She Netflix me. She Netflix me not!

Was just reading an article about Netflix finally implementing their price increase for their services.  You can read the article HERE

To save you guys the time, though.  The price increased to WHOLE DOLLAR!  Warning incoming mass rant from the internet masses!

This is kinda how I feel about all the ranting we do

I’m not one to side with large corporations and their legions of soulless white colored executives, but Netflix does put out some great original content.  For me its Daredevil and the Marvel series, as well as Stranger Things.  Also, there are a few on my list to watch:  House of Cards, Narcos, The Crown, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmit, Castlevania.  So that are a few things to catch up on.  Granted I still have cable, subscribe to Hulu, Amazon Prime and have a HBO subscription; so I may be wasting my money.  But it seems that the original content is what keeps me on Netflix.  Sure, I’ll watch a movie on there once IN A BLUE MOON.  But Is still enjoy just pulling it up and burning a flick.

Hell, I can’t even remember the last time really used any of my DVDs outside of gaming.  Even then, I’m still blowing dust off of them.  Speaking of that, there is still one major issue I’ve had with the service (as has everyone), which are the trash titles.  In terms of newer titles or the content library altogether, they either stink or all the other streaming networks have them up for view.

Hopefully with this jump in price, we’ll get a serious bump in quality movie content.  As a member for nearly a decade, this hasn’t changed in big strides.  NOW is that time for Netflix to give the subscribers what we want, BETTER MOVIES.

To market strategists:  BIG HINT

Honestly, the original content is great and want that production quality to be maintained and the good shows to keep running.  That and we don’t need anymore TV series added to the service, as there are clearly more than enough on there already.

Alternatively, there is HBO, which is way better at keeping their libraries current and content at a good quality.  But that comes at a cost of $15.  Yet, their movie and original content is VASTLY superior, as they keep their content gritty and very appealing.

I’m certainly not crying about a dollar.  But the company does need to put their big boy (or girl) pants on and improve that weak library going on.

What’s everyone’s take on how streaming services now?

Personal favorites?  Recommendations? 

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Game Smarter, Part II: Pimp Your Life

Brilliant article! A hefty but very useful read especially for those who are unmotivated, many times during the day!

AmbiGaming

Welcome back to our mini-series on gamification and how it can enhance task and job performance, when used effectively. Last time, we defined gamification, and discussed what differentiates it from “gaming” and “playing.” Additionally, we briefly talked about what is so motivating about gamification, and some specific motivating elements that must be present for it to work. If you haven’t read that article, I do suggest checking it out because the following information will build on that.

Without further ado, though, let’s get into how to utilize game design (gamification) in a meaningful and non-intrusive way.

Relevance

In a perfect scenario, the event or task must have some sort of intrinsic value within it already, otherwise the gamified enforcer/reward is the only thing keeping the person doing it. To put that another way, that would be showing up to work only because it pays you, and not because you…

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It Cuts Deeper than Anything We Know

Following the unthinkable evil acts in Las Vegas, I found myself absolute disbelief.  For every time there is a mass shooting, it only seems to be getting worse with each horrible occurrence.  Seeing all of those people, so happy and peaceful, only to be cut down by a coward’s mad act of rage.  Yet it didn’t make me angry as to why it happened, but how those people still pulled together to mend what they could for all those hurt and killed.

You see, I’m not unfamiliar with the unpredictable acts of spree violence.  My father was once a victim (a survivor) of a spree murder, Howard Unruh.  I remember him telling me, “I was outside the barber shop, I heard loud ‘pops’.  Then screams and a woman collapsing in the street, then my leg went numb.  I hid inside and went behind a jukebox and waited, lighting up a cigarette.  I didn’t know what to do, I panicked!  He came inside the barber shop and froze.  Four maybe five shots went off and then nothing, except him and my heart ripping out of my chest.  Then he was gone.

