Author Archives: Glen

Monday notes

- Grr.  Stupid database errors.  Database just keeps crashing.  Linux is not my friend sometimes.  Oh, well.  Learning as I go.

- The Brewers season has been a bizarre one, to be sure.  They played lights out in April and June, average in May, and terrible so far in July.  Still, they enter the All Star break with a 1 game lead on the division.

My heart goes out to the family of Jean Segura though.  I can’t imagine losing your child, especially at an early age like that, and I wouldn’t fault him if he decided not to come back to playing the game.  Just an absolutely heartbreaking ordeal for him to have to handle.

- Seeing as how it was my first World Cup where I truly paid attention to it throughout, I was sad to see it end.  I was able to find heroes and villians throughout and loved the entire thing.  Really hope that the U.S. gets a chance to host it again in 2022 (if and when they pull it from Qatar, like they should.)

- Lastly, I have confirmed my tickets to take my daughters to see Crystal Palace play the Columbus Crew next Wednesday night in Columbus.  My oldest daughter desperately wants to see Chamakh now that he has resigned with the team, but I’m trying to impress upon her the fact that usually it isn’t too easy to meet an athlete at a match.  Still, I’m glad that she’s so excited about going to the match (as am I.)

Friday notes (What I’m playing edition)

- Woohoo!  The site has been up for 2 days without crashing.  Gotta love memory leaks in applications that cause database crashes. Or something.

- Dan has been bugging me to pick up Sniper Elite 3 and I just wanted to put forth a script to summarize almost every conversation that I have with him.

(Enter Glen.  A man, who even as he is approaching middle age, is still dashingly handsome.)

(Enter Dan.  A very strange individual.)

Dan: Hey! You should buy <insert game that came out in the last week.>

Glen: Why should I buy it?

Dan: Because it new and it’s a game.

And scene!

Seriously, this happens almost every single week.  It doesn’t have to be new games either.  Last night he was telling me that I should buy Bases Loaded on WiiU, because I should.

I think that living inside Dan’s mind would be one of the scariest places in the history of the world to be.

- Having said all that, I did try out Sniper Elite v2 (due to the fact that Steam had the game for free a few months ago) and have found that while playing it on the easiest setting that it is quite good.  It is certainly incredibly violent, but it does let you do something like this.  My best to this point is 2 kills with one shot, but it is fun to try and line up those kinds of shots and then pull them off.

I can imagine that the new version of the game has improved some of the aspects of the controls and graphics, but I’m definitely enjoying this game for the $0 that I paid for it.

- Also on the playlist of late is Assassin’s Creed IV for the PS4 and what has been interesting for me is that, for the most part, I’m completely ignoring the story (except to unlock the capability to complete certain events) and just cruising around from island to island wrecking the Caribbean and blowing up forts with the big-ass cannons on my ship.

I have absolutely zero interest in the multiplayer side of the game, but boarding ships and killing random Spanish and British sailing crew has been a blast for me.

- With my Club Nintendo rewards points, (I have far too much Nintendo stuff, and am still pissed about missing out on the Mario Bros shoelaces that they offered in the past) I picked up Kid Icarus 3D for the 3DS.

I don’t know if I was some sort of gaming savant in my earlier days or if my skills have faded that much, but the game kicked my arse when I played it last night.

There seems to be a great deal of nostalgia about making games hard again and I feel that eventually we’re going to reach a point where someone will create a game that punches you in the face every time you make a mistake just to make it “hardcore.”

Having said that, there is still something to completing a massive achievement in a game.  I still remember the feeling that I got when I beat Mike Tyson in Punch Out (had to use the cheat code to face him, as I could never beat him after defeating everyone else in the game.)  There is just something special about the challenge that was in some of those old games, so I will stick with Kid Icarus for a while and see if I can find some of my old skills, rusty as they are.

 

Site issues

Sorry for all of the issues that we’ve been having over the past few weeks.  It looks as though we’ve run into a memory bug with Amazon ec2 hosting that has to do with the mysql database that I have configured for the site.

I have implemented a fix and hopefully it will resolve the issues, but I’ll be keeping an eye on the site for the next few days to make sure that the issues are resolved.

Sorry again for the problems.

Quick movie reviews

- Earth to Echo

I have incredibly fond recollections of seeing  movies such as E.T., Flight of the Navigator, and Explorers as they helped foster my love of space when I was a kid and when I saw this movie coming out, I couldn’t help but to think that it would be a decent fit for my girls.

They did enjoy it, but then again, they have liked some of the Barbie cartoon movies that they have seen.  Nothing terribly wrong or offensive (other than gaping plot holes throughout) but I was hoping that it was going to be less of a kids buddy picture and contain more that might foster some sort of interest in learning about space.  Oh, well.  Only out the $15 for the 3 of us for the matinee.

