Started Watching Game of Thrones

I’m a bit late to the party, but I started watching Game of Thrones. My wife has already seen the series up to the latest episode and she’s told me about it numerous times, but now I’ve finally committed myself to watching it.

I’m about halfway through season 1 and I’m enjoying it. The acting is superb, locations/sets great and the story is gripping. And oh yeah, there’s nudity hehehe.

Can’t wait to see what happens next!

New Laptop: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

My 2012 13″ Macbook Pro was starting to get a little slow and annoying, so I decided to check out some new laptops. Usually I stick with Apple laptops because of things like good battery life, nice design, nice quality and great screens, but this time I went with a Windows laptop. Why? Because I saw the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro in person and was impressed.

The coolest feature about it is that it can flip the screen and put it in a “tent” mode and if you flip the screen all the way back it can be used like a tablet. Aside from that its got a gorgeous IPS touch-screen, a higher than HD and higher than Macbook Retina Display resolution of 3200×1800, and its super slim and light weight. Plus its got the latest specs such as a i7 Haswell chip, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD for the same price as a lower spec’d Macbook Air. So far I’ve been really impressed with the outright speed of the laptop. 3-second shut downs, 7-second start up and having both Chrome and Firefox open at the same time with 10 tabs each without any kind of slow down. It’s a powerhouse and the i7 and SSD will keep it that way for at least a year or two.

Unfortunately, there were a few hiccups when I first got it. The screen didn’t display yellow properly and I had to update the BIOS and download an energy manager app to fix it, the wifi was randomly disconnecting and I had to find the right driver to fix it, the touchpad was really inaccurate and it took me about an hour or two to find the right one to make it work properly, and the screen annoyingly flickers when the brightness is lower than 40%.

I almost contemplated taking the laptop back but I didn’t, and that’s because all of these issues were acknowledged by Lenovo and they pushed out fixes in the form of drivers. I personally think that’s great customer service and they are awesome for trying to fix the issues because lots of other companies would just ignore their customers!

The only issue that has not been fixed yet is the weird flickering at lower than 40% brightness, but Lenovo has acknowledged it and is working on a fix.

Aside from the initial issues, this laptop has 2 cons.

1. 3200×1800 is a gimmick, but its not Lenovo’s fault. You see, most applications have not caught up to high-DPI screens and as a result you get apps with teeny-tiny text that are completely unreadable without a magnifying glass, such as Google Chrome and Adobe Photoshop. The fix? Put your resolution lower. Right now I have my laptop at 1080p and the screen still looks just as good as with 3200×1800, plus its given me about an extra hour out of my battery life! Oh, speaking of batter life. That’s the other con.

2. Battery life. Most Haswell processor laptops are easily achieving 9 hours of battery life but unfortunately the Yoga 2 Pro doesn’t. If you use 3200×1800 on a balanced battery mode you get around 6 hours, but on 1080p on balanced you get around 7 hours and a half. To be honest it doesn’t really matter to me as I usually just keep my laptop in the charger, but the 7 hours is nice when I’m unplugged. So even though battery life is about 2 hours short compared to other laptops, its still plenty enough for me.

I give the Yoga 2 Pro a 4/5, and that’s after all the initial driver fixes. Everything about this laptop rocks, especially the fantastic speeds of the i7/SSD combo and the great looking IPS screen, but the 3200×1800 gimmick resolution and not-good-as-others battery keeps it from getting a perfect score. Hopefully app makers will soon start supporting high-DPI resolution so I can use the 3200×1800 again, but right now it’s just a gimmick.

IKEA Kuwait Website ROCKS!

You need new furniture, but who likes browsing through the huge furniture showrooms in Shuwaikh? And how many times have you seen something you like on display only to find out its out of stock? Plus you can’t budget anything because you won’t know what the prices will be till you actually go to the showroom!

I like to plan my furniture purchases, create a theme and buy stuff knowing that what I’m getting all works out and fits my budget. That’s why the IKEA Kuwait website rocks so much. It has the same functionalities of their international websites in that, it shows you what’s available to buy, if its in stock and how much it is.

My wife and I planned out our furniture purchases for 2 weeks before even entering the IKEA store. We changed stuff around based on stock, worked with the design we were going for and did it all behind a computer screen in the comfort of our home. When we were all ready to buy, all we did was print out our shopping list that had all the specific article numbers for the IKEA salespeople to easily add into their register.

