it doesn’t work. Ever.

Remakes, Reboots, and Re-imagining, Oh My!

Guys, what is the last original idea that Hollywood had? I honestly cannot think of one movie that came out this year that was original, and not a film adaptation of something else, or a remake, or reboot of something from 30 years ago. Not even Marvel is technically safe from this, as their movies are legitimate adaptations of their comics. Even though the MCU takes a different path than the comics, it’s still technically adapted from a comic book. Disney, with all that money, is STILL producing live action remakes of the films we used to watch as kids. The Lion King, Aladdin, and now Lady and the Tramp? Hasn’t Disney seen that live action remakes are not what the kids what? The reason that remakes and reboots exist is to bring the story to a new audience, one that can be bilked into buying the merch, and begging mommy and daddy to take them to see the sequels…

It’s simple, and understandable, too. Hollywood is afraid to try something new because the studios aren’t going to plunk down millions upon millions of dollars for nothing. I certainly don’t blame them, but that is how the industry goes stale. Think about it like this. In the 50’s we had rock’n’roll that vaporized the music scene, and then most music became stale, sound alikes. Enter Nirvana, and the Grunge era, and the industry is changed forever. Movies can be like that, too. All it takes is a willing soul; of course people are fickle, and that is another reason that the studio execs are timid. Movies that have a built-inn fan base are golden to Hollywood. Things like cartoons, comics, and video games all have their dedicated fan-bases, and those fans are going to see the movie, no matter what. Hollywood then banks on this fan base, and their money to set them up for another movie, and so on, and so on. Hollywood takes these ideas and makes movies and tv shows out of them because of that fan base. Would anyone care about The Witcher if it weren’t popular? No. Lord of the Rings? Nope.

Hollywood knows this, and they bank on you, the loyal fan to go see this because you can finally see your heroes on the big screen, living out their adventures…problem is, Hollywood ruins the things they touch.

Hollywood Garbage

The reason that remakes are such shit in the first place is because Hollywood takes the older movies and has to update them for the modern audience. Take “The Mummy” with Boris Karloff, for instance. Was it an action-adventure movie, with high stakes action, and gun battles, and giant sand…faces? Nope. Why not? Didn’t need to be. It worked back then because it was simpler. Nowadays we have to have over the top set pieces and action scenes because that is what people want to see. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the Brendan Frasier version, but not as a part of the “Mummy” franchise. Take the Mummy out, and it’s a bog standard action flick set in Egypt. To me, what made the original work was the writing, and the cast. It didn’t need to be a big over the top production. It was a somber film by comparison.

As I mentioned before the reasons for this are many, and do include things like renewing the copyrights to a film, like what Disney is doing with the Lion King, and the rest. Sometimes Hollywood has to release a movie because the studio is contractually obligated to make it, and that’s fine, too. Sometimes they films aren’t remade, but “remastered” and that can cause problems, too. (George Lucas, and the Star Wars DVDs, anyone?)

Remasters of the Old Style

Now don’t go hating me for this, just yet; hear me out. I love Star Wars, and sadly I fought that love when my father was alive, and now I can’t get that time again. I can’ however lose any memory I have of watching Episodes 4-6, as they are completely different than they where originally, thanks to George Lucas. Somethings, like adding more Stormtroopers to the scene where Han runs some down, only to see an entire garrison of them as he rounds a corner, that makes sense. Adding a CGI Trooper riding a Dewback? In the words of the late John Belushi: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That wasn’t needed, neither was making more aliens appear in Jabba’s Whorehouse (or hideout). I can see the reasoning behind somethings, like changing the guns in the officer’s hands in E.T. With all that is happening concerning gun violence, I can see why he wouldn’t want the last image of the film to be someone pointing a gun a child.

Digital remasters are fine, and a different subject entirely as far as I’m concerned. Hell, with out digital remasters, we wouldn’t have Casablanca, or anything else starring Humphrey DeForest Bogart (go ask your grandparents, or Google it)! “Cleaning” a film, for lack of a better word, and bringing the original film to another audience is fine, too; that’s the original, and not, as my dad said “a version someone saw and said ‘I can do better’.” Sadly, he was right. All movies now follow one rule above all else: Make money. No longer does Hollywood put out a movie because it is a good story, or a good film, but rather they produce what will produce money. Focus groups, marketing, test groups, all add up to make sure that a film is going to make money. I know that there are films out there that absolutely bombed at the box office, but they where still made with the same formula, and with the same intentions.

Well, that’s the blog. Or is it?

SEQUELS, PREQUELS, and ORIGIN STORIES!

Another trend that needs to die in Hollywood is the “EVERYONE GETS A FRANCHISE!” rule that seems to be in play now. Does every movie, nay, every story, need a part two? Alien needed a part two? Halloween needed a part two? No, James Cameron said he did that one only because other directors where casting Jamie Lee Curtis in the same role, and he had to, too. At least he was honest about it! Some movies, if they are written as a franchise from the beginning, need a sequel. Movies that must be told in multiple parts, like Lord of the Rings, as there is just too much too leave out to make one movie. Star Wars is one that you could argue that it deserves a sequel.

Does every movie need an origin story? Know what I said when Rob Zombie remade Halloween? “Sweet, this movie is going to kick ass!” Rob needs his ass kicked for deciding that Michael needed a fucking origin story, and to talk! At least he was honest with his sequel, too. “I figured who better to ruin my movie, than me?” He said. I’ve never seen a horror movie wherein I thought “Hmm…I sure do like this Leatherface fellow, but I want to know why he does what he does…”, and I don’t know of anyone who thought that the Sawyer family needed an origin story, or an origin story to the remake, or a sequel to the remake, but it takes place at the…yeah, you see this… Not every fucking movie needs to tell the story of every fucking one in the land, this isn’t Vice Russo ca. 1999, ok? Not everyone on the card needed something to do, just like not everyone in a movie needs their lives fleshed out.

See, another problem this creates is forced prequels, like The Hobbit. See, the original books, Hobbit, and the LotR series weren’t supposed to be connected, and only got that way years later, but Tolkien did that himself in the books. Hollywood came calling, and made a floppity-gillion dollars from that franchise, and naturally, had to make more. Guess what? The Hobbit was nowhere near as successful as the Lord of the Rings series was. Why? Forced prequel. The movie crammed so many call backs, and Easter eggs to the Fellowship, and the others that I felt like Peter Jackson was saying “Remember the other movies? This is how all that happened!” I never cared for the Hobbit as a book, as it is a fairy tale, and taken on its own, its a good children’s read. Hollywood, or Jackson, depending on whom you ask, decided to make The Hobbit in to three separate movies, which meant us LOTR fan boys are going to go see three more movies! Nope. Saw the first one, and didn’t care for it (the review can be found on Taco’s Movie Reviews).