- Snowpiercer

Damn.

Ever since hearing of the film about a year ago, I had been anxiously awaiting the U.S. release of it and I was not disappointed at all.  There were quite a few spectacular performances throughout, but those of Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton really stand out in my mind.  I have to say that Evans monologue in the final 3rd of the film was one of the most uncomfortable moments that I’ve had watching a movie in quite some time.

Visually, the film is quite stunning as well, as the train becomes the star of show during many segments of the 2 hour run time.

I really recommend that you take a chance on the film if it is playing at any of your local theaters.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.

 

Thursday notes (TV and movie version)

- Good news for those of you that are Sherlock fans (and seriously, everyone should have seen or should be watching this show by now) as there is a Christmas special set for next year and season 4 should be airing at some point in 2016.

All three series are on Netflix if you haven’t caught the show to this point, so you can get all caught up with the show there.  I won’t blame you if you skip the Hounds of the Baskerville episode as that’s the weakest of the lot, but the rest are all spectacular.

- It’s not very often that I have an evening planned out 3 years in advance, but I’ve already locked down April 7th, 2017 to be a movie night for me (and hopefully at least one of my daughters.)

Pacific Rim has become one of my favorite movies from the past few years and I was desperately hoping that a sequel would be made.  Now I can spend the next few years re-watching the original and waiting to see what other Yaeger’s and Kaiju that Guillermo Del Toro can throw into the next film.

- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looks pretty damn good from what I’ve seen thus far, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Rise of the Planet of the Apes was an impressively good film. I guess I just had such low expectations considering how bad the Tim Burton version was just a decade earlier.  This week 3 short films have been released detailing the 10 year gap that takes place between Dawn and Rise and all of them are quite good.  This is the kind of viral marketing that I really enjoy and it makes the film universe that much more rich.

- If things work out this weekend, I will be checking out Snowpiercer at one of the local theaters here and will report back with a brief review on it.  Hopefully it lives up to the reviews that I have seen for it to this point.  I’ve been waiting to see it for the better part of a year now and am happy that it has finally arrived in theaters.

Things for the U.S. to take from the 2014 World Cup

- First off, Tim Howard was a stud yesterday.  The fact that someone changed the Wikipedia entry for the Secretary of Defense and replaced the position with Tim Howard was a testament to how great he was in net yesterday.  The game could have been over before reaching extra time without his efforts.

- The U.S. needs Premier League/La Liga/Bundesliga level talent on their squad if they are going to expect to complete on the world stage.  While they might be able to get out of the group stage with the MLS talent that we have been sending, it’s clear that Belgium had a different level of players on the pitch and it showed in extra time.

Sidenote: When Belgium brought in Lukaku late in the game the only thing that I could think to myself is, “Holy crap, how deep is this team that he was on the bench until this point?”

- Julian Green is the future.  The U.S. needs to start developing more players like him, or create a time machine to have more American servicemen father children back in the late 80′s, if they really want to compete beyond the round of 16 in Russia in 2018 (or in 2022, wherever that World Cup might be as Qatar is in doubt at this point.)

- Don’t listen to anything that the grizzled old sports-writers say, soccer has arrived in the U.S.  The amount of enthusiasm for this World Cup was tremendous and people were talking about it everywhere you went.  When my parents and sister wanted to come over to the house for a match-watching party, that was a great indication of how far the game has come in the last few years.  If the U.S. would have pulled off an upset yesterday, the country would have gone ballistic on Saturday for the game against Argentina.

The game is incredibly popular for children and will continue to be so for as long as the NFL and Football struggle with the issues of head injuries that swirl around that sport.

- The future looks bright for American soccer and it should be fun to watch going forward.

 

 

 

Tuesday notes

- Um, there is a pretty big soccer match today (outside of Argentina and Switzerland which was pretty boring for 115 minutes, but crazy exciting at the end.)  Dan and I will have more to say about that later.

- Thanks to the GOG.com sales last week, I’m now a proud owner of yet another copy of the entire Wing Commander series, but this time in digital form. (Only cost $6 during the sales last week, well worth that price tag.)

One of the great things about the internet is that you don’t even have to work all that hard to configure the titles to run nearly perfectly on any system now a days.  People on Youtube have done a tremendous job showing you all of the files to edit and settings to put in place so that you can get the games working beautifully in a very small amount of time.

The thing that they can’t help you with is the fact that asteroids are just horrible in the first game.  I’ve died twice on missions where I’ve fragged multiple Kilrathi, only to have a giant asteroid undo all of that good work in seconds.  Definitely frustrating, but part of playing a 25 year old game.

