Christmas Loot – LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy Light Cycles

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One of my surprise gifts, from Tabitha, was the LEGO Ideas TRON: Legacy Light Cycle set.

The build was simple and the cycles are quite solid. I love the unique helmets and identity discs. Amazon has LED lighting kits for the set. I’m debating on whether to pick one up.

Wyatt also got me a LEGO Ferrari that I need to put together. Pictures soon!

Did you get any LEGO for Christmas? Let me know in the comments below.

No Small Sins

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The nun Elizabeth Scalia puts it this way: “The habit of sin is what is formed by permitting these ‘little sins’ and the reason they ‘mean a lot’ is because once they become ingrained within us, they shape who we are: mentally, spiritually, and even physically.” – Drew Dyck, Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners, Quitters, and Procrastinators)

No Small Sins

Christmas Loot – New Board Games

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Our family is a family of first borns. We are all highly competitive with each other. This past year, I made a concentrated effort to introduce cooperative board games to our family game time. We’ve dove into:

  • Castle Panic
  • Forbidden Island

Both games are built around the idea of playing together, combining tactical decisions/special character moves in order to win. We’ve enjoyed these cooperative experiences, working as a team to beat the board.

For Christmas, I was gifted:

  • Pandemic
  • Jaws
  • The Game

I can’t wait to bring these games to the table. I’ll let ya’ll know how they each play. I’m curious to see if we stay alive going up against Jaws; also curious to see if we, Tabitha and I, can overcome the bad first impression we had of Pandemic (had someone quarterback us through a game).

How about you? Did you get any board games for Christmas?

Merry Christmas – 2019

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The Walmart parking lot was empty last night, as we drove home from Tab’s parents house. A reminder that at least once a year, a large corporation has some sort of heart. It’s weird to shift from the insanity of the holidays, dealing with the:

  • Increased traffic
  • Bad driving
  • People lacking patience / forgetting their common humanity

We shift from the above craziness into one day where:

  • The streets aren’t as busy
  • People stay home
  • Peace is achieve for at least a few moments while opening gifts

We didn’t start opening gifts this morning until after we had eaten breakfast (cinnamon rolls that Tab made) at 9AM. There are perks to having an only child that sleeps in. 🙂

I hope ya’ll have experienced but a moment of peace today. Merry Christmas!

(Tab got me a keyboard for my iPad. This is the inaugural blog post written on said keyboard. I am hoping to write more in 2020. I am thinking that this is the year that I write my first kids book. Maybe the story of the Dirt Clod Wars will finally be told?)

The Anthem Begins

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Walking into GameStop this past Saturday, Wyatt and I headed to the counter.

Store Clerk: Hi, how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I’d like a copy of Anthem. I’d prefer the Anthem Legion of Dawn Edition. You know, the one that is $5 right now.”

Store Clerk: “Sorry, all we have are copies of regular Anthem. You can buy all 60 of them if you’d like.”

Me: “Nah, I’m good with one copy.”

Then, making small talk:

Me: “I’ve heard a lot about how bad Anthem is. I figured $5 was a good price point to experience it.”

Store Clerk: Mumbles something about the game. Almost as if he is bitter about the Anthem experience as a whole. If I were to guess, I’d say that he spent $60 at the game’s launch. I haven’t played enough to say that I’d be mad too… but store clerk’s bitterness was harsh.

.: First Thoughts :.

I think I found Destiny’s long lost brother! Anthem, at least story-wise, uses the same type of Mad Libs storytelling. Except where Destiny would talk about the “darkness” and the “Speaker”, Anthem talks about a cataclysm called the “Heart of Rage” and the evil (?) “Doctor Harken”.

Anthem excels at:

  • Unique Level Design. Due to the flight mechanics, Anthem’s levels have a vertical design to them. One moment you can be soaring up onto a ledge; the next moment flying down into a cave.
  • Flight. The flight mechanics in Anthem are liberating. I. AM. IRON MAN. I love what flight adds to the game.
  • Shooting. Shooting in third person feels great. You can tell BioWare has learned quite a bit since Mass Effect.

