Thursday, December 19, 2019

Buc-ee's

John B. Marine | 12/19/2019 05:22:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
#Bucees makes for some awesome travel places. Buc-ee's is a chain of travel centers with many gas pumps and a massive convenience store. They primarily are both long distance gas stations and a tourist trap. They can be quite fun to visit. They also are essential to you in traveling as well as staying fed. No matter what, Buc-ee's stores never offer dull moments. I figured I'd blog about Buc-ee's for this blog post.






Buc-ee's


(some information taken from the Wikipedia entry on Buc-ee's)

Buc-ee's is a chain of gas stations primarily across Texas. Though, in my research of this topic, there are also Buc-ee's stores in Alabama, Florida, and even one in Georgia. Buc-ee's was established in 1982 by Arch "Beaver" Aplin III and Don Wasek. The company is based in Lake Jackson, Texas, USA. The Buc-ee's mascot is Bucky, a beaver. The first Buc-ee's store opened in Luling, Texas, USA in 2001. The chain of Buc-ee's stores increased to over 36 different locations. Buc-ee's mostly are in Texas, but there are also stations in Alabama and Florida. There is also a Buc-ee's that recently opened in Georgia. So Buc-ee's is on the rise. They are known for being some of the biggest gas stations in the world.

Some of the many things that make Buc-ee's stand out are a lot of the different facilities offered. For one thing, there are more than 60 different gas pumps at most Buc-ee's locations. Lots of people can come in and fuel their vehicles while on a long trip or something. They also offer fresh food people can either buy or see being prepared. Most of all, Buc-ee's is known for having some of the cleanest bathrooms of any sort of gas station or travel center. There are a lot of stalls meant to service many people. Buc-ee's is the kind of place where you can be on your way in style to get through the day or to keep your road trip going.

What Buc-ee's offers is multiple gas pumps and massive convenience stores. They also offer lots of fresh food and drinks to keep people fed. You can also buy things such as hunting accessories, grills, lawn chairs, clothes, and more. The first thing to really get to you is the very fun Bucky beaver. You see all kinds of fun merchandise to buy, including of the Buc-ee's beaver himself. The food and drinks offered by Buc-ee's include everything from hearty breakfast to some delicious lunch and dinner options. You may even get yourself something to snack on in case you want snacks to pick up for your travel pleasures. You can get everything drinks wise from orange juice, to various soft drinks, and even some beer and wine. You can get lots of travel gear and some outdoor living if those are your thing. Go get yourself lawn chairs, propane tanks, coolers, tumblers, and more from Buc-ee's. Find some toys, books, and even music CDs for those wanting some entertainment at Buc-ee's as well. You can even add to your wardrobe with fashion items from Buc-ee's. Get yourself things like T-shirts, button-down shirts, footwear, caps, hats, sunglasses, sleepwear, and more. Buc-ee's does not disappoint with all you can buy from these stores. These are MORE than just "gas stations." They are literally tourist traps.


My Buc-ee's Testimonial.

The first time I learned of Buc-ee's was when I went to Kerrville, Texas, USA back in 2005 or 2006. I was going to go to Kerrville to try to enroll at Schreiner University. I saw a lot of signs along the way regarding Buc-ee's. So when my parents and I arrived at the Buc-ee's in Luling, Texas, USA; I was blown away by what all the store had to offer. Coincidentally, the Buc-ee's in Luling is the first ever Buc-ee's location. Buc-ee's is such a fun place! I can assure you that you will not be disappointed with what Buc-ee's stores have to offer. More than a travel gas station, they are travel centers that have just about all of your best interests in mind. Also... how can you not love the cute Bucky beaver? :)


Final Thoughts.

Buc-ee's is an amazing chain of travel stores offering fun times and tasty edibles. I enjoy the experience and appeal Buc-ee's has to offer. These are great places to visit on your way to wherever in the world you are going. While Buc-ee's are gas stations, they are MUCH more than simple gas stations. These are travel centers that offer just about everything a usual gas station can offer while providing much more. I have said they are more tourist traps, Buc-ee's provides a lot more than even most large gas stations can provide. If you are in Texas or in any of the other places where Buc-ee's stores are located, visit one today and enjoy what all they have to offer that make them such fun places.


Video Preview.

To give you an idea of what Buc-ee's is all about, check out this video:


^ Buc ee's Preview

What say you about Buc-ee's after seeing this?


For More Information...

To learn more about Buc-ee's, visitwww.buc-ees.com. You can connect with their social media platforms as well by visiting the Buc-ee's website.


Just For Fun...

I designed the livery for this Stadium Super Truck in Automobilista. Relevant to this blog post, it's a Buc-ee's truck! Check it:

Buc-ee's Stadium Super Truck
^ from: (JohnMarineDesigns (links to source)) - I designed the livery of this Stadium Super Truck to feature Buc-ee's.





I hope you enjoyed this blog post here. I'll blog about almost anything here on "John's Blog Space." Connect with me elsewhere online if you enjoy me and my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

Visit my official website at johnbmarine.com, subscribe to My Blog(s), and/or Follow on Bloglovin!
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Monday, November 25, 2019

Your Dream Home

John B. Marine | 11/25/2019 10:01:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!
Everyone dreams of a place to call home. Besides where to call home, people want certain aspects of a dream home. How many bedrooms you want? How big of a garage you want? Do you want a media center? How about a backyard pool? Do you want a fireplace for your home? Do you prefer a home within the city, in the country, or do you even want to live in a beach house? Regardless of what you look for in a home, it either has already been made and waiting for you to buy, or you may want to consult with a home builder to help create your dream home. No matter what, there is a home out there waiting for you to claim as your own. This blog post is a somewhat casual one regarding dream homes.


Before I Begin...

