Thursday, August 24, 2017

Customer Service: A thing of the past?

Edward Versus Spectrum




Just what is customer service exactly and what does it entail precisely? Well the following definition provided by a Google search explains the following: 

cus·tom·er serv·ice

noun
  1. the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.

A search on the website Buisnessdictionary.com turned up the following definition as well:

"All interactions between a customer and a product provider at the time of sale, and thereafter. Customer service adds value to a product and builds enduring relationship."

***

I know that proper and decent customer service is not something we are born with, but rather appropriate techniques are taught to us and over time we learn to refine our customer service skills.  We sharpen those skills to a much finer point when dealing with the public as sometimes, more often than not the public can be quite salty.  More salty than a bowl of Planter's peanuts.  I myself have worked in the field of customer service over the years and even I have had my bad days, but at the end of the day I have did what I could to keep the customer happy.  I knew that if I did not then more than likely those customers would not be returning. 

***

My very first job that took me into the realm of customer service was at the tender age of sixteen.  That would be around the year of 1996-1997.  My junior year in high school.  The company I worked for was known as Office Max in my hometown, which has now ceased operations after combining with Office Depot.  I only worked there for a short time as it was my first job but it gave me the experience I needed to go onto my next job.  The next place I worked for was Walgreens which of course everyone and their grandmother is more than familiar with.  I worked there until such time that I moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to live with my grandfather, where once arriving there I went to work with him at a local grocery store where he served as the night manager.  

It was from my grandfather that I obtained my initial fondness for customer service and working in and around the general public.  I say fondness because not only did my grandfather instill in me a hearty work ethic but he also instilled in me a sense of pride and duty.  He also beat it into my head that if you DO NOT take care of the customers they WILL NOT return.  And he was correct in that regard.  We live in a country fortunately that grants us plenty of opportunities and choices aplenty.  If we patron a particular business and we are not treated well or to what we feel are our expectations, then there is nothing that states definitively that we have to patron that business or organization ever again.

However, and yes there is a however!  We are also within our rights to voice our complaint to the proprietors of the said business/organization if we feel that we have been treated unfairly.  It doesn't mean they will listen and many do not.  Most typically do as they try to maintain some standard of customer satisfaction, as they prefer to keep the customers rolling through the doors.  It looks a lot better to the board members or stockholders if the customer base numbers etc. remain high instead of low because customers are being chased away.

***



I'm sure you're asking yourself what I'm ranting about in this blog post.  Well friends I'll tell you.  Earlier this morning I went to Spectrum (formerly known as Time Warner Cable) to pick up a wireless router after setting up Internet service over the telephone.  First to give you some perspective on the matter - I recently moved into a house with some friends (whom shall remain nameless for legal reasons).  Things didn't work out and two of them moved out.  Apparently the cable was left on and in the name of one of the two roommates' that moved out. Anyhoo - When I go down to the office this morning after setting up the service last night, the first lady sitting behind the desk (a young girl by the name of Tamara S.) tells me that I CANNOT HAVE the modem because there is a rather hefty bill.  To be exact the bill is $243.00 and some odd change that I don't remember.  Apparently when those two losers moved out they failed to return they equipment and so now Spectrum is considering the equipment stolen. 



To add insult to injury, the woman told me that if I want to get service at my home in my name I have to bring a copy of my lease which is not in my name but in my friend's name down to the office and in addition to that I have to provide proof these two wastes of human skin no longer live at the residence.  Even after the service is turned off for non-payment.  I informed the lady that these two clowns now live in another state and I have no idea where.  She then made a claim to me that if she tried to remove the old service from the address and gave me a modem she would be fired.  I asked to speak to her supervisor which she then called herself and we went round and round some more to sum it up.  In the meantime the young girl had a colleague (a woman by the name of Daria W.) who was sitting not far from her making random snide remarks, including a remark how I could go to AT&T where a lease was not required. 

After working in customer service myself for many years as I have I find this woman's behavior not only rude but completely unprofessional.  If I had been her supervisor and she had been working for me (As I have been in a supervisory position before) I would've told her to pick up her things, clock out and go home and not return for the rest of the week.  You DO NOT talk to nor treat customers the way I was treated this morning.  At this time I should also mention I had a witness who was sitting there on a bench in their  lobby watching all this play out.  

***

After she the young girl known as Tamara S. continued to make excuses why she could not help me, I informed her I was going to call her customer service while there and get them to assist me since she would not give me her supervisor's information (at least not at first) nor the information for the supervisor above her own supervisor.  I then went over to one of the benches they had in the lobby and calmly sat down and placed a call which she heard because my phone was on speaker.  The young lady then demanded to speak with the guy which I then obliged her and turned over my phone.  After Tamara spoke with the guy and explained her side of the story the guy then spoke with me and still took my side and then transferred me to someone else.  It was then that a resolution was finally reached. 

***


A gentleman and I regret I did not obtain his name so that I can give him proper kudos; between him and his supervisor they were supposedly able to override the local office and have a modem sent to my home address.  I reckon I will find out Monday when the modem arrives, if in fact I will be able to get Internet hooked up here at my home.  The gentleman on the phone stated he was making notations on the account now set up in my name, along with sending along a copy of the notes to his supervisor so that she could be fully aware even further of what else had taken place here at the local office.  He also informed me that the local office SHOULD NOT be able to interfere in the service being setup.  He also was quite dismayed when I informed him what Daria W. had informed me that I could just go to AT&T instead. 

For the record I did show the two ladies at the local office here a copy of the current electric bill by Entergy Texas with my name and address.  The gentleman on the phone informed me the utility bill was more than sufficient as he had checked with his supervisor to make sure that was more than acceptable.  So there it is as it stands.  These two ladies in the local office and whomever their supervisor were just trying to be difficult for no other reason I can think of than to get their jollies.   So by grace willing I will have broadband Internet come sometime Monday.  I will need it as well so I can get back to doing what I love and that is writing on my short stories as everything is stored in the cloud.  I will also need the broadband Internet to apply to my school of choice online.  

