I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Mass Effect 3 DLC / What? No fantasy TDF?

I finally watched the Mass Effect 3 DLC on Youtube.  Boring.  They said there was going to be some added filler to enlighten gamers as to what actually happens in the end.  The answer is a boring 'nothing much.'  You still end up with, of all things, a 2 second clip of someone laying in the rubble on Earth, someone who may or may not be Shepherd.  Like I said before, in 2 or 3 years Bioware is going to put another Mass Effect game, though who knows what they might call it, maybe Mass Effect Resurrection because Shepherd will rise from the rubble.

To be continued?
Next on the agenda - Cycling, the kind you do on a bicycle.  The Tour de France starts Sunday and I can't wait.  I've watched it on Versus for years.  At some point in time NBC purchased Versus and for the most part they've kept pretty true to previous years' telecast.

There is, however, one exception.  I've been going to the NBC Sports website daily to see if they were going to be running a Fantasy Cycling Challenge or at least a link to one.  So far?  Nothing.  Thousands of people used to participate and I used to be one of them.  I never expected to win and never did, but there was still a lot of fun in creating my own team, usually a team that did not include all of the "superstars" of cycling.  Remember, it's how you play the game; if you play it well and you win, well that's stupendous, if you play it well and lose, well, that's life, deal with it - it didn't cost anything.  But not this year, so far no link has been published.  I did go online to see if there were any listed and there are, but they cost money.  There's one in the UK which is free for the first 7 stages but after that you need to pay 10.5 Pounds Sterling, or about $25 per stage.  Give me a break!  Not out of my bank account.  So, this year, I will most likely just watch.  Oh, and I will not be signing up to watch the live broadcast from my tablet.  My employer would not be thrilled to find me sitting at my desk watch the race live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

kinect to Skyrim

Yesterday I went out and added to my electronic toy collection by purchasing a Kinect.  I did this not because I wanted to play one of the available fitness games but rather because I wanted to give voice commands while playing Skyrim.

There are 200 voice commands you can use.  Instead of pressing going to the map using your controller, you simply say "map" and then say where you want to go.  There are follower commands and item commands and, most importantly "shouts" which can be said in either English or dragon.  I don't think you need to be an Einstein to understand this is where gaming is going.  I don't think you need to be an Einstein to understand this is where gaming is going.  Gaming becomes much more interactive.  You're no longer just using your hands and game play becomes less instinctive and much more personal.

Speaking of Mass Effect 3, the first DLC becomes available today.  I'll wait and watch it on Youtube.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Suunto - almost great, but not quite

After the bad experience with Polar, I looked around, there were other HRM's available but nothing quite caught my fancy till I saw "The Volcano."  Suunto's red faced HRM looked like it would give me everything I wanted in an HRM.  The monitor, itself, was and still is one of the most comfortable I've ever worn; there was no heavy plastic involved.  The connection to the transmitter, however, was a bit on the flimsy side and I so I purchased a 2nd just in case I broke it - which I did.  My main difficulty was with all of the buttons, too many, and the sequence in which they needed to be pressed was cumbersome at first.  Even once I'd become familiar it was not unusual to press the wrong button.  This was also my first experience with wireless transmittal of data, which was super!

Look at all the pretty buttons

I'm not longer using "The Volcano" because about 4 months ago it began exhibiting software issues.  I started having problems getting into the main menu so I changed the battery (you can do that with the Suunto) to no avail.  We went to Standard Time and I was stuck in daylight savings time.  And then the readout started fading and since I'd recently changed the battery I new that was not the issue, so the Suunto was retired.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Polar bites it big time!

The polar I am referring to is the Polar who puts out Heart Rate Monitors.  Why do they bite big time?  For several reasons.  I was suckered into my first Polar HRM because it seemed like a good deal even though you needed to mail it off to get the battery changed.  Then, when I needed to have the battery changed, I found out how much it would cost: roughly $25.  There was also the time factor of between 1 and 2 weeks I would have no HRM.  Sooooo, I did without for about a year.  I still went back to their website because I still thought they offered deals and it seemed like everybody was using Polar.  Eventually, I bought another one and realized I had the same fricking problem.  This time I thought I should be able to change the battery myself.  After taking off the back I realized the battery seemed to have been built into the HRM.  Why would they shit on their customer base in such a manner?  Were they that damn greedy.  Sure, very pricey models were available that allowed the consumer to change the battery.  But why did Polar make them so fricking expensive?

