A Few Shows I’m Watching

Howdy folks. I’m back for another of my weekly posts.

So what have I been up to you might ask? Well, what can I say? I’ve just been doing my normal thing of reading, working, and editing. Also I’ve been keeping up with my so-called exercise. That being Beat Saber for an hour at a time, though I’ve upped my game. I’m mostly using the song speed up feature, on hard mode, and boy can I tell you I get rather sweaty.

If there is another game out there that can give me such a cardio work out in VR space I’ve yet to find it, but I suppose I haven’t really been looking. But fortunately I’ve not grown too bored with this game. Admittedly I’d like a greater selection of songs, though I’ve heard there will be more coming soon, so there is that. I’m sorry about going on and on week to week about this game, but I’ve little to talk about otherwise.

I also noted that the Punisher season two dropped recently. I’ve watched around 9 episodes so far, but if I’m honest I don’t think it’s nearly as good as the first. It’s still good, but I really enjoyed the first season, so I suppose it’s hard to match it for me. Same thing with Jessica Jones, as my favorite part of that first season was David Tennant’s character. But at least Punisher got another season. I’m still upset that there’ll be no more Iron Fist, though again, that first season was my favorite of the two that were released.

I also started the Shield Hero anime. I had read a number of chapters of the manga a while ago, and it seems to be keeping true to what was there. I will say I found the first half of the first episode a little slow, but it soon picked up the pace. The second episode kept up that momentum as well, and I’m finding it a fun and interesting story. As much as any average isekai show is these days are, save for those gems like the Slime anime, and Overlord. Hopefully this one stays entertaining, though I think it’ll have enough viewer-ship due to some outspoken people who don’t appear to be completely familiar with the story.

As for the book, it’s going well. I’m of course still going through it(I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve re-read it). To me it reads very well, so I’ve not been doing too much to it. I did note I missed out on the use of a word several times in one paragraph today, so I changed that. A few words needed pruning, and some tenses were a bit awkward, so those were re-worded. But for the most part there’s not too much for me to do. All these changes didn’t “need” to happen, but I suppose I’m going for the best version of the story while the co-author finishes up their own edits. Perhaps that’s why they remained unchanged from those previous times I had gone through the story. But I again will reiterate how good it is to have the computer read back what you write. You can more easily hear mistakes this way, and I was able to catch many things I hadn’t when I was just reading the book to myself. So if you are ever writing anything, I heartily recommend using this feature.

But enough of my rambling about nothing. Until next time, I hope you all have an enjoyable week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited a bit, exercised a bit, watched some shows.

Steven Oaks

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Training and Exercise

Hey there. I’m back, and filled with a void of things to talk about.

I’ve played more Beat Saber, and I’m getting better. Unfortunately I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to master expert mode. I’m unable to figure out how to move the sabers so they cut properly when there are so many cubes on screen. Fortunately I was able to get through a couple, but that may have just been luck. I will say I’ve got hard mode pretty much sorted, and usually get A’s if not an S now and again. Even when I speed up the track hard doesn’t seem too much harder, though there is a certain track that just likes to spam blocks like it’s expert mode.

So why do I care about this game? Mostly exercise. Especially as winter is upon us, it helps fill in the blanks for my cardio, and as I’ve stated last week, it counts as steps and I can sync them up to Pokemon Go. My weight also went up by a few pounds, and since starting this regiment, along with eating a little less, I’m back down to where I was. I’m still going to see if I can lose a bit more, though I don’t think I’m ever going to get as skinny as I was, I looked a bit emaciated there for a couple of years anyway.

As for my Pebble 2 watch, it appears I can get five days out of a full charge. That’s nice and all, but I was expecting a bit more. I even turned off the back-light, as I can usually see it if there is even a bit of light around, but it hasn’t seemed to extend the battery life much. But I can say it’s way better than having a watch die in the middle of the day. Other than that small complaint which isn’t really much of anything to me, this watch is fantastic. Even though Pebble was bought by Fitbit, and it no longer is maintained by them, there are people still working to make sure Pebbles function. So as long as there are people out there who still have a passion for these watches, I’ll stick to mine. As long as it still works(heh).

