Category: Uncategorized

Who You Gonna Call? Not Twitter Support.

I need more than 140 characters to explain why I’m taking a break from the 140 characters per entry of Twitter.  Not that it really matters too much to anyone other than me.  I mostly use Twitter to read tweets from comedians I like, find out about baseball news as it happens, and to enter contests.  But what happened on Twitter in the past 48 hours is enough for me to not only take a step away from it, but also document why.

Over the weekend, “Ghostbusters”, a movie that was already highly controversial, was released.  For the most part, what was expected to happen, happened.  The movie came out to overall decent reviews, did decent at the box office, and had a decent amount of outrage from misogynist fans of the original.  However, by the end of the weekend, things took a nasty turn for the worse.  Twitter users attacked Leslie Jones, one of the stars of the film, with the most horrible, disgusting, and racists remarks I have ever seen.  They even photoshopped fake tweets from her to make it look like she had started this all and they were actually the victims.  When Leslie turned to Twitter support for assistance, they indicated there was nothing they could do and encouraged her to use the block button.  Beyond that, they wouldn’t do anything to the users that were harassing her and calling for her death, among other things.  I’ve been back to Twitter just once since this all went down to check on what Leslie had to say.  She hasn’t updated her account in over 20 hours since she made this post:

Leslie Jones - Twitter

Twitter has been mostly good to me.  It has provided me with countless hours of entertainment.  It hooked me up with actor Clark Gregg, who said some wonderful things about our son and sent him a care package while he was in the hospital.  Yet, I can’t continue to visit the site after what I saw.  I have said for years that the internet is great as long as you don’t read the comments section.  Twitter is pretty much a comments section and nothing else.  While there is a lot about Twitter that I love and I may be back at some point, right now I need to step away.  I can’t continue to give clicks and ad revenue to a business that clearly has some adjustments to make to its user agreement.

Science!

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Neil deGrasse Tyson makes science even more awesome.

I said “science” again.

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Yeahhhhhhh…

Gandalf - Yeah

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Welcome to the Circus of Values

What a deal!

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Soon…

I don’t care what it looks like outside today. This is a sign that spring is coming.

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The King of Delayed Appreciation

The_king_of_limbsOne story that my best friend and I have in common is our opinion of Pearl Jam’s album, “No Code”. We were small-town college students that drove the 30 minutes to a larger town on release day to pick it up. We listened to it in the car on the way back to school and came to the same opinion. “This sucks.” Many years later, separately, we would both change our opinion to “This is a great album.” I can’t speak for him, but it just might be my favorite Pearl Jam album. It’s different, but brilliant.

I have recently had a similar change of opinion for another album. This time, it’s Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs”. The album was released over 3 years ago. As a Radiohead fan, I picked it up the first day that it was available. I eagerly pushed play. Almost immediately, I was out. This just wasn’t the Radiohead I was used to. It was very quiet. Yes, Radiohead has always had some beautiful, quieter songs, but those were the exceptions. They were wonderful pieces of the other albums, but I was not down with an entire 40 minutes of them. “The King of Limbs” sat on my iDevice, mostly unplayed. Every 6 or 8 months I’d go back and listen to it again; only reassuring myself that I did not like it. When I wanted to listen to Radiohead, 19 times out of 20, one of the earlier albums would be played.

But I have “No Code” in my past. The record that fought through years of dislike to triumph to the point where it’s always in contention to be my favorite. Recently, I again put on “The King of Limbs”, expecting to be disappointed yet again. However, that didn’t happen this time. I enjoyed quite a few of the songs. I even went back and listened to them again, thinking, “I don’t think I’ve even heard this one before.” But I know I’ve heard it before. I’ve heard them all before. Somehow, most of them sounded different this time. They sounded better.

I doubt it has any possibilities of doing a complete turnaround and becoming my absolute favorite like “No Code” did. It’s still my least favorite Radiohead album, but at least I can finally say that I enjoyed listening to it.

