Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5 Annoying Video Game Sidekicks that You Wanted to Kill More Than the Enemy

One of the most beloved staples in gaming is the side-kick. Mario had Luigi, Sonic had Tails, but somehow you got stuck with the following five annoying video game sidekicks that you wanted to kill more than the enemy.

Chuckling Dog (Duck Hunt)

If you’re familiar with the popular Duck Hunt game that was bundles with the original Super Mario Bros. game on the NES [if?], it’d be impossible for you to forget the chuckling dog that retrieved your slaughtered ducks and was a little too excited when you missed a shot. The annoying high pitched laughter of the infamous Duck Hunt dog haunted my dreams as a child and just once, I wish that I could use my Nintendo Zapper to slaughter that mutt for good.

Slippy Toad (Star Fox)

The word sidekick usually implies that said person will assist you and be by your side, but when it comes to Slippy Toad from Star Fox it implies that you want to kick him in his side. Slippy Toad was known for one thing in the Star Fox series; getting into a bind and crying for nonstop help and assistance and you’d have been much better off if you blasted him to bits and went about your business. Honestly, the way Slippy carries on, it almost makes you beg the question “Was Slippy Toad your sidekick or were you his?”

Baby Mario (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island)

In Super Mario World 2, Mario played the secondary role of protagonist to Yoshi’s lead, but for some reason, the folks over at Nintendo HQ felt the need to make Mario a baby in this Super Mario Bros. spin-off. Babies can be a hassle and Baby Mario is a testament to that as he constantly gets knocked of Yoshi’s back and yells at the top of his lunges until you retrieve him.

Adoring Fan (Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)

In Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, your rewarded with an Adoring Fan [more like Annoying Fan] after becoming Grand Champion of the Arena – and that’s when all of your problems start. The Adoring Fan is a young elf that will literally follow you just about everywhere you go after being awarded to you. Most people find his nonstop praise “By Azura! It’s the Grand Champion… standing here, next to me” insanely annoying and fortunately, the Adoring Fan is one of the annoying sidekicks in this list that you can kill.

Navi (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a classic game with a cult following behind it, but one thing that’s not so well received about this often praised game is Link’s fairy companion, Navi. Navi is like a nagging pest that follows you throughout the game suggesting and reminding you about things that you’re likely to already be thinking.

For more, read The 5 Most Bad-Ass Celebrity Cameos in Kick-Ass Video Games , 5 Killer Moves and Features that Changed Fighting Games Forever , and 5 Video Games that Are Notoriously Impossible to Beat

Check out my blog for more Tech and Gaming news.

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5 of the Best Baseball Bats for Kids

If you are the parent of a child that loves baseball, then you know how confusing it can be to choose the best baseball bat for kids. Winning requires skill and determination, but the best equipment can go a long way in how well your child performs. While there are an endless amount of kids baseball bats on the market, here are five of the best.

Louisville Slugger YBXL 2010 TPX Laser Youth Baseball Bat

For the past 125 years, Louisville Slugger has been using the newest technologies to produce the best bats. It’s the official bat of Major League Baseball and is the number one choice of over 60 percent of all of the leagues players. There isn’t any other brand that has won more titles, logged more wins or set more baseball records.

The Louisville Slugger YBXL 2010 TPX Laser Youth BaseballBat is constructed from durable, high performance alloy. The Laser is one of the most recognized baseball bat series. The bat has a patented end cap that provides an even swing weight. It has a synthetic grip and is well balanced to allow for maximum control. The bat is available for $49.90 and comes with a one year warranty.

Combat B1 Baseball Bat Youth League B1YB

Combat baseball bats haven’t been around quite as long as Louisville Sluggers, but they’ve already made their mark in the game. The brand has the distinction of being the first composite bat approved by all of the Major Youth Leagues. The Combat B1 Baseball Bat Youth League B1YB is designed to provide optimal performance and starts at $214.95.

Easton Rampage LX66

Easton is another name that’s became well known in the world of baseball. All of their youth baseball bats are approved for Babe Ruth, Little League, Dixie Youth, Pony Baseball and USSSA and AABC. The Easton Rampage LX66 is manufactured from aircraft alloy and is very lightweight. The bat has a cushioned grip and ultra thin handle and is priced at just $59.99. You can find a wide variety of other Easton bats at http://ift.tt/1egE2SA.

