Archive for the Real Life Category

Blizzcon Recap

Posted in Real Life on November 12, 2013 by Srsbusiness

Man, it feels like that plane just took off for California and here we all are back inside our homes, giddy with what awaits on the horizon for for our favorite Blizzard games.  2 days is just not enough sometimes to get around to every panel, play every game demo, or meet the people you want to meet up with. Although the mere sight of the Cheesecake Factory might induce some serious napping, the trip was everything I could have wanted and then some. The worst part about the entire trip, aside from it ending of course, was the first flight, where security told me my carry-on had to be checked as luggage, even though it was only a size of a back pack. Someone else was also lacking on coffee for that morning.

 

Change of Scenery if Nothing Else

 

Being that the convention was, unusually, held a month later this year compared to years past. This years trip helped relieve my disdain for suddenly cold weather, with temperatures in the 70s all weekend and sunshine, compared to the flurries that were falling when I was leaving the airport.

 

Hmm, snow or sunshine and relaxation. Almost hard!

Hmm, snow or sunshine and relaxation. Almost hard!

 

But the weather is only a small benefit to being around 30,000+ convention goers who all share avid enthusiasm with you, so, onto the con!

You Have Reached Your Destination

 

The Unmistakable Sign of Gaming

The Unmistakable Sign of Gaming

 

If for nothing else, conversing with nearby gamers who also make you feel bad for not being horde, the slow moving serpentine of a line leads to exuberance at the end, as gamers dive into their bags to see what they are getting this year. It was rather rewarding getting the extra two hours in of power napping in and not camping out a spot close to the front of the line this year, as the small group of people I was with spent about a total of 90 minutes in line from when the doors opened at 4pm. This left a lot of time for people to freshen up and head out of pre-con festivities on the town, before Friday’s kickoff.  A small group of friends and I headed out for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (and this will be a recurring spot visited), to get something in us for the WoWInsider/WoWHead meetup. By the time out dinner had concluded and we made our way over to the Annabella, a line was already fully deployed outside of the Tangerine mezzanine. One of the staff memeber told us they were letting people inside in 10 minute intervals, and after being on a plan for 10 hours, and standing in line for an additional 2, this was a bit of a let down to us, and we decided to not partake in that meetup.

 

The Games and Panels This Year

 

Warlords of Draenor (WoW)

 

While WoW is the biggest timesink a lot of us might have, there was not too much that stood out from my perspective with the trailer and question panels. I really like the item squish that is finally being implemented, its been far too long, and was the biggest detail that stood out to me. The character model designs definitely have a more realistic look while maintaining the cartooniness we love.  The garrison is an interesting idea that has a lot of potential and a lot of us will be curious as to see what exact we can do with our personal in-game stead. I spent the majority of my time at the panels and discussions with Kaliope and Emylia of Llane, both of which were extremely ecstatic to be at the convention for the first time after only being able to watch the live stream in the years previous.

 

Give me Liberty... or a Bran Muffin!

Give me Liberty… or a Bran Muffin!

 

Reaper of Souls (Diablo 3):

 

While I was not able to play the PS4 version, the line at the PC version was non existent each time I passed by that way, so I was able to get a good amount of demo time in for a game I used to play a considerable amount. The new highlighted features of this expansion are the addition of the Crusader class, the new Act 5, nestled in scenic Westmarch, and of course the reason people keep coming back, the new loot 2.0 system. The graphics are still the same from the core game, and there is nothing too new or exciting, with the exception of the ray of death ability that was playable by the crusader. Seriously, badass. Speaking of Crusaders, they have a nice style of play that allows for almost a ranger like hybrid, being able to stand toe-to-toe in melee, or lash out and strike enemies with holy damage from afar. One thing that I was looking forward to was possibly seeing the Blessed Hammer ability, shades of the Paladin from Diablo 2, unfortunately, it was not implemented in game for that level range, but most people were quite pleased with the skills given to their disposal. And loot 2.0, oh how it made me loathe the system currently in game. Those legendaries, that were supposed to be rewarding after a long day of demon slaying? How about 3 in the span of a 15 minute demo? While I love the sight of shiny gear, a balance should be found, so that when trading games are available when the game goes live, there isn’t an oversaturation of gear available to players, like with the auction house.

 

The Nephalem, will stop you.  Except, no one can stop death.

The Nephalem, will stop you. Except, no one can stop death.

 

Hearthstone

 

Having had zero playing time on this game prior to the event, this was the game I was most looking forward to trying out, as the last time I played a game similar to this (Magic: The Gathering), was way back in the late ’90s. Much like the style back then, the first deck I built consisted of huge, bruising minions ready to crush an opponent after a few turns. Unfortunately, this always left me vulnerable, and usually dead, just like my first playthrough on the demo. Strangely enough, the priest deck felt clunky, but the mage deck really felt like being a true caster instead of a support/healbot, much more conducive to the role of preference carrying over from WoW. After a bit of practice I was able to string together 6 wins for the small prize at the booth, which was $20 off a purchase of $75 or more at the store there. Which would have been REALLY GREAT had I not been to the store right before going to the line. There is a lot of potential with this game as well. The suggestion I left, would be to make class specific legendaries for each hero, that added specific flavor to the game. Mages get Atiesh, Warriors Thunderfury, Hunters, Thori’dal, etc. Also, perhaps a small implementation of mana burn to sap your enemies ability to line up cards with a quick but inefficient monkey wrench as part of your mana would also be lost. Demo felt smooth and I very much enjoyed the game.

