Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Christmas Gift Money Can't Buy

The Best Christmas Gift
Anthony Labson

I got the newest game console.
Now, I can spend hours of my life
playing with people all over the world
and dominating them with my “mad” skills.

I got this diamond necklace.
Now, I can brag to all the girls
about how my husband can afford anything I want
and make the others mad with envy.

I got the newest phone, and it comes with camera, wifi, radio,
pillbox, TV, army knife, corkscrew, and screwdriver.
Oh yeah, it can also make calls all over the world.
I can even make calls to astronauts in space.

I got my daddy back after he had been gone for so long
in a place where people didn’t like him but he had to go for work.
He’s not as I remember, though. He has trouble breathing sometimes.
He lost his left fingers in an accident and he got hit by a car
that sent him to the hospital for a while.

But instead of coming home, he had to finish his job.
He told me his friends helped him get through the days, but
the one thing that kept him going was the thought of
being here for Christmas with me and getting the chance
to be my daddy.

Now, he’ll be here to take me to school, watch me grow up, scare away
any boys brave enough to ask me out, and, most of all,
to always be there for me when I cry, when I laugh, and
when I go through phases in my life.
That’s the best gift I will ever receive.

"This is a sample from my book Madness in a Recession. Available now at this link and Kindle tomorrow. Until the next is written."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday

Happy Holidays

4:00 a.m. open with special sales.
4:00 a.m. wake crazy consumers.
They wait in line giving no room for cuts,
yet they’re ready to cut throats to get in front of the others.

The doors open, and people stampede
over cigarette butts and peoples’ necks.
Because shoes at Footlocker are 75% off,
a woman now lies dead by a pair of New Balance.

A bottle of perfume by Chanel is only $50.
A woman takes a spray on the wrist to give it a try
then takes a shot in the eyes by another woman.
Now, that bottle is gone and she’s left dry.

Kids are grabbing used games at GameStop.
But what are they doing up at 4 in the morning?
Why are their parents letting them play games like Manhunt?
God forbid they fought over a book by Lord Byron.

Then there are the little 13 year old girls
walking around the lingerie section at Victoria Secret.
Only, I don’t think they’re shopping for their mothers.
Are they looking for something to wear at the beach?

Old people even come and spread their dust.
It must be the one time of year I see new
life in them as they haul ass. Makes me wonder
what happened to “What would Jesus do?”

Finally, there are all the juvenile wannabes
walking around like they are so bad
with their pants below their waste.
I hope they like it later when their butts
are touched by Bubba’s special candy cane.

I feel sorry for the employees who have no choice,
as the customers yell and curse at them like slave masters.
For making them be there, they should be the ones
yelling at the customers saying, “Go to hell you stingy bastards!”

Brand new sales happen here
and there as the day goes by.
More and more bones are broken
while people on stretchers pray not to die.

People are running either to sales or to get out of the way.
What a great time and day to go to the mall
when people of all ages are spreading the holiday spirit
with fights, lacerations, and handcuffs for all.

Next time just go to the Wal-Mart where
they have the same prices all year round.
It’s better than your kids coming to see you on Christmas
when you’re buried 6 feet under the ground.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

PS4 vs Xbox One: One Year Later

It's been a full year since the release of Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's Playstation 4 and since then it's been clear among gamers that the PS4 is the better console. In it's debut year, the PS4 has outsold more than double the amount of the Xbox One. For the new generation of gaming consoles, this is a major blow to Microsoft's considering the amount of power and features the Xbox One carries. So where did exactly Microsoft go wrong in this so called “Console War?” Let's first analyze both consoles and see the difference.

I carry both consoles so let's first go over the basics. Comparing the Xbox One to the Playstation 4 is like comparing Coke to Pepsi, similar tastes but significant differences. Both consoles offer same starting 500 gigabytes, blu-ray compatibility, wireless controllers, and etc. Where they are different is at first, the Xbox One came with the motion sensor, the Kinect which made the Xbox One cost more, making the starting price $500. The Playstation 4 has a motion sensor too, the Playstation Camera but it's sold separately which makes this console cheaper and more appealing.