Things Anthem needs to learn her brother Destiny:

  • Load Times. For real. Destiny hides its loading through hyperspace screens where your character/ship is “traveling” somewhere. I don’t mind watching my cool looking ship barrel through hyperspace. On the other hand, load times in Anthem equal a progress bar at the top of a static splash screen, with hints displayed at the bottom of the screen. I hate the way loading is handled and how long loading takes (maybe 3-4 minutes).

.: Just Keep Flying :.

Wyatt and I have loved what we have played so far. I’m sure we’ll dive back into the game soon. I’ll keep you posted.

Have you played Anthem? What did you think?

Forky Asks A Question

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We recently had the chance to watch Toy Story 4. Afterwards, I asked Wyatt what part of the movie he liked the best. He answered, none of it. Made me laugh. I couldn’t have agreed with him more. While a touching end to Woody’s story, I’m not sure why Pixar decided to make another Toy Story movie.

On the flip side, Disney+ has been releasing Forky Asks A Question shorts every week. If you haven’t had a chance to watch these, I can’t recommend them enough. Wyatt especially likes the ‘What is a Friend’ short.

“What? No!”

If you have Disney+, make an effort to check out Forky Asks A Question.

A Quick Update

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I’ve been sick since before Thanksgiving. Living in a world of drippy mucus and cough syrup infused days and nights. I haven’t felt very creative. One of the reasons my blog has been quieter lately. Not helping things, our weather here in East Texas keeps going up and down. We’ll have a day in the mid-70’s only to drop into the lower 40’s. To all of this, my body says, “nope”.

We live in a pier and beam home, which is cool in the summer and cooler in the winter. Often we’ll be freezing in the house only to walk out and find that it is warm outside. This morning, I put on my jacket thinking that it looked like jacket weather. I walked out the back door and was immediately hit with humidity. The ground, that I thought looked soaked from a stray over night shower, was wet from the humidity.

Photo by Anton Scherbakov on Unsplash

Spent the weekend doing a bit of Christmas shopping, rollerblading, and meeting our potential pastoral candidate at church. Feels good to have some Christmas shopping done. Rollerblading, which I hadn’t done since junior high, didn’t result in any broken bones. Our pastoral candidate, whom we met during a meet and greet yesterday evening, was very nice. I’m excited to think about where my church could possibly go under his leadership.

I have 10 days of work left for the year; 9 days after today. With Tabitha’s help, I got a chunk of the company Christmas cards mailed out–thank you, baby!–. As things wind down, I’m working on a marketing project that is due by the end of the week. Otherwise, I am hoping things chill at work as the year comes to a close.

How about you? How was your weekend? How is your Christmas shopping going? Let me know in the comments below.

From Across the Net – “Let’s Play: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”

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I love where the Uncharted series goes.

Josh, over at his blog Keep Thinking, writes on the character of Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I credit the Uncharted series as one of the primary reasons I still game today. The mixture of humor, drama, adventure and platforming, set in a cinematic world, reminded me that video games could be fun. I’ve since loved Nathan Drake as a character, especially in regards to his relationship with Elena.

Don’t get me wrong. Uncharted 1 is not the most narratively deep or thought-provoking game. It’s a fast and furious treasure-hunting romp. Moreover, there is plenty of objectionable content (thankfully, nothing sexual) that players should be mindful as they play. However, despite all its flaws or over-used tropes, the game nevertheless offers a tidbit of truth worth remembering. In a world where it’s easy to be more focused on earthly treasure and pleasure, there are some things that are just more important. Friendship is a gift from God that should be treasured. Relationships where we give and receive love are worth more than anything that glitters or glows.

You can read more here

From Across the Net – “Is There Still a Place for Blogs in 2020?”

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Photo by Sam Albury on Unsplash

Tim and I might not always agree 100%, but I have always appreciated his perspective and his writing ethic (he writes everyday despite having issues with his hands).

First, we don’t want to go back to gatekeepers. The early thrill of blogs, and something we may now largely take for granted, was the way they democratized information. They gave a voice to people who otherwise would not have made it past the traditional “gatekeepers”—the acquisitions editors at publishers or the editors at magazines. Before blogs, if you wanted to reach the Christian public, you had to go through one of these channels and were often rejected. But then through blogs you could reach around these channels and independently develop your own voice. This democratization has allowed new and unexpected voices to enter into our conversations.

You can read more here