 

Stormpike Rifleman. Consider yourself hit for 2 damage.

Stormpike Rifleman. Consider yourself hit for 2 damage.

 

Heroes of the Storm (DotA/LoL)

 

The game that really got my attention at the opening ceremony was Heroes of the Storm. Combining everyone’s favorite heroes spanning the last two decades, the demo of this game instantly became something I wanted to experience before I left, as my ability with RTS games has been shaky at best. This game was wildly popular with the attendees this year, as the line forming seemingly wrapped around endlessly, like a python squeezing the life out of its prey. To my team’s delight, we were able to get in as the last group of players right as the convention was coming to a close. The event staff even came over to watch us rumble. I went with the Elite Tauren Chieftan, and was pleasantly surprised how great this character played. (Note: I am a shameless cheapskate in games like this, and characters that can stunlock [see: Chieftan, Tauren Elite] get bonus points from me.) I like the secondary objectives to create minions  or capture shrines to turn the tide of battle, its a dynamic element instead of camping creeps or the feed of enemies from each lane. One thing I have liked in previous generations of this game was the ability to equip and mold weapons and armor to have unique abilities, like lifesteal, cloaking, +regen, and +% weapon damage. The game itself right now is moderately dependent on using your abilities at the right time instead of hoping for a couple of big hits from an auto attack. Beta invites are live, and everyone is anxious and willing to get their e-hands on them!

 

Your favorites, all rolled together in one neat and bloodsoaked melee.

Your favorites, all rolled together in one neat and bloodsoaked melee.

 

Starcraft

I am not a huge starcraft buff, I play the campaign a bit, but there was nothing at the con that was interesting.  It is not a game I am gushing over.

Random Attractions

No, not Disneyland. A large contingent of our guild had made the trek to the convention, and we convened at the Meeting Stone at 4pm on Friday afternoon. We even tried to summon some guildmates who were not in attendance. In addition to that, how about 6 different meetups with groups, including 5 dinner get-togethers. And if cheeescake is even mentioned in the next week, I might pop. A high-light of the weekend was watching Sheepeater down a hot dog stirfry, with a vegetarian Alfredo sauce for a marinande. Both oddly appetizing, and yet extremely confusing at the same time.

After many attempts, we determined the summon was unsuccessful.

After many attempts, we determined the summon was unsuccessful.

 

So, now that all of the panels and games have been done, what else is a con-goer to do? Well, like in years past, everyone sooner or later found there way over to the Hilton lobby, where it got difficult to even move at times. And then, whats better than having a few drinks with your friends and new acquaintances. This is where a lot of people met up with each other some, for the first time, firmly etching in a memory that will not soon be forgotten. Too many people I was introduced to this year, outside of my guild, I met Anafielle, Arielle, Vidyala, Vosskah, Rhidach, Zerena, Novalas, Kaliope, Emylia, Hestiah, Ghemit, Elvine, and everyone’s favorite lead systems designer, GhostCrawler himself for the first time. I also met Sara, Kristin, Grumdy, Colin, Sheepeater, Serrath, and Sturm as people from in the guild for the first time. And lastly, I met with Shawnelle, Aerista, Jasyla, Kaleri, Chronis, and Tikari again at the convention. (And If I missed someone, I am sorry!) A lot of good people and interesting personalities were met and enjoyed, but as I said to my brother as I walked out of the airport and back to the world we know as normalcy, “It feels like I just got up, and should be getting on  a plane out, not coming back home.” It was an enjoyable 4 days away from home, and I look forward to returning next year and meeting up with hopefully even more people than before, but until next year: For the Horde!

 

To friends, fiood and fun.

To friends, food and fun.

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Fifty Shades of Great (BDSM)

Posted in PvE, Real Life, Shameless Plugs, WoW on August 14, 2013 by Srsbusiness

In order for my story to take flight, we must travel through a parabola filled with blight, Reading another line of this text may make you sick, But I promise ….     nothing.

Okay, really not that deep at all, in any contrived sense. What makes something great? Is it keeping true to that new year’s resolution? Is it getting a promotion at work? Is it being at the top of the meters every raid night? These can all be shades of greatness, and the latest shade I have found myself (and a lot of other other players as well) closing in on a pinnacle of greatness, by killing Dark Animus heroic and going 11/13 in H ToT. And while it certainly isn’t the greatest shade to be in by that particular grade scale, it is for myself, as through any expansion, this tier has been the most productive for me in terms of heroic bosses killed before a new raid tier is released. That in itself has been its own form of greatness. In addition, our raid team completed the achievement for the meta skyscreamer for about half of our members. This leaves an interesting point left to be made, heroic Lei Shen is in our sights, and Ra-Den to follow, but with the announcement of a possible patch release date in two weeks, is that enough time left to master the encounter?

Should people invest time into fights if the results may not happen? What about the rest of the team? Should that time be used to help them get to the same level as everyone else so they can feel accomplished too?  This is an issue for a lot of guilds right now, as the patch looms, deciding whether to bear down and push as hard as they can, or ease off a bit and come back with a vengeance in the upcoming raid after a recuperation period. And how exactly does the BDSM acronym fit into this post effectively? Simple! (And it serves as the argument either to press onward, or help everyone else catch up.)

