SpartanNerd Sunday…."Voice of Resurgence"

Maybe its a deer.   Maybe its a ram?

Regardless, whenever I see this card, it reminds me of Genesis 22, “God will supply the sacrifice.”
You play a card like this similar to “Doomed Traveler,” with the expectation it will be killed off for a big payoff.  It becomes your sacrifice. 
I own one of these.  The price is still around $35, even after Theros dropped this week.  I enjoy playing this card….it’s good all around. 

Technology Review…IOS7

I don’t like it as good as I liked the old versions…IOS 6.whatever.

The flat icons don’t do it for me.  Isn’t 2D a step backwards?

The redesigned Calendar, Clock, Newstand, Game Center, Messages, Music don’t do it for me.  The camera’s “Square” feature is un-needed.  And the Camera doesn’t look as good all around.

So there you have it.

I like the new animations.  The “fly-in” looks great.  I like that tilting the phone creates a movement effect with the icons.  (Have you noticed that yet?)  I like iTunes Radio, but am not sure that should be included…That is everywhere, not just on IOS7.  I like the softer sound scheme a little better.  Siri sound better.  I am keeping HER female…Safari is better…more visual than before.

IOS7 looks better on my iPad Mini than on my iPhone 4S.

These are my thoughts.  What are yours?

SpartanNerd Sundays…Apple vs Google vs RIM vs Samsung vs Microsoft

Do not conform<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> to the pattern of this world,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>—his good, pleasing<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> and perfect will.

Romans 12.2

The gist of my thinking on this post has to do with Apple, and the way they go about presenting their products.  I have been thinking about them some since I repaired my mac, and also since IOS7 dropped this week.  How in some ways, some company’s products seem to have features and conveniences that Apple’s do not have…but still they fall flat, while Apple continues to be successful.  And the reasons why.

The main reason why is the character of the business…They approach every product like it was the best that has ever been produced.  Samsung, Dell, RIM, etc. produce tons of different models of phones but never do they produce something that they present as a pinnacle product.  They seem to be imitators and copycats…who stay in the shadow of Apple.  And once you’ve used their products, that feeling of flatness rubs off on the end user.  

Even if their home screen has animation.  Even if there is a snazzy lock pattern feature.  Even if the device is waterproof.  Even if the device has a world-class camera.

Apple products on the other hand are solid.  Because the company is solid.

Case in point…The “phablet.”  Tons of people in the tech journalism world have been saying that Apple simply has to make a “phablet,” an oversized smart-phone or undersized tablet.   Many tech people were certain that a product like this was going to surface  last week.   

But it didnt.  I believe it wont.

The iPhone 5 already feels like a fine watch or piece of jewelry.  And as if affirming that with the world, they announced a new gold coloring in the iPhone 5s.  Otherwise, the phone is basically the same thing with some spec bumps.  

What lesson is there for a christian in this tech discussion?

Do you affirm that Christ alone is the single greatest thing in your life?   Has he made such a difference that people want it also?  Do you think of ways to refine your christian walk, knowing that your faith in Him is the pinnacle of what life can be?  When the world pressures you to become more like them, do you stick to your guns and dig in your heels?

You see, Apple is a secular company. But they are presenting leadership through character to the rest of humanity.  This is what the Christians in America need to return to doing.  If a tech company can provide such guidance, people in tbe business of saving souls should be all the more able.  


SpartanNerd Sundays…Faith and Mulligans

Ephesians 6:10-18- The Armor of God

My favorite style of Magic The Gathering play is called “constructed”.  I like either “standard” or “modern”. But Legacy and Vintage are beyond me (I’m a cheapskate, remember?).   And I am not good at limited and drafting….

So, you load up a constructed deck…   Maybe 25 lands and your favorite 35 other cards.  And play!
You are putting your faith in what you put in the deck, right?  You know there is nothing there that you didn’t provide ahead of time.  You know that there are no red cards if you are playing black and white.  You know there are four Fencing Aces double striking the truth…You put them there!