Unruh lived to be placed in a mental asylum and lived the rest of his days behind bars.  Yet it never brought back the children, men and women he killed and scarred for life.  I know, because my dad was never always 100% percent right in his head after that.

Nor will any of the victims of Las Vegas, Columbine, Sandy Hook (and the list goes on) that will never be the same.  The innocent who lost their lives before they knew it, will always have:  fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, children and other family members that WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.

To the scum that did this to every one of these folks, YOU DESERVE WORSE than death and imprisonment.  I know it’s not right to think like this; but to the Steven Craigs and Howard Unruhs of the world.  I truly hope you are still suffering beyond death, as there is no redemption for you…ever.

As for me, I continue to read and learn more about this, to come up with an answer to why this happens?  What makes the random few want to forget everything that is wonderful and human about us.  Then make it a target of their own madness.

Who we play as cuts deeper than we think!

Why is there such a deep connection with us and the characters we play as?

Every time we sit down and load up a title on our weekly play.  Many of us really don’t stop to realize.  Why are we fascinated with an Italian plumber in a red cap and suspenders or an over-muscled Greek demi-god.  Sure, it may go back to what we learned in high school English class about, “the hero’s journey” and how we all wished we could experience such feats.  In a way, that’s clear and present in our minds as we infiltrate an enemy base or raid a building for supplies.  We experience the journey first-hand, albeit in success and failure.  Yet there are underlying reasons as to why these avatars of our digital are so identifiable with us.  Like Spike Lee once said, “It must be the shoes!”  In reality, it isn’t just the badass war paint or double barrel shotgun.  Let’s take a look at some of the more memorable characters throughout our not-so daily grind.

Doomguy (Doom)

Credit – Id Software

This unfortunate Marine, is thrown into the bowels of hell right from the start, with only 10 unbloodied knuckles, a full magazine of ammo and one serious case of paranoia.  We all know where this goes; all of his war buddies draw their guns in the wrong direction (his).  This only leads to their last gasp and post-mortem gurgles.  By the first level’s end, he’s armed with a shotgun and chainsaw in hand –   From there, it’s all on us to do the rest.

GROOVY!

Doomguy is in a situation we’d never want to be in, where it’s everyone against us.  Yet it’s a first-hand account on how we’d survive it.  Laying down buckshot into a cacodemon’s face and watching tumble with on three percent health hits home with us.  Because it was at that moment, we’d that could been the end and it wasn’t.

All of us experience this at some time in our lives, where death comes close in the flesh and almost taps our shoulder.  Be it, by narrowing being hit in a pedestrian crosswalk while the light was clearly red or accidentally cutting your hand pretty bad while dicing onions.  That impeding sense of Doom that is right around each of life’s corners.

Sure, we’d continue to get that same adrenaline kick with each Team Deathmatch session or CoD/FPS game.  But the feeling you’d get, is irreplaceable to that of the dark and bloodied corridors of hell itself.

Mario

 

Credit – Nintendo

He’s our favorite red and blue plumber, whose on-call for all the wrong reasons.  (Seriously, have we ever seen him really fix a sink or toilet?)  Mario has more skill with eating mushroom and jumping to Shaun White distances.  With a smile that never drops and the nerves of diamond, he stomps Bowser and his crew every time.  (Provided we succeed!)   As a reward, he gets the girl and simple peck on the cheek, as gratitude.

 

Doing what Mario does and how we get him to the nice green and white flag, takes a lot resolve.  Avoiding the turtle shells, bullet bills, bomb-oms and flames pits can seem like an impossible task.  Eventually, we make it through and the success doesn’t seem any sweeter.

Mario is our perseverance, the will to adapt and overcome through the chaos and dangers very similar to us.  Some challenges are greater than others and vary to our own lifestyles.  Tight deadlines, balancing the household checkbook, being a good parent, taking extra classes; can seem like those same impossible feats.  Still, we move forward, try our best and make it work, even if we fully succeed or not.  In our later years, that perseverance pays off, with less or no debt, a home that is ours and the true reward for all of our hard labor.