Beating a Dead Horse

Far too often, Hollywood does beat a franchise into the ground, killing every conceivable dime that they can from it, only to let it die a quick death. For a few years, and then they reboot it, and try again! Spider-Man, Godzilla, Batman, Superman, Marvel characters; all of them milked until that cash cow dies, and then put away for a few years. That is unless money stops them, and they have to reboot the character because of a rights dispute…(Spider-Man in 2019). Far too often we see this happen with franchises like the Marvel movies, wherein they had to give everyone an origin story before, or after a big team up movie, and I have to ask why. Why do I need to know how Black Widow came into being? I was entertained by her in the Avengers movie, and I don’t need an origin/prequel movie to flesh out her backstory. I didn’t really need Captain America, either for that matter. They where created for one purpose: money. Literally, Marvel was almost bankrupt when the Toby McGuire Spider-Man movie first hit theaters. That was it for them, they sold the rights to Sony (I think) and made enough money to stay in business.  I especially hate when they make a sequel to a movie years, or decades after the original came out. Why? Because it becomes a sequel/reboot because it’s older, and newer too! Didn’t need to see The Force Awakens; that was just A New Hope with Linda Skywalker. That’s another thing I hate about movies nowadays, the Feminist Movement

The Feminist Movement in Movies

Not every superhero needs to be a female. Read that again. I’m not being sexist, honestly. I believe that a woman can do anything a man can do, if not better, I just don’t need to  see that 24/7. Take Captain Marvel, for instance. She was created during the “bra burning days” of the Woman’s Rights campaign as Marvel saw the female market as untapped, and decided to create a character that would relate to the times. Thus, Captain Marvel was born! The movie goes overboard with that sentiment, and turns me off. In the movies, Captain Marvel, and End Game, Brie Larson comes off as an unlikable bitch, and I was happy when Thanos punched her clean out of the movie! Not because I condone male-female violence, but because I can’t stand to have “A WOMAN CAN DO IT, TOO!” shoved down my throat. I don’t care who the heroes are, or the villains, I just want to see a good movie! Star Wars is doing this, or at least has, by remaking A New Hope with a female version of Luke, and making all the men in movies dumber than shit. I don’t care that the crew of Gen. Holden’s ship is all female, unless there is a reason for it in the plot. She comes from an all female planet? She not trust men in power because her husband died? Something other than “women can do it too, look!” I am glad that women are finally getting more spotlight (nowhere near “equal” time with a man, however), but can we dial it back? Not all women want to see women in superhero movies, and believe it or not, some women LIKE topless muscle guys in a movie, If you need proof, just Google The Rock. Some, I will admit, some girls do see these females and get inspired, and they no longer feel like they are weak because of their gender, and that is fantastic! But I want a good, original story, and not one the PC crowd will not object to.

Remakes That Work?

Can there be such a thing? Yes, actually. Battlestar Galactica was a remake, and I love that. It’s a TV show, but we are lumping them together here, so deal with it. That show took a good premise, and changed it from a “monster of the week” type of show, like Star Trek: The Original Series was, and made it focus more on the human aspect, the humans trying to survive, and find Earth, all the while trying to hide from the Cylons… sadly, however, that is where the show died for me. After the final episode, the SyFy channel did as any business would with a metaphorical license to print money, and made a prequel. Wanna know how the Cylons came to be? Yes, actually, I did want to know, but then they went farther with BSG: Blood and Chrome. Do we need a third BSG series? Really? Or does SyFy need that geek dollar?

Sadly, however, BSG is the only remake I can think of that I actually liked. I wish that Hollywood would make more shows and movies in the same idea of BSG: tell a good story. Too bad they wont hear me.

End of Rant

Those are just a few of the things that I can’t stand about the movie and TV industry. If you like this, then leave a like, and a comment in the boxes, and let me know your thoughts on the industry, too!

Patience is a Virtue?

In Life, Rants, stories, thought, Uncategorized on September 2, 2019 at 1:01 AM

Patience is a Virtue?

Is patience a virtue? This man says no! Seriously, though, for as far back as I can remember, I have been an impatient man. Even now, I want this blog entry to be done, but I can only work as fast my fingers and brain can go… I have never understood people who wait for things, although for some things, one must wait.

Where’s my Spy Camera?

Remember that episode of The Simpsons, wherein Bart orders a spy camera, and for weeks he harasses the mail lady, saying “Where’s my spy camera, where’s my spy camera?” well that’s me. I have never been one to wait for anything, and I mean anything. Hell, I wasn’t supposed to be born until July 4th, but decided June was close enough! That should tell you how impatient I am!

As a kid, my friends had a hard time deciding between telling me what they wanted to and not telling me. That was because if the plans involved going somewhere, then I wanted to go then there, and not wait. Store about to close? Better hurry up then! I didn’t care, and after I got home, give me five minuets, and I’ll be ready to go again. I’m like that now, too. If I want to go somewhere, then I’m going. I don’t have a car, so I walk; it’s faster than waiting for a bus, or someone to pick me up, honestly.

Even in traffic, when I did have a car, I hated waiting. Red lights, traffic in front of me, all of it served one purpose: to annoy the absolute shit out of me, and it succeeded! I can not stand waiting, as I have mentioned, but I can understand that sometimes you have to wait, even if you don’t want to. Sometimes, as my mother would say, it’s a necessary evil…I guess. There are, though. There are times when you need to be patient, and not jump the gun, too.

Jumping the Gun is my Speciality

I guess that by virtue of proxy, not being a patient man goes hand and hand with jumping the gun. However, for me, that isn’t true. Not entirely, anyhow. I seem to have a sixth sense for wanting to stop things before they get to the good parts, admittedly, but I am not one to jump the gun. To me, that is foolish. I believe in waiting until the time is right, which I know sounds like total hypocrisy, but hear me out. I don’t like to wait, but that doesn’t mean I don’t, or won’t wait. That just means that I don’t like it. Technically speaking, I have to wait, no two ways about it. I feel like a kid sometimes, waiting for Christmas, and I don’t exactly know why. I don’t want to say that it’s anxiety, because it isn’t. As I type this, I am waiting on the local supermarket to open, and I hate that; I want to go in, but what I want and leave, and I want to do it now…but I can’t; again, I have to wait. I know that the store is going to be there, and the items I want are going to be there, and if not, then I probably shouldn’t be buying them, anyway.

Can One Learn to be Patient?

I guess that it would be possible to learn to be patient. If you take for instance, the military; they have to be patient sometimes, and wait for the right opportunity to strike. If you’re impatient like me, then that first time is going to be your last time, too! I believe that one can learn to be patient through other means, as well. I read online that you can help to learn patience by setting timers for the stuff you really want, and forcing yourself to wait until that timer goes off before you do what it is you want to do. Now, to be fair, that was talking about study help and how you can use a timer to set a goal and see how far your studies have come at the end of the time, but the same principle applies here, I think.

Some online think that the reason that I am impatient is because I am entitled, and that could not be farther from the truth. Honestly, I am not entitled to anything except what is legally mine, so that isn’t it. I don’t cop an attitude if I don’t get my way, and in fact, I’ll often times give in to what someone wants if it gets me to my endgame quicker. I didn’t have anything handed to me by my parents as child, and they taught me that I need to work for what I want, so I know that it isn’t because of that. I think the reason I am so impatient is because I just want it done and over with, and off of my mind, so that I can be on to the next adventure. That’s how I am choosing to look at it, anyhow.

Being Patient is a Scam

There are those that believe that being patient and waiting is nothing but a scam, and I sort of believe them, honestly. As I like to say, “Time spent waiting is time waisted” and that is because it is. Let’s say I have to take a bus somewhere, but I miss one bus, and the next one isn’t due for an hour. Am I going to spend an hour waiting for that next bus? Nope! I am not going to waste time waiting for a bus, especially not an hour, when I can spend that hour walking, and be an hour closer to my destination. To me, that is just sensible. Plus, I can stop at a bus stop farther down the path if I want to, and wait for it there. Since I’ve been walking an hour, I might not have to wait that long for another bus!