I generally mulligan….draw six different cards after the first draw…when I have no land or nothing worthy to play.   Here’s the devotional bit….if I have 5 lands in hand, what are the odds of Mana flood?  I have faith that there is NO WAY the next three turns are going to be all land….I mean, it could happen…(this IS a card game) But probably not.

Does that make sense?   Statistically the odds are in that favor.  
This principle runs truer than true with the Mazes End strategy, where you might just run three copies of each guild gate…If one Dimir Guildgate is out, and the other was milled…guess what…You know you have one more!  You hold Three Boros guild gates?  You need not worry about losing them, and furthermore you know you will be drawing something different each turn.

What does this have to do with anything?

Your deck, ahem, “library” in Magic is like your Christian testimony.  When the old devil tries to vex you away from the truth, you can think back on your life and say to him…”I remember when Jesus did this in my life, or did that in my life.”  It is called “The Shield of Faith.”  You can use it to protect yourself against the fiery arrows of Satan!  You can rely on the things God has provided in you!  You can have those experiences…that spiritual growth…always in mind.

But you have to keep your faith in those things.  The Bible says you have to “Take Up” that shield of faith!  Then swing that sword of truth!

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Figure Review…Marvel Select Deadpool

This is a figure that SpartanSmurf #1 picked up at the MonsterCon.

I wish I got a picture of the unboxing, but sorry!

Let me just say…WOW!  The MOTUC figures have met their match in almost every way!

I mean, Deadpool was only $25!  He is massive!  Has tons of articulation!  And lots of accessories!

Here are some pics and my review!

This is the basic figure.

Here is his diorama and stand

Here are his accessories, minus one sai.  Trust me.  He came with another one.

Here he is with pistol, about to draw the other.

Here he is with machine gun and sai!

I used the extra large pics here to show the detail!  

First thing I noticed was the heft of the figure.  He probably weighs two pounds altogether.  That stand is a chunk!
Deadpool has very nice articulation, with double jointed knees and ball joints in lots of places.  His arms have swivel joints, but his shoulders and hips have ball joints.  His wrists swivel.  His ankles seem to have a rocker, but they are sort of weak.
Lots of detail on Deadpool.  He has extra knives, ammo pouches, a teargas grenade, holsters, etc.
I don’t know much about Deadpool.  I read a couple of the comics since my son has become interested.  They really are not for children.  Maybe I shouldn’t let him read that garbage.  But one thing is certain, this is an awesome figure!
Compared to the OTHER great figure line of today, MOTUC, he has them beat.  Shame on Mattel!  They could sell MOTUC figures in comics stores for a comparable price.  I mean Diamond is not even mainly a toy company!  
Deadpool has triple the accessories of most MOTUC figures, he is taller and even more hefty, he came with a diorama stand.  Mattel says they cannot sell their figures for less than the $28 plus shipping.  This just proves them wrong.  I do not know there deal on the amount they produce, but it could definitely sell better at comic stores.  They are holding out on us collectors!
I saw a Juggernaut Marvel Select figure at the Tangled Web last night.  Same price.  $25!  That figure was three times the size of a MOTUC figure.  In fact, Three times the size of Deadpool!  Granted, it didn’t come with as much other swag, but still.
I think I found my next toy, if they make a Thor.  Or Wolverine.  (The Spider-Man looked kind of small…and came with a big ruined car.  I just don’t think that is as great.  Maybe a Spider-Man and Hobgoblin!)

The Value of Nerd Stuff…Specifically "Why Do Lego MiniFigures Cost So Much?"

Today I am going to rant about something.  Everyone who reads this blog knows that I am a cheapskate.  This post might sound like “get off my lawn.”  But I feel strongly about this, and have put alot of thought into it.  I have to teach my children about the value of money, and so when they read this, maybe they’ll get it too.

I am specifically ranting about the amount of money that Lego MiniFigs are going for nowadays.  My question is, Why?

(I should say that these pictures come from places that I will not disclose, on the web and in person)

Here is a MODEST example.

WHY PEOPLE?  THIS IS INSANITY!  These guys are zany and off the wall.  Who is the scientist?  Why would you pay $29.99 for a generic scientist?  Why would you buy any of these guys.  These are the kind you should get in a starter kit and give to an 8 year old.  The kit should cost about $10, and contain about 100 primary colored bricks of assorted sizes and shapes.
Here’s another, more specific and crazy one.

