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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bored? 5 Netflix Movies I'd Recommend

Long time no chat. I've been busy but here are five movies I would recommend if you have some free time. I'm not going with any particular genre nor focusing on Oscar-worthy films. Just things that I've watched that I surprisingly liked.

Detention (2011) - This is just a fun, random movie. What I described to people is that it has a serial killer, teen angst, pop culture references, and a time-traveling alien bear. Yes. Exactly.

Antisocial (2013) - Epidemic hits. Bad things happen. Paranoia runs rampant as people take to social media to figure out what is the cause of the virus. It is a mildly interesting take on the zombie theme but really not that original. Overall quality though is really good for what it is.

Grabbers (2012) - What happens when blood-sucking aliens show on an island in Ireland? Get drunk of course! Cheeky humor and a horror movie that doesn't try to take itself seriously. Well done.

6 Souls (2010) - Psychiatrist that debunks the idea of multiple personalities comes across a unique case where all the personalities of the patient are murder victims.

Battle Royale (2000) - With their society falling apart and the children rebelling against their elders, Japan institutes the "Battle Royale" Act. A class is chosen to participate in a fight to the death against each other with only one winner.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Extra Life 2014

Starting in 10 Minutes, I will be starting my 24-hour gaming marathon to benefit Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Please consider donating.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Impressions: Archeage Closed Beta #3

My mount is craaazy.

This session was basically through the weekend and I didn't get to play everyday due to RL crafting that had to be done. And honestly, I really only signed up for the beta on a whim since I still have an The Elder Scrolls Online - PC/Mac subscription and I hesitated because this is a Korean game that is being localized by Trion Worlds. But I have to say that I did have fun in the limited amount of time I played.

Friday, August 8, 2014

IMO: Why I refuse the 2014 TMNT

To start with, I know this movie was made for teens just like MB's Transformers. I get that. The majority of younglings and those that are older and easy to please will be drawn to the shiny explosiony-goodness that Bay is known for. Totally understand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SDCC 2014 Attendees Please Read!

The San Diego Police Dept needs your help concerning a cosplayer. Apparently a cosplay were assaulted and left on the side of a road.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

IMO: Michelle Phan's Legal Problems

Quick post before bed. I'm sure many have heard about MP being sued for copyright infringement.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

10 Things: Movie-Going Tips

Going to watch a movie? Great! Here's 10 things to keep in mind and strongly urged for you to do or don't do. (Not covering the "turn your phone off and no talking" bit. That should be assumed.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let's Go To The Movies!

Drawing upon the knowledge gained from over a decade dealing with (managing) movie theatres, here's my little tidbit post for people who patron cinemas -- whether once in a while when the kids are preoccupied or if you are a hardcore, every weekend-type movie fanatic.

This might seem a bit presumptuous, because I know it's an entertainment service business and many of you may have this entitled outlook when it comes to going to the movies. When tickets keep getting more expensive (larger cities' prices being around $15 for evening shows and the smaller ones catching up), plus the concessions becoming rather crazy with how much they think puffed corn is worth, it's easy to fall into this "I deserve whatever I want" mindset.

But here's the thing boys and girls and all in between: the ones that you should be angry with is not that poor guy handing you your overpriced popcorn and drink combo, it's the higher ups that you never see. Granted, various movie companies work differently. But there are only a few big named ones that kind of over-saturate the market. What I can tell you is that in general, the peons that you freak out at when they quietly tell you to put your cellphone away during Winter Soldier really do get the short end of the stick.

Sure, it's an entry level position so yeah, you do get a lot of high school age people working minimum wage part-time to earn some extra cash beyond their allowance. But many times there's no room to advance anyways even for those that want to stay after graduation. The game is rigged so that they are constantly rotated out, meaning they never get raises and are never scheduled enough hours to gain insurance or perks. The corporate I knew of was full of elderly white males (I don't make this up) who literally refused to retire and stayed in their positions until they died.