One side of the coin, you have those that believe that “the early bird gets the worm”, and they think that the best strategy is to go now, or as early as possible, get your business handled, and get it over with. That’s where I fall. However, on the other side of that coin, we have those who believe “all good things come to those who wait”, and they don’t mind waiting for something. They are strange pod people, too.

I will admit, however that I am learning to be more patient, if not for anything else, but because I have to. Like Darwin said, “those who do not adapt, are sure to die off”. I know that certain things are out of my control, as much as that pains me to admit, and sometimes, I have no other option, but to wait. I think that finding another option while I wait to fulfil the other is the best strategy for me, personally. Like now, for instance; I’m writing this because I have to wait for the store to open, so I decided to write down my thoughts on waiting. I use my phone while my laptop charges, and vice versa, because it makes the wait of not being able to use the item more bearable. That’s if I don’t use the item as it charges, that is.

 

Well, those are my thoughts on being impatient. Let me know yours down below, too. I would love to know what you guys use to exercise, and/or learn patience; I’ll try anything once!

What is Right?

In thought, Uncategorized on August 26, 2019 at 1:01 AM

What is Right?

Recently my criminal justice class has been talking about ethics, and how they apply to, and in, the criminal justice system. Part of that class discussion was about how ethics applied, but I had to be me, and ask when do ethics apply, and are ethics stiff and rigid, like a board? Or does it change situation to situation? Does ethics change as the situation changes? All this talk about ethics got a debate started in my class, and it got me thinking what is right, and when and how is it right?

When is it Right?

As I mentioned earlier, I asked if ethics change with the situation, and the example I gave was one that applied to the class perfectly. As an officer of the law, let’s say you pull someone over for speeding. Ethics dictate you give him a ticket for speeding, and let him have his day in court, right? Now let’s say that the suspect isn’t acting ethically. Now, let’s say he starts shooting at you. Do you then, shoot to kill him? What if you miss? Or, on the other side of the coin, does ethics remain stiff and rigid, so you have to hope to wound the suspect so that they may be arrested, and allowed a day in court, as the law says?

Ethically, do you attempt to kill the person who attempted to kill you, or do you serve him justice by wounding and allowing a day in court to answer for his crimes? Do you act ethically to someone who isn’t acting ethically towards you? I was thinking about this the last few days, and I cannot decide for myself how I would act in this situation. Sure, as a police officer, I think that instinct takes over, and I would shoot back; him dying or getting wounded not withstanding. I think that most, if not all police officers feel the same way. To me, ethics change with the situation. I’ll give you a real life example: I was pulled over one night, and the officer told me that he observed me making an illegal turn at a red light, and asked me why I did that. I honestly told him that I thought that no one was around, so no one would notice. Ethics demand he pulls me over, which he did. They also dictate that I admit to my wrongdoing, which I did. Ethically, that officer did his job when he pulled me over, asked for my registration, license and all that, and I followed ethics, gave him what he asked for, and I received a warning for my driving, and told to be more patient. Ethically, everything went as expected. The officer had cause to stop me when I made an illegal U-Turn at a red light, thus he acted ethically. I acted ethically when I told him the truth, admitted that I did it, and explained why I did. Ethically, I was issued a verbal warning, and told to be patient.

That’s with everything going as planned. Now, let’s say it doesn’t go as planned. What would be ethically right in this situation had I decided to pull a gun and shoot that cop? Ethically, would he be justified in killing me because I shot at him? Would he or his partner then, after having been shot at, would they have to follow the law, thereby wounding me, so I can be arrested and served my day in court, as the law says I must receive? What is “ethically right” here? Following the law to the letter, and attempting to arrest me, or shooting me outright because I shot you? Would you feel right ethically, if you say that you tried to apprehend me, but I died in the course of a gun fight? It’s true, technically: you tried to arrest me, but I shot you, and died because of it. But is it right to shoot me?

Let’s say that it was right for the officers to return fire…but they didn’t have to. Let’s say that the officer could have gotten to the trunk of his squad car, and used a “less than lethal” round – a beanbag. Does the officer have to fire a lethal round? In my situation, had I decided to act like an idiot, the officer’s partner was at my passenger side, so he could have shot a taser through my open window, thereby disabling me until his partner, or even himself, can make the arrest. If we follow ethics to the letter of the law, then ethically, at least in my mind, those officers should be making every attempt to apprehend me, and give me justice through the courts. If we follow ethics to the letter of the law.

When do Ethics Apply?

If say that ethics matter in the police department, then I have to ask if ethics apply all the time, no matter what. For instance, if I break a window at your house, are you ethically right to make me pay for that window, either willingly, or through the courts? Or would you be right in breaking one of my windows? I broke yours, you broke mine, now we are even. Is that right? Honestly, I believe that I break it, I buy it, and I expect you to feel that way about my stuff as well. Does ethics apply all the time? To me, as I mentioned before, changes with the situation. If we are having a civil discussion about something, and we differ on opinion, are you right to hit me because I believe differently than you? Not to me you aren’t; what did I do to deserve that? I was having a civil discussion, explaining politely, my views. In this scenario, you aren’t right to hit me for my differing views, but I feel I would be right to return that punch for you hitting me.

Let’s say that you owe me money that I loaned you, but you hadn’t paid me yet. Am I right to take you to court to get the money, or am I right to cost you the same amount of money that I am owed, thereby “evening the scales” as it where? Or, let’s say that you do a lot of stuff for me, and ask me for a loan. Am I then ethically right to expect you pay me back, even though you help me out? Do I ask you for this help you provide? Do I need you and/or your help? Ethically, if you did help me a lot, then I would feel right in loaning you the money, but I honestly wouldn’t ask for it back. However, as I said before, ethics apply to all people differently, and maybe you feel entitled to this money because you do stuff for me, and do not plan on paying it back because you help me out, and feel this is payment for that help. Is it right to expect you to pay me back? Is it right to ask me to help you out financially, or at all?

Let’s say that you get sentenced to death. Is the death penalty ethically right? Is it ethically right to kill someone? What about if that someone is themselves, a killer? Is it ok then? You’re killing a killer, so it’s not like he’s an innocent man, right? He’s a killer, he has no soul! Kill the killer! But what if he didn’t do it?

Is it ethically right to sentence a man to, and then carry out his death, especially if the evidence he did it was weak? In my criminal justice class, we read about a man in Montana who spent almost twenty years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The reason that he got convicted off of the evidence is because is just enough to satisfy an admittedly racist jury, judge and prosecutor. It wasn’t until years later that he was cleared of all charges. Would it be right to put him to death for that crime then? He was innocent, but at the time, there was enough evidence to satisfy a jury, and that was technically right. The jury is racist, sure, but nothing in the law says that you can’t use a racist in a jury, especially when and where this happened, right? You have to use a jury of his peers, and it’s not the law’s problem that he lives in a racist town, during a racist time. The officers had evidence, and thus cause to suspect, and arrest this man, right? The police acted ethically, as the law states, no? Evidence to make an arrest was obtained, but the police jumped the gun.

