30 November, 2011

American Beer is Terrible (and other things)

Check out my newest video blog about my experience in the states and their terrible beer.

WARNING: The following opinions expressed in this video have offended multiple Americans. If you get offended about beer and whether or not your beer is terrible please do not watch.

23 November, 2011

The Sims Medieval Game Review: King-Sized Changes on a Ye Olde Classic

By Clover

The Sims series -first created by Maxis and later acquired by powerhouse publisher Electronic Arts- has done a pretty good job at providing a certain game style for its players; free form, non linear, sans-narrative simulation gaming. Long time players of the series will tell you that every time they pick up the newest version or the latest expansion pack (and mark my words they WILL), they know exactly what they are getting themselves into- Simlish induced shenanigans.
In August of 2010 – shortly after E3 - Electronic Arts announced a new installment to their Sims franchise; only this time it was not an expansion pack or even The Sims 4, but a whole new game. This took the best intermittent elements of The Sims chain and infused it with a refreshing RPG goal system, which subsequently took the conventional Sims template and turned it onto its proverbial head.
No longer do players have to worry about bathroom breaks, comfort, or whether their home is pretty enough (although they keep Food and Energy bars, to keep their feet firmly planted in The Sims universe), but instead have to pick personality traits that can define their game experience. This includes one tragic flaw, which your Medieval Sim must live with and endure the constant maintenance of, making for a more interesting experience managing and filling good and hilariously questionable action quotas.
The RPG aspect of the game introduces the Quests feature, which supplies a variety of story lines to give your game play experience a sense of accomplishment and purpose, for those players who dislike wandering aimlessly into a neighbor’s house to steal their microwave. This new element allows players to use their created medieval Sims to accomplish and complete given tasks by immersing themselves in a given narrative. These narratives range in difficulty, with harder quests involving more actions and interactions with the surrounding Sim kingdom and its inhabitants – but doling out greater rewards like cash and influence. You can also set a Kingdom goal, ranging from complete domination to being richest in the land.
The humour in the game is apparent right away, with the first few quests making me laugh out loud (or LOL if you will). The subtle innuendos meant for an older audience, blatantly cheesy captions, and general comical content is definitely a change from the less text-heavy Sims predecessors. As far as the music is concerned, while the title theme is very Harry Potter-esque, the audio tracks ring mostly true to the Elizabethan era and it does feel like a good fit and a change form the looping soundtracks in The Sims 3.
The Create-a-Sim feature remains generally the same in every game, however with the Medieval theme your Sims can pick from a wide variety of medieval garb, complete with Fryer Tuck hairstyles, and the option to create your Sim in modern day styles as well. You will notice you also have the option of giving your Wizard a ye-olde-timey Mohawk and a Metallica beard – very historically accurate… and hilarious.

Even in Medieval times, this guy should not be wearing white after Labour Day. Or at all.

Cause and effect is also a big factor in the game, as each quest you complete alters your gameplay and available quests. Completing quests can help or hinder your reputation with neighboring kingdoms, create a love or hate relationship with your subjects, and alter other sims quests. If your matriarch and knight both have the option of completing a quest, only one can complete it – so choose wisely!
As an example, one of the starting quests allowed me to visit a Wizard who had shown up on my kingdom’s doorstep unannounced and asked that I check him out. The options available were I could send him to the pit of death, inquire, or pursue a romantic relationship. Needless to say, whichever route you took affects the game. If you were wondering which option I took, for the rest of the game I had to worry about alimony.
This game is massive. There is absolutely no way you will run out of things to do. There are lots of Sims in different careers you can create: Bard’s, priests, blacksmiths, wizards, a spy, doctor, knights and King and Queens. Each “Hero” has his or her own set of quests, and you can have multiple Hero’s on the go, intersecting and influencing your other Hero’s story lines. Of course each Hero you create affects your kingdom: have physicians create potions for you, have the knight battle, the blacksmith create new weaponry – each sim can affect your kingdom as little or as much as you like.
Aside from just the Heroes, the game is a Sims title, which means the opportunity to furnish, build and operate buildings, shops, and other areas goes without saying. While the build mode is not as blue sky as you may be used to, you are able to take on more active role parts of the game and layout your kingdom as you see fit (or unfit).
 Like any Sims game of yore, it always remains customizable: from clothing, to complete control over your Sims features, hair and makeup. This aspect of the game will be familiar to all who have played a Sims game as well as a pleasant surprise for those who are used to certain RPGs where you select from 3 default faces, two of which look like Rosie O’Donnell. In buy mode you can take advantage of the medieval items as well, with various grades of craftsmanship from mediocre Sweedish functionality to Pottery Barn style goods, each bringing something from the era to sweeten your Keep’s look.
All in all, The Sims Medieval offers fans of the series a fitting homage as while trying a new spin on this old classic. With quests, humour, replayability, customization and a great take on cause and effect, The Sims Medieval is something that is definitely a must have for Sims players and a must try for RPG fans.
I rate this game 4 out of 5 goblets of mead.