DeMarini Distance DXDSL

While DeMarini isn’t new to sports, the DeMarini Distance DXDSL is brand new for 2010. The bat is great for any youth, but it is specifically designed for youths that are getting into the game for the first time. The DeMarini delivers high performance and durability. It has the new Shock Diffusion handle and a variegated comfort grip that reduces shock and sting as the ball hits the bat. The Distance youth baseball bat is approved for all youth organizations and leagues and is priced at $69.99.

Nike 2010 Aero Fuse CX2

You can’t hardly even think about sports without thinking about Nike. It’s a long time favorite in sports equipment and apparel. The Nike Aero Fuse Cx2 has 42 layers of multi-wall carbon that provides greater power and acceleration. The composite barrel is balanced to provide extra power that can increase your swing speed as much as 3 miles per hour. It has a cushioned leather grip and is priced at $249.95.

A baseball bat that is perfect for one 10 year old might not be so ideal for another 10 year old. Children grow at different rates and their weight can vary greatly. The best way to find the best bat for your child is to choose one based on their age, height and weight. There’s a really good baseball bat sizing chart at http://ift.tt/203Jex9 that can give you a better idea of the length and weight of the bat that is best suited for your childs size.

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5 Arizona Fall Hikes

While other states start to worry about blizzards and an icy chill in the air, Arizona is celebrating and welcoming some of the year’s best weather. It’s a good time to break out your hiking pack, a good pair of sneakers, and maybe even your dog’s leash. The following trails are a great way to enjoy all that Arizona has to offer.

Red Rock State Park

Some of the busiest trails in the state are found just north of Sedona. Don’t let that scare you away. Every avid hiker should enjoy the red rocks of Sedona at least once. Red Rock State Park is a good initiation to Sedona hiking. As an added bonus Oak Creek runs through the park and is a great place to watch the fall foliage colors change. Red Rock State Park is a family friendly hiking destination with many opportunities for wildlife viewing.

White Tank Regional Park

This park is practically in my backyard. You can’t talk desert mountain hikes without mentioning the White Tank mountains. I often recommend the White Tank Mountains because it has a variety of trail lengths and challenges. For example the park offers the wheel chair friendly and paved Waterfall trail. I personally love the Goat Camp Trail because it is a bit more rigorous. You’ll find scattered petrogyphs, views of the University of Phoenix stadium and the valley skyline.

Picacho Peak

This is the location of Arizona’s only civil war battle, and it is translates humorously to Peak Peak, but Picacho Peak is more than history and a funny name. The award winning Hunter Trail is a nice start for intermediate hikers. Nearby campgrounds beacon you to turn your trip into a full on vacation especially in late October early November when the weather is nicest. Picacho’s desert vistas and Saguaro lined trails are what Arizona hiking is all about.

Chiricahua Mountains

Located in southeastern Arizona and known as the wonderland of rocks is Chiricahua National Monument. It is geologically one of a kind. In a state as huge and wondrous as Arizona, it is sometimes forgotten because it is out of the way and isolated from major airports. Its worth the trip. there are 17 miles of hiking trails to await anyone who is willing to make the drive. The trails are laid out on a volcanic range, with green tinged precariously balanced rock, cacti, pine forest, and over 300 bird species.

Horton Creek Trail

East of Payson hikers can find a 4-mile hike to a year round spring. Following this old wagon road along the creek lined with cottonwood, box elder, and Arizona sycamore is delightful to those seeking fall colors. As a bonus the trail can be followed beyond the spring all the way up to the impressive Mogollon Rim.

Plan Wisely

The above five spots traverse this great state and offer a variety of climates, obstacles, and rewards. Much like the Boy Scouts always come prepared. Check the local weather, and click the links I provided. In other words do your research before you hit the road. As always, happy hiking.

Tags:5 Arizona Fall Hikes

5 Bad Food Habits Office-goers Must Change

If you, like so many of us, are so caught up with work that you have little time to watch what you eat, it’s time to take a breather before your lifestyle takes its toll on your health.

Here are five bad habits which you must avoid to salvage your health.

