It’s that time again

6 12 2010

So a lot has happened since I last posted here.  The biggest and most time consuming thing was definitely marrying my girlfriend of four years.  The wedding went great, which I am very thankful for considering all the time and money that my wife invested into it.  We also went on our honeymoon to Gatlinburg TN, which was great as well.  We stayed for a week in a cabin with an amazing view and did a lot of catching up on R&R.  The hot tub on the porch was put to good use.  I was a bit disappointed when I discovered that it wasn’t a hot tub time machine, though. On the last day there, however, we were rear-ended by four old ladies in a Chevy Impala.  They were sweet old ladies, and I felt bad for them, but I guess thats what happens when you look at Christmas lights instead of brake lights while driving on a busy highway.

I also finished up P90X.  I lost 36 lbs while doing the program, and I really had a great time learning about fitness and nutrition in a way that I never had before – by experience.  I am sorry to say, however, that since finishing in November, I’m already on my way back up the scale.  I haven’t crossed the 200lb threshold again yet, but I’m getting close.  Since getting married, I’ve eaten nothing but wedding cake, cheese cake, turkey and dressing, fried chicken, and basically all the things that I had taught myself to stay away from during the program.  They have tasted great, but I can already see my stomach growing back to the point that it was when I started.  Three months of labor being overtaken by one month of cake and lack of exercise doesn’t seem quite fair, but I guess I have no one to blame but myself.

I plan to get back into it soon, but with the Christmas holiday coming, and with the size of my family and the amount of dinners we eat together, I might just be better off making it a new year’s resolution for 2011.  By that point, I should have my wife’s 200 pairs of shoes moved into the house, all of our wedding gifts cleared out of the living room, and have some space to work out again.  But I can cross that bridge when I get to it.

Since my last update, I’ve also started another job.  I’ve been working part-time with my uncles in the family business.  They do freight management and global logistics.  At the present moment, I’m working there on Thursdays and Fridays (days off from my full-time job), but I’m hoping to get a full-time position within a few months.  They are looking at purchasing a warehouse for freight storage and management, and if that is followed through with, I’ll be the General Manager there.  So here’s to hoping.

Well, theres the biggest reasons that I’ve been slacking on updates lately.  It’s not that I’ve neglected the 2 people who read this blog, and its not that I haven’t wanted to post here, but it was just that over the past two months or so I have been completely swamped with stuff.  But hopefully now that the wedding is over with and we’re getting settled into my place, I’ll be able to write more.  I’ll be posting again later today with some thoughts on the release of Cataclysm (which is tonight), my expectations for it, and how I plan to take over the world of Azeroth.

*Queue evil laugh*





Halo: Reach – My impressions

27 09 2010

Before I begin to unload my thoughts on Halo: Reach, I want to apologize for my lack of updates over the past week. I had to replace my phone due to a blown external speaker, so I was phoneless for a few days. Without my smartphone, I’m unable to access the internet at work, which is where I write most of my posts. So again, I’m sorry. Now on to the juicy stuff.

I recently picked up Holo: Reach from Gamestop for the low price of $65 (shoot me now). To be honest, I have never been a fan of the Halo series. I’ve owned every installment leading up to reach, but traded them in after cakewalking through the story mode for the achievements. But at the suggestion of a friend, who has an opinion on gaming that I respect, I bought Reach with an open mind. After playing it constantly for about a week, I am hooked.

In the previous Halo games, I couldn’t enjoy the multiplayer gameplay because of how slow the game felt. I always felt like I was moving around in knee-deep mud. It just made the experience seem awkward and unnatural to me, and as a result, I grew bored quickly. But Reach has rectified that with a sprint ability that does actually speed the pace of the game up considerably.

There is also a jetpack that can be utilized at certain points in.the story mode and in some multiplayer matches as well. It adds a fun factor that was somehow missing before, and it brings me back to great times playing Tribes online until the sun came up.

The graphics in this game are incredible. Easily some of the best graphics I’ve seen to.date, on any console. Bungie has done a great job of making an environment that is foreign and fictional seem very real and believable, and the smoothness of the movement and controls really make you feel like you are a part of the world itself.

The online play is very addictive. The different maps and game modes are fun, and the competition is fierce. I have yet to experience any law or packet loss, and the experience is honestly the best I’ve seen when it comes to a polished multiplayer experience. The ranking system rewards those who prefer to play online, and the daily/weekly tasks add another aspect of enjoyment to the matchmaking system.

I.definitely give this game my solid recommendation. Both the story and matchmaking modes are exceptional and engaging, and you will have a hard time putting the controller down for work or sleep. So buy a box or three of cheezits, call in to work sick, and get ready for a solid gaming experience with Halo: Reach.