Sucky piece of shit

Here is a picture of the last Polar product I will ever purchase.  Not only because the company seems to have no problem shitting on their customer base and sucking every conceivable penny out of them, but also because I purchased an Imac and Polar is not Apple friendly.  I checked out their website and in this day of the Ipad could find no compatible app.  I did go on to purchase a Suunto HRM which I used for a couple of years (you can change the battery on their models) and finally graduated to Garmin.  More on that later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mass Effect 3, the true ending

Back when this game came out there was a lot of hubbub as to whether Shepherd dies; a lot of people were not happy.  Of course he didn't die, there was no body.  What you did get were a number of short scenes which didn't tell you anything.  A two second clip of a human moving in the rubble of Earth says nothing yet a lot of voices shouted "see, Shepherd lives."  The truth is it could have been any survivor.  Where is the Normandy?  That's my main question.  First you see the Earth relay station detonate and pulse / destructo beam aim and hit a 2nd relay station, and then you see the same pulse / destructo beam chasing and (perhaps) overtaking the Normandy.  This means Joker had left Earth and made it through at least one relay station (maybe two).  The fact that you see survivors exiting the ship (no where near Earth) raises a lot of questions.  Like, was the pulse / destructo beam specifically targeting every relay station?  If that was the case a three second clip could have shown them all destroyed.  Or was it specifically targeting the Normandy?  Hhmmmm.

Too many people were thinking inside the box.  They need to understand Bioware is thinking mostly in terms of revenue.  With Mass Effect they have a golden goose.  So, they're going to kill it off leaving only a few measly DLC golden eggs? Holy shit, give me a break.  Believe me, Shepherd didn't die.  How do I know?  Normally, when I finish a game I don't watch the credits - boring.  With ME3 I didn't turn off my console, nor did I pop the game out in frustration.  I actually went into the kitchen and began loading dishes into the dishwasher.  I had just put a glass in the rack when I heard voices talking, one old and one young.  Going into the living room I saw that a tag was added at the end of the credits. What I saw was an older man talking to a child.  The last spoken line in the game is a statement made by the child.  "Tell me more stories about Shepherd."

Monday, June 18, 2012

Nuts, dates and oatmeal

So what exactly is a healthy breakfast, well depending up on who you might be talking to the definition may be a little complicated.  If you're on a diet regime your breakfasts are going to be geared towards losing poundage while still keeping you satiated.  Cookies and milk, or just a couple of pieces of fruit are not going to cut it.  I like oatmeal.  I eat it for breakfast just about every day, and not the instant variety.  Instant oatmeal has been processed to a point where it barely resembles the cooked oats it's supposed to be.  My oatmeal consists 2 teaspoons of walnuts, one date chopped, a half cup of old fashioned oats and a strong dash of cinnamon.  I add one cup of water and nuke the mixture for 4 minutes at 60 power, or, I throw it into a pan and cook it on top of the stove for about 4 minutes.

This is what it looks like when nuked.

I can remember telling my Dad that I never added sugar and he gave me this "oh my God, how could you not sweeten up your oatmeal" look.  And recently I told a friend and she gave me the same look, adding "don't you find that bland."  NO, I don't.  I want my breakfast to provide me with nutrition, not artificial sweetners and flavors.  It's not bland, it has walnuts, and a date, and a dash of cinnamon.  It suits me just fine.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fast food = phony restaurants

The time was when people who went out to eat could afford to both spend the time and the money.  Why time, because at a good restaurant you might have to wait between 15 and 20 minutes between the ordering and the serving.  This is why appetizers were invented, to help pass the time rather then help you build up an appetite.  Today, most often, the only waiting you do is to be seated.  Today, most Americans frequent a chain restaurant where they are handed a pager which vibrates and flashes to let you know a table is ready.  And, in reality, once you sit down you are served... well, sit down fast food.

