Bad Grandpa

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Last Thursday night Vanessa and I saw the latest movie from Johnny Knoxville, Bad Grandpa.  Before heading to the theater we watched Jackass 2 on Netflix to get into the mood, but I’ll warn you they’re two entirely different experiences. Bad Grandpa is not a ‘skit’ movie like the Jackass movies, but rather a comedy with a narrative that uses candid camera sequences to amuse the audience as a Grandfather and Grandson trek across the country wreaking havoc on town after town as they go.

The candid sequences deliver laugh after laugh from beginning to end, and they never get stale. The situations the characters find themselves in are often so absurd that you’ll find yourself trying to contain uncontrollable laughter before there’s even a bystander reaction. As the scenes play out you’ll likely find there’s no way to stop yourself from laughing so hard that your lungs hurt.

I haven’t laughed as hard in a movie theater since Ted, and I’d say the laughs in Bad Grandpa greatly exceed anything I’ve ever experienced.

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Battlefield 4: Day One

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Today I picked up Battlefield 4 for the PS3 and I have to say I’ve been enjoying it a lot so far. At first glance it looks a lot like Battlefield 3, and you might confuse it with another map pack, but once you play it you’ll start to notice the improvements. I didn’t play a lot of Battlefield 3, but I do feel that Battlefield 4 has improved on a lot. I like the UI in game better, even if it is similar. 

I’ve played a couple of hours so far and haven’t run into any major issues. There are a few minor things, for example every time I’ve been promoted the prompt shows up four or five times in a row before going away, but I haven’t come across anything game breaking. There was a 122MB update when I first launched the game so I’m assuming that took care of the issues I’ve seen other people complaining about.

I haven’t played any of the single player campaign, but I wouldn’t mind if there were no single player campaign at all. I’ve seen people complain that it’s dull and the AI is broken, but seriously, who buys Battlefield for the single player? Unfortunately almost all of the Trophies center around the single player campaign, so I’ll probably end up playing through it just to pick up a few of them.

I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with Battlefield 4 throughout the week. 

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Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts are a thing

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I came across these at Target today and of course I was excited to try them out. I love just about every kind of Pop-Tart in existence (who doesn’t?) but one of my favorite seasonal flavors is the holiday sugar cookie variety. The pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts have a bit of a spicy taste to them which is unusual in a toaster pastry and is a little tough to like at first, but then you can begin to taste the pumpkin pie which makes the initial spice easier to digest.

I have to say the sugar cookie Pop-Tarts are still my favorite, what’s yours?

Florida

I’m spending two weeks in Florida for work and so far it’s been a great experience. I’ve gotten to eat Panera Bread which was amazing since there are none in Boise (or anywhere in Idaho I believe) and I’ve had plenty of my favorite beer, the Pennsylvania native Yuengling Lager which is only available on the East Coast. I’ll try to catch up on blogging soon…Until then, I’ll just post some pictures:

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OS X Mavericks is here

I finally got updated to OS X Mavericks on my MacBook Pro this afternoon and I have to say I’m mostly enjoying the upgrade. For the most part things feel the same as before, so it’s no jump from iOS6 to iOS7, but it still has some nice features. Mainly, iBooks. It’s nice to be able to read books on my MacBook, I’m not sure why it took so long to implement this feature.

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What’s missing though, is Newsstand. I was almost certain that with iBooks we’d see Newsstand, but it’s nowhere to be found. I’d love to read my newspapers and magazines on my MacBook, but for whatever reason we can’t do that yet. I can only hope it’ll be coming sooner or later.

Another feature that should be nice (haven’t tried it out yet) is the improved multiple monitor support. I like to connect my MacBook to my TV via HDMI when using my Dish Anywhere service or NFL Sunday Ticket. For some reason I occasionally run into some weird issues where things don’t work the way they should. Maybe it’s just me, but for example if I set the output to anything other than 720p I get black bars on the sides of the screen, even on a 1080p TV. Also if I send a window over to the second monitor (the TV) and hit full screen, on some apps it goes fullscreen on the MacBook screen rather than the TV screen. I hope outputting to a TV works better with Mavericks. I’ll check it out later tonight to see for sure.

