If you enjoy Bob Ross like I do or are the least bit interested in getting started in painting using the wet on wet technique, check out this special 1 hour episode of the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. (And don’t forget to watch the Bob Ross Experience video here or at the bottom of this post.)
Below are links and recommendations to some of the painting products I use which can help you get started using the Wet-on-Wet oil painting technique that Bob Ross used on his show.
Bob Ross Master Kit – I highly recommend beginning with this kit as it will really help you get your painting going and you will save some money on basic paints, palette knife and brushes.
Bob Ross 2-in 1 Easel (as seen on the Joy of Painting after Season 27) – This easel is a good deal especially when it’s on sale. (Note: any easel will probably work to get started but I have found not many easels allow edge to edge painting on the canvas as this one does well. The Bob Ross 2-in-1 Easel also can be used as a table top easel if you want to paint while sitting at a table.)
Canvases 16″ x 20″ – also a good deal at Michaels when they are on sale or using a 50% off coupon (Note: Bob used 18″ x 24″ canvases on the Joy of Painting but you can use any size you prefer just make sure they come at least double primed which most are.
After years of hearing glowing stories from family and friends about the Jelly Belly jelly bean tour in Fairfield California, the time had finally come for my family and I to visit the factory. It was Sunday afternoon and with much anticipation for jelly bean madness and delight we might encounter, my family entered the factory visitor center. First, we were hungry so we grabbed a bite to eat in the Jelly Belly cafe for a bean shaped pizza which was kind’ve cool and mostly tasted dandy except for the slightly uncooked doughiness we encountered toward the center of the pie.
Next we headed on up the steps to begin the highly proclaimed self-guided factory tour. The long hall appeared dimly lit and TV monitors played various clips of the factory operations and history of the business. Windows lined the long corridor where we could see where bean greatness originates on a daily basis…almost. As far as I could tell, today there was no bean greatness happening. In fact, the rows of conveyor belts and automated machinery including the robotic arms for handling your favorite fruity beans and packaging, were at a standstill. Instead I had to imagine factory workers busily moving about the factory floor and machines humming because on this day, as far I could tell there were no factory operations operating at all. Apparently, the bean factory was closed on Sunday.
All that was left of what fast became a not-so-grand bean tour was to see the many mosaics, created entirely from Jelly Belly beans, hanging on the walls and ceiling or stand and watch a video or two or three. Fun. I suddenly felt like I was watching an episode of “How’d They Do That?” on the Discovery Channel which I could have done anytime from the comfort of my own home.
With disappointment still fresh, we exited the “tour” from where the tour had begun—at the retail store. Now it was true that the retail store was open for business, so at least the Jelly Belly company was still making a profit. To me, the store appeared to be brimming with overly priced branded bean products such as a jelly bean dispenser for $30 and not including the beans to fill it. Naturally I felt like the factory experience especially had been over-hyped by a majority of online reviews I had read prior to my visit and it also appeared there was a little misleading going on (either intentional or not) by the official Jelly Belly website for failing to note their non-operation of the factory on Sunday’s (and perhaps even Saturday).
So would I recommend the tour of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California? Not really, especially not on the weekend and only if you really love Jelly Belly beans. Oh well, at least the beans still tasted fruity and were mostly flavorful.
Elite Dangerous is a massively multiplayer online space game by Frontier Developments. Although the game requires a persistent internet connection it also features a solo or single-player mode. Elite Dangerous is the successor to Elite which was first released in 1984 and now 30 plus years later, the game has seen quite a change.
My history with Elite Dangerous is virtually non-existent aside from hearsay about a learning curve and how fantastic the game is to play in Virtual Reality. Now it’s true I have interest in open world simulation games such as X-plane, Microsoft Flight Simulator and both Euro and American Truck simulators but interest in a space game not so much. It seems most space games are about aliens, monsters and mostly shooting other spaceships in an arcadey fashion. Something about the wide open vast nothingness of space travel also hasn’t had much appeal….but then again I have never encountered game quite like Elite Dangerous.
What Learning Curve?
Something about Elite Dangerous seemed different. Oh and there’s that learning curve I kept hearing about. A learning curve to play a game? There is always some learning when you are starting a new game especially in flight simulators but this game simulation was suppose have a notable learning curve and was not meant to be taken lightly.
And so armed with a wee bit of knowledge of what I might be getting myself into only through those online game reviews and gameplay, I took the plunge into beginning my journey into the world of Elite Dangerous. And what a journey it has been.