To me, the police did not act ethically when they jumped the gun, and arrested the guy in the story. Sure, they had evidence, but it was so weak that a child could argue it out of court. According to the story, the man beat, and then raped a woman before murdering her. The evidence the police had was shoe prints near the window of a shoe size that didn’t match the man they arrested. The police also had a report that the suspect was wearing a red shirt at the time of the crime, and the man, let’s call him “Linus”, happened to be wearing a red shirt, and they found mud on his shoes. Evidence introduced into court could have argued that the fact that “Linus” was a gardener and had just finished a job, thus explaining the mud. As for the shirt, it would be ruled out because of “Linus’s” work in the garden; it may have even been his uniform, or just a bad coincidence that he had on a red shirt.

Knowing this, is it still right that law enforcement arrested someone for a crime? They had evidence, and he fit the bill, with the muddy shoes and red shirt, and he was a black male adult, as the police where looking for someone of that description, no? To me, no, that isn’t right. If due process had been carried out, or even if the investigation had gone on a little longer, it would have ruled “Linus” out as a suspect entirely. The officers, and the courts obviously feel differently about what is “right”.

My Beliefs on Ethics

I have given you some examples, and asked some questions, I know that by this point, you must be asking what I believe. The simple answer is, I believe that ethics apply to everyone, no matter what. In the situation of the police, I do not know if I would shoot you to kill you, or just shoot in your direction, hoping for the best. I do know that I would not bother you unless I had cause. My personal belief is that I should not be bothered unless you have a reason to, as I would not bother you without one. That would apply as a cop, too; I wouldn’t bother you without cause. I wouldn’t treat anyone differently, either. Ethically, I believe that you determine how the situation will go. If you are cool with me, I’ll be cool with you. If I, as an officer of the law have to approach you, I am going to do so because I have a cause, and it isn’t because you’re black. If I approach you it is because I have description that you fit, or because I have some other reason too.

 

Those are my views and thoughts, and as usual, feel free to leave me a comment, and let me know what you think. If you agree or disagree with me, then let me know! Can’t wait to hear from you!

No Pre-Orders

In annoyances, Uncategorized, Video Games on August 19, 2019 at 12:02 AM

NO PRE-ORDERS

With the rise of the digital marketplace, and the internet, there is no reason to pre-order anything digital anymore, least of all video games. Twenty years ago, when games only released on physical media such as disks, and cartridges, there was a need to pre-order a game from your local store. Now however, with the rise of digital marketplaces like The X-Box Marketplace, Steam, and The Playstation Network you will be guaranteed to be able to get a copy of the latest and greatest video game, and do not have to drop a percentage of the game’s final price as a “deposit” to ensure that places like GameStop have a copy for you the day the title is released. No longer do we need to stand in lines outside of video game stores until midnight a la Black Friday just to ensure that we are the first person on our respective blocks to have the newest games. With the various digital marketplaces that have sprung up over the last ten years, we can still buy the game the day it comes out. The need to pre-order video games is farther diminished with more and more video game publishers including a special edition for the digital editions of their games, as well.

There is an even farther diminishing need to go out and stand in lines that stretch to the parking lots, thanks to the rise of digital marketplaces. They have the digital versions of the special editions as well, and it’s more convienent for the consumer to set their systems to download the titles while they do something else, like sleep. Many gamers feel the need to have the newest game the day it comes out, and the trouble with that is disappointment.

Overall disappointment is another reason that you should not pre-order video games, too. Games that promise the universe, only to deliver a city instead, such as “No Man’s Sky” did when it promised everything including being able to hop to your friend’s galaxies, and having interstellar dog fights, only managed to produce a boring, lackluster final product. Sure, it has been patched to include most, if not all of the advertised content, it was still viewed as too little, too late by the gaming community. Far too often are video game titles over hyped by marketing, or development, and that leads to the end consumer’s lust for the game, and that makes them want to be the first one on their block to have that title. And that is what the video game manufacturers, the publishers, and the developers all want. They want you to feel as though this game is the most important thing in your life so that you will spend the sixty dollars or more to purchase it on launch day. They all want you to tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the chaps online about how great the graphics looked from the trailer, and how great the sound was, and the story idea is the best thing to hit screens in the history of televisions. But more than that, they need you to do it. They need you to tell anyone, and everyone about Call of Duty, and God of War, and the like because they want you to get your friend who hasn’t seen the trailer yet to go watch the trailer. He’ll see that you are excited for this game, and go watch the trailer, if not for any other reason, then to see what makes it so exciting. Then, after seeing the trailer for himself, he’ll be excited, and tell his friends, and so on, and so on, making them all want to go buy the title and play it first. To increase this desire to pre-order, and be first on the block to have the game, are the pre-order bonuses that publishers often throw in.

These pre-order bonuses are often little trinkets, or something from the game that was taken and made into the marketing tool of the game, and packaged with certain copies of the game to increase desire and sales. Rarely, and pre-order bonuses and “Collectors Editions” worth the added price, but in the case of The Witcher 3, Their collectors edition was worth the extra price, as it included a full art book, a Witcher’s Medallion similar to Geralt’s, but it also had trading cards, a map of the in-game world, and a bust of Geralt fighting a Gryphon, as seen in the video game. Some games, like Call of Duty, for instance will toss in something that is related to the game, like when they had a working set of night vision goggles included with one of their titles’ special editions. That’s not all the pre-order bonuses that are thrown in, however. There are also pre-order bonuses that are offered by certain stores, too. These pre-order bonuses are the worst because they are not only designed to make you desire the game even more, but now you have to enter a non-video game store such as Best Buy, or Target to get the game because of their pre-order bonus, and while at Target or Best Buy, you will see something else that you need and want to go buy it, thus making you a return customer to Target, or so the execs hope. Best Buy offers certain pre-order bonuses that are exclusive to them, making it so the consumer, who already has a desire to play the game, now has to go into Best Buy to get the game because it comes with an exclusive pre-order bonus from Best buy that he will not be able to use unless he goes to Best Buy to pre-order a physical copy of the game. Far too often the pre-order bonus character, skin, weapon, or whatever it is will just end up on sale to the general public in a month anyhow, thereby negating the need to pre-order a game in the first place.

Every WWE 2K game that has come out in the last few years has had a pre-order gimmick to it, such as Pre-ordering one year’s copy got you Goldberg to use in-game. Sadly, he went on sale to the public, including those that bought the game used, for around two dollars. I had no need to pre-order any of the WWE titles because of this; I’d just wait a month or two, and buy the bonus gimmick for a couple of dollars.

There is also the financial aspect to consider when pre-ordering a video game. Do you really want to spend about twenty dollars to set a deposit on a video game that has not even come out, and you are going solely from what the makers, or publishers are saying about the game? They aren’t goinng to say that the game is terrible, that would mean no one gets paid but everyone gets fired, and that isn’t going to help the people who make the game. They say things like the game will have the ability to let you and your friends play in the same galaxy, or the same match, because they want you to get your friends excited about it, and help the developers make their money on the game. Companies use the pre-order sales numbers to taut their successes to the investors, so they are going to tell you that the game will let you do whatever you want to make you excited and get you to pre-order the game. As mentioned earlier, No Man’s Sky promised so much, and delivered so little, leaving many feeling like they where ripped off, but they aren’t the only ones. Games like Duke Nukem Forever, which was stuck in development hell for fifteen years, despite pre-orders, and it as a horrible game when it came out. Developers promise that you can do do this, and do that in a game because that is going to get you excited about the game, and thus make you feel as though you have to have it on day one. Not every game fails to deliver on it’s promises, mind you, and some developers actually do try to include what they want in the games, but far too often we have games like Fallout ‘76, and No Man’s Sky, and Sea of Thieves that all promise the world, yet fail to deliver even a small city.

