David Crew is a gamer and web lover. Read my blog or else I'll throw a Bomb-Omb at you. Lighted. :)

Random/Fun

Read Wall Street Journal Online for Free


Hey Everyone,

Being a business student, I am always subjected to professors asking to find and regularly read various articles from the Wall Street Journal. Being also a poor business student, this can be very difficult because the business school I attend provides relatively no subscriber passes to its students unlike other competing colleges and universities. So if you need an article for a class, or even want to browse the Wall Street Journal Online without much hassle, just follow the guide below:

Follow these Steps:

  • Download Firefox and install it.
  • Then proceed to the add-ons section and find the Javascript powerhouse, Greasemonkey
  • Next, proceed to http://userscripts.org/ where there is a whole variety of various scripts to download for Greasemonkey. Search through and get the script WSJ Paywall Bypass
  • Install the script, make sure your little monkey icon at the bottom of Firefox is colored and go and visit WSJ Online to view articles.
  • Enjoy!

Note:

There are other ways to get around the paywall of WSJ online, such as using Google News and Firebug, or even finding different browsers like Chrome that can run Javascript add-ons. If you are a heavy reader of the WSJ, I highly suggest getting a subscription if you can afford one. I’m actually more of a fan of Reuters, the Economist, and other sources, but it’s really up to you.

I only use this workaround because we have archives of the paper editions at our school, but instead of sprinting to the library and spending hours searching through it all, this is a much quicker way to find articles for assignments.

Happy Reading!


Revisiting Dead Space


Hey Everyone,

In case the massive marketing efforts of EA haven’t gotten you excited for Dead Space 2, GET EXCITED. If the sequel is anything like the original, we can expect more of the dismembering goodiness and pop up scares of the original. To get in the mood, I played through Dead Space and it still was pretty scary even on the second round through.  Below I listed a few things I’m predicting for the sequel and a couple of hopes I have:

  • Include more psychological scares – the scariest moments from when I was playing the first one, aside fromrandom pop-up scares, were the sequences that didn’t make sense. Necromorphs were explainable, and we knew the rules that are associated with them. But for the sequences where things were not discernible and could not make sense to me would scare me the most. Leave things to the imagination and try to mess with the gamer a bit and their senses, like Eternal Darkness did on the Gamecube.

  • Beyond 4 limbed creatures – The first dead space had some decent variety when it came to the creatures. Besides the normal, “If you change the color of the monster, it’s super powerful!” cliche, there were brutes, crawlers, cysts, dividers, slashers, stalkers, swarmers, and other fun things to scare the crap out of you. But, I couldn’t help being disappointed a little by the number of limbs on the monsters. For a game that prided itself on calculated strikes on limbs to liven up the zombie game genre, there were no monsters with excessive amounts of limbs that were not bosses. Having just one creature that is reminiscent of an arachnid with many different limbs would be an excellent addition.
  • Careful with Isaac’s story – Dead Space 2 brings us a little deeper into who exactly Isaac is and the troubles he’s going through. We’ll hopefully be getting a little more information on his wife, his past, and what exactly is going on in his head. I just hope in the sequel we don’t get too much “muck” to his story. No children, no ex girlfriends, and no other familial drama that isn’t directly related to his deceased wife. Keep the game focused on the horror and on the psychological trauma going on in Isaac’s head.

Aside from those three things, the previews and screenshots have made Dead Space 2 look pretty awesome. Can’t wait to see the reviews on the game and go out and play it for myself.

What about you guys? What do you hope to see from the sequel and what gets you scared in horror games?


How Much Does an Electric Car Really Cost?


Hey Everyone,

I’ve just been reading up on the Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and other electric based vehicles that are going to be rolling out soon. Since I recently got rid of my car and currently am car-less, I’ve been curious about the cost differences between gas based cars and electric cars in regards to many things, such as how many miles can I go on the warranty, how many leisure miles do they give me, are the gas savings worth the premium on electric cars, and much more.

First, I used these as my values going in:

For this, Nissan says it will cost on average about $2.75 to charge the Leaf’s batteries to full. This is of course a big difference to gasoline where if we assume gas costs $3.00 a gallon, then to fill a 12 gallon car to full will run you $36. For the miles can travel before you get to empty, I assumed you run until you can’t move anymore, but obviously you won’t go 360 miles before you fuel up.

Nissan also gives a range on its miles it can go from 138 miles to 63 miles, I decided to take a really conservative look since 138 miles before needing to recharge is under super ideal conditions, and as you discharge and charge a battery multiple times, it will not hold as full a charge as when you first started driving. Also, when I was doing the calculations, I assumed New England weather, which has 4 seasons where with the Leaf, you would be using the air conditioner and heater during its life frequently.

Nothing too surprising there, of course electricity is cheaper than gasoline.

Fuel Savings?

Getting back to the actual money you save by using electricity to power your car rather than gasoline, I broke it down this way by using the values found in the first table I posted:

Using the same restrictions of refueling a gas car each every 360 miles for $36 and refueling the leaf for $2.75 every 75 miles for a total of 160,000 miles, you end up saving $10,133.33 on fuel costs. It is definitely evident that there are cost savings associated with driving an electric car vs driving a gas car.