Please note I am NOT educated on homes or real estate. I am no "expert" in anything discussed here. Do not take my discussions as proper advice regarding homes and real estate. Consult proper realtors and real estate agencies for more adequate advice towards buying homes.






Your Dream Home


So you're wanting a dream home? We got a lot to talk about! This picture sets the mood for this blog post (and I'll find some other picture if I can't properly use it):

Your Dream Home
^ from: (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - links to article) - Everyone has dreams of having their dream homes. What is YOUR dream home, though?

This is a section talking about some of the different nuances of seeking a dream home. I was inspired to blog about this topic as I once visited an open house with my family. This home I visited was a home that was for sale close to where some family members of mine live close by. It was a two-story home that seemed very nice. The house had about four bedrooms (including the master bedroom). For me and my parent, I could see one or two of the bedrooms serve as home office space. It had a media room, a place that could serve as an upstairs media center, and even a very nice upstairs balcony to gauze at sunsets or something. I even imagined which room I want as my room for that house if my parents bought it. While I have had qualms about trying to potentially adjust towards moving from my longtime home to this newer place, I actually realistically could see myself enjoying this house I visited and taking advantage of all it has to offer.

Dreaming of your dream home can be a great endeavor. Good news is that it is possible you can build your dream home in a location you are most comfortable with. When you want to consider what your dream home is, you want to imagine a place that suits your needs and perhaps even reflects your personality and style. A home you consider a dream home should be one that suits all or most of what you want in a home along with a place that suits your needs. Needs and wants change over time. Even still, home is a place where you want to live while also enjoying being comfortable. So you want a home that can last for a long while for you and your family.

A lot of people actively involved with the housing market want a home they can enjoy and live happily in. Even in places where buying a home is not as lucrative or enticing, everyone still dreams of certain homes being unique living spaces for many people. Some people want homes just to call home. Some others want homes uniquely tailored to or that people can get accustomed to them easily. If the latter describes what you want in a home, then you will want to find ways to have that dream home of yours built. So you may have to contact a home builder or even go as trying to build your own home from the ground up (good luck to you!). On top of that, you need to have the proper financing to make home buying happen.

In a fast-growing city like my hometown of Houston, I would see new homes and apartments being built around town. Houston already has about five million to about six million people. A lot more houses around the Houston-Galveston area are being built regularly. With such a booming housing market here in Houston, it is great to imagine being able to have a home to meet your needs and for you to enjoy living life in.






Your Dream Home: What Do You Want?


There are many things that are ideal for most people, having a dream home is one of them. We all think about what kind of home we want to live in.


Location.

Location is important for your life and lifestyle. Some people prefer living in quiet communities within the city. Some others want to live away from busy cities. Some people may have a home they love to live in, but they also want some second homes to be in other places at times. In addition, people may have a home in one city, but they may have homes in other cities, and possibly even other countries. Some of the most important aspects of location relates to being in a place that suits you best. Maybe you want to move to a certain home so you can be closer to a certain location where you work at. Or maybe you want to live in a place where you could start a new chapter of your life or simply get away from your past. You want a home that will LAST. Therefore, it would be pointless to find some home that you can temporarily call home and then find some other place. You want a place that will last you and other people.

In the case of people wanting to live in a new city, it is a tough decision to get away from the place you've called home. That's even if you lived in a certain place for a good portion of your life near family. Maybe you want to live in a different place while still remembering where you came from.

What if you want to live in a different country? You may want to live in a new country while also trying to find a home you can enjoy. For example, you could be from Poland and want to live in New York City to begin a new life. You might have to think about trying to apply for citizenship in another country. Where you want to live in a different location is also important. Do you prefer the city life or want to live in a rural location? These are things to think about as you are looking for a great location for your new home.

In any of these situations, location is a big factor in where you want to live.


Home Features.

Let us get something straight. This topic is not necessarily about how you furnish your home, but the BASICS of your home. I am talking about things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms among other things. You even are looking at what you want in terms of garage space.

There are many factors that go into envisioning your dream home. Let's start with the style of your dream home. One of the first things to consider in your dream home... do you prefer a classic-style house or a modern style home? Are you the type that prefers having lots of wooden materials building your house or things like marble floors and tiles? Do you want lots of windows? Would you prefer simple closets or expansive walk-in closets? Do you want a simple garage to house your vehicles, or do you want a garage that is borderline car showroom quality?

If you have a family of your own, you want a home that will suit your family with the proper amount of bedrooms and bathrooms. So a married couple that has two children would obviously look into having a nice bedroom for mom and dad while having maybe one or two bedrooms for the kids. If the couple drive two different automobiles, then having a home with a two-car garage would be more than enough. A couple might even consider having a one-story home or two-story (or potentially larger) home.

Perhaps you are an aspiring or rising media star. So you want a home where you can live comfortably and even conduct your media work within home without wanting to travel constantly to a recording studio or something. Perhaps you can find within your dream home a room where you can perform your creative magic. For a musician, someone's dream house can have a room where you can have a proper recording studio, even if do-it-yourself (DIY) or makeshift. Someone who a video blogger could have a room in a dream home to where most of the recording and editing magic happens. If culinary arts is your passion, you want a great kitchen for you to perform your food masterpieces. If one is a basketball player, someone may want an in-home or outdoors basketball court to practice and stay fit. These extra facilities can help make your dream home even more special. Being able to practice your loves and passions at home can be great for you in having the living space of your dreams.

Let's say you have money to burn and want to live in a place that reflects your wealth. Rather than live your executive life in some apartments in a low land value area, you want to live in some location either within downtown or in a rich suburb. You want your home to be fancy and expansive to live the kind of lifestyle you want to have. Maybe you want things like a large outdoor pool and the house looking like a fancy European mansion.

Finally, do you prefer being in a gated community? Some homes are in a fairly open community, and some others are within gated communities. This is something you may want to consider as far as meeting other people and not feeling completely private. Gated communities also seem more secure and protected.