On a final note I would suggest if you live in one of Spectrum service areas, be wary of choosing them as a provider if you have other choices.  Unless you are comfortable ordering service through their website.  Perhaps you might have a different experience than my friend and I at your local office.  I know that even if I was on my deathbed and a single glass of water would cure me, I wouldn't go back to the local office here and ask these two women for a glass of water if it meant my survival.  I'd rather be dropped from a helicopter into a live volcano than deal with my local Spectrum office.  I also write this article from my own experience and from what I see as the dwindling down of customer service as an art form.  Yes I said customer service is a form of art.  And it can be if nurtured correctly.  As a business YOU need them (customers) more than they need YOU.  And as of lately it seems to me that satisfactory customer service is becoming harder and harder to come by.  Maybe its the profit motive that's behind the decline in the quality of service.

^The night before last though someone whom refused to identify himself and claiming to be calling from the corporate offices for Spectrum called from Pomona, California from a number of (909) 634-3244. He claimed that a complaint had been filed on my behalf because I had wanted to speak to someone at the corporate level.  This strange man who called late at night also claimed to have no knowledge of the emails I had sent to the media relations department, but that he was going to be looking out for those emails. He also stated he would look into the matter of what occurred regarding those ladies in the local store. Furthermore, this man went on to state that once I had displayed my Entergy Texas bill with my name and address, then that was more than sufficient to establish residency. He only echoed the same sentiment the gentleman on the telephone that had setup my service two or three days before had already stated.  Before the call ended I did try to obtain his name but he refused, instead informing me that if I wanted his name I would need to contact Spectrum's legal department.  I suppose in hi9ndsight I shouldn't have informed him that I was an independent writer and that I was writing a blog post about what happened and that I was planning on splashing it across the internet to warn people about the store here in orange, Texas.  Then perhaps maybe he would've given me his name.

And to think when I used to live in the northeast I complained about customer service from Comcast.  I think Spectrum has OFFICIALLY uprooted Comcast and taken the crown for "worst customer service ever." At the present moment Spectrum has a rather dismal rating on Yelp.com.  Here shortly I'll be adding my own, fully detailing what happened this morning.  I'd go with AT&T but unfortunately they do not offer a faster speed than 5mbs in my area since I live in the country and Spectrum/Time Warner knows this and they take full advantage of that fact.  I believe it is high time that the FCC and FTC reign some of these powerhouse companies in regarding what I consider convenient price gouging.  Or as Tom Brokaw used to call it, "The Fleecing of America!" I'll post links at the bottom. 

Always,

Edward Alex Lively 






Brian Anderson - Director of Communications for the Texas Division
Contact Email - Brian.Anderson@charter.com
Phone -  (817) 945-1833


^ = added in an extra paragraph.  







Sunday, May 28, 2017

Edward & The Bedbug From Hell

***

I found a bedbug in my room this morning.  I was able to quickly captured him, but not until after repeatedly dodging many streams of fire from his flaming breath attacks.  I was then able to force the foul beast down into one of my large water bottles.  I then filled the water bottle up by a quarter, and all while he continued spraying streams of fire up at me.  That was until the water level became too much for him!  I then sprayed some Ortho Home Defense down into his plastic prison.  I watched as the foul and unholy creature stared up at me, first in utter shock then in absolute horror.  His antennae waving in unison.  With beady black minuscule eyes glaring at me as if to ask, "What have you done to me?!" 

The creature then began gagging repeatedly and I watched with glee as this tiny, yet evil creature that had so forcibly invaded my home began to move through the water performing a death roll.  I watched as he continued to gag and struggled ever so desperately to cling to the last bit of wicked life he had left in him.  I knew however this force of evil was merely staving off the inevitable.  I said nothing.  Finally after repeated delays, the life force of the insidious creature was at last extinguished.  That's one less demonic beast in the world to wreak uncontrollably havoc upon an unsuspecting population.  

Now for the rest of his wicked clan...

***


©This short is based on an actual event but changed into a short and is copyrighted for entertainment purposes only by Edward Alex Lively.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Resident Evil Biohazard (PS4)



***

Welcome


Hello friends and fellow gamers of the Playstation variety!  Welcome to my second game review.  In this game review I will be reviewing Resident Evil 7 A.K.A. Resident Evil Biohazard, produced by Capcom.

As most any true gamer knows, the name Capcom is considered to be a household name when it comes to video games.  As such, Capcom has been in the gaming business since before I was born.  Capcom first officially emerged on the scene in its present form in the year 1984 with its first ACTUAL video game, "Vulgus."  From then on it was history in the making with such classic hits as the MegaMan and Street Fighter series.  Later the company would branch out with even more successful franchises to include the Devil May Cry series, and then of course the globally popular Resident Evil series.  A series that in my opinion has grown to be just as much of a household name as the MegaMan series.

***

About this review 


In this review it is my hope I can answer those burning questions you may or may not have?  Should I buy this game? Is it really worth spending money on? What does it play like? And so forth.  I'll do my best to give you the best and unbiased review I can, despite the fact that Resident Evil is my favorite game series of all time.  Before this review is over with I do promise you this.  You will most likely be seething with rage at what I have to say about this game.  What I WILL NOT do however is give away spoilers.  At least not intentionally.  That is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Reading a review by a paid critic of either the movie or game industry.  I would get through the article only to find the author had carelessly given away some piece of the plot no matter how small.

