by Matt | Jul 22, 2011 | Personal
So much going on, so much to do and so precious little time to do it all in. You guys don’t mind if I do this one all shotgun approach do you? Good.
So, the kiddo is apparently cutting teeth, which is tough for everyone. It makes her completely miserable and short of giving her some baby Tylenol, there’s really nothing that will help her. She’s also congested and tired and cranky, which makes Mom and Dad tired and cranky.
Also, my father-in-law is back in the hospital. More stomach problems. I took him to the ER at 3am on Tuesday, that was fun. He was in pretty bad shape, so he needed to go, and I didn’t mind taking him at all, it was just a long night. We’re still dealing with the fallout from that. Someone needs to watch my mother-in-law 24/7 these days, so we’re trying to find sitters and nurses during the day. Last night we didn’t have anyone, so we had to spend the night. Charlotte had to sleep in a bouncy seat and I got the couch. Hopefully we can find someone for tonight because I’m not sure my back can take much more.
On the job front, I’m banging my head against a wall over WordPress updating jQuery and hosing just about everyone on the planet. Every theme for every site I’ve done in the past two years needs to be updated and a lot of them are either discontinued, stagnant or just flat out broken, including our corporate website and our intranet. So, yeah, that’s keeping me busy.
Google Plus is turning out to be handy. The mobile app on my phone is simple and easy to use and the website is pretty strait forward. I like the service, I’m just wanting it to be a little more robust at the moment. Twitter is dead to me. The 140 character limit made it almost a game to fit your thought into such a small space. Since I’m long winded, it was a game I often lost. So, there’s no love-loss there, I’m just done with Twitter. I tired it, it has it’s uses, but now it’s dead. Compared to Facebook (which I deleted my profile off of as soon as they opened it to the public and not just people with .edu email addresses), G+ seems to really be making an effort to keep things simple and clean, which I can appreciate. I love that there are no ads, no games, no apps, no pointless shit like “gifting” or any of that junk. I also really like the circle concept as a filter for my content. The one thing I wish it did have , and I’m sure it’ll happen soon, is an API that someone could write a hook for. I’d love to be able to either post in WP, or G+ and have it sync in either direction.
I’ve been picking up more and more baseball cards as well. Sam’s helped me get into it and was nice enough to give me a big box of supplies, which was very awesome of him. My original goal was to tryout a bunch of stuff and see what I liked, then go after that. Turns out that I like a couple different sets, so my focus changed a little. The plan now is to collect Red Sox players and try to get the whole team for each different set, per year. So, for example, this years Allen & Ginter set has 15 Red Sox cards (and a couple inserts) out of a set of 350 cards. Collecting the entire 350 just isn’t going to happen, budget or time wise, but 15 cards I can probably handle. The all-powerful eBay is also helping out with that. I can buy the 15 cards for $4.99 at the moment. So, the focus is team sets. I’ll pick up packs/blasters for fun whenever I have the extra cash, but just for fun and to search for “cool stuff” like relics or autographs. I think I’ll also put up a list of cards I’m searching for in the sidebar, just for fun.
We’ve also been doing a bit of cleaning, especially in our guest room. My brother is coming to stay with us for a while. He got accepted into law school down here, so he needs a place to stay for a semester or two. Until he has enough cash and an apartment, he’ll be crashing with us. It’ll be good to have an extra hand around the house and he’s offered to chip in some cash here and there with the job he’s yet to find, so, we’ll see how that goes. On the upside, I’ll have someone to finish the co-op campaign in Portal 2 with, lol.
Lastly, I’ve been thinking about getting myself a Playstation 3. Our home DVD is A) crappy, B) Dying and C) an HD-DVD player, which means that it’s HD playback potential is non-existent because HD-DVD is dead. As much as it pains me, BluRay seems to have clearly won that round. With nothing to potentially replace it on the horizon, it looks like it’ll be here to stay for a couple years. Combine that with the fact that a “good” BR player will run you $200-ish, and a PS3 is $300-ish and also conveniently plays video games, it’s worth it to me to pay the extra 100 and get something that would have larger value. The list of PS3 games I’m interested in is exceptionally short. With the majority of games being mulit-platform these days, and my brand loyalty to PCs and the Xbox, I’m really only looking at PS3 exclusives. Uncharted, Little Big Planet and Infamous are at the top of that list. I don’t really go for the import RPGs or the platformers anymore. If I just picked up those I think I’d be quite happy.