Who controls Whom?

Apotheosis has ran rough shot this tier of current content, namely the latest kill of Dark Animus in only a single night’s worth of work. For one of the harder heroics in the raid, due to its model of controlled chaos, one night in Animus was time well spent. Other heroics may have taken longer, but since killing them, there is relative little difficulty anymore as clearing the instance is less of a time per night issue versus time left until patching issue. No Anima Font tells us what do to and gets away with it.

Bondage/Restraints

The only thing binding us now is the time element. While I have no doubts we will be able to defeat both Lei Shen and Ra-Den in time, with only a few raid nights left it becomes a statistical long shot to kill one or both of them with the time restraint that has been set in place. Any group can defy the odds, just like an underdog winning against a heavily favored entity.

Dominance/Discipline

As stated earlier, we have made this tier work for us. (WHO DOES ToT WORK FOR?) While that dominance is now second nature, it didn’t happen overnight. It required a lot of wipes and discipline on our part to get there. To think that Lei Shen or Ra-den would be any different would be ill-advised to say the least. It is something to build on going forward into Siege of Orgrimmar, knowing full well we have the capacity to quickly adapt and learn non end-tier fights.

Sadism/Submission

Uncle? Uncle. There is no other way to describe what other dialogue the bosses could have after encountering us. Horridon was merely a setback? We set you back to the Dark Ages, Jalak. Submission is sometimes a double edged sword, and there has been our fair share of nights where the mechanics, for one reason or another, just completely decimated us. Like the dreaded Fist (fish) Smash. I guess wiping to farm content can be looked upon as sadistic, especially when you kill the boss mere moments from the enrage….

Masochism

This would be throwing ourselves against a brick wall (or glass case of emotions) repeatedly for the next however many raids, and ultimately coming up with nothing. Or, in the same vein, doing something over and over again, hoping that the result would change. The one saving grace here is that we don’t have to look at this content for 39 consecutive weeks like Icecrown Citadel, you know, the time frame where people took long standing and sometimes permanent hiatuses from the game, because after the 15th clear, it really becomes trivial, painful and insane (the same thing over and over hoping for change) to continue to move forward.

To highlight, raid teams as a whole are very strong and unified, and the can generally eliminate the obstacles before them. Its when elements outside of their control enter into the scheme of things, that plans change and decisions will be made that not everybody agrees on. Still, the raid stays cohesive and marches onward. Control – something at times that is so valuably desired, and at times is fleeting. And that begs the question, with so many things to consider, how we and many other guilds have done so far, what would you do to achieve that shade of greatness?

– Would you valiantly push on for Progression, Loot, Server firsts and complete dominance over those whom would doubt you?

or

– Would you remind yourself that you didn’t get here alone, and help those achieve the same greatness you have obtained, even if it means compromising some of your own goals?

This is the crux we (and perhaps other guilds) face at the moment when, with little provocation, the end of arena season was announced for August 27th. Kind of interesting how dedicated PvPers get an end date for their season, but new raid content is on a tentative. Let the cards fall and see what happens.

What would you do for your Fifty Shades of Great?

Confined to the binding that is reality.

Confined to the binding that is reality.

A Beginner’s Guide to (outside) Blizzcon: Greet, Meet and Eat

Posted in Real Life, WoW on June 5, 2013 by Srsbusiness

Folks, the days are counting down! It seemed like not too long ago, Blizzcon 2013 was announced. Hotels were booked, tickets were released, and flights finalized. All of it starting in February, and June is now upon us, with convention in early November. For a lot of people, it may be their first time attending the event, and the totality of everything can be overwhelming. “What should I do first?”   “Where can I go if I dont like a certain panel?”   “Where are all the cool kids over there going!?”, and there are many attractions in Sunny SoCal that should make your weekend getaway fulfilling.

 

Arrival

 

When arriving into California, you can choose two options of where to fly into: John Wayne International (SNA) or Los Angeles International (LAX). These two are the most convenient for location. Flying into one or the other each has its pros and cons.

 

John Wayne:  

Pros: Short (5-10 minutes) from your hotel in Anaheim. Transportation vans arrive at the airport every 10-15 minutes.

Cons: Costs average around $150-200 (USD) more than flying into LAX.

 

LA Int’l:           

  Pros: The above mentioned savings from flying her over John Wayne, The enjoyment of being driven on a superhighway for 30-45 minutes depending on traffic (may also be a con?), Most people fly into here.

  Cons: If you’re looking to get an early place in the ticket line, the 30-45 minute drive will back you up.

 

Get acquainted with Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and other hotel/flight sites that may change minutes before or after another to try and get the best deal for you.

 

Personally, I have not been to LAX to give it a fair pro/con grade, but have always enjoyed not long rides on super highways as a nice benchmark guideline. While the convention is happening on the 8th and 9th, the tickets are available to be picked up on the 7th at 4pm PST. It is advisable to arrive on the 6th or 7th to familiarize with the area, or even just to get another day of R&R. If you choose to stand in line, be prepared for a big ol’ serpentine of a snake to form, and once inside, the scene turns in something equivalent to your favorite electronics store having a 99% off sale, on your favorite thing you want, ON black Friday. 20 turnstiles open up and you stream on through, have your ticket ready!

