Bilton Scraggly’s Board Gayme Bonanza

Bilton Scraggly specializes in entertaining board games for the modest homosexual. These are just a few of the many fun adventures waiting on the shelves at your local retailer!

Gay Checkers

This simple yet surprisingly fun game is the one you’re more likely to see being played by young ones. This checkered board will make you checkered with joy and make you scream out your darkest fantasies when you reign supreme!

Game rules: The two teams consist of rainbow colored and pastel colored pieces. Enemy pieces are not jumped, they are humped, forcing the enemy piece to live in their lavish gay community. The player must giggle and smile at the opponent before taking his turn. When a player’s piece reaches the opposite side of the board, that piece gets gay rights and gets the honor of having a second piece stacked on top of it (every man’s dream). The game ends when all of a player’s pieces are trapped in the other’s gay community or when Will & Grace comes on, whichever comes first.

Game terminology:

Teapot Tap – When the player moves a piece with their pinky.

Head & Shoulders Solution – When a player attempts to distract the other by complimenting the volume of his hair.

Intermission – When the players take a time out to brush each others’ teeth in the middle of the game.

Elton John Backstroke: When a piece with gay rights humps a piece behind itself.

Don’t ask, just yell – Alternate term for winning the game.

Gay Chess

Ahh gay chess, the gay thinking man’s game. This strategic masterpiece will test your wits and patience in a skimpy fight to the death!

Game rules: There are no kings in gay chess, only queens, so each player gets two of them. No piece is allowed to move in a straight line. The game ends when one player admits their secret carrot cake recipe to the other.

Piece types before and after:

Bishop – Gay clergyman

Knight (horse) – Richard Simmons on a pinata

Pawn – Catholic boy

Rook (castle) – Neverland Ranch

Game terminology:

Cross-dress – When the player’s piece is switched for another on the opposite side of the board.

Geisha confidence – When the player bows after moving.

Paris Hilton Position – When the player sits cross-legged during play.

Manopoly

The original buying and trading properties game, only this one is gay! Let Rich Aunt Penny Bags lead you through a journey of building houses and hotels, showing off your country’s gay capitalism.

Game rules: Kisses are the only currency used in Manopoly. If a player lands on the income tax space, they must kiss a close male relative. If the player passes Joe, they get a helpful pat on the rear. If the player lands ON Joe, every player sticks their finger in his belly button. Community’s Chest and Glance cards are drawn and performed down to the smallest detail.

Card examples:

Go to mail – Do not pass Joe. Go to the post office and make all postal workers uncomfortable.

Take a ride – On another player, then proceed to the Reading Railroad.

Gender error in your favor – Turns out you’re half woman!

Game terminology:

The big tease – When a player blows on the dice before rolling.

Homoerotic barter – Alternate term for a trade.

Free parking – When a player sits in another’s lap.

Bodyship

Imagine this–you’re on a gigantic warship in the middle of the ocean, firing artillery at any boat that comes by. Then you wake up in a bathtub with a man. Welcome to Bodyship!

Game rules: The players divide their body up into sections. When a section is guessed, the player wipes that section of the opponent’s body with a moist towelette. The game ends when the player “hits the spot,” or until the players run out of moist towelettes/licked toilet paper.

Game terminology:

Frosty – When a player breaks out into a cold sweat.

Mowing the lawn – When hair accidentally comes off with the towelette.

Honk attempt – When the player tries to wipe something that makes noise.

Other family friendly games available from Bilton Scraggly:

  • Gay Connect Four
  • Gay Topple
  • Slip ‘n’ Ride
  • Gaytor Golf
  • Hungry Hungry Gay Men
  • Guess Who (is gay)
  • Gay Risk
  • Electronic Talking Bodyship
 

Knights of Mayhem (TV Show) Review

Channel: National Geographic Channel

A show about jousting. Doesn’t get much more exciting than that. Except maybe shows about pinball, cake walks, knitting, and the pawn shop show with that delightful Chumlee!

Knights of Mayhem follows jousting captain and “World Champion” Charlie Andrews as he dons a full set of metal armor and gets medieval (literally) on the other couple of people that engage in this idiotic activity.

Charlie is apparently very experienced and has given up everything, including his family, to do this for a living. This proves that he has major priority problems and various mental disorders, possibly stemming from seeing his paw get runned over by horses as a child.

I don’t care who you are, what you look like, how long you’ve been doing it, whatever. If you’re a grown man wearing armor and hitting other men with sticks, you’re a jackass.

What happened to National Geographic? When I was a kid it was all about half naked African women riding elephants. I guess a good thing can’t last forever. I give this show a THUMBS DOWN.

 

Rock Stars (TV Show) Review

Channel: National Geographic Channel

Would you like to have proof that anything can be made into a television show? Here you go!

Rock Stars is a show about men (manly men) who scale walls of rocks next to roads and poke them with sticks until the rocks fall. This is all it is about. It is 30 minutes of guys acting macho and digging rocks.

While we’re making shows about boring jobs why don’t we make a series about insurance salesmen or pizza delivery boys? I wish there were more to write about for this review but that is quite literally all there is.

So if you get your rocks off to people getting rocks off, this is for you. Otherwise, rock this show. I give it a THUMBS DOWN.

 

 

“‘An Explanation and Some Reflections’ – by Reed Hastings” Breakdown

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

Netflix has been making some profound missteps in recent months.  It definitely shows up in their stock price… it’s not every company’s intentions to drop 50% in three months due to the lame moves you are making.  This past week’s lame misstep comes in the form of a separation of businesses, and a really dumb “apology letter.”