There’s also some improved performance and battery features that I will probably never notice, a new notification system (which seems nice so far), tabs in finder (could be useful I suppose) and a few other new features.

Lastly they added Maps to OS X, though I can’t understand why. If I’m on my MacBook why wouldn’t I just go to Google Maps in Chrome rather than using Apple’s map app? Especially since Maps already is pretty much useless when compared to Google Maps on my iPhone.

Next Issue: The Netflix of Magazines

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Last night I discovered an awesome new service called Next Issue which is pretty much a Netflix type subscription service for magazines. For either $9.99 a month or $14.99 a month you get access to over 100 magazines each month (including back issues). No separate subscription fees, just one fee and you get it all. It’s available in the Windows 8 store (desktop or tablet), iPad and Android tablets.

The $9.99 plan includes most of the magazines, however the $14.99 tier includes weekly magazines like The New Yorker and TIME. I’ve only tried it on my MacBook so far (running Windows 8 via BootCamp) but I can only imagine the tablet experience would be the better experience. My only complaint so far is that you can’t really zoom in the desktop version so it’s difficult to read a lot of the smaller text in some magazines without placing your face awkwardly close to the screen. I haven’t tried outputting to my TV via HDMI, but I assume that experience would be better. However, I prefer to read magazines in bed, so viewing on a laptop is still a bit inconvenient. I’d be willing to bet the tablet version would offer a much better reading experience.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial for either tier at www.NextIssue.com

Check out my video below for a look at the app in action.

Troubles uploading to YouTube?

I’ve had issues trying to upload videos all day today. At first I tried using the ‘Capture’ app, however the video would get to 100% and then show the upload paused. When I hit continue it’d start over at 0% again. So I tried using iMovie and I get a connection error. Lastly I tried uploading via YouTube.com and I’m hit with ‘this is taking longer than expected’ and an infinitely stuck ‘processing video’ bar.

Anyone else having these issues? I’ve seen a few mentions on Twitter, but nothing official from YouTube.

Gran Turismo 5: First Impressions

IMG_2643The last Gran Turismo game I played was Gran Turismo 4 on the PS2 and at that point I remember being very burned out on Gran Turismo. Soon after I discovered Forza on the Xbox which was an incredible game. Forza 3 was even more mind-blowing and lastly Forza 4 became my favorite racing game of all time.

I decided to check out Gran Turismo 5 (XL edition) because it was cheap and I figured I’d see what it has to offer. So far I have to say I like Forza 4 much better and I can only assume Forza 5 will probably be my next gen racing game of choice.

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One of the things I’m not liking about Gran Turismo 5 is its overall presentation and menus. They seem very plain and yet overly cluttered at the same time. The bland jazzy and techno background music doesn’t add anything either, and even the in game race music is getting on my nerves.

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I installed the game which claimed would make loading times faster, but they’re still painfully slow. I completed the B license test which consists of 10 individual tests and the time it took to get from one test to the next was painful. I’m not certain why the game doesn’t transition from test to test instead of making me click ‘next session’ and wait for what seems like an eternity to get into the next test. Furthermore I wish the license test barrier didn’t even exist.

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The racing is okay, but the cars don’t feel anything like they do in Forza. Nor do they sound as good. Also when I bump into cars it makes an awful sound and I bounce off as if we have barriers. I assume the damage setting isn’t turned on by default, but either way it’s quite an ugly experience.

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The tracks and environments are also quite ugly so far. They pale in comparison to the beauty and detail found in Forza 4.

In the end I’ll probably continue to play GT5 as I await Forza 5 and the Xbox One, but if you have a choice between GT5 and Forza 4, I would definitely choose Forza 4.

I was hoping to post a gameplay video, but I’m having issues uploading to YouTube right now. If it goes through I’ll add it later.

NFL Sunday – 20 October

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There are a lot of exciting games in the NFL today. My Ravens take on the Steelers which is always a good matchup, the Cowboys and Eagles game just started and Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis to take on Andrew Luck and the Colts this evening. What are you looking forward to? Who are you rooting for?