StarWars the Force Awakens Lego….

Dear Reader,

Finally, after almost a year of playing, with some help along the way, victory is mine! That and a platinum trophy. As far as platinum trophies go, this one is a test in patience and perseverance.

Your patience is definitely tested immediately after you launch the game between all the animation and loading screens that seem to appear every time you blink. . The game takes about 3 and a half minutes, just to start playing a level followed by you guessed it, more loading screens. Which, to some extent is understandable. It’s a large game, with graphics, animations and sounds that would make Mario 3 jealous. However, games like Diablo 3 are larger still, and do so much more. Random maps, loot drops and rendering on the fly. Yet, somehow, loading time is one minute if game is fully closed and all of five seconds if suspended.

The next issue I have with the game is purely cosmetic, I know it’s probably a space issue, (no pun intended there), but the character select screen circles were way too small, and at times gave the impression of having white random pixels around them like they were gutted from a white screen and not cleaned properly.

Other than that, I think they should stop using movie audio because it makes the games sound like they were recorded inside an empty tin can. Almost makes you wish they go back to Lego speak.

As with all Lego games that have planes, trains or automobiles, the driving/flying controls are still a work in progress. On the one hand, the driving controls are much improved, however, the same cannot be said for the flying controls; be warned at one point or another you will feel the extreme urge to throw your controller at the TV. Fly with caution.

I could not say much for the story, I have barely an idea how some characters are connected. That’s not Lego’s fault I pretty much tuned out StarWars after Darth Vader said, “Luke, I am your father”. However, it was not lost on me how much this latest installment has many similarities with the original StarWars. So, my best guess is they’re trying to revamp the series for the current generation or they plain ran out of ideas.

As far as bonus levels go, yes, you have to fly but it is done so quickly its almost like everyone drew a blank and put it together at the last minute. I have seen more interactive bonus levels in the Harry Potter series. I am not saying that you should not play the game, it is a long game and has a lot of checkered Flags scattered all over, however, it is still worth playing. Go into the game knowing it won’t be just 30 hours of your life, more than likely 30 days or if you’re like me, a year. So be loaded with lots of patience and perseverance and you too shall prevail.


Dreaded Cold…. 

Dear Reader, 

So I have had a cold for a few days now, and while I know there are worst things that I can suffer from the cold made me miss my mom. She is alive and well mind you. I am now a married woman, so no parents around to cook chicken soup and the like. 

Mom, has been checking on me of course but it’s just not the same. I feel better now so I might be in the tail end if it. 

I have nothing to share because I been out of it for the past few days. However, if you are in the same boat as me I feel your pain. This too will pass. One of the things that refuses to pass is my back pain, it came back with a vengeance. I don’t know what’s going on, but I will keep you posted. 

Until my next post remember, proliferate tolerance and understanding. That’s the only way to move forward. 

I Rice to the Challenge 

Dear Reader, 

I had to start the year with a play on words. The rice was amazing. My brother asked my mother if she had made it, which is the biggest compliment I could receive. Since like all children, I believe no one cooks like my mom. 

My brother, a larger than life individual, the closest thing to a real life super hero I know, made our New Year celebration a happy and entertaining one.

He said he was going to grill and despite the weather cold and wet. Grill he did. The food was delicious! I’m sure I gained a few pounds but it was completely worth it.

We all know that one person who is the life of the party, who’s star shines brightest and just being around them makes us a whole lot better. That ladies and gents, is my brother. Despite the challenges he may face, he is happy confident and out going. He is the person I always strive to be.

I cannot put last night into words that will do it justice, just to say, that my brother and his family were in big part responsible for the party of the year. There was no glitz or glamour but there was good will, family, and togetherness. At the end of the day those things are what matters.

Remember to always look on the bright side of life. Resolve to be happy, life is not easy, but it’s how we react to it that makes the difference.

Cooking for the holidays…. 

Dear Reader, 

How goes it? I’m typing with the sweet sound of rain behind me. I need a lot of positive vibes for the next 48 hours. 

Regardless of the culture, we will agree that around this time of year there is a lot of food. From tamales to eggnog we all enjoyed some good eating at one point or another. 

