John Madden realized he was worn out in football; Why can’t EA?!

25 Sep

AP takes a dive. (not that kind of dive!)

This year, I bought the newest installment in EA Sports’ monopolistic NFL football franchise, for the first time in nearly 8 years.  Why did I do this, after such an extended avoidance?  Well, a few things…  First, a few amigos pondered jumping into the virtual football stadium this year.  It would be a new place for us to banter; outside of the yearly military shooters.  But there was also the threat of “no football” this year.  The thought of it (even today) instills violent bodily convulsions!  I began to contemplate how I would fill my set aside weekly football time…  More video games? No, I already play anything that interests me…  Competitive Lego’ing?  Sounds fun, but I hear the Dutch have a Mafia that controls the Lego universe…  Become a runner?  Not until the zombie apocalypse!

Well thank goodness, EA put their monopoly to use, and decided (before an NFLPA agreement was made) to release ‘Madden NFL 12’; whether there were games played or not.  I began to envision Madden as REAL football.  Not just a virtual representation of the sport, but this year’s real NFL football season.  These “real” NFL games would be played by myself, and a choice selection of fellow Madden players.  Our games would be given Vegas odds…  People would create fantasy teams based on our “real” teams…  It would be great!  Who needs those “real” people to play for us?!

All I can say after that, is it’s a good thing that the players and owners came to an agreement!  That could have turned into a bad mental break situation… One only rivaled by ‘Deer Hunter’ or ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’!

NFL football was back on, and Madden was once again based on reality.  And like I said, using the ever so useful Amazon Prime “Free Release Date Delivery”, I ordered ‘Madden NFL 12’.  My mental health was saved!  Yah!  Everything was just peachy, right?!  Not exactly.  It’s quite obvious, that after supplying the NFL with an insane amount of cash and sexual favors, they took an extended post-coitus nap.

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Update: I have more influence than I thought!

12 Sep

A handled bag!

A couple weeks ago, I went on a rant about takeout food packaging.  In the post, I singled out Wildflower Bread Company — a place I frequent — for having particularly poor logic when it came to packaging food to-go.  Well, during the early round of NFL games (while DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket PS3 app was on the fritz, and before the Vikes game started) I decided a Wildflower “BLT Plus” sandwich, with their “Potato Cream Cheese Soup”, was the perfect pre-football stress meal. (Yes, I ordered the same thing. It’s good stuff dammit!)

To my surprise, I was handed a (rather large) BAG, WITH HANDLES!  Sure enough, Wildflower seemed to have taken my, less-than-subtle, hint!  And it wasn’t like I was being singled out by someone on staff that MAY have come across my illustrious banterings; everyone was getting these bags!

As mildly exciting as this is, I have a theory…  I think they simply ran out of the small white (non-handed, sideways-oriented) bags.  The colorful, handled bag I was given, was WAY too big for my small order; and I have seen people walk out of the place with these bags in the past; filled with numerous items.  These large, colorful, gloriously-handled bags weren’t just created… they have been around; and been utilized for special large order missions.

So time will tell.  Is my theory correct, and I’ll be handed the sideways, handle-challenged white bag again? Or will the usage of the colorful, handle-endowed bag continue?  We’ll find out next time!  Same bat time!  Same bat place!

We squeaked out a win. But should we consider it a victory?

10 Sep

Brock directing the BlackOut

Yes. A win is a win. And on national TV, it’s great!   BUT!  Most non-ASU fans (and even some ASU fans) will agree, it was a sloppy game, that could have gone either way.  Should we, as Sun Devils, be satisfied with a “lucky win” over a 21st ranked BCS team?  NO!  We sure as hell shouldn’t!  While we came away with the win, and all the talk in Tempe was positive on the win, the rest of the country saw a sloppy, penalty-ridden game, that could have gone either way.  If we (ASU) want to be taken seriously again as a national powerhouse, we need to be blowing out 21st ranked teams; not going into overtime with em.  A game as close as Friday night’s should never happen, unless we are playing a top-5 BCS team.

Dennis Erickson sure was a high profile hire, after Dirk Koetter; but remember, Koetter built winning teams.  Erickson’s only ASU season with a winning record was his first season; with a roster full of Koetter’s seniors.  Sure Erickson won national championships with Miami, but that was in 1989 and 1991; a decade ago!  As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of Erickson.  Nevertheless, we’re stuck with him now, and need to win with him now.  I just hope the players can step up, and overcome his weak coaching.  There is a lot of energy on the Sun Devil football field, but it seems to be unfocused, and causes stupid penalties.  A competent coaching staff would be able to control this energy, and direct it where it needs to be.  This team is full of national title talent, but I fear it will never see such accolades.

Regardless, ASU has a new fire in the football program.  Whether it’s the new pitchfork branding, the “BlackOut unis”, or something else, the ASU football program has gotten re-invigorated, and needs to feed off it.  Don’t let it fail this time.  And whether deserved or not, let’s put this new found energy to good use.  Let’s make a name for ourselves again!  The Pac-12 may still be laughed at by the rest of the college football world, but it’s time we took it on our own shoulders, and put it on the map!  Since we all know USC and Oregon are full of paid players, and UofA is based out of Northern Nogales (so they have never counted), it’s on us, Sun Devils!

What I’m Playing: Late August

30 Aug

Jensen watches Manning get eatin' by the natives!

The summer game drought has officially come to an end, with the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  Prematurely in fact!  I almost passed on DE:HR at release — planning to pick it up at a later date, after the fall deluge of games, and at a more reasonable price — but after reading the rave reviews and craving something to kick me out of the summer game drought funk, I immediately enacted Amazon Prime’s wonderful “Free Release Date Delivery”.

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Monday Morning Designer: Handles Would Be Handy

28 Aug

White Paper Bag

This post is more of a rant, than an insightful look at some element of the designed world.  However, it does touch on usability, human factors, and packaging just enough to warrant as a Monday Morning Designer post.  I ask you to read between the passive-aggressive lines, and find the useful pieces within.  Or, just enjoy my rant on takeout food packaging!

I eat out a lot; everyday a lot. (more on that here: “Why I Don’t Cook At Home”)  I also, usually, would rather eat my food with a Netflix’d episode of MacGyver or clear out some DVR space with my meal, versus staring at the other sad souls sitting alone in a booth.  People watching is only amusing for so long.  And so I’ve come to know the carrying solutions of “To-Go” orders from a number of food joints.  Most stick to the tried and true, some try to be cute and clever, and others…  they seem to try to keep you in the restaurant, by offering horrible take-out carrying solutions that make you fear carrying any of their food out of the place.  One such place, is a place I frequent a few times a week:  Wildflower Bread Company.

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What I’m Playing: Early August

13 Aug

XMB Screenshot of Resistance 3 Beta

The summer drought of games continues, but I managed to finally dive into a backlog of PSN games, and got a chance to try out a multiplayer beta of a future game release!

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Monday Morning Designer: Video Apps Too Good For The Video Folder

12 Aug

I'm seeing double!

The PlayStation 3’s ever-changing operating system (known as the “XrossMediaBar”, or “XMB”) was recently updated to version 3.70.  Better than the typical “Playback quality of some PlayStation 3 software has been improved. *COUGH*hackerholepatched*COUGH*” style update, this latest version brought some slick new functions; like the auto-upload of saved game data to the cloud and auto-Trophy syncing (both requiring PS+).  However, it’s the update to how the various TV and video apps (i.e. Netflix) are organized, that is the real head-scratcher.

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