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Bruce Wayne Does Not Approve

No.

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Crushed Candy

Candy_CrushI am done with Candy Crush Saga.

Now that I have that first sentence out of the way and guaranteed to show up on the Facebook post for people that don’t click through to my blog, I can explain what has brought me to that sentence.  What has me abandoning a game that I played the heck out of for the better part of three months?

First of all, for the most part it is a great game.  The developer has done some truly unique things with the Match-3 formula that has been around for years.  I continue to see a new concept and think, “Wow… that is brilliant.”  But it is how they embrace microtransactions, a relatively new concept in gaming, that truly bothers me.

Like many other free Facebook or mobile-based games, you can only play so much at a time.  In Candy Crush Saga, when you fail 5 times, you are done.  Each of your “lives” will regenerate 30 minutes after it was lost.  Or, a Facebook friend can send you another one (seemingly randomly).  Or, and this is why the game is free, you can purchase additional lives.

I have pretty strong willpower when it comes to these free games.  I don’t fall into the microtransaction trap and end up buying additional lives or power-ups.  I may get upset when my life gauge hits zero, but I never have the urge to spend money to play some more.  I can take a break and come back later to a fresh pile of lives, no problem.

However, the breaking point for me in Candy Crush Saga is in the randomness.  The initial placement of your candies on the board is completely random, as is the addition of candies to the board when you clear some out.  As such, it is entirely possible that you will get a game board that is impossible to beat.  On some of the levels past 100, this will happen quite often.  Several times I have lost 3 of my 5 lives to impossible candy arrangements.

Normally, I would not have a problem with this.  I understand randomness.  I’ve played other games that have random elements that can lead to unsolvable puzzles.  As a life-long gamer, I’m cool with this.  What I’m not cool with is a game repeatedly throwing impossible scenarios at me and then asking for real money to try again.  This model is clearly working for them, but it crosses a line and doesn’t work for me.  However, the line here is a fuzzy one.  If the pop-up said I could pay $10 and unlock unlimited lives, basically buying the game in full, I would likely do it in a heartbeat.  I truly enjoy playing the game.  But, it’s the “Pay $1, Get 1 More Try” model combined with the possibility of randomly getting a board that is literally impossible to beat that breaks it for me.  I can’t support that, even if I’m playing for free and not actually supporting them.

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Fire – Poorly Drawn Lines

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This Is How You Do It

Naughty_Dog_logoNaughty Dog is a developer that makes games exclusively for the PlayStation line of gaming systems.  What is kind of interesting is that Naughty Dog has made some incredible games that appear to contain a message to other developers in them.  That message is, “This is how you do it.”

A few years ago, Naughty Dog released “Uncharted”, which told the developers of “Tomb Raider”, “This is how you do it.”  “Uncharted” is what “Tomb Raider” should have been like on today’s systems.  It looked stunning with great gameplay, a solid story, and incredible voice acting.  I’ve played all the major “Tomb Raider” releases and while I’ve enjoyed them, there was a lot of nostalgia there that probably helped increase my enjoyment of them.  They weren’t entirely what they used to be when they were setting trends on the original PlayStation.

Naughty Dog has done it again with “The Last of Us”, this time telling the “Resident Evil” directors, “This is how you do it.”  “The Last of Us” is a classic survivor horror game, which the most recent “Resident Evil” games have strayed a bit from.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy what the “Resident Evil” games are right now, but at the same time, I will admit that they aren’t the same as they used to be.

“The Last of Us” goes back to that original “Resident Evil” formula, but with modern graphics and incredible voice acting.  There’s a very limited amount of ammo.  Melee weapons can only hit things a few times before they break and are useless.  Health items are scarce.  Running to safety is almost always an acceptable alternative to sticking around and taking care of all of the threats.  The game is intense and has me gripping the controller tightly and clenching most of the muscles in my body.  I can only play it for about 90 minutes before I need to take a break and walk away.  Just like I did with the classic “Resident Evil” games.

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