Last week I also trained someone. They’ll be working when I’m off, and I had to show them around and make sure they know how to do all the little things I do. Likely it’ll take them a bit to fully understand all the things I’ve gathered over nearly a year there, but I tried my best to at least impart the things I know. The important parts I emphasized, and went over multiple times, but the other small things I mentioned once or twice so they wouldn’t be surprised if something came up. I’ve trained several people over the years, I just hope I did a decent job, and that they’ll not be caught off guard if something new pops up. I made sure they had plenty of information, and that they had a working knowledge of systems and the layout of the workplace. Some things can be frustratingly confusing if you aren’t familiar with how the building is set up, and how it corresponds to the live monitoring system. But since things are labeled, though a bit confusingly, even if they don’t know where a problem is exactly they can report it and others can decipher where the issue is.

Other than that I’ve edited a bit more. Yes, I know, same update as usual. I decided to start at the beginning again(eye rolls for everyone) and didn’t find much that needed changing. I just made the language that much more readable. If I keep this up, the book will be perfect(hah). I’m fairly sure I’ve said this before, but I was thinking about starting a new book while the co-author does their own editing. However, since the little break through the holiday season, I was reinvigorated. I want this book to be the best I’ve written. So I’ll keep working on it until we’re both satisfied. Since we haven’t given ourselves an end date, I’m unsure when it’ll be ready to publish, but rest assured it’s going to happen at some point.

Also my author’s note is more of an afterword, so keep that in mind when the book comes out. Yes it talks about the book and it’s creation, but it has a bit more personal notes in it than just being about the book. I’ll likely title it “Afterword” now. But things are still grinding forward, and the book gets better and better the more we work on it.

Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update TLDR: Edited a bit, played a bit, taught a bit.

Steven Oaks

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Smartwatches and Beat Saber

Howdy folks. I’m back for the new year.

First I’d like to apologize to those of you who look forward to my weekly post for not doing a great job these last couple of weeks. With work and it being the holidays I didn’t have much free time. That and I didn’t give myself any time to work on my writing stuff. This is my fault, as that time of year makes me want to relax and not do much of anything.

That being said, the co-author put in a ton of work on the book, and edits are moving forward. Today I reviewed a few chapters from what they edited, and things are looking good. This of course means after my little break I’m reinvigorated. So perhaps I’ll hold off a little while before I fully commit myself to starting another book, though I’ve done a bit of work on this new one recently. However, if the co-author keeps up at the pace they’ve been recently, I could see myself just working on reviewing their edits. I’d just be cleaning things up a bit, as they like to add to the story as they go, which means there’s a bit of work for me to look at and tweak as needed.

Now on to a little story. I love smartwatches. My first foray into this tech was the original Pebble. I loved it, but I wanted more. It still functioned, but it was beginning to have issues, and as I can be a bit vocal about my frustrations, my father took pity on me.

He sent me a Moto360, and I wore it for nearly two years. It was bright, pretty, and did all the things I wanted. However, in the last few months it began having issues holding a charge. I looked into repairing it(I would have to replace the battery), but I didn’t quite feel up to the challenge. So instead, I went back to the Pebble. At first it was refreshing how simple it was, and I was quite satisfied by its functionality. I had forgotten that their had been issues with charging, and only after a couple of weeks did it rear its head. While I had gotten it to charge at first, the proceeding times it just didn’t seem to work, and eventually it powered down for the last time.

Then the co-author noting my plight, went to a used tech store and found a Pebble watch for me. They weren’t exactly sure what they had gotten, nor do I think the store knew, as it was a Pebble 2-HR. The very last version Pebble as a company put out. Cheaper by far than I found when I went looking online to see what they were going for these days, so a good buy. Now with a heart rate monitor, it still offers the same simplicity that the original had, though it certainly feels snappier.

Now why am I so taken by smartwatches? To me it feels like having an extra sense. I no longer have to rely on the sound of a notification, I can simply feel it. I can easily glance down and see what’s going on, and I don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket. Or I can simply leave my phone in another room and still remain connected. Perhaps not the best thing for when I’m writing, but I still like to have it. When I didn’t have a smartwatch, I felt cut off. Like I was missing a piece of myself. To me it’s like having a bit of augmentation that I enjoyed removed. Now that it’s back, I feel whole once more.

Another thing that happened since last I posted was I was able to play with a little game called Beat Saber. A VR rhythm game that requires you to slice cubes with light swords. The first time I tried it was with a friends’ HTC Vive, and it was fantastic, even if I wasn’t. Fortunately I have access to a PS4, and at the same time my Pebble watch was purchased, move controllers were acquired. Meaning I could play this game at home now. And boy have I.