In Kuwait that’s unheard of. There’s plenty of well known businesses here that still have 100% flash based websites that were made in the early 2000′s, so its nice to have such a great website here in Kuwait. The IKEA website made it an absolute breeze to buy all our furniture for our new apartment and I highly recommend checking it out.

http://www.ikea.com/kw/en/

My Contribution To TwitchPlaysPokemon

Twitch, the awesome video game streaming website, is hosting a special TwitchPlaysPokemon event where the chat box acts as the commands for the game Pokemon for the Game Boy. You type in the chat box a command such as “b” and a script bot will press the b button in the game. At the time of this post there’s been 8+ million viewers and at any given time there are 40,000+ people chatting in the chat box trying to control the game and play it. The game has been running for 5 days now and who knows how much longer it will take to beat it, if ever.

I contributed to this auspicious moment in history. Here’s a screenshot:

Surprisingly they’ve gotten pretty far in Pokemon, although it sometimes takes hours to get past something simple as a town or getting a Pokemon to cut a branch, something that takes a couple button presses in less than 5 seconds but TwitchPlaysPokemon took around 17 hours to do successfully. This event is a first of its kind and a bunch of memes have been created based on it. Many times during battle the game opens up the item box and continuously clicks on the Helix Fossil, so memes have sprung up about consulting the glorious and holy Helix Fossil. While I was watching yesterday they managed to “accidentally” release their starter Pokemon, a Charmander then evolved into a Chameleon, named ABBBBBBK ) which people have nicknamed him “Abby,” and right after it they released their caught Ratata, named JLVWNNOOOO which people nicknamed “Jay Leno.” The Internet has even named the Pidgeot “Bird Jesus” because he somehow got to a really high level and is fully evolved. It’s hilarious watching because start is constantly pressed and they keep saving the game after every few steps. Here’s a handful of the most funniest memes/fan art I saw:

http://gfycat.com/RingedWindyChrysalis

You can keep updated about the progress of TwitchPlaysPokemon by viewing this Google doc:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ka89uCBeLl9VV5GPlAKuW7yF8FGtnVmdbPnIwG8FnQ4/preview?pli=1&sle=true

An Ode To Suikoden 2

The year was 1999. I was but a mere 10 years old. While walking around Al Muthana Mall in Kuwait City with my dad, we entered a games shop store. “What’s the latest PS1 games?” I asked, one of the most common ways of finding out what new games are out back in the day. He showed me a myriad of games but only one caught my eye. On the cover there was a young boy with red clothes and I thought that he looked cool. Turning it around and reading about the game sparked my interest even more, you can recruit 108 characters? Create and build your own castle? Awesome 6 player battle system? I was sold and bought it right away.

That game was Suikoden 2.

Suikoden 2 is what is known as a JRPG, a japanese style game where you role play as the main character, gain experience and level up by fighting monsters in a turn based battle system and fight crazy hard bosses! I loved JRPG games when I was younger, especially Final Fantasy and Breath of Fire, but this JRPG somehow touched me in a way other games haven’t before. It was probably the first game I can remember where I got really emotional about the story and characters in the game.

I don’t want to go too in depth with the story, but the basics are that you and your best friend, named Jowy, are caught up in a huge war where at first you were by each others sides but through fate are divided and become enemies. The third main character is Nanami, your older sister who’s personality is easy to fall in love with. The game is full of great dialogue, fascinating plot developments and gripping story telling. When someone asks me to show them a game with a great story I always point them towards Suikoden 2.

The music is breathtaking. The main theme and most of the music in the game is orchestrated. The melodies and themes are gripping and really lend well to many of the scenes from the story. I urge you to have a listen to my favorite track called Reminiscence which is played at the start of the game:

Suikoden 2 – Reminiscence (IN COLOR!)

The character designs in this game are so fun. Many of them are cool, some of them are comedic and lots of them are really interesting. I found myself laughing tons of times during the game and it shows that they knew when to make you laugh for comedic relief.