Sheperd (Mass Effect 1-3)

Credit – Gamespot

Three epic chapters of space exploration weren’t enough for many of us.  The recent entry Mass Effect: Andromeda left deep yearns of space exploration and saving the universe from rapture.  Regardless of how well your experience was with that title, there was one big thing that wasn’t the same – Ryder.  As a replacement, to the neutral character of the original trilogy, Shepard became Ryder.  Both were open to be either a male or female option, with each having their own personalities depending on the choices you made.  Shepherd had options that could lead you into firefights, a resolution of a conflict or even convince someone to commit suicide.  Sadly, Andromeda’s Ryder was never given the same sort of ability of true conflict resolution.

Like the Star Trek multiverse, Mass Effect focused on the fragile relations of the intergalactic races of The Milky Way and beyond.  Many instances Commander Sheperd ends up being right in the middle of a bog of diplomacy.  Depending on how the Commander responded, the end result could be successful or disastrous.  Ultimately, it could always be finished with good firepower and biotics (space magic), though.

Sheperd is our free will, the choice is unique only to the player and leaves permanent results, much like you and I.  Our real lives have confrontations and disagreements where an outcome is dependent on what comes out of our mouths.  Very much like Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Natural Law, “for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction.”  Our free will to speak holds the gravity of infinite possibilities of our own future.  (Pun intended)

Tommy Vercetti (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City)

Known as the 80s anti-hero and narco druglord in the fictional metropolitan, Vice City.  Tommy was given the short end of the stick, even when he became a made-man in the Forelli crime family.  From the moment he stepped out of the taxi cab, Tommy was bound to end up as a chalk trace on the hot pavement.  Guided by his own actions and rage, Tommy took Vice City for himself, piece by piece.

Almost everyone that booted up Vice City, knows that you really didn’t play for the missions or story.  It was great excuse just drive around like crazy, solicit a prostitute then get a “return” of service, blow up the cops and beat down pedestrians.   Causing this sort of havoc is what really coined the term “sandbox” in gaming and we loved every minute of.  At least until our parents found out after hearing hours of police sirens coming from the bedroom.

Tommy is the underlying rage and frustration we have inside us.  Much like Fight Club’s Tyler Durden, no one wants to admit they have an animalistic urge to channel their aggression.  Grand Theft Auto was one of our first real punching bags to the stresses of teen adolescence, work and life as a whole.  Gaming is hobby and an escape for many of us, regardless if you want to believe it or not.  Perhaps we aren’t bound by our desires and impulses, like Mr Vercetti.  But we all know that you cannot keep it all bottled up inside.

Sometimes it’s just best to seek help…right Michael?

 

What a Jip!!!!

This was Grace’s fortune after going to the Chinese buffet.  LMAO, but if you take it seriously…this SUCKS!!!

The Big FIVE!

Yesterday we celebrated my daughter’s 5th birthday, (Her name is Grace for those who don’t know.)  and I got to say, I feel proud and sad at the same time.

Overall, I’m proud of what Louie and I have accomplished as parents so far.  From the sleepless nights of feeding a peanut-sized baby girl to chasing around a little kid around the house, until WE tire out.  All of this being done, while she and I worked opposite work schedules and STILL managed to live comfortably.  (Granted, we continue to live paycheck to paycheck.  Let’s face it, the economy is going no where still.)

She’s made me so proud, with how far she has come in school and how she’s become so creative.  Sometimes, I stop and wonder, where did our creativity go as we grew older. Did maturity and circumstance douse our many of the creative fires we had as children?!  Or did it just hid away until our children could find it and point it out to us once again.  Truly, it’s a perplexing dilemma, trying to find that spark of inspiration or the drive to create something SHINY and NEW.  But maybe I’m thinking or searching to hard to realize that my own creations aren’t solely from the mind or the heart, but from EVERYWHERE AROUND US.