Now let’s look at the cost of buying the car:

Nissan states that you can get a maximum $7,500 worth of rebates by buying an electric car. Using that as comparison to an average price of two 30+ mpg gas cars, the Ford Fiesta and the Honda CR-Z, you find that the base price for the most basic model of the Leaf is $9,635 more than the cost of the average price of the two 30+ mpg cars. Going back to the assumption that you’re driving the car for 160,000 miles, and you save $10,133.33 over using electricity rather than gasoline, we find that the net of the premium of buying electric and the fuel cost savings only net you $498.33 in savings.

This calculation surprised me the most. I thought the premium cost of buying a hybrid, electric, or other kind of non-gasoline consuming vehicle was offset by the fuel consumption savings. I was expecting this value to be much higher than the low $500.

The next calculation I did assumed that there was no tax rebate whatsoever:

This one again returned a surprising value to me. It turns out that the fuel savings of buying an electric car did not offset the premium of buying electric rather than buying a gasoline powered car. Buy choosing electric, you actually lose $7,001.67 on your decision (Again, assume driving 160,000 miles).

To put it graphically, these are the two options showing with or without the tax savings:

Driving Less than 160,000 Miles:

That case was with driving a hefty 160,000 miles over the life of a car. Let’s say you just drive the car 100,000 miles, how do the charts play out?:

What does it all mean and other notes:

Do not buy an electric car to save money on fuel costs. The premiums on buying an electric car over a regular gasoline powered car are simply not worth it unless you are planning on driving the car many miles (160,000+). Government rebates may not always be there for electrical cars, so that’s why I did the two extremes. Rebates help out immensely with the premium of an electric car, but still the premiums are very high. The calculations did not take into account switching from an SUV or other low MPG vehicle to an electric vehicle. A lower MPG vehicle would result in more savings from the fuel efficiency.

Also, there are other costs associated with running an electric car and running a gasoline car besides simply fuel costs. Gas powered vehicles have intake, exhaust, and engine systems which all have their associated maintenance and upkeep costs. An electric-powered car is not without its costs either. You have to recharge more frequently, may have charges associated with installing a charging station in your home (Nissan estimates it at least at a cost of $2000), possible premiums if you plan on using a charge station rather than using a home charge station ($2.75 to fuel up full at home compared to a higher price at a charge station), and battery replacement costs (How much will Nissan sell replacement batteries?).

The costs associated with having an electric car vs a gas-powered car also did not take into account resale value. Obviously you can recoup some of the premium you paid on an electric car by how much you resell, but there is no data on how much you can actually get on an electric car after x number of years. Just remember that it is a depreciating asset like all other cars and you should never buy a car thinking it is an “investment” of any kind.

Thanks for reading! I also posted the excel spreadsheet I used for your own purposes. If you see any mistakes, just let me know. I made the spreadsheet in about 15-20 minutes so I may have skipped on using the best cell references, etc.


David’s Got an Apartment!


Hey Everyone,

This semester has been quite ridiculously hectic so far:

Got Kicked Out of University Housing:

 

Yup. I guess I’m a troublemaker? Hoodlum even?! That’s right, hide yo kids, and hide yo wife, because I’m just an awful

person. Also, I guess having a person that is in your room who is 21 and drinking their own single beer is a evict-able offense… at least in the eyes of the University. Oh well.

Now I’m living in a 3 bedroom apartment with my other roommates that got kicked out, and we’re paying $750 dollars less a month for three times the space of our original dorm with our own kitchen, bath, and living room. Heat and water are also included which is mad nice too. So I guess, I got forced into saving enough money that I can now afford that car I was thinking of? Thanks College! Gotta admit, I love it here. It sucked moving out, but now we always have people over and finally have a little more privacy. Distance from campus? 5 Minutes. Love it. ❤

New Girls, New Stories 😉

I am not a ladies man. Alright, alright, I’m outgoing, funny, kind, intelligent, and I respect and treat women right. Sound familiar? That’s right, it’s the exact formula that women in college don’t go after. I am not a spray tanning, eyebrow waxing, hair mousing, muscle man that is more in love with biceps than with his girl, so naturally, I don’t really have that many girls who I have intimate relations with.

But this year, it’s all different. Ever since the start of the semester, I’ve had a few different girls each month that are involved in my life for a bit, we do things and have fun, then next thing I know, there’s more girls adding themselves in. Where did this come from? Could it be that college girls are actually maturing and realizing that the Jersey Shore wannabe dudes (devout fan btw) aren’t all they’re cracked up to be? Maybe there’s just a spike in the college slut population, yet still these girls aren’t skanky, so that can’t be true. I don’t know what changed this year, but I’m lovin’ it. I actually have a few stories I may tell later on that you may appreciate. Nothing big, just regular gossipy stories that I know some of you subscribers out there eat up like crack coated charleston chews.

School is Hard.