I spend about an hour each session slicing away at these cubes. I’ve been getting better and better, and I truly enjoy the music selection they have. There is one down side, at least to me though. There aren’t as many songs as I’d like. If I could import my own music it wouldn’t be a problem, though I understand why that hasn’t been an option. The stages are tailor-made to each song, and then again for each skill level. So far I can generally make it through normal with no misses, and at least make it to the end of each song on hard, but expert mode eludes me. And of course, there is something I call impossible, that being the single saber mode. I can’t see how it can be done successfully. Though I will continue to practice. Maybe one day I’ll get there. And having a smartwatch that notes my activity has gained me more steps and heartbeats that I can have taken down. A bonus to my Pokemon Go addiction, as it now uses my Google Fit data to count towards steps in-game. Thus gaining me candy for my Pokemon, and helping me hatch eggs.

Other than that I’ve done little else, save continue my usual gluttonous reading schedule. I’m around two or three books a week now, so that’s good for my education in story telling, and entertainment. So there is that, though of course when I have a free chance I’m still watching random shows. To list a few that I’ve been watching recently – Lucifer, The Magicians, Grimm, Laid Back Camp, Backstreet Girls, and likely my favorite recently That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. I’m not going to review any of these here, but I can say I’ve enjoyed each one in their own way.

With that I’ll leave you here. I’ll keep working on this book, and keep reading as always. I hope you all have had a good holiday season, and may this new year be even better than the last.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: Doing a bit of editing after the co-author put in a great effort. Trying to exercise more.

Steven Oaks

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Playstation VR

Howdy folks, I’m back.

Since last I wrote here I received in the mail a Playstation VR headset. Since I have a Playstation 4, it was easily hooked up. Otherwise this would have been a pointless venture. Anyway, I can say without a shadow of doubt that I love this thing, and perhaps it’s not for the reason you think.

I had been wanting a larger screen television for a while. I don’t know why, I already have a 42inch screen, older perhaps, but still functional. However, once I put on the headset the first thing I did was load up Crunchyroll. Do you know what it feels like to be in a large theater alone, and look on that massive screen? That’s what it was like. It was huge, and as any good VR does it moved about as I looked around. I was impressed.

Over the weekend I watched my usual list of shows, these days one of the shows I’m is watching Grimm on Amazon, and it is a wonderful thing. Having the ability to do so also allowed me to keep the television muted while I wore headphones, so I can keep even quieter as I watch things late into the night and early morning.

Also I went on to YouTube to check out their offerings, and some of their 360 VR videos. As long as you find the right ones they are impressive. Of course some are not great, and I’ve learned mostly those that are animated in some way, either cartoony or otherwise, seem to look better. Live action doesn’t seem as immersive for some reason, perhaps due to incorrect perspective as some are recorded much too close to the subject, making things seem larger than they should. But otherwise they can be fun.

There is a downside however. It isn’t nearly as high quality as I would like. I tried out a blue-ray I had on the shelf just to check, and in comparison to the television’s quality it’s much lower. Of course it would be hard to reproduce such resolution on the tiny screens that are in the headset, but I was a little disappointed.

I also experienced what I’m referring to as “screen drift”. After a few minutes what was the middle of the screen drifts off to the side, and you have to re-center the video. You can do this by holding the “options” button on the controller and the image will snap back to the center of your field of view. The drifting isn’t noticeable, but after a while you’ll find yourself looking to the side instead of straight forward. Of course this could be in part due to the fact that I was sitting in my more comfortable chair that’s off to the side rather than the couch.

There is also such a thing called the “screen door effect”, and it’s noticeable. This means you can make out the pixels that make up the screen, but after awhile I found it less obvious, and stopped caring because of the massive nature of the picture I was seeing. But if you’re into 4K you are going to be disappointed.

I played a few games, mostly demo’s, as I’m not a huge gamer anymore. The feeling of being there was even more pronounced while testing these games out. Certain ones really make you feel like you could reach out and touch things, and in moments of immersion I reached out a few times and nearly knocked things over on my coffee table.

If you wear glasses you can wear them underneath the headset, and that’s good as I found it nearly impossible to focus without them. However even with my glasses it can be a bit of a nuisance to find the correct focal length, and I wound up smashing the lenses inside against my glasses. Also you’ll want to make sure both your glasses and the lenses are very clean and clear of smudges otherwise you’ll be left looking at a blurry screen.