Now, not everyone seems to read things the same way that I do.  In this edition of Dave’s Breakdown, I will go in and explain Mr. Reed Hasting’s apology letter for all to truly understand, along with some of my own reflections to top it off.  To preface this, at the moment I have been a Netflix customer for about five years.

The original article is located here.

“I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.”

What this really means is “I’m sorry you guys didn’t like the price adjustment, but oh guess what, here’s something coming up that is universally more inconveniencing for everyone that we forgot to mention when we separated our services…”

What he’s really sorry for is that their stock price fell by 40% when they raised prices and split services.

“For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.”

Rarely dying from something doesn’t mean it’s not possible.  Netflix may just be another case study in the “rare” category.  Not to mention, how does something that COMPLIMENTS what you are going to be focusing more on in the future TAKE AWAY from it?  For example, AOL had dial-up.  What the hell else were they going to do once dial-up connections were not state-of-the-art?  They had to defend dial-up connections, there was no point in providing their services for Broadband connections on account they don’t even provide the service for it.  AOL could have probably done stuff a little smarter, but they’ve transformed into a web conglomerate.  What happened to EarthLink, another dial-up provider?  They’re still in business, apparently, doing what they’ve been doing.  The “real” AOL is essentially Time Warner.  Time Warner just shat out what was left of the AOL brand and company that they didn’t want anymore and the “new” AOL is like today’s AT&T — not the same, but not new either.

Borders bookstore was a retail store that sells books, and they offered no electronic versions of books.  Ok, except the reason they failed is because the Print industry, the Music industry, and the lack of them creating a service to take advantage of the new evolutions of those industries into account.  They also operated as retail stores and leases are expensive when you have thousands of stores.  Now, you have the polar opposite of Borders (a failed retail bookstore chain) with Barnes & Nobles (a still-successful bookstore) that is selling electronic books and music IN ADDITION TO having their brick and mortar stores.  Hey, wow!  Barnes & Nobles didn’t close all their retail stores or spin off all their retail bookstores into some weird half-breed retail company, did they?  No.  They kept them all under the same guise, and guess what they sell EVERYTHING, not just one thing.

“When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success. We have done very well for a long time by steadily improving our service, without doing much CEO communication. Inside Netflix I say, “Actions speak louder than words,” and we should just keep improving our service.”

What this really means is: “Before we started to worry about our stock price losing value and in-turn any investment opportunities we may have needed, I didn’t have to write anything to our customers in hopes to stop our free-falling stock prices before they hit the flushing toilet.”

“But now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.”

“I just thought that you guys would accept whatever business decisions I wanted to do because you guys love Netflix, and by association, MEEEE!”

“So here is what we are doing and why:

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD, plus lots of TV series. We want to advertise the breadth of our incredible DVD offering so that as many people as possible know it still exists, and it is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection on DVD. DVD by mail may not last forever, but we want it to last as long as possible.”

Yes, yes, we love DVDs!

“I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We feel we need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolve, without having to maintain compatibility with our DVD by mail service.”

Wait… so what you’re saying is…

“So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It’s hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to ‘Qwikster’.”

AW MY GAWD WHAT THE FUCK IS A QWIK.  It’s hard for you to write that you’re renaming a service.  Ok, so what, you’re renaming the service.  That means you can market it and yaddayaddayadda and I can still do what I’ve been doing for the past three years, right?

“We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name ‘Netflix’ for streaming.

Oh, ok, well that’s acceptable.

“Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to.”

Sweet, sounds good.

“It is just a new name,”

Ok, I get it.

“and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies.”

Wait, what?

“One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. “

Wait, don’t try to change the subject here.  What the hell are you talking about, a different web site?  You just said it was the same site!

“Other improvements will follow. Another advantage of separate websites is simplicity for our members.”

HEY!  YOU ARE A FUCKING ASSHOLE.  LOOK AT WHAT YOU JUST SAID IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH:

“Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to.”

What the FUCK are you talking about?  You just said Qwikster will be the same web site, and then you’re saying they’re SEPARATE web sites.  Are you talking about it being on the same web host?  No one cares that you’re on the same computer as another web site.  I’m sure that my web site is on the same server as some other famously popular web site, but I’m not going around saying I’m the same web site as some random popular web site.

“Each website will be focused on just one thing (DVDs or streaming) and will be even easier to use.”

Easier than… what?  What your web site is now?  I guess that the most logical way of making this easier is to make both web sites work with each other, right?

“A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.”

HOOOOLLYYY SHIT, and there’s the killer.  What in the FUCK just happened.  It’s like your boyfriend saying he’d use a condom and then taking it off right before he inserted.  Or, it’s like your girlfriend taking off her pants and there’s a penis hanging off what you thought was going to be a vagina, but is really just testicles.  This is the most asinine shot in the head I have ever read, save The Joy Luck Club.  Holy.  Shit.

“There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as the current charges.”

I’m still numb from the last paragraph…

“Andy Rendich, who has been working on our DVD service for 12 years, and leading it for the last 4 years, will be the CEO of Qwikster.”

“We’re sending Andy off to die.  See ya later, Rendich!  Don’t forget to write!”

“Andy and I made a short welcome video. (You’ll probably say we should avoid going into movie making after watching it.)”

This video is a great reason why you shouldn’t make your corporate strategy into a video.  It is not interesting.  Also, what the fuck is with the sole red envelope there?  Just so they can wipe their ass with it after the video is over?  What’s with the sunglasses and the laptop?  Were you doing some leisurely work (wearing sunglasses and using your laptop in the sun, even!) discovering what hue of red the Netflix envelope truly was and decided “Hey I’ve got a few minutes, let’s get Nathan down here with a camera while I’m typing up my ultra-cool apology letter that will totally fix all of our problems and make our stock go back up to 300 points and re-iterate what I’m saying to the populace of people who don’t care to read.  We’re Netflix, after all!”