Read the Manual and Make Friends with the Options Menu
Now I don’t consider myself a very fast learner and besides that I prefer to take my time to make sure I’m understanding what I learn. And so after 14 hours later, I was able to fly my first ship! Did I mention I like to take my time? You see, perhaps Elite Dangerous is a game at heart but it’s also a simulation that takes place in space. It must be experienced and that’s not even with VR! Now I generally do not enjoy multiplayer games and so my time in ED has been spent in singleplayer (Solo) mode, along with training tutorials and the options menu for keybindings and that is probably one of best places to start in Elite Dangerous.
If you aren’t familiar with the game, within the universe of Elite Dangerous there are 400 billion star systems as part of the in game reproduction of the Milkyway galaxy. All these systems can be seamlessly traveled to in a spaceship which you can upgrade as you gain credits. You begin the journey in a spaceship called the Sidewinder. If you die or crash in Elite Dangerous you will get your Sidewinder back but will have to start over. Later, when you buy a different ship, you will need to pay a rebuy amount (5%) of your total ship value should you die or crash it.
Flying and docking is an accomplishment in Elite Dangerous
For me the learning curve in Elite Dangerous has been first and foremost related to keybindings and understanding both the game, menus and ship systems terminology. At the start you will want to take a look or two or three at that Elite Dangerous manual which gives a nice overview of system terms. Of course you will need to learn how to operate your ship and it’s not a point and click operation (at first). Each ship features a six-way on-board thruster system (vertical(up and down), lateral(side-to-side), forward and backward and don’t forget about pitch, roll and yaw) somewhat like trying to fly a Harrier jet in space. But unless you would like to go spinning uncontrollable toward the side of the spaceport you might want to leave Flight Assist on.
If you have familiarity with flight/combat simulators then learning to fly in Elite Dangerous will a piece of cake, maybe. Your ship features thrusters are not unfamiliar but figuring out your keybindings just might be! I am using a Flight Stick with throttle control – Thrustmaster Hotas X (Hands On Throttle and Stick). Also a keyboard, a mouse and a Xbox controller. I have heard you can fly with a keyboard and mouse only but I haven’t tried it.
Moving your ship to another star system is another accomplishment
Moving from one star system to another within the galaxy is also a new experience which must be learned. We just don’t do that kind of thing on Earth!
Likewise docking (landing) in a spacestation-like port is also not like driving to grandmas around the block in your car unless you use AutoDock which is a newer feature of the game. (Note: All ships come equipped with AutoDock, Auto Launch and Auto Cruise. Auto Cruise can be useful when hyper-traveling around the galaxy.)
Doing most anything successfully in Elite Dangerous feels like an accomplishment
So you can move around in Elite Dangerous and you’re learning the keybindings and termology? Good. Now what? As a noob to ED at just over 80 hours (at the time of this post) I have learned about a few things you can do in this vast openworld galaxy. There is a war going on within the game but it appears to me, at least visually speaking, to be a nearly silent war (maybe it’s different in Open mode with human players?). But nevertheless, space is really big and so unless you go looking for a fight you might not find any. Each port features a news and mission board which displays information about the faction war and their particular allegiance (if any). You can choose to do missions for the leaders of the factions to earn credits (in game currency) or go exploring on your own.
I have found that doing Courier jobs at first helps as you are learning how to jump from star system to system and it doesn’t require any cargo space. The data is store on your internal computer and if you get scanned by another ship or pirate they will not try to steal your stuff. NPC’s or none playable characters are all that is found in the solo mode but in Open play mode you will encounter human players.
Explore some Planets with Horizons
Recently I have begun to explore systems and map individual planets using the Detailed Surface Scanner (which must be bought at a Starport). The data you get after mapping a planet and from discovered systems can be sold 20ly (light years) away in a different star system for sometimes hundreds of thousands of credits!) If you prefer combat, you can learn how to shoot other ships down and gain credits for doing it. Besides doing missions, you might try mining an asteroid, landing on a planet and disabling turrets on the base for a particular faction leader. This is part of the war except you won’t encounter actual people or aliens walking around with guns. Maybe you like to free-roam and wish to visit a random planet (not for a mission). You can with the included SRV (Surface Recon Vehicle) that is part of the Horizons expansion pack in Elite Dangerous. Horizons is great especially if you want to be able to land on some of the planets and moons. (Note: As of this post there is no life on the planets and you cannot land on any Earth-like planets)
The Universe in Elite Dangerous is really big
I haven’t really scratched the surface (aside from a few planets) of what this game probably has to offer since I am still quite new. However, I have been able to get a glimpse of what this game is and how vast it is. Elite Dangerous is masterpiece in it’s size and beauty but something more jaw dropping is what this game is based off of. When you go outside on a clear night, look up at the night sky and see hundreds of dots of light and realize those are suns similar to our own—one cannot but ask at least one big question. Who made all this?
