Why do I do this to myself

Like many men my age, and younger, I play video games. The one game that is the bane of my existence is League of Legends. I have installed and uninstalled this game currently 2 times. I am back for the third time because I feel like I have unfinished business. What is this unfinished business you ask? Well I’ll tell you but pull up a chair and sit back.

League of Legends (LoL) is what’s called a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena). There are 5 people per team and the objective is take the other teams base. Pretty simple right? I’d agree but having played this game for many hours it’s not! I should add to this that there is a ranking system as well. 

The ranks go from bronze 5, the lowest of the low, all the way to challenger which is right at being considered a professional. The majority of people who play this game find themselves in bronze, silver or gold. As I mentioned I’m in bronze 5 and have been for quite sometime. It’s hard to get out of this level. There are people who don’t think that it is but it is. Now a lot of it is about improving yourself and your game play. However there are 9 other players on the rift the control Ute to this equation as well. And this is where this simple game becomes not so simple. It becomes very frustrating.

So this is where I find myself. And you may be asking yourself why do I even bother to frustrate myself with this game? I ask myself as well. I’ll never be challenger or diamond but there is something in my head that keeps telling me I’m not this bad. All I want to do is climb out of bronze and I to silver. Once I have reached this I will be done and move on.

Have a great Sunday everyone. 

I want to be proud of this country

Yesterday was the women’s march/protest across the nation. And I was proud of it. However as I got to thinking about it I started to wonder if these protests were against Trump and all he’s done (or said) or were they because Hillary lost. I suppose both of those are the same and I’m not expressing them correctly but if in fact those protests were for either one of those reasons and not something grander I feel like they were a waste of time.

I do not agree with Trump and I did not agree with Hillary. I voted third party and would have voted no confidence if it was an option on the ballot. Regardless of my vote Trump was elected and we have him as president the next 4 years. And I feel like the general consensus is that we already know how things are going to go and what he is going to do and the man has only been in office for a couple of days. I know if I was already judged for a job I hadn’t done it would be a hard trek.

If this is what it takes to get this nation to agree on something and get us moving in a direction we can all agree on then I’m for that movement. However my heart tells me that in four years time the fires will have burned down and we will find ourselves right back here again. Perhaps on the other side but here again wondering how something like this could happen. 

Weighing yourself sucks!

I think most of us would agree that weighing yourself sucks. Oh it’s great when the weight is going like a locamotive downhill (hello keto/low carb!) but when the scale moves up and you don’t know why it just sucks. No way around it!

Despite this issue it’s the way that we measure progress and one in which I’ll be using in this journey. But it’s not going to be my only way of measuring progress. 

The other way I intend on measuring is by watching my waist to height ratio. This number should be as close to .50 as possible. My current ratio is .57 so I have aways to go. I suspect that as this ratio improves my weight will be going down as well. If my waist goes down but my weight doesn’t it means I’m adding muscle! 

So I plan on watching my weight but I’m going to try and not focus on it as much because it can be discouraging but I think it’s a tool to use to see what works and what doesn’t! From yesterday to today I gained back 1.5 lbs! I really didn’t think I ate that.much yesterday but I probably had a bit more carbs than normal which I think made me retain water. My blood sugar was also higher than what I would like to see. 

Don’t be discouraged by the scale not showing what you want. The body, for most of us, is a mystery and we spend a lot of time trying to figure it out. Keep moving forward and get those goals!

In search of health

For the last couple of years, on and off, I’ve been looking for ways to lose weight and lower my blood pressure.  The start of that was to start exercising more as I was not exercising for awhile.  Additionally that lead to “I should eat less so I’ll lose weight” (which I think is probably the biggest cause of my problems).  But as much as I tried it didn’t work.  Or it didn’t work that well.

If we fast forward to March of this year I was once again on my quest for health.  I’d been running more than ever but my weight would not budge.  And on a couple of weeks it went up.  How could it be?

So we did ketogenic for awhile.  It helped some weight come off, but my wife didn’t like that style of eating.  I did some more research and headed down the rabbit hole pulling a string here and a string there.  Where we ended up at was intermittent fasting.  Or Eat Stop Eat.

We’ve been doing a fast twice a week.  I’ve hit 24 hours a couple of times, but haven’t been consistent about it.  And you know what? Weight is coming off!!  More than anything I think it’s gotten the insulin back in control which I believe is the key to most things related to weight these days.

I hope to be a bit better about sharing on here but just wanted to start somewhere!

Why ESports could be bigger than the NBA and other sports

I’m usually not one to make big predictions but over the past year I’ve been following some ESports…well just League of Legends (LoL).  There is of course a lot of other games that are in the ESports arena, but LoL is the one I’ve been following.