This year my brother,  my very wise brother had an idea…  Let’s  give Mom the day off.  now, don’t get me wrong I am not opposed to giving my mother today off. After many years of cooking, she deserves it. However, he overestimates my cooking ability. I am in charge baking two cakes, two batches of salsa, beans and rice. The list as a whole is not challenging, what I consider a problem is the rice. If any of you have ever attempted to make Mexican rice you will know it is by far one of the most difficult dishes to make. Just about anything can mess it up. My sister has tried countless of times in the past 16 years and has seldom succeeded. Not to mention I have never cooked for such a large number of people. It may sound like I’m complaining, I am truly not. I am worried, I will either succeed in making a lot of people happy. Or convincing a large number of people that I am not to be trusted in the kitchen.

Either way, send me all the positive vibes you can. I am not hoping to do a five-star job at this but at least good enough to eat job.

Speaking of eating, may your tummies be full and joyful this holiday season. If for some reason your health is not the best, I wish for you a speedy recovery. 

Keeping my fingers crossed for this cooking adventure I will keep you posted.

She Lives! 

Dear Reader, 

Okay, so I might have exaggerated a little. However, my health has not been the best for last year or so, which of course explains my absence. All the things I missed out on telling you this year, there are many. However, here’s hoping that 2017 will treat us better than this year.

As I had suspected back in February, I had a serious back injury. I have attended therapy for the later part of this year and I am almost completely back to normal. Not all is bad I suppose.

 I have my life, and as I’ve learned so long as there’s life there will be hope. So to all of you out there in in cyberspace, if your year was not stellar., know that everyday is a new opportunity to make things better. Never lose sight of what’s important in your life. 

Wishing everyone healthy and happy New Year.

Live long and prosper

Grim Fandango Remastered….

Dear Reader,

I recently got a game, which was first published more than ten years ago on PC. By the looks of it, the graphics were less than passable, at least by today’s standards. I can understand why so many people were upset that the graphics didn’t look much better. With today’s console capabilities, it’s understandable that they expected more. I myself, played this game on the PlayStation 4. It was one of their free games. So far my favorite. Can you imagine if they had updated the graphics and the controls? It would have been an entirely different game for sure, with a price tag to match.

One thing that I do before playing any game is check out the trophies list. On this game, I was glad I did. There is a particular trophy required to get Platinum called “The Right Way”. This trophy requires you to play the entire game with tank controls enabled and they do mean the whole game. The tank controls come disabled of course, so if you even move a centimeter as soon as the cut scene is over you won’t get it.

The only things I have against this game are as follows:

1. There is not enough save slots. You get a total of 8 which in my opinion are not enough.

2. This game does not auto-save, which leads me to my first point not enough save slots. So, if you are hoping not to need a walk-through, let me save you sometime, you will end up playing the game more than once, because it’s not obvious where to save..My best advice is save at the beginning of every year. That way if you mess up, you only have that year to do over.

3. There is only one annoying part in the game as a whole and that is the forklift. When you get to it you will understand it is annoying as all hell.

4. This game has no semblance of a usable map. It relies heavily and solely on the in-game conversations. If you have never played it, just know this…. It is definitely the opposite of hand-holding to the extreme.

In the end, I was happy to have played it as it made me appreciate mini maps, and way points, and many other features added to games nowadays.

Now, I saved the most common gripe with this game as I saw in forums. Some people had an issue with if you stop playing a few seconds the characters start to smoke. I thought it was fitting, and unlike some I’m not insulted; after all, they are already dead. How much worse can it get. All in all the voice acting was awesome and the story actually is interesting which is more than I can say for other games of today, that just look pretty.

In closing, I would like to take this time to congratulate myself for a job well done. *Congratulates self* I got a Platinum trophy on Grim Fandango. However, unlike some that report the game takes no more than 10 to 20 hours. I am here to tell you that if you have never played it, and know nothing about it, the best you can hope for is 30+ hours. I would still recommend it.  Happy gaming.

Pregnant Teens and Yearbooks…

Dear Reader,

I am not sure if you are aware of this but teen pregnancy is at an all time low. Oh yes, the record is held by the generation born between 1972 and 1976 back in 1991 this generation was having children at the rate of 61.8 for every 1000 females. Most multiple births before the age of 18. So why I wonder on every story I read of another pregnant teen the general consensus seems to agree that teens today see having a baby as a rite of passage. Considering the most recent numbers being down by more than half, I should think it’s all the opposite.

