Author - Jerry Paxton

Ample Natural Meal Replacement Shake Review

It is an unfortunate aspect of video gaming that, sometimes, people can get addicted and take things too far. Some people have gamed for so long, without eating or drinking, that they even died at the keyboard! A less dramatic situation might be when you are playing a overnight session of your favorite MMO with a guild and can’t break away for sustenance. Ample might have a solution for you with their meal replacement shakes. Admittedly, I was off-put by how the Ample meal replacement shake comes to you. It is a bottled powder that, when mixed with water, milk, or juice becomes the meal replacement drink proper. I unscrewed the cap and smelled the contents. The tan colored, course powder had a neutral scent that alleviated my concerns. Now I was just curious what to mix it up with. I decided on non-fat milk and began carefully pouring the milk into the bottle. I filled it to the top of the label and shook it with a moderate amount of intensity. The powder blended up very well and I did not get nearly as many clumps as I expected – especially for a non-micronized powder.

After preparation, I opened the bottle again and took a swig. The taste was bland – not offensive at all but not very tasty. The consistency was a bit “iffy”, having a chalky texture that wasn’t that great – but, that’s what you get for having healthy oils and dietary fiber floating about. I finished my bottle and went about my business. Thankfully, the Ample meal replacement shake did help me feel fuller longer so that I didn’t have to eat a full meal for a while after. If you are looking to replace one of your daily meals with an Ample drink, I think you will be pleased with the results. I believe the secret of this is in the aforementioned dietary fiber. It tricks your body into feeling like it has eaten something better than other meal replacement drinks made mostly of sugar. Also, unlike some other meal replacement options I have digested, the Ample formula did not upset my stomach at all, which is a big benefit.

Nutritionally, I think it is important to read some of the ingredients in the mix, which Ample has kindly listed out, with verbosity, on the label. I am big on making sure I take in enough protein to support my workout routine. If the Ample meal replacement drink didn’t have enough, that would probably be a “deal-breaker” for me with regards to future usage. Thankfully, Ample has put 27 grams of the proteiny-goodness in each bottle! Furthermore each bottle has 10g of dietary fiber and 10g of unsaturated fats. The formula does have 10g of saturated fat and 490mg of sodium, so factor that into your diet before drinking. If you are using Ample as a true meal replacement, these shouldn’t affect you too much – but, as always, consult your doctor before going on any diet plan or trying any new meal replacement drinks. If the standard formula, which contains whey protein, is not your cup of meal replacement drink, Ample also offers both “ketogenic” and “vegan” formulas.

Overall, Ample meal replacement drinks do a good job of providing sustenance to you when needed – especially if you are unable to make a meal on your own due to whatever is going on in your life: Work, chores, or long gaming tournaments. Ample is available in a variety of sizes, formulas, and quantities. Check out the official website for more info!

Queen Mary to Start Allowing Stays in Haunted Cabin

LONG BEACH, Calif., (March 30, 2018) – The Queen Mary, dubbed one of the “Top 10 most haunted places on Earth” by Time Magazine, is pleased to announce the notoriously haunted Stateroom B340 will once again be available for overnight guests starting Friday, April 13th. Featured on SYFY Channel’s  Ghost Hunters and the British TV series Most Haunted, room B340 offers thrill seekers and scare enthusiasts the unique opportunity to spend the night in the axiom of all alleged paranormal activity at the Queen Mary. Room reservations will be available at 877-342-0742.

“Several of the cabins onboard the Queen Mary are considered haunted. But, the stateroom with the most infamous reputation is room B340,” said Stephen Sowards, General Manager of the Queen Mary. “The last time the room was occupied by a guest was in the 1980’s. For decades we’ve had thousands of visitors request to occupy the room, and after 30 years, we are excited to once again extend the offer to our guests.”

Stateroom B340 has a large volume of recorded paranormal activity with many stories of haunted encounters noted in the ship’s logs. Reports date back to the final ocean voyage in 1967 and include complaints from guests staying in B340 claiming that someone was knocking on the door in the middle of the night. Other complaints include bathroom lights turning on by themselves, the sink faucet turning on and off on its own, and unexplained bathroom doors shutting. Some guests have reported the covers of their bed being pulled off while asleep and waking to see a dark figure standing at the foot of the bed.

