My PageRank is Back!

Unbelievably, only days after submitting a reinclusion request to Google, I rechecked my PageRank and am showing a healthy PR of 3! Honestly, I don’t know if this is going to mean much for my site and blog monetization going forward, but it was on my list of things to take care of “now that I’m back”, and I’m very happy it’s all done.

If you’re in the same place I was in, feel free to check out this post from Matt Cutts: and it wouldn’t hurt to also look at this one from the always supportive Andy Beard! Oh, and in the event that you DON’T want to read those posts, here’s the summary on how to remedy this problem:

  • Remove yourself from paid links on your site.
  • Take down your paid links or nofollow them.
  • Think about removing those paid link pages entirely.
  • Think about removing the code on your site linking to paid link companies.
  • Go to the Dashboard in Google Sitemaps and click the link on the right that reads, “Request Reinclusion”.
  • Tell Google you’re sorry, what you did, what you did to fix it, and why it will never happen again.
  • Give me a high five.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 Announced via tu4ar.com

Not too long ago, the video game blogosphere was abuzz on account of tu4ar.com, a website that popped up on the Capcom Unity blog. The site featured a countdown to something and soon everyone was speculating that it was a countdown to the release of Marvel vs Capcom 2 for the next gen systems. Well it turns out that the rumors were true and Capcom has officially announced the release of Marvel vs Capcom 2 for PSN and XBL with a demo to be released on the PS3 sometime around April 30th.



Obviously the release of this game continues Capcom’s continuing plan of adding as little as possible to old games and then releasing them anew as if they reinvented the wheel. Excuse my sarcasm but we all knew that this was going to happen right? And now that it has… *shrugs* Look – Widescreen mode, online play, all characters unlocked from jump… Who cares?



I mean, I’m as big a fan as you’ll find for the game but what about something new Capcom? New moves? New functionality? New CHARACTERS? A tease for Marvel vs Capcom 3? How about anything? I guess that’d be too much to ask. Well don’t think that I’m saying I won’t get it, but I certainly won’t be in a rush… Especially when I think about how much of a dream Street Fighter IV was with the 360 controller. *rolling eyes*

Rockville Runamuck Festival 5K 2009

This past Saturday, I ran in my first race since running my favourite, the Rockville Twilighter last August! It’s been so long because even when I ran the Twilighter I was having a lot of feet/knee problems. But in the last month or two, I’ve had an opportunity to get into some physical rehab and I’ve done a lot of work.

Even still, my physical therapist was none too thrilled that I was doing a 5K but he thought it probably wouldn’t be a damning event so he didn’t forbid it. Besides, this was a team event and if I had bailed I don’t think that the 3 other people on my team (including my wife) would’ve been too happy with me.



Dirty Fun
The Runamuck isn’t your normal race in that there are obstacles like walls in the middle of the race, and numerous times during the race you have to either wade through a waist deep lake or have to run through ankle deep mud pits or both. Cool huh? One of my friends told me about the race, and I thought it would be a fun little one to do with the wife so we signed up. Consequently, the friend who told me about the race tried to sign up for it the night before and couldn’t get in. *rolling eyes* (#):)



For me, I thought the race was a ton of fun! Admittedly there were probably too many people doing it because since the trail was kinda narrow in places and every time there was an obstacle, there was a huge backup and everyone had to walk. For me though, this was great because my therapist wanted me to walk 2 minutes for every mile anyway. Everyone on my team had a good time too and most of them either completely fell into the mud pits or dove into the lake and tried to swim across (meaning they got really muddy). And during the race there were a ton of girls who would just start wrestling in the mud so it was def a fun atmosphere.



The Aftermath
With the weather being beautiful, (sunny and 85), I could’ve stayed out there on the field all day! I think we finished the race at 11ish, and another heat was leaving at that time PLUS you had the costumed heat leaving later that day PLUS you had 5 live bands which I would’ve loved to stay for. Unfortunately, half of my team doesn’t really like music (yeah you heard that right), so my ride pretty much got out of there 10 minutes after the race was over. Thankfully though I DID get a chance to see some awesome costumed racers including the Smurfs and the cast of Mario Kart! Oh, and in case you’re wondering – My knees feel money which bodes GREAT things for the rest of my 2009 race season!