It really wouldn't be so much of an issue for me if they were competent. But really, they shouldn't have remained in those positions. When just last year, one of my bosses was telling me the company was going to do this new thing with earnings reporting called "online banking" and one of the other bosses never could figure out how to check his own company email so it became someone else's extra task to check it for him, yeah, they should have been replaced long ago. And beyond that even, the amount of responses to general managers at the ground level in regards towards handling certain customer service issues being "shrug your shoulders at them" to "guess they didn't appreciate it when it was free, huh?" isn't exactly the support needed to handle the masses that ultimately are paying for those fancy cars and private jets.

And of course, not to mention the yearly, automatic hike in admission and concession prices due to "inflation". Do not be fooled, folks. Yes, about 80% of admission sales go to the actual movie-making companies and the concessions are what actually pays the workers' wages. But if prices keep rising, why do the employees with the most face time to the customer see nothing of that? So when you decide to yell at the guy at the counter or the floor manager on duty, rest assured that nothing will come of it. Your reviews and your comment cards do not matter on the subject. It would take a drastic change in attendance for that to even remotely register to corporate offices.

So all in all, take pity on that worker getting your refill. They've heard all the complaints about prices and about how "back in blah blah year you could have a date night for ten bucks" or whatever. They've also had to deal with the yelling and the screaming when things do not go perfectly even though things break and no one can really fully plan for that. A little consideration and compassion is all I ask the masses. Not just for cinema workers but for all service industry folk. Make their minimum wage life a bit more bearable if the system is not willing to change for them. And if you can make a difference, do it by changing the corporate ladder. Because right now there's a few rungs missing.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Colgate Optic White System Review

I'll admit I'm not super keen on teeth whitening products. I go to the dentist regularly and I use whitening strips when necessary for upkeep. I've tried the mouthwash and the toothpaste and it ends up leaving a bad taste in my mouth with no results. Last month (I believe), I was sent Colgate's Optic White products to try provided by Influenster. Oh sure, the packaging is shiny and draws the eye with its bright red and holographic foil packaging, but do not be fooled, there's nothing new in it.

Firstly, the toothpaste I have tried before. It's the same bad-tasting whitening stuff as any other brand. And honestly, you should be seeing a dentist and getting regular cleanings anyways if you're searching for full on brighter, healthier chompers. Whitening products don't really work well if you do not have good teeth to begin with. They only clean surface stains. And by clean I mean tint your teeth slightly bluer usually to cancel out the horrible yellow. But I should move onto the brush/pen combo since that is the main sell of this product review.

I use an electric toothbrush normally. I paid a bit, yes. But it works well. This brush was It was nothing I'd text Mom about. I will say this brush wasn't as annoying as others in the manual mouth-scrubbing department since it wasn't full of hard plastic strips that somehow "massage" or "do clean better". The bristles weren't uncomfortable but it really just wasn't that impressive. The handle is meh compared to other regular brushes as well. Sure it has the grippy bit, but the positioning of it makes it feel awkward in your palm. Where your thumb is supposed to sit does not seem comfortable at all.

And now the whitening pen. I will admit, it is easy to use. Turn the bottom, it clicks to notify you that it has indeed dispensed gel onto the tip, and you glaze it over your teeth. Pop it back in the base of the toothbrush and off you gooooo! Yeah, sounds good and all. And the gel didn't taste horrible which is a bonus since you do not rinse it out. But I didn't see any noticeable results in the two weeks of use before I pitched it, brush and all. I think I will stay with my 30-min. strips for convenience instead of dealing with this bad combo design.

And that's another thing, the pen holder. Yeah, suuuuper convenient to stick the pen into the brush but it makes no sense. Unless you are marketing it for travel, why bulk up the handle of the brush? It makes it feel like a child's toothbrush. And you STILL would not be able to put it in your carry on because it's a gel and TSA doesn't like you idly handling gels while waiting for your complimentary in-flight drink. Maybe you should have at least made it do that stupid thing where it plays music to distract from how ridiculous the build really is. And shower use? Pft. Unless you like getting gunk stuck up in the brush base, I wouldn't recommend it unless you separate the two and let them dry individually.