21 November, 2011

What is the deal

What's the deal with airline peanuts? Could they USE smaller bags? You'd have more luck finding more chipmunks in that bag then peanuts! Am I right?

12 November, 2011

Ask Clover (V.1.0)

Here are the lists of questions I got in my inbox that you all have asked me. This is version 1.0 of my Ask Clover series. Head over to my Contact Clover page to submit a question!

1.                   Do you like Propane?
I like both propane and propane accessories

2.                   How do you feel about the use of song lyrics to convey ones feelings in a relationship?

Song lyrics are funny because someone else wrote them but sometimes they fit so well with how you’re feeling. When someone uses song lyrics to convey their own emotions, or try to explain how they feel this can be seen in two ways.

1) Creepy. Creepy only because the person who wrote this song probably needed to write a hit song and sat by their hot tub or basement keyboard to crank out a few lyrics that would resonate with mainstream media. Very rarely do artists write their own material, and while I know that some write lyrics how they feel at the time, chances are your favourite love song you lost your V card too was written by a 60 year old man who was eating a bologna sandwich and petting his cat while he wrote it.
2) Sweet. Sometimes poets can find a string of words you wouldn’t necessarily put together that somehow describes your situation perfectly – like the song was written for you and sent by Zeus to your am/fm radio.

I admit I'm a fan of song lyrics to describe my feelings. I mean how else will my Facebook friends know how deep and tortured I am inside? Exactly.

3.                   I’m very socially awkward. What are some non-creepy/non-awkward ways I can approach a girl I’ve never met and engage in conversation with her? On that note, what do you like and not like to be asked by a stranger hoping to date you?

Listen kids, everyone is socially awkward at some point or another. Some are more so later in life and those who aren’t have just seen the back seat of a Chrysler Sebring a couple more times in high school - possibly the inside of a health clinic. I'm not judging here; this is a safe place.

Loose high school kids aside, those who haven’t had the opportunity or time to date much may find themselves in a situation where they have no idea how to approach those they are attracted to.

In this day and age, being labelled “creepy” is A) something that whips around like some kind of super slang adjective for anyone and anything – no one is safe B) is something that is really hard to come out from underneath. Example? Being labelled a ‘creeper’ and that shit following you around like some kind of creepy dog. Oh wait; I just did it, didn’t I? Being a creep is not something you want to be known for, especially if it’s something as innocent as talking to women.

Here is my handy creep-proof guide for talking to women, each example you see below has been used on me, and the ones below work best:

1)      Don’t be creepy. I'm actually not trying to be funny. Don’t smell her hair or comment on how tight her pants are or tell her you’ve picked out the poem you will read to her at your wedding. Just remember that this person doesn’t know you well, or at all, and whatever you say now will be her first impression of you forever. You will look back on this day 30 years after you’re married and you don’t want her to say “when I first met you, you were a total creeper”.

2)      Be genuine. Don’t use gross pick up lines, or lines people tell you to say, or ones that you’ve rehearsed. The best approach is an honest one. The worst pick up line I ever heard was some poor guy who was obviously nervous, and he screwed up his line because it wasn’t something he would normally say. He was embarrassed and I felt awkward and bad for him.

3)      The best way to meet girls? Make eye contact and smile. If she smiles back or you see her glancing over again, approach her. You don’t have to make things awkward. Go up to her and introduce yourself, and smile. “Hey, I'm Bob. Sorry to bother you but I just had to come over here and tell you that I think you’re beautiful.” You don’t even have to stick around, you can wait for her to thank you and smile then after a couple of seconds you can walk away. If she’s into you, she will say something before you leave. You can even just make conversation by asking a question “This sounds weird, but I can’t decide which one to get, have you tried one of these?” Just be honest, don’t be fake.

4.                   I have horrible luck with getting a date. What advice can u give me to get a better chance to get a date? Also what can I change to change the view the opposite sex has of me because I always get placed in the just a friend/big brother type category and it sucks.

Friend zone is like a downward death spiral because you know you’re in it, and YOU CAN NEVER GET OUT. Once you are in one, chances are you will stay there. Like a death spiral, there is only one way you can go – down. This can be seen very much like how dudes get stuck in one. They travel downward and never any other way. Laymens turns: They take the friend path and thus are stuck in a downward motion of phone calls from their secret crush asking which dress is better for the date they’re going to go on with a guy who isn’t you, and treated like one of their girlfriends. “You’re such a god friend,” and “I can always count on you,” and “I really trust you.” These things are not going to help you get laid or escape your friend zone death spiral.