During voyage years, the space encompassed three third class staterooms, and has since been remodeled to become one large guest room suite. A perfect blend of authentic style and modern amenities, B340 is larger than the average cruise ship cabin. Featuring operable portholes and offering all the modern conveniences of a contemporary hotel, the famously haunted stateroom offers a true ocean liner experience. In addition to standard hotel room amenities, B340 will supply a chest with unique items available for guests to amplify their overnight haunt experience, including a Ouija board, tarot cards, crystal ball, and ghost hunting equipment.

The Queen Mary’s year-long haunted attractions and tours continue to draw thrill-seekers of all ages in 2018 with continued updates and enhancements. Since its soft opening in winter of 2017, the re-inspired Ghosts and Legends Tour has added more frights with a new scene, more ambient lighting, and elevated scare factors all in hopes to strengthen the presence of the Queen Mary’s resident ghosts. Additional haunted attractions offered onboard the Queen Mary include Paranormal Shipwalk, Dining with Spirits, and Paranormal Investigation. The Paranormal Investigation tour invites guests to join ship para-investigator and ParaXplorer Project founder Matthew Schulz as he leads visitor investigators into the depths of the RMS Queen Mary’s purported active locations.

Cabin reservations for stateroom B340 will be available for booking Friday, April 13, 2018 and start at $499 per night. Reservations are available at 877-342-0742.  Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.  For more information, or to purchase tickets for the haunted attractions and tours, please visit queenmary.com

FX Networks Unveils The LEGION Chamber

March 30, 2018 – Last night, FX Networks officially unveiled The LEGION Chamber, an artistic video installation inspired by the FX drama series Legion which allows fans to step inside a 360-degree micro-theatre featuring a one-of-a-kind presentation by the internationally-acclaimed Marco Brambilla Studio. An extraordinary visual art piece hosted at Goya Studios in Hollywood this weekend (March 30 – April 1) only, The LEGION Chamber takes fans on a surreal journey through main character David Haller’s altered states of reality forcing them, like him, to question what is real and what is not. Once inside, participants will find themselves disconnected from the outside world – literally – and fully entrenched in David’s hypnotic digital realm. Legion, the acclaimed drama series from creator and executive producer Noah Hawley, will return to FX on Tuesday, April 3 at 10 PM ET/PT.

The LEGION Chamber hours and location details are below:

HOURS

  • Friday, March 30th – 11AM – 7PM
  • Saturday, March 31st – 11AM – 7PM
  • Sunday, April 1st – 10AM – 6PM

LOCATION

Goya Studios, Stage C
1541 N. Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, Ca 90028

For more information on how to experience The LEGION Chamber, go to facebook.com/legionfx.

WonderCon 2018 After Action Report

WonderCon once again returned to the Anaheim Convention Center and we were fortunate enough to attend. The little brother to the San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon sees tons of exhibitors, cosplayers, and fans turn out to shop and congregate. This year, there seemed to be a lot more attendees walking the show floor, perusing the exhibitor booths for things to purchase and ogle. Last year at WonderCon, I purchased an Ultra Saber and proudly wielded it around the floow while taking pictures. This year, I picked up a Soul of Chogokin Gypsy Danger being sold several days before its advertised street date!

The Anaheim Convention Center does have food for when you get hungry – although, I would highly recommend leaving the center for lunch and heading over to the Anaheim Hilton which is located smack dab against it. The Hilton there has a great restaurant that is not frequented by many con guests so you can usually get right in when all the other attendees slog it out in the food courts. The restaurant has great convention day burgers that I recommend. Outside the convention center, you could also find a long row of food trucks, all with their own style of cuisine. If you couldn’t find something you liked there, you were just lying to yourself.