 

Hitting the Town

 

So, you arrived and unpacked at the hotel, and picked your ticket up. And its STILL the day before the convention, now what?

 

Are you hungry? Do you happen to have 15 of your closest friends nearby? Then hitting the town for an upscale bite to eat sounds like the venue for you! Being right in the heart of the Anaheim strip on Catella Avenue, you will have access to many fine dining establishments including (but not limited to):

 

The Cheesecake Factory:

 

Chocolate, How Can you say no to chocolate? (Don't give me that allergy BS!)

Chocolate, How Can you say no to chocolate? (Don’t give me that allergy BS!)

 

P.F. Chang’s:

 

Perhaps Chinese is in store for the evening?

Perhaps Chinese is in store for the evening?

 

The IHoP:

 

Tiramisu Pancakes? You're killing me smalls!

Tiramisu Pancakes? You’re killing me smalls!

 

 

My Personal Favorite, Morton’s:

 

All the meat, for your mouth. You do the rest.

All the meat, for your mouth. You do the rest.

 

Some places, dress attire is not required but preferred, something like this passes.

 

Me, Dinner Venue, 2010.

Me, Dinner Venue, 2010.

 

Not particularly hungry? Conveniently located across the convention center is Disneyland, if you ever wanted to go or return, tickets were 150$ last time for the pass.

 

Oh, I get it now, you want to stay more focused on mingling around with other con-goers. At various hangouts around the convention center you can find meetups, podcasts, and blogcasts with your fellow players going on, usually before and after the convention times at night. The Twisted Nether Blogcast meetup I attended in 2011, is a nice meetup in my opinion at the Bar Louie, and they raffle off some neat prizes towards the end of the meetup.

 

Days 1 and 2:

 

Here is where your favorite and most looked forward to panels this year take place. In addition, you will get a Starcraft and WoW 3v3 Arena finals, the best costume contest for the year, and the comedy styling of <insert some comic to be named at a later date> to follow along to as well. These events of interest really come down to each attendee and what they are interested in, more notable social activities comes on day 2.

 

Realm MeetUps (WoW)

 

Aside from the gatherings outside, Blizzard has timeframes for each realm to meet up and discuss all things wow for … 30 minutes?  In 2010, the realm get together was Massive for the realm I was on, with about 75 people showing up, whereas in 2011, the number was only around a dozen, so it looks to be a hit or miss item, if its something that might interest you.

 

Closing Acts

 

Blizzard is usually good with getting an artist to close up the show properly, with its last three guests being Ozzy, Tenacious D, and the Foo Fighters, respectively. As an aside, Dave Grohl and the Foo are amazing live. Sadly in 2010, I did not get to see Jack Black rock out as the group I went with made prior arrangements. Maybe the band they book this year doesn’t suit your tastes? How can I spend my night if the panels are done and Im not interested in the closing act?  Well, backtracking to the previous hotspots to see if others are mingling there is always a good option, but if your looking for something with more entertainment value, a quick drive down those amazing and terrifying superhighways can lead to:

 

Medieval Times:

 

Where sword and shield meet in arena style combat before an assembly of roleplaying delight. I mean, you can SEE the sparks fly from the weapons clashing with the shield or other sword on parries. But not only that, you get treating to Turkey Haunches, FULL BLOWN HAUNCHES FOR YOUR FACE, goblets of liquor, and you get to heckle any freaking performer you want behind the arena ledge! And for the sentimentalists out there, there are ponies, many, many ponies for your enjoyment, if the melee combat and crass humor doesn’t work for you!

 

Ye Olde Medieval Times, BRING ME THY STEIN OF CHEEZ-ITS AND GOBLET OF MOUNTAIN DEW.

Ye Olde Medieval Times, BRING ME THY STEIN OF CHEEZ-ITS AND GOBLET OF MOUNTAIN DEW.

 

And then alas, everything comes to a close on the weekend, and life goes back to somewhat normal? If its your first time going this year, what are you most looking forward to, and if your coming back for your not first time here, what part still holds your interest the most? I personally look forward to seeing all of the people who will be attending this year.

How I Lost 60 Pounds in 4 Months (And the ‘you can too!’….. cliche)!

Posted in Real Life on May 14, 2013 by Srsbusiness

Towards the end of 2012, a point had come to where I needed to think of a resolution to make for 2013. In years past, I had given up things like chocolate (ugh!), video games (double ugh, and ranks high on all time WORST choices ever!), and being less of a night owl. Since I didn’t want to recycle an idea, I decided that losing weight was a good resolution for the new year, especially after not being too concerned about my level of diet and/or exercise for a while. The clothes were getting a bit tight, and I figured I had put on a few pounds since my low of 185 back in 2011. I thought, “I’m probably at 205, 210 tops. And 20 pounds should be a good milestone for the year”. And to great dismay, I got on the scale at the beginning of January and saw that I was not only well above 205, but clocking in at 240 (up 55 pounds in a year and a half!)! Talk about letting yourself go and catching it before it really got bad. Goals and expectations dramatically changed, and off I began with the resolution immediately.

 

Set the bar high, and in a place where you will see it every day!

Set the bar high, and in a place where you will see it every day!

