CrazE-mail #24575

I occasionally try to sell my services on Craigslist to make extra money. In this case I had done a simple video project and completed the work for the client.  I delivered the video to him at his Dropbox and basically had to wait for him to get me the payment, which was a modest $50.

Date: 01/15/12

Martin:

Thanks David.  Its fine for my purposes.  I will get pymt to you tomorrow.

Date: 01/16/12

davepoobond:

Hey Martin,

Just wanted to touch base again to see if you are able to send me payment today.  Thanks!

Date: 01/16/12

Martin:

Hey.  Sorry. I had a HORRIBLE day. It isn’t over yet. Haven’t gotten to it yet but will.  Had issues and couldn’t make my deadline.  Should be done tonight.

Date: 01/17/12

davepoobond:

Hey Martin,

Just checking in again to see if you’ll have an opportunity for payment today.  Thanks again.

I called him in between these e-mails asking about payment again, but was only able to leave a voice mail.

Date: 01/20/12

davepoobond:

Hey again Martin,

Sorry to keep buggin you about it, but I thought I’d send you an e-mail as well.  I left you a message about half an hour ago regarding the payment owed.  Let me know if I can assist you with it.  Thanks!

Date: 01/24/12

davepoobond:

Hey Martin,

Just wondering if you were going to be able to let me know if you were going to pay for the video I did for you last week.  Please let me know ASAP.  Thank you.

Date: 01/24/12

Martin:

David,
Sorry.  I haven’t forgotten you.  I had a HORRIBLE last 36 hrs.  I just found out a lot of very distressing news.  Please bear with me.  I assure you I will take care of it but I just found out the person I am subletting from hasn’t been paying the landlord and I need to move IMMEDIATELY.  That AND i got LAID OFF from my job yesterday so I am overloaded and don’t know what I have to do in the way of cash so i am trying to get my bearings.  Sorry. Be back in touch tomorrow.

Date: 01/24/12

davepoobond:

Sheesh… sounds terrible.  Don’t worry about it just get it to me when you can then.

Date: 01/24/12

Martin:

sorry to make my problems your problems.  i will get it handled soon..

At some point I called him again, and was given another bigger, escalating excuse as to why he couldn’t send me $50 for the work I did for him.  I think it had something to do with not even being able to use the video for its intended purpose.  At that point it wasn’t worth trying to collect, even though it was pretty funny/ridiculous.

 

CrazE-mail #24574

I occasionally try to sell my services on Craigslist to make extra money. In this case I was experimenting with selling “voice acting” services and the following occurred.

Date: 09/12/11

Subject: Need a voice actor

AS:

Hi, I’m actually looking for a phone actor, for 10-15 mins. Is this something you can do?

davepoobond:

Yes, I think I can help you out with it.

What is the project?  If it is a video, what genre is it?

AS:

It’s not a video, sounds really silly but I need someone to pretend to be my dad over the phone.  My dad won’t talk to a friend of mine and I really need him to, it’s a complicated situation. I just need someone to talk to my friend for a few minutes. I’ll obviously pay whatever you charge for your service.

davepoobond:

Well, it is an odd proposition.  I’ll have to know more specifics before I can tell you I’d do it or not.

No reply after that.

 

Poker Live Omaha & Texas (iOS) Review

Developer/Publisher: AbZorba Games || Overall: 8.0/10

A part of the AbZorba Games’ casino line-up, Poker Live Omaha & Texas for the iOS is essentially the same user interface as the previously reviewed BlackJack Live Casino.  Many familiar aspects are present, and it won’t take you long to get used to the differences if you have experience with any of their other apps, like I did before playing it.  Poker Live Omaha & Texas shares the amusing avatar system, and has the same social-network-of-sorts functionality that is included in the previous title I reviewed.

Uniformity across titles is the basis, and many of the same comments I made about the game’s functionality and social network would just be reiterated for this title, so the best thing to do is to focus on the game of Poker itself as it is presented in Poker Live Omaha & Texas.  As an aside, I did include the avatar pictures in the screenshot gallery from the previous game, as they are identical.