Past the food trucks, one could find AMC’s The Terror Experience based on their new show, The Terror. The experience, like most experiences at conventions, was short, but a lot of fun and I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come for WonderCon. Small interactive installations are something that fans LOVE at San Diego Comic-Con and seeing someone do it at WonderCon was great. My only advice would have been to put the experience closer to the convention center instead of forcing guests to walk through food truck row – that place was super crowded and we almost couldn’t find the experience with as far down as it was.

Panels are a huge part of the San Diego Comic-Con, but WonderCon has steadily been gaining notice by the entertainment industry and this year saw some good panels – including one from Warner Bros. Pictures which featured the cast and crew of Ready Player One! Also fun were the Geek & Sundry panels – which also included a live taping of “Talks Machina”, the after show component of their popular web series, Critical Role.

Overall, this year’s WonderCon was the best yet, and a great warm up to what I hope to find at the San Diego Comic-Con in July.

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Thermaltake Unveils Pure Plus 12 LED RGB Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition

Taipei, Taiwan-March 30th, 2018-Thermaltake today announced the release of the Pure Plus 12 LED RGB Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition (3-Fan Pack). It features a silent yet powerful 120mm PWM fan and a digital 16.8 million colors LED ring that is designed with 9 addressable LEDs. The Pure Plus 12 RGB is a newly added member of the TT RGB PLUS Ecosystem that enables users to control the LED lighting and fan speeds via Thermaltake’s patented TT RGB PLUS Software and TT AI Voice Control. In terms of the fan design, the Pure Plus 12 RGB utilizes hydraulic bearing and compression blades with 9 blades design, maximizing the cooling performance without sacrificing quiet operation.

For more details on Thermaltake Pure Plus 12 LED RGB Radiator Fan TT Premium Edition (3-Fan Pack), please visit: http://www.thermaltake.com/products-model.aspx?id=C_00003232

Respawn Now Official Gaming Chair of HSEL

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – Mar. 29, 2018 – The High School Esports League (HSEL) announced today that RESPAWN Products, a North Carolina-based gaming furniture maker, is now the official gaming furniture provider for affiliated high schools participating in the HSEL’s programs and tournaments across the United States.

The HSEL is a high school league that provides high school level competition across thirteen different games and has over 10,000 students participating. By supporting young student esports athletes with the structure and resources to compete in an organized esports league, HSEL gives their players the opportunity to attract university-level team interest and potential monetary scholarships. The spring season for the HSEL closes April 2nd – students and administrators interested in signing up their school teams can contact: sponsorships@highschoolesportsleague.com.

“We understand the importance of equipping our young adults and esports athletes with the right equipment for play, and so we look forward to working with RESPAWN so that our network of high schools can gear up,” said Mason Mullenioux, CEO of HSEL. “Through this partnership with RESPAWN, we aim to provide the ability for our high school players to experience the same high quality gaming furniture that professionals use in esports competitions around the world.”

Backed by a pedigree in ergonomic furniture, RESPAWN is a leader in the gaming furniture space making quality gear that meets gamers’ specific needs at an accessible price point. RESPAWN has committed to supporting esports through a number of partnerships, including at the collegiate level with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).

“It’s important to us to invest in the future of esports on the ground floor, which is currently the amazing group of players playing at the high school level in HSEL,” said Blake Zalcberg, CEO of OFM, Inc. “We are ecstatic to outfit these young professionals with gear they can be proud of and that will help them boost their game to the collegiate level.”

Ready Player One VR Games Rolling out to VR Arcades

Seattle, WA – March 28, 2018 – The battle for OASIS is on at VR Arcades nationwide starting this week! HTC VIVE ™ today announced it is bringing experiences inspired by “Ready Player One” to life for consumers at location-based VR arcades across the country as a prelude to the film’s release on March 29, 2018.

“VR offers the ability to tell stories in an entirely new way for film audiences; they’ll be able to immerse themselves in worlds inspired by ‘Ready Player One’ like never before,” said Joel Breton, GM of Vive Studios. “With this program, we’re making great VR content available to arcades across the nation as a celebration of the movie and everything that VR can be.”