You have many options to choose from. A dream home of yours is complex in nature and for what you want in a home, but it is very doable to have a home you can call your dream home... and even live in, too!


Financing a Dream Home.

...but wait... you know all of this dream home chatter is going to cost you money, right? Therefore, it is important you have enough money to help finance purchasing a new home. Some homes can cost about as much as a lot of exotic cars. For example, a luxurious four-bedroom house could cost about as much as a $400K USD exotic sports car. How you are going to pay for all of that is between you and whatever lenders or services you use to purchase a home. So you may want to consult whatever services are available to you, whether it's Lending Tree, Quicken Loans, or anything like that. It's going to cost you, but it will be worth it to try to make your dream living space happen.


More chatter on dream homes is coming up. Next section...




Your Dream Home: Does it Exist?


Is your dream home waiting for you to be bought? Here are two brief talking points...

NOTE: It is possible I could make this topic a separate blog post. So stay tuned to this blog for if I decide to make a separate topic related to material in this section.


Does Your Dream Home Actually Exist?

You may not need to custom make your own dream home- it might be out there already made and possibly for sale! If that's true, then get with the associated realtor(s) now! Seeing pictures and/or videos of homes will allow you to see what all a home has to offer.


MAKE Your Own Dream House!

If you have the desire, money, patience, and skill to make your own house; then try building your own dream home rather than look for one on the housing market! When I was researching this sub-topic, I found one resource that can help you if you want to go into building your own home from the ground up. Take a look at this resource if you want to build your dream home: How to design your own home | loveproperty.com.


I felt this needed its own section since it is possible your dream home may already be out there willing for you to take. Or, it may be in a location you may want to base your dream home at. Either way... your dream home awaits in some form or fashion.




Your Dream Home: Final Thoughts


Everyone envisions a home they can call home. While our tastes in homes vary, we all know that "there's no place like home." Some of our visions of what we consider our dream home vary from person to person. While some ideas may seem too far-fetched for what we would consider our dream home, most of these dream homes of ours can become reality. Finding (or even building) that dream home can be a long and tedious project that can consume lots of energy and finances. If the end game is to have that dream home to be proud of for a long time to come, then it is surely worth expending and exhausting these resources. You want your dream home to be YOUR home. Whatever it takes for you to live happily and feel secure home-wise is up to you and you alone. So go consider your options and work as hard as you can to make having and living in your dream home a reality. Or to paraphrase a popular quote, "don't let your dream home be a dream!"





I hope you found this blog post useful and insightful. I do what I can in all of my blogs to make them worthwhile. Please be sure to Follow/Subscribe to my material for more of my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Friday, November 15, 2019

Telescopes

John B. Marine | 11/15/2019 09:34:00 AM | | Be the first to comment!
In 2015, I blogged about the Hubble Space Telescope. I was approached by someone online who wrote an article about the best telescopes for 2020. So I decided to post a brief blog entry discussing telescopes. This blog post is a not-as-detailed look at telescopes and why you should invest in one if you have such interests in astronomy. For someone whose online work is inspired by stars and space, I am pleased to offer a blog post regarding telescopes. Welcome to "John's Blog Space!"







Telescopes


Time to see the universe in a special way. Telescope talk!

telescope
^ from: costco.com - You can see only so much of what the universe has to offer. Therefore, a telescope can help you see more of our universe.


Why would you want a telescope? Well, so many fascinating things about our universe can't see seen with the naked eye. So we need a telescope to gauge some of the amazing things about space. A telescope allows you to see in space what the naked eye can not. You can see some of the many things in space you can only dream of seeing. There are some instances when I've used a telescope to see things like shooting stars or orbiting space satellites.

As someone who enjoys Earth Science as well as Astronomy, it can be a fine educational investment to purchase and use a telescope to see what our universe has to offer. Telescopes can range in price from about $99 USD to over $20K USD depending on how powerful of a telescope you'd like to have. This article online gives you a brief overview of what to look for in a telescope: A Beginner's Guide to Telescopes. Surely invest in a telescope if you have abounding admiration for wondering what our universe has to offer.

It can be a very fun experience to want to gaze into our universe and see what we normally wouldn't see through the naked eye. So get yourself a telescope and see what is REALLY out there!


Telescopes Online.

Would you like to purchase a telescope? I can help you with this section! Take a look at this below and get started towards your astronomical adventures:




Happy shopping! :)


Special Salute...

Most of all, I want to show you this link sharing some of the best telescopes for 2020. Take a look: 10 Best Telescopes for Beginners and Professionals (2020) (Technolocheese)


Cross Promotion/Other Reading.

This blog post on telescopes stems from someone who liked my previous post regarding the Hubble Space Telescope. If that post interests you, you can read my past post on the Hubble Space Telescope here: Hubble Space Telescope (John's Blog Space).





I hope you found this brief blog post to be interesting. I'm glad you could be here! If you want to keep up with my blog posts, please Subscribe and Follow my work in any capacity you see fit. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

Visit my official website at johnbmarine.com, subscribe to My Blog(s), and/or Follow on Bloglovin!
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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

John's Corner: A Creative Confession

John B. Marine | 10/30/2019 05:54:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
I have not blogged as much as I used to in recent times. While I do still enjoy providing material to all of my blogs, there has something that has limited my activity. I will share what that is as I break my silence in this post. This is not any kind of fancy post, so I will leave things like fancy graphics or other links aside and just talk with you straight up. I did plan this to be on "John's Creative Space" as it involves creative material of mine, but I am sharing my thoughts here in my main blog for better visibility.

This is another post of me simply chatting with you among my posts of...

Johns Corner
John's Corner!






John's Corner: A Creative Confession


I haven't been too much active on the blogging circuit of late. I'll explain why in this section.