The benefit to having two or more of the titles from AbZorba installed on your phone grants greater daily bonuses to earn.  You gain a bonus for each title, which understandably entices you to have all of AbZorba’s games installed on your phone at the same time.  If you enjoy their games, it’s not a bad bonus to have, as it’s not really difficult to obtain.

Unlike Black Jack where you play against the dealer primarily, you are playing against other players.  Calling bets and raising each other to the point they either fold or lose all of their money.  The competitive aspect can be a big draw for some who like that, and not to mention it is Poker, after all.

Texas Hold’em and Omaha are represented in the game.  Unlike in Black Jack, you’ll kind of need to hit the ground running to make sure you don’t play awfully, since you are competing against other players out for your sweet chips.  You’ll also have to take risks to get ahead, and that doesn’t always pay off.  It is smarter to play the lower limit tables initially since you only start with about 30K chips.  Sitting at a table that meets your betting position is important to the longevity of your play.  You may also benefit more from going head-to-head rather than being at a full table.  It all depends on the amount of chips you have, the limits of the table, and the balances of everyone else at the table.  You can, of course, buy more chips to limit the guesswork here or to replenish your credits if you are run ragged, otherwise you’ll have to wait for the bonuses to add up before playing again.

The game-specific user interface allows you to pre-play your hand in a certain number of ways to get the game moving faster.  If you know you are most likely going to win a hand because you have a 4-of-a-kind, you can click the “call any” bet.  You may also just want to wait until it is your turn to do a proper raise, though.  You can also tell the game to check/fold so when it hits your turn you automatically check or fold depending on if someone bet in that round.  I always like to maintain full control over my hands, so I seldom used those functions.  It might be more useful on tables that have people taking a long time to play, however.

There’s not much point to explaining the rules of Texas Hold’em and Omaha, as these are popular games you can look up on any number of sites.  The Poker Live Omaha & Texas app on the iOS store can be a fine choice if you are looking for one of these apps, and along with the other apps in their offering, the bonuses end up being worthwhile.

App Store Badge

 

 

PixelJunk: Nom Nom Galaxy (PC) Review

Developer: Q-Games/Double Eleven | Publisher: Q-Games || Overall: 9.0/10

Walk the aisles of your normal, ideal, grocery store.  Rows full of food line the aisles begging for your grubby little hands to take them and put them in your shopping cart.  But does any food really speak to your soul as well as soup?  Canned soup is one of the most important pieces of human culture, after all.

…Yet have you ever really thought about where your soup comes from?

Do you perhaps think that the planet of Alteria in the galaxy of Soupcon Valley would produce your favorite can of Green Sun Chowder made from Sunblossom and Greenstalk?  Or do you think the civil war and strife of the robots on Nozesi fuel the good time tastes of the delightful Split Sea Soup and/or Filet of Fission?

PixelJunk: Nom Nom Galaxy makes you ask these questions and more.  Well, actually none of that matters because the name of the game is business and market share.  The real test comes in beating your enemy’s robot workers into eternal jobless poverty by creating an efficient soup factory that satisfies the needs of the universe.

Getting down to the essential basics of the game, the robots need soup and you are making the soup, delivering it to the hungry patrons via rockets.  Finding material that is usable for cooking across sprawling sandboxes, you are equipped with your buzzsaw which cuts through and helps you gather many of the things you’ll need.  You’ll also be punching a lot of things.  On the factory production side, you’ll have to maintain, defend, and build out a soup factory that is as efficient as possible.  Robot workers can be hired to assist you in this pursuit, and their operation is a small callback to the logic of Lemmings.  What this ends up being is an interesting mix of game genres in a sci-fi setting with some sparse story to set up the scenarios each planet presents.