VR content inspired by “Ready Player One” will begin rolling out starting today at 35 VR arcades, with more to come. These titles were developed by many of VR’s most prominent developers and produced by Vive’s in-house publishing arm, Vive Studios.  Titles available in these arcades include:

The OASIS beta is the 2018 beta phase of the immersive virtual universe from the film Ready Player One, which is set in 2045. In the OASIS beta’s ever-expanding universe, players are able to explore, compete in, and launch multiple VR experiences using their own custom avatars. Global leaderboards track the performance of all players as they earn points (coins) throughout the following experiences: Rise of the Gunters, Battle for the OASIS, and Gauntlet.

o    Battle for the Oasis

Help to save the OASIS by defeating waves of IOI Sixers. Advance through the trenches of Planet Doom towards the snowy planes that surround Anorak’s Castle. With an arsenal only possible in the OASIS, you must stop IOI from gaining control.

o    Rise of The Gunters

Fight against a nearly invincible army of highly trained IOI Sixers. This mission is not for the faint of heart or first timers. Proceed with caution as you defeat Sixers, collect their coins, find power ups, and survive a merciless onslaught of hyper-explosive kinetic action for as long as it takes. The OASIS is yours. Take it back from IOI by yourself or with up to two fellow Gunters!

o    Gauntlet

Navigate through a seemingly endless dungeon while the undead seek to destroy you. Collecting Gold will improve your score and eating food will restore your health, but only your bow skills will ensure that you make it out alive.

  • Aech’s Garage in Sansar

Walk into the extraordinary world of Aech’s Garage in VR as interpreted from the original ILM design for Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”  Inspired by the virtual universe of the OASIS in 2045, Aech’s Garage represents the culmination of VR as it exists in the year 2018. Available viaViveport.

  • The Distracted Globe Music Experience in TheWaveVR

Step inside the fantastical space inspired by The Distracted Globe zero-gravity dance club scene from “Ready Player One.” TheWaveVR experience will let anyone immerse themselves in the dance club scene with specially-designed avatars, `80s visuals and music, plus the ability to fly to the music in zero gravity. Available via Steam.

To visit the Oasis and walk in Wade Watts’ footsteps, visit one of the following arcades featuring exclusive Ready Player One VR content:

City Arcade Name & Website
Albuquerque, NM (Coronado Mall) All Out Zone VR Arcade
Albuquerque, NM (Cottonwood Mall) All Out Zone VR Arcade
Austin, TX Originator Studios
Brooklyn, NY Yokey Pokey
Chandler, AZ VR Junkies
Charlotte, NC LiVReal
Daly City, CA Fliptout Gaming
Duluth, GA iSimU VR Arcade
Ellsworth, ME Rush Hour Gaming
Honolulu, HI VR Junkies
Houston, TX Omniverse
Lake Oswego, OR Red Rider VR
Las Vegas, NV Vegas VR
Los Angeles, CA IMAX VR Centre
Mechanicsburg, PA FeVR Gaming
Miami, FL Loft VR Arcade
Midland, TX Pandoras Box
Myrtle Beach, SC Myrtle Beach VR
New York, NY IMAX VR at AMC Kips Bay 15
New York, NY IMAX VR at Regal E-Walk Stadium 13
New York, NY VR Bar
New York, NY VR World
Norman, OK Immersion House
Orem, UT VR Junkies
Provo, UT Virtual Experience
Raleigh, NC VR Junkies
Salt Lake City, UT VR Junkies
Santa Fe, NM All Out Zone VR Arcade
Seattle, WA Portal
Slidell, LA Holotech
Slovang, CA Space VR
St. Augustine, FL VR Gaming – The Great Escape
Terre Haute, IN Accushot VR World
Toronto, ON IMAX VR at Scotiabank Theatre
Washington DC Ekstasis VR Arcade (Augment Arcade)

In addition to these VR arcades, Microsoft Stores will feature Ready Player One content in 65 locations starting March 29. Additional arcades and retail locations will be added over the coming weeks. To see the most current list, please visit: https://locator.vive.com/.