Very. Seriously, doing a double major is not my cup of tea right now. Maybe it was the small period of homelessness I had in between moving (that’s right, I was homeless for a week: certified hobo fresh). Or maybe it’s just the fact all the intro stuff is going away and now we have to learn REAL things, not theories and such. Whatever it is, it’s just difficult and my grades are not so hot. HOWEVER, these last few exams I rocked harder than your grandmother’s rocking chair on speed, so hopefully that GPA will be flyin higher than MIA soon enough.

Business is Good

I started consulting this semester. You know, just trying to earn a little extra cash with some of the knowledge and experiences I’ve had in my life related to technology, business development, and other things. So far, I’ve had a few residual clients that I love working with. It gives me a chance to help out small business owners and other independent professionals with various portions of their professional establishment or professional lives, all while making a decent profit at it. (I charge about $35 an hour, which I guess is rather low for a consultant, but I don’t mind.) I really feel like I’m making a difference in these people’s lives and hopefully they are getting the information that they need to further their professional development.

But, I’m like Nutella, I’m delicious and spread nice over things, but you soon find out, that you’re completely out, and your breakfast, lunch, dinner entre is forever empty of sweet, sweet Nutella. WHY OH WHY IS IT GONE!? But seriously, I always feel like I’m spreading myself thin here. The company is going fine, you know, the one I founded over the summer? I have a partnership deal being hammered out with a popular nationwide pizza franchise which, if it goes through, would land me about $100,000 more with the business. So, hopefully things go well and they like what I have to offer enough to work out a nice little business relationship. If not, well, shit happens, gotta roll with it. Bootstrapping is nice and all, but a little extra nudge is always nice 🙂

Also, I’m working on a children’s book series.

“But David! You’re ****ing crazy! You know nothing of literature, children’s books, publishing, or anything of that sort!”

And to that I say, so what? One day, as a kid, I came up with a list of things I wanted to do before I became an adult and became boring. One of them included, well, not being boring, and also to come up with something to give back to the world as a whole. It didn’t matter what it was, but it had to be something material enough and something worthwhile that someone would say, “Hey, this guy, this guy right here. He did something that changed my life and helped me. Have some of my Nutella”. And then I would proceed to never run out of Nutella ever again and not have to resort to mundane peanut butter on my slice of bread.

Why can’t I make a book series? Who’s to give you the authority to tell me it isn’t going to happen and I should just give up the work I’ve put into it? Sure, I may do bad things occasionally, bend the rules sometimes, and talk and say things worse than a drunken Irish man that had someone take his keys away, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put together some semblances of human emotion and put them on a page and hope it helps a child out there learn about life.

It’s the experiences we have that gives us the ability to teach and produce true artistic material. I can’t remember which Simpsons writer it was that said it in a Simpsons’ commentary, but the best scripts they always had, were the ones where the writer could reach down into a personal experience or event in their lives and put it into a plot for an episode. That’s why, it’s not always an Ivy-League graduate who will produce the best movie, research, or children’s book, but rather an individual who has experienced many great and wonderful things in his life as well as many not so great things. I’m not saying the book will be like a multi-platinum album of the literary world, but even if it changes the life of one child in the world, I’d say that’d be pretty sweet.

Someone Hire Me

Like most college kids, an ideal life would be to go to school, find the perfect girl in or a little after graduation, get a decent job that’s got benefits, have a couple planned kids and maybe an accidental one, then work 50 or so years and die knowing that you were loved and relatively successful.

I gotta find me a job.

I did an internship this summer, and loved it, but now I have to find a new internship at a larger firm to possibly secure a position when I graduate. Graduation isn’t for another year and a half, so I have a decent time to plan, but still, I would like this feeling of floating in an sea of unknown to go away and actually know there’s a rescue career helicopter out there waiting to pick me up and bring me to a job with $50k a year.

I guess, it’s just hard sometimes to really motivate myself to do well in school. It’s like, where am I going? Where will I end up? Will I be happy? I guess I’m being super emo right now, but this is some serious shit. If I don’t figure out what’s going on with my life, I may wake up one morning and see an obese, disheveled, excuse for a man staring back at me in the mirror. I don’t want that. I want to be better than great. I’ll be so awesome in life, they’ll have a new adjective named after me. Oh, Warren Buffet? Yeah, he was a DAVID CREW.

But I digress. I love this place where I am right now, but it won’t last forever. I love doing these little projects, they keep my life interesting, and I guess if I end up finding myself unemployed for a while after I graduate, will hopefully keep me sane. I need to always be doing things, that’s why I’ll always update this blog no matter what. (So subscribe today! 🙂 )

Anywho, that’s more a less an update on what’s going on. Have a good one you guys, and lovin the views and subscribers we’re getting right now. It really means something when you see that stuff. Vote/comment/share today!

-dc


Back From Colorado


Hey Everyone,

Yesterday I got back from Colorado, and I must say, it was pretty fucking awesome. Never before had I seen such beautiful landscapes, nice people, and rolling mountains. I tossed some pictures below for you guys to check out. Enjoy!