Having the ability to be quiet yet listen to things as loud as I want and have a large screen is helpful, and wasn’t at all what I thought I wanted. If you have a PS4, I don’t see a reason not to get it if you are in the market for a larger television, though the resolution isn’t the best in the world, though I’m sure it’s as good as any other headset you could get. As for games, from my brief foray into research, Playstation has more than you’ll find elsewhere. Though I’m led to believe that the Vive with its whole room setup has better immersion, but you’ll need a powerful computer to use it to its full extent.

In the end I find the PSVR a wonderful little piece of tech. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but for my use case, mostly watching videos late at night, it’s useful and fun. If you get the chance, give VR a try. It feels like the future to me.

Otherwise I’ve done some editing, and I’ve cycled back around to the beginning of the book again. I’m not sure how many more times I’ll be doing so, but the more I do the better the book shall be. The co-author continues their own editing, and they are much more thorough. So I know we’ll be bringing you an entertaining read.

Until next time, have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: Currently on chapter 36 out of 36

Steven Oaks

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Dragon Ball FighterZ

Hello to all of you. I’m back for yet another of my weekly blog posts.

This previous week I was gifted a game. As I am, and likely always shall be, a fan of the Dragon Ball series, I was quite happy to receive Dragon Ball FighterZ. So far I am an adequate fighter, though I’m no where near in understanding all of the controls. Mostly, as usual, I’m a button masher. This makes me formidable to those who like myself lack a complete understanding of all the controls. However, I fear I soon will fall behind those I fight. For whatever reason I’ve yet to remember any of the specials, though I’ve practiced them. Perhaps I should focus on one character and learn them completely if I hope to remain a challenge to others.

I’ve had a number of matches with the co-author, and I win the majority of times. However, I can tell they are getting better while I remain the same. I’ve even caught them watching YouTube video’s about the game, so I know they are going to be better the next time we fight. We even did a mini tournament and added some CPU controlled opponents, and they wound up defeating us rather easily. I need to practice!

The game itself is a triumph of 3D animation made to look like the regular 2D of the show. While it’s not exact, it’s as close as I’ve ever seen a game get, especially in the Dragon Ball catalog of games. Not that I’ve played every iteration, but I have at least gotten to rent some in the past, and have enjoyed them for what they were. This one to me seems more entertaining, at least so far as the fighting goes.

I’ve played a little bit of the story mode, and I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it yet. That may be due to my own moods, as I just want to jump into the fights. I could care less about the story itself, though probably I should. It seems interesting enough, and the cut-scenes are well done. But apparently I just want to do battle.

Another great thing about this game is the voice acting. I’ve mostly watched the Dragon Ball franchise in Japanese, and it’s wonderful to hear those voices while I fight. I can’t speak on the English cast, as the current incarnation from Funimation is not the one I grew to love. I was and always will be a fan of the English cast from the Ocean’s Dub. That and I haven’t turned on the English voice-over. If that’s even a possibility. I haven’t checked, I just assume it’s there somewhere.

All in all it’s an enjoyable fighter game. A great intuitive list of skills, though I do have issues with the specials. But even without those it still flows nicely from attack to attack, and combos are easy to come by. With a little more practice I think I’ll get the hang of it. And luckily the game has a practice room you can work on your skills without worrying about being attacked. It also offers a list of specials and how to pull them off for whatever character you are playing as. I think I’ll have to spend a bit more time there.

Besides playing this game, I’ve once again come to the end of the book. I can’t reiterate how much help it is to have the computer read back what we’ve written, as I’ve caught quite a number of little errors that may have gone unnoticed had I just been reading it back myself. Thank goodness for technology.

And with that, I shall disappear back into my own world, and continue to try to make this book the best thing I’ve ever written. Have a great week.

What I’ve published

Walk On

Walk On Cover

click here for a link to the book

Outsider Trilogy

Outsiders-Book-Cover-RGB-web-safe

Click here for a link to the book

Poetry

poems_front2

Link to my author page on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Steven-Oaks/e/B00MEGSEZ6

Link to the Deathship book in the CreateSpace store – https://www.createspace.com/5023771

Or you can help me out on Patreon. Again, thank you. https://www.patreon.com/StevenOaks

Update: Currently on chapter 36 out of 36

Steven Oaks

Follow me on the things below.

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