 

A) Setting Goals, Sub-Goals, and Timetables

 

Much maligned at my situation, I decided that 20 pounds was no longer an acceptable goal and moved it up to 70 pounds(!). It was a tall and daunting task ahead, but it needed to be approached head on, for my own health. In addition, I had set the bar also extremely high by having the timetable set at Mother’s Day for when I would have liked to hit that goal. Along the way, it was important to set sub-goals for myself sop that I did not get burned out or discouraged along the way, and in addition, ever time I hit a goal marker, I rewarded myself with an extra cheat day during the week. It made each goal more manageable, and didn’t feel like I had to morph into a ferret and eat flax seed around the clock, because really, FLAX SEED. Your goals may be much different, and its important to not push it too hard so that your body can build up stamina for when you hit the final stretch of your goal. You can set your timetable to as long as you want if you casually want to approach your objective, or short if, and only if, you know your body can handle the grueling pace.

 

B) Weapon of Choice (And how to use it)

 

Foremost, its a necessity to listen to this song and watch the video, because nobody is more of a badass than Christopher Walken. There are many different avenues to travel down if you are adamant above improving your physical well being and appearance. Some people like weights for toning, some people do swimming, other still routines visits to the gym for a mix of cardio and weights. Myself, I am a big fan of the treadmill and marathon style endurance training. I found this to be the best for pushing your heart rate to 85-90% of its maximum. By doing this, it allows your body to more rapidly enter weight loss by burning fat cells instead of excess calories or carbohydrates.

 

What is Marathon Style Training?

 

Marathon Style training involves frequently shifting from brisk walking to either jogging or running, and then back. Depending on how intense your program may be, if you are fond of treadmilling, you can cycle this for up to 1 hour at a time for less intensive sessions, or as short as 25-30 minutes for more intense sessions. I started with a walking pace of 3.5 mph, which is slightly above normal walk speed, and a jogging speed of 7 mph. Unfortunately, my condition was at a point where I had to hold on to the machine while running at first, so I was not getting the full effect of the run intervals. Alas, it it still better than nothing while stamina and tolerance build up.Gradually, not only will your ability to improve push you to increase your walk and run speeds, but there will be multiple parts in the run where your body will feel GOOD while you run. Approaching each day with the mindset of pushing to do just slightly better than the day before, also greatly enhances your capacity to improve, daily!

 

How long should I run for (and how many times a day?)?

 

That is really up to you and what you feel you can best handle. A general rule of thumb to follow is that, if your (in this case legs) hurt, your chest hurts, or you have a tough time breathing/or light headed, stop immediately. Otherwise, twice a day up to one hour total, has been my limit. Its important to note that when you exercise is up to you. I found that running at night worked better for me, because it kept metabolism levels (to burn energy) up when it usually starts to decreases before one goes to sleep.

Do you feel the need..... for speed?

Do you feel the need….. for speed?

 

C) Diet

 

The dreaded make-or-break in some cases. Its not as severe as a lot of people make it out to be. Much like, what type of exercise is best for you, there’s also area-centric diets as well. Muscle building goes for high calorie, high protein diets with high activity, tone goes for low carbohydrate, high calorie, moderate activity diets, usually due to not having enough time to exercise as often as they would like, and weight loss specific diets shoot for low calorie, low fat, high activity to produce close to instant results. This diet focused on counting calories, while fat and carbohydrates were not much concern to keep track of, keeping a good level of fiber and protein in the regiment helped bolster results. A lot of nutrional fact labels have breakdowns for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets, and those were just a bit much for my liking, as I shot for around 1,400 calories every day, once I broke into a rut of what I wanted to eat. This is enough (for me), to be able to do my job, exercise and stay focused comfortably, your level might be different depending on body size, sugar levels, etc.

 

Breakfast

 

Option A: Bowl of Cereal (1.5 cups, Fiber One Caramel Delight or GF Cinnamon Chex) 270 Cal + 1 Cup Milk (190 Cal) + 1 Yoplait Parfait (100 Cal)

Option B: Two English Muffins w/ Light Butter (270 Cal) and Jam (50 Cal per muffin) + 16 Oz Welch’s Grape Juice (260 Cal + 6g fiber or 50% DV Calcium)

Option C: 16 Oz Chiobani Vanilla And Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt (540 Cal + 50% DV Calcium and 38g protein)

Drink: Water (0 Cal) or Chai Vanilla Tea (80 Cal per 8 oz)

 

No lie. Option C has become kryptonite. Every time I go shopping I get the maximum amount of the product I can per trip. SERIOUSLY. SO GOOD.

 

Lunch

Option A: Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers (Variety of Assorted Meals) (240-320 Cal) + 1.5 Cups Sauteed Veg (100 Cal) + 1 Apple (90 Cal)

Option B: 1 Can Progresso Assorted Soups (2 servings per can, 160-220 Cal) + 5 Prunes (100 Cal + Lycopene for digestion) + 1 Cup Peanut Trail Mix (175 Cal + Protein)

Option C: 1 Can Campbell’s Chunky Soup (Flavors Vary, 270-410 Cal per Can) + 4 Toast Points (70-150 Cal, varies on bread thickness).

Drink: Water (0 Cal) —-> Add flavor with Crystal Light, Lipton or Mio Water Enhancer for 0 Cal, Iced Tea (0 Cal and Kidney Stones)

 

Ive found the crustless chicken pot pie steamer to be really good for a TV dinner-esque product, as well as the Spicy Sausage Gumbo for Chunky Soup (sucker for spice), there are some flavorful, yet low cal options at your disposal.