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Disturbing Shopping List


Hey Everyone,

Today I stumbled across someone’s terribly revealing shopping list at work that was crumpled up on the floor. I thought I’d share them with you:

1. Milk
2. Zoloft Rx
3. Wart freeze off applicator
4. Pregnancy test
5. Chicken Ramen
6. 30 pack Bud Light
7. Lavender Febreeze spray
8. Journal
9. Stuff that turns lights on slowly
10. Fan
11. Quick trim slim system

Now it’s pretty simple to piece together this list. So the person that dropped it was buying the bare essentials of food, milk and ramen. I’m assuming it’s a woman, who has a terrible wart problem, but recently had sex and is worried about becoming pregnant with a child and therefore took the pregnancy test. She’s buying a 30 pack, most likely for herself, even though she is picking up a prescription for  anti depressants.

I’m not really sure why she’s buying a journal, maybe to chronicle her depression and possible pregnancy with some guy she met. She doesn’t seem too smart or ready for hard work, however. She is most likely overweight and wants to lose weight doing it an easy way, and doesn’t understand that the thing that “turns lights on slowly” is a dimmer switch. Annnd, lastly, it’s summer, so she’s buying a fan to stay cool.

Wow. Amazing what a shopping list can tell you about a person.


What’s Up with David?


Hey Everyone,

Kinda busy over the weekend and today working on a few projects. For one, the internship started up and I’ve begun working for that company, which I must say is pretty sweet. Here’s a list of the things I’ve been working on over the weekend and today, and why there’s no new interesting posts today:

  1. Had to work the weekend
  2. Internship work after the regular full time job
  3. Writing a zombie movie script that has a twist on the zombie movie genre. (8% complete)
  4. Preparing a proposal for several new ideas to implement into the full time job that can be picked up nationwide. Already received the support of the general managers, now working on getting the support of regional managers.
  5. Working on an internship program businesses to use with our organization on campus, including the application, guidelines, and submission dates.
  6. The god damn Batman. =D

See you tomorrow everyone! ❤


The Personalities of the Workplace


Hey Everyone,

Beware of people: there are always different types of people that work at jobs, but never have I seen such a variety of workers, for better or worse. Here are some types of worker personalities that exist, not just in retail, but in many other work environments, as well. If you know of one that you want to add, comment below 😀 :

These people spout books of boring tales

The Story Teller – everything is a story to this person, no matter how ridiculously boring and idiotic the story may be. Many times, it’s just like those dolts on Twitter who should not be given a Twitter account, because no one in their right mind wants to listen to you babble about your boring life. Limit time with these people because prolonged exposure can induce sudden narcolepsy and steal precious minutes away from your life. Also, many times they’re loud and dammit they’re always the ones on their phones in the break room when everyone is trying to relax.

Have hopes and dreams? Enter ma belly!

The Depressed Sandtrap – many people who end up in retail end up working there for lack of anything else going on in their lives. These people have missed opportunities, squandered ambitions, and forgone any kind of will to continue onward in their lives. Because of this, they have shut themselves into a depressing sandtrap and will do anything they can to bring down other unsuspecting employees down with them, like a sarlacc from Star Wars. Much like an ant lion or quick sand. Careful with these employees as they can be very hazardous to your health, especially with their depressing bitter words that can suck the ambition and hopes right out of you like a horny dementor.

That Gorgeous Person – why is there a beautiful person with a great body, face, and many times a personality while they’re surrounded by employees who are missing teeth, dropped out of school, and had children while they were children themselves? I have no fucking clue, and it will always be a mystery. But man, are they great to look at. Be wary of these people though, many times beautiful people are given positions of power and influence because, well, they’re slamming, but they may be used to getting things their way and if you don’t give them what they want, it’s the gallows for tueth.

The Slowed – ever work with someone that is just completely slow and can’t even do the simplest tasks in a timely fashion? Meet the slow, a special kind of employee who actually is not clinically handicapped in any kind of fashion but moves like a cold bottle of molasses in half speed. Woe to the poor employees assigned projects with this person as it will either get done never, or get done due to the rest of the group busting their balls to do the work for the slow.

Us vs. Them Man – the permanent victim. The perpetual blamer. This employee always finds someone or some group to blame for the misfortunes at work rather than take responsibility for their actions. Backroom inventory screwed up? Must be the night crew. Get yelled at for being late to work? Blame it on your family not waking you up. Paperwork not submitted on time? The printer with the personal vendetta is to blame. These employees can try your patience and try to convert you to victimism, but be strong! These employees are rarely at one job for too long.

The Hardass – ever not give two shits about a job, but find ways to get it done still? Maybe you cut corners a little to make it easier and bend the rules to your advantage. Better watch out for the hardass. This employee or next in command apparently was born with a small feral badger in their rectal region because nothing is never right enough, and if it’s wrong, you better get the hell out of there. The hardass takes no excuses and many times winds up losing years off their lives due to stressful perfectionism throughout their daily routines. Many times this person can get ahead, but because of their vicious badger in the anus attitudes about work, upper management will not accept their super duper perfectisms.

The Clever – quick talking, fast witted, and quick to make a little quip, these employees are intellectually agile and tongue twerpingly acrobatic with linguistics. More suited to a hazy comedy club bar, these employees offer humor when it’s needed most. Sometimes this personality combines with the sand trap employee to make a giant arrogant asshole, but otherwise they are enjoyable.