These titles are also available for in-home Vive use via Viveport and arcade use via VIVEPORT Arcade. For more information, visit: www.viveport.com.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition Review

Final Fantasy XV has finally hit the PC platform with the aptly named Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition. This game puts players in the shoes of Prince Noctis, who is about to set off for a once-enemy kingdom in order to bring peace by marrying its princess. He is accompanied by three faithful friends, each with their own specialties. The foursome embarks on an ultimate road trip to get their friend to his nuptials when things go all kinds of crazy. This review will contain no spoilers for any of the plot points of the game, instead opting to provide that brief synopsis.

Getting around the vast game world is mainly accomplished by way of the Regalia, a high-end convertible that is Prince Noctis’ personal vehicle. You can upgrade and customize the Regalia throughout the course of your adventure, however some upgrade components will be a big challenge to get – making it feel very worth it once accomplished. Driving is mainly done in a sort of Autopia (a driving-based kids ride at Disneyland) way, with the car sticking to the road while allowing a bit of free drive. You can also “fast-drive” eventually, as well as have one of your companions do the driving for you.

On your journey, you’ll encounter rest stops, tourist attractions, cities, villages, military facilities, caves, mines, swamps – the list goes on and on. There is so much to see and do in the world of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition that you can spend hundreds of hours trying to complete everything. As usual in these kinds of games, you’ll also encounter NPCs that provide quests and other information of note. Food is a big component of adventuring in Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition. You will be able to purchase food and food carts, restaurants, cantinas, and more and gain various bonuses depending on the dish. One of your friends is the group cook and can learn new recipes to provide nourishment while camping. Speaking of camping, this is one of two ways to “rest” and turn in your experience points in the game – the other is lodging at a hotel or motor home. The difference is that, while camping, your friend can cook a dish for the party. While staying at a lodging, you cannot prepare a meal – but, you do gain a bonus multiplier on your experience points. Depending on the cost of the lodging, this multiplier can be well worth it.

Combat is reminiscent of most action RPG titles, albeit with more tactical options than most. You have 4 weapon slots and can utilize a number of swords, spears, guns, large swords, shields, etc. There is a huge array of weapons, clothing, ingredients for you to buy and I was pleased with how the shopping/vendor system was implemented in the game. Your three friends always have your back and will fight along side you eerily like real player characters. You can issue individual commands to them to perform special abilities and attacks, and even do combo attacks with them when the right conditions are met. There are some moments though when things devolve into button mashing as combat can get somewhat clumsy when the screen is packed with enemies or your view is obstructed by beautifully rendered flora that gets in the way. Overall though, that is a mild issue in the grand scheme of an otherwise amazing game.

Visually, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is stunning, especially after downloading the optional 4K texture pack. The game’s lush landscapes just “pop” and the various creatures you encounter look amazing and act as you would imagine they should – the game world just feels alive. The game’s English voice actors have done a great job bringing their characters to life – however, if you prefer the original Japanese voices and subtitles, you can enjoy those as well. Owing to both the voice actors and writing is the banter and interaction between your group members. They are all full characters with backstories of their own and watching them interact is a joy. At one point, you get offered by one of them to train on the beach in the morning after camping. This leads to a fun 80’s style training montage and some great dialog. Other times, your party members will react to what’s going on around them – whether it be you accepting a quest (they like to give their thoughts on your missions) or driving past a herd of creatures. They also LOVE ribbing on each other and this only enhances the feeling that you are playing with other real people. This really is an amazing road movie of a video game.

Overall, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is an outstanding open world, action RPG that will delight both new and veteran players of the series. This is no simple PC port but is, instead, one of my favorite games of the year.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda Voice Cast Announced

ANAHEIM, CA (March 24, 2018) –Marvel Entertainment announced at WonderCon today, the voice cast for the upcoming special, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda.

