Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, The -  wallpaper 1

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt, The -  wallpaper 6 I just delved into The Witcher series of RPG games via the third installment in the series – The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.  If you like the Fantasy RPG genre, this game’s a definite must.  I’ve played through all of the Dragon Age RPG series.  There’s just this nice balance of martial combat and magic (via sigils) in the game.  So far my biggest complaint is not having enough carrying capacity.  I’m a pack rat by nature in games like this so I like to have lots of storage and whatnot for crafting weapons and armor.  The environment is just gorgeous with a lot of variety.   Add in the changing weather conditions and the environment really shines.  More on this later when I’m not playing! :D

Curiosity Lander

Curiosity Lander

It’s landing in T-2HRs!  Unfortunately for me, Verizon FIOS doesn’t carry the NASA channel so I am relegated to watching it via CNN through some kind of crappy video link.  It’s not even 1080p!  Oh, the injustice!

– WOOT! I found NASA TV on channel 25!  I take back all the bad things I said about Verizon Fios!

– TOUCHDOWN!   Who said 256×256 pixels can’t be beautiful?  Gonna be a great day to watch how this thing unfolds.  Methinks I’m gonna record it all day.

And to finish off the night, play some Louis Armstrong for me.

The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman

I saw it!  It was good.  Well, it was really good.  Did I mention that I really, really liked it?  Oh good, because I was afraid I didn’t mention that it was a very good reboot of the franchise and the casting was spot on.  The story’s slightly different this time – no Harry no Green Goblin.  This reboot gives us a spunky cool girlfriend played by Emma Stone (great job!)  And we have Rhys Ifans (aka Nigel ‘The Leg’ Gruff – I loved him in The Replacements) as a Lizard / not-so-much-a-mad-scientist-scientist-rather-one-who’s-forced-into-doing-something-he-knows-he-shouldn’t-but-does-anyway-scientist instead.

I saw the 2D version instead of the 3D version.  You could tell which scenes were shot specificially for the 3D audience.

Andrew Garfield is the perfect cast for Peter Parker.  He’s a breath of fresh air in his portayal of Peter Parker and should not be confused in any way shape or form with Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. I’m glad that the writers went in the direction of Peter being a very brainy kid because the Peter Parker toys were a great addition to the movie.  The gadgets lent quite a bit of definition to Peter’s character.  Emma Stone’s always good with whatever you throw at her so her portrayal of Gwen Stacy was a perfect counter-part to Andrew’s Peter Parker.  It’s always great to get a chance to see Denis Leary.  I positively love that sarcastic dry sense of humor he has.  Mr. Sheen and Ms. Field were great addition to the cast as was the “Hey look!  It’s C.Thomas Howell!” moment when he was Jack’s Dad (His son was too afraid to get out of the burning car.)

  • Andrew Garfield (Spidey/Peter Parker)
  • Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy)
  • Rhys Ifans (Dr. Curt Connors)
  • Denis Leary (Cpt Stacy/Gwen’s Dad)
  • Campbell Scott (Richard Parker/Peter’s Dad)
  • Martin Sheen (Uncle Ben)
  • Sally Field (Aunt May)
  • and C. Thomas Howell (Jack’s Father) got a part as well.

So everyone go see it.  Take friends and/or family.  You’ll be glad you saw it on the big screen.


A book cover!Redshirts is a fast read and true to John Scalzi’s style, it’s very concise writing.  It’s one of the reasons I love reading his work.  Mr. Scalzi’s style doesn’t lose anything by being concise.  He always tells a great story while not being bogged down in overly wordy books that are purposely overly wordy for the purpose of being overly wordy.

I saw one tweet about Redshirts being about the writing process and once I got to the Codas, I realized the guy was right on target.  Redshirts is as much a novel about the writing process as it is about some folks who figure out they’re lives are in trouble if they go on an away mission with any of the ship’s bridge crew.

I still think John and Wil Wheaton got this whole idea rolling after a few beers at Comic-Con.  It’s a very enjoyable book and if you haven’t read it, you really should.

@scalzi @wilw #omganothergreatbook! #writingwithcrayons

Cling to hope

1 Corintians 13:11 (NIV) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

In January 2009, I sat down on the side of my bed and prayed in earnest to God for the first time in a couple decades.  I was finally sick enough of my life that I decided to go back to trying to do things God’s way and not my own.  Since then I’ve been reading my Bible and praying and actually trying to grow as a person and as a Christian.  It’s been by no means easy.  Thirty years has passed and it feels like trench warfare.  I’m still the same guy I was before – with one exception: I’m trying again.  I hadn’t really tried at anything since Dad died back in 1982 and when it feels like doors constantly close for you in life, it has a way of reinforcing that defeatist attitude.

I remember standing outside Dad’s bedroom door knowing he’s breathing his last breaths mad at God that Dad had to die and saying to God, “You’re not going to make me go in there and watch that man die.”  I carried the pain of that event around with me like a lodestone along with my defeat.  That wasn’t what God wanted from me then or now.  The lesson I wish to this very day that I had learned was this: God wants us to emphatically and completely trust him.  “Trust me, Justin.  I know what I’m doing with your life.”  It took me twenty-seven years to learn that fact.  You might think, “But, twenty-seven years…” and yes, my life would be completely different had I learned that December 23rd, 1982, but at least I learned it.

One of the first (and most hopeful) passages I read was Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).  It’s also one of my favorites.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  14 I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

The whole passage is about restoration.  God loved Israel when Jeremiah wrote it and He loves it just as much today.  He loves each and every one of us equally as well.  As young people, we are filled with so much hope and optimism but often we let life run us down.  That’s life.  There’s highs. There’s lows.  How each of us approaches calamity in life is what defines our character.   I am one hundred percent positive that the reason why we suffer through calamities such as the loss of a parent or child or loved one is God wants to use that event as a catalyst to draw us towards Him and as a testimony on how we handled it when we do trust him through the hardship.  In the short time I’ve been going to CrossRoads Community Church, I’ve seen this act of trust displayed on numerous occasions.  It’s been people of good character trusting God through the hardships, clinging to their spouse and weathering the storm.  When asked, they can say, “We trusted God and we got through it.” Trusting God and the hope are like two tightly woven helicoids of DNA.  They are implicitly bound to one another.  Trusting God gives us hope.  Through hope we persevere.  Through perseverance, we gain character, we grow and we learn that our trust was not in vain.  That, in turn, reinforces our trust.

As we get closer to the day of Christmas and the closing out of the year, find someone to encourage.   If not for them, do it for you.  Be encouraged and be an encourager!  If you think the year has been a lost cause, remember God’s hope and promises.  Cling to hope.  Keep trying.  Don’t quit.  I’ll leave you with this one promise of hope: John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Wow, what hope!  Have a great Christmas and be safe this holiday season!

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old RepublicBioWare’s plunged head-on into the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) arena with their impending launch of SW:TOR.  I’ve had a chance to play a couple of the beta weekends.  The class quests are just top shelf.  So far I’ve tested out the Bounty Hunter and Smuggler class.  The Bounty Hunter companion (Mako) heals you.  The Smuggler companion (Riggs) shoot stuff.  More on this later.