The Offended – one of my most hated worker personalities is the offended. Ever tell a relatively racy or slightly unpolitically correct joke and had someone complain or bitch their brains out about it? Meet the offended. I have witnessed many a person not be able to take a joke or sarcasm and take everything as a personal assault on their livelihood. Because of an offended, I saw one of my best friends get fired from his only job that puts food on his family table because he ambiguously implied another person was of larger size. He is still unemployed, and no, it was not a woman that got him fired, but an athletically built man.

Run.

The Angered – another employee type I hate to stumble across, the angered. Usually found in he higher up positions because power has corrupted them, the angered employees are a ticking atom bomb and you’re a giant target. It can take something as small as forgetting to do something to losin a pen to set this insane firework of rageihol off. But fear not, the angered have shorter lifespans compared to normal people and will usually keel over due to being so angry at life all the time.

The Normal Person – [no information available, doesn’t exist.]


Letter to Microsoft


Hey you,

How’s it goin? You feeling alright? You sure? Well I’m not, you’re suffocating me. I just want to like you again, I really do, but you keep doing things and saying stuff that just makes me embarrassed to know you.

I fell in love with your Xbox at first glance. It’s curvaceous lines, stellar games, and online content made me enjoy many a quiet evening in a dimly lit room at home with it. My girlfriend was so jealous, she just couldn’t understand what we shared.

Your windows 7,  the version that should have been released instead of ‘the os that shall not be named’,  was amazin too. Snapping windows and having that nifty little taskbar revamped was a blast. Plus, it was actually a stable and well tested, well released product. Kudos.

But your other products and services really make me not trust you. Internet explorer is universally known to suck major ballage, your forays into the iPod dominated portable media market have been paltry at best, your windows phone os and the kin spontaneously combusted into failures, and you’re going to try to make the world buy another suite of office applications for the billionth time just so we can have a slightly newer, more confusing way to do business. And on top of all that, you canceled the last device I really thought was going to kick some major ass.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Microsoft, please stop being a follower. You were a born leader and our relationship has fallen on hard times ever since you gave up on yourself. You need to pick yourself up and experiment more and go for innovation rather than a ‘me too!’ kind of attitude. Drop the products and services that are under-performing and transfer the resources to better areas and new markets. And no, by better areas I don’t mean the kinect and that creepy kinectimals bs, i mean something we haven’t thought of before but desperately need.

If you don’t, I swear I’m going to buy a mac and do dirty things with it. And oh yeah, it’s true what they say about it’s performance. Plus with valve sending games over to mac, things are bound to get a little steamy.

D. Crew


Lake Pictures


Hey Everyone,

I thought I’d upload some pictures we took of the lake while we were up there. If you can guess which lake I’ll be very surprised, and at the same time rather sketched out 😛

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Summer So Far


Hey Everyone,

Hopefully everyone’s summer is going well, I know mine has been alright. Recently I’ve just been working 40 hrs a week, visiting friends on the side, and working on my side projects. July 4th was a blast! I got out of work early and was able to sprint up to the lake for the remainder of the weekend and spend it swimming, boating, and of course, my personal favorite, tubing. =D

Working for retail has been a pretty interesting experience so far. It gives an overall newer appreciation to how the products that we purchase in stores and online really come about to get to our homes and the immense amount of work involved in the process. I was pretty surprised at how systematic and routine everything was. From the systems that display and monitor inventory management to the amount of labor that goes into making every shelf look decent for customers, there truly is a lot of work that’s involved.

The thing that irks me the most and unsettles me is the amount of time some of these people have spent working for the same company. I couldn’t imagine working for the same corporation for 15 years, let alone up to 35 years that I’ve seen from some fellow coworkers. It seems baffling to me that anyone would stay in the same corporate structure for that long and be happy with their situation. I mean, honestly, you have to want to explore other companies and the world a little bit more, right? A little ambition goes a long way, and I swear if you see me working at the same place for 15 years, then you know something went wrong. What happened to their passion? What happened to that drive as a human being to want to explore? Sometimes walking into work can be very depressing, and looking at some of those faces really makes me more motivated to get a degree.

Also, I just want to give a shout out to June’s site views. Last month this site got over 14,000 hits, which is just great and I really appreciate everyone that comes to the site and hope they’re finding something interesting each time. I know I haven’t updated it recently, but don’t worry, I will be doing more once the internship kicks in. 

And on a final word, the state of the gaming industry has certainly taken a baffling turn this year! With the onset of 3D not only in our movies but now proliferating our TVs and now our video game consoles, I really don’t like this new fad. It didn’t work a couple decades ago, and once people stop spending an extra 50% on movie tickets to see silly movies in “oooooo 3D!”, I hope we can get back to developing what’s really important, making the holodeck from Star Trek a reality 🙂


Man Kills Kitten For Interrupting Game


Hey Everyone,

I stop game, now is airplane time?

You know me, I love an interesting article. This one follows a guy who apparently took his girlfriend’s kitten and flung it across the room. Watch out, apparently he likes vacuum cleaners to do his dirty work too. Full story below:

“An unplugged cord killed the cat.