Experiences, our senses, the passage of time; the seed of creation is all right there!  For children, it isn’t that deep, they look to us, school, their friends and what they see and learn.  But as they age, the picture of their creativity becomes a jigsaw puzzle, that only continues to add more pieces as the time goes by.

Perhaps, that is why I should be striking while the iron is hot, while there are less pieces to the puzzle.

Away from my rambling now, let me get back to my girl’s big day.  It was filled tons of laughter as she led her friends around the park and they eventually got to beat on a My Little Pony pinata.  Mike Tyson in his prime couldn’t beat the ring time these kids had with poor lil’ “Pinky Pie”.  In 8 seconds flat, Grace and ten other children decapitated and spit the poor pinata in half.  They were happy as clams; WE…WERE…HORRIFIED!!

REST………..IN….PIECES!!

Needless to say, they had a blast; especially when Grace got her brand new FART GUN.  OH YEAH!  Nothing makes laugh uncontrollably like when people fart.  The smell is negligible…all she cares about the rip.

7…6…2 Millimeter Full FLATULENT Jacket  

 

As of tomorrow, summer vacation will start for both Louie and Grace.  (Louie is a teacher.)  So I’ll be picking up the pace at work and pulling the weight for a couple months.  It’s gonna suck, but I sort of feel re-energized where I left my writing behind.

 

Hopefully, you’ll be reading more from me and I’ll sharing more of my writing.

Soup Rockets!!

Hey everyone!  Been a bit, but everything is going well.  Over the last month or so, I’ve spent some serious quality time with the lady and Grace!  Things have been pretty chill, so I can’t complain.  Louie has gotten most of her gardening out of the way and the little one is almost done school.  (Can’t believe she’s almost into Kindergarten!)

During the break, I noticed that Grace (the lil one) has been more and more interested in gaming.  First, it started with me and her playing Super Mario 64, Pokemon Snap! and Mario Kart.  Now she’s been asking for more time on my PS4, with Louie helping her out with Nom Nom Galaxy.  Which is an indie game, where you explore a planet in order to make soup!  Currently, that is her favorite and I can’t blame her.

Just so you know, Grace.  This is the only place daddy will allow you to hold a circular saw!  Oh, that and launching rockets in the house.

I mean, how many kids get the chance to make soup in outer space and ship it off in a rocket to other aliens?!

Now, for a long time, I was a bit apprehensive about her playing, despite me being a serious gamer.  But I soon realized over this month, that was an inevitability or I had to quit gaming altogether.  After all, our children always want to be just like us and are our direct reflection of ourselves.

Funny enough, though!  I think she’s been playing for little too much in recent days and needs to take a break.  Perhaps it’s about time, Louie and I have a talk about rationing that time out, vice asking for it RIGHT away, after coming home.

BTW, how’s everyone doing?  ANYBODY HOOOOME????

 

When the window of diversity is opened in Video Games

Good share, this is a grear discussion topic!!  Diversity is a double-edged subject. As the message of acceptance is a necessity and we should all view everyone as LIVING BREATHING HUMAN BEINGS who are UNIQUE regardless of race, gender or difference.

Yet the message of intolerance screams that diversity is taking advantage of the system and hindering true fairness.

It ultimately boils down to this. Government and private industries should police the fairness and equality. But it SHOULD NOT make laws to balance those principles.

The same premise should be for media and the arts. Companies and artists should express, WHAT THEY THINK AND FEEL!

Regardless of who or how things are portrayed, in reference to differences.