End result? If you're going to sell the pen, sell the pen. Do not try to make some lame combo package out of it and mess up the brush in the process. Negative to purchase possibility.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

New In The SL Store: Seirei and Tenshi Eyes

I have recently released two new sets of eyes for the Utilizator M3 Anime Head. Not a lot to say about them aside from being anime-inspired. Seirei comes in five different colors and Tenshi comes in six. Using the M3 HUD they can be customized in size and shape as well as glow and fullbright.

Marketplace Link to Red Seirei Eyes

Marketplace Link to Purple Tenshi Eyes

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Elder Scrolls Online Beta -- First Impressions

(UPDATE: Screenshot folder accidentally got deleted. Whoops, my bad.)

I apparently finished up the beta weekend by being unceremoniously ejected from the game from an error that stubbornly would not let me back in even though I had 25 minutes left. Oh well, guess I can start on this review...

To begin, I hadn't done any research on this MMO. I didn't even have any real interest in this game but figured if there was a beta I would check it out. Sure, I've played Skyrim and even watched friends play Morrowind and Oblivion but I wasn't terribly keen on hopping into another subscription-based MMO after The Secret World, especially since my main draw for TSW was the fact that it wasn't a medieval fantasy-themed game like everything else on the market. But when I got the email invite for ESO, I decided, "Eh, what the hell. I need a break from Bravely Default and give my 3DS a rest anyways."

Mudkips. You like?
I will say that I did only plan on playing for a few hours Friday night. But Friday evening soon became Saturday morning slash afternoon slash evening before I just had to log off and sleep. I guess I am not as hardcore as I used to be, heh. *hangs head in shame* Needless to say, I did enjoy myself. Character creation took some time and the choices, while rather traditional, were plentiful. There were lots of slider bars which included breast and derriere options (boobs on lizards = funny).

 Personally, I have always favored reptilian races whenever I have played MMOs that include them such as EQ/EQ2 with their Iksars. So when I played Skyrim I was immediately drawn to the Argonians. Sadly, while creating my Argonian in ESO, they still suffer from unattractive headgear so I was glad they included the standard "hide helmet" option. That's okay though, I like the options for horns, frills, warpaint, and scars. I was also pleased that they had body thickness sliders because for some reason female lizards always tend to be made skinny. And while that can be okay, both the Argonians and the Khajiit suffer from big head/scrawny body by default. It reminded me of how wearing one of those horse heads look on a person.

But yes, moving on from character creation. The playstyle reminds me a bit of TSW, where to dodge an attack, you must actually dodge. And you have a limited action bar so you must choose what you want to use at the time. You cannot just make multiple row space for spells and abilities. The skills are very Elder Scrollsy as well (yup, doing that). To gain experience in those skills, you must have them active. So to gain points in bow, you must be shooting at things, to gain in armor you must be wearing it and picking fights.
It is my stool hat. It is alls the rage.

The big thing for me is all the looting though. Remember how you went around taking everything that wasn't bolted down in Elder Scrolls games? Pilfering people's pantries for provisions (yay, alliteration) to rummaging up random bone dust in dungeons? Yeah. That's in ESO as well. The game requires you to dig through everything. Recipes and various non-vendor materials for crafting, skill books, and lore books (required for leveling in the mage guild), are all from poking in barrels, bags, trunks, etc.

My bag of 0/50 became very full, very quickly. And when you are only getting a meager couple of coins for each kill and vendor dump at lower levels (I only got to level 9 by the end of the beta weekend), it was hard to get inventory upgrades which started at 1k. There is a bank but that only holds 30 initially as well. Guilds will have access to a guild bank which can hold much more though so maybe the whole ability to join up to five guilds will be beneficial at least.