Half a grand is not an easy bill to pay off and at this point in time, cheaper is better. The second difference is the features involved. The Xbox One has the Playstation 4 beat because it has so many applications and benefits to it. For example, The Xbox One has voice control and has the ability to Skype, watch television and all kinds of video streaming services. The Xbox One is catered more to using media services and as impressive as this is, this is also a handicap to the Xbox One because it's simply too much for gamers.

The whole point of the console is to play games. That's it, everything else is just a nice plus but the fact is the Playstation 4 kept on point by focusing more on the games and gaming services instead of adding a whole bunch of media. People don't buy consoles to use Youtube, Netflix, or whatever your vice is. They use their consoles to play football with friends online, go to war or play role playing games as a clan because it gives them a break from reality. Speaking of games, the next excuse for the shattered dreams of Microsoft's profits is the lack of game quality.

While the graphics of the games are impressive, such first strike games like Ryse: Son of Rome, Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts that new generation appeal. The Xbox One didn't get any good revenue in until the release of games like Forza and Titanfall. Things have gotten so bad for the Xbox One that they have dropped the price of the console down to $350 without the Kinect and the Playstation 4 is still selling more. It's clear at this point that the Xbox One is a bomb at this point and Microsoft needs to start finding a way to bounce back and recover whatever losses they may have because of this disaster.

Do I think this is the last we'll see of the Xbox? Absolutely not, the day that would happen is the day that Nintendo stops making game consoles and that will never happen. The Xbox has become a superpower in the gaming industry and it won't go away because like Coke and Pepsi, some people like Coke and others like Pepsi. Maybe when the next gaming consoles comes out, Microsoft will learn from it's mistakes and make up for it. As far as this new generation of gaming consoles is concerned, the Playstation 4 wins. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WWE 2K15 Review

World Wrestling Entertainment is arguably one of the most successful corporations in entertainment. It's grown from being a wrestling promotion to being a mega power in mainstream media ranging from wrestling, movies, and recently their own streaming service. One of their most profitable sources of income comes from video games, that's what this is about. WWE 2K15 was recently released today for all next generation consoles, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. It came out earlier for the older generation but I can't judge that so this critique is for the new generation. This is the first game for the new generation of wrestling games by prestige game developer 2K and I have to say that it could've been better.

I've been playing WWE Games back when it was called World Wrestling Federation, my favorite was No Mercy on the Nintendo 64. For decades WWE had their games made by game developer THQ but unfortunately went bankrupt two years ago and the license to the WWE franchise was bought by 2K industries. This was the first one for the new generation and like all firsts, mistakes were made and it ruins the replay value of this popular franchise. While it's not a complete disaster, there are some good features. The roster is updated so-what and has plenty of selections and there is a new mode I suggest all gamers try.

The main draw in for this game and what 2K is well known for is it's visual graphic designs and this did not disappoint. From the entrance of the wrestlers to the ring and even the sight of the audience cheering as you walk, never have the wrestlers look so real. Unfortunately all the eye candy doesn't cover up the sour taste of the gameplay when you're participating in a match. One of the new additions to this game that will give players a lot of difficulty and confusion in the grappling system. There are different types of grapples (chain, mild, and strong) and it's hard to understand how to use each one.

The flow of the match is also lacking, I played several matches and at times I wanted to initiate a move, the wrestlers would freeze for a minute, allowing my opponent to get back up. The movements also seem slow in certain moments and targeting the opponent is also off when trying to hit him with a weapon. Another problem which isn't anything new with WWE games is the outdated roster. Yes there is a variety of awesome, talented wrestlers but often, the gimmick are old and have already changed in the present. For example, Cody Rhodes in the game is no longer Cody Rhodes in present time, he's known as Star Dust and has a completely new entrance and certain teams don't exist anymore like The Shield.