What I mostly enjoyed about Nom Nom Galaxy is that it is a sandbox game with a clear objective at hand.  As far as the sandbox genre goes, Starbound is the only other game I’ve played with any large amount of time, which is built mostly on a free-form playstyle that centers on improving your crafting and character’s gear.  Nom Nom Galaxy distinguishes itself from this by giving you developer-designed planets full of ingredients to exploit to the best of your ability, earning upgrades after beating a planet.  The factory’s efficiency becomes a main focus of the gameplay as a result — which can be detrimental to the exploration aspect the game provides, as it essentially becomes the opposite of business efficiency.

As you make your way through the planets, each will provide an upgrade or new thing to buy to change up the gameplay a bit.  Eventually you hit a point, about midway through the game, where scenarios start to take place and you’re no longer able to use defense towers, robot workers, or other things you’ve grown accustom to using.   As the existing system can be a bit complex to learn and understand the controls/logic of the game, the pace is set about right.  Enhancements such as, and being able to use, a double jump or a rocket boost changes the way you play entirely.

Ingredients are varied and many have specialties about them.  There’s about 20 unique ingredients which can be combined with each other, resulting in 400 recipes.  Some ingredients are special and take a long time to find/grow, some you have to kill mobs for, and others are common and plantable.  It’s always fun to find something new in the game and seeing what will result when you combine two different ingredients can be satisfying.

When you combine ingredients, a Soup Can pops out of the Soup Machine.  You take the Soup Can into the Soup Rocket, and the rocket delivers the payload which affects your market share by a base of 5%.  Depending on the market trends that pop up every now and then, the game influences you to try and find different ingredients, or stop using one that might be a commonly used on in all of your Soup Machines, forcing you to change your focus.

A good 20 hours or so of gameplay got me within range of the last three stages of the “Conquest” mode.  Unfortunately Nom Nom Galaxy didn’t live up to the same perfection in its difficulty as PixelJunks Monsters did, and I had a relatively easy time getting through it as I mastered the game’s logic.  Half of the levels in the Conquest Mode are used to introduce you to the gameplay itself, and the latter half tests you to master it to only some unique challenge.  Each planet introduced something new, but the core gameplay being so complex brings down the experience a bit, I fear.  We spend too much time “learning how to play” that when we finally get around to unlocking everything substantial and playing “for realisies” you only have a couple of planets left and the last level of the game, which will require you to use everything at your disposal.

Each planet has the option for endless play, only after you attain 100% market share.  You are also able to continue building your factory as it was or start from scratch in this “S.O.O.P Simulator” mode.  While the planets will always be the same, they offer enough variety and quantity to not have to worry too much about that.  Though since there is no meta game, you are working on each planet on an individual basis.  There is also a mode called Galactic Challenges which take a unique approach to the games formula and pretty much anything seems to go here.  You could be racing from point A to point B or trying to sell as much soup in 10 minutes as you can.  Challenges expire after about 36 hours, and you compete against all other players here, either at the same time, or asynchronously via global rankings.  You can also “Quick Join” and matchmake with another player, however the capability did not seem to be enabled in the review build before release.  I assume there could be some sort of generation for planets in this mode but I can’t be sure.

A lot of the aspects of the baked-in challenge actually disincentivizes you from exploring.  You’ll be dealing with maintaining the workflow of the factory, depending on its need to rely on you to acquire/scout for ingredients.  You are also equipped with an Oxygen tank which limits the distance you can go without finding a source of oxygen or heading back to base.  You’ll also be called back to base when your rival sends monsters to disrupt and destroy your base.  You can automate the defenses a bit by loading it with laser guns and missiles, but you’ll still need to make sure you are there to pick up any of the stragglers and repair buildings.  If at any point your Office is destroyed, you automatically lose the game.

At the end of each day, the game pauses for “Break Time” and saves your current progress.  During Break Time you’ll be shown informative stats, graphs, and how much money you earned.  An added layer of planning is involved as any ingredients that are not currently inside Soup Machines or planted will disappear.  When planting items, it will expand your potential to increase your output substantially, but only if you plan correctly.  Personally I felt like it made the game a lot easier to have the capability to grow your own ingredients since you could plant a lot of the same common ingredients over and over in each level and usually the AI competitor would not match very well in a challenge as long as you had a good production going.  Progression to new zones is limited by recipes you discover, so there is an incentive to experiment, but not much since it was easy to meet those expectations and I never really had to replay anything unless I fucked up severely or neglected my base on purpose.