“We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready. It is merely a renamed version of the Netflix DVD website, but with the addition of video games. You won’t have to do anything special if you subscribe to our DVD by mail service.”

Wait so if it is so easily renamed and its actually just the same fucking thing, why can’t you just have the fucking web site be the same fucking web site!

“For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy.”

That’s because it means money to you.

“The new envelope is still that distinctive red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be the same for many of you.”

I think the least of our worries the color of the envelope and the way it looks.  The experience has ALWAYS BEEN with the web site and the ease of using it, you sentimental tree murderer!

“We’ll also return to marketing our DVD by mail service, with its amazing selection, now with the Qwikster brand.”

Herein lies the only legitimate reason for them renaming their DVD by Mail service.  Yes, you should have a different brand to promote your DVDs again if that’s what you wanted to do.  However, Netflix DVD would have sufficed.  Netflix Video Games would have sufficed to.  I’ve heard weirder mismatches for companies in the past, not that I can remember any off the top of my head at the moment, but no one would have said “I don’t understand why Netflix has video games.  They have ‘flix’ in their name, for crying out loud!  I am totally canceling my account with Netflix because they have video games now, and it has nothing to do with streaming or television or movies or anything and it’s totally not optional oh em gee.”

What happens if Netflix wants to go into video game streaming, such as new services like OnLive have been doing?  Is Qwikster going to separate out their DVD and disc-based video game services into some tertiary company?  Where does it end!  They only want to focus on one thing at a time in each business, yet they’re launching video games, which is arguably a different expenditure all together, and they’re doing omigosh, TWO THINGS AT THE SAME TIME!  Call the board, let’s get another company split up in here!

Also, the reason why people were clamoring for video games in the first place was because it would have been from THE SAME WEB SITE FROM THE SAME COMPANY, WITH ONE BILL, AND ONE PAYMENT SYSTEM!  If people wanted a gaming rental service separate from Netflix, they would have had GameFly already!!  Focus groups would help you out to learn that!

“Some members will likely feel that we shouldn’t split the businesses, and that we shouldn’t rename our DVD by mail service. Our viewis with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail.”

Why?  You’re not EXPLAINING why you think it would be.  What barriers are involved that make this necessary?  You haven’t said anything that convinces me of any sort of argument that makes it seem like this is a good move.  You say you want to focus on things one at a time, and you want to make another business.  How does splitting out the WEB SITE or even your business do anything more for you?  Whether it’s called Qwikster or Netflix, you guys are still in the same fucking buildings, aren’t you?  Maybe you should reorganize your company and make a streaming division and a DVD/video game division underneath Netflix instead of spending money and creating a new shell company to send your neglected business model off to die.

“It is possible we are moving too fast – it is hard to say. But going forward, Qwikster will continue to run the best DVD by mail service ever, throughout the United States. Netflix will offer the best streaming service for TV shows and movies, hopefully on a global basis. The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial, and we are always working to improve our service further.”

Moving too fast?  How?  You’re not moving at all.  You’re taking your company in two different directions and, dare I say, setting up your tried-and-true business model up for sale when Netflix really decide to focus on one thing and one thing only — streaming.

“I want to acknowledge and thank our many members that stuck with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.

Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.

Respectfully yours,

-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix”

You know, I would have thought that a co-founder and CEO of this company would have thought, maybe just maybe, throwing out their original business model which started their company and made their success would be something more… unsettling than he may have originally thought the process to be.  Starbucks wouldn’t spin off their coffee business into another retail store if their muffins became the hot new item at their stores.  Hell, even if their muffins started pulling trillions of dollars in, they wouldn’t split that out into a new muffin chain.  It doesn’t make sense!

Now what I think Netflix will see when this happens is a large drop off of subscribers to their new Qwikster service simply because founding a new web site and brand name is quite obviously an uphill battle, and forcing people to accept it is quite another entirely.

Netflix has a fanbase, Qwikster does not.  I certainly say that I have no loyalty to something called Qwikster, but I do to Netflix. I can see why they would need to have a “different” brand because of the video games options coming about and for marketing purposes, but instead of being a completely separate web site, it should be a “portal” or “skin” to the main Netflix web site. Let’s say I go to Netflix, and then there’s a tab for Qwikster DVDs and Qwikster Games. Or if I go to Qwikster, I see an extra tab for Netflix Streaming Video.

As long as there is the same sort of integration for what we currently see, I don’t see why separating web sites benefits anyone — Netflix loses subscribers, I lose DVDs from Netflix, and we have to be mindful of another service with its own payment system, with its own customer service communication (if needed) etc etc.

It’s a hassle, especially when you consider you had it all in the same place before.

In one of the blog comments, Reed Hastings said that they don’t see Qwikster as being “that far away” from Netflix — as its only just “a link away” from each other… but so is MySpace to Facebook, and MSN to Google. There is a REASON people use Facebook or Google instead of all the other hullabaloo of assholery out there.

The Netflix web site is fine as it is.

If the excuse for this is their business is what needs to improve, how is separating web sites going to improve that considerably? If you need a different brand name, then make one. But don’t separate the services for the convenience of saying “that’s a different company, they’re doing their own thing, and we don’t care about it anymore.”  You are still responsible, as a parent company, to make sure customers who are with your new company LIKE your new company, and you’re not just sending it off to die.

What it really comes down to is that Netflix is definitely interested in killing off the DVD portion — the only reason they’re even keeping it anymore is because streaming is going to see very high increases in cost, and they’re not sure if DVDs will end up having more business when the hammer comes down after their streaming licenses expire.