Hopefully they'll find a way to update their roster like the NFL franchise Madden does or put in the DLC packs. The types of matches aren't anything to mention, they're all the same. One difference is the addition of the MyCareer mode which allows you to create a superstar and build him to the ground up, this introduces gamers to the new gameplay style and I highly recommend it. You're also introduce to the developmental level of the WWE being NXT. Through NXT you train with known wrestlers such as Bo Dallas, Sami Zayn and Adriane Neville.

Another new addition is a 2K showcase which shines the light on famous rivalries that help build the WWE into the giant industry it is today. This is a replacement from the famous WrestleMania moments that was popular during the THQ games. Good times are remembered but difficulty playing the matches sucked in and almost ruins the moment. On a rate of 1 to 10 and 10 being the best, this game is a 7 because of the slow gameplay and complex controls. The roster is something fans can deal with because they can just create the wrestlers they want but the controls is something different.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Let Me Help You Understand Depression

Anthony Labson

Depression is like being at the beach
And you’re standing in front of the waves.

It will hit you repeatedly
and you can try to resist
but once the waves get too high
you’ll fall under the pressure.

Once that happens
you’re under.

Your eyes begin to burn
because they can’t stand
to look at what they don’t
want to see and even if you try,
everything is out of focus anyway.

People can try to help
but they don’t understand that
it’s not just problems with sight.
Their words can’t penetrate the water
that fills your ears.

This leaves you deaf to their cries
and the loneliness sinks in.

You believe there’s no hope
that there is nothing to live for
so what’s the point of having air
in your lungs?

It’s better just to invite the water
and let it pull you down further
by then it’s too late.
Hands try to reach you
but your too heavy to pull up.

The numb sensations start
and you move by involuntary reflex.
Your end comes and the wave
takes you out into the ocean.

People think it’s a sign of selfishness
and they don’t deserve the attention.

You are in the right state of mind.
so how can you possibly understand
what you may have never experienced.
In the mind of someone depressed
you are the selfish one.

You say you want them around
because seeing you makes them happy.
But their life is miserable 
so to them you’re saying,
You want them to stay alive
so they can remain miserable?”

It’s a powerful and destructive
If you disagree with me then fine
but I speak from experience.

I’ve been depressed,
I’ve been angry at the world,
and I still fight with it
even to this day.

Yes others have it worse.
Some people drink
while others smoke
and some do even worse.

Depression is a powerful wave
that has taken many lives.
To those still fighting
You’re in my prayers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Call of Duty: Advance Warfare

Just got finished playing the newest installment of the Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Advance Warfare and all I can say is this is why gamers should get next generation consoles. My review may only apply to PS4 version because that's what I own but this is what I have to say about the game. Armed with incredible graphics that make the cinematics look almost alive and with terrific gameplay, this game is what Call of Duty: Ghosts should have been. With the addition of Kevin Spacey playing the antagonist, the campaign mode is an in depth thrill ride that sucks the gamer into what could be a realistic look at the future of warfare.

Playing as a solider named Mitchel, your journey begins after a mission which you succeeded but at great cost. After being discharged after losing a limb in combat, you're approached by Kevin Spacey or Johnathon Irons, owner of Atlas Corporations. Taking up an offer to join the company to replace your lost limb and get back into combat, things begin to unfold as chaos begins to reign on the world. One mission after another, Mitchel begins to unravel a dark secret that reveals Irons for who he is and his ambitions to conquer the globe. The only hope is for a handful of ex-Atlas mercenaries, including Mitchel to gang together with the global task force, Sentenals and brings Irons down.