Sound and visuals is also another high point.  There is a lot of insanity going on initially.  It will take a while for you to understand what is going on, but the art is fantastic and intricate.  The robots are uniquely designed and I loved discovering something new, or going to the next planet to see the theme.  Sound is also well done for the most part, but there was a surprising lack of music.  PixelJunk Monsters and PixelJunk Eden had great soundtracks, but Nom Nom Galaxy seems to take its cues from PixelJunk Shooter with a minimalist approach to music and sound, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just different.  Monsters is probably one of my favorite soundtracks ever, so it was a bit disappointing to not have another great soundtrack to listen to.

As a big fan of the PixelJunk series I was completely satisfied with this entry.  While it breaks the mold of “simplicity” all of the other games established within their own genres, Nom Nom Galaxy files down several different genres into core tenants that work together in an interesting fashion.  The game is very ambitious and I enjoyed the humor quite a bit.  Replayability might be Nom Nom Galaxy’s biggest fault, but there is certainly plenty to do and you can keep doing it for pretty much as long as you like.  There just becomes a point where you kind of “get it” and in this case I don’t see myself coming back to visit it very often like I do with PixelJunk Monsters.  It is, however, a lot easier to play the game for very long sessions.

 

How to tell if you have a gaming problem…

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If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, we suggest that you take action immediately BEFORE it becomes a serious problem.

 

Ireland: Status Quo for Ireland

Note: This is a debate about whether or not reforming Ireland in the 1800s would be good or not.

By davepoobond:

Ireland will stay the same when it comes to the British. Irish hate British. Irish don’t like the British because they tried to rule over them, but they don’t like that. Crumpets and tea – no way! The Irish don’t like anything about the British, no sir.  Fish and chips – yeah, right.

The Irish like to fight, so therefore they fight the British. British don’t like the color green so they fight the Irish. Irish don’t like Scottish because they’re on different islands.

The Irish like to drink magnificent amounts of alcohol, having boxing matches with farm animals, the first Irish war started when an Irishman blew up on a hot air balloon, and boxed it for 3 hours straight.

By Soup Nazi:

Dave and I are for the reform of Ireland. Anglican churches were using Irish money to support themselves. This wan an unorthodox and a poor way to flourish, even for a church in our minds.

This is also towards the landlords. They charged their tenants unfairly with outrageous rents. The reform protected them, and the land they worked on.

Overall the reform ensured no one abused their power, we feel that many abuse their power enough.

 

WoW Chat #23795: Monkeygonewi -> davepoobond

I was trying to sell a couple of crappy pieces that people might like as transmogrification gear in World of Warcraft, and this guy whispers me.

Monkeygonewi: lol
davepoobond: what so funny
Monkeygonewi: no one buys those stuff
davepoobond: well those stuff is rares
davepoobond: you can tell by color
davepoobond: it green and blue, mean rare, no one has
Monkeygonewi: green is not rare
davepoobond: more rare than not
Monkeygonewi: and everyone uses epic or mythic gear
davepoobond: you no hear transmog? you out of style man
Monkeygonewi: lol
davepoobond: they add in cata
davepoobond: u play same game as i?
Monkeygonewi: no one is gonna pay that much for trans
davepoobond: i am trans

I sent one of the crappy green items I was trying to sell to him via mail with a COD price attached to it.   He rejected it and called me a retard, saying I was trying to take advantage of people.

I educated him on the free market and laissez faire, telling him the market would correct itself by just not having anyone buy the items from me.  He just kept calling me a jerk.  Certainly uncalled for.

 

WoW Chat #23791: Majestical -> davepoobond

davepoobond was trying to sell some crafted Leatherworking items in Trade Chat for 6k, using a person’s materials other than one item.