- Amazon has NHL 09 and Madden NFL 08 (the last two releases of each for the PC) on sale for $2.  There is a pretty good modding community for NHL 09 and they have been updating teams, rosters, and schedules since the games release.  Worth a look for the price.

- Enjoy watching the match!

Post E3 thoughts

Basically, I can only remember one thing from the various press events.  2015!!!

From the Sony presser, we got news of a remake of Grim Fandango, which is excellent news.  Project Morpheus looks a long way out, but could be interesting.

From the Microsoft presser, we got news of a new Crackdown.  (If it’s made by the Realtime Worlds, I’m down.  If it’s any of the people that made the horrendous second game, not a chance of me playing it.)

Sidenote: I went out and picked up a copy of Crackdown for $3 from Gamestop the other day and it is still a wonderful gaming experience.  After 7 years, the game has aged beautifully and I have no idea why Microsoft didn’t do the smart thing and announce a $5 digital download version of the game right after the press conference to remind people of the greatness of the game.

From Nintendo?  Lots of 2015 titles, but the ones that they did talk about looked great.  Splatoon, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M, an open world Zelda, a new Star Fox?

Take all my moneys, Nintendo!

Coming off of the incredibly awesome Mario Kart 8, Nintendo really has a chance to turn around their fortunes with this lineup (along with the new Yoshi, Toad, and Super Smash Bros titles.)

A while back I was thinking that the WiiU lined up very closely with the Dreamcast, but unlike Sega, Nintendo really has the chance to make this system work long term.

Monday notes

- First a quick exchange between my daughters.

Youngest: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you were the queen of soccer?’

Eldest: ‘No, way! If I was the queen everyone would be paying attention to me, and then none of my teammates would get the attention that they deserve.’

I think she is being taught sports the right way.

- Yesterday was a first in  my house, as my parents and one of my sisters came over to watch a soccer match.  Never would have seen that happening in the past, but I guess the World Cup does a tremendous job in bringing that out of families.

Given the fact that they have no real concept of the rules, they did a great job of asking questions at the right time and did seem to genuinely enjoy the match.

The draw was a killer, but it is great that the U.S. controls their own destiny for moving to the next round.  I will be stunned if the match with Germany is anything but a draw.  There is absolutely nothing that either of the teams has to play for and should just focus on making sure that no one gets hurt.

- Took the girls to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Saturday and we all loved it.  Not to give anything away, but there were plenty of smiles, laughs, and tears from the girls.  Definitely worth the price of admission.

- I’ll have some post E3 notes coming up either later today or tomorrow (hard to believe the week went by without posting anything… but things have been crazy.)

US vs. Ghana

Watching that match last night has to have been one of the most tense sporting moments of my life.  After Dempsey’s goal 36 seconds in, it was white knuckle terror watching Ghana dissect the US defense for the next 81 minutes until they scored the equalizer.

After the Ghana goal, I sat in my living room, utterly deflated, thinking that Ghana was destined to score the winner shortly after that, but when John Brooks drove that header past the Ghanaian goalkeeper, fear and dejection turned to utter jubilation in my home.

Having watched, or listened to, part of every World Cup game thus far, I continue to fall deeper and deeper in love with this sport more and as I continue to follow it.  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Changes (part 3)

It’s not death that I fear, it’s everything that happens before it that scares the hell out of me.

 

For a large portion of my life, I think it is safe to say that I have been a fairly healthy individual.  Certainly, I have made some mistakes that have caused me to do damage my body in different ways (torn rotator cuff from throwing a football too hard without warming up enough, torn labrum in the right shoulder from throwing a football too hard without warming up enough, torn labrum in right hip after running my last half marathon) but outside of the silly sports injuries, I think I have done a decent job of taking care of myself throughout the first 40 years of my life.

Having said that, I certainly have messed with the internals of my body through years of dealing with an insane sweet tooth, drinking too much alcohol, and fast food consumption.   I’ve done my best to eliminate most of those issues over the last few years and I’m to a point now where I probably feel as good, subjectively speaking, as I have at any time in recent memory.

In the back of my mind there has always been a reason why I didn’t take care of myself as well as I should have.

On my father’s side of the family, my great-grandfather passed away at 103 and my great-grandmother passed away when she was 108 (they were married for 78 years when he passed away.)  My grandfather is 90 and he has 7 siblings that are still alive, with one of them turning 100 this year.  It is safe to say that longevity on my paternal side is definitely in the genetic base.

