Left 4 Dead 2

I loved the original.  Loved it.  I carved its name and mine into a tree in the backyard with a heart around it.  We, however, refused to get married until gays can also be married.  This turned out to be a good decision because if I had gotten married, I’d be an adulterer.

Left 4 Dead 2 is all that and a bag of chips, so to speak.  More weapons, more special infected, more events, and a story that flows through all five campaigns to make one complete story, though each feels perfectly fine playing it alone.  I’m not done with the original though.  As much as I like Ellis, I miss Francis.  The Coach is cool, but Bill had a certain flair.  Plus, you know, I’m still missing some achievements.  But overall, the sequel is a better game in just about every possible way.

Faster Food

I think at the point the thing that angers me the most when I go to eat fast food is the inability of the person at the register to type in exactly what I order. I’ve been eating at Wendy’s restaurants for a long long time, and in that time I have learned their keypad so that I order exactly the way that it must be keyed in. “Junior hamburger with mustard and pickles only.” On the register, all the guy needs to do is hit the junior hamburger button, then the mustard button, then the pickles button and finally the “only” button. Simple. So why do I still get burgers with onions, mayo, ketchup, cheese and/or lettuce on them? I look at the screen and I see that the person working the grill has made my burger to order, the problem being that my order says “Junior cheeseburger with ketchup and onions.”

This is why I get frustrated… I have done everything in my power to eliminate mistakes and yet the people working the register keep messing it up. The other workers to their job correctly, but the person I deal with gets it wrong screwing up the whole chain. Argh!

So, I’m at Wal-Mart and I’m buying two things. Instead of waiting in the ridiculously long lines (because they have three registers open with fifty customers), I head to the self check-out. Beep-beep, scan, beep, bag, scan, beep, bag, credit card, done. And I’m out. This is what fast food places need. Remove the cashiers, they are outdated. Spin the register around, let me punch in my order, swipe my card or insert my bills (provide change if needed) and print me a receipt. Then I proceed to the window and pick up my order when my number is called.

Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s? Any of you guys reading this? As a bonus, it means all the cash is inside the machine in the wall. No more sticky fingers from the employees. No more store hold ups because there is no drawer for them to open. I’m telling you, wave of the future. Wave of the future.

Just Playin’ …

So, I spent a bunch of time looking through all the available themes for WordPress. There are a lot of very nice ones, however, none of them really sparked my interest. There are a few cool tricks that I’ll be stealing, but the layouts of them weren’t my bag.

See, I’m a big believer (most of the time) in letting the content fill the browser. Artificially limiting someone to a set width and leaving gaps either on both sides or the right just bugs me. Now, don’t get me wrong.. they have their place, and I use them, for ‘the Front Page’ and some of my other writings where I want the presentation to be exact for column length or whatnot. But in a place like a weblog or online journal or whatever, it just doesn’t fit. Especially when they use a 400 pixel width in the days where most people are running at 1024 x 768, or at the very least 800 x 600. Using only half the screen width just screams of poor layout design.

Anyway… so after reviewing a bunch of themes I’m going to be just sticking with and modifying the default theme. You may notice the colors are a little different today and the menu has moved a little. Baby steps…

Rubbing the Lucky Nut.

Before I got my job at Toys “R” Us, I visited my parents and my mother pulled out a bag of buckeye nuts.

There isn’t much special about buckeyes. Unless you count this. It seems that my grandfather wasn’t making it up.

See, my father’s father lived in Jacksonville, Florida. We used to visit a couple times a year, except when we were living in Pennsylvania, until he passed on, and outside the house on the right side stood the Buckeye tree. He’d collect the ones that fell and hand them to the grandkids when we came telling us of the luck they held within. We usually were only lucky in losing or misplacing them. I’ve probably had over a hundred of these in my possession over the years, but right now I have only three. Two of these I retained from my younger years of visiting my grandpa. They managed to stay with me through the years and all the moving, mostly trapped in the drawers of my various desks. But the luck of these have probably worn out.

My mother opened the bag and I picked out a buckeye with a good thumb on it. My grandfather used to say that you should just keep it in your pocket and when you need luck just reach in and rub your thumb into the indent in the nut. I took a good one and put it in my pocket. It was for luck on a job interview.

Every day I kept it in my pocket and when my hand would brush against it, I’d reach in and give the nut a couple of rubs. It was in my pocket when I went to the interview and it was in my pocket when they called to tell me I got the job.

Thanks Grandpa Pace. I hope you are looking down at me now, and I hope you are proud at what you see.