Majestical: So… 9k gold and the person’s bloods? xD

davepoobond: and earths

davepoobond: but yeah

Majestical: Only due to the fact it takes max 12 days, do the Burnished Leathers have any value. That said, the essence itself that I just bought earlier, cost me only 14k gold. 😛

davepoobond: yeah they do cause there’s only a limited amount of people who have 200 on hand

Majestical: I am saying, I bought an Essence off of AH for 14,000g.

davepoobond: ok?

Majestical: Which means, if you’re talking greater, maybe 18k.

davepoobond: nice

davepoobond: im charging 60g per leather, so if you have mats already you’re saving money

davepoobond: you dont have to buy bloods and earths, you can get them from the game

Majestical: Oh hell, I have over 200 Bloods. I also, have [Grand Master of All]. So not needing to worry about anything really.

davepoobond: if no one wants to pay the crafting cost then i lower the price

davepoobond: its simple economics

davepoobond: im trying to maximize my earnings

davepoobond: if i waste 5 minutes saying 6k then lower to 5k or 4k later its no risk

davepoobond: plus it gives me bargaining room

davepoobond: so if you want me to continue with economics lesson i can

Majestical: Lol…

Majestical: I understand economics far too well to be lectured by someone who clearly doesn’t understand knowing even simpler things, such as understanding your OWN economy. Thus why I have over 7 million gold, and you do not.

davepoobond: so what do you suggest i do, offer it in trade for at cost and then have someone haggle me below cost

He didn’t see the last message because he ignored me.

 

Puzzle and Dragons (Android) Review

Developer/Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment|| Overall: 8.5

Hardware Used: T-Mobile G2 with Android 2.3.4

With its roaring success in the Land of the Rising Sun, (that’s Japan, because the sun doesn’t rise elsewhere) GungHo Online Entertainment now intends to addict America with its special blend of Puzzle, RPG and Free-to-Play/Pay-to-Win elements with the straight-to-the-point title Puzzle and Dragons. Though, does the game deliver a fun experience that can garner the attention of an American audience, or will it simply fade in obscurity like many other Japanese imports?

Nintendo Gameboyvirtualboy

If you need me to tell you which of these imports was a failure and which wasn’t, then videogaming
might not be the right hobby for you.

 

Puzzle and Dragons is the unholy combination of the puzzle elements of Bejeweled, the monster mechanics of the Shin Megami Tensei series and a dash of Pokémon for added flavor. While each game is addictive in its own right, someone in Japan thought combining the three would make an addiction juggernaut of the likes that mobile gamers have never seen before… and for the most part, he was right.

 

Puzzle and Dragons starts you off with the wholly “original” idea of having you pick one of three elemental monsters: a fire monster, a water monster, and a plant monster. You are given a random “rare” monster to further entice you to collect more monsters. Afterwards, you are thrown into a seemingly endless supply of dungeons to capture monsters, level and evolve your collection, as well as level yourself up — all to eventually continue the vicious cycle when you find that you can now take on stronger enemies and dungeons. All of which aptly describes your journey through the game.

Mega-Evolutions-of-Classic-Starters-700x372puzzle-dragons-main

Okay, I don’t care how it happens but one of you
is helping me catch a Mewtwo.

Game design in Puzzle and Dragons is actually pretty solid. The meat and potatoes of the core game will have you encounter wave after wave of monsters in each dungeon until you reach the boss monster. During battles, the monsters will attempt to attack and reduce your hit points to zero. You’ll counter by matching up elemental gems to make your corresponding monsters attack and reduce the enemy’s hit points to zero. The best moves are when you form a chain of matches, which further multiply the damage your monsters dish out.

 

Along the way, you collect more monsters while making enough coins to further advance your monster team. While the premise is simple enough a layer of strategy is added by the various special abilities each of your monsters provide that sometimes cause extra damage, other times restore your HP, and can even convert one type of elemental gem into another. Taking these special abilities into account when forming a team of monsters can mean the difference between beating an enemy monster that your current level shouldn’t be able to handle or having a boss curb-stomp them. Furthermore, special “Leader Skills” further shake things up and add another layer.