Associating the DVDs into the streaming plans only makes that amount charged for streaming go higher than it actually perceptibly is. It is a pre-emptive attack on what is bound to come.  There are also rumors about how some companies force them to supply DVDs for some unrelated movies to have the license for a streaming version available, but how does spinning a company out into a subsidiary solve that?  Netflix still owns Qwikster!  For the time being, at least.

Maybe Netflix have to split it out to survive, after all. It still doesn’t change my opinion about having some sort of integration of services that make it easier for customers of both.  But I’m not a business manager/CEO type person, so what the fuck ever, I guess Netflix is just smarter than their customers!

Update Oct 10, 2011

Rejoice!  It appears that Netflix has reverted their prior decision to rename their DVD by Mail service into something stupid and crappy.

It appears that Netflix doesn’t want to spend money on focus groups or hire actual people to do research for them, instead they have opted to have their customers be exposed to flip-flopping decision-making and putting absolutely zero confidence in the way the company is thinking.  If they stuck by their laurels, at least they wouldn’t have seemed like a bunch of pushovers.

However, apologizing for an apology seems to be a pretty funny concept, and in the end, I can at least be thankful that this stupid business decision wasn’t put through.  The only good thing to come of the whole thing was Video Game rentals… and that seems to be put out to pasture as there is no mention of it anywhere.  Do we really need to tell Netflix how to run their company well enough to not run it into the ground?

 

BAN (PC) Review

Overview

The game BAN has a strange title for so many reasons. One I can think of is that this game should have a BAN slapped on it for being completely crap. All you do is play a crap drawing of a person and shoot what looks like a monster by frantically pushing CTRL. You then die and think hmmmmmm that was fun and then you think how did I get that score.  The gameplay is so minimal but then again what do you expect from PG Games.

Graphics

A stick with a head and a head for a monster well okay long story short there a pile of shit the was no effort in this area.

Sounds

Nothing but a crappy sound track, which is very annoying and is probably why the game is so dam big. I would personally prefer hearing someone straining when having a crap.

Gameplay

It’s all down to button bashing and is well very boring, it is so boring this can be called a medical breakthrough, a fast and effective sleeping drug with no side effects.

Crappiest Part

Well all you really have to do is read the review but I would have to say the graphics they look like a 3 year old drew them.

Overall

Am I allowed to give 0? If not then I will have to give it a 1/10 just for the fact it has no good features.

If I ever find the download for this game, I will post it.

 

ViSalus Sciences: How Being A Scam Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

Recently I was introduced to a… unique company.  I don’t want to say “pyramid scheme,” but it really is a legal version of it — known as multi-level or referral marketing.  Wikipedia will give you a big insight into what these terms mean and how they are related to each other.

ViSalus Sciences is a company that is in the business of weight loss.  Excuse me — I should rephrase that.

They are in the business of MARKETING weight loss products, and having you do most of the leg work for them.  That’s what multi-level or referral marketing is.  It’s a marketing tactic that markets to people, either in-person or through someone you know, rather than traditional means such as television.  They have representatives from their company come by to talk to you after you are invited to a “Challenge ‘Party'” (notice the double quotes) or some sort of get together by a friend or acquaintance under the guise that the product that they are selling is healthy for you.

It may very well be healthy for you.  It may even help you lose weight.  But when a company talks about how their product is good for you for about fifteen minutes, and then spends the next hour or so explaining how you can MAKE MONEY while using it and becoming an “Independent Distributor” (read: selling the product to your friends, and then they sell it to their friends, and you get a cut of that), you have to question the intentions of this company.

Right?

… Or are you allowed to?

There’s no question that obesity is a problem in the United States.  The underhandedness of it all comes from playing off the emotion that if you reject the product for any reason (since they say anyone can benefit from losing weight or becoming more lean) then you are seen as someone who doesn’t give a shit about their body and scrutinized for it.  Of course, it’s totally not because you don’t agree with what you are presented with, and question why it was presented to you in such a manner!  They tell you you are going to die if you don’t change the way you live.  And that may very well be true.  But what they mostly want you to do is to buy into their marketing plan.

ViSalus Sciences doesn’t care if you lose weight or not.  What they really want you to do is to market their products to the next guy, and have them market it to the next guy.  Yes, I understand that businesses exist for the sole purpose of making money.  But there is a reason why certain business ethics are in place and why business models like a “pyramid scheme” are outlawed, and others like “multi-level marketing” or “referral marketing” are walking the fine line.  The reason why these are so controversial and not legitimate business models is because they are UNSUSTAINABLE.  What happens when there are no more people to sell your product to and make money off of?  In this case, what happens when everybody is skinny?  The whole system falls apart, and only the people at the top are left with any money.

The oddities don’t stop there, of course.

When you dig deeper into (or, rather, get poured on with) the details of their referral program, it starts with you getting your ViSalus powder meal replacement substance for free when you refer three of your friends into buying one of their kits — the most expensive being a $250 “Transformation Kit.”  That’s probably a tough sell, but its the “most rewarding” from ViSalus’ standpoint when they’re trying to sell you into selling their stuff.  What’s more, is if you keep selling to people and then THEY sell to other people, and so on, you start getting checks cut to you in terms of percentages of what they buy and keep buying.  Pretty sweet, right?  And eventually you’ll get to a point where they’ll actually pay you for the lease of a BLACK BMW at 600 bucks a month!!!!  Oh, did you read the part where it has to be black?  That’s okay, if you don’t want black, they’ll give you 300 a month for something that isn’t black.

