Quick Review: Luke Cage

This past week the wife and I finally finished the new Marvel Netflix series, Luke Cage. We’ve both really enjoyed the other series (Daredevil and Jessica Jones) and were excited to see what Luke Cage would bring to the table. Before I go any further, this review will *SPOILERS*. You have been warned. If you continue below the fold I will be talking directly about plot points.

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The Nintendo Switch

Today Nintendo unveiled their new upcoming console, the Switch. The form of this console had been rumored for many months to be a hybrid of a console and a tablet. Today’s reveal confirmed those rumors were true. The product that was shown today is a tablet, that plugs into a dock that sits next to a TV. When you want to play games on it you can simply play as if it were a regular console. However, the real uniqueness of the system happens when you pull the tablet out of the docking station.

What was previewed in the short trailer is a tablet with detachable micro-controllers, that slide onto both sides, giving the tablet a feel much like the current Wii U Gamepad. However, unlike the Gamepad, the Switch tablet is a full featured console itself. When you detach it from the dock, and bring it along with you, it appears to still be a full version of the system. This means you can take the micro-controllers (called Joy-Cons) and play multiplayer games with friends. It even appears that you can connect multiple consoles and play multiplayer games with many people.

There wasn’t a ton of specific detail in the short video today, but that is the basics of what we saw. What excites me the most about this reveal is that it shows Nintendo is trying to push the boundaries of how and where we play games again. The Wii was a revolution to the console industry, with it’s motion controls. The Wii U tried to be a revolution with it’s Gamepad, but it didn’t quite catch on. Now Nintendo is trying to radically change the paradigm by bridging mobile gaming devices with a traditional console.

One thing that isn’t clear is if this device will eventually usher in a new single line of systems, that merge the DS portable line and the consoles. Nintendo has struggled for years against the bigger console makers, but it’s handheld gaming devices have remained strong. That was until the advent of the tablet revolution. Tablets provide a totally different gaming experience, but one that has caught the public’s attention. Even as I type this blog my wife is playing a game on her tablet.

What Nintendo has in it’s corner is it’s library of characters, and it’s reputation. By creating a gaming experience that can be both tablet based and mobile, yet feel like a console, they will be cornering a market all to their own. There have certainly been some attempts to graft console gaming onto the tablet form factor, but they have been small and niche. Nintendo has the reputation, and the licensed properties to blow that niche wide open. Even at it’s lowest point, the Wii U still sold 13 million units. That’s not a number that third party game developers can simply ignore. If the Switch can capture at least that much attention, it has a bright future ahead of it.

For now, we’re left wanting more details. Hopefully, the coming weeks will answer all of our questions and make us even more excited about what is to come.

Some time off running

I haven’t run in a week and a half, and I probably won’t be running until Saturday. I’ve had such an intense year of running, already topping 1000 miles that I decided that I needed a break. My legs just haven’t had much energy lately, and were sore and tired. Therefore, I declared a 2 week sabbatical from running to let everything rest up and heal a little bit before I torture it again on Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, I have another 50K race this weekend: Surf the Murph. This was my first 50K last year, and my original plan was to try and better my time from then. However, I think I will be satisfied if I can just complete 30+ miles after such a big year, and a two week break. Thankfully the weather looks nice, so it will be a lovely day outside if nothing else.

My goal for the year is still 1200 miles, and I should have more than enough time to complete that. It might be slow and short runs for the rest of the season, but I should be able to get it done. Now I need to start thinking about what I want to accomplish next year. I know I peaked very early this year, so next year will probably be focused on a race at least a month later than where I started out 2016.

The number is 7

My old iPhone 5s has finally gotten to the point of being replaced. I made it almost three years with it, which by most phone standards is pretty darn good nowadays. My biggest choice was if I should go iPhone 7 or 6s. I know that the headphone jack is an issue with the 7, but I might have a solution for that for my car that is arriving tomorrow. Otherwise, I really couldn’t come up with a good reason not to go with the 7, as it is fast, durable, and will be future proof for hopefully another 3 years.

Tonight the 7 arrived, and I’m just about done getting it all set back up to where I like it. So far I’m liking everything I’m seeing. Force touch is very cool, and I’m looking forward to trying out Apple Pay sometime. All my apps seem to work just fine, and I’ll give the camera a try when it’s daylight again. The biggest issue that I will have to get used to is the size. This is the largest phone I’ve ever owned, and I’ll need to get used to something so large in my pocket. I bought a basic Otterbox case for it and hopefully that will help me keep it in my hand, and not bouncing off the ground.

More to come on my experiences when I get more time with it, but for now it feels like a nice solid upgrade.


There is a park nearby called Silverwood. I’ve been there before, but not really. This park used to house the Silver Lake Camp of the Salvation Army. As a child I went to this camp many times, either for camping trips, or for church gatherings. In 2001 the site went up for sale, and Three Rivers Park District bought it to create a park.

Today I visited again for the first time since I was a child, and I brought my camera along. This is a small park, with a walking path of only about a mile. The colors were gorgeous though and I managed to get some great shots that I was able to enhance slightly in Lightroom. Enjoy!

Quick Review: Warcraft

For many, many years, my hobby was playing World of Warcraft. I had a full stable of max level characters, and raided regularly with a great guild. I’ve since moved on to other things, and don’t play anymore, but I still have a lot of fond memories of my time with WoW. I was excited to learn about the Warcraft movie, but I never got out to watch it in theaters. So last night we rented it and I got to experience it in all of its CGI glory.

I know that the movie did not get good reviews, and I could immediately tell why. The entire film was basically fan service with homages to tons of different in-game locations. However, if you had never played the game, I can see how you might be confused. The plot moved quickly through location after location, with characters making brief cameos and then never seen from again. For a fan, I absolutely loved it. But, I can see how others would have found it lacking.

The CGI was really well done, but the photorealism also shone a light on how silly some of the Warcraft proportions are. When you’re dealing with graphics that are on the ‘cartoony’ side, you can get away with more. When you try to make it look real, it shows off how ridiculous some of the character sizes are. They still look out of proportion in-game, but seeing them in a photo realistic scene drove the point home.

The story was a great interpretation of the initial orc invasion that started the entire franchise. The orcs partaking in fel magic, and the fall of Medivh were fun to see portrayed, even if not in the way that the game lore specifically said it happened. For a theatrical re-telling, certain license needed to be taken, and I felt that the writers did a great job making the story screen worthy.

I’m happy that Warcraft has been a part of my life, and it was a lot of fun to see it immortalized on the screen. The ending certainly left open the possibility of a sequel, but I doubt it will ever get made. The critical reception just wasn’t that great, and WoW as a game is slowly starting to take a backseat to other gaming experiences. For what it was, the Warcraft movie was a fun way to spend an evening.