1. Skipping breakfast :

A lot of people leave home with just a cup of tea or coffee and then they wonder why they are always crabby, irritable and low on energy throughout the day.

Skipping this first, most important meal of the day is like starting a car without fuel. Your body is forced to call on its energy reserves and these do not last very long, making you irritable and snappy and lacking in concentration by the middle of the day.

What’s more, you will end up eating a lot more servings or calorie-dense foods at lunch, which will cause your sugar levels to go up and then come crashing down, making you feel sluggish and tired.

Solution: A good breakfast does not have to be elaborate; a glass of skimmed milk with 2 handfuls of corn or wheat flakes and a fruit will suffice. For hot breakfast lovers, an egg, two slices of bread and a fruit or a bowl of oatmeal porridge accompanied by a fruit are enough.

2. Drinking too much tea/coffee :

Sipping constantly can be a tough habit to break. But too much of either tea or coffee can do two things:

It may leave you feeling jittery, irritable, dehydrated, and even interrupt your sleep pattern at night so you do not get deep sleep or do not feel rested the next day.
If taken with your meals, tea and coffee inhibit the absorption of iron from your food. Your body throws out the nutrient as waste.
Solution: If you cannot cut down on the number of cups, cut down on the size of cups so you drink half the quantity. If you have a choice, opt for water.

3. Not drinking enough water :

Most corporate offices are air-conditioned, so we do not really sweat and therefore, do not feel so thirsty. What’s more when you are used to drinking water below your requirement, your body adapts and when you do start drinking a little more water, your body treats it as excess — in fact, initially, the body actually throws it out causing you to run to the toilet every few minutes.

In the long run, not drinking enough water can cause constipation, indigestion, gas, increased hunger pangs, dehydration and can make your skin look dull too.

Solution: Keep a 1 litre bottle of water at your table and aim to finish it before the end of the day. It may take you two to three days to adapt to an increased dose but when you do, you will notice the positive benefits immediately — better skin, better bowel movements and better control on your hunger pangs.

4. Eating at odd hours:

While you cannot be expected to leave in the middle of a meeting because the clock says lunch time, it is definitely possible to try to have a somewhat regular meal timing for the majority of the days in the week.

Having a somewhat fixed meal time helps keep your metabolic rate up and can help prevent gas and acidity, which result from long gaps between meals.

Timely eating will also prevent you from overeating as once your body is used to getting energy at a particular hour, it will stop demanding food at odd hours.

Solution: Try to have a fixed time-frame in which you can have your meal peacefully and finish it in a matter of 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Weekend binging:

Most of us put in endless hours during the week eating whatever is available, and then comes the weekend. We go on another binge that we feel we deserve. Hard drinks along with food add to the damage we cause to our health in the long run.

Solution: Try to take some time to relax at the end of each day and don’t wait for the weekend to unwind. Take a relaxing massage, watch a movie or a play or read a good book. Eating is not the only way to pamper yourself!

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5 Baby Shower Gifts I Couldn't Live Without

