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.

A non Emergency…

Dear Reader,

Have you ever had a sort of emergency, or as it would be qualified a non emergency. Today, I had such an emergency, where, I started itching,  really bad, granted the itching had started to show up yet again today, but this time… Well, it was more how do I put it horrible. I of course, called the nurse advice line, whom insisted, I call 911. So being that they know more than  I, I did just that. I have never been seen by paramedics, and I don’t know the extent of what they do, and clearly treating an allergic reaction that has not reached anaphylactic shock is not something they do. They did offer to take me to a hospital, as they said they are not a rolling pharmacy. Their words not mine. I figured, it was way too much, to go to a hospital for Benadryi.

Not a good experience, since I’m still itching and not happy. I always pictured if I ever had to deal with paramedics, that they would have better bed side manner or something. So, I send them on their way to be free to attend to people who were actually in peril.

That brings to mind yet another need of mine to learn to drive. None the less I did learn a valuable lesson today. 911 should not be used unless I’m already dead or or I can see my bones sticking out of me. You know something major, apparently an itching attack is not it.

Either way,  live long and proper, make the best out of a bad situation, and smile, because even though your non emergency seems trivial sometimes. If it is the worst you ever felt better safe than sorry.

Downer…

Dear Reader,

I been kind of on a writing break for a while now, because lets face it, the news gets worse every day. I live in the land of the free, and I like to keep thinking the land of the great. However, that thought is getting difficult to hold on to. I been looking for uplifting stories or something good to write about. I am sure if I look hard enough I will find it.

The last few months the headlines have not helped that resolve. Violence, and not against people but animals. First it was Cecil the Lion local celebrity in Zimbabwe , and while I had a few choice words no one sums it up better than Jimmy Kimmel

I thought the whole thing would be over, then again, dog bitten to death, mocking note left on his body. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot go on pretending that human depravity has gotten worse. Since, history will show, that worse things have happened. Vlad the Impaler, Hitler, Bin Laden. You name it and evil people and dark times have always been around. Yet, I figured, we are more civilized now, we should know better. Some of us do, but it seems people still need work.

It is not all about animal cruelty, the latest headlines of summer, are not about kids drowning in the pool, or pool side accidents. Oh no, for a while there on the news it was story after story about adults forgetting kids in the car, causing them to dehydrate or worse die.

On that end, all I can say is. Wow. Save me the excuses of how it can and it is possible. If a person does not forget their phone or their keys in the car, there is no excuse for forgetting a child. Humanity has been driving for over 75 years, Cars are not the latest craze. Yes, we leave the keys in the car, I know, my point here was it does not take us all day to figure it out!

You know that forgetting a child has become an epidemic of massive proportions, when car seat companies have to add an alarm to remind you the child is in their seat.

Children are our future, and we should care and nurture them beyond the best of our ability.

Live long and prosper always.

Netflix & Windows 10…

Dear Reader,

I recently updated my laptop to Windows 10, having very decent guts on it, I did not expect much of a change in performance, as on Windows 8.1 I was doing good. All was well, until, I began to notice, it was hanging on Netflix. Having no issues with other streaming sites like Youtube or Pandora, I figured it’s probably heavy online traffic to the site. It wasn’t

Today though, it got worse, I mean audio, video synch issues, and crashing on every browser I tried it on (3 of them to be exact) but to the point where my machine was so frozen I could not get it to shut down.

I began to debug after reporting the issue to Netflix, who were kind enough to inform me, they had an app for that. Naturally, I had no idea, because, hello, I have never owned a Windows phone, and Windows 8.1 was basically a giant Windows Phone, from what I been told, worse than Vista in my opinion.

So I ran anti virus software thinking it might be a worm or something. Nothing, all was well. I restarted the laptop more times than I care to count, and still no fix.

So then, I thought maybe it’s a windows update thing. Which, I had not considered before since, all apps, updated once Windows 10 was installed. Plus, I saw no notifications, that there were updates or restart to update cues anywhere.