WCW vs NWO Revenge Trailer

Not too long ago I thought to check out YouTube for the trailer to WCW vs NWO Revnege for the Nintendo 64. I used to have so much fun playing this game back in the day. Why isn’t there something like this on XBL!? These games used to be so fun and I don’t think anyone would say that newer wrestling games could touch it. I think in the strides towards realism, we’ve lost a lot of that speed and freedom in control that we used to have. Not that I’ve played a wrestling game for more than 5 minutes in the last 8 years ha ha. If you wanna check out the awesome/badness of the trailer, la voila.



Mobile – Rolling With Katamari Review

While the first mobile review of anything on this site might be something to celebrate, (especially after writing some 337 posts), the prospect of a mobile game enticing me to write a review is really where the praise is deserved. Now let me preface this review by saying I have an LG Chocolate on the Verizon network and you can get the game there. For the other carriers and phones, I just don’t know but you might wanna check over on Namco’s page.

If You’ve Never Played a Katamari Game…
It’s really simple. You’re this little guy and you push this little ball that EVERYTHING sticks to. The point of the game is to make the ball grow as big as you can make it. So I know that sounds really stupid and childlike but in execution it’s very cool. See, your ball starts out really small and as such it can only pick up small things like paper clips and pen tops. But as your ball grows, you’ll be able to roll and pick up bigger things like baseballs and then to trash cans to dogs, to cars… I mean, it’s a really really cool and relatively simple 3D game.


Katamari Mobile

So How Does it Translate to the Handheld
SurPRISINGLY well! You’re not going to get the 3D view (at least in my version), but other than that it’s almost the exact same game and equally as fun! It handles pretty well, the graphics are great, and the effect used when the game zooms out as your ball gets bigger is spot on. Now I’ve been playing this for a WHILE now… Sometimes in waiting rooms, sometimes before bed, sometimes just in place of other games, and I’m STILL NOT DONE WITH IT! Which for me, is VERY important when buying a mobile game. If I can’t play it over and over again, it’s just not worth it the money to purchase it. If I had one negative thing to say about the game, I might cite the music… I know they tried to match the console’s “poppyness” but the same kind of stuff through my cell’s speakers just sounds abrasive.

Conclusion
If you liked the console version of this game, you’re gonna love the mobile. It’s almost as simple as that. And if you’ve never played the console version, it’s certainly not a requisite for the mobile game and certainly wouldn’t take anything away from the experience. Hooray! Royal Rainbow! (You’ll see…)

PS3 is Out, the Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-Ray Player is In!

It may come as a surprise to many, but for the past month I’ve been in possession of a PS3. That’s right, Sony’s Playstation 3. Trust me, I’m STILL shocked I ponied up the money to buy one. Well here’s how it happened – As you know, most of my gaming is done on a big ol’ home theater projector these days so watching movies in standard def is like putting a knife in my back.

Sorry guys, it just is.

Here’s the Story Morning Glory
So when I wanted to throw my wife a bone about a month ago and rent Twilight for her (horrible movie) I decided I would rent it on Blu-Ray and play it on a PS3. (Besides, I really wanted to beat my co-worker’s score in Super Stardust HD anyhow)… Everything that night went fine and the PS3 was a very capable device in my humble opinion. Fast forward about a month to present time and I had a WAY overpriced gaming system that didn’t have any games I really wanted. (I never did buy a single game for it). BUT, I was probably going to just keep it anyway since it played Blu-Ray movies half way decently and I can be lazier than the day is long sometimes.

It was at that point that I received word about this baby:

Samsung BD-P1500
The Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-Ray Player @ $150!

Now I knew that Blu-Ray player prices were far below the horrific price of PS3’s, but I didn’t know you could find a capable Samsung with just about all the bells and whistles for sub $200! Now to be fair, this is a refurb from Tiger Direct, but cNET gave it a good rating for what it wass and Pete gave me the approving nod on Twitter, so I pulled the trigger!