You can actually recruit 108 characters in the game. Think of it like Pokemon where you’re trying to catch as many as you can. Some characters join automatically, while others are tough to recruit with certain requirements needed to be done before you can get them, like getting your castle to level 5, or already having 100 characters recruited. You can easily replay the game trying to get characters you missed, or even trying to recruit all 108. To this day, I have never completed the game after recruiting all 108 characters, which is what brings me to this blog entry.

You cannot get the “true” ending of the game without collecting all 108 characters before a certain event towards the end of the game.

I played the game when I was 10 and I recruited around 80 of the characters so I didn’t get the true ending. I replayed the game in 2007 when I was 17 and I recruited about 100 of the characters and still didn’t get the true ending. I felt this hole in my heart, like I would always have the burden that I never beat the game and got the true ending. I had to do it. It was my fate, just as it was the fate of the characters in the game to do what they had to do.

I put my nerd glasses on, downloaded a PSX emulator, loaded a PS1 save of Suikoden, where in the game if you do that you get special side quests related to the first Suikoden game as well as a handful of stat and equipment bonuses for characters from the first game, and started up Suikoden 2 again.

I rode a nostalgia trip. The beautiful orchestrated music, the fun battle system, the amazing characters and my very own castle. I seriously had so much fun replaying this game for the third time, and guess what, I did it. With the help of a guide on the Internet, I finally recruited all 108 stars of destiny and got to play and watch the true ending of the game.

I got tearey eyed while watching the true ending.

I highly encourage all those who enjoy RPG games to give Suikoden 2 a chance and you will easily see why this game is so great. Thank you Konami for making such a fun and well made game. It has a special place in my heart that I will cherish forever.

12′ Subwoofer Installed In Subaru BRZ

This weekend I had a 12′ inch Pioneer slim subwoofer and JVC amplifier installed in my Subaru BRZ.

A couple weeks ago I had new a new stereo unit and speakers installed but i was still lacking “that bass.” I went back to the same shop that installed my hardware, Naseem in Shuwaikh, and they gave me the hook up. I brought some pictures of what I wanted to be done and based on them they created a custom enclosure and cut up some black carpet to make it look really clean. I not only wanted it to look really awesome to show off to friends/family but I also wanted the trunk to still be useable. They utilized the spare tire well space to get everything flat in the trunk. It both looks nice and keeps the trunk useable so I’m happy. I still need to install a grill or cover over the subwoofer itself to keep it from getting damaged when I throw stuff in the trunk, but I’m 95% happy.

In terms of sound… holy moley. Amazing. I thought because I was installing a slim sub it wouldn’t hit as hard as a regular sized one but I was wrong. I get a really nice kick out of it that thickens the sound of any music being played. Hip hop music is much more enjoyable to listen to and with metal music it takes care of the bass guitars and kick drums to thicken the sound. I set a high pass filter on the front speakers so the sub takes care of all the low end bass and that added so much clarity to the entire setup. The whole system is really rocking in terms of sound quality now.

I am quite pleased.

Blog Rolls – Dunk Me Into Your Toilet Water

I just finished up editing my blog roll. I removed the now defunct Kuwait Music and added owlolive which I recently discovered and find to be a fantastic blog run by a magnificently beautiful writer.

Then I got somber. Every time I’m checking out Kuwait based blogs I find that they have beautiful blogrolls. I take a look. They have the usual blogs, 248am, zdistrict, danderma, then they have blogs of which they’re friends with, and sometimes you find blogs that are a bit less famous but equally as good, but unfortunately I’ve never seen my yousef’s q8 blog on any of the blog rolls.

Granted this is my personal blog. I don’t do the whole give fake restaurant reviews or go to events and get free stuff to write fake nice things about companies or individuals, but I do have integrity at least. I post what I want when I want and I like it that way. But that doesn’t change my feeling of wanting to be on someone’s blog roll.

It is a deep feeling, similar to a bowel movement when constipated. You know you have to go, your brain is telling you to go, and your heart is saying “for dear timoon and pumba’s sake, do it already!”, but your bottom area is flat out refusing. Pushes, moans, groans and even smacking your thighs while hollering at high volumes like a pterodactyl doesn’t help. Its intense, incredible, but also painful.

That’s me when it comes to blog rolls. I am the turd stuck in the constipated rectum. I want someone to fully release their shit-stravaganza and let me into the glorious toilet water that is their blog roll. Deficate me!