So, while I can’t say that every time I had a beer or ate a double cheeseburger I thought “This won’t hurt me, I’m going to live to 100 no matter what,” it’s safe to say that I probably didn’t take care of myself as well as I should have because somewhere in my subconscious, I thought those things couldn’t possibly do me in.

About 7 years ago, I went into visit with a gastroenterologist due to issues with passing blood when I went to the bathroom.  Over the course of the various procedures and tests that they ran on me, they informed me that it was possible that I had colon cancer, but that they would have to do a biopsy to be able to determine whether or not that was the case.

That particular call from the doctors office, happened on a Friday afternoon and it made for one of the longest weekends of my life.  I was a 33 year old man, with a 2 year old child, and was just informed that I might have a life changing medical condition.  What made things more complicated was the fact that after the weekend was over, and the doctors called me back, the test results were inconclusive.  So while there was relief for a time, as they couldn’t be positive of what was going on, there was only so much as there was no clear diagnosis for my medical issues.

To this day, they still have no idea what has been causing my issues and when things return (as they have in the past and have again over the past few weeks) it is always something that gives me pause and makes me wonder if this might be the time that they actually find out what is wrong, and I start to prepare myself for the worst.

Obviously I know that even if I were to be diagnosed with something, it wouldn’t be an automatic death sentence, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that every time I have these issues that I have become a bit more worried about my future.

But as I’ve mentioned in the past, I have never really been one of those people that would go through a huge mid-life crisis moment mainly because of the fact that I’m a severe procrastinator with ADD.  Even when I do think I should try something else, I’ll delay making any changes, then get distracted by a bird flying by my window, and forget most of what I was going to do.

So, even when work is a struggle and it’s a challenge to want to get in the car to go there, I keep doing it because I’m constantly scared of what changes would mean for me.

To this point, I’ve been an incredibly lucky person for a large part of my life.  I have an incredible wife, that I (amazingly) met in an AOL chat room back in 1994.  I have 2 wonderful girls that, even when they are difficult, make my life better than I ever could have imagined. I am gainfully employed and make a very comfortable living.  Yet, there is a part of me that thinks that I haven’t done enough and that the ideas that I have or the things that I think I should try to do, need to be acted upon.

So, where do I go from here?  Well, I’m sure that when I hear back from my doctor that I’ll be getting another colonoscopy (I hear that after you get 4, the 5th one is free) and I’m sure that everything will be fine, but maybe getting another glimpse at mortality will get me closer to working towards becoming the person that I always dreamt I could be.

Quick E3 notes (sports related)

- Madden has a tackling “cone” this year.  Remember how well that worked the last time there was a “cone” used in a Madden game?

- EA focused on emotion in their description of FIFA 15, which is fine, but didn’t they do that also last year?  They did touch on deformation of turf and things such as that, but what I would love to see is this many guys in the box on corner kicks…

Oh, and on another note, did you see that FIFA 15 for the PC will be using the Ignite engine next year.  Can we get EA to finally start releasing all of their sports games for the PC again?

- NHL 15 looked terrific in trailer form, but I’m going to reserve judgment on it as I haven’t really enjoyed the series of late.  I guess I am just so much tougher on it seeing as how I play the game regularly in real life.

- PGA Golf 15 looked great and they finally seem to have changed the game so that you can play from anywhere on the course while eliminating loading times between holes which were two of my biggest issues with previous games.  Also, they made a point of showing a fantasy course with a battleship crashing into the green.  Not sure if that’s what fans were looking for, but ok.

Monday notes

- Looks as though Dan is going to win the race to 100 followers.  I’m just not that popular it appears.  (Anyone who sat in my high school lunch room could have attested to that fact.)

- As we get closer and closer to the World Cup, I have been spending more and more time playing Football Manager 2014 in a way to connect more with my building love of soccer.

With the January transfers now being a part of the default roster, I decided to take another shot at running Crystal Palace to see if I could get them to avoid relegation in FM, as they did in real life.

Tony Pulis can not be given enough credit for keeping Palace up this year, as I have found through my time with the game that it is incredibly difficult to keep that squad from being relegated.

Thanks to some monumental efforts from Ince and Chamakh I was able to grab 17th place in the Premier League (by 3 points) and stay up for one more year (and get a 2 year contract extension.  Woot!)

I have had more fun with this game over the past six months than any other game in recent memory.  Even though I can simulate every game, I find myself watching each match and yelling at my players when they make a bad play and pumping my fist in the air when they make a great one.

It’s still priced at $12.50 on Steam and is worth every penny.

- E3 begins with Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft all having press conferences today.  Not sure how much there will be out there as far as sports gaming from them, but I’m sure that Dan and I will be commenting when we have a chance.

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