***

General Gameplay


I will start this review off discussing some of the gameplay aspects of the game.  Keep in mind that again, I won't be revealing spoilers but I will be talking about how the game performed and things of that nature.

  • Movement 


Since this game takes place in first person unlike most of the other games in the series, it took me a bit to get adjusted to the movement controls.  There was only one other game in the Resident Evil series that utilized this game mechanic.  A game by the name of, "Resident Evil: Survivor." Another game in the series by the name of, "Resident Evil: Dead Aim" utilized BOTH first and third person mechanics.  Another game in the series by the name of "Resident Evil: The Darkside & Umbrella Chronicles" utilized yet again an entirely different first person camera/movement mode.  Personally I'm not a fan of first person games and I have often found myself avoiding quite a few games if I found it has a first mode.  I prefer third person because I enjoy seeing around my character at all times.  I also don't buy into the lame excuse that it adds suspense to the game.  To me that sounds like a lazy excuse for not putting in the extra work to give the game a third person mode.

  • Weapons

Everyone loves to play a decent horror game and when they do they also expect to find throughout the environment a variety of decent weaponry with which to dispatch the evils.  If you were counting on that in this game you WILL BE HIGHLY disappointed.  Now I'm not saying you won't get worthy weapons period.  My point is that unlike past Resident Evil games or even other horror games, you won't get access to even a quarter decent weapon until you're more than about five percent or more into the game.  Capcom really makes you grit your teeth on this game.  

When you finally do get that first weapon, you have to rob Peter to pay Paul in order to keep ammo, and that is because from beginning to end ammo in this game it seems was designed purposely to be more precious than all the gold in Fort Knox.  That's how rare it was!  And no. None of the monsters drop ammo after you kill them.  You can only get ammo from busting open these crates, picking locks on cabinets, or finding ammo by chance in random rooms.  
Another thing to be aware of regarding the other games.  After you finally finish the game none of your items through the initial playthrough carry over to your next play.  So if you don't feel brave enough to try normal mode then I suggest easy.  After I completed the game on normal I unlocked madhouse difficulty.  However I have no desire to play through this game again.  I only wish we could do with digital purchases like we did with physical copies; trade them back to the PSN store at a reduced price and choose something else.  


  • Combat

The combat mechanics by far had to be simply the MOST ATROCIOUS feature of this game yet.  Combine the combat with the movement which at times felt like I was wading through a tub of molasses, and it makes for a living nightmare!  At times I actually thought I'd have more fun shoving nails through my eyes, before dealing with the frustration caused by this game's combat mechanics!  I believe Resident Evil: Survivor had similar movement abilities but I don't recall ever being this terrible.  Even the game Alien Isolation, which by the way is also played from a first person mode is superior to this game in regards to combat and movement.  

There is a blocking feature which supposedly makes you take less damage.  Only half the time did the block even stop an attack. I'm not sure if that was part of the game mechanics or if I finally found my first game bug.  There is no offensive strafing like in other games. So if you're about to be attacked you have two options.  (1) Block which isn't always successful or (2) Attempt to run away. That doesn't always work either.  Especially if you're fighting a boss.  

  • Save Often
Because of the silly difficulty I HIGHLY suggest that whenever you find your first save area and subsequent save rooms after, make excellent friends with them.  You never know what will happen in this game. I had tried to pin down a pattern but I was unable most of the time. The NPC movements seemed to be too random.  The save stations are actually full sized rooms and are completely different this time around.  The room is still a completely safe room separate from enemies. You have an unlimited item box in the room and regarding what and how you save your game?  The mechanism is styled after an old tape recorder from the early eighties or perhaps further back.  Most often it can be found sitting on a table in the room.

***

Game Performance


Overall the game seemed to perform mostly fine if you can get past the silly loading times every time you die or when you're first starting the game.  Now I have the digital version so there really shouldn't be any loading issues whatsoever.  However there is.  While the game is loading I can pop into the PSN store and check out their latest deals, pop back over to the game only to find it's still loading.  I don't know if it has something to do with the fact the game also has that stupid VR software installed along with it or not.  That may be what's impacting it.  The only other game I have that takes that long to load is oddly enough Alien Isolation.  

  • Graphics
For a game that has been in development for some time and especially for a game that was produced to play on Sony's holy virtual headset, I am quite surprised the graphics are no better than they are.  The graphic detail in my opinion is on par with a game no more worthy than the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.  Yes that's right I said it!  This game doesn't belong on current next-gen systems with the current graphics.  The facial graphics on Elder Scrolls online/Skyrim looks better.  Even Resident Evil 5-6 has held up graphic wise.  So what happened here?

  • Audio
The sounds heard throughout the game was well enjoyed by myself.  I recommend not playing the game with the sound simply coming through the television speakers.  I recommend you use a gaming headset.  I currently have a Turtle Beach headset.  My headset was wonderful with this game as it fully played all the sounds in rich crisp audio.

  • Gameplay Bugs
To date while I was playing the game I encountered no gameplay bugs. So I will give Capcom high marks for thoroughly testing their game before publishing.

***

Final thoughts


Here is the part you've been waiting for.  Ultimately did I like the game? Does the game have any replay value? What is my overall view on this game?  I'll gladly answer those questions, but I'll also remind you of what I stated at the beginning of this review.  If you remember you get a platinum star.  If you don't...well then I banish you to the island of Hello Kitty for all eternity!  

  • Did I like the game?
I wanted to like this game so much I honestly did.   Before it came out I did a little light reading on it.  Admittedly I was disappointed with Capcom's decision to change up the format.  Don't get me wrong. I like the whole spooky house and explore scene, but let's be honest here. Anyone with half a brain can figure out Capcom did not make this game to appease the minority of hardcore Resident Evil fans.  No.  Capcom made this game because- and this is merely a theory, but one I believe strongly.  I believe that Sony threw money at Capcom as an incentive to add another title Sony could use to promote that overhyped headset of theirs.  There aren't many titles coming out for it and Sony took a huge gamble.  Sony needed a big game publisher on-board as they figured that would guarantee large sales.