 

Puzzle and Dragons also resides in the easy-to–learn-but-hard-to-master category, though the game does a sufficient enough job at explaining the basics, it leaves the more advanced strategies to the players to find them on the internet or discover them in a happy accident. Overall, the gameplay is fun and engaging.

Strategy

This is an example of strategies derived from a
“happy accident.”

 

On the other side of the Free-to-Play coin is the fact that Puzzle and Dragons is a Free-to-Play mobile game and has no shame in reminding you of that. While plenty of activities can be done with the in-game currency, namely leveling up your monsters and evolving them, there are activities that require a special form of currency called a “Magic Stone.” The activities vary in usefulness; you can revive your monsters in a dungeon, regain their stamina so you are allowed to play longer, or get a turn at the hallowed “Rare Egg Machine” for an almost guaranteed chance at a strong monster for the price of five Magic Stones. Then, once their usefulness has been established, the game proceeds to remind you at every turn that they can be purchased in their online store, especially when you have none left.

 

Now, a fair warning to new players: the game will attempt to make it seem like Magic Stones are easy to come by as it bombards you with them early on in your career as a Pokémon Mas… Persona Use… Dragon Tamer(?). Know that this is only temporary and the stones quickly become a much rarer commodity. That’s not to say that you’ll never get them, and that you can’t eventually achieve the same results with a lot of hard work, but the game is more than happy to offer you an easy way out if you wish to throw money their way.

 

The controls in this game sometimes suffer the same foibles that many touch screen based games have, but work enough of the time for that to not be a problem. The game never really asks you to do any more than tap the screen or drag your finger along it, and barring an occasional accident, you are able to do just that with no problem. The other elements of the interface are also easy to use. On the main menu, everything is visible and doesn’t require more than three taps to get somewhere, and in the dungeon the elemental gems and monsters are in clear view. The only problem I have with the touch screen controls is that the gems seem a bit too close, making it hard to see the gems around the one you’re currently in control of. Of course, it could just be my fat finger and small phone that are the real problems.

 

Visually, the game doesn’t really offer much outside the portraits that come with each monster. They are often colorful, creative and somewhere along the lines of adorable, ferocious or a very specific fetish that I’m sure applies to someone. In contrast, the backgrounds are mostly just pallet swaps (recoloring the same textures) of the same hallways. The special effects are just as bland and usually involve a ball of colored light that hits the opponents, followed by an uninspired effect that represents the element used in the attack.

Echidna ArchangelLilith Flame Girl

Ladies…

 

The music unfortunately hits the same note (see what I did there), and is just as bland as most of the visuals. You are constantly subjected to the same slightly upbeat and so-often-forgettable-that-I-had-to-log-into-the-game-to-remember-it music in every dungeon. The monotony is only broken up by another, more intense song that is also played at every boss encounter. The sound effects are just as forgettable and really don’t do anything different that you haven’t seen before.

 

Now, a special note should be added as to why this game is so addictive. Not only does it provide solid gameplay, and a vast collection of monsters to collect, improve, and form a team around, but the game is also constantly in the midst of some sort of special event. The events serve many purposes from providing the user with fresh new dungeons to explore, the chance to collect rare monsters such as angels, demons, and batman (I’m not kidding), and also the ability to collect more of the coins, experience, and “Magic Stones” to make team building all the easier. Furthermore, these events often come and go, so it pays to log in daily to check out what is going on, what you can take advantage of, and exactly how long you can take advantage of it. In conclusion, the events give an incentive for players to log in daily.

BatmanPuzzle

Okay, let’s be honest here… you’d make a much better leader of this team
than me, so I’ll just stand back here and let you call the shots.

 

Despite the hiccups in the audio and visual department, Puzzle and Dragons is a fun and addictive game. The combination of bejeweled-like puzzles, collectable monsters, and a Shin Megami-like advancement system seemed to have meshed well into a game that is indeed playable, and worth a look.

When not writing reviews as Unnamedhero, Eduardo Luquin can be reached at unnamedheromk13@gmail.com.