Lockpicking isn't a skill. Anyone can pick up or buy lockpicks and pick chests found at various locations ranging in difficulty. The harder it is, the quicker the timer runs out as you manually slide tumblers down in any order until they either click in place because you did it correctly, or reset/break your pick when you do it incorrectly by pushing down too hard. During the beta my fiance angrily gave up picking locks and would just call them out to me when he found any. I only broke two picks and never failed to unlock a single chest in the time I played. I will admit it takes a light hand and some patience but it is completely doable.

While any class can wield any weapon and wear any type of armor, dungeons are very traditional MMO style meaning a group that consists of at least one tank, one, healer, and one dps. I have not yet seen firsthand if any class can fill any group type but I am sure certain weapon skill/class skill combos are better for certain requirements just like TSW and their open-ended "omg, no classes!" abilities system.

Either we do not want you to see the cinematic or we spent all our CG money on the trailer.

In your Skills, you have active and passive abilities. You unlock active abilities in a skill by leveling it to a certain point and spending a point in it. And once you level those abilities to a certain point you have the choice to morph it. For instance, in Bows I spent a point and got the ability Poison Arrow. Once I reached a certain rank in Poison Arrow, it gave me the option to spend a point and morph the ability into either an ability that would damage and confuse casters or one that would do extra damage to mobs under a certain HP percentage.

I cannot say a whole lot about the actual adventuring because important things were broken here and there. And while I dislike that they were not functioning (like many vendors would not let you exit out or would stop working without some temporary UI quickfix or a /reloadui), many players were constantly reassuring others in chat that the devs had removed parts of the game that they did not want tested. My thing is, if I am spending fifteen minutes trying to deposit and withdraw from the banker and he keeps c*ckblocking me, that doesn't bode very well in my book, nor the fact that my fiance's items suddenly started disappearing from his inventory when he double-clicked to equip. Particularly when it is about a month away from release, these things shouldn't happen. Of course, everything was either a common bug or reported but claim all you want. If a heavily-used feature doesn't function, eyebrows will raise at how successful the launch will be. And do not give me the whole "every MMO launch has major problems that will be worked out after". Rift had an excellent launch, practically flawless.

Pretty Leeezard.
Lastly, a few little things that I personally found annoying in the beta. First, the compass. Yes, yes, used in other games. But I do not like it. I am one of those directionally-lacking folk and I am very used to my mini-map. Yes, they allow waypoints to be placed but hard to tell looking at a compass if something will be in my way like a mountain or lava without pulling up the full map. I suppose that is why I always saw players with their noses buried in parchment throughout my adventuring.

Secondly, the lack of tutorials. While I did read the info boxes that popped up when you initially opened say, a crafting window, many apparently failed to read any of it and quickly exited to look at the shiny shiny tabs and windows. I hope in the full game they will give at least a basic tutorial quest to show new players how to work things. Not everyone has played an Elder Scrolls game. Sure, some people will not need their hand held and can just barrel through things, learning as they go, some will be those annoying people in chat who are constantly asking how to make ingots or how to morph an ability and will keep repeating their question until someone helps, trolls, or tells them to Google it.

Third, the very obvious time sink with certain quests. One in particular comes to mind (no spoilers) where you go into a guy's mind and observe some history. This could have been easily explained with not a lot of text by the person but noooo, they have to make you follow the guy as he meanders up paths and watch little sequences of past events that you can easily get the gist of without the show and tell.

Finally, the lack of an auction house and no plans to include one at this time. This might be something people will disagree on. Especially the old-schoolers. But even though I did play EverQuest, even before I stopped playing they had put in the Bazaar which was the precursor to the AH of other games. I have heard that guilds will play a bigger part in this by capturing and holding public buildings in the PVP zones for non-guildmembers to buy from but what keeps anyone from just starting an Auction House guild and putting everyone in it? Is there a guild member limit? What benefits would the guild receive? Are there fees?