A Virginia man was arrested on Monday for allegedly launching his girlfriend’s kitten across the room and killing it after it unwittingly pulled the plug on his video game.

Bruce Jamar Walston was charged with disorderly conduct and misdemeanor animal cruelty for tossing the kitten right in front of the woman’s kids, according to local paper The News Leader.

The 21-year-old had been free on bond after a January incident where he allegedly beat a man with a vacuum cleaner.

Walston is being held without bond and is scheduled to appear in court later this month for the previous vacuum incident.


New Games Added


Hey Everyone,

I added some new games to the game page from suggestions. Storm the house 3, helicopter, and cubefield have been added, so go check em out on the Games page. or right below
(Revised May 14th 2010):

Storm the House 3

Its time #3 for you to get your stormin going. Suggested by alfiecorbin.

Cubefield

Who would’ve thought that simply moving a cursor through 3D fields could be so addicting? Thanks alfiecorbin!

Helicopter

No introduction needed. You know it, you love it, go play it.(Thanks alfiecorbin)


What It’s Like to Work at EA – An Employee’s Perspective


Hey Everyone,

I stumbled across this little review of a person that has worked with Electronic Arts for over ten years. There’s a lot of interesting little information contained in their review that you may find fascinating, such as the development time and the politics of gaming companies:

Electronic Arts – “10 years of ea”

Electronic Arts Director of Technology

“Pros

EA is known for killing employees to ship games – on brutal schedules.

The deal is: employees also get a lot out of working for EA. I did, at least. There are lots of very talented people at EA, and (usually) opportunity to ‘craft’ your own career. Working on blockbuster titles, for the latest consoles, is fun stuff. Hardcore engineers (like me) love having access to the equipment – and the opportunity to make significant contributions to a high-profile product.

And, if you do make big contributions (the kind that are visible to upper management — like rendering features) it is easy to become a ‘top engineer’. Top Engineers are respected across the studio, and are showered with stock, bonuses, and promotions. For 5 years in a row, I got a promotion each year. My 1998 salary of 50k moved to 75k, then to 90k, then to 150k, and finally to 190k. While the promotions are happening, my stock grants are vesting – and I’m unloading them into e-trade for huge gains.

(employee buys nice house, and car with > 300 horsepower)

Is it a perfect company? Hell no. Does it have upside? OF COURSE. If it didn’t, people would leave. EA employees usually don’t have trouble finding work. They are vocal with their complaints – but are private with the upside (see text above). If the upside wasn’t there – everyone would walk out.

NOTE: In 2010, the state of ERTS is so bad, the upside discussed above has almost completely vanished. Now, it is just a horrible job. But- who else is hiring – at the same salary? It isn’t a fun place to be right now – but – in this economy – it is probably good that a direct deposit check is hitting the account every 2 weeks. Before the bottom fell out of the economy, everything I said above was true. And, it will probably be true again someday. But – so will the Cons. (Read below). Is it worth it? For some people. Usually, young – out of college, and un-married. As college becomes more distant, and marriage happens, the “upside” at EA isn’t quite as attractive. Depending on how high you were able to climb, it might be possible to get into a position where you can continue to pull your salary – and contribute virtually nothing. This eventually leads to depression, however. But, this is starting to sound negative… Go read Cons for more.

Cons

EA is known for killing employees to ship games – on brutal schedules.

Before I continue, I’ll admit that I am happy with my own experience at EA (see Pros). What follows is not sarcastic, but is an honest assessment of what I saw over 10 years of employment (at 3 different studios)

Read with a “just the facts” tone – and ignore the cynicism that creeps in (after 10 years, it is impossible to avoid)

EA does kill employees to ship games on brutal schedules. Seriously. The rumors wouldn’t be so persistent if there wasn’t truth there. Yes, many teams move into a mandatory 6 or 7 day work-week, with 12 hour days (with the occasional over-nighter). At the worst of crunch, I did several weeks of 14 hour days. With a 14 hour day, there is just enough time to get home, get enough sleep to stay alive, and go back to work. This *is* sustainable – for weeks on end, but isn’t much fun. All shipping projects crunch. This was true in 1998, and in 2008 – and every year between. Usually, this is assumed – and everyone (silently) knows that it is coming. Sometimes, when morale in the studio is low, management will hold an ‘all hands’ meeting to launch “new development practices” – and a “more efficient project management system” …. and a promise of a decent work/life balance, and short (or zero) crunch. Employees like the sound of it, but are very skeptical. But, over the next few months, the discover that the Management promises were true!! Sure, there was that ‘one big demo’ that required some late nights, but – otherwise – the work/life balance isn’t so bad!!!