 

– Dinner

 

See lunch. Most days, especially if one works a 9-5 (or in that range) kind of job, it drains a lot of people to come home and cook as well. I will take 1 of the remaining 2 options, and mix and match sides to have with it. You can be creative and use breakfast ideas for dinner with dinner foods! For instance:

 

Option HELL YEAH LETS EAT: 3 Eggs, Scrambled (210 Cal) + 1 Potato (cubed and steamed to soften) (95 cal) + 1 bell pepper (diced, 65 cal) + 2 Links Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage (170-240 cal). Combines all these is a pan with a little garlic (0 Cal), crushed red pepper (0 Cal), and olive oil (50 cal), and you’ve got yourself a party for dinner for under 600 calories!

 

– Cheat Days

 

When you get to whatever days you decide to be cheat days, have whatever you want. Your body will thank you, not only in having initial gratification of having something you long for, but going for too many days in a row where you restrict the amount of calories/sugars you intake can send your body into a miniature starvation mode where it will hold onto sugars consumed and burn up proteins and carbohydrates instead.

Yep, a frozen tv dinner health product.

Yep, a frozen tv dinner health product.

 

Amazingly good for a high fiber product, well worth $3 a box.

Amazingly good for a high fiber product, well worth $3 a box.

Lacks salt, but being 90 calories will make up for the flavor loss.

Lacks salt, but being 90 calories will make up for the flavor loss.

 

D) Supplementing Your Regimen (Optional)

 

*Do the background research on all supplements before rushing out to get something that may do more harm than good, sometimes irreversible.* Having always had a very weak metabolism since I was a child, exercise alone was not enough to stimulate the pituitary and adrenaline to kick the thyroid into top gear. So I needed something that could assist with that and keep it elevated during times I was not engaged in activity, being it working out, work, or other hobbies. My parents had received a sample of a product called Oxy Elite in a goodie bag from a wedding they attended and said for the limited amount they were given, seemed to give an extra boost of adrenaline and energy. After looking at the tests and effects of oxy elite, I purchased the Oxy Elite Pro 90 Capsule supplement. This product works great for me, however the one side effect it has that I have noticed is cause your temper to shorten, I would avoid using it, if something stressful is happening within the next 6-12 hours.

 

Another product that caught my eye, was the highly marketed and hyped Raspberry Ketone. These pills are designed to target fat calls and shrink them, reducing fat and the amount of fat that can grow back into them. I gave these pills a shot, and while I did not notice any side effects from them, the results of one bottle weren’t nearly as felt as the oxy elite. My torso felt a bit tighter  on the whole compared to a bulge at one point, but Im not rocking really ripped abs or anything close to that.

 

If Zerglings can gain a Metabolic Boost, I can too, Damnit!

If Zerglings can gain a Metabolic Boost, I can too, Damnit!

 

E) Results *(may vary)*

 

With a game plan laid out, all that was left to do was to tackle it head on. I set my sub goals at 10 pound increments and moved from there. The first weight you lose is always water weight, what you do after the first 6-10 pounds will have a lasting effect on your system. The pounds began to drop, the months began to eclipse as Mother’s Day approached. There were many, many days, where my legs felt like steel reinforced support beams holding up the Sears Tower, just absolutely heavy. Around St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, I felt a loss of will power. Chocolates all around me, it was like I was Homer Simpson walking into an ice cream shop, getting a triple butterfinger deluxe and just face plant passing out into it. That is the one crucial thing to carry with you, your will power. You will perform as good as you allow yourself to, and can be the strength or Achilles Heel of what you make of losing your weight. I toughed out the month of April making up for a relapse for the holidays, and before I knew it Mother’s Day was here. I grabbed my camera that morning got on the scale, and saw this:

 

Breaking my previous all time low by 6 pounds!

Breaking my previous all time low by 6 pounds!

 

While it is not my goal, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment about what anyone can do with focus and determination. And it also brings on the last run of my goal. Your goals are attainable! Believe you can get there, and fight for an extra 3 minutes on your machine, or the urge to give in to a double baconator deluxe with the works and it will all add up in the end to making you one healthier, and happier, person!

 

If you follow any of this advice, I hope it works out for the best for you!

Appreciation

Posted in Real Life, Uncategorized, WoW on July 17, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Dear Diary,

 

That kind of feels weird to type that out, even though its almost implied every time I sit down to write one of these posts. I have nothing really new to add as far as being a priest goes, the beta is starting heroic testing for raids today, and our current design still feels clunky and far from a finished product, with a bunch of our tier talents being proc-based in order to gain a competitive advantage. Dragon Soul is also getting hit with the 30% nerf today, which should all but solidify a one day a week raid schedule for our guild. Which will also mean a lot more time to pvp, job not withstanding. Today I am going to talk about something I really haven’t seen in the community at all:

 

You, The Reader

 

Back when I first started writing this blog, I wanted to share some of my experience and findings over my playing time. It started out as a small hub for people who had played a priest and needed a few resources for helping their play. But much like the game and society, it began to change and evolve to things that were going on in the guild at the time, contemplating the practicality of people playing offspecs, to things happening in real life, overburdening at work. To this date, I feel have the topics that have spun off from this blog since inception have helped to mold and polish me as an author. I also feel they have been the most highly publicized works I have done, either via comment, retweet or view. None of which would be possible without you guys.