Lens flares that JJ would be proud of.
I know not having an AH is to have people interact more with each other. But judging by the chat, people do well enough and I already had to block two people with their asinine rants and repetitive non-constructive comments just during the beta. And really, should MMO play really go back a step? I fail to see the benefit of going back to a Commonlands or Orgrimmar/Ironforge chat to sell your wares. Maybe another time sink.

Either way, I like most of what I experience in the beta and I am seriously considering buying it. If any of you are considering it, I would recommend getting a preorder. Preorders apparently can play any race/any faction. So that would be extremely important if say, you are playing an Dark Elf which is Ebonheart Pact faction, and your friendly-frand wants to play a Khajiit which is Aldmeri Dominion faction. If you are of opposing faction, you cannot go to their regions until level 50 meaning no happy adventuring fun times together. Or if you just want to stab them in the face, you can do that after level 10 in Cyrodiil.

 No tl;dr summation this time. Either you suffer and get through the review or skip. It might prep you for ESO lore anyways. Erect the spine of read or GTFO!

>> This review was not sponsored.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Review

I was recently selected to received a new VoxBox from Influenster containing three Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polishes. The colors included were 470 Red My Lips (a true red), 510 Pat on the Black (a vampy, dried-blood brownish plum), and 540 Jaded (a minty green).

(UPDATE: Apparently somehow I deleted the album with the pictures for this review. I only found a couple to add back in. Sorry.)

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure (abbreviated to CSM for the rest of the post) claims the following:

"Have it all! 7 benefits. 1 bottle.
  • Base Coat
  • Strengthener
  • Growth Treatment
  • Color
  • Top Coat
  • Chip Resistant
  • Gel Shine Finish 
CSM. The total package."

One thing I have to mention above everything else is the brush. The. Brush. I love when polishes have a flat brush for application. It makes things so much easier by being quicker and having less chance of streaks.

My first test was to pair two somewhat similar colors together, one being a CSM and the other a competitor's brand. I chose Essie since they claim that with an independent study of 375 women who wore Sally Hansen CSM and eitehr Revlon Classic or Essie, more women chose Sally Hansen for: Color Coverage, Speed of Application, Streak Free Application, The Brush, and Saving Time.

I picked SH's Jaded with Essie's Naughty Nautical. Sally Hansen CSM claims you do not need a base or topcoat so I chose to really see how well it wore by also using Butter London's Nail Foundation and Hardwear (base and topcoat) with the Essie polish.

What I first noticed is that with Jaded, the polish was very thin and did not cover well. It took a total of four layers for it to reach full opacity. On the Essie hand, it took the normal one layer of basecoat, two layers of color, and one layer of topcoat for the hand to be completed so when it comes to that, both hands took the same amount of time.

As far as wear time goes, they both lasted the same amount (about one week) before I noticed chipping. Note that I am pretty hard on my hands. I tend to accidentally smack them against walls and doorframes, I work out at the gym everyday which includes free weights, and I am very sensitive to dirt and grittiness on my hands so I wash them often. So a week or so is about what I can usually expect from most polishes, even high end ones.


After they started to chip, I removed both hands and decided to apply SH's Pat on the Black. I really like the color of this and I noticed that this color applied in two coats I haven't been able to see if it stains my nails after removal and I cannot attest to the "strengthening" aspect of the polish but I am happier with this shade overall.

All in all, I believe I would buy this range of polishes if they have the colors I am looking for. The coverage is good (but varies by color), the wear is good, it saves me the trouble of base and top coat, and they dry to a lovely shine.

›› I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. If you would like an invite to Influenster and get chances to receive free products for review, please let me know!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wizard World Portland Comic Con

WWPCC (whew, long name) is the first convention I have attended since moving to Oregon. I have never attended any of Wizard World's cons so I wasn't sure what to expect. Dok and I chose to just go on Saturday which purchasing ahead of time was $50; at the door would have been $10 more. We also decided to not deal with costumes so we could be comfortable and able to gauge what we could do for next year cosplay-wise. Keep in mind that my observations come from living in Arkansas and dealing with poorly-run local cons, then going to A-Kon (Dallas, TX) for a number of years then moving on to Dragon Con (Atlanta, GA).