I’m not sure why – but everyone seems to forget that ALL PROJECTS START THAT WAY. The problems start when the team is actually approaching Alpha. Suddenly, the team realizes that major systems – although planned well – have serious integration issues. Oh, and performance issues. Engineers are very quick to blame themselves. They work 10, 11… 12 hour days to work out the ‘critical’ and ‘blocking’ problems. Then, it is back to finishing features (but – uh oh – the Alpha date passed!!) … feature work continues into Alpha, and usually slips a bit into Beta. By this time, the entire team is working killer hours – meals are catered, and hundreds of wives are considering divorce. (Seriously, EA is not a safe place for your relationship). Anyway, by the time crunch arrives – everyone has LONG forgotten about the ‘new project management’ stuff. Who cares anyway?? The schedule is completely blown (because of multiple failures, it isn’t possible to “fault” one person – or one group). Most of the team feels half-guilty for letting the top-management down, and are convinced that they somehow brought this major breakdown upon themselves. So, mandatory 7 day week. We must finish this thing. We’ll learn from our mistakes. We know what went wrong, and we won’t repeat it. But, right now, we need to get this thing Gold – and shipped to sony and microsoft for approval. QA is still finding class A bugs — engineers yell at QA because the bug existed “since milestone 2!!” — why are we just hearing about it TODAY? But, secretly, the engineer also feels guilty for making such a stupid mistake, and works an all-nighter to get it fixed.

He looks like a hero, and management is pleased. Except – all he did is fix his own ‘one-liner’ bug, and it took him all night to track it down. Accomplishment? No. Paradoxical praise? You bet. (Pay close attention to what a company ‘says’ they value – and what they actually reward. EA rewards workers that kill themselves to get things done. Anyone that says differently is either hiding from that fact, or lying).

So, the game finally ships, and everyone goes on a week or 2 of comp time (resembling a coma). The game ships, sales are huge, game goes platinum, screen-shots and press coverage is everywhere. It feels good.

Management calls an ‘all hands’ meeting to discuss the upcoming cycle, and – maybe – promise some big changes. Will it ever change? Of course not. But, notice that EA employees will complain, but they don’t actually quit. Like crack, it is easy to complain about – but very difficult to walk away from. (Did you look at the value of your vesting stock? Holy crap!! I made more on stock that my entire salary last year!!!!) But, this is sounding positive, read Pros for more.

Advice to Senior Management

Oh goodness. I’m not sure what to say… Lean on the titles that make money – and try to get out of the other side of this “lost console cycle” – and economy hit. Maybe that $16 stock will start coming back up. If not, I’m not sure that “advice to management” is worth anything — because the head will be chopped off by the Board. EA needs to turn around soon, but everyone already knows it. If it doesn’t happen, the company will “re-org” again — call it (another) “reset” and lay down big plans for mobile gaming, online, and China. Oh – and replace all the top execs. (If your name includes SVP, you’re done).

EA will either pull off a Phoenix move – or collapse, like a dying star.

The really creepy thing? John R predicted this demise – in 2006/2007 – when EA was feeling fairly bulletproof. If you heard his speech on this, you know what I’m talking about. He gave examples of big tech companies that completely folded – and quickly. He cautioned ‘resting’ on the current business model – and said that it was a sinking ship.

The plans to escape the sinking ship (new business model) failed. Now, EA is doing a 180, and killing all new development. “Focus on the key titles – and build them” (Madden, FIFA, etc). But, how long can you sit like that – and not get run over?

Time will tell.

Good luck, ERTS.

Signed,
the guy floating away on a golden parachute (I traded in the golden handcuffs)

My advice to management: get one of these parachutes – and jump out of the doomed plane.”


Colossal Squid Believed to be Lame, No Longer Awesome


Hey Everyone,

According to a recent study, the ginormous squid that you’ve seen in the news before, every time one of these baddies’ bodies are recovered, is most likely a “wait and see” kind of kraken rather than a “let me get tossed into Pirates of the Caribbean for Kicks” monster. These monstrous squids still have some pretty slick stats to their name though and let’s break it down:

Pros:

  • 15 meters long (like 45 feet long)
  • Their eyes have reported to be 27cm across (11inches)
  • Instead of little suckers on the tentacles, these things have arms with swiveling hooks, SWIVELING hooks.
  • Bioluminescences. Like- Glows in the dark., +1 BA pts.
  • Would make the water temple in Ocarina of Time bearable.

Cons:

  • Hides in the dark like a puss.
  • Eats 1 fish, doesn’t have to eat again for 200 days. Lame.
  • Would be the worst contestant on dancing with the stars.

For the full report, and some random scientists making predictions on things that they’re just inferring rather than backing up with substantial results: (Link Hurr)


Struck – The Film (best short film ever)


Hey Everyone,

Not sure how I missed this little gem. A man is “struck” with an arrow when he sees the woman of his dreams. But living with that little arrow is harder than it seems. Check out the 7 minute film, it’ll be worth your time, trust me. =]

Struck The Film by Taron Lexton:

Info @ struckthefilm.com

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Struck on Vimeo“, posted with vodpod

Boy Scouts and Video Game Awards


Hey Everyone,

It looks like the Boy Scouts are starting to give out awards that involve promoting teamwork and education through video games. Frankly, I think it’s a step in the right direction in that the Boy Scouts of America are embracing the fact that many kids these days probably aren’t spending their weekends tieing knots with friends, but rather gaming it up. Kudos Boy Scouts, just don’t start adding badges and awards for downloading an app from the app store or how to turn on a Blu-Ray player.