And the reason why it could be bigger than the NBA and other sports?  Because anyone can compete.  Granted most of the people playing ESports are younger than myself at 37, but those of us who will never compete can feel the thrill of competition. I’m sure those people playing the game professionally need something more than hours in front of a computer (ie: fast twitch), but for the most part we don’t need to be tall, or strong or whatever other thing that you need to be born with.

Those of us who will never compete will watch to see if there’s something going on that we could use in our games.  Is there something new that I don’t know about?  Should I be buying something else instead of what I currently buy?

The one thing that I hope doesn’t happen is that we have professional players that start making the huge amounts of money that the NBA/NFL etc make.  Why?  Because I think the wealth needs to be spread a bit more among other people. I’m all for people making a buck but the amount of money that some of these players make is just a shame.  I’ve wondered what would happen, if for one year, no professional player made over 1 million dollars (what they took home!) and no owner made of 5 million dollars.  The rest of it went to charity or back into their community.  What then?

In the mean time, if you haven’t checked out some ESports I highly recommend taking some time to sit down and watch a game or two.  You can find a bunch over on Twitch.TV!

Have a great weekend.

Interview Part 1 – Fiction

This is a continuation of The Offer – Fiction.  You probably should read that first and then come back here.

“Welcome to 12,” Haldon said the next day.

“Thanks,” I said as I looked at the building.

We were on the east side of town, in what had to be one of the newest buildings in town. The sun was going down and the building had a golden glow to it.

“So after I got home yesterday I realized I hadn’t asked you what you did here.”

“It’s kind of hard to explain.  Let me show you around first and I’ll let that do the talking.  If I’ve done a good enough job it will show you what we do. Fair?”

“Odd, but I suppose,” I replied.

“Alright,” Haldon said and led me inside of the building.

“Faith has been with us since the start and is control of our front desk and a few other things.”

I nodded hello to her.

“Behind here and on each side is our gym.  All employees have access to the gym and personal training by our trainers.  Lets go in and see what’s going on.”

Haldon opened the door into the gym area.  I was expecting a rather small area that had a few pieces of equipment strewn about but this was the exact opposite.  What wasn’t taken up by the entryway and elevators was indeed gym. There was weight racks, a basketball hoop, a rope climb and anything else you’d want in a gym.

“Our head trainer is Rich.  He’s with one of our operatives right now, but I can bring you back down if you like.”

I mumbled a thanks.  My jaw was on the floor at this point.

“The second floor is kind of empty at the moment but it’s where we have the start of our computer operations area. Where you’d be working.  Currently we only have one other person in that department, Shawn.  He’s an amazing kid.  Bit different but he has a gift with programming and he’s been an asset to the company.”

When the elevator opened on the second floor it was mostly dark, but to our right were some lights from machines.  I saw a movement as we got closer and realized it must be Shawn.

“Shawn,” Haldon called out.

“Hey Haldon,” Shawn said and came into the light.

His clothes were a few sizes to big and he had bright blue hair.

“I’d like you to meet Chad.  He’s here for the systems administration job,” Haldon said.

“Good to meet you.  When are you starting?” Shawn asked.

“Ahhh, I’m just here to see the facilities and interview.”

“Oh.  Well welcome aboard,” Shawn said with a smile.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“No one that I’m aware of has been interviewed and not accepted the job.  You checked out the gym right?  I mean come on.  Only gets better from there.”

“That’s enough Shawn,” Haldon said with a smile. “Would you mind showing Chad around for a couple of minutes.”

“Sure.”

Shawn walked into an area that he been partially built up but was far from being finished.  The area contained a couple of desks.

“Well I’m over there,” Shawn pointed to a desk that was quite the mess.  “You’d be over there.”

“Back here we have the start of our server setup, but we need you to come in and get us rolling.  The people that built this building did us no favors.  Additionally James, the guy here previously, didn’t do anything. So there’s lot of work.”

Haldon had walked back towards the elevators and was talking on the phone.

“So what goes on here?” I asked.

“Knew you’d be asking that, everyone does.  But Haldon will tell you.  It’s awesome man.”

“Thanks for your time Shawn,” I said and walked back to Haldon.

“Lets head up to my office, so we can talk a bit more about the details.  I fear what you’ve seen may be a bit vague.  Right?”

“Yeah I’m still a bit confused.”

 

The evil that is ISIS

Thoughts about ISIS have been bouncing around in the back of my mind for a few months.  Probably since late summer of 2014.  It was once again brought to the forefront with the recent news about the American hostage that was killed this week (or last).