That is why you shouldn’t pre-order a game based on what the makers, or marketers tell you the game will have. A good rule of thumb, as agreed upon by the gaming community that doesn’t pre-order, wait a week after launch, and check for reviews, not only from critics, but fans, as well. Wait for those who did pre-order the game to give their opinions on the games, and whether or not it delivers a single promise, or if the developers have to release an update patch.

That is another reason one should not pre-order games: missing content. Far too often games are hyped as having certain content, like Call of Duty with their paint shop content, but it is not available when the game releases, and has to be patched in later. What did I just pay for then? I pre-ordered the latest Call of Duty title because the marketing got me hooked on the Paint Shop, and it’s not ready on launch day? That is unforgivable to many in the gaming community, yet it is tolerated by so many others. Pre-orders used to have a place in the gaming world, but outside of the gimmicks offered, and the places who are offering exclusives to their pre-orders, there is no need for them anymore. Sure, there is still the market that plays on physical media, but there is not any other reason to pre order a game in this day and age. The only ones who benefit from a pre-order are the publishers, and the makers of the game. The fans don’t benefit if the game that was touted as “game of the year” turns out to be a dud. They don’t benefit from having to drive back to the store to return a copy of the game. Plus, with the rise in digital market places, there is no need to worry about owning a copy of the game, unless it is sold as a “limited edition” because there will always be copies of the game available; it’s a digital file, after all. Once video game manufactures moved the emphasis from physical content like cartridges, and the internet gave birth to the digital marketplace, Pre-orders and their bonuses have no place in today’s world.

My Thoughts on the Gaming Industry

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2019 at 11:06 PM

My Thoughts on the Video Game Industry

Ever since I can remember, there has been a video game controller of some kind in my hand. My first one, like many kids of the time, was an NES controller. The sharp-cornered rectangle that only had four buttons was the genesis of it all for me. I am not happy with some things in the gaming industry, and not happy with others. Here are my thoughts and opinions on the issues with the gaming community

Loot Boxes and Microtransactions

I can tell you now, I hate loot boxes. “Surprise Mechanics”, is not an accurate term for theses. A far more accurate term for them is: GAMBLING! I do not want to have to suffer through getting the same skins over and over. What is the great solution that gaming companies have come up with? Microtransactions! If you don’t want the same skin over and over, or copies of the same shit that you already have, then you can pay real money to unlock the item you want right now! Nope! I should not be forced to pay upwards of $60 or more for a Triple-A major studio release, and then have to pay more money for some stupid cosmetic item that does not, or at least should not affect my enjoyment of the game. Back when I used to play Call of Duty, they had this system of points called Squad Points, and they where rewards for your in-game performance. These points acted as currency for the game, and could be used to unlock new skins for your characters and/or the guns you used. You could use them to buy new guns, too instead of paying $2.99 for it like you do now. If it where like that again, where in a game rewarded its players by giving them in-game currency, and not making, or even allowing you to use your real money for it, it wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t include DLC in this, as you don’t have to buy the DLC to enjoy the game. Having an expansion in Skyrim doesn’t make your Dragonborn any better, it just offers new quests, and a few other things that wouldn’t impact your enjoyment of the game if you didn’t have it.

Microtransactions where invented for mobile games as the way for developers who make theses mobile games to get paid, and that is where they belong, not in a title that just cost me 60 fucking dollars! Rockstar, or whichever studio made the game just pocketed 60 of my dollars, and then have the balls to sell me something that I do not need, or can acquire through normal means of playing the game? Fuck off! Only way that a game studio should ask for more money, and nickel and dime the customers is if that game where less than 10 bucks. If the next GTA game came out and had a price tag of $9.99, but they made their money back by asking you to pay real money to unlock a section of the map, I’d be fine with that; what do you expect for ten bucks?

As for Loot Boxes, then…those are gambling, plain and simple. Unless you are looking at some reward that you got in the game, spending money – even the in-game kind – on a random item is gambling, plain and simple. Give me an item list, and tell me for x amount of coins, I can buy a new gun, or a new paint scheme for one I have already. The bad way to go about it is telling me that, for that same amount of coins I have a 1-in-1,000 chance of getting what I want. An especially bad idea is the idea that if I didn’t want to grind it out, and play the game over and over, then I can just pay real money and get a ton of coins, and then buy the stuff I want. I should not have to pay my money to the developers or the publishers, or anyone who in involved in that game more than once. I know that I can simply not buy them, but the fact that they are in major studio releases at all is the issue; send that shit back to the mobile marketplaces where it belongs!

Electronic Arts

As far as this goes, sell the Star Wars license to some other developer, and you will have recovered a lot of respect from me, EA. To expand on that, I do not like EA as a studio. I don’t hate them, but I do not support them with my wallet, either. I lost a lot, if not all of the respect I had for EA as a studio when word got out about how poorly their employees, making them work up to 24 hours straight, while only being paid for 8 of them, saying that any work they did on any video game not made by EA was grounds for termination; saying that you, as a developer where basically their property… the list goes on. Not only that, but it’s the fact that they just make games to appease stock holders, and investors. Look at their record recently. Madden 20 has the same exact Create-A-Player suite as last year, yet the top tier edition costs 80 bucks? They buy up good studios like BioWare, and Pandemic, force them to make a game that is out of their wheelhouse, and then shut them down when the game flops. Adding to that is the fact that they bogged down Battlefront II with microtransactions! Or you could grind out 40 hours of your life to unlock the basic edition Darth Vader character… EA used to stand for Electronic Arts, but for myself, and many others, it stands for “Early Access”.

Most of their titles are divested of content at launch, but then get sold back to you as DLC, or…MICROTRANSACTIONS! Why the fuck would I want to pay for something that should have been included in the base game, EA? Look at Anthem, and its issues at launch. Was that worth your hard earned money? Do you like paying to see a loading screen turn into an error message?

But as I said, if they sold off the exclusivity license they have over Star Wars, then it would help a little bit. See, they have it for ten years, but thankfully their time is almost up. In that ten years, we had one shitty MMORPG in The Old Republic, followed by a ton of terrible mobile games, and then nothing until Battlefront came out. Then it was so bare that it seemed it should’ve been an early access title, but you can pay money for things so you don’t have to grind, or you can pre-order and get Han Solo’s blaster… Then, they made Battlefront II, which, as I said, was full of microtransactions, yet devoid of content. Sure, they closed down the store portion until they could work out an easier way to get the items, but once the heat died off, guess what? Loot boxes and microtransactions where right back in there!

In fact, I can’t blame EA for it without including some others like Activision that makes the games, but leaves most of it out, forcing you to either wait for a patch, or ask for a refund.

Greedy Video Game Studios

I cannot stand it when a video game studio releases a broken game, or a game that is missing content. I haven’t played Call of Duty in years, but I was interested in the entries over the last few years because of the Zombies storyline. I go to YouTube to check it out, and see that the paint shop is not available on PC at launch. Wait, didn’t I just pay $60 bucks for this? It’s been in development for a year or longer, depending on which studio is making the CoD game this year. On top of that, its companies like EA and Activision that make games so devoid of content that you wonder if you got a beta copy that piss me off. No one should release a video game until it is absolutely ready. If you need another month to get the paint shop, or the character creator ready, then tell the higher ups, and be firm. Releasing a game later than expected because you want to include everything you said, is a lot better then releasing a game half finished in the first place.

