Hot Manwich Buns!

Ok, that probably didn’t sound too good.  But they turned out pretty yummy.  Basically, you need a can of the large biscuits (like Pillsbury Grands), a can of Manwich, and 1 pound of ground beef.

Just make the Manwich according to the directions, and set aside.

Next, take the biscuits out of their can, lay out a sheet of wax paper, and roll out each biscuit to, say, around 8-10 inches around.

Place one or two spoonfuls of Manwich onto the rolled-out biscuit, and tuck it into a shape of your choosing.  I like to pinch them up in one spot at the top, making a round bun, or fold over into a meat pie shape.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12-15 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.  Viola!  Pretty yummy, and makes a great snack later!

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Short Pokemon XY Review for the casual gamer

Ok.  Yeah, I’m an old man and I like Pokemon.  Been a fan of the franchise for years.  I unfortunately came late into the games, starting with Ruby in Generation III.  And I can’t quite figure out WHY I like Pokemon, but oh well.

SO…the good and bad first.

PROS:

  • The visuals – This is the first Pokemon game designed for the 3DS platform, and it really takes advantage of the hardware.  For the first time, Pokemon are animated 3d characters, rather than flat 2d sprites.  While not completely immersive, the world is large and visually interesting to watch.  Pokemon battle moves are now animated, and some of them are incredibly cool looking.
  • The sound effects – A lot (most if not all) of the sound effects have been re-worked, including the battle moves sounds.  If you have the ear, you can really hear some complex sound effects going on.
  • The score – A lot of the music is orchestral, and sounds terrific.  The ambient music (in towns, Pokemon Centers, etc.), is low-key and stays in the background.  The orchestral pieces really shine, though, especially in some of the climactic scenes.
  • GTS – The Global Trading Station got a major upgrade, that finally allows you to look for, and request Pokemon you’ve never seen!  This makes it tremendously easier to fill your Pokedex without having to resort to shady trade-trade deals.
  • New Balancing – With the added “Fairy” type, and some changing of some older types, the game is a little better balanced overall.  This won’t matter so much to the casual gamer, but I assure you it means a lot to those who compete in tournaments and such.  Sorry guys, no more PWNHaxorus!

CONS:

  • Too fast – Or not long enough.  Even a casual gamer like me managed to finish the game (beat the Elite Four and Champion), in 76 hours.  And that’s being pretty slow and trying to be as thorough as possible.  Frankly, though, this is typical of the franchise, and I’m not too upset.  It’s one of the longer games.  Usually the Pokemon games have a pretty extensive after-game, and I’m hoping it’s the same this time.
  • NO TRANSFER! – In every other game, going all the way back to Generation I, there’s been a way in-game (on the cartridge) to get your Pokemon from your old games, to the newer ones, keeping your little friends with you as you go along.  This time Nintendo decided not to include that function in-game, and produce a downloadable app that uploads your Pokes to the interwebs.  That’s fine and dandy, but they didn’t have it finished by the time the games were released.  In fact, it will be THREE MONTHS after release before Nintendo released the Pokemon Bank…a PAID service that keeps your Pokes safe and sound.  I understand the concept, but they should have had some free method for people who just want to do a one-way transfer from an old game or two.

BOTH PRO AND CON:

  • It’s easy – Maybe too easy.  It’s good in that there’s a better story, with better characters and plots, and it lets you enjoy the game without grinding out levels and killing the mood of the game.  On the other hand, it does make it a little light on the challenge, and that might turn some people off of it.

BOTTOM LINE:

  • This is a good game for both kids and adults to enjoy, and you don’t have to spend hours at a time playing.  Caught in traffic?  Knock out a couple of battles.  Waiting in line at Wal-Mart? You’ve got time to beat a Pokemon Gym.
  • The game is linear, but there’s no time limit to get to the next destination in the story, so you can explore, look for hidden goodies, or blast through the game at warp speed.  It’s all up to you.
  • And with the 3DS’s suspend and pause function when you close the lid, you can play in 5 minute chunks with no problem.

Note that there are two games, Pokemon X, and Pokemon Y.  If you’re buying one of the games for a child, if you prefer no whining, I’d suggest finding out which one they want.  I’m just sayin’…

There’s no functional difference between the two, except the main Legendary Pokemon (the ones pictured on the cover of the game) is different, and some of the Pokemon you find in the game will be different.  In years past, this would have been a really big deal, as finding the Pokes that weren’t in your game meant you had to go find someone with the other game physically.  But with the aforementioned GTS, you can trade anonymously with players from all over the world, so it’s not nearly the problem it used to be.

Not to give any spoilers, but some of the visuals and sounds are really killer.  You really have to see a Lucario using Aura Sphere, or Dragon Pulse.  And the Lickitung animation is hilarious.  Not to mention, if you’ve ever watched the Pokemon cartoon, you’ll recognize Pikachu’s call!

Well, I hope I’ve helped someone decide to get Pokemon X or Y for themselves, a child, or a friend.  They really are good games, and I can’t wait to explore the after-game!

 

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Spammers are a pain in the…blog.

Ok, everyone hates spammers.  But if you run a blog.  Even one that only two people read (ok, ok, only me), you hate them even MORE.  I spend a lot of time simply deleting users with names like “eksxsoslselehj”.  It’s annoying, time-consuming, and makes me want to chew my computer keyboard.  So, if any spammers are actually READING this…you are ON NOTICE.  I’m testing various spam registration plugins.  I will find something that stops you!  Just saying…

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Great Tasting, Quick Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Mom’s Chicken and Dumplings, from Cooks.com

This is the recipe my wife uses to make chicken and dumplings.  The whole family loves it, and it’s quick and easy.  Basically, you just need a rotisserie chicken, some biscuits, cream of chicken soup, broth, milk, and water.  It turns out great every time, and only takes about 30 minutes to make.  The recipe makes enough for one meal for our family of five, and if we double the recipe, that gives us some leftovers…which are just as good the next day.  Seriously, you should check it out and try it.

 

 

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So the NSA knows exactly where I am right now, and you too if you’re on Verizon.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/06/nsa-collecting-phone-records-for-millions-verizon-customers-report-says/

Ok, so according to this article, the NSA has obtained a warrantless wiretap on all Verizon customers, with no known time limit.  In other words, that call that I got from my wife this morning, the NSA now knows when she called, how long the call lasted; and even more frightening, due to the metadata all carriers append to their call records, WHERE both me and my wife were at the time.  I don’t know about you, but that scares the bajeebies out of me!

Think about it for a moment.  If you’re on Verizon, the NSA knows where you are, every time you make a phone call.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve done anything wrong, they’re watching you anyway.  Law enforcement agencies nowadays like to say “if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”  That’s bullcrap!  My family hasn’t done anything wrong, but I STILL don’t want someone coming into my house to watch me take a shower!  At what point does it stop helping us catch bad guys, and start becoming creepy?  I’d say…about frickin’ now!

Look, I know law enforcement has a hard job.  They look for ways to make it easier to catch bad guys.  But look, it’s not SUPPOSED to be easy.  It’s SUPPOSED to be difficult.  Because anything easier means it’s easier to put away someone you just don’t like, or don’t agree with.  Sure, YOU wouldn’t do that, but how about the guy down the line?  Can you say for certain he won’t?  Politicians notoriously take the short-term path.  Do you actually trust a politician not to throw you in jail because you did something he didn’t like, like maybe let a dog chew up his gardenia?  How many people can truly say they trust the federal government?  And yet, we let them do something like this?

Sometimes I wonder about us.

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