That's right, this is fast food

Appetizers are still served, of course, even though the wait time between the ordering and the serving is usually no more then 7 minutes (if you don't order an appetizer); remember, it's get you in and get you out as fast as possible.  They do not like slow eaters or people who enjoy conversation, this costs both the waiter and the establishment money.

And this is fast food

This quick turn around makes it obvious that almost every thing served has been pre-cooked and packaged.  All the cook staff does is put your order on a plate and pop it into a microwave, they don't have time to actually prepare a meal.  While you dinner may taste better then something you might get a  McDonald's or Burger King, the fat content is far worse.  There may be healthy fare on the menu but nobody orders it.  People want to order a dish which has 3 times the carbs you should eat in a day and week and a half worth of fat.  One other thing to note, the portions are not normal, they are oversized.  These establishments want their clientele to return over and over again.  Americans are suckers for a good deal.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Braun vs the Fusion vibrator

I've been using a Braun shaver (pronounced brown) for some time now.  I get a good shave, however,

it seems to take forever to shave my face, and I will be the first to admit that my beard is not heavy.  Prior to the Braun I had always used a razor to clean the stubble from my cheeks and chin so I decided to give the blades a try.  The first thing I noticed was how expensive razors and their blades could be, up to 1/3 the cost of a new Braun.  Of course, I could have gone with one of the disposable varieties but there's really not that much difference between those and a good old fashion steak knife.  After wasting about 5 minutes looking over the various razors I selected a Gillette Fusion Power, not so much

because I thought it might be the best deal for my money but because the packaging and the razor were orange (I am a loyal Home Depot associate).  The little battery included makes the razor vibrate much like a shaver... hhmm.  Basically you are holding a vibrator with razor blades attached at one end.  Does it really improve the razor's shaving capabilities?  I don't think so.  It feels a little awkward holding it because it is... vibrating so I don't turn it on.  This means I could have bought a less expensive razor.  Still, it is orange.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Through the Wormhole, kind of

As a person of "retail" my schedule can be quite varied, some mornings I
need to get up at 5 AM, other mornings at 4 AM and on some occasions as
early as 3 AM.  This puts me at odds with networks such as the Science
Channel which has a terrible policy of premiering new shows at 10 PM.  That
time slot does not work if you work in retail, unless, of course, you happen
to be in upper management, which I am not.  A prime example, this week the
3rd season of Through the Wormhole begins... with the first new episode at
(drum roll, please) 10 PM.  Thursday morning, my alarm clock is set for 5 AM
which would give me, at best, about 5.5 hours of sleep.  

And it isn't only the Science Channel, they all do it.  Do the Executives in charge of
programming think everybody works 9 - 5?  I don't understand why it has to
be 10 PM, why not 9 PM or 8PM.  These shows are at best rated PG, there's no
vulgar language, on sexual situations, and there sure as hell isn't going to
be a flash of titty or butt crack, or peen.  As a result, I always have to wait until they choose to air these episodes at an earlier time which defeats the purpose, at least in my book, of having a premier show.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ambulance chasing Relion Group

I rarely watch network television preferring the semi-documentary fare of the Smithsonian Channel, NatGeo, and the like; sometimes I'll even watch ID, though not that often.  One thing I've noticed is the growing preponderance of ads by "legal firms" solely interested in making money by forcing litigation against large firms over what I would call simple bad luck, or, in other words, and accident.  This is not new, years ago they used to call such despicable law firms and attorneys "ambulance chasers," since they tried to make money off of every accident they could.  The Relion Group is an example of an accident chasing law firm.  I saw this ad and thought, "Holy Shit, these people are real losers!"

Occasionally bad things happen to people, this is the way the world works, just deal with it.  If I had a nickle for every time I heard "I am a not attorney spokesperson" I could afford a nice, long vacation in France where I could take more pictures like this.