Yet, there are still a myriad of stories regarding schools making headlines for attempting and in some cases succeeding in banning visibly pregnant teen photos from appearing in the yearbook. Please note the words visibly pregnant, most everyone jumps in the crucifixion bandwagon and happily glazes over the words visibly pregnant. I can understand the school officials not wanting to send the wrong message that teen pregnancy is no big deal, that it has no consequences and sets a bad example for other students. However, if they take this step with teen mothers to be, then my only question is why, oh why not take the same steps with teen fathers and school bullies? In the case of teen fathers, have we forgotten it takes two to make a child? In the case of bullies, I personally think bullies set a far worse example on their peers; in some cases they scar their victims for life. Yet if we are to open a yearbook at any given point since they became a thing, we will find them filled with pages of teen fathers and school tormentors. Rarely do we find more than one photo of that kid, who lacked social graces or parents that could buy their children the social standing by means of money or popularity by association.

These cases of students being banned from school functions or yearbooks because of their clothes, sexual orientation in some cases, or even because they are visibly pregnant usually get headlines and end in litigation, citing the First Amendment in most of the cases. Yet, I don’t see a story anywhere, where students litigate over far more important matters such as the quality of their education, the extreme shortage of books, the conditions in the classrooms, the lack of well trained teachers among so many others. What is quite clear is that teens as much as school officials care more about appearance than anything else. It’s sad really, but there it is.

Those Moments in Life…

Dear Reader,

Sometimes we get this feeling of being indestructible, or maybe that we will always be okay, not great but at least okay. Then, there are those moments in life that remind you that we are a fragile species. I had one of those moments.

Shortly before Thanksgiving last year, I began to feel not so good. It was not a flu, boy I wish it was. My back began to hurt and I was having trouble straightening out. I thought it was simply muscle soreness that would go away eventually. You know me always looking on the bright side of life. Well, it’s been more than a month and it’s beginning to concern me greatly. If it gets any worse I will no doubt seek medical attention.

Until then, here is hoping your health is far better than mine, if it’s not. Don’t lose hope as my mother is fond of saying. There is no illness that lasts a century nor a body that can stand it.

White Roses…

Dear Reader,

Growing up with an older sister has ups and downs. Some good days some bad ones. My most fond memory was being 11 and her being 15 on Valentine’s Day. She used to get so many flower arraignments and balloons it was like  pageant. So having seen, a large number of different flowers over the next decade after. I made my decision early on that my favorite flower of all time was and still is the white rose.

My school mates asked me, why I liked a flower suited for funerals and weddings so much, a flower that had no smell per say, as it’s counter part the blood red rose.

It is simple really. For me white roses are special, because I see them like a blank sheet of paper, to which you can attach any meaning you want. They can go from I love you to farewell.

Speaking of farewells, I was also thinking about the beginning and end of friendships. Unlike other relationships, friendships simply disappear, without a goodbye.

So to all whom I once called friends. May your paths be filled with joy and adventure. Shall we ever cross paths, I hope we have grown and have much to share.

SoCal Gas App….

Dear Reader,

Today, is not particularly a good day. I was installing apps, to pay my bills since I recently reset my phone. They all worked fine, safe for one…Socal Gas otherwise know as the Gas Company.

I installed it, and as soon as I clicked on it, it went to the Terms of Service on browser and opened over 100 pages of it, to the point, it stopped counting and gave me an infinity symbol. I tried closing the tabs, only to have them come back at me again, so the browser was unusable. Tried uninstalling, and it took me back to my blank browser with the 100+ TOS pages.

So I called informing them, the app was broken. The first lady took the trouble ticket, and I told her I was using another browser. Realizing that might have been my mistake, I reset my phone, as it was the only way to get back to normal.

I installed again once all the in phone apps had  updated to give it another go. This time I got  a Terms of Service Screen very badly designed that didn’t even fit the text. I waited and waited until finally my phone shut itself off. I did it again phone shut off again. I called to tell them. I am using an Android System, fresh with no other apps, that don’t come with the phone, fully updated and the problem does not only persists but it is worse. However, the lady insisted talking about Chrome and how everything was okay because she just had one customer use it no problem. At this moment I thought, wow, so one out of more than twenty customers uses it fine and that is good enough to call it working.

She would not even let me explain that the problem persists, and that it is a phone breaking problem. She just kept on. So I finally, thought okay “Goodbye”. I seldom hang up on people, but when I do, it is because they failed customer service. I was going to contact SoCal gas online, but they still have not caught up with the times.

So for all of you out there install SoCal Gas App at your own risk, and do so when you have an hour to get things back to normal.

For all you companies out there, one successful launch does not mean your software is problem free. Because for every one that works, there are 100 out there or more that don’t.

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