Everything was held at the Oregon Convention Center. The Advanced Sales line moved quickly once the doors opened at 10AM, and since the tickets had a QR code, it was super painless to get our bands and move on to the con floor.

We basically saw all of the con within an hour or two in. There were plenty of vendors near the entrance, further back was Celeb signatures and photo ops, and Artist Alley was to the right side. Panels were outside the main room.

The con was ran well. Lines moved smoothly due to polite and attentive volunteer staff and security personnel. They had a few interesting sights like one of the Impalas used for Supernatural, celebs like Bruce Campbell, Ron Perlman, and Norman Reedus, in addition to well-known cosplayers like Ivy Doomkitty and Yaya Han. Dok also got to meet the cartoonist Shannon Wheeler which was a rather big surprise for him since his work is rather niche.

The only problem for me personally was that we simply ran out of things to do. Sure there were celebs I could creep on *cue heavy breathing*, I could totally pay $5.25 for a very basic hotdog, and I could look at all the t-shirt vendors I've seen at other cons. A big part for my con-going experience is also the cosplayers. The number of cosplayer attendance was low, both closet cosplays and more intricate ones. I think it will be better next year as a dry run for Dragon Con costumes. Being in costume may keep me around longer.

All in all, WWPCC is better than the local cons I attended back in Arkansas. Bigger space, more people, and more things to do. I think I am just spoiled with the size of Dragon Con and I need to appreciate how good Oregon cons can be.

Have a random picture of Norman Reedus

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Long Live The Queen Review

The moving and holidays are over so no excuse for me to slack off with the blog and what not any further. Therefore, I will try to post more regularly either in vlog or blog form. I will unofficially call it Something Sundays; as in I'm going to post something on Sundays.

This is my review for the indie game "Long Live the Queen", made by Hanako Games. The point of this is you (Elodie) being the princess of a land called Nova. Your mother the Queen has died and your father the King-Consort has brought you back home from school to learn what you need to survive to adulthood (15 years old) and receive the crown.

This plays like a visual novel so there isn't any hacking and/or slashing required on the player's end, though having your little reluctant princess pick up some offensive training doesn't hurt...unless you fail to train enough in it and try to duel people. This game reminded me a lot of the old Princess Maker games.

Like Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, LLTQ seems to expect you to play through multiple times. The assumption is you've been shot, poisoned, blasted, drowned, or any other number of ways your pretty, naive maiden will die. The only way to survive I have noticed is to pay attention to what skill check failures pop up during events and to work on those skills preemptively the next go around; do not always focus on skills that have the highest bonus due to your mood.

One thing I found rather entertaining (and frustrating) was the nobility family lines. Memorizing names and titles and land ownerships was a bit arduous, though with multiple playthroughs the bigger picture of who was in line after Elodie for the throne, who was picking fights with who, who didn't have heirs, where power transfers were taking place, etc. became clearer. If you do not want to get too in-depth with that, there is also a little "?" box in dialogue to pull up an info card of the noble you are talking to.

According to Steam, I have played this for about 6 hours and managed to successfully live to my coronation. I played a couple times afterwards to gain a few more achievements but decided I didn't completely care about gaining all 39 (currently at 18).

All in all, I would recommend this game to anyone who loves the cutesy style of shoujo with a bit of skill balancing and murder. The best ending I have encountered so far is the with the "Angel of Music" achievement (the feels!) so try to get that one if you can.

Pros: Good story, Choose Your Own Adventure, cute anime style, can be educational, option to save a log of your playthrough to c/p and share with others
Cons: Music was repetitive and unoriginal, sometimes you just get no choices where one should be present (LIKE NOT EATING THE I'll let you find out).