A Blogging Confession.

The main reason why I haven't blogged as much is because I have been exploring more avenues of creative material. As a solo entity, I try to extend my creative work beyond just blogging. I started becoming more active trying to develop more material to enhance my media profile online but also to have something other than blogging to contribute to the world. While it may seem like it is just now that I decided to make my confession made, I actually have been trying to develop creative work outside of blogging for months and even a few years.

One thing I have noticed is how much my views have declined across a number of my blogs. Gone are the days that my blog would get five-digit views a month. Now I'm fortunate if I even get past 5K views a month for my main blog. I still keep up my blogs because I want to project my voice to the world with my thoughts. At the same time, I want to offer something more useful than the garden variety of Internet memes and other hateful material.

So where does all of this "creative" talk come about in regards to my blogging? Well, because I don't know how to make certain things or know what people would want, I have struggled trying to develop certain creative material to enhance my media profile. Not knowing how to make certain things or figuring out what to make have limited my blogging productivity. I have had bad luck trying to establish a community and ask people what they would want, so I remained solo and just create things I think people will either pick up on or pretend it never existed. Since there are some creative elements I have never made anything for, I did lots of research in trying to make sure whatever I come up with was done right on the first attempt. Once a clear vision is established, I can then go on to trying out new things to enhance my creative work.

To try to profit for my work, I decided to join a service I think could provide me the best visibility and that I could produce a lot of content for others to see and (hopefully) enjoy. Therefore, I joined Envato early in October 2019. The Envato Marketplace offers a number of products and outlets for which to make your assets known to the world. At the same time, I am looking for as many different avenues I think I can contribute to. All that remains is executing. And... also making sure my material gets approved in the first place.

Because of a lot of limitations so far, I have even considered making my work for sale outside of Envato. It is all about offering creative work to the masses. It also comes down to possibly making a living providing creative work to the world (which I am hoping for).



What "Creative Work?"

Here is where you get to see just how much and how hard I tried to expand my creative portfolio.

What "creative work" am I talking about? Of late, I have become a bit more active creatively as I joined Envato in October 2019. I published my voxel vehicles that I have touted online as well as on my "John's Creative Space" blog. I have plans to release my voxel characters I created long ago to upload to Envato and hopefully get that package accepted.

I want to attempt new territory. One such bit of new territory for me includes making motion graphics. I am hoping I can make material that video makers can television media can use one day. There is one big problem to all of this for me. I once purchased a plan to use Adobe's Creative Cloud and utilize various programs. Sadly, I was very disappointed and cancelled my subscription to avoid any sort of penalty. The most popular programs for video production for Adobe are After Effects and Premiere Pro. Many video media types use Adobe After Effects for video production, and many offer templates to help people create their own media masterpieces. I want to provide some material to get those with Adobe After Effects to make their own quality video material. Besides Adobe After Effects, some other people use Apple Motion and Cinema 4D for video production. I have been looking into Cinema 4D to see if I can produce for those programs instead. As I was looking into what I can contribute to Envato, I have realized that I can't upload motion graphics or stock footage because I haven't uploaded a portfolio of my work. I have never worked with stock graphics or broadcasting work, so I can't say I have a portfolio worth sharing.

Before recently getting into trying to develop TV graphics, I was trying to create vector art to be used in games and other applications. I drew a lot of inspiration from a number of different vector artists, but the one that really stood out to me was GraphicMama. GraphicMama provides a lot of different mascot characters to be used in media presentations and other work. I tried so much to generate material that I simply did not know how I could properly contribute. I also was looking at various game developers who offer their assets on Envato. While I have taken a hiatus from game development, I feel I still need to develop at least game prototypes to test out any models I have created. So in other words... while I have temporarily given up on game development, I sort of have to get back into game development to properly make something people can use and contribute to.


What Does the Future Hold?

Hopefully, my best efforts will lead to some sort of promise for me and my work. Most of what I have visions for will all be works in progress and learning experiences. Life is a work in progress to begin with. I just need more inspiration and more practice to hopefully provide material to help people creatively as well as hopefully profit. It will be a tough journey, but it can be done. Please believe!





Again, I apologize for not continually updating my content. I just try to do more than blogging. I surely will keep my blogs updated with new content when I can make that content available. Be sure to visit my "John's Cretive Space" blog to see my creative content. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

Visit my official website at johnbmarine.com, subscribe to My Blog(s), and/or Follow on Bloglovin!
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Monday, September 16, 2019

Vaping

John B. Marine | 9/16/2019 06:35:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
Drinking and smoking have never appealed to me. Despite this, some of the hottest issues of late have been vaping and e-cigarettes. There have been multiple deaths reported from vaping have been reported in August 2019. Government is even stepping in to regulate vaping. Some states, even have completely banned vaping. This blog post offers my own thoughts in regards to vaping.






Vaping


I tried to find a decent picture to set the mood for this blog post, but I thought otherwise since I couldn't find one. So you'll have to go on your imagination to know what I am discussing here.

What is vaping? As I understand it, vaping is a form of smoking that doesn't involve traditional smoking. Here is the definition Wikipedia provides:

"An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld battery-powered vaporizer that simulates smoking and provides some of the behavioral aspects of smoking, including the hand-to-mouth action of smoking, but without burning tobacco. Using an e-cigarette is known as 'vaping' and the user is referred to as a 'vaper.'"

-Wikipedia (links to entry on site)

So according to Wikipedia, vaping is simulated smoking. Smoking in itself is dangerous as it is. Vaping has been seen as being even more dangerous than regular smoking. There is even a report that suggests vaping can also harm healthy teeth and gums also. Why vape, though? Well, people want to smoke whether usual smoking or this electronic smoking. Despite this willingness to smoke or vape, government is even stepping in to regulate or completely ban electronic cigarettes. This means brands like Juul are being fiercely regulated in trying to curb vaping. When researching vaping on Twitter, I even heard that some people smoked a regular cigarette after vaping. Regardless, vaping has its appeal to most people.