Oxyelite Pro

19 09 2010

As I mentioned in my About page, I am doing the P90x at-home fitness program at the time.  I’m currently on day 35, and I have already seen some good progress from where I was when I began.  However, I’m not satisfied with the slow loss of fat in my stubborn areas (lower stomach and love-handles).  In order to gain a little headway in my mission to lose the spare tire, I’ve decided to incorporate a fat-burning supplement called Oxyelite Pro.  I did a lot of research on it before ordering from amazon and a majority of people have who tried it say that they are more than satisfied with the product.

I started taking OEP only two short days ago, so I can’t really say how well it is working for me yet.  But everywhere that I look, I see people raving about how it boosts weight loss when incorporated with a high protein/low carb diet and intense workout regimen (like P90x), while also providing better focus and extra energy throughout the day.

As I use this product more, I plan on posting a full review of my experience with it and my impressions on how well it works.  So if you’re interested, stay tuned!





Four days until the release of Civilization V

18 09 2010

Set to drop on September 21, Civilization V has been on the minds of many PC gamers lately, mine included.  With its release only 4 days away, I’m seriously considering buying Civ5 over Starcraft II.

I was in the Starcraft II beta when keys were selling for hundreds of dollars, and at the time, I really enjoyed it.  I was never much of a RTS gamer before I tried the beta.  I always associated RTS games with terrible graphics, boring gameplay, lightning bolts, and bottle cap glasses.  So when I tried the beta, it was a complete new experience for me and a welcomed change from WoW.  I have not bought SC2 yet, because $60 is a lot for a game when you’re broke as hell, but was planning on getting it in the next week or two.  However, after reading some reviews and previews of Civ5, I’m really starting to lean toward it instead of SC2 for a few reasons:

  1. It’s new. The last game of Civ I played was probably about 18 years ago at a LAN party with some relatives.  It was fun, but I was more into FPS games like Quake and Unreal at the time.  I played the SC2 beta and buying Civ5 instead would be something completely new and fun.
  2. I have friends that are avid Civ players. Everyone knows playing with friends is always more fun.
  3. The community. SC2, and pretty much any Blizzard owned game these days, is chock full of elitist pricks and epeen strokers.  My experience with the community surrounding Civ so far is the complete opposite.
  4. The price. Civ5 preorders are averaging at a price around $45.  That much more reasonable than the bloated price tag on SC2.

Almost every review I have seen for Civ5 so far has been incredible positive.  The more I think about it the further I lean toward buying this game, but honestly, comparing this game to SC2 is probably a case of apples vs oranges.  Is anyone else giving it consideration?  Did anyone play the beta?  How did it rank against SC2?





Looking forward to these games? I know I am

14 09 2010

There are a couple of games set for release later this year and early 2011 that I am really looking forward to.  It’s been a while since I bought a game that I was truly excited about sitting down and spending a couple 10 hours on, while doing the peepee dance on the couch and nuking 5 minute burritos during cut scenes.  While the burritos will definitely no longer be a part of my gaming tradition, the peepee dance will live on!

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II – October 26, 2010 – All platforms

The first installment of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was a big hit for LucasArts.  The game delivered in areas where most previous Star Wars games failed to.  It provided epic battles, a great story line, and just a general feeling of a polished and awesome game that was fun and engaging from beginning to end.  While it had its downfalls, the overall experience of the game was positive throughout the gaming community.  SW:FU2 picks up where it’s predecessor left off which will give gamers a chance to follow on a path of darkness and revenge.  It will be interesting to see how the story is explained, however, due to the original story ending with the main character, Starkiller, being left as either dead or a half-man puppet for the Emperor after “killing” Darth Vader.  Can’t wait to put my thumbs to the sticks with this one!

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – October 5, 2010 – Xbox 360

When I was sucking my thumb and carrying around a blankie, Castlevania was one of my favorite games to play.  With its original release on Famicom and NES, the game set the groundwork for an amazing story line chock full of good vs evil, werewolves, and pure epicness.  Nearly all follow-ups to the original failed to provide the entertainment and enjoyment of their roots, however.  All attempts at a 3D Castlevania were failures and poorly received by gamers worldwide.  Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, however, is sure to deliver where it’s predecessors could not.  Using a fighting system much like that of recent 3D action games such as God of War and Dante’s Inferno, the battles will be epic and the entertainment plentiful.  It will feature insanely oversized opponents, like those which were found in Shadow of the Colossus, an experience point system for building up skills and abilities, and combination moves to counter evil with.  I will be picking this one up from Gamestop the day it is released.

Portal 2 – February 9, 2011 – Xbox 360, PS3, PC

The original Portal delivered gameplay in a way that had never been done before.  It combined FPS and strategy with one simple tool: a portal gun.  It challenged gamers to think with different processes and different reasoning, which is always fun on a different level than the run of the mill mindless hacking and slashing that many games provide today.  Portal 2 will also feature a coop mode, which will challenge players to thinking even harder, and refrain from smacking their buddy in the back of the head.