So, wait.  Did you read that right?  What the fuck does the color black have to do with any god damned thing?  I’d probably just chalk it up to the CEO of the company wanting his minions to look like a fleet of stealth fighters driving into the parking lots when they have any stupid meetings or expos for their marketing clients.  Maybe it’s an inside joke and he actually hates black BMW’s.  I don’t know what the fuck they’re trying to get at.  Besides, what happens when you repaint your black BMW into a red one?  Do they still give you 600 dollars?  It’s still technically black on the pink slip if you don’t change it, right?  Are they going to send someone to your house to inspect your car’s color?  Who knows, maybe they send a person to your house to gain intelligence on other matters, like when you take a shit or beat off.  And it doesn’t stop there… you could potentially be making millions of dollars with this marketing plan.  Hooray!  And you’re not even an actual employee of their company, yet you’re bringing in 10% of their gross income!  Makes a lot of sense.  Toss in a bunch of other random shit like a magazine subscription to the aptly named “Success” and you’ve got yourself some fireplace-burning material in addition to pumping weird chemical powder into your body and all the other benefits that come with it.

I think what irks me the most about the company, other than its obviously questionable business model is that on the first page of a Google search there are literally two to three results asking if the company and its referral marketing business model is a scam.  That is a red flag in itself.  You should not see that for any legitimate company.  You don’t search Target and see “is Target a scam?” as the second result, right?  I’m sure if you dug deep enough you’ll see some randoms on the Internet gloating about how they may have scammed Target or how some idiot doesn’t understand how a credit card transaction works.

Not only that, I have a sneaking suspicion that ViSalus themselves are actually putting these “Is it a scam?” articles up on these random web sites.  ViSalus is owned by a huge marketing company known as Blyth, and they have probably flooded the internet with articles of this nature to bury any real “evidence” of any legitimate complaints about the company.  Nearly all the articles you can find about ViSalus asking if it is a scam talk about the dicey things they may do, but end up praising them and saying how good the products are… topping it all off with a referral link to their own referral page to have you buy their shit.  If these articles were actually by individual writers, then they have no knowledge of journalistic ethics (what’s that?) since there is a HUGE conflict of interest apparent and no way to actually tell if they are saying what they’re saying just to get you to buy into it all.  This is what makes the company possibly being a scam a self-fulfilling prophecy.  They apparently say that it is a scam… only to conclude that it isn’t.  But by flooding the internet with these types of articles, it makes you question what they’re really up to.

To conclude, I’m not saying that the products they sell don’t work.  I’m not saying either that there isn’t money to be made by falling into their weird referral marketing program.  I just know that I want to stay the hell away from this company, and if anyone wants my suggestion, it would be to do the same — and make sure you skip on giving them any of your personal details.

Here’s a few extra reference materials from Yahoo-related web sites (so you know that it isn’t some fucker posing as a legit consumer):

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/From-gang-member-millionaire-forbeswp-3869850001.html?x=0&cmtnav=/mwphucmtgetnojspage/headcontent/main/3869850001//date/desc/11/s101325

Same article as above with a different name:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2011/08/08/entrepreneurship-nothing-to-lose-and-everything-to-gain/

http://news.yahoo.com/blyth-increases-stake-visalus-sciences-20110415-153430-696.html

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110605130954AAGG2va

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070701165240AALx2cL

Update 9/12/11:

And it keeps getting worse.  Not only do they have your friends selling you this shit, they have five-year-olds explaining it to you like they know everything.  BUT HEY!  Don’t forget about how you can REFER YOUR FRIENDS!  Yes, even a five-year-old knows how multi-level marketing works — its that simple!  Here’s one video that pretty much shows how bad this company wants you to get sucked into its ploy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U091N-ZrXYk

The comments are nothing short of hilarious.  Especially the one that says:

“So many of these responses amaze me. I would be willing to bet most of these people know nothing about these shakes, eat at McDonalds or Burger King every week and talk about eating properly. I have had these shakes as my breakfast for 2 years and would drink them for the rest of my life. They have more quality nutrition packed into each one than I can get from just about any breakfast. I exercise daily, which we encourage, and eat fruits, veggies, fish, daily. No need for such negativity.”

By some guy named “TheViGuy.”  Well, that isn’t some viral marketer employed by ViSalus, right?  Wrong.  It is.

It looks like there’s even more five-year-olds-explaining-multi-level-marketing videos on YouTube, too.  Enjoy.

 

Looking Back At: Oh Minseok the Rebel Korean

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Looking Back At

One of the few things I think seriously about is spam e-mail.  Not only do people actually spend the time to write out huge paragraphs as some random African country’s prince – which is called role playing where I come from (The Internet), sometimes you’ve got to wonder about whether or not a few of these “situations” may in fact be real.

Let us hark back to Oh Minseok.

I got a spam mail once that wasn’t trying to sell me anything.  It wasn’t trying to convince me to give my social security number to get a million hot dogs shipped to me from Uruguay, although I would seriously contemplate the prospect – this spam mail I got was about how Korean electronics companies were trying to kill him and how he needed help because they were hacking him and essentially trying to stab him through the computer screen.

Now, there are likely two possibilities that had made this e-mail come about.

One, he is an insane paranoid Korean who somehow learned English (but obviously not very well) and somehow got access to a mailing list with a million people on it, one of those being me.

Or, second, he actually is trying to be killed by Samsung.  I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt, even if they are insane, so I honestly think he is trying to be killed by Samsung because Samsung is involved in crimes and is paying off police to not investigate them.  Not only that, but they’re in collusion with Hyundai!

Sounds plausible, right?  I certainly think so.

I wouldn’t think it’d be that hard to piss Samsung off, considering you could fart in their plasma television screens and piss into their liquid crystal vats.  That’s probably what Oh Minseok did.  And Hyundai probably bought a lot of those little LCD screens from Samsung to put into their stupid cars and were none too pleased to see piss ooze out of the screens.