My Own Vaping Thoughts.

I do not use "John's Blog Space" or any other blog of mine to tell people how they should live. I am not any kind of hypocrite. There will likely be a strong contingent of people who will act against me or oppose any of my own ideas. I don't drink or smoke. Having said all of that, it may be best to say that the best way to prevent vaping is to simply not get involved in smoking- let alone vaping. I'm sorry... I just never found smoking or vaping to be "cool" or "sexy" or anything. It won't make you any less of a person just because you don't do any smoking or any variation of smoking (including vaping). If you still prefer to do any kind of smoking, that's up to you. I am not here to get in your way. However, if you are on the fence regarding smoking or vaping, I say the best thing you can do for yourself is to simply not get involved with smoking. And if you're trying to recover from smoking, get involved in one of those Stop Smoking programs or use things like nicotine gum.

These are my own thoughts, anyways. Feel free to agree or disagree to your heart's content.


Other Reading/Cross-Promotion.

My previous thoughts about drinking and smoking in general can be seen in my "John's Life Space" blog here:

Drinking and Smoking (John's Life Space)


I am glad you could be here to get my thoughts.





This blog post is over. Here is my discussion question to you if you care to discuss this topic:

If you want to smoke, would you prefer smoking or vaping? What do you think can be done to better curb or regulate vaping?

Please be sure to Subscribe/Follow my work in any capacity if you find my blogging interesting and if you enjoy my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

Subscribe to My Blog(s), and/or Follow on Bloglovin!
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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Trophies/Accomplishments in Gaming

John B. Marine | 9/11/2019 06:59:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
A way to challenge yourself is to try to complete tasks set by the game developer(s) outside of the main game. A lot of games have unique challenges for you to complete. Depending on whatever console you are playing on, you are either playing for Trophies (like with the PlayStation games) or Achievements (like with the Microsoft games). Some PC games on Steam even have some Accomplishments for you to try to complete. Even games on mobile platforms like Android and iOS may have certain goals for you to accomplish. No matter what, playing for Trophies/Accomplishments is a good method to try to engage gamers more into the games they play by having them complete various tasks.

This blog post is a look at Trophies/Accomplishments in today's modern gaming realm. It is kind of a topic I wanted to post about for a long time but never completed until now.






Trophies and Accomplishments in Gaming


I will use a picture to help set the mood. If I can't use it, then I will find something different to replace it.

trophies accomplishments gaming
^ from: mygaming.co.za - Do you play games to play through them, or do you try to focus on gaming and certain in-game challenges?

In modern gaming culture, it is not enough to just play through a game completing any and all different challenges. You sometimes want to find a new way to play the same old game. Enter the realm of Trophies/Accomplishments. These are in-game challenges made by either the game developer or by certain others designed to test your ability to complete such challenges. Despite the intrigue offered by these Trophy/Accomplishment challenges, there are a number of positives and negatives involved in the gaming experience with such goals to accomplish.

I will talk through a number of aspects regarding these gaming goals. So let's talk Trophies/Accomplishments in general!


Positives and Negatives to Trophies/Accomplishments in Gaming.

Playing to accomplish certain tasks can help make playing a certain game more fun and offer a more interesting sense of gratification to complete. On the other hand, these tasks could ruin the experience of playing a game because it makes you want to play a game outside of how you actually want to play it. For example, when I played "Need for Speed SHIFT," I want to try to be as clean of a driver as I could; but there were some goals in-game and as extra challenges to drive dirty. I had to basically play outside of how I want to play just to clear these extra tasks. That kind of drew me off.

Also, some of the Trophy/Accomplishment tasks can make you want to play a game in a way with things to may not enjoy. For example, a Trophy/Accomplishment may ask you to complete a game within a certain amount of time. You might hate speedruns and have to eventually try to complete a game in the quickest amount of time if you're trying to complete all of the tasks. So you may end up having to do things you may not normally enjoy but have to do anyways to accomplish something- just like in life sometimes.

One other problem with Trophies/Accomplishments is that some tasks require certain things that may not be accessible to you. And if those things are not accessible, you may also never will accomplish that feat to clear the set of challenges. I am especially talking about certain challenges that can only be completed through online or multiplayer objectives. If your goal is 100% completion of Trophy/Accomplishment tasks, not having online access can ruin your chances of clearing all Trophy/Accomplishment objectives.

One of the reasons why any Trophy/Accomplishment goals aren't revealed is because they may sometimes spoil the game. For example, certain goals for you to accomplish can offer some spoilers that you have to keep mind of that may ruin the game for you. One Trophy/Accomplishment may require you to keep a certain character alive or you may have to participate in a certain task that can ruin your experience of a certain game. Most people would want to experience certain moments for themselves rather than try to follow certain in-game goals or challenges to help dictate one's playing experience. That is why most game developers and gaming media companies often do not disclose Trophy/Accomplishment goals for their games if available. Disclosing such items can mostly give people a false idea of what a game has to entail than almost any really useful element(s) of a game.


Do Trophies/Accomplishments Help or Hurt Gaming?

I think Trophies/Accomplishments mostly add some extra value and incentive to playing certain games. However, one has to be careful that such goals to complete can spoil certain games based on how much you want to avoid certain spoilers. Definitely look into taking on certain challenges if you are curious or if you want to try to play the same game but in a different way.


Even still, it is still plenty intriguing to want to follow games primarily for the various elements that make them shine.