(Full Story)


Darwin to Gamers: “It’s Natural”


Hey Everyone,

Such a good read, check out this study about video games and evolutionary social motivations:

(Source)

“Gamers now have a scientifically viable explanation for their obsession with videogames: evolution. In a study at the University of Missouri, scientists found that the hormones that are emitted during reproductive and territorial challenges in other species are being seen in men while playing violent video games. Next time your girlfriend, mother, or wife complains about your gamer habits, you can throw Darwin at them. 

The study split 42 men into two groups playing Unreal Tournament 2004, in two different tests. The first was an “outgroup” test in which the gamers played Team Deathmatch, bonding socially as a group and fighting a common enemy. In the “ingroup” test, these same allied players were pitted against each other in a Free-for-All style match, where players must survive on their own.

The “outgroup” test showed that men on the winning teams had higher testosterone levels than the members of the losing team. In the wild, there is a similar pattern. All members have increased aggression, but the winning party will experience a strong post-contest testosterone surge.

In the “ingroup” test, players who had previously bonded with teammates were pitted against one another. After these matches, players showed a decrease in testosterone with the winning men actually having the lowest levels. And again, In the wild, it’s uncommon to see males engage in intense competition among allies as it will disrupt the balance of the group.

In conclusion: This test was able to simulate the same physiological reactions male animals have in the wild when competing for mates or defending territory. Now I know why my boyfriend gets angry when I stand in front of the TV when he’s playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.”


Study – Brain Training Games Don’t Make You Smarter


Hey Everyone,

The BBC recently did a study comparing individuals who play brain training games on a regular basis to those that answered questions online and found that the group of individuals that played brain training games did not score higher than the group that spent equivalent amount of time online answering questions.

Buuuttt, what do researchers know? I love brain training games, and think they’re rather entertaining and moderately challenging, but whatever. They should have compared the group of brain training individuals to a control group that played a different set of video games for the amount of time, or individuals who spent time in front of the TV or something, rather than a test to see which group became smarter.

Check out the full story (here)


7-11 to Sell Used Games


Slurpee and a Game? FUCK YES!

7-11 is starting to roll out  a used game section in its convenience stores called “Gamers Factory”.

Sounds all well and good to me, but I think their timing is a little rough. Just as game publishers like EA and Ubisoft have been rolling out online purchasing features to dampen used game sales for Gamestop and other used game distributors,  I think this could be a less then desirable endeavor in the not so distant future.

Shame though, I really would love to pop into a 7-11 while getting some gas, pick up a slurpee, and buy a game with my lotto ticket, all on impulse. 🙂

(full story)


Mariah Carey, A Wedding and a Ring Every Year


Dude, seriously, there is no way I would want to be married to this woman. Apparently Nick Cannon, the poor chap married to this diva has got to get her another ring to celebrate their marriage that was not only just two years ago, but he’s already had to buy several rings in between that time.

Check these leaked details from one of the tour drivers about her divaness:
“The rider specifies that Mariah’s dressing room space has “no busy patterns” although “black, dark grey, cream and dark pink” are all fine, and she should also be provided with a “lamp or clip light”, so harsh lighting can be turned off.

The 41-year-old star is also very particular about the temperature of the room, 75 degrees Fahrenheit, while she likes to be surrounded by two dozen white roses and vanilla aromatherapy candles in order to unwind after a show.”

fuuuckkk.

(full story)


Even MORE Real Pokemon!


Hey Everyone,

I added a bunch more real Pokemon to the real pokemon archive page. Enjoy! I listed the new ones below in this post, but click on to the Real Pokemon Archive page for all of them. 😀

Human Mudkip!


Some Cool Luxury Watches (Including the Bourne watch!)


Hey Everyone,

I was watching a couple of the Bourne movies the other day and was feeling a bit curious about the watch he wears in the movies. I ended up doing some research online and found it along with a few other watches you may find interesting. If you’re looking into knowing more about luxury watches, I suggest you check out this site, which helped with learning about different kinds of watches and brands. My top picks for watches are below for this month.

This watch simply looks badass. It comes in a few colors and in the movies, the watch varies slightly, but I believe the band always matches up. Now all I need is some money for this Tag Heuer watch.

This watch is perfect for that high class executive who swims in the Caribean during the day and sprints to a high class cocktail party the same night without ever taking his watch off. Boasting a 1,000 ft. waterproof encasing, this sapphire crystal shining watch Rolex is bound to impress anyone, myself included 😀

A friend of mine always reps Movado, and now I see why. Browsing through their watches, they have a simplistic design that just adds a kind of unique style to their watches. I chose the Movado Eliro as my favorite just because it reminds me of my watch right now.

If you've ever read some of my previous posts, you'll know I love Tokyo Flash watches. They may not be the most luxurious watches, but I love their unique time displays that varies from watch to watch. What you lose in luxury, you definitely make up for in flair. Annnd, after playing a whole bunch of Mass Effect, this is the watch I would wear if I was Commander Shephard.


Disturbing Old Navy Commercial


Hey Everyone,

Haven’t watched tv in a bit, but when I turned it on I got a look at this Old Navy ad for skirts. Now, I don’t consider myself a pervert or anything, but at first glance it looked like the pole was going places it shouldn’t be. Have a look for yourself.