How it turns out, you'll have to buy the game to figure out or rent it on Redbox. The next thing that put Call of Duty on the map is the multiplayer option. There isn't really much difference when it comes to game modes or custom options but the one difference that was spotted immediately is there is no currency. In previous games, you could just usually buy what you wanted but that's not the case in this game. If you wanted a particular upgrade or weapon, you have to earn it, so the game developer Sledgehammer took a more traditional approach to it. The gameplay is much more fluid and fast paced which doesn't allow much for people who camp or snipe from a distance.

The only problem that was hard to overlook was when I was playing with friends, their names kept showing across the screen so when 4 or more people are talking, it's hard to concentrate on the game. For those who have encountered the problem and don't know what to do, just create a party when you start you're PS4 and then go into the game. When the game starts, just mute everyone and that way you can hear your friends and don't have to worry about names popping up. Everything else is pretty much the same concept with score streaks and perks, nothing really different there. This was sledgehammer's first chance and overall they passed with flying colors.

Anything Call of Duty is guaranteed to make money but every now and then there will be a bad game here and there. Like I stated earlier, Ghost was supposed to be the first Call of Duty for the PS4 but deep down I feel that this was more. The graphics were incredible and life like, the gameplay was more traditional and the replay value is extremely high. Not to mention the DLC packs that will be coming, including the much anticipated Zombies mode. Whatever Infinity Ward is cooking up for their version of Call of Duty, I have this much to say. Please take notes and learn from this because you have catching up to do. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

WWE Network Free for November

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World Wrestling Entertainment made the announcement that the WWE Network would be free for the month of November. Being a fan of WWE since I was eight and being on a serious budget, I decided to take advantage and here's what I have to say. The WWE network is an awesome streaming service and is well worth the price of $9.99 a month. If you have the money to burn, I highly recommend it to any fan of wrestling but if you're on a serious budget like me, enjoy it while it lasts. It's a great opportunity to remember the glory days of wrestling.

The WWE network has enough hours of wrestling material to last two lifetimes with it's endless content. The content ranges from old episodes of it's longest running series, Monday Night Raw to it's newest show NXT. It also has episodes of other wrestling promotions such as World Championship Wrestling and my personal favorite, Extreme Championship Wrestling. It also comes with original series created by the wrestling promotion like Legends House and Countdown. The biggest draw in for me which is a steal is you can watch Pay Per View events new and old from WWE and the previous promotions just mentioned.

I've grown up watching wrestling, truth be told. I wanted to be a wrestler at some point because I admired The Undertaker a.k.a. Mark Calaway because he made the audience believe he was truly a being from beyond the grave. The way he wrestled, his promos, and finisher (The Tombstone Pile driver) were something to truly behold to me. My favorite scene was when he was facing Mick Foley or Mankind at the time during a Buried Alive Match, I was too young to know the tricks. At the end of the match, the Undertaker was buried alive but then a bolt of lighting struck his tombstone and his hand came out of the grave.

That was it for me but then as time went on, I did my research and saw how difficult it was to have the life of a wrestler and I couldn't make the commitment demanded by the industry. Always being on the road, starting out making no money, and constantly putting your body on the line. It's a very hard business to get into and harder to be successful at, so I stayed on the sidelines always watching. Sometimes I like to think I could write for the company but at this point, who knows what's going on behind the scenes. That's what makes the WWE Network so special, it brings back those old feelings of amazement when you watch old Pay Per Views starring The Undertaker, The Rock, Hulk Hogan or the leader of the Attitude Era, Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Choosing the life of a writer, I have a very limited budget due to several obligations and I have to make sacrifices. I'm afraid that I'm one of those people that will take advantage of a free month of something and never intend to use it. However, when I eventually hit it big with one of my books via contracts or sales, I will definitely be continuing my subscription to the WWE Network. I've had it for two days and I can honestly say that it's been a real treat to renew some old memories and witness new ones. So if anyone is a fan of wrestling, take advantage of this opportunity because once November ends, you either have to cut it out of our budget like me or you lose out on a great deal.