Trophies and Accomplishments in Gaming: Final Thoughts


If you need reasons to play a game for longer and find new enjoyment, it is best to follow any Trophies/Accomplishments offered for a game. Such elements help add challenge to a game as well as add a good amount of replay value. Conversely, these elements can spoil games or even severely alter the real experience to be offered through playing such games. Enjoy playing certain games basically for the gaming experience. Worry about things like Trophies/Accomplishments later. Most of these extra challenges should be secondary to playing certain games. If you could, perhaps try to complete a game first before trying to take on certain goals of Trophies/Accomplishments. It is paramount to try to enjoy what a game has to offer before trying to hunt down any number of Trophy/Accomplishment goals.

I do not condemn Trophies/Accomplishments; I just think you should not put as much interest towards playing a game to 100% its Trophy/Accomplishment goals.





I hope you enjoyed this blog and this blog post. The majority of what I want to cover is over. If you want to discuss this topic, then let me ask you...

Are you for or against Trophies/Accomplishments in gaming? What do you love or loathe most about these gaming goals?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, September 9, 2019

Speedruns in Gaming

John B. Marine | 9/09/2019 06:27:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
#Speedruns in games have been popular for quite some time. In speedruns, completing the game is not enough- it is about doing it in the quickest time possible. Some of the appeal lies in exposing a game and its engine to make the process of completing a game faster and more efficient than any normal play-through. As part of a blog post that encapsulated many random gaming thoughts, I felt I contributed too much to this topic than any other that it warrants its own full blog post. So this blog post is about speedruns in games.


Before I Begin...

Even though I stated this post is about speedruns in games, I will NOT offer advice or post about any speedruns I have attempted. This is all more opinion-based material than any proper resource. Any links or other media are all provided for educational purposes.






Speedruns in Gaming


It is time to offer some thoughts of mine regarding speedruns in gaming. These are unfiltered thoughts of mine, whether popular or unpopular opinions of mine. Okay... let's do this...

The appeal of speedruns are nothing new. In a lot of today's gaming culture, people challenge themeslves to clear a game as quickly as possible. The most common games in speedruns are usually classic titles. Some people even play specific versions of games because they are easier to quickly play through. The goal of a speedrun is to try to breeze through a game as quickly as possible. Usually, a game has so many different technical bits and other nuances that make a game longer than it really is. A game that seems to last for hours could possibly be beaten in maybe half an hour to an hour. Players often times will try to exploit the technical and graphical elements of a game to try to find the best way to complete it. Even as far back as the late 2000s, I remembered seeing some TAS (Tool-Assisted Speedruns) speedruns of certain games. This is to try to complete games in quicker amounts of time than the actual time. Usually, this was to avoid surpassing the time limit of making certain videos back then. There are even websites such as speedrun.com where people share their Personal Best times.

Personally, I dislike speedruns, especially of games I have never seen or played before. One of the biggest reasons why I dislike speedruns is because I feel like I am disrespecting a game trying to complete it as quickly as possible. I do not want to complete a game as quickly as possible unless I am encouraged to do so to achieve the best ending. The only way I can see speedruns being effective is if you are trying to gauge trying to complete a game efficiently. If I dislike speedruns, then why am I watching speedrun streams on Twitch? I watch because I want to see games being played. However, in the back of my mind, I tend to cringe a lot especially when someone fails to complete a game quickly or efficiently.

I mentioned before that I feel like a game is disrespected in trying to complete it as quickly as possible. I am someone who wants to savor every moment rather than try to complete something quickly. Again- don't ask me or make me want to complete a game quickly unless I am encouraged to do so. I seen games where a Trophy/Accomplishment goal is to complete a game in a certain amount of time. From what I can remember on the PlayStation 3... one goal for "The Simpsons Arcade" that had a goal for you to beat the game in 30 minutes, one goal was to beat "Sonic the Hedgehog 2" in about 50 minutes (or within an hour?), and one goal was to beat "Grand Theft Auto 4" in 48 hours. To me, doing a speedrun is a way of saying you want to get to the interesting parts quicker rather than enjoy each individual experience. That would be like trying to skip through parts of a book or a movie just to see the best parts. Unless a game is best when you try to complete everything as quickly as possible, I don't want to disrespect a game by taking part in any speedrun.

Another example of disrespecting a game with speedruns suggests that people have much better ways to waste time than immerse themselves in a game. Like, is completing a game as quickly as possible more important than enjoying every moment? Think about your favorite books, TV shows, movies, songs, or whatever. You love such media because there are many moments that draw you in and that you enjoy. Now imagine you just trying to breeze through something just to get to the good parts. In my mind, that's disrespecting something to only want to go through some media quickly. If a game is so bad or lengthy that you feel it is important to complete it quickly when you really don't have to, you probably shouldn't play it. Even if a game is horrible in every possible way, at least there is something to it that warrants some kind of respect. You can ask, "who cares?" about the elements of some game that isn't all that good. Only issue is, at least respect what a game has to offer and how it plays even while you are trying to breeze through it. I would gladly play a crappy game in its entirety and experience every horrible moment than try to find the quickest way to get through it. I'll even play the most broken games out there with the same sort of respect even if I don't like a game one iota. I just won't play a game with the intent of quickly trying to clear it.

So my takeaway here is... well, I have two. (1) Are some games so bad that trying to complete it quickly is a priority? (2) Is it of great importance that breezing through a game is more important than enjoying every individual moment and of what a game has to offer? Even with the worst games I've played or seen, I at least respect the game being played. Having said all of this, I am very amused at the tips and tactics gamers employ to try to clear a game as quickly as possible. I see even graphical and technical glitches exposed to try to clear games quickly. It almost makes me feel silly how I am not beating enemies and levels quicker than I actually can. I don't care about efficiency unless I really think I can clear a level or game with efficiency. I am more someone who cares about execution rather than style points. If you are watching online videos or live streams, you probably have more important or more interesting things to do than have time wasted seeing a play-through of a game, so some people would rather see a game being played through quickly rather than see a concise playing of a game- which is understandable.