 

Over the course of writing my blog, I started getting to know to know people outside of the game, even meeting up with multiple handfuls of them at Blizzcon, and have continued my friendships with them to this date. To the point the game aspect has evolved from game to real life, that we communicate on a first name basis and are privy to such information as birthdates, cell phone numbers, and the like. I am certainly not the only person who has experienced this, as it happens all throughout our community. But to the people I have go to know at the level, thank you for having me along with you. Its nice knowing that when this game is gone (if that day ever comes, it might not!), that I will be able to take something away from it with me.

 

I like to think that I am a decent writer for the goals I wish to accomplish. If you have ever laughed, rolled your eyes, learned something, gained a perspective you may not have had before, questioned me, or felt something you otherwise didn’t before sitting down to read my few paragraphs and continued on through the day. Then I have done my job as a writer, thanks to my returning (and sometimes new) readers. I like to write about things I have not seen in the community before, areas that people haven’t ventured into or otherwise won’t, which certainly broadens the horizon for what might come in the future. (And is the basis for this post itself.)

 

  • If you have ever left a comment on my blog, Thank you.  While I don’t peruse blogs with much enamor like I used to, I do hope to find something in blogs where I can comment someday.

 

  •  If you have retweeted my blog, thank you. I appreciate you doing that because you want me to advance in what I do, and I hope you appreciate that I return the favor in kind for the same reason if you have a blog.

 

  • If you like what you read, thank you. It continues to give me reason and purpose to write this blog.

 

Its astonishing to me to think that this blog has been up and active for 11 months now, and its still going. I never saw myself writing some of the things I have, nor getting to know some of the people close to me a short year ago, but it has been an experience I can never duplicate and certainly never replace. And I can say that it has been worth every second and every word I have written if everything above is true, and it is.

Time Out!

Posted in Diablo 3, Priest, PvE, Real Life, Reasons I am Going Insane, Reasons I am Still Sane, WoW on June 10, 2012 by Srsbusiness

Stay A While and Listen.

 

A pause. A break. A rest. A lull. Anyone one of these synonyms will also suffice for what I have given myself, but also what has been given to me. A bunch of elements, both in the gaming world, and outside of the gaming world have amassed and it has allowed me to not only take a time out from game related activities, but also issue myself one from the calamities elsewhere. The main issue for these timeouts revolves solely around my job, in which I work in a high stress environment directly with my superiors to help improve the quality of life for people.

 

Timeout #1 – WoW and Raiding

 


My schedule varies weekly depending on the people I see and when they are scheduled to come in for visitation. Lately, my schedule has been taking away my Tuesday evenings, which means my ability to make raids has fallen off for the week. Over the past few weeks, Apotheosis has been able to successfully finish off the remaining achievements and earn the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider achievement, along with the shiny drakes that comes with it. In order to do some of these achievements however, we had to do some of the bosses on normal, making the encounter almost trivial for the level of play our raiders bring to the table. After running achievements for two weeks, we’ve gone back into heroic modes once again. With my schedule in conflict with our raid times of recent weeks and at the rate we clear the instance, I have been in for  only a single heroic boss kill now for one entire month (and 5 weeks come next raid lockout reset). I have been a participant in the normal clears for everyone to get their meta drake, but have heroic Deathwing die once since before Apotheosis knocked out the remaining achievements for the guild.

 

And you know what?    >>>I am okay with this.<<<

 

I do not mind being out and missing raids if my work interferes and it is beyond my control. This is a time out involuntarily given to me and I am making the best of it by performing the best I can at my job. I also put a long term spin on how this helps my long term career in WoW. By having this time out per se, it is allowing me to get rid of some of the burnout I am experiencing from the 7th month in Dragon Soul now. This will help greatly down the line when Mists of Pandaria is about to be released and my interest will be piqued by something new from the game, as compared to playing this game for x amount of months straight, and then continuing on without shedding any residual effects of burnout one may have due to lack of new content, loot, pvp, etc. This is not to say I have lost interest in the game, but with everything going on outside of it, my time is, nay needs, to be spent better elsewhere.

 

This has also affected my ability to also make our guild’s scheduled Rated Battleground Nights. Many months ago, I was almost a lock to show up on our Wednesday evenings and be ready to rollout for some hot 10 on 10 action. But lately, I have been showing up to them around 1030-11pm for the last hour in the three hours they run. While I certainly don’t mind sitting out to allow people to get their spiky pony and title, of which I was able to obtain those, it is nice after raiding and long days at work to come home and indiscriminately dispense justice upon your opponents. Heck, I have even caught myself letting go a few snide comments outside the Darkmoon Arena. That being said our team is doing very well and just recently got a bunch of our players the Knight-Captain title as we work towards Knight-Champion. I did however, manage to have time to participate in the Arena Pass this year with a rogue and druid as the composition with myself, and we finished at 1640, a solid rating for the assembly and using gear from the pvp tier 2 seasons ago, which will also earn the Vanquisher title.

 

I have also acknowledged my own social aloofness, as I have not been as responsive and active with people in game and in social media. Another cause of not wanting to displace stress in areas it is not warranted.