Another nasty little bugger in the industry that I absolutely do hate is companies that release the same game every year, just with a different skin; like Call of Duty, and Madden. CoD has been the same game for years, and it’s because the playerbase keeps buying the game. When that happens, Activision sees that Black Ops 4 made a million dollars, it’s a hit, and they keep churning out the same thing over and over, and over again. However, I can’t stand the actual video game community the most, however.

Fickle Fan Bases

A large component of why studios like EA and Activision pump out the same game every year is their fan base. The part I hate about their fan bases is how fickle they all are. For years, the CoD fan base had been saying that zombies was old, and played out and that they wanted something different. In comes Ghosts, which was hated by the fickle fan base. Not all of the complaints where invalid, however. Some, like the base maps being too big, where true, and did serve to see the game’s playerbase decline. They fixed this with the DLC maps, but it was too late for many.  With Extinction, my personal favorite, the major complaint was “It’s not zombies”. The fan base wanted something different, something that wasn’t they heavily sci-fi leaning games it had been for a while, so they bridged the gap. Ghosts was set in the future, but something happens, and we have to use some old tech. I didn’t give anything away because of spoilers. Again, the CoD base complained, and Zombies was brought back…and the fans complained about that. They wanted a “boots on the ground” game, meaning no more jet packs, and running on walls, so in comes CoD: WWII. Too slow paced, takes too long to kill someone, guns do nothing, and it’s all the same map, just re-skinned to look like another brown, barren landscape from WW2, they said, and that game died off quickly, too.

For me, however, the last good Call of Duty game was Ghosts. For me, it had a great story, even if the ending is dumber than hell, and I am bummed that it will not get a sequel. It did live on in Infinite Warfare, however, so I guess there’s that.

Pre-Orders

The largest component of the video gaming industry that I cannot stand is pre-orders. Far too often I see a game that is offering something amazing, but only for pre-orders, only to deliver a shit sandwich instead, like Bethesda did with Fallout 76. It came out to massive hype, but sucked ass, as did No Man’s Sky, both of which where sold on hype and reputation alone. Had we of learned our lesson with games like Duke Nukem Forever, and the countless other flops, we would not be in this mess. Sadly, we did not, and here we are, stuck with companies counting pre-orders of a game, knowing it’s going to be shit, but they don’t care. They care that pre-order numbers are high because that is what they can sell to investors and shareholders, and others in the corporate world. They want to say that the games they made had high pre-order numbers because it makes them look better to other companies, and those looking to invest in the studio are going to see these numbers, and think that they are a successful studio. Did Bethesda care that Fallout 76 was a shit storm at launch? Nope! High pre-order numbers matter more to them.

If a game comes out that you absolutely have to have, then wait a week after game comes out, look up reviews, benchmarks, and gameplays from customers, not critics, and you will get a clear depiction of the game, and its flaws. After seeing all these, then decide if a game is worth your money and time.

Video Games Themselves

Yep, I have a spot here for video games themselves, even! It’s not that I hate video games, though; I hate what video games have become: a broken, unimaginative copy/paste of the latest trend. No thought is put into anything other than the financial aspect of the video game, and by that I mean, no one cares about anything except how much money that game is going to make them, and it shows. Games like Fortnite and PUBG get big, and Battle Royale modes are seen in almost every major release since. Black Ops had it, CS:GO had it, and it was all the same thing. 50-100 players are dropped in an area, and have to kill one another. Last one standing is the winner. It’s boring and repetitive, and I will be happy when this trend dies off. Fortnite at least let you collect things and build cover, so I’ll give them that, but no other game has done anything to change that idea, nor have they done anything to truly change the mechanic, and developers either shoehorned one in there, or put one in to cash in on the trend. Think about it, zombies where popular after CoD: World at War, and the trend was popular all over the industry. Almost every game had a zombies mode, or was devoted to zombies, or had some zombie-esq theme to it. Then it dies because battle royale is popular. Stealth games where popular until they weren’t, as was sharing a screen in a co-op multiplayer until the rise of wi-fi, and then internet gaming took multiplayer off the couch, and into your own home. Now every developer is moving away from sharing a game with someone you live with, or someone who may not have the title, and forcing people to buy a console and a game just to play with friends…I know that games had couch co-op because systems like the N64 couldn’t connect to the internet, and the only machines at the time that could where PCs, but it’s annoying now. If I want to play a game with someone from another country, then cool. I want to play a multiplayer game with someone in my house…where’s that option at?

PC Versus Console

Another thing I can’t stand about the video gaming industry is the war between the PC Gamers and the Console gamers. I mean, yeah I give my family a hard time for playing games on a console while I game on a laptop, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that we are playing video games, and not what we play on. Seriously, most games are just as fun on a console as they are on a PC. Sure, you have some games more suited to one style of gaming over another, like RTS games being easier on a PC because you have all the hotkeys you can set for different functions in the game, but some titles, like GTA are easier to play with a controller, and on a console if you worry about modders and hackers.

Video Games in the News

I hate that video games are in the news again because it’s always the same shit. Everyone says that video games cause violence, and that is total bullshit. Violence has been around long before video games. I do not like that people say violent video games are the cause behind mass shootings now, either. No, they aren’t. The cause, the actual cause of it is a poor family life, poor school life, and being bullied and treated like shit. That is why kids get shot at school now; some kid gets bullied, tells his parents, the school, someone, but no one listens, and finally, that kid has a bellyful of it, and gets a gun. “Can’t make fun of me if you’re dead, can you?” This kid thinks, and takes that gun to school and makes a lot of families feel the way he does every fucking day, and we don’t do anything about it. We blame video games, when we have become too busy, too self absorbed to watch, and teach our kids, and to love them. We put them in front of the TV from an early age and all they see is the violence on TV and in video games, and they think it’s OK. They aren’t taught that TV is fake, and the people getting shot aren’t dead, and will go on to work another day. That shit don’t work in real life, you shoot someone, they’re gone forever. That is the cause of the mass shootings. Seriously, someone tried saying that Columbine and Virginia Tech’s shooter’s all played violent video games like Doom and Cod, and then carried out their plans because of it. However the only link they had someone should have noticed was that all of the shooters where depressed, bullied and treated like shit until they snapped, got guns and did what they did. Someone asked Marilyn Manson what he would have told the Columbine kids, being that they where big fans of his, and he said that he wouldn’t say anything, but rather listen to the kids. He would’ve listened to them, to their complaints, their fears, their feelings…all the things that a loving family would’ve and should’ve done for them, but didn’t. Doom had nothing to do with that Columbine incident, it was the kid’s mind not being in the right place, and no one taking the time to figure out why, or to help the poor bastards figure it out themselves. They where left on their own, bullied at school and thought the way to solve it was a bullet… Now, I’m not saying that a nurturing, loving family will solve all the violence in the world, as even serial killers can have loving family lives, and still be a killer. What I am saying, however, is love your children, take the time to find what they are into, and talk to them about the happenings in their life, and maybe we will have less kids being violent to one another…

 

 

My favorite time of year

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Sorry for the long sabbatical but my favorite time of the year is here and I couldn’t be happier!
For years,  I have loved the fall season;  maybe it’s because the changing of the seasons usually brings on the Christmas cheeryness in us,  or maybe I was just meant to be a happy person at least once a Year? I couldn’t tell you how many Thanksgiving dinners we had as a kid, where mama had spent the morning cooking that big O’ honkin turkey,  all the fixins and the family gathered,  in peace for a few hours. Thatmay be why this time of year — October-February — holds a special place in my heart.
I love the weather because for some reason,  I can not get enough the falling leaves with their changing colors, and the fond memories I have as kid when I used to rake the leaves of the neighbors around my house; the hot cocoa that always seemed to meteralize out of thin air between Halloween and Christmas; maybe it is the fact, that in my mind,  I live in a Norman Rockwell painting,  and still look for the good of people,  and trust those same individuals with the honor system,  despite every shred of evidence to the contrary. Right now even, I’m lying in bed, still in my jammies and having a mug of hot cocoa, despite it being close to five in the Evening!