That about everything. Just working and scraping by, pretty much the normal, just with a little drama on top lately. Nothing we can’t handle. 😉
by Matt | Jul 5, 2011 | Paintball
Paintball, as I’ve mentioned a few times, is incredibly fun. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon/weekend and can really get the adrenaline going. It also has several problem which are leading to it’s decline, or at the very least, stagnation as a “sport”.
The first major issue paintball has is it’s marketing. Years ago it was billed as an ultimate extreme sport. People actually shoot at each other. You can’t get much more intense than that. Somewhere along the way they decided that not enough younger players were interested, so they tried to market paintball for kids, church groups and younger players in general. It worked, to a degree, and the “rental” and recreational fields took off. Unfortunately, there’s not any visible translation between playing on a Saturday afternoon with a church group and playing it “on a team, as a sport”. There’s no one at the field “recruiting”, no one offering information on leagues, no one talking to parents about how much fun it is. There’s little to no cross over. They effectively killed the “sport” and made it recreational only, which leads us to the second problem…
If something is “recreational” and you “rent” equipment, you’re going to treat it in your mind like any other activity where you do the same. Bowling come to mind as the best example of this. A long standing sport with very very low “professional” appeal. The number of professional bowlers, especially young ones, compared to something like baseball or football participation is minute. That’s why you’ve seen a tremendous drop in the appeal of bowling alleys except for the occasional 8 year old’s birthday party. Bowling has done everything is can to appeal to younger audiences (black light bowling, crazy music, pizza parties, etc) all while dying a slow death as an industry. That’s because when you “rent” something, you don’t care about it. You don’t care about your bowling shoes, you don’t care about the bowling balls, you don’t care about the sport. You’re there for 1-2hrs, you have a slice of pizza, you go home. How many of you have a nice pair of bowling shoes? How many of you have a really nice bowling ball? Exactly. When something is “recreational”, it means, in your head, something that I will stop caring about when I leave. By setting up paintball as a “birthday party activity”, you just made the entire group of young kids not care about it. Or, even if they do care about it, the entry barrier is too high for them to maintain interest on their own. A football you buy once and can play with it forever. A case of paintballs might as well be a case of Skittles. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, and the fun is over.
That leads us to the last problem. Money. Paintball is not a cheap sport. I really enjoy it, but that’s why I only play once a month, in the months that it’s enjoyable (ie: not 106°F) to do so. Renting equipment is $40 a day. That’s affordable. Buying a “good” entry level gun, hopper, air tank, mask, outfit, that will probably run you a couple hundred bucks, if not more. That doesn’t include paint. Paint is $60-80 a box. A box has 2000 balls in it. 2000 lasts me about half a day. I need $120 in paint to play a full day. That’s expensive if you’re a kid. So, you get a lot of rich kids playing paintball on the weekends. They didn’t work for their gear, they’re not paying the bill, and they don’t give a crap about it as a “sport” and they don’t care about any rules. They show up with a $1000 gun, 3 cases of paint and zero trigger control. I can’t count how many times I’ve been “bonus balled” (being hit after you’ve indicated you’re out) by someone under the age of 16. The ref isn’t paying attention, the kids have the guns set on full auto, no one cares. Huge problem. The younger kids that might have been interested in playing it more often are now completely sworn off it. No one likes coming home with a body covered in welts. And I’m not saying that because it hurts or because I personally don’t like getting hit, I’ve been hit on bare skin, it’s not that bad. I’m saying this because my 14 year old cousin doesn’t want to go again after he played with us a couple months ago because some asshole lit him up on full-auto.
So, what I’m trying to say is is that paintball has a serious problem. It’s either “recreational” or it’s a sport. If you want it to be recreational, and that’s fine, but then everyone on the field has to have the same equipment, or at least the same limits on their equipment. No one should be firing 30 balls a second. You wouldn’t let a MLB player hit with an aluminum bat, you shouldn’t let someone with an Ego 11 play with kids with rental equipment. Same difference. Or, make entry into the sport less imposing. The price of paint is retardedly high, that needs to change right off the bat, but the price of mid-level gear should also drop. They should set up “little league” style leagues, have coaches, PRACTICE, etc. The cost of an entire kit should be less than the cost of a baseball helmet, glove and bat and cases of paint should be donated or given away for next to nothing to coaches and leagues. That’s the only way to make it a very real “sport” again.
It’s that or it will continue to be played only by rich assholes and their kids and it will completely kill the game. Completely.
This has been a PSA from your friendly neighborhood grumpy old person.
by Matt | Jul 4, 2011 | Friends and Family
Visiting the inlaws is like a surgical air-strike. Quick, painful and a lot of collateral damage.