  • Replay Value
This game in my honest opinion has ABSOLUTELY NO replay value whatsoever.  In hindsight as it's too late, I wish I had spent the money on a more enjoyable game.  I wish I had instead rented this game from a RedBox or some other game rental service.  One of the attractive features in games for me is that you can reuse weapons from previous game plays.  Having said that, what will happen now that I've beaten the game is I will delete the game from my system and not give it a second thought.  If there was a way to trade the digital purchase back to Sony and if say for example they took thirty dollars off since I had already played it, well I would happily agree to that.


  • Overall View
I think Capcom had the chance to make this game into a decent installment.  The storyline was certainly there without a doubt.  Sure the graphics were a major throwback, but the potential was DEFINITELY there.  However when you include the silly combat mechanics, the poor movement controls, limited ammo for weapons, and no real replay value - then I'd say this game is a MAJOR waste of time and money.  And I've only said that about three or four games in my entire life. I've noticed most of the other game magazines reviewed this game, giving it nothing but mostly high marks.  Not me.  I'm not wearing rose colored glasses.  I'm also not what someone could be considered a fanboy.  I prefer to speak the truth as I see it.  I don't sugarcoat anything.

Taking the issues I had with the game into account and knowing how everyone these days just loves to see a score - I give Resident Evil: Biohazard a flat 6.0.

***

I hope you enjoyed reading my Resident Evil (7) Biohazard review.  Whether or not you did, please feel free to leave a comment or email me through the contact me button and let me know what's on your thoughts.  At the bottom of this page I'll add links where you can purchase physical copies of Resident Evil Biohazard from your favorite retailer.  At the current time of this posting all prices reflect new - unopened editions of Resident Evil: Biohazard.


Take care and thanks for reading!πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜€πŸ˜˜


Edward Alex Lively

***

Gamestop

Amazon.com

Target

Wal-Mart









Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review of Skyrim Re-mastered Edition

Skyrim: Re-mastered Edition Playstation 4

By: Edward Alex Lively






Hello and thanks for taking the time out to read my review, which is my very first by the way.  Obviously you are reading it, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this introduction.  You obviously can tell by the title what this review will be about as well.  It's only about the greatest rpg (role playing game) in the world ever created!  At least in my opinion.  

In this review I will be discussing Skyrim: Re-mastered and how it has not only held up after all this time, but also how it performs on such an advanced system as Sony’s Playstation 4 game console.  I'll also be giving my own personal overall rating on the game.

The areas I'll be specifically focusing on are as follows:

Graphics
Performance
Gameplay Bugs

With that being said here we go!

****

Graphics


I first bought the re-mastered edition for my playstation on March 11, 2017, but only after watching a handful of videos through the playstation's live broadcast feature.  What helped to cement my decision was also during the live broadcasts I asked people how it performed.  Most gave me the same answer. That it seemed to be running fine.  Most of the players also readily admitted they hadn't gotten too far along to know if there were any problems yet or not either.  To me at first glance watching other players play the game, the graphics looked pretty much the same as I had remembered them from way back when.  Then of course my eyes really aren’t that good to begin with anyhow so the change wasn’t apparent right away.  You also have to stop and consider that while one person with bad eyesight (even wearing glasses) might not notice too much by watching someone else’s gameplay video, they might notice the difference when ACTUALLY playing the game themselves.  That was the case with me when I finally bought the game.  

For the record Skyrim: Re-mastered Edition for the Playstation 4 retails at the moment for around $59.99 and that is in U.S. funds.  Now you have to consider that is also the price in a digital format as well not physical.  You can find Skyrim for the PS4 at the moment at Gamestop for $29.99, Target for $39.99, and at Wal-Mart for $35.95 retail.  These of course are all the prices for new copies, although Gamestop traditionally does sell previously owned games so you may have a chance to pick Skyrim up there for a bargain.

Upfront I'll admit I'm not a software designer, programmer, or anything fancy like that so I really don't know how complicated it can be when overhauling a game to work on the latest tech.  The first thing I noticed however when starting the game was that it seemed they made some slight improvements to the facial graphics.  Other improvements I noticed was the water effects looked improved. There was something else I happened to notice about the graphics.  And this may just be me nitpicking.  Certain other environmental factors such as the trees, the land, definitely looked more pixelated than I remember.  Again in that respect it could be down to just my memory.  I don’t have my old copy of Skyrim or my PS3 as they were stolen years ago.  So I can't compare live screenshots.

You then have certain little graphical things such as the other day when I was riding my horse on a hill.  The graphics  of the hillside started blending together so bad I fell through the earth until the horse fell and died.  However that may also fall into the bug category.  Little things such as that have happened, but I'll get more into that as I move on.  For the most part the developers did a fine job of bringing this game to the next-gen systems.  With the exception of the graphical glitch I mentioned here, I’d give the graphics for Skyrim: Re-mastered a solid eight stars.  When you get to the bug section you'll see why I gave it an eight rather a ten.

****

Performance


Regarding overall performance of the game I'd say with how fast the PS4 loads games I am more than impressed.  Then again due to the fact I buy all of my games digitally now through the Playstation's online store that may be a determining factor.  I'm not totally sure.  So far I've only experienced four random crashes with the game.  When that occurred I instantly loaded the game right back up and never really experienced another problem.  Now onto what I'd like to consider the REAL meat of this review.  The gameplay bugs.

