Christmas Movies

With December comes the holidays and with the holidays comes Christmas music and Christmas movies.

I’ve got my favorite Christmas movies just like everyone else, drawing from the classics as well as some stuff that is seen less often.

I like the TV classics as much as anyone else. A Charlie Brown Christmas, Ruldoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman are all films I like rewatching, I just don’t like them as much as my favorites.

And my favorites are: Continue reading

Windows 10 Upgrade

One of the gifts I asked for and received for Christmas was some new RAM for my computer.

RAM is what your computer uses when it’s actually running programs. More RAM means your programs will run smoother and you’ll be able to run more of them (with some limitations).

I wanted the extra RAM to help with issues I’ve had in the past when I’m running programs in the background while playing a game. Things like Skype, my recording software for streaming, or just leaving Chrome open with a guide to the game.

In the past these things have slowed the game down a little bit, but not so much anymore!

I upgraded from 8GB of RAM to 24GB. I should be able to run three times as many programs, right?

Turns out that’s not the case. My current operating system, Windows 7, throttles the RAM my computer can use at 16GB.

Windows 10, however, lets me use up to 128GB of RAM. Far more than I will ever need.

And as you may have heard, Windows is offering a free downloadable upgrade to Windows 10 on all Windows 7 and 8 machines.

Setag liah! Setag liah!
Setag llib liah! Setag llib liah!

I’ve been reluctant to go through with the upgrade for a number of reasons.

First, bad reviews. Most of the reviews of Windows 10 are bad. That’s par for the course when a new operating system comes out though.

My dad has tried Windows 10 out and he hasn’t noticed any serious problems which was encouraging.

Second, detailed reviews that talk about the increased bloat of the operating system and annoying default features that spy on your computer for Microsoft.

The operating system bloat shouldn’t be a problem. Even if Windows 10 uses a whole 1GB more of RAM then Windows 7 I’ll still be 7GB up on what I previously had.

The spying is annoying, but since I can turn it off I’m not too concerned about it.

My third and final concern is whether all my programs will continue to run on Windows 10.

Most, if not all, of my games will continue to work on Windows 10 according to this community list.

I’d be shocked if Microsoft Office and Google Chrome didn’t transfer over fine.

That leaves just my streaming software.

While the upgrade was initially to get more use out of the streaming software, I haven’t seriously touched the stuff in about a year. Maybe it’s not so big a deal if it doesn’t work?

Anyways, I’ll be making a jump into Windows 10 tonight. If I don’t update the blog next week it’s probably because Windows 10 caused my computer to go up in flames and burn down my house.

Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

Crossed Fingers

-GoCorral

Road Chip Movie Review

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Star Wars is the big movie of the season and we did want to see it, but not until January when the crowds have died down a little bit.

So my wife and I went to see the latest Chipmunks movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, instead.

The movie is a typical Alvin and the Chipmunks affair. Alvin does crazy stuff and everything escalates into a huge farce until Dave comes in and shouts, “ALVIN!”

This children’s movie taps into a primal fear that many kids have, that their parents won’t love them as much when their family gets bigger.

Dave is getting serious with his girlfriend and is planning a romantic weekend alone with her.

The Chipmunks find a diamond ring by his luggage and make the logical conclusion that he is going to ask her to marry him.

The Chipmunks hate this idea because Dave’s girlfriend’s son, Miles, bullies them.

Miles also dislikes their families joining together so he joins the Chipmunks in their cross country journey to Miami from LA to steal the ring and stop the proposal.

Through their journey the Chipmunks and Miles receive some valuable moral lessons and realize that they don’t mind being step-brothers after all.

The movie didn’t really stand out as an exceptional Chipmunks movie to me. There’s childish comedy and good dance/singing sequences like usual, but nothing truly spectacular.

The Chipettes have minor roles in the movie which was a little disappointing. It would’ve made sense for them to be there, but that would’ve made the script too complicated. Instead they spend most of the movie judging the last season of American Idol.

I’d definitely recommend the movie to people who are fans of the Chipmunks like myself. For those who haven’t been exposed to the Chipmunks yet, the movie is as good an entry into the franchise as you can get. Cheesy comedy and cute forest creatures singing high-pitched covers of popular music. Not much more to say than that.

-GoCorral

Christmas 2014 Events

I’ve been putting off my post about Christmas for awhile. I was busy spending time with my family during Christmas break and didn’t set aside time to write then, but I am now!

My wife and I went home to visit our families. Her parents and mine live in the same town, so its easy to see both families when we have a break. We stayed with my family this time and brought our cats, Lucky and Carmelita, along.

We got to spend some quality time with both families, chatting, going on walks, playing minigolf, and playing card games.

The big news of the break was that my wife’s uncle (my uncle-in-law? Is that a thing?) is moving to Taiwan. He’s a doctor right now. He’s in his late 50’s, but he doesn’t have any kids. It’s likely that he’s saved enough for retirement at this point, although he isn’t calling this retirement. He plans to work on something else in the future, but it isn’t clear what that is.

