Free this week on Playstation Plus: Brothers

Brothers Playstation Plus

 

This week’s free PS3 game on Playstation Plus is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I haven’t played it yet, nor have I seen any gameplay from it, but I do know that it was talked about a lot as a game of the year contender for 2013 so I’m excited to give it a try when I have a chance.

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Gran Turismo 6, a step forward, not by much

Gran Turismo 6 cover

Yesterday I picked up Gran Turismo 6 and played through the beginner series and first license test today. There are a few improvements over Gran Turismo 5, but not very many. First off the intro movie is just weird, and makes no sense. The piano music and even the second music piece feel out of place. Chalk that up to Japan just being weird I suppose.

The first thing that stands out like a sore thumb is the pathetically awful sound effects in Gran Turismo 6. The cars sound like vacuum cleaners and collisions sound like someone banging on a plastic drum. Downright awful sounds that distract from the racing experience.

The menu system is a bit cleaner than GT5’s, but it still has a long way to go. The computer desktop style just doesn’t cut it anymore. The in game music is another thing that distracts from the supposed ‘simulation’ racing experience. Sure you can turn it off, but then all you have to put up with is the godawful car sounds.

The fact that there are still license tests in this game is also puzzling. What point do they serve at this point? How many times do we have to do a brake test? I want to play a racing game to race, not to be faced with mandatory road blocks that slow progress in the game and can’t be skipped.

On the plus side GT6 does seem to load faster than GT5, but not by much. For example, when you finish one part of a license test you have to back out to the menu to get to the next sub step of the license test. WHY?

Overall GT6 is a slight improvement, but if you’ve ever played a Forza game you’ll notice the Gran Turismo series is miles and miles behind the competition. I can’t wait to get an Xbox One so I can go back to playing Forza.

Morning Coffee: Happy MLK Day

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How are you today? I’m sitting here enjoying a cup of coffee while reading the New York Times and listening to The Beatles. It’s a nice relaxing morning. I do, however, wish the sun would show itself in Boise. All week in Mountain Home it’s been sunny and warm (mid 40’s) yet this weekend in Boise it’s been overcast / foggy and cold. It’s due to the inversion I guess, which is unfortunate.

In this picture taken from Bogus Basin (the local ski mountain) you can see how the city of Boise sits below a depressing, everlasting cloud cover while the sun shines and the sky is blue above.

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I’m glad to have today off, especially since we had to work on Saturday due to the squadron getting in trouble. I’m probably going to sit here and read for awhile longer and then I’ll probably get into some video games. I picked up Gran Turismo 6 last night and look forward to giving it a spin.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with an inspiring post our Command Chief made on Facebook this morning.

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Championship Sunday

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It’s the NFL’s championship Sunday and in about 9 hours or so we’ll know what teams will be playing in Super Bowl XLVIII. At 3PM Eastern (on CBS) the New England Patriots will take on the Broncos in Denver in the AFC Championship. At 6PM Eastern (FOX) the San Francisco 49’ers will be in Seattle to take on the Seahawks for the NFC Championship.

Both the Patriots and 49’ers found themselves in this same situation last year before the 49’ers advanced to take on my Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

Who will you be rooting for? My girlfriend is a Seahawks fan and I have to admit they’ve been exciting to watch this year. I’ll be pulling for the Seahawks to take it all this year. I also really like Peyton Manning and hate the Patriots with a passion, so I’ll be hoping the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl.

 

FCW Wrestling

I just wanted to share a video from a YouTuber whose videos I’ve enjoyed watching for awhile. YouTube user JD Venom has created a variety of Let’s Play videos and his most popular videos are his FCW wrestling videos. Basically he puts together his own wrestling shows in WWE 2k14, creates storylines, adds commentaries and edits it all into a wrestling “TV show” for his YouTube audience. I wish I had the time, patience and enthusiasm to do this sort of thing. I think it’d be cool to do something like this in Madden or something where you could tell your franchise / career story in a weekly highlight show or something.

Anyway, check out his most recent FCW video:

Pondering what to do with this year’s tax return.

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Every year around tax time my mind always wanders to what I might do with my tax return. I have around $42,000 in student loans and a bit of credit card debt. My lowest student loan balance is around $600 which I will be paying off in full with my tax return. The question is, what will I do with the $800 or so I’ll have left over after that (assuming my return will be similar to last year’s. I’ll get my W-2 next week and will be able to do my taxes then). My lowest credit card balance is around $100, and the next lowest is around $450. My next lowest student loan balance is around $900 (and my highest balance is $15,000, a loan which I have deferred right now).

I’m really tempted to pay off the $450 credit card and use the remainder on an iPad Mini, because who doesn’t like buying themselves a new toy around tax time? Besides even if I allocated all $1,300 ish of my tax return toward my debt, that’s only 1/42nd of my mountain of student debt. Would it even make a difference? I might save $20 on monthly payments, what fun is that? Paying off the $600 balance will save me $110/mo which I’ll start putting toward one of my credit cards with a higher balance. I figure I want to pay off the credit cards before I start chipping away at the rest of my student loans which have higher interest rates and lower monthly payments…..

Anywho…..Debt sucks! Haha. And what do I have to show for my $50,000 English degree? Not very much, that’s for sure. 😉 Sorry for the rant!

GIRLS (HBO) season 1 episode 1

Girls HBO

 

I just finished watching season one, episode one of the HBO show girls produced by Judd Apatow and I have to say I like the show quite a bit so far. The characters are interesting and I already want to get to know them more. I especially like Hannah as a character. There’s something about the way she dresses, the way her hair is and the way she carries herself that I can’t help but like. As someone who thought it was a great idea to be an English major in college, I can relate to the ‘what do I do now’ situation she finds herself in. Heck, I still don’t have the answer to that one.

Hannah is played by Lena Dunham who is also the show’s creator. I had not previously heard of her, but she does such a great job in Girls so far I’m sure we’ll all see more of her in the future.

I’m looking forward to watching more of the show and seeing where things go from here.