When I was pregnant with my first child I was overwhelmed with the thought of purchasing baby items. What items did I really need and which ones weren’t all that necessary?
I was lucky to be the recipient of a lovely baby shower where I received many wonderful gifts from family and friends. Although I am grateful to everyone for all the things I received, some things, I have learned I just couldn’t live without while others weren’t as necessary as I thought they would be. In those first few months, having these items became a great help and saved me precious dollars, time and sanity.
Diapers You may see diapers and think, “Really — diapers?” However, what most people forget is that, although it may seem like a boring and uneventful gift to give, the parents will greatly appreciate it. Diapers are an essential item no baby or parent can live without. The cost of diapering supplies is expensive and in those first few weeks and months diaper changes will be frequent. The parents will appreciate the cost savings and the sanity it brings to have diapers easily on hand during those long sleepless nights. I know I did! If you are looking to make your gift of diapers more exciting, consider purchasing a diaper cake. The diaper cake not only serves as a practical gift with diapers and other essential baby items but can also serve as a beautiful and unique centerpiece.
Onesies At a baby shower, the parents-to-be will very likely receive an abundance of baby clothing. Although the cute little outfits are fun to give and receive, simple clothing options like onesies are a great choice in those first few weeks. The reality is that, although those cute clothing items are fun and make for great photo opportunities, onesies in various sizes are much more practical and are an essential all parents must have. Remember that newborns grow quickly in those first few weeks. Be sure to buy a size larger than you may normally buy so that the baby can grow into it. I found onesies to be a valuable asset to my supply of baby items. In those first few weeks, it was as an easy clothing option with very little hassle.
Baby Sleep Sack When decorating the nursery, new parents will most likely purchase a cute baby bedding set, if they do not receive one as a gift. However, in those first few months, it is recommended that babies do not sleep with anything except a fitted crib sheet. That includes not using a blanket or crib bumpers. In the beginning, you may be able to get away with swaddling the baby. They will be comfortable and you won’t have to worry about them moving around or the potential hazards that come with baby blankets. However, once they begin moving around more, swaddling will most likely not be an option. That’s where the baby sleep sack comes in. This cozy bedtime option is great for both baby and parents. The baby will be kept warm and comfortable even without a blanket and the parents won’t have to worry about the hazards baby blankets can bring while knowing that their baby is comfortable. My children slept great while using the sleep sack, which was a life saver from those many sleepless nights.
Bibs and Burp Cloths Before I had children I did not realize how much of an asset having a large collection of bibs and burp cloths could be. Once I had my own children it became clear that the more we had the better. In those early months, babies tend to spit up a lot. Having a large selection of bibs and burp cloths will help keep your baby clean and fresh as well as save the parents from dealing with the stained clothing that comes from the frequent spit ups. Bibs with cute sayings or phrases make a cute addition to any gift set.
Baby Bouncer Seat Normally, I don’t subscribe to the idea that parents need a bunch of fancy gadgets and baby gear. However, I will admit that the baby bouncer seat I received as a gift when I was pregnant with my first child was a life saver. Many models come with gentle vibrating action, which my children couldn’t live without. When we first brought our children from the hospital it became our go to piece of baby gear. Both our children had reflux as infants and the seat was a great way to give them the incline they needed while they napped. As they started to grow and play with toys, it was a great way to keep them occupied while we caught up on the much needed housework.
When choosing gifts for parents-to-be it’s best to give items that they will get great use out of. Although they may be practical, they don’t have to be boring. Purchasing a diaper cake can be a great way to include diapers and several other baby essentials, including bibs and onesies, which all parents will need. Gift sets or Baby Bouquets are also a great way to give practical essentials while adding some flare to the gift.

Tags:5 Baby Shower Gifts I Couldn’t Live Without

5 Basic Rules to Manage Risk in Your Portfolio

Greek debt crisis, euro value dropping, contagious risk, BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico and the list of risk to the stock market go on continually. What will cause the value of your portfolio to decrease next?

These are some of the volatility issues that stockholders have to face on a daily basis. None of it seems to ever help your portfolio go up only down. Add to that the technical problems of a flash crash, faulty information or insider trading and you have things that are not inherent risk but manmade risk. How do you protect yourself against risk and manage your portfolio through the marketplace?

There needs to be an understanding that nothing is foolproof against all these risk factors but you can take measures that lessen the adverse impact on your portfolio.

First Invest in Dividend Paying Stocks

This is a tactic that you hear a lot about in the financial press but knowing why this works is beneficial. First of all if a stock pays a high dividend is that because it has dropped far and created what is called an accidental high yielder? Be very careful to investigate why the stock price dropped. Did they miss their earnings numbers and the market is punishing them or did they drop in an overall market plunge brought on by some cataclysmic news?

Next pull their financial statements to ascertain weather they can afford to maintain that dividend payment. Maybe they have high interest debt that is increasing on a percentage basis as their sales revenue is on a down word spiral due to economic conditions? Check their cash flow to make sure they have sufficient cash on hand to make payments without borrowing. Also I like to check how long they have paid continuous dividends.

Remember when you are holding stocks that are decreasing in value it is easier to remain calm knowing you will receive a dividend payment every three months to offset some of those losses.

Second is to Rebalance the Asset Allocation of Your Portfolio

When you have continued volatility and market risk the allocation of your monies gets skewed to the point that there is a need to bring your portfolio back into balance with your investment objectives. A well balanced portfolio has cash, stock, bonds and short-term assets. Asset allocation is a basis of risk management and will help your portfolio to stay less volatile in an otherwise wildly gyrating market.