 

Timeout #2 – Diablo 3

 

In the time I do have when work, at the job and on the home front is taken care of, I have been spending a lot of time here. Admittedly, this is the biggest timeout I have given myself. Its like the people who waited overseas for 16 years for Starcraft 2 to come out, and then it finally came and euphoria swept over the entire player base. That’s the kind of rush I got when Diablo 3 was released, as I had spent a considerable time playing its predecessor before the release of WoW. Not only do I enjoy it being different from WoW, but finally being able to down that Vortex/Reflecting/Jailer/Shielding elite pack after getting rolled by it, is a VERY satisfying experience.

 

We all need to take a timeout sometime.

 

Timeout #3 – Real Life

 

This is of course the most intrepid facet. Between the job and leisure, there are the intricacies of what happens at the job and in correlation to how much leisure time I  and we (as in you the reader) get. Recently workload has been pushing 50+ hours a week, sometimes heading north of 60 in rare situations for some people. This leads to a combination of stress and a reduced amount of time to cope with that stress. It also requires you and the team of people you work with to step up to the plate, especially when you oust your department manager for general douchebaggery. Its kind of like being in a guild, and not having enough healers to efficiently heal a boss or instance encounter, but having enough people to raid. For the betterment of the group, some people will be asked to step outside and above their designated roles to ensure that the team succeeds. This is where I feel I am figuratively at, just in a setting outside the game.

 

See also:   Role Adaptation

 

And this is where I call my third timeout. Reality may hit you in the face when you least expect it, and how you react to it can greatly dictate future occurrences. Where I can’t reach harmony, between my work and my escape from reality, I need to reach a happy medium. While I certainly am able to get time to escape in my games, I find other ways to cope with stress and just relax. With the weather heating up in North America, Ive been able to get back to doing my personal hobby of photography as a way to de-stress, relax, and enjoy what I can out of my days.  Where I can metaphorically show you both the calm and storm (of shots I have taken) in relation to this post.

 

The Calm.

 

The Storm.

 

Nothing of course will beat a good nap if one can find time for it in their schedule. The best thing I can say is that I am glad we are not restricted to only 3 or 7 timeouts that we can take for ourselves, like in football, basketball or other professional sports. And it this point in time, i am really glad I am in a timeout.  How do you all feel about shortened raid weeks? Will not having to allocate that time every week help keep your interest high going into Mists of Pandaria? What do you do as a way to de-stress?

Friendship: Defined (The Online World)

Posted in Real Life, WoW on April 5, 2012 by Srsbusiness

What is a friend?

 

We all have them. They are different things to different people, but what is it about some people that we gravitate towards, while repelling away from others? Perhaps it is having similar interests to oneself, heck thats why the WoW playing base grew to be 12 million strong at one point. Perhaps its ones personality, being a social butterfly, a recluse, or somewhere it the middle of the pack that stands out to someone. Its interesting to think in our online world how people can vary drastically while have the one large denominator (playing the game itself) in common. We all see these people in the game on a daily (and sometimes more frequently than we would like to) basis. The elitists, the RPers, the trade trolls, et al.  But its not about the types of people we encounter, its why we choose them as friends. And more importantly separation and classification that comes with friendships. The concept that sticks out to me the most with friendships is this concept:

 

He/She is an Online Friend, But (another) He/She is a Real Life Friend

 

What?

 

This concept puzzles, nay baffles, me. It does not make sense to me how somebody can classify someone as an online friend, as opposed to a real life friend. Does that mean when you hit the log-off button for the night on your online based game that that person is gone? That any residual interactions you have had with them are suddenly gone and mean absolutely nothing? I find it very hard to believe (in my case) that all of the interactions between friends fades away, and that some things don’t stick and have meaning in some way, shape or form. It all boils down to trust and respect, without it, you really having nothing (and certainly not friendship) between two people, especially over the internet. The great thing about developing friendships online is that a lot of online friendships have meetups where you can actually see these people you interact with, such as Blizzcon, Comicon, etc. You get to finally meet these people and grow your friendships you have been developing for months or years. And its nice to be able to do things with your friends that doesn’t have to be concentric with the circle of being video game based.

I am a firm believer that the person who you interact with from behind the computer while playing is the exact same person that they are outside of the game. And why should they be any different from advertised? Granted, we all know there are some people who are boisterous in their claims, such as: “I’m 6’2″ 210lbs and spend 8 hours at the gym each day. Jealous?”, only to find out upon meeting them they are 5’6″ 240 lbs, and wear ripped and faded clothing to functions like that. There’s no reason to front like that, and all that happens when you do something like that is DESTROY your credibility as a person. Thats why I believe that most people who do go to those meet ups are genuine and their friendships they create with those other individuals are heartfelt and honest.

 

After playing this game for 6 years, I am happy to have a few handfuls of people that I consider true friends, and as an added bonus I have met a handful or so of them as well. These are friends that respect me. Friends that trust me. Friends that confide in me. Friends who are appreciative of what I do for them as a friend. And in the same vein, I appreciate them, I trust, respect and confide in them. Distance and webspace will never alter interactions no matter how significant or insignificant, they are REAL. They HAPPEN.

 

So, how does friendship work for you in an online space? Do you set people into castes of friendships, such as online and real life?  Do you keep your friendships strictly to the game, or does it spread over into facets of real life?

 

The internet is a great tool for bringing people together, and I am very appreciative of the people I have been fortunate enough to get to know at that level because of it. I certainly look forward to where my friendships go from here.