OF COURSE I am a Star Wars fan.  I unashamedly identify with Anakin/ Vader.  I also think the LEGO Star Wars video games are fun, and enjoy the cuteness of them as well.  But I think this much money for a mini-fig is ridiculous.

Remember, we are talking about something about the size of a quarter, made out of plastic.

The Mystery Pack here seems reasonable enough.  This kind of thing is popular nowadays.  But you don’t know what you are getting…And I happen to know, that these guys tend to be rather generic.  (I know this is a pic of the HALO MEGA BLOCKS mystery pack price..But both are the same price, I checked.  At least with Halo, you know you are getting something Halo.)  $2.97…You can get a happy meal for this price, and get food AND a better toy.

Now, I don’t think the Mystery Pack is entirely overpriced…It’s just not my kind of thing.  Magic The Gathering Booster Packs operate the same way…More about them later in the post.

Am I alone in this?

Here are some things to compare for discussion of value.

You get a decent set, and three well known characters.  Good deal!  Maybe a good birthday present.
You get a pretty big set…and four mini-figs.  This is OK. IMHO.  Maybe a good Christmas present.
This one is labeled FINAL BATTLE.  Looks like Ninjago is coming to an end.  You get a 100+ piece set, with two mini-figures.  This seems like the best value on this page, as far as Lego is concerned.  Furthermore, the boys can build this set themselves without being overwhelmed.

The SpartanSmurfs own a comparable set. Of course I had to build it for them. After that dragon bit the dust, it never has been together again.  I should have seen it coming.  It has been done before, after all!  (power rangers!)  Eventually…a Gold Ninja.  Is this good value?  Looks like you get three minifigs and the dragon…a pretty big set.  I guess its OK.  If you are a fan of Ninjago. But not the Gold Ninja alone.  Sorry.

Here you see everything you get in the Halo Pack.  $6.  Considering the price of the mystery pack, this seems fair. Plus I happen to know that there is more stuff here than you would get in the Mystery Pack.

I guess I just don’t value Lego MiniFigs.  They are the kind of thing that just gets played with for awhile, then taken apart, and then the hands get lost, or the weapons, or they get mixed up.  And the kids could have just as much fun with the generic type you get in the Mystery Pack.  Or the ones you find at a yard sale….

I mean, for as much money as the Darth Vader up there, you could have THREE Ninja Turtles.  And you wouldn’t have to order them on the internet…You can walk out the store with them!

Metalhead is one of my favorites!
I have spoke a few times about this movie.  It is an older movie now.  But look at the size of this guy!  For $19!  Great articulation!  1000% larger than the Vader Minifig, and STILL CHEAPER.

Here’s a “girly” example.  For $19.97, you can own a doll, with tons of accessories…A popular toy at that!  You still aren’t paying as much as you are for Vader!

The Great SpartanAunt is guilty.  You see, she got the SpartanSmurfs some extravagantly priced Storm Troopers and Clone Mini-Figs.  And spoiled them!  I try and tell them…Look, you could get THIS item, or four of THESE items for that price…Nope.

There is nothing there but INSANITY!  Am I being a jerk?

I exercise caution when I am buying Magic Cards with the boys.  I don’t feel a piece of cardboard is worth the price of a meal for a whole family at a decent restaurant.  I personally own a Voice of Reason…This card would cost $35-$50…But I got it in a booster pack….That’s How I roll, see.  And all of the Shocklands that I own, I got the same way, or traded.  I boosted my collection, and I keep it organized alphabetically by set.  I am getting the bang for my buck, see.  And I play everyday.

The SpartanSmurfs are going on and on about Mr. Gold.  He’ll cost his weight in real gold.  Mr. Gold is apparently the rarest MiniFig or something like that.  Here’s what I see happening.  They’ll get a Mr. Gold.  Then he’ll be in 10 golden pieces, mixed into Storm Trooper and Ninjago parts.

And I just don’t see the value here.

And that is my two-cents cheapskate opinion!  Are you mad now?…Comment!