Final Thoughts on Speedruns.

I particularly dislike trying to complete a game in the quickest time possible, unless I am encouraged to do so to experience the game's best ending. I do think about efficiency when trying to clear games, but I do not feel it is REQUIRED to be completely efficient. You sometimes have to play ugly and sloppy to eventually clear a game. Otherwise, trying to breeze through games is a really unnecessary challenge. I often get disappointed seeing that some games are only being played just to see how quickly you can go through them. Whether a game takes five minutes to beat or five hours to beat, I don't care about trying to beat it in the quickest amount of time. In addition to trying to complete games, I'd rather try to experience and remember every moment of even the worst games rather than try to go through everything like it doesn't matter. I feel like games are being disrespected when people are trying to go through games as quickly as possible. Though many of my thoughts regarding speedruns may not be popular, I just feel all games need respect and shouldn't have to try to clear certain games as quickly as possible. If you had more important things to do with your life than play through certain games as quickly as possible, wouldn't you be trying things OTHER than gaming as opposed to trying to speedrun games? Games, like any intriguing piece of media (books, TV shows, music, etc.) are meant to be enjoyed from start to finish with every moment being thrown at you. There is (at least to me) no enjoyment in trying to complete a game as quickly as possible unless encouraged to do so for the best result or some sort of surprise. While I don't entirely condemn speedruns or speedrun gamers, I don't find anything appealing or intriguing about speedruns. Maybe I am too much old-fashioned and a classical thinker regarding games to be out of touch with today's gaming realm.


People have their reasons for supporting or hating speedruns. I do not entirely condemn speedruns. I do not condemn gamers who consistently perform speedruns. I just don't enjoy them as much as a lot of gaming fans may. Everyone thinks and reacts to things differently.





Well, it is time for me to conclude another blog post. It's your turn if you want to discuss:

How do you feel about speedruns in gaming? Do you mind them?

It is time for you to comment and even interact with my content more if you enjoy my work. I am always looking to gain more support and respect each day and from more individuals. You can help! I hope you found my content great. Be sure to follow my work in any capacity so you keep up with my latest material. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Linux Thoughts

John B. Marine | 8/28/2019 09:14:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Most of us either use Windows or Mac. Most mobile users use either Android or iOS. Some desktop users use Linux. After losing interest in developing for and using Android TV, my attention shifted to Linux. More importantly, trying to get the same kind of Android TV set top box experience but for another alternative PC experience. So I began looking at Linux and researching what all is possible with Linux. This blog post primarily looks at some of my earliest thoughts concerning possibly giving Linux a try.


Before I Begin...

I had no idea that Linux celebrated its birthday on August 26 or so. Linux's roots dates as far back as August 25, 1991. Through further research for this topic, I learned its roots go back even further- as in various AT&T employees back in 1969 coming up with the concept of Linux well before Linus Torvalds unveiled Linux to the world. Linux is NOT UNIX. So anyways... happy belated birthday, Linux! :D






Looking Into Linux


My latest story in my blog concerns getting into Linux. So let's set the mood here.

Linux Tux
^ from: (Wikipedia) - You know you are dealing with Linux when you see Tux, the penguin mascot of Linux.

Since about 1996, I have had more Microsoft Windows experience than using Apple or some other interface. I have used Windows a lot since using Windows 95 on my old Hewlett-Packard computer with 8 MB of RAM, a 75 MHz processor, and a 14.4 kbps dialup modem. I then started using Windows 98 on an eMachines computer that had about 32 MB of RAM, a 300-something MHz processor, and a 56K modem. Then came an HP computer with roughly 390 MB of RAM (before I upgraded it) using Windows XP. And today, I am on an Acer PC that had Windows 8 until I upgraded to Windows 10. Never have I consistently used any other operating system from any company other than Microsoft. I think I even used Windows Millennium Edition at my community college back in 2001 also, when I was taking some classes to help out my chances of graduating from High School. I have not had any kind of non-Microsoft interface that I regularly use besides Android on the mobile side.

Because of this, one would wonder why now would I look at something other than Microsoft Windows? Well, you know that some people have no problem going against the grain or being some kind of rebel. You are not monopolized into using Windows (or even Mac). So think of all the people who want to take an experience outside of the mainstream. Enter Linux. Installing and using Linux is a way to enjoy basic computing without having to worry about some of the different areas of concern when using something like Windows or Mac. The way people have made Linux work and the community supporting it is incredible to say the least. While Windows and Mac are better supported and vastly used, some prefer Linux for its capabilities and what it has to offer outside of its more popular counterparts. Some people even are compelled at what Linux has to offer that some people even put both Windows/Mac and Linux on the same PC and want to dual-boot between the two operating systems if they so choose. There are also those who will use Linux for things like KODI/XBMC.

Let me explain based on recent thoughts of mine...


The Fascination of Linux.

Allow me to set up why I am looking into Linux. This all ties into what I hope to do in the future, so read on...

I was fairly pleased when I bought a Google Nexus Player a few years ago. I was intrigued mostly about having an Android experience outside of my Android devices then. It was the kind of experience outside of using my portable media players as well as my OUYA Android gaming console. As much as I enjoyed the experience with the Nexus Player, I had a number of issues. For one, I thought it was disappointing not many mobile applications for Android could also be used on Android TV. Keep in mind- Android and Android TV are two different interfaces. You probably wouldn't be able to play most games or applications on Android TV as you could on an Android-powered smartphone or tablet PC. Also, the Nexus Player wasn't too keen on things like external memory or piling on different devices. Unless you had an OTG cable, you were out of luck adding more accessories or even memory to the Nexus Player. So this prompted me to look into other Android TV set top boxes.