So, whoever this Oh Minseok guy is, I’m sure he’s probably dead because someone he spammed this to tracked him down and sold his location to Samsung.  I think the last thing I’d ever do if I were being hunted down by a corporation that ignores the world’s laws and can apparently pay off any police force it feels like would be to post across the whole internet that they are trying to kill me.

 

Memorial Day – What Does it Mean to Me?

Decoration Day is another name for Memorial Day.  Memorial Day honors military people who have died in wars that Americans have fought in.  It is a patriotic holiday that  was originally honored to the Civil War.  Now it also honors veterans from the Spanish-American War, World War 1, World War 2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Antirent War, The Aroostook War, Black Hawk War, Mexican War, Seminole War, Tripolitan War, Utah War, and the War of 1812.

Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May.  On Memorial Day people place flowers, flags, and other memorabilia on the graves of people who died in wars which Americans fought in.

We should all be grateful that these people have given their lives so that we can have the freedoms that we have today.

 

That Was a Weird Dog Walk

Went outside to walk my dog and these things happened:

2 people were pulled over in their car in a “no stopping at any time” zone. One was on his phone away from the open passenger car door. The other, which I assume was a girl, was making puking/spitting sounds inside the car, even though the car door was open and she was actually standing outside. and the guy was just on his phone talking about something I didn’t understand.

I cut across the street so I don’t have to walk past them. then I see some random fat lady sitting on the concrete box thing full of phone/cable equipment or whatever it is in there just sitting there doing nothing, staring at a wall.

Then I avoid her and walk back towards where I came from, and some old guy comes out of the gate and just stands there and just stares at stuff around, he’s not even doing anything.

So I walk farther down the sidewalk away from him, and some shirtless younger looking guy is walking in my direction putting a shirt on. He says something like “good morning” to me and then goes over to where the old guy is and stands around him. No idea what they’re saying cause im far away from them at that point.

So I’m kinda looking in the general direction to see if they’re doing a drug deal, then I see the fat lady getting up and walking down the middle of the street going towards something I didn’t care to find out because I was freaked out and ran back into my house.

And this all happened before 12 am, thursday night… wtf was that all about?

 

Don’t Copy That Floppy

MC Disc Protector makes amazing points in his ridiculous rap “Don’t Copy That Floppy.” Remember when it was so easy to copy a floppy disk game onto another floppy disk? NO, BECAUSE SOME RAPPER GUY ALWAYS HACKS INTO YOUR COMPUTER AND PLAYS HIS STUPID SONG! This is essentially an annoying 10 minute song. Also, I think there’s a lot of innuendo between the white kid and the black chick.

 

Having a Child Is Child Abuse

This has been stirring in my head for the past month or so.  There’s this recent uptake in the health community that having a child that is obese or overweight is considered child abuse.

Now, let’s take a step back here.

Why would you consider having a child as being overweight the ONLY form of… let’s call it “contemporary child abuse.”

Couldn’t you say that having a child at all would constitute as child abuse?  As soon as they pop out of the womb, they are subjected to torture day in and day out.  They must breathe polluted air.  They have to deal with getting sick.  They have to deal with everything that kids have to deal with.  Why not call all of the problems that children have to deal with child abuse because their parents could’ve done something more to prevent anything from happening to them?  They could have made them wash their hands after every contact with something that has germs on it.  What if a child has a fever that goes to 103 and they are forced to take medicine that tastes bad?

I would even go so far as to say that if you allowed a child to be born with a birth defect, whether or not it was your fault, this would also constitute as child abuse, since you are now forcing your child to live with a defect.  The “right thing” to do in this case would have been to abort the baby and save them years of “torture.”

Where does it end?

If people are considering having children that are overweight in any capacity as an allegation of child abuse, then why aren’t we looking at everything?  Why don’t we just remove every single child under every single parent have them raised by the government?

It would certainly solve a lot of problems society has with children.

For example, the state will never pay to have their employees bring annoying little kids to Rated R movies.  They will never be seen at the mall making loud crying noises or running around on the escalator at my job without someone getting angry at them.

They’ll be stuck in what is essentially a jail, and we’ll all be better for it.

 

5-and-5 About Playing Video Games

A friend of mine told me to play one to two hours max of PS3 and/or PC games today and then write 5 positive things about the time I spent and 5 negative things about the time I spent.

So here’s the Positive 5:

1. Slowly expanding my knowledge of video games (design, gameplay, etc).

2. Getting more of whatever I needed in the particular game I played.

3. Sense of accomplishment for getting through in-game assigned goals.

4. Didn’t happen today, but I usually get to interact with other people I usually play with.

5. Unique to this hour of playtime I had, I did not get frustrated because no in-game elements greatly impeded what I had set out to do in-game.

and the Negative 5:

1. Spent an hour or two of the day doing that instead of doing something else.

2. Adds to spending money on games because once I get through a certain amount of time playing a game I usually play the next game.

3. Sometimes I feel completely bored with playing and just don’t want to do it anymore, which I’ve been cutting down a lot of game time and working on getting through other things.

4. Its a never-ending cycle with the game I play, there’s always something more to do.

5. It starts to feel like a chore if I start to do things I don’t want to do in the game.

I spent most of my day working on my web site and watching episodes of 24.  I started watching the show over the past couple days and I’m almost through Season 1.

I honestly feel that the positives of playing games for a shorter amount of time than say 3 or 4 hours outweigh the negatives for that period of time.  But after 3 hours, the whole day becomes wasted and the next is almost ready to start.

I am also currently pursuing a job opportunity with Blizzard and having a wide-variety of gaming knowledge as well as knowledge of their games will benefit me if they want to interview or hire me for a game tester position at their company.  I think it would be a pretty amazing opportunity to work at Blizzard, not to mention it would be an associative use for my major from college.