I will,  hover give equal space to the things that I hate about this time of year,  too. For starter’s, I absolutely despise every god damned Christmas commercial that I see the first of November, totally bypassing the Thanksgiving, the only damn holiday in the month. Why? When did we stop caring about the holiday that was supposed to bring us all together, and start caring more about a fat man who commits a felony and leaves you presents, all the while stealing your Food! Also, wouldn’t Santa get a sugar high and a milk sleep while Flying?
Another thing I hate about the “Holiday Season” is the damned Christmas music! The old songs about Santa and the Snowman are OK, simply because they aren’t about anything other than the aforementioned fat ass and snowball. The radio stations here play nothing but Christmas music all day and night; not all, but some. And it is still annoying. The new Christmas songs that they play are fucking awful! I love Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, but not even Ol Blue Eyes can make me like the damn Songs!
Christmas sweaters. I don’t fell the need to explain why I hate them with the fury of a millions pissed off Vikings bring the rapture, but I want to. For starters, why are they so damned Ugly? Did the secret Society of Sweaters have a meeting and discuss That? I get why they are Christmas themed (duh), and it annoys me because they are always so damned awful; not just in design, color, theme, and print, but because they are so fucking Itchy! My mama can knit like nobody’s business, but there ain’t no dang way I’m gonna ask her to knit me One!
Having to say “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas. If you recall the post I left some time ago about religion, then you remember that I don’t believe in God, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like Christmas! I don’t celebrate the birth of Christ, but I do celebrate getting together with the family and mama passing out the presents that the aforementioned fatty “Left” the night before. Even if you want to display the Nativity Scene in your front yard, be my guest. I might not share your beliefs, but I support your right to believe it.

I think that as a kid,  the best part of the year was seeing my neighbors Christmas lights and their display grow as the years passed. They had a talking Santa that I absolutely loved to walk passed, just to hear it say “Hello, there, little one.” As a five year old waling with my mama to the store, that was the beans! I never got the chance to meet the folks behind the festivities, and, sadly, someone smashed that Santa display and absolutely killed the spirit for them; things just weren’t the same after that. I can’t fault them for having their hearts ripped out and then never decorating again. I don’t think that the couple ever recovered from it; i know that I haven’t seen the neighborhood darker in my life.It’s as if every light down that street suddenly went out at once; the people, even the people that I grew up with, the same people that mama trusted to care for me,  stopped smiling. The once friendly street had turned ugly. Homes whose blinds had never been closed, now never opened. Christmases where less holly-jolly and more Bah Humbug after that night.
Even with that, however I still love to see the lights being displayed, just not in the middle of September. When I walk into a store, I don’t wanna see half the damn store decked out with Santa and his reindeer when it’s still a hundred seven Outside! One of the best memories I have as a kid is of grandma loading me and the rest of the family up in her pickup truck and driving us all to the ritzy neighborhoods who had decorated their houses with lights and synced them with a computer to control them with the beat of music. The most that we ever had as a kid was one small string on the outside of a small bathroom window.
We had our tree, of course. Mama can’t have pine, but we begged mama for a real tree, and one year she got us one. It was a happy memory for those of us who could see and weren’t in hell because of allergies, so every year after that,  we have always had a fake tree; mama would set it up around the middle of December and we would decorate it with the ornaments and tinsel and we always had either an angel or star on top. My siblings where taller than me and so their decorations spanned more than the bottom eight of the tree. “Look,  Mike,” my sister would say, “you gotta hang them higher; spread them out.”

Sadly, this time of year also brings about a few sad memories for me as well. My great grandma was born on Christmas day and I loved her, and every year, we wound all pile into her tiny little one bedroom apartment and celebrate a second, or even third Christmas with her. Adding to the sorrow of the year is the fact that my dad is gone, too. I lost count of all the times when he’d come home tired from work, lean on the doorjamb and say “Ah, hell, Again?” when he saw the tree in the window and the lights being plugged in. I’d have to hit myself if I didn’t mention the time that we tried sneaking out the room and into the living room to see our presents under the tree, only to be foiled by my dad saying “GET TO BED!” Sadly, I will neer him say that again…

Either way, I still love this time of year simply because it is great time of year to be alive. The wonderment and the excitement that I felt as a child is still there, and I have to thank my nephew for that; I get excited watching him get excited at the presents that are under the tree.
Good Night and happy Thanksgiving, it is November, after all!

Who needs drugs when you have fountain pens?

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2014 at 2:59 AM

I recently got a new ink refill for my fountain pen, and I’m over joyed because too me, they are the best thing ever. From their simple elegance tho their smooth feeling and writing style, they are just fantastic!

I received my first fountain pen for Christmas. That “Classic Pen Set”that was sold in every pharmacy around Christmas. I’d see it advertised and as a young child (the same commercial ran for about ever) and think, “wow, such a beautiful writing instrument”. So, one year, I was shopping for a few items with mama and Rite-Aid had two sets left, and a week before Christmas, they weren’t expected too get any more. That night I told mama “I’m not expecting anything, given that I’m not working and money is tight, but I did notice that Rite-Aid had that classic pen set.” She gave me some typical noncommittal mom answer, and I took care of some business I had. Christmas morning, I woke up, showered, ashamed and noticed the family was up. I headed into the living room, where I saw mama, my sister, aunt, nephew and brother-in-law. Mama handed me a copy of Wall Street (that came with the terrible sequel) and one rather large box. I opened the classic pen set, and was actually stunned; stunned to the point of silence!

My second came from the last that I took care of in Utah. She found it in a box of who knows what and said that if u can clean it up, I could have it. Well, sadly, I was unable too clean out, but I did manage to knock the broken bladder bits out. And I still have it to this day!

My third was a calligraphy pen that I had to file down the nib tho make work as a fountain pen. That was a learning experience because I found out the difference between a calligraphy pen and a fountain pen…still have that one, too!

My third fountain pen is a beautiful Cross number that my aunt bought me before we left Utah. I used it while in, and leaving Utah, especially on the train. It took some digging, but a place that sells the ink at a great price. I discovered this by going into OfficeMax too see about their pen set that had everything from the ink bottle, converter, vs syringe, pen, book and a cleaning cloth…too bad out was almost 79 dollars! Needless to say,I found the ink for it after cursing Cross for being so damn difficult in making their barrels Twitter, thus creating the need for a custom ink cartridge and no option for a converter!

So, as I stated earlier…Who needs drugs when you have fountain pens?

An idea that may actually work?