****

Gameplay Bugs


Now typically when we speak of gameplay bugs some might consider a gameplay bug that can mean anything from your character suddenly stalling out and refusing to move or something more serious.  Something such as an npc (non-player character) not showing up at the appropriate time.  Usually that can be attributed to something in the software code glitching up, or at least that's my best guess.  Regardless, there is something causing the program to glitch up and not function correctly for whatever reason.

In the case of Skyrim the gameplay bugs I will discuss have been around since at least the release of the dlc (downloadable content) packs.  Flame me if you must.  I don't care.  These are gameplay bugs that have existed since I last played the game on my steam account back in 2013.  One would’ve thought that in light of Bethesda releasing the game to next generation consoles they would’ve seen to it these gameplay bugs were corrected once and for all.

****


Audio Bug


When my character briefly submerged underwater while on a quest in Felkeep dungeon then walked back onto land the audio glitched.  It sounded like I was still under water.  It wasn't an isolated incident either.  It continues to happen at random times after the character swims underwater then walks back onto land.


Lakeview Manor


This is a house you can build once becoming what is called Thane of Falkreath. It's a special title after doing favors for the local lord.  You are then granted a parcel of land.  Once the house is fully built and should you choose to build the kitchen, there seems to be a persistent graphical glitch.  Anytime you step into the kitchen area and swivel the character in a particular direction, everything minus the doors and the walls simply vanish before reappearing.  It doesn't always happen but it is enough so that if you are trying to access one of the cupboards it’s quite trying.

Weapon Rack Issues

Lakeview Manor can have weapon racks constructed along certain walls should you so choose.  Heaven help you if you try to ACTUALLY place weapons upon the weapon racks.  For the racks in the bedroom on the first floor and the rack located just behind the dining area will not take them.  The racks will send the weapons  flying in another direction as if possessed by some ancient evil entity.  The spirit in the bedroom will occasionally be kind and simply hold the sword or whatnot up against the wall rather than allow you to place it upon the rack where it belongs.

Dress Mannequin Issues

The mannequin in the basement will be damned before it will allow you to place a helmet upon it’s head.  It desires to see what is going on all times!

Garden Issues

Apparently only certain ingredients can be grown there, even the ones that it will let you plant.  In particular the plant Creep Cluster refuses to grow no matter WHAT you do.  It's clear the garden WILL NOT have anything to do with a plant having a first name of Creep!

Follower Assistance Issue


I don’t know about the other followers yet, but that Lydia is a stubborn ox. Very rarely will she go up or down stairs when she accompanies you on quests.  While on that topic it's also worth mentioning that several times when entering the Dwarven ruins Lydia simply vanished!  I had to completely exit the ruins only to find her standing outside.  I had to dismiss her quickly then re-obtain her before she walked off.  Once I did that only then was she able to follow me inside.  Sometimes when she vanished I had to return to the Lakeview house to fetch her then return to the ruins.

Follower Item Limit Issue


This is a good one.  This is an issue I never encountered before until the game was released for next-gen.  I crafted a set of Dwarven armor for Lydia and gave it to her.  Later I improved upon it.  When I attempted to give her the shield back the game told me it was too heavy.  After a short Google Search, yes I confirmed it was a bug.  I found a work around by dropping the item on the ground then having Lydia pick the item up.  I also found that as a result of this gameplay bug Lydia is not able to hold anything else.  For the time being I don't even bother with the followers.  It's too much of a hassle.  

Farm animals die & unable to be replaced

Apparently once the chickens die that’s it! They’re gone for good!  No option appears in Lydia’s menu to replace them due to excessive giant, bandit, and/or wolf attacks.  When the cow died I was able to replace that.  So maybe this doesn’t count as a bug.  Take it for what you will.

Questing Bugs


Certain quests seem to be permanently bugged to the point where the quest will not complete once you finish the objectives.  One in particular is a quest where you go in search of a hunting party.  The quest is called, “Locate Valdr’s Hunting Party.”  Once you complete or attempt to complete the objectives for the quest, the floating arrow above his head permanently remains.  The quest is also not removed from your active quest log to your completed quest log.  That's just one example.

****

Overall


In case you might be wondering, well the answer is no.  I don't use mods even though this edition does support their use, but at your own peril.  I play the game as it was meant to be played.  To that end I feel that for the price of $59.99 which is the typical standard price of a BRAND NEW game, I more or less expected Bethesda to clean up these errors in the game.  I suppose in the end my expectations were perhaps just a little too high.   In my opinion I feel that since we as fans of The Elder Scrolls have paid full price for an older game, I don’t think it’s too much one bit to ask these old glitches to finally be resolved.  Am I asking too much?  Considering it’s our money they are getting, then I certainly don’t think so.  Not really.

I'm sure you'll have the naysayers that will say, “Well you have to consider how old the game is.” Then there will probably be statements most likely to the point of, “If you have that much of a problem with all the bugs then don’t play it.”  There’s just one problem little with that.  I already spent the money and now I'm stuck with it!!!  

When I buy a product I expect it to work without any problems or at least very little difficulty.  I'm sure most of you are the same way.  The gameplay bugs are not simple issues that can be just waved off dismissively.  They are game breaking and they NEED to be fixed.  Would you expect a company like Activision-Blizzard to sit back on their laurels and let a large title of theirs continue to glitch?  Hell no!!! They’d respond to customer feedback and act accordingly by releasing a patch to address as many issues possible.  And they would continue to do so until all problems were finally resolved.

In my opinion I believe Bethesda should step up and address these issues.  They owe it to their paying customers.  The same customers keeping their lights on.  Well I hope you enjoyed reading my review and what I thought of Skyrim: Re-mastered Edition. Because of the issues mentioned, I give the game an overall rating of 8.5.  The biggest game breaker for me honestly was the broken quest system.  I can look past the occasional glitch with the graphics.  The broken and overly glitched quests that is integral to the game, I cannot look past.  Bethesda released an older game to new consoles knowing it was still broken.  Shame on them!