Suitably Bored

Melanie Ehrenkranz: What happens when developer X releases their “diversity” report and they don’t meet your or any other social justice or feminists criteria? Do they get a scarlet mark next to their names? Do they get named and shamed? Or boycotted?  Who decides on what the benchmark should be? My second question would be:  Does a diverse development company really correlate with better sales at the end of the day? If so some data to back it up would be really nice.  Here is the issue I have with your comment, does adding more woman, POC or any other sexual orientation add value to the company or game design when it is being pushed or forced onto developers and publishers? I would say no, pushing our medium to make better games won’t happen when you are forcing these companies to tick invisible diversity boxes.

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Recipe Share : Chris’ Hot Chicken Salad

With a post drought well in effect here on my blog.  I figured I’d share a pretty good recipe I came up with.  (Not like it’s an earth shattering recipe in cooking)  

As a parent whose got the opposite work schedule as my wife and daughter, it’s pretty hard to balance chores family time and responsibilities.  (Which is ultimately where my lack of time for here comes in.)

So most of my work at home is done in the kitchen.  (Usually, she doesn’t get home until 6ish, so dinner has to be done!)  This has been like this for about 8 months.

Since then, I’ve gone from making boxed Hamburger Helper meals and Stuffed Peppers to entries featured at your local mom and pop diners.  Honestly, I’m kind of shocked on how I’ve grown as a cook since then!  

Anyhoo, I’ll stop rambling and get down to what may be my own creation!  Or at least my own take on a nice bowl of chicken salad!

CHRIS’ HOT CHICKEN SALAD (Serves 4)

(FYI, yeah this is my first name…so yeah SPOILER!)

Ingredients

1 Green Pepper

1  Zuccini

1-2 Dozen Cherry Tomatoes 

1 Yellow Onion

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to generously coat 2 large skillets)

Dry Dill Weed (4 tsp)                          

Italian Seasoning (2 tsp)       

Poultry Seasoning (4 Tbl spoons)   

1.25 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

2 Tbl spoons Lemon Juice

4 tsp Kosher Salt

6 tsp Black Pepper

1/2 Bottle Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (or any ranch dressing)

1 box Stove Top stuffing (Chicken, Turkey or Savory Herb flavors)

4 Tbl spoons butter or margarine (for stuffing)


INSTRUCTIONS 

Dice all vegetables leaving them semi-thick, for the exception of the cherry tomatoes.  

Cut the chicken into quarters, lightly salt and pepper, generously coat with poultry seasoning.

Cook stuffing a medium sauce pan (Which can be done anytime really.) Just follow the directions on the box.

Begin heating two large skillets with Olive oil, making sure to coat the pans well.  Sprinkle in Italian Seasoning into the coated pans.  Heat them on medium heat to warm the oil.  

Add in chicken into one pan, then use the other for the veggies.

Cook chicken 2 mins on medium, turn and repeat until turned 5 times.  (Obviously until there is NO PINK)

Cook veggies until they soften, but DO NOT sautee and make them mushy. Lower heat for veggies and turn off heat for the chicken.  

ADD 2 tsp of black pepper and 2 Tbl spoons of lemon juice to VEGGIES.

Drizzle ranch dressing onto the vegetables the same way you would a normal salad.  

Plate the cooked ingredients veggies, chicken and a 3/4-1 cup of stuffing on top.

Rest assured, this is a delicious and health conscious dish even a 4yr old would like.  And here the proof!!

See!!!!

Anyways, hope you enjoy this as much as we did!!  

Be sure to LIKE, REBLOG, COMMENT AND SHARE if you did!!

Before I go, I’d like to thank you guys for all of the comments, follow, shares, etc throughout the year and a half I’ve been writing.  YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!

Playing Final Fantasy VII again…this had me on the floor!! :D

Cloud:     OKAY!!!  All Geared up, right guys?!  LET’s GOOOOOO!!

 

 

YEP!!! Ruby Weapon is like Andre the Giant of bosses.

Now put that in your pipe and smoke it!!

Courtesy of:

http://beermumbo.com/andre-the-giant/

(ALSO SOME GREAT STORIES ABOUT HIS LEGENDS IN BEER DRINKING!!)