Metal Gear Solid: Rising

I have never been a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, but after seeing this trailer at E3 this year, I was really looking forward to trying this game out.  The combat mechanics with the katana looks completely original and a welcomed change from the unorganized button mashing that competitors offer.  And that in conjunction with the stealthy aspect of this storyline, I believe it will be a fun and original way to play an action game.  The katana that Raiden, the main character, uses has the ability to slice through anything and anyone that the player wishes to.  It will be tempting to slice heads throughout the whole game, but there is also an achievement for the tree huggers out there who are able to not harm any human being.  While it sounds fun and challenging, it’s just not my way of doing things.





Sharpen your mind – Read a book

10 09 2010

Over the past few months, I have really rediscovered an old hobby of mine.  It is something that is relaxing, rewarding, and is a healthy activity for my mind.

Books.

Before I started reading again, it had been probably 4-5 years since I had read a book just for the enjoyment of it, or because it interested me.  For the longest time I honestly just saw no need to pick up a book.  Why would anyone read a book when there are movies to be watched, games to be played, and websites to be checked?  I mean, when you think about it, books are really quite boring in comparison to gaming, which provides interaction with the game, interaction with other people, and challenges you on multiple levels.  I mean, how can books compete with a force like that?  Well, I have come to realize that books have a lot to offer that movies and games just cannot provide.

It is incredibly rewarding to flip the last page of a great book.  If it is a fictional book, it gives you the freedom and the thrill of exercising your imagination.  It is very relaxing to sit back, read a book, and completely envision everything that the author is telling you.  Sure a plot and a setting is provided by the Author, but the fine details are up to you to decide.

For the fantasy lover, check out The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie

I enjoy reading fantasy books a lot.  They compliment many of the games that I play, which makes for a more enjoyable experience while both reading and gaming.  But I also enjoy reading books that motivate me.  Whether its entrepreneurial motivation, spiritual motivation, or health motivation, I find them all interesting and enjoyable to read, and I come away from the feeling inspired and motivated.

Entrepreneurial motivation at its best: Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck

The book mentioned above is truly a great book to read.  Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV, is a guy who invests everything he is into his passions, his business, and his life.  He is truly a motivational guy to the core, and I am appreciative of this book that he has written.  If you are a blogger, a gamer, or hell even a tennis shoe collector, I definitely recommend you give this a read.  Its relatively short, so it is not a huge time investment.  I read it in 2 days on and off.  After you read it, you will be glad that you did.

So I’m looking for a new book to read.  What are some of your favorites?  Anything you would suggest for me to read?





A few useful Extensions for Google Chrome

9 09 2010

I will be the first to say that I love Google.  I love the fact that they offer many of the great products that other companies do, but do it for free.  I love the fact that their company seems to have a respectable moral and ethical stance in an industry that is severely lacking in that area today.  I also love their internet browser, Chrome.  For me, it just seems a bit cleaner and more polished than it’s competitors.

One of the best features of Chrome is the Extensions.  What is an Extension?  Basically, it is an app designed for your browser that offers additional  functionality.  I thought I would take a minute and list out some of my favorite extensions for Chrome.  If you are looking to try out the extensions feature in Chrome, maybe start with a few of these.

  • Chromed Bird – This is an extension for managing your Twitter account.  You can compose tweets, view timelines, send direct messages, manage lists, and do basically anything you would want to do from your twitter account.  This is by far the best Twitter extension I have found for Chrome.
  • Google Reader Notifier – Adds a button to your browser that will notify you when a new unread item appears in your Google Reader.  Clicking the button will show a drop box with links to all of the unread items.  Very useful for bloggers and RSS whores, if you use Google Reader that is.
  • Delicious Tools – Bookmark manager for Delicious.com.  Allows you to add a bookmark from any page or jump directly to your inbox and bookmarks pages.  Simple and effective.
  • goo.gl URL Shortener – Google’s URL shortener.  When you click the button, it shortens the url.  Its fast and easy, in complete Google fashion.
  • Digg for Chrome – Digg’s official Chrome extension.  Allows you to submit the current site to digg or share the story with multiple other social platforms.
  • SmoothScroll – Makes mouse and keyboard scrolling smoother.
  • Aviary Screen Capture – Allows you to take a screenshot of your current window and edit the screenshot without having to ever leave your browser.  Very handy extension.
  • Google Dictionary – Allows you to see the definition of a word by either doubleclicking the word directly or clicking the dictionary extension button and typing the word in.

I do use a few others, but they are mostly for personal preference.  If there is interest, I’ll post those as well.  If you decide to try one of these out based on my recommendation, let me know in a comment below!  Tell me if you find the extensions you tried useful, or if you thought they not so useful.








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