 

First Day of Working Out

Well, I started working out this week on Thursday.  It was sort of fun being able to do the exercises with someone else.  I’ve never really done exercises with anyone else and its good to have a friend there cause he can tell me what I’m doing wrong or tell me how to exercise more efficiently than I would otherwise.

I’m not a health guru or even that knowledgeable about things you can do in the gym so its nice to be able to have someone there.

Recently my mom has been drilling into me that I am almost thirty years old (I’m only 25), and practically telling me that I’m fat and unsuccessful.  She’s told me that she regretted sending me to college because my major has done nothing for me.  I think its terribly unfair that she says these things because she’s making it seem like my life is already over.  She says I have no ambition and that may be true, but ambition isn’t for everyone.  I don’t see how doing random things that she envisions me doing that I have no interest in doing dictates whether or not I have ambition or not.  The things I am ambitious about are all with the internet, with my web site and my ability to create, and that’s good enough for me.

In either case, it wasn’t so much of a wake-up call as it was just making myself better, and having enough of living the way I have been.  Yes, I want to make my mom stop telling me to lose weight and to stop poking and prodding me to getting a job, but if its not those things it’d be another.  That’s always how it’s been with her.  In high school when I wasn’t “dangerously” overweight (I was still overweight, I’ve always felt that way) it was me being on the computer too much or me spending too much time playing games, or whatever.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  Those things haven’t directly affected anything in my life, and blaming anything but my own attitude and complacency would be a scapegoat.

 

Mount & Blade: War Band (PC) Review

Developer: TaleWorlds Entertainment / Publisher: Paradox Interactive || Overall: 9.0/10

Mount & Blade: War Band is a medieval combat strategy RPG developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment.  War Band is a unique blend of strategy, adventure, and mounted combat that makes it a wonderfully pleasant game play experience.  However, there are a few issues that plague the game, namely with its presentational and user interface, which can put a damper on its enjoyability.

War Band takes place on a medieval continent named Calradia.  On Calradia, there are six different factions, whose leaders all claim they are the rightful rulers of the whole of Calradia.  Who you choose to begin the game with has less to do than where they actually are on the continent.  Every new game starts you off being attacked by assassins in the trade district of the major city of the faction you select.  After you win or lose this fight, a tradesman comes and saves you.  He pleads with you to help him save his brother that has been kidnapped by the group of people who attacked you.  If you choose to save him, you aim to gain a small sum of money.  If you don’t, you’re able to do whatever you like in the game as you please.

War Band takes it upon itself to let you roam around the sandbox it has created as soon as it can.  In fact, most of the game itself is free form and there is basically no real story or stringent quest structure to be had.  Events such as tracking down bandits and recruiting new members to your party become the story itself, as you fight battles and run around Calradia doing the biddings of Kings and their vassals, if you choose to do so.  If you progress far enough in gaining the respect of a King, you will eventually be asked to become a King’s vassal, and be awarded pieces of land acquired from your enemies.  You can also be asked to fight alongside the King in raids on castles, or come to the assistance of your allies against mountain bandits or enemy armies.

Another way to play War Band is by going against the current political structure in a certain area, and supporting a suitor that claims ownership of a throne.  By supporting these suitors, you are able to work to overthrow a King and make the person you are supporting become King or Queen in their stead, along with all the benefits and consequences that go along with that.  You are also able to establish yourself as a King or Queen and attack castles, acquiring fiefs for your own purposes.

The basis of the game itself is very interesting for gamers who have played games such as the Elder Scrolls and Civilization.  However, the game play itself has a couple of issues.  There is not a lot of explanation as to how to do certain things in the game, such as establishing yourself as a King or Queen. It is hard to find much information on it.

A lot of quests are unnecessarily vague.  It may take Internet research to figure out what to do or how to do a quest.  For example, you are told to bring some cows to a small town that has had their herd stolen by local bandits.  The only way to get cows is by stealing or buying cows from another town and bringing them to the first.  However, when you get this quest, that isn’t mentioned at all.  They tell you to “get some cows” and are left to your own laurels to figure out how to do it.  Unless you somehow happen upon the prompt to buy cows, it can be frustrating to figure out how to do this the first time.  Another instance where the game can be unnecessarily harsh is when a local Guild Master gives you a quest to find a Bandit’s Lair and expunge the threat.  The Bandit’s Lair itself does not show on your map until you are directly above it.  Considering the map of Calradia is huge and your unit is very small, it can take a certain amount of luck to happen upon the lair.  Quests like these do not lend themselves to making the game user friendly.

Combat itself is quite fun, and the large battles that can be had are quite enthralling.  Most of the time you will be fighting in first-person, but third-person is another option, and depending on the situation it is easy to switch back and forth.  Your character is able to use any weapon in the game, so it comes down to personal preference. One handed, two handed, and throwing weapons are available, in addition to shields, bows, crossbows, polearms, and maces.  There are four weapon slots for your character, allowing you to have a variety of weapons for the different situations you might be in.

Combat can take place in a variety of places, but most happen in the open field.  The open field combat stages take place on a map that closely reflects the type of area you are in, such as a mountainous area or in the woods.  Smaller stages take place on the beach, a mountain pass, or in a town.  In all of these situations, you are able to bring allies along with you, and as you grow your party larger and they become more powerful, you will begin to trump your enemies with ease — until you eye larger and more powerful enemies.  Simply put, the combat is the shining star of War Band and is what keeps you coming back for more.