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2013 at 2:22 AM

As I sit here, I had a jolly good idea. Make vending machines, and thus everything accessible via debit card! Think of how much easier and simpler our lives would be!

As we progress into a more plastic carrying nation, and thus stop using paper money, it would be a boon for banks and the like to manufacture a vending machine that takes debit cards. If you’re like me, then you no longer carry cash, and want a Wild Cherry Pepsi at, oh, say 1:25 AM, but have no cash on hand, and refuse to get dressed and pop off to the nearest petrol station. What’ll you do? Grab your debit card, mates!

How this genius idea will work is like any other debit transaction, you make a selection on the item, crisps, or soda, and insert your debit card, then your pin number. Bam, soda and a bag of crisps!

Not to mention that if you ride buses to and fro, then the debit system is a no go. You need to get to work, but no time to pop off and get a few dollars? Guess you’re late, chum. Not with my debit system. Slid in your card and insert your pin, and your off to work in no time! See, I’m not always blogging about the crude things we should do, this one helps!

We already pay via debit for everything, so why not include vending machines and public transport? The laundromat in my old neighbourhood took credit cards! That’s one I didn’t think of when compiling this list of greatness. We can buy stuff online and have it shipped to us via debit card, so why not have sweets, and soda? Hell, most of us can’t even reach our pockets. Not to mention that we could curd the random drug trades in the street, as I doubt that T-bog wants a paper trail. Strip clubs could also benefit, as a girl will still come to your table with those little machines that read the card, the user inserts an amount he wants to pay (tip included) and then she would start her dance. Want more dances? Just insert another am out and off she goes again. Of course we would still have the cash option, but after a few years they would be fazed out, either from lack of use, or the government decided that paper and coin money is a fallacy. And not to mention that paper money, such as a dollar or a penny costs somewhere between half and double the amount of the denomination to make, where plastic cards can be made for next to nothing and hold billions. See economical!

They burn paper money after it gets too old. Plastic cards can be melted down and made into anything like a Corvette for instance…that you bought with…..a new debit card! Its the circle of life! And, as technology progresses, we will manufacture new ways of producing the cards, and eventually, plastic will non longer get used, saving the hippy crybabies and their hippy tears. See? Works for everyone!

So, in closing, the debit card is a boon, and as soon as our government rulers realize this, the better, and more convenient our lives will be.

This is a change…

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Due to the recent influx of requests, I have decided to post another in a series, however I’m, changing it to be stuff I enjoy….

The first thing I enjoy is cold weather. Something about wind and cool temperatures just…it just gets me, you know?

I enjoy the smell of fresh bread! My aunt makes the best bread; sadly, due to a work injury, she cannot make it. My house hasn’t been the same since!

I enjoy the first puff of a fresh batch of pipe tobacco. To me the best time to smoke is after a hard day’s work, just grab your favorite (preferably non carbonated) beverage, a book (or blog…) and sit back and enjoy!

I enjoy video games! Shocking, I know…but I do. Probably the best video game I’ve ever play is Pac-Man; as old as it is, there is something about watching that little cheese wheel, that just captivates me. Even as technology advances, and an original working copy becomes harder to find than a unicorn-rhino hybrid, that will always be the best game.

I enjoy a great book. One that starts off as great as it finishes. Tom Clancy is my favourite author, despite just handing his ideas off to someone and collecting a paycheck. His novel Rainbow Six was his best work, even if it took the video game to make me read it!

As crotchety as I am, I enjoy the company of others. I enjoy my friends and family, it’s “outsiders” I cannot stand. When I’m with my friends, the rest if the world can wait!

These are just a few of the tthings that I enjoy. If I posted them all, the internet would crash, so I am going to leave it here. As always, feel free to drop me a comment and let me hear you kind folk’s opinion. Thanks for reading

I sell propane and and propaba accessories

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2013 at 4:12 AM

As I finish an episode of King of the Hill, I decided to vent a few questions that I have, and share my thoughts on the series.

When it debuted, it was different than what Fox had with The Simpsons and Family Guy, as it was family oriented, and wasn’t “blue”. It had comedy, but also had life lessons that everyone could relate to. It had just about zero drama, aside from the propane explosion at the Mega-Lo-Mart, that is.

Hank was the assistant manager for Strickland Propane, which for today, is a lost art; everyone has to have a fancy job and and car, Hank had two trucks in the series’ run. Just two. Bobby was the typical teen, didn’t want to partake in sports, good at video games, great at getting his dad to say “That bout ain’t right”. Peggy was the misguided wife, who tried to price she knew enduring, despite being wrong on just about everything except Boggle. The crazy neighbor was played by Dale Gribble, and who amongst us can say honestly that they have never known a crazy neighbor? Kahn was the Asian who hated living next to rednecks, but tried making the best of it. Bill was the neighbor who, despite all of Hank’s trying, just couldn’t do much for himself. Boomhouer was a mystery…at least until the final episode, that is. The program even had the crazy, stuck in his ways grandpa, played by Cotton, the WWII vet.

I remember when the show premiered. It was a boring Sunday night. My family was prospering for the next work and school week. The programme started with Bobby playing softball and getting beaned in the head. That was the best part of any cartoon I have ever seen! When the introduced Kahn to the neighbours, I was howling with laughter when Bill kept asking “So are are you Chinese, or Japanese?” despite being told Kahn was Laotion. It’s a tad racist, but funny. The way Hank introduces himself as “Hank Hill, assistant manager, Strickland Propane” was the highlight of my week.

Hell, out was the only show too make grandpa dying hilarious. When Cotton died, I laughed so hard…he thought the chef of the Japanese restaurant was trying to cut him, so he jumped onto the stove, melted shoes and all, and asked Bobby, “Are they going to have too take my knees, boy?” That was funny!

I also have a few complaints about the show. Such as, ever notice how the calender never changes, yet the show takes place in all times of the year? Also, how does Luanne age from 17 to 21, yet Bobby only ages from 12 to 13? The show was on for at least a decade…you think the lad would’ve at least gotten to age 14 in that time span! If Dale was convinced that the government was watching him, how did he not know that Boomhouer was a Texas Ranger? You think that most guys like him would know that, right? Before they explored Peggy and her background, she was born and raised in Texas, but they changed that to being the daughter of a harsh Montana rancher without explaining it; they did the old sweep it under the rug thing that Hollywood is famous for, I guess. They did explore the relationship of Kahn and Minh, but briefly. If memory serves, Kahn was a treble in the eyes of Minh’s father, but she loved him, and after The General realized it, he was ok with it…but they never have much thought to the second, our third tiered characters; Bill fell in love with Kahn’s mother, which upset Kahn naturally… Anyone remember even the guys built Kahn’s swimming pool? They never seemed to mention that again, not did they explain what happened to GH after Cotton died. Did he and Debby move in with family or what? I need closure, here!
Peggy was the time substitute teacher of the year, until she went to work for the paper. They never explained if she kept her teaching license or not, either.

Did Bobby finally become a prop comic, like he wanted? How did Boomhouer find time to be a Texas Ranger if he was always chasing trail? For that matter, did Dale ever make enough to live on as an exterminator? We ask know it was a matter of time before Nancy left him for John Redcorn, right?

Anyway, that is my post about King of the Hill, I hope you enjoyed it. If you know anyone who has power in the entertainment world, convince them top make a movie about this show, the world needs it!

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