After a while, I began to look into the Xiaomi Mi Box. Early on, I was disappointed completely when I ordered a Mi Box from Wal-Mart online with the box not having anything from the Mi Box and with crumpled up documentation. I took it back and then later ordered a Mi Box S that was recently unveiled at the time. This time, everything- including the hardware- was included. The Mi Box S was great for me because I could actually plug in some USB devices without needing an OTG cable. Months later, I noticed my Mi Box S having some display trouble. It would produce a blank screen, and I would have no choice but to unplug the Mi Box S and plug back in to see everything again. This began a point where I started thinking less and less of trying to enjoy a rarely-supported Android TV experience. I now started to think about some other options as having a media experience outside of Android TV set top boxes.

And therefore... enter Linux.


Fueling Fascination for Linux.

I do not have Linux experience prior to this blog post, but I have played some Linux-based games that was made available for Windows. Two such games are SuperTux and SuperTuxKart. SuperTux is like the premier Linux platform game similar to the Super Mario Bros. series. SuperTuxKart is a cartoon kart racing game more along the lines of modern Mario Kart games. Both games were Linux originals before they found their way outside of Linux. While I downloaded another Linux game called Trigger Rally, I have not installed it or used it on my W10 PC. I would be completely remiss if I failed to mention my music-making with Linus MultiMedia Studio (LMMS). The fact LMMS is free makes it great for producing music outside of a more popular program like FL Studio. Then too, you can use your material from FL Studio in LMMS for more music producing power. I was going to publish my blog post on Linux without mentioning LMMS, but I remembered it at almost the last moment.

Linux is free and open source (or FOSS in Internet lingo). It is an operating system that could be customized to any extent if you have the proper knowledge to do so. I have read builds of Linux could be installed even on older computers because Linux is so lightweight on resources. So if I could, I could take my previous HP computer and install a build of Linux on it. Funny enough, I even saw one website with an article on certain Linux distribution programs and some of the PC requirements to run certain versions of Linux. One of these distribution models (commonly called "distros") was so light that it required only 48 MB of RAM to run! It is then possible Linux can give new life to old PCs and laptops. Through my research, Linux along with certain Distros is like having Android with a certain system attached to it (kind of like Touchwiz on Android-powered Samsung devices, for example).

As an Android user, I learned Android is loosely based on Linux. So if you like to think of Android as putting Linux into every mobile device, then you could say Linux is everywhere! Android is still very much a proper mobile platform even from its Linux roots.


Next section features more information about my looking into Linux and what I hope I can accomplish in trying out something new.




My Linux Intentions


Let me go into detail in what I want to accomplish in possibly going into Linux.


Linux: Hardware Intentions.

I don't want an entirely new PC equipped with Linux. Instead, I am more about having a quality alternative PC experience much like when I've used Android TV set top boxes for a few years. I began looking up mini PCs already equipped with Linux. Most of these were kind of foreign PCs that you would likely find on sites like Alibaba or DHGate. A few of these mini PCs were even spotted by me on the likes of Amazon and eBay. I have my qualms to an extent regarding hardware I am not familiar with from companies I am familiar with.

Some set top boxes come with no RAM or no OS. These would be perfect to try to install Linux onto a Mini PC style system. However, it would mean spending a little extra money to basically complete an incomplete PC. More proper mini PCs usually start at a range of about $150 USD to almost $200 USD. For reference, my Acer desktop PC cost about $330 USD from a Wal-Mart. So would I want to have an experience that would overwhelm my main PC?

Some of those mini PCs can be attached to your modern HDTV with mounts on the back. I wonder how that is all going to work if I did go for one of those Mini PC units.


Linux: Software Intentions.

I mostly plan to look at Linux as an alternate PC experience as well as possible game development. I probably would want to look at this for watching videos and streams as well as chatting. I almost basically want to enjoy what I did with Android TV but in Linux. In addition to what I enjoyed about using an Android TV set top box, I think I could enjoy a few more freedoms about not having everything so Android or mobile exclusive on this other device.

The only thing I am a bit uncertain of is what Linux distribution I would want to use. I am looking at Ubuntu, but Mint also looks rather handsome.


Linux: "What If?" Situations?

What if my main PC stops working or if I want to get a new PC? What if my primary computing duties have to be fulfilled through Linux? Can I really live using a mini PC equipped with Linux? I am looking at Linux as a secondary computing platform; NOT a replacement. Then too, could it be possible I could have a better experience with a more capable mini PC that could have some better specifications than my main PC? I am looking at this in the sense of if I could run some programs better on a smaller PC. For example, what if I could run a game like Assetto Corsa on a mini PC better than I could with my main PC?

I am not willing to completely give up on Windows, so I am not going to that sort of extreme of being full Linux and never touch Windows again. I am mostly just looking at Linux as an OS to handle a mostly media-focused mini PC. I gave up on Android TV and want to go with something else. As for which Linux Distro, I may be looking at Ubuntu. Maybe Mint.


Final Thoughts to come...



Final Thoughts on Linux


It is amazing how an operating system like Linux can be so successful outside of the usual Windows or Mac crowd. While my plans are not to abandon (in my case) Windows forever, I do find intrigue and interest in Linux. I am still going to to need to familiarize myself with Linux for if and when I do decide to join the Linux ecosystem. I am fairly certain I can get a lot of Linux help and assistance if I look in all the right places and talk to the right people.


For More Information...

Do you want to install Linux on your PC or laptop? You may visitwww.linux.org for more information, or you may look for various Linux distributions by going to Download Linux | Linux.org. You may also help support open-source ecosystems through Linux's initiative at www.linuxfoundation.org.


I guess I've said enough regarding Linux for someone possibly looking into using a Linux system in the future. I mentioned mini PCs a lot here also, which I may blog about in the future on "John's Blog Space" as well. Stay tuned for that if I do post something about any related topic here.





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