When in combat, you use your mouse to change the direction you are attacking from.  To hit someone from above, you bring your mouse back towards you.  To hit them from the right, you move your mouse to the right.  You move using the WASD buttons, but there is no sidestepping with Q and E.  Q will bring up your quest log and E will kick in front of you.  If you are used to sidestepping, this can be annoying.  The objective of combat is to basically kill or knock unconscious all of your enemies.  Once that is accomplished you win.  If your army is quashed in the same manner, then you lose.  If you are knocked out before the battle ends, your army will fight at a lesser capability, and become more susceptible to losing.  It is very important to not only keep yourself alive through the whole battle, but to also help your army in the fight.  This brings a delicate balance between risk-taking and being careless and running into a group of enemies with spears.  You are also able to give your army orders to follow you, to charge, or to flank your enemy, among other commands.  These commands allow for strategy to be built around the situation at hand.

Graphics can take a big part in whether or not someone can be interested in the game without knowing anything about its game play.  With that being said, the game is downright ugly, and is about ten years behind.  The character models aren’t animated very well, many textures are smudgy, and just about everything has sharp edges.  While good graphics and animations aren’t required to have a fun game, it definitely makes it less painful to look at.  The unequivocally worst characteristic of this game is its graphics.  The second is the user interface.

The user interface is sorely in need of improvement.  When selecting from a long list of responses, it can be hard to figure out or remember which option you had last selected, so if you had to talk to the person again to get something done you may be confused as to which you had selected previously.  When looking through the in-game reference manual, it can be hard to find what you are looking for, stumbling across many pages and guessing what you might be looking for at times – this ties into finding out what to do for quests.

While navigating the map, it can take a very long time to travel and to even find where you’re trying to go.  There are no user-friendly options for accelerating travel speed, and sometimes you’ll be travelling for ten minutes straight before getting to your destination.  Over time, this adds up, and less time is actually spent playing the more interesting parts of the game.  Towns are also designed in a confusing manner, making them hard to navigate as well.  Each town has one leader that you are able to acquire quests from, but they are very hard to distinguish from other random town members at times.  The absence of a mini-map with markers while in towns would make this an easier exploit – otherwise, you are left to run around towns and talking to random people in hopes that they are the Guild Master or Town Elder.

Another user-friendly improvement that is needed would be with party management.  As you gain heroes to tag along with you, they bring their own blank slate for you to skill them up as they level.  The point of your party heroes is to fill in the gaps as far as your party skills go.  While this makes sense in theory, the execution doesn’t lend itself to helping the player figure out which skills are actually going to benefit the party or which ones another hero already covers.  Some sort of interface that tells you which party skills you are missing or have covered already as you are deciding which skills to level your characters with would make it a much more pleasant experience.  Otherwise, you have to resort to creating a small spreadsheet to figure it all out.

Party management is also irritating when it comes to managing your heroes’ equipment.  Instead of having one simple interface to tab through each party member’s equipment screen, you have to talk to him or her individually and ask to see his or her armor.  If you came into a number of upgrades to compare to what your party members have already, it is very tiresome to click three times to see one equipment screen, and then escape out of it, and then do it again for the next party member.  Most party-based RPGs have solved this problem by making it easy to switch to the next party member’s equipment/skill screen without having to exit back to the party screen, and War Band should have had something like that implemented.  Wasting time on obstacles like these can detract from the game’s enjoyment.

The inventory system also suffers from user interface issues.  You have a certain number of slots for inventory that can increase via skills.  Once you get to a large inventory capability, it can be easy to overlook what you may or may not have in your inventory.  A sorting option is desperately needed to re-sort your items and fill in slots from top to bottom.  This would prevent having to manually move each item, one at a time, from the bottom of the list to the top.  Another missing feature is a “take all items” option after defeating an enemy.  Instead of stuffing everything you can into your bags, you must click each item, one at a time, to loot them.  This, again, wastes time and energy going through and clicking everything you may want without automatically looting everything you can fit into your inventory.  In addition, inventory squares are fairly huge and could have sized down a little bit to accommodate being able to look at what you have in an easier fashion.

There is a multiplayer aspect to the game, but the most common are deathmatch or castle sieges.  The multiplayer modes are more akin to Counterstrike or other objective-based multiplayer games. Some sort of a co-op mode for the single-player game would be nice, but would have unique challenges to overcome, considering much of the game itself is traveling and quest-taking, and that wouldn’t exactly be very fun to experience alongside a friend for very long.

War Band also allows for modding.  If you find an interesting mod available, you are able to import it into the game and run it.  While War Band doesn’t have as many interesting mods as the original Mount & Blade does, there are a couple available that may be worth a try.  These mods change the single-player game in ways that the overall objective changes, or new armor/weapons are added.  Like many other PC games that allow modding, it creates a community that is involved with making these mods and keeps people interested in the game itself, as its game play could radically change with a new mod.

As a cohesive whole, Mount & Blade: War Band has many interesting and fun features. But if one thing of the game needs to be said, it’s that it mainly suffers from user interface design.  An overhaul in its user interface would severely be recommended in any future game in the series, and would lend itself to making the experience much more pleasing.  War Band is an activity that you can sink many hours into, and not realize where the time has gone. At first glance, the game can give the wrong impression, but War Band is definitely a title to experience.

 

Mi CuADERNo DE Espanol SPANiSH NoTEBooK

1) mi vocabulary
2) Mi Gramatic
3) mi tarea

2353
Discovered Room 102 unlocked told custodian earlier approximately

2300
That rooms 202, Bal-E, 211 unlocked. He secured Bal-E & 211. I tried to secure door but couldn’t. A key is required.

0000
Room 202 unlocked. Unable to scure. a key is required

0002
Room 206 unlocked. Can’t secure

0004
Room around corner from 206 through doorway across from mural unlocked I set off alarm after opening door