The voice cast includes: James Mathis III (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”) as T’Challa/Black Panther, Keston John (“Bosch”) as Killmonger, Daisy Lightfoot (“Horizon: Zero Dawn”) as Shuri, Yvette Nicole Brown (“Community”) as Okoye, Trevor Devall (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”) as Klaue, Mick Wingert (“Kung Fu Panda” ) as Iron Man, Travis Willingham (“Sonic Boom”) as Thor, Roger Craig Smith (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” ) as Captain America, Laura Bailey (“Marvel’s Spider-Man”) as Black Widow, Fred Tatasciore (“Family Guy”) as Hulk, Liam O’Brien (“Critical Role”) as Doctor Strange, and Issac C. Singleton Jr. (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”) as Thanos.

About LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Black Panther: Trouble in Wakanda

Being the King of Wakanda is tough — especially when you’re also the Black Panther! When Thanos arrives from outer space and threatens to destroy Earth, the Black Panther leaps into action and defeats him with the help of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. But the situation only gets worse when rogue villains Killmonger and Klaue team up with the Mad Titan to take the fight to Black Panther’s homeland!  Can the Panther pounce on their perilous plan before Wakanda is pulverized?

This special follows the previous collaborations between Marvel & the LEGO Group: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload, and LEGO Marvel Super Heroes – Guardians of the Galaxy: The Thanos Threat.

Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival 2018 Review

For the uninitiated, the boysenberry is the result of crossing a raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and dewberry. While this strange mutant berry might sound a bit intense what with all those progenitor berries, I assure you that boysenberries are absolutely delicious! Knott’s Berry Farm creator Walter Knott was instrumental in cultivating the berry in Southern California and might have saved it from extinction entirely! In honor of the boysenberry and its ties to Knott’s Berry Farm, the theme park hosts an annual “Boysenberry Festival”, where all manner of boysenberry infused treats become available for the public. We got the chance to attend the boysenberry festival last weekend and had a blast.

Boysenberry Boba is amazing

Thankfully, the Southern California weather was playing nice that day, and we reveled in the cool breeze and mild cloud cover. Walking into the park’s main entrance, I was blown away by the addition of boysenberry decorations all over the place. The crazy berries are on display all around and the even mix in a health dose of education by posting boysenberry facts up.  A big draw of the festival is its food – all sorts of dishes done up with boysenberries in some capacity. This year saw a number of new additions to the Boysenberry Festival food lineup – my favorite being the boysenberry boba drinks! But, they also had boysenberry macaroons, boysenberry elotes, boysenberry short ribs, and a whole bunch of other stuff to try. My least favorite of the bunch was the boysenberry pierogies with boysenberry sour cream. I highly recommend picking up a Boysenberry Festival tasting card. For $30 dollars, you get a sample of eight different boysenberry stations.

Love the decorations

After you get done eating all the treats, you can enjoy some of the live entertainment being offered in celebration of the festival. Over at the bird cage theatre, they are hosting a good old fashioned melodrama with a boysenberry twist. At the Calico Mine Stage, they are showing Snoopy’s Boysenberry Jamboree, a great show with lots of singing and dancing. If country music is more your speed, check out the Ghost Town Miners perform near the Fireman’s BBQ. There is even a younger-crowd focused “Happy Campers” show at the Camp Snoopy Theatre with tons of your favorite Peanuts characters.

No one touches his boysenberries

For those of you looking to get your hands dirty and do some activities, you can find a lot at the Boysenberry Festival. You can check out the craft fair vendors setup along the streets of Ghost Town. Or, you can pet horses, sheep, and more over at Old Macdonald’s Farm. The Ghost Town Town Hall is showing “History of the Boysenberry”, a short film about the Knott’s involvement with bringing the berries back from the brink and into the mainstream. You can even make your own custom tarts in Cordelia’s Pie Kitchen! Of course, the park’s usual rides and attractions are still going strong, and you can checkout the almost-completed roller coaster, Hang Time, as they sometimes test it throughout the day!

Boysenberry facts

Overall, Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival is a ton of fun for the entire family and is one of the most wholesome events on the West Coast. The 2018 Boysenberry Festival runs until April 8, 2018. You can find ticket information, park hours, and more over at their official website.

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