You Did This to Yourselves Sony!
Chances are that this doesn’t excite you like it does me but that’s ok. If on the other hand you have been BEGGING for an excuse to get a player at a bargain – Why not give this a go? And on a final note, I can’t be the only one who feels this way. I’ve said it before that I have BEGGED Sony to give me a reason to buy a PS3… They haven’t done it with their game library, they haven’t done it with their price, and now with Blu-Ray player prices falling, they may have missed me entirely for this console generation.

WordPress Archive Dropdown

One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for a while was clean up my sidebars. They were WAY long and that was mostly because my categories and archive sections were being completely listed out. I mean, you blog for any amount of time and these things are bound to happen. So I had two things I could do. I could either:

  • Stop displaying this stuff entirely or
  • Find a new way to display them.

For a second, I thought about putting this stuff into the footer somehow but after I spent all the time making my kicka$$ new one, I said I would just make dropdowns out of this content. For the category dropdown, that was easy enough to do after I found this page on WordPress. The archive dropdown was a bit harder because I couldn’t find code on WordPress that worked exactly like the category dropdown did. That is, the code I found on WordPress would go to the archive section immediately after selecting it from the dropdown instead of after hitting a submit button. So just in case any of you out there need this, here’s the code I came up with:

[sourcecode language=’html’]





[/sourcecode]

Sorry it looks so ugly but at the moment I don’t have time to play with this tool to make things look perfect and bring the font down. In any case, you should be able to just copy the code, clean it up and put it in wherever you need it. Hope this helps!

I Did a Bad Bad Thing – Paid to Blog

When we were younger, we all did stupid things. I for one let a friend borrow my car in college who had multiple wrecks and crashes, all of which were his fault. When he came back the first thing he said was, “Wow, I didn’t know your car could go that fast!” See? That was a stupid thing for me to do. And unfortunatly as we get older, we are still prone to stupid things. For me, that includes participating in Pay Per Post, Review Me, where I was paid to blog.

Why I Did It
That’s an easy one – Money! At the time, I was really interested in monetizing my site and the quickest and easiest way to do that was by writing paid posts. At first, the whole thing seemed great – Get paid anywhere from $5 and up to write posts on topics that fit with what I was talking about anyway… Write a couple of those per week and you could get some decent side cash.



Everything That Glitters…
After a little while of doing this, the luster really started to fade. For one, you’re kinda limited on what you talk about and how you can talk about it. And when that happens, blogging stops being fun and starts being a lot like a job which is no bueno. Secondly, paid postings can really undermine the spirit your blog. For me, I’ve always wanted a cool little place where I could talk about things that interested me and people could chime in if they saw something that piqued their interest. To do that, you can’t come off as a corporate shill. (See where I’m going with this)? Thirdly, if you want to monetize your blog, there are better ways (imo) to go about doing it such as selling ad spots, AdSense, and working the affiliate marketing angle

Not to Mention that Google HATES Paid Postings
Back then, I MIGHT have read somewhere that Google was going to punish those who were paid to blog. Then again I might not’ve. More likely, I might have read it and glossed over the implications of it all together. Well kiddies, if you’re at the beginning of site monetization and don’t get why Google hates paid postings, let me break it down for you.



Google wants to have the best search engine in the world right? That means that when you search for something in Google, the results you’ll get will help you find what you’re really looking for. Well how does Google figure that out? In a nutshell, they assign importance to pages based on a number of factors including how many other pages link to them with certain text in the links. For instance, if enough people link to this site with the anchor text “cool guy”, Google will think that I am this “cool guy” everyone is talking about and will make me appear higher in the search engine results. When you do a paid posting and link to a page with certain keyword text because you were PAID to, it kind of messes up what Google is trying to do. Got it?

Now Why is This a Problem?
If you’re lucky enough to start making money through CPC advertising, you really depend on your search engine traffic. And when Google penalizes you for selling links, you won’t be able to get that search engine traffic you’d otherwise be loving… Which to be honest is kind of where I’m at. It’s only recently that I’ve come back to blogging and before I left I think I had a healthy PR of about a 3. But since then I’ve dropped to (I believe) a 0, and that was after Google went after everyone selling links. This PR drop is probably indicative of a penalty I have which is making me lose a lot of traffic. Despite this however, I’m still making a little bit from AdSense every month but obviously I know I could be doing better.