Third is to Make Sure that Diversification is Maintained

Makes no difference that diversification includes sectors as well as countries and regions. Big portfolio managers in hedge funds, mutual funds or corporate investment roll from sector to sector as the profits seem to change during the year and economic conditions gyrate.

For instance when the market is recovering from a recession and work is ramping up portfolio managers tend to sell technical or retail sectors and roll the money to industrial or machinery sectors as manufacturing starts to ramp up. If all your funds are in technical or retail stocks your portfolio could take a strong hit. But if you are invested in machinery as well as retail your portfolio maintains itself without serious downside risk.

Also add an international flavor to your portfolio so when European stocks are down Chinese stocks are growing exponentially to help offset losses and gains.

Fourth is to Only Purchase on Dips in the S&P

If you maintain purchasing only after a dip of three percent or more and ladder your purchases as it goes down you will create a downward average in your cost basis making your portfolio self balancing when the market jumps three percent or more on the upside. This is a tactic that every hedge fund or large portfolio manager uses to insure that they get a reasonable cost basis. No one can predict tops or bottoms consistently.

As a bonus you should always sell on a ladder basis as the market is increasing the value of your stocks. Remember no one ever went broke taking a profit and what goes up in the stock market also tends to go down.

Fifth Rule of Managing Risk is Having Cash on Hand

Most large portfolio managers will tell you they maintain 10% of their portfolio in cash. I think in times of high volatility such as we have experienced lately that should be increased to a 20-25% position. Then when the market stabilizes you can take advantage of low pricing to setup gains down the road.

Well that’s the five basic rules to managing risk in the marketplace and keeping your portfolio from experiencing additional losses.

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5 Bad Habits that Age You Quicker

Humans do all sorts of things every day that aren’t great for our bodies. We do many of these things knowingly, and some of the bad habits we acquire can have serious consequences on our health and how we look. If you can gain the strength to overcome addictions and these bad habits, it’s possible to not only add years to your life, but to keep yourself looking youthful and vibrant as long as you can!

Lack of Sleep

Losing out on precious hours of sleep each night can seriously effect your skin. It also takes a toll on how you feel during your day, and when you don’t feel well you don’t look your best either. Assuming it’s healthy to get 8 hours of sleep a night, most of the world must not be getting enough sleep! Try to catch up on as many Zs as you can each night to avoid dark circles under your eyes, sagging skin, stress related acne and blemishes and general discoloration.

Smoking

It’s a social activity, and that makes smoking very difficult to quit. However, cutting back and / or quitting will greatly improve your health and possibly add years to your life. Smoking cigarettes has been linked to all types of skin problems. Wrinkles, discoloration, and acne are all problems that smoking can exacerbate.

Drinking Excessively

Nobody wants to be the old hag at the bar. Having one too many far too often can not only make you look years (even decades) older than you are, but it can also harm your body in ways you may not be able to recover from. Always drink in moderation, especially if you’re trying to look nice the following day. Waking up after a long night of excessive drinking will leave your skin droopy and blotchy, and it’s hard to look alert and attractive when you’re hungover.

Greasy / Oily Diet

It’s no secret that fatty, greasy foods have a negative effect on your skin and health. Having a poor diet can cause all sorts of problems with your skin. In fact, problems with your skin are more often than not the first sign of a bigger, potentially harmful problem your body is having. For instance, if you aren’t getting enough necessary vitamins and minerals, your skin can even change color. (That can happen if you get too much of certain things, also.)

Blood flow / Exercise

Keeping your blood flowing and your body limber and agile is a great way to make your skin look great. Stretching every morning can not only help you feel great throughout the day, but it will keep you looking vibrant and glowing too! The better circulation you have, the less your skin will become blotchy and discolored. Keeping good circulation can also improve elasticity if the walls of the veins, helping rid some of the horrors of varicose veins.

The better you feel each day has a direct effect on how you look. If you keep a routine that emphasizes healthy habits, you can keep a natural, youthful look about you through your later years.

More helpful information on bad habits and your skin at DermReport.com!

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