Advice: If you want to be her friend, act like a friend. If you want more – do more. This is fairly obvious. I have lots of guy friends who I consider like brothers. The thought of kissing them literally is gross. You do not want to be that guy.

Solution: Flirting. It’s a simple thing to do, that anyone can do and it is fairly harmless in the fact that you can brush it off as being nice if it backfires, or you can be more obvious. Touching is a big flirt rule. Touching creates a literal physical bond between you. She will feel you touching her. When you say something or lead her somewhere, or point something out, make a point to touch her lightly on the shoulder or arm. If you feel that you can get away with it, touching her leg or back is something much more obvious you can try.

If you can’t touch, try letting the other person know that you are a sexual being. What separates you from her girlfriends is that she probably will not imagine having sex with them (I mean who knows I'm just throwing that out there as a general assumption). Like inception, planting a seed of sexualness is the first step. If you’re laughing about a date she’s going on, a guy she likes, or plans for the weekend, if you can sneak in that you’re talking to this girl, or you once had a hilarious story about a first date you went on, or how you got caught making out with someone by her parents, these all plant the seed that you are going out and romancing women. This shows her that you are more than just a friend for her – you also are a guy who has a life outside of her with women. Chances are she will picture this in her head and also that she is a pervert and will at some point imagine it.

Take a risk. I always went to school dances as a kid, and before each one my mom would tell me if any boys ask me to dance, I should always say yes. The reasoning was that it takes a lot of courage to ask someone to dance, or anything. If someone is putting themselves at risk of being embarrassed or rejected for you, you should respect that. Even if it’s for a date or dinner, if you don’t want to say yes, always be friendly and considerate. These people put themselves out there for a chance to be with you and get to know you, so the least you can do is respect that.

5.                   Why do females seem to always need to be wearing makeup? Even the extremely pretty females seem to feel a need to always wear makeup. I have been told all my life that I am ugly and it doesn't bother me at all to walk around town all day. If they want to call me ugly, fine. It isn't going to bother me at all

There are two kinds of women: those who wear makeup and those who do not. Both of these girls come in two flavours – 1) Confident and 2) Insecure. A confident women does not give a rats ass what you or anyone else thinks of her. She will wear makeup because she likes to, not because men expect her to. She loves wearing makeup, or wears makeup because she likes to be presentable and likes how it looks and makes her feel, and you or anyone else has nothing to do with it. A confident women that desn’t wear makeup feels like she doesn’t need to impress anyone, and is perfectly happy going about her daily life not worrying about how people will perceive her if she does or doesn’t wear any. She is comfortable and confident enough to go without it, and may just like the way she looks without it, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it.

An insecure woman wears makeup because she feels like she needs to put forth a certain image for people or men to like her. She feels that without makeup she is ugly, and she is afraid for people to see her without it. She is unhappy with how she looks and used makeup to help her hide her imperfections and insecurities. An insecure woman that doesn’t wear makeup is not sure how to put makeup on properly, is insecure about herself and how she looks so she avoids anything different so she does not stand out. She is afraid that she looks bad with makeup on, and feels she does not have the experience needed to apply makeup so she is afraid to take a risk in case it looks bad. She is used to herself without makeup on, and anything she puts on her face she will hate because it is not normal or comfortable to her.

6.                   Is there a way to get people to stop assuming or joking that I'm gay? As far as I can tell this is because 1. I care about how I'm dressed and how my place looks, 2. I have lots of platonic female friends I'm polite to, and 3. I'm more interested in art than sports. Doesn't even make sense as I've had gay friends who contradicted those stereotypes. Would like this to stop as it is super annoying when one is single.

If not living like a pig, being nice to people, and has an actual interest in a multitude of things makes someone gay that is certainly a shame. Variety is the spice of life, and it’s too bad that our society looks upon men who deviate from the norm in a way that they must be deemed different or weird or gay because of the things they like. God forbid they like something that does not stereotypically adhere to societal guidelines and structures.

A woman who knows anything about life will not assume a man who likes to cook or has a clean apartment is gay. These are the people that you don’t need in your life that have no common sense or life outside of the box. My advice? Flirt. This tactic will nix any gay rumours and let people know that you are open for business – straight business. Flirting is easy, fun, and can be a super subtle way to let someone know you’re into them and just because you like Lady GaGa and don’t watch the Super Bowl doesn’t mean that you wear mesh tank tops and dance to Barbara Streisand songs. Another stereotype I know, but I feel like that one is hard to come back from.

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