I know the Maker of the Universe and perhaps you do as well. But if you do not know the Creator Almighty God, there is a reason why it matters more than anything else on this earth. Elite Dangerous was made by mere men but someday all men will face God. Some will meet God willingly in worship and some will be kicking and screaming but today you have an opportunity to find out who the true God really is and why it matters. Many people believe in Heaven but if hell is real place you need to find out what that means to you. I don’t want anyone to go there. If you haven’t already why not check out the good person test linked at my website or read my post called 5 things you should know before you die. And if you have a Bible start reading in John 1. The good person test and starting with John 1 from the Bible will give you a good start to understanding who God is and why it matters since none of us are promised tomorrow. And in case you wondered, this is a matter of life or death and not about joining a religion or church.
But after all we’ve learned, is the game any good?
You learn quite a bit in Elite Dangerous, you need to even to survive but is it a game I would recommend? And how about that learning curve? I would enthusiastically recommend Elite Dangerous but especially to anyone with special interest in Flight/combat simulators and/or truck simulation games with a twist. If you don’t mind learning and setbacks and frustrations and grind to get a reward (menial at first) then you might like this game. Each person is different but do your research and then if you still like what you see, get it on sale with Horizons. Naturally, you will need to take your time to learn ED but I think it can be a rewarding experience when you learn something new. I know it has been for me (and that’s saying a lot).
Like many liberal organizations, it would appear that Microsoft has bowed to the altar of hate by hating God and loving sin through their blatant backing of the LGBTQI community. On the Microsoft store website they ask, what actions will you take? Throughout the site is various computer related merchandise with the goal to promote LGBTQI sin. (Note: the LGBTQI promoted merchandise and action site has since been removed – see screenshot above)
You might be asking why is this hate? And the simple answer is because Microsoft has chosen to dishonor and hate God Creator of the Universe, His laws but instead love their sin and the sins of others. But they don’t stop there. They go on to promote their hatred of God and love of their sin and the LGBTQI sins by running a campaign about it on their store and website.
Imagine the uproar if Microsoft or Google had embraced God’s holiness and righteousness on their website such as they have with sin.
We are all lawbreakers
It’s important to note that we all have the same desires to sin and have broken God’s law (sinned against a holy God).
Romans 3: 10-18 There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." " Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; " The poison of asps is under their lips"; " Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." " Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known." " There is no fear of God before their eyes."
And spiritually speaking the unregenerate heart is even hostile to God. In fact, that’s the main point of why we are in desperate need of deliverance. God is holy but we are not and cannot enter heaven without a Deliverer. If you haven’t already, check out the good person test and if you are super bold read the book of John in the Bible. You may not have tomorrow.
Planet Coaster or Planco for short, (not to be confused with Planet Fitness), it seems was released a long time ago (2016) but this year (2019) I have finally got my hands on it.
Will you like it?
Everyone’s tastes are different but if you enjoy city and/or transport building sims (City Skylines/Transport Fever) and management style games you will probably like/love Planet Coaster. Note about Roller-Coaster Tycoon Series from the early 2000’s: I never got into the Roller-coaster tycoon games from the early 2000’s, but if you liked those games, I’ve heard this game improves upon them.
Build roller coasters and rides while you manage staff and the rides (yes, the rides do break down for which you will need a mechanic.) You can play various modes. Challenge, campaign or Sandbox/free play mode (unlimited money). I haven’t played the scenarios as all my time has been in sandbox mode (80+ hours and counting).
Good to excellent. Something to keep in mind though. Must have a high end computer to play this game otherwise you will probably become disappointed with the performance. (My computer has 16 gb ram, 8700k and gtx 1070ti 8 gb, and it still slightly lags, stutters when building a park to fill the default map size.) There are also some anti aliasing issues visible at certain angles which for me slightly mar the overall quality level of the graphics.
Tips for first-time players
Before you really get into building a good park, I recommend practicing getting use to using hot keys on a empty map (in sandbox mode). Here are a few of my favorite commands and settings. NO CLIP – In the menu camera settings, be sure the option NO Clip is selected. This allows movement through terrain ( otherwise building/moving/seeing underground will be impossible or difficult. ) Key Command T allows a first person camera view which is essential when building tunnels and general moving around the map. X allows the precise placement of objects and rides without the camera moving (especially when you zoom in).
Two hands on the controls
Using your mouse in the right hand and W A S D keys with