At the time of this review I have a level 38 male Nord barbarian.  I am just now starting to dip into the Thieves Guild questline as I like to take my time to enjoy it.  I recommend you do the same.  If you should encounter the glitches or problems I have, then take the same course I did and report it through their website or post on their official forums.  I'm sure you'll get the same response I did as well.  The standard scripted response from one of their reps about how they promise to pass my concerns on to their team.

As for a posting I made on their technical forum seeking answers it went with no reply last time I checked about two weeks ago.  At the bottom of this posting, I'll post relevant links regarding this game.  I hope you enjoyed this review.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to email at Kronoso1979@gmail.com or add me on twitter @kronoso1979.

Happy Gaming!

Edward Alex Lively


Gamestop

Target

Wal-Mart

Sunday, February 19, 2017

***10/6 Excerpt Pt 2***

A Nasty Discovery

****

A few moments later Ann was resting comfortably in the library of the house, sitting on a forest green, Queen Victoria style couch enjoying her juice.  When she first came into the library it took a moment or so for Ann to find her way around, even with the amount of light coming from her lamp.  At one side of the couch was a small dark cherry, triangle shaped end able.  Ann placed her lamp and the pitcher of juice on the table then took a moment to light two of the wall lamps opposite of one another with matches from her pocket.  Afterwards Ann went back to the kitchen briefly to fetch her glass, then she returned to the library where she stretched out on the couch.

As she was sitting there slowly sipping her juice Ann looked over at a large English style, mahogany bookcase with six wide shelves that was now partially lit up by the wall lamps and the lamp sitting on the small table.  The large bookcase stood in a far corner next to a grand looking black marble fireplace.  The old bookcase belonged to Ann’s father as did all the books on its shelves. Most of the books she knew that were in her father’s collection were primarily first editions.  The subject matter mostly pertained  to history on ancient civilizations such as ancient Rome, the Aztec Indians, and the Mayans just to name a few.  From where she was sitting and despite the low light, she could also see by the names on the spines there were other first edition books covering other material such as classical literature, different spiritual rituals of different cultures.  Ann knew her father had assembled his collection many years ago and over a lengthy period of time.  Apparently according to what her mother once stated, Ann’s father apparently at one time belonged to the Archaeological Society of Tejas.

Her mind then drifted to another matter.  The search for her mother.  Obviously Ann was worried about her mother.  She knew as mean as her mother was she really shouldn't have gave a damn.  But it was her mother still the same.  Right then Ann’s stomach started growling.  She remembered she hadn’t eaten anything herself since that afternoon.  She remembered there was some leftover pimento cheese in the icebox which sounded like an excellent snack. Ann swallowed the last sip of juice then reached behind her placing the empty glass on the small table.  She then stood even though it was painful and very slowly made her way from the library, then walking through the front hall to her left, and back into the kitchen.  Before the night was over with Ann had a sinking feeling she would be needing not just another pain pill or two, but she had a feeling she’d be also taking a mud bath in her pain crΓ¨me.

****

Once she was back in the kitchen Ann stood in the doorway looking for anything out of place.   She then stepped over to the counter, setting the empty glass down on the counter and decided to first get some bread from the hidden pantry.  Just as she was about to reach the pantry a loud noise came from within.   It sounded almost as if something might’ve fallen but she couldn’t be sure.  Her first thought was that someone was inside the pantry itself and they'd knocked something off a shelf.  Ann called out loudly that she had a gun and she knew how to use it! When she heard nothing more Ann inched forward slowly.  Reaching out with her left hand trembling, Ann turned the handle on the hidden pantry door then yanked the door in her direction.  She prepared herself to flee as fast as she could if there was a monster or some other hideous creature sent by the devil inside.

Instead of finding evil incarnate itself inside or any of her other worst nightmares, she found a large mess instead.  Inside the pantry one of the upper shelves had collapsed causing everything to fall down onto the shelves below, thus causing those shelves to also collapse onto the shelves further down because of their age.  In turn everything on each lower shelf had then collapsed to the floor of the pantry causing a large mess of spilled dry food and other essential cooking ingredients.  Ann breathed with relief.  She felt safe but only for a moment because she quickly noticed there was something about the shelves collapsing and then the mess on the floor that bothered her.  The shelves she noticed had only collapsed because they apparently had too many items piled on top of them it seemed.  She looked closer at the items now laying on the floor of the pantry.

There was a fresh gallon of milk she remembered buying only three days ago, a carton of orange juice, a large bottle of mayonnaise, a tub of butter, a container of sour cream, and a carton of eggs.  That was to name just a few of the items.  So far it seemed to be items that were supposed to remain in the icebox.  Beneath the collapsed shelving and the many food items was something else of particular interest.  Ann leaned over so she could look closer.  The light coming from the kitchen wasn’t very bright and her eyes weren’t that good anymore either.  What she was looking at looked similar to the metal shelving from the icebox.

****

Ann backed away from the pantry’s doorway and then looked next to the pantry doorway over at the old white icebox sitting there by itself.  She then began to wonder about something.   Something definitely didn’t feel right about the current situation.  Something really felt wrong.  Ann decided to check the icebox.  Stepping over to the icebox and gripping the cold metal handle, she waited not even a second before yanking the icebox door open.  When she opened the door Ann was prepared to find an emptied out icebox. An icebox emptied of everything food related and all its shelving.  Instead what she found inside was the body of her mother shoved inside twisted at an odd angle.  At first glance her mother had been bound at the wrist, ankles, and then across her mother’s mouth was a large piece of silver duct tape.  Alice Hemphill’s grey eyes had an open blank stare.  Across her throat was a deep, fresh slash still dripping with blood.  Cut into her forehead were deep red gashes in the shape of the numerical digits, “10/6.”