So I went down to Notifications which looks like a chat bubble next to the clock on Windows 10 expanded menu, and went to All Settings, then there was a bunch of square icons one of them says Update and Security, and the first thing it showed was the Windows Update Tab, there I saw a cumulative update, set to install at 3 AM, I had no idea, as before on the previous system if anything was waiting a simple restart would get it going.

Contrary what I thought there was no cue for “Install all”, there was simply a button that said Restart. I found that redundant since I had restarted before, but did it anyway since I ran out of options.

Presto, it ran the update and my laptop went back to working normally. Browser and all. The first thing I did was check Netflix, all issues gone.

Pleasant surprise as this is the first time I see a Windows Update that does indeed improve performance.

So, if you find anything wrong with you system, check Windows Updates, Windows 10 is not perfect yet, more like a work in progress, so far, I’m happy that ridiculous Start Screen is gone.

A Woman on Currency….

Dear Reader,

While we are living in the decade of change. Yes, there has been a lot of history making moments in the last ten years. Despite the opinion that some hold that millennials have not had many moments to be proud of, I disagree. One of those historic moments is the possibility of a woman either sharing or taking over the portrait on the ten dollar bill, a bill that is currently and since 1929 been occupied by Alexander Hamilton.

At first and before doing some research, like some. I was not happy about this decision. Not because I don’t support women on dollar bills, but because my favorite motto is “don’t fix what is not broken”. The way I see it, there is nothing wrong with the ten dollar bill. Not to mention, that if it’s all about honoring a yet to be named woman, there are other ways.

Now, the above was before my research. Turns out that prior to Alexander Hamilton, the ten dollar bill, “green back” and all of it’s incarnations has had such greats as Lincoln, Jackson, Franklin, and a personal shocker Lewis and Clark. Why a shock? Hmmm… Well, it’s the first time I ever heard of a double portrait. A total of 11 people of importance besides Hamilton have graced the front and or back of the ten. Read about it here. http://www.antiquemoney.com/who-is-on-old-ten-dollar-bills/

So having learned this, I am in favor of change. I understand the Hamilton descendants for being unhappy with the change, but to go as far as calling him “the father of paper money” is a bit of a stretch. Paper money, you see has been around since the 1690s, they were called Colonial Bills. After that came The Continentals, which of course, were easily counterfeit and lost value fast. By this time Hamilton was  was 20 and part of the militia. He died twenty nine years later. In a duel. Of course, in the course of 27-29 years he wrote the Federalist Papers among other things.

Not sure how many people have been featured in other denominations, but on just the ten dollar bill, Hamilton and Morris were the only faces that were not born in the United States. Being a founding father that’s not odd, but of all the current bills in circulation he is the only one.

Yes, he did accomplish a lot, and I doubt removing him from the ten dollar bill will in any way diminish his historical value.

As for the woman, who will grace the ten dollar bill I can’t wait until her identity is revealed. She will be the second woman on paper money that I know about. Mexico, has or had at one point Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, and she was amazing. Being the US, I hope she is equally interesting.

Everest…

Dear Reader,

The last few days have had a feeling of strange in them. The weather has been unusually colder than normal. I half expected to see snow in the mountains and even some heavy rain. Of course it does not help that there has been earthquake activity in this city. However, nothing has prepared me for what I learned. Everest has moved. On Sunday at noon, Nepal time an 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook Everest. The damage and devastation are reminiscent of the 1985 earthquake that struck Mexico City. My prayers are with them.

Living in a state that is in constant movement. I can tell you, I’ve been through some very destructive earthquakes in my lifetime. Northridge, among others. The highest being a 7.1. Even so, I can’t ever get used to the ground moving under me. The experience is still terrifying. The sounds one hears are not easily forgotten.

The thing with earthquakes is that regardless of all the technology around us we have yet to predict one with certainty. That is what makes them even more scary, I suppose. All we can do is be ready. Pray for a good outcome and hope it’s decades before the earth decides to move strongly enough to notice.

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