Repairing the Damage
Some of you have already noticed the little things I’ve been doing to clean up shop around here, but I think this is one of the more important subjects that I need to address. The worse part about this is (like so many other things) that if I had divorced myself from paid postings before my big blogging absensce (way back when), none of this would have been a problem. C’est la vie I suppose but from what I’ve read around the net, dealing with this stuff once you’ve already been penalized can take some time. BUT, it does look like hope is out there so today I will file a reinclusion or reconsideration request from Google. That means I will not be paid to blog anymore!

Wish me luck!

Hulu. Battle Dome. My Life is Complete.

I don’t remember when I first started looking at content on Hulu but it couldn’t’ve been that long ago… We’re probably only talking a month or two. The TV ads weren’t enough to get me to go online but a friend of mine kept sending e-mails around saying that he was catching up on the latest Family Guy’s using it, so I ended up doing the same after my wife made me miss about four weeks worth in a row. (In case you were wondering, the wife doesn’t find ANYTHING funny about Family Guy which means I hardly ever watch it).

Hulu is One of the Best Inventions Ever
The best ideas are often the simplest and Hulu is a prime example of that. I mean, from an end user point of view, there’s nothing really novel about Hulu… All they’re doing is showing video and YouTube’s been doing that for a while. I guess the thing about Hulu was doing what everyone else has been doing, but putting it where it had never been before. That’s to say that just about every cable provider nowadays offers some kind of On Demand programming. Hulu has just brought that offering to the Internet. GENIUS. Now I’m sure the real genius is what’s going on behind the scenes… Making this whole thing profitable with the bandwidth they’re using is probably no simple feat (If they’ve been able to accomplish that at all). But friends, let’s forget about all that for a second and focus on why I absolutely adore Hulu. The answer to that, is Battle Dome.

T-Money Counts Money With His Tongue
If you’ve never seen this show, it’s kind of like old school American Gladiators crossed with WCW (when it was good). Crazy awesome characters + sports competition with real people. It’s probably what the current run of American Gladiators is trying to be like. One of the best/worst parts of the show is the announcer who sounds like he has two doses of throat cancer. I cannot explain it any better than that and it’s definitely one of those things that just have to hear to believe. Well since Battle Dome went off the air, I have not been able to find it anywhere. Not on YouTube, not on Google, not ANYWHERE. UNTIL NOW.


Battle Dome

So for that Hulu, you have my eternal gratitude.

Wii – Grand Slam Tennis Preview

Over at Destructoid the other day, I saw a post about Grand Slam Tennis for the Wii. These days, I’m way past the whole “Wii thing” but none the less I checked out the game and I guess it looks ok… If you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll admit there was a time when I was all into Virtua Tennis for Dreamcast but I think Wii Tennis killed that genre for me.

It All Started When…
Me and some friends went over this girl’s house after a night at the bars for some friendly Wii competition. And I will say right off the bat that I’m a competitive person. AND I’m pretty good at Tennis in real life. (I bet you can see where this is going). Well this girl, who was pretty tipsy mind you, took us all out in straight sets. I’m talking not even close. Everything I hit had no velocity or spin on it and everything she would hit came off with wicked speed and angles. After that, I pretty much told Wii Tennis it could go screw.

Wii Tennis Sucks
I hate Wii Tennis, but not this picture.

Back to Grand Slam Tennis
So when I checked out EA’s site for Grand Slam Tennis I was more than a bit unwilling to believe its claimes of “superior racket responsiveness and control”. HOWEVER, this is one of the first games to take advantage of the greatly hyped Wii MotionPlus so maybe it WILL be different. Up to this point, I’m still not sold but when and if a video comes out that shows a side by side of a person playing the game and his character’s movements – That’ll go a long way for me.


Grand Slam Tennis Wii

Putting My Skepticism Aside About Control
The videos I’ve seen of the game still don’t do anything for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older, but the fact that you have Federer and McEnroe in “cute people form” doesn’t make me want to buy your game. In fact, the videos I’ve seen of this game really make it look like a Wii Tennis 2… Big goofy ball, boringness and all. Sorry but I just need fast paced action. Huh? What’s that?… Virtual Tennis 2009?!

Sorry guys, but this post is over.