****

Just as Ann managed to let out the most horrified scream she ever thought possible, the sudden sound like a door being kicked in could be heard coming from the main foyer.  The front door in fact was kicked in right then by two Tejas Police officers.  The officers drew their weapons after entering upon hearing Ann Hemphill’s initial scream.  The two officers quickly followed the sound of a subsequent scream down the front hall where they found Ann in the kitchen.  In the dim light the officers spotted Ann standing in front of the icebox staring at the mutilated corpse of her mother stuffed inside.  They wasted no time aiming their weapons at Ann’s backside, announcing themselves and then demanding she turn around with her hands up.  As Ann turned around with her hands up she barely made a sound as her eyes rolled back into her head, then she collapsed to the floor of the kitchen from pure fright.

The two responding officers who’d been dispatched to the Hemphill home were Tejas Police officers Bradley Davidson and his new partner. A rookie fresh out of the academy by the name Rusty Davis.  The rookie stepped closer to the icebox still keeping his gun aimed at a now unconscious Ann, he took one look at the semi-mutilated body stuffed in the icebox and immediately he fell to the kitchen floor passing out himself.  Bradley simply smiled, shaking his head as he placed his gun into the holster on his belt.  He reached for a small radio on his left shoulder requesting both a team from homicide unit and forensics.

****

©Edward Alex Lively The previous story is a complete work of fiction.  Any names, characters, places and incidents contained herein are products of the author’s highly overactive and creative imagination.  Any resemblance to any actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.  Please do not re-print from my stories anywhere without my express written permission. This is my creative work and even though I may choose to share samples of some of my work online with close and personal friends, I would hope no one would take advantage of my good nature and steal portions my work and then change them up for their own benefit or personal gain. This notice at the end of all my books/stories serves as my official copyright notice.  Any characters in official capacity including names of characters or having to do with the actual plot of the story are all copyrighted by me.  



***10/6 Excerpt***

Ann Hemphill


****

Originally, The Thomas Jefferson Children’s Home was one of two large adoption agencies/orphanages located in Tejas.  That was at least until they were closed down around ten years ago by state authorities.  The children's home was shut down after state welfare authorities, acting on an anonymous tip regarding allegations of ongoing physical abuse at the home.  As the state was completing it’s shutdown of the home and transferring the children to the only remaining children’s home in the city, more than a dozen or so boys and girls of various ages fled into the streets.  Missing posters were issued but very few of the children were ever recovered or found.  Still to this day the reasons behind why the children ran away from the home has not be determined.

Among the many children who had fled, Ann Hemphill’s own grandson had disappeared when he was around eleven never to be seen or heard from again.  Shortly after the children’s home closed down, the city’s remaining children’s home; Tejas Adoption Agency, took over all full time duties such as handling all adoptions throughout the greater Southeast Texas area.  Not very long after the Thomas Jefferson home closed, the proprietor of the home; a somewhat older woman at the time by the name of Alice Hemphill became sickly with a brittle bones syndrome.  She eventually became so sick to the point that eventually she was permanently bedridden.  If it hadn’t been for Alice’s daughter Ann to wait on her hand and foot, then Alice would’ve perished soon right after coming down with her bone syndrome.

****

From time to time Ann wondered what her life could’ve been like had she lived beyond the walls of the Thomas Jefferson Home, but then other times she was grateful to her mother for raising her in the way she had.  To her mother’s extreme disappointment though, Ann fell pregnant once upon a time and in another life during a moment of sexual weakness.  She eventually gave birth to a daughter which Ann named after her own mother.  That was more than fifteen years ago.  Her mother at first insisted that Ann give the baby up for adoption when she gave birth, but then her mother relented and decided to help her raise the baby. Ann’s father meanwhile had been busy abroad working for some corporate conglomerate.  Ann nor her mother never really knew what her father did as he never talked about his work.  The only thing her father said was he worked for a company called The Hanover Group.

Eventually Ann’s daughter grew up to be quite the hellcat herself, despite of Ann trying to teach her own daughter how to be a woman of the Lord.  Eventually Ann’s own daughter became pregnant and in Alice Hemphill’s own words, “she has become impure” and so Alice stated that soon after Ann’s daughter gave birth she had to leave.  Shortly after giving birth to a boy Ann’s daughter left the child behind in the care of Ann and her parents.  Ann never saw her daughter again.

For the next several years after that, Ann along with her parents raised her own grandchild there in the orphanage.  When the orphanage shut down after investigations by The State of Texas Welfare Authorities, Ann’s own grandson was one of the children who vanished without a trace after escaping into the streets.  She never saw him again.  For the last ten years since the last days of the children’s home when Ann wasn’t personally attending to her mother’s every wish and demand, then Ann’s time was spent here in her room.  Either she was reading books she’d already read or she was sewing up holes in old clothing.

****

The Hemphill family name was one of the more prominent names around Tejas.  The Hemphill family was one of the original founding members of Tejas when the city first got its charter.  Then later when the oil gusher near Sabine Pass was discovered, the Hemphill family name was mentioned in passing as once again being in league with one of the area’s more well-known leading industrialists; Francis Tyrell Stevens who was also a founding member of Tejas.

****

©Edward Alex Lively The previous story is a complete work of fiction.  Any names, characters, places and incidents contained herein are products of the author’s highly overactive and creative imagination.  Any resemblance to any actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.  Please do not re-print from my stories anywhere without my express written permission. This is my creative work and even though I may choose to share samples of some of my work online with close and personal friends, I would hope no one would take advantage of my good nature and steal portions my work and then change them up for their own benefit or personal gain. This notice at the end of all my books/stories serves as my official copyright notice.  Any characters in official capacity including names of characters or having to do with the actual plot of the story are all copyrighted by me.  