His wife is from Taiwan and they’ve gone there plenty of times to visit her family, so it makes sense for them to move there. She works over the internet which she can do just as easily in Taiwan as she can in the USA until she chooses to retire.

The crazy part of this whole plan was that they plan to keep some sort of residence in Nevada even though they currently live in California. It was a little confusing to us, but it seemed to be for tax reasons.

And of course the most important part of any Christmas break, WHAT PRESENTS DID I GET?!??

First, we got two huge bags to carry all the loot in, one for my wife’s stuff and one for my things. We got a decorative glass apple which we’d like to display once we move to a place with more room. Our space for decorative items is filled up in our current apartment.

We got an ice tray specifically made to produce long and thin pieces of ice to put into travel bottles. A lot of candy, some candied popcorn, and my favorite, a chocolate orange.

I got two movies, one is a favorite of mine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The other is Pirate Radio, something my dad claims I said I wanted a while back, but I have no memory of. It has a lot of my favorite actors in it though so I will most likely enjoy watching it.

I got a new iPad keyboard which I am using to write this post. It’s amazing and I love it. I got the Villainy board game that I played at Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve. I got an Imagine Dragons CD. I got a cool book, On Killing, that was recommended in the Harcore History podcasts. It’s about the costs and methods of training people to kill in modern society (soldiers mostly, but it touches on the media influence of other forms of violence as well).

I got an electric razor to give myself the 5 o’clock shadow shave that I’ve been wanting. I got a pair of bacon and egg magnets for my fridge. I got a Snow Wars t-shirt. It shows Han Solo and Chewbacca having a snowball fight, only they are illustrated in Calvin and Hobbes art style as if Han Solo is Calvin and Chewie is Hobbes.

I got a puzzle and a new pair of scissors (I did want these things). I got a new lab coat to wear at work. I got a hand blender due to a mixup on my Amazon wish list (might still use it!). I got all of the Hardcore History podcasts that are no longer available for free on iTunes (Awesome!). I got a cookbook solely for making stuff in the microwave. I’ve looked up recipes like that in the past and I’m very happy that there is a whole cookbook devoted to microwave recipes.

My wife got us a pair of shirts to wear. She got me a bread knife. I also got her a bread knife. There was a miscommunication. She got me Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods which I’d been wanting for a long time. She got me a ton of funny hats as well. I now have a pizza hat, a viking helmet, and a Poro hat (Poros are cute and fuzzy League of Legends animals).

Soooo many presents. Fortunately, most of them are small and I was able to find places for all of them. Let me know what presents you got! Or just your favorite one!

-Mister Ed

Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve

My D&D group had our hangout with our friend in San Jose this weekend. Someone suggested naming the event, “Fake Chinese New Year’s,” because its an additional party after the official Fake New Year’s, just like Chinese New Year’s is in the USA.

I picked up my spy partner from the previous post and we went to our San Jose friend’s house together. After catching up a little we started the gaming off with a few rounds of Three Dragon Ante.

Three Dragon Ante is a game made by Wizards of the Coast for D&D. It’s meant to be a card game that the people play in D&D worlds. It’s a bit like poker with a three card hand, but with tons of other rules and suits thrown in. Each suit has a special effect when you put it into your flight (the hands are called flights because they cards are all dragons). The special effect only activates if your card is weaker than the one your opponent played previously. The person with the highest hand at the end of the round wins the pot. You can see that you have to balance between activating your effects or playing high cards to win the pot.

Three Dragon Ante has a nice flow to it and we played two games of it. After that we went to pick up some pizza and talked about which roleplaying system we’ll be using for my next campaign. I and a few other group member have gotten tired of playing D&D 3.5. We feel we’ve explored everything we can with the system. The new systems I’ve looked at are D&D 4E and Hackmaster. Hackmaster has a lot more appeal within my group so we discussed a few of the benefits of that system.

Our next game was Samurai, an old card game where each player is a samurai in feudal Japan. You attempt to gain honor by faithfully serving a respectable daimyo. The daimyos fight each other and there’s a lot of espionage and backroom deals to gain more power as well. I won that one, but just barely.

Another of our buddies showed up at that point. We switched to playing a new card game I’d gotten for Christmas, Villainy. Villainy is all about completing your villainous schemes as a super-villain like Lex Luthor. You have to gather a team of loyal henchman, commit nefarious crimes, complete your master plan, and finally defeat Fantastiman, Defender of Good and Justice. I played the nefarious Frog Tamer and attempted to decaffeinate the world’s coffee supply. Unfortunately, Master Asaurus Pain completed his vile scheme to release Fantastiman’s browser history before me, thus winning the game.

We went out for dinner at a Filipino place that served exclusively dishes with meat and eggs. We watched the final quarter of a football game between the Ravens and some other team. After that I had to head out. I dropped my friend off back at his house. On the drive home I listened to part of a Hardcore History on World War 1 that described what the USA was doing prior to entering the war.

And that’s the word on Fake Chinese New Year’s! I have yet to talk about Christmas stuff yet, but I’ll be getting there soon.

-Mister Ed