As a Christian I ask myself how God can allow such an evil in this world.  Beheading, burning people alive and other acts we probably can’t imagine.  My first thought is lets nuke them to the ground.  Send everything we have and put them into the ground so we never hear from them again.  But then I have to back track and realize that God has a plan.  It’s not on our timetable but on his time table.  It is hard to see evil in this world, and this being one of the worst that I’ve seen in my life time, but there is.  Despite that God does have a plan and he knows what he’s doing.

Words seem to be coming hard this week, for what reason I’m not sure, but they are.  I hope to have some fiction tomorrow.

The Good Internet

My opinion on the internet varies wildly at time.  Sometimes I think it’s the greatest thing ever invented and at other times I think it’s nothing but the spawn of satan.  However there are times where it is really good.  This week was one of those weeks where I think it’s great.

There was this story about this guy, James Robertson, in Detroit, who walked 21 miles each way to work.  He’d start his journey at 8AM to start his job at 2PM.  I won’t repeat the story here.  You can read about it here, and at many various other places on the internet.  In all of that a college freshman put up a GoFundMe campaign and it’s raised over $230,000 dollars as of this writing! Pretty incredible when you think about it.

It’s stuff like this that I find totally amazing about the internet.  Prior to the internet no one outside of Detroit or the surrounding areas would have known about this.  Yet in today’s day and age people from around the world have donated to this cause and he’ll hopefully have a car to get to and from work (and some extra for gas!)

There is good out there. Sometimes you have to look hard for it, but it’s out there!

I’d love to hear any other stories out there like this if you know of them.

The Media and The Internet

I’ve been hesitant to post anything about this, but something I ran into earlier this week has prompted me to write this.  Let me preface this, as always, that these are my thoughts and opinions and do not reflect the position of my employer. 

Yesterday someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to an article about hosting WordPress in a IAAS (Infrastructure as a service) environment.  I clicked on it and I was able to read the first paragraph before I had to fill out a form to read the rest. I didn’t want to do it, but I wanted to read the article so I did.  Once the form was filled out I was then promptly pushed to an add on their site.  This nearly sent me over the edge with a rant on twitter.  But I restrained myself and in typical fashion I reflected a bit on it over night.

Ever since the internet has shifted from first gear and into whatever gear we are now, traditional publications (ie: print) have struggled.  A ton of magazines and newspapers have either shut down or have had to drastically change the way the do business.  Since 1998 I’ve worked with newspapers in some fashion or another so I’ve seen it happen.

Part of the struggle and problem, I believe, is that newspapers and magazines had it so good for so long (I’ve heard anywhere from 35% profit to 50% profit) that they could do anything and everything to fine tune what they were making money off of. When the internet came along that was no longer the case, but many newspaper still tended to think this way due to leadership not wanting to embrace the internet (embrace may not be the correct word).

On the flip side, what websites make off of the internet with advertising and the like, is not going to make up the difference of printing the paper (at least in the size of newspapers I’ve worked with and I suspect with many other newspapers).  So that being the case how are newspapers and magazines to make up the difference that they’ve lost in print?

I’m of the opinion that it’s not 100% possible.  I do think there are ways to bring internet advertising from the low end to a more reasonable amount.  So how would a newspaper or a magazine go about making this difference up?

Provide content that readers want!  While I didn’t like filling out the form to read the rest of the article yesterday, I did it.  I even let the video ad run (one of those video interstitial ads).  And then I read the article.  In hindsight I didn’t think the article was worth all of that, but the magazine got my information.  I can not emphasize this point enough. If readers don’t get what they want they will find a source that will provide them with what they want and leave you behind.  I think this is easier for magazines than newspapers because magazines I’d say are more ‘niche’ than newspapers.  Niche seems to work very well on the internet, while general (newspapers) doesn’t work as well.  I suppose newspapers are ‘niche’ in the sense that they usually cover a specific geographic area.  The problem is that some newspapers have cut their staff so low that the bulk of the paper is wire stories rather than stories the locals will find of interest.

Here’s the hard part: advertising.  Most people don’t like a page full of ads and as much as I’d like to see higher CPM’s they ain’t happening.  So what’s a publication to do with advertising?  Is there something better out there?  I’m really not sure what the answer to this is.  Maybe those interstitial’s are the answer.  Something I’ve recently heard about is allowing advertisers to produce their own content on the publishers site, and then charging a premium for that content (a bit premium).  This then equates to SEO and various other pieces for the advertiser.  Here is a link in regards to this. The problem with this is that the publication industry doesn’t want the advertisers and the editorial departments to be to close.

So like the whole industry I have no answer.  The best answer I can come up with is create an audience that loves you and your product.  Provide them what they want and hopefully they will in the end pay you for it.