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Self-Reflection

By Edward Alex Lively


For awhile I've been doing my own thing.  Not working on any stories such as writing on either my sci-fi or my fantasy short, nor have I been doing very much editing on the latest entry in my Southern Gothic Tales series.  

Why?  I've mostly been feeling in a bleh like mood.  It doesn't help either I do all my work from a tablet.  If it's worth anything in a pinch of salt,  I am halfway through the story; editing it I mean.  The story is only about a hundred pages or so.  What I've done so far is along the way is remove a lot of unnecessary dialogue, such as redundant or repeated dialogue that was just switched around.  Slimmed down the paragraphs as much as I possibly could while attempting to maintain my attention to environmental detail that I highly favor.  

When I set out to write a story I do so with the mindset that I am writing the type of story I would enjoy reading.  Whether it's full of jumps and scares or not.  Whether it's got a predictable plot or not.  The point is to enjoy the story and all characters contained within.  That is my ultimate goal which I hope to achieve with my readers; that they simply enjoy the trip.


***Distractions***


As of recent though I've been distracted by some memories from long ago.  Some violent horrendous memories, that every time I believe I've buried them in the deepest crevasse of my mind they reappear.  If it's not the torrential abuse I suffered as a child at the hands of my racist father then it's the abuse I suffered at the hands of two other family members.  Then there was also the relentless and almost never ending bullying I had the luxury of enduring through all four years of my high school career.  On at least on occasion I burst into a large pool of tears in the counselor's office, practically drowning myself thanks to my fellow peers.  I managed to see a few of them years back.  For the record they're still assholes.  Perhaps these memories wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that when they manifested themselves, they also brought with them extreme violent thoughts.  Twisted desires regarding ideas of a hellish revenge I'd like to suffer upon my former tormentors, hand delivering karma at its finest.  

The thing that made home life and school life during my freshman-senior year even remotely tolerable was one simple thing.  A person rather that kept me from saying, Screw this!"  It was an ally and the only true ally I had at the time.  I doubt I'll ever find another like her either.  My ally was a psychotherapist specially assigned by the school.  It was she who helped me make it through my high school years.  There was nothing I didn't tell her, and that was mainly because I couldn't tell my parents.  Simply because of the way they were treating me I didn't trust them.  And why should I have trust them? Please tell me.  When you throw your thirteen year old son out on the back porch in near freezing temperatures, after stripping him of all his clothing save his briefs and tell him he can come back in when he can act *white.*  Please tell me.  Would you trust a man that calls himself your father? 


***Wisdom Teeth-The gift that keeps giving!***


As you know I had my wisdom teeth out over the summer.  Due to further complications before and after the tooth surgery and from the dentist being a colossal jerk, I then had to visit a new dentist so I could have two more teeth removed.  Two of my molars.  Well fast forward later to this point in time and now the previous dentist is now harassing me over a bill which I do not owe him, not to mention he's also threatening me because I left a negative review, which is only based on my personal opinion of my visit to his office.  The dentist which I won't name here for legal reasons because I believe he is stalking my social media profiles, has demanded I remove my negative review or else.  Anyone that knows me well enough by now knows I don't give in to threats, blackmail, or extortion for that matter.  Enough about him.  

I say enough because for the last three weeks ever since he started bothering me I shrunk into a shell and hid out in the darkness of my apartment.  That's what I've what always done when someone tried to intimidate me.  I would run away and hide because I knew what would happen if I continued to stick around.  Eventually it started turning into hulk smash because I got fed up.  That's not the answer though; hiding.  You must confront your tormentors but I believe only through peaceful means which is the way I practice, or at least I try to when I can.  


****Civil Rights***


For those of you that know me intimately, you know that civil rights is one thing I care deeply about.  It's also a subject that if I feel my rights have been violated I won't hesitate to stand up for.  A few months ago I am ashamed to admit I had yet again another nervous breakdown.  That sounds a lot better though doesn't it than saying I was entering a stage of mania and was about to start acting bipolar psychotic?  Just about every time I think I've got my illness licked I get thrown into a tailspin.  So much for being so proud and having a decent handle on things huh?  Good thing I can adapt!

My point of mentioning this is because as I felt when my rights were violated and I was lightly physically assaulted by two members of the staff at Southern New Hampshire hospital I made a complaint.  Nothing was done and no calls regarding any action was performed.  A call and email to the American Civil Liberties Union was not returned.  I then contacted the local police department.  Well because of lack of bruising the officer said it would be a he/she said case.  He said file a suit to get the attention drawn to the issue.  I did on the advice of the officer file suit in fact and brought it to small claims.

I won't go through case history here but to sum up what happened it basically was dismissed for failure to state a claim.  The hospital had it moved to federal court whereupon a federal judge sided with the hospital basically stating my rights weren't violated, therefore in my opinion giving Southern New Hampshire the green light to man handle patients.  And in case you're wondering...this resulted because I wrote a  partial short story while there and a member of the staff asked to read or hear what I wrote then freaked.  As always I never have nothing to hide nor no reason to lie.  I believe in complete transparency as I have nothing to lose by telling the complete and god's honest truth.  

The lesson I learned from this basically is civil rights are respected it seems if you are in either the right circles or you have enough money to make enough noise.  I am but one person and I write and share this blog with you in hopes that what I have experienced will never happen to anyone else ever again.

That's why I want people to know.  If no one knows and the shame regardless of whatever it may be stays in the dark then nothing ever changes.  I want a better world.  I want a world where we all can live together and respect one another openly as full equals, not just part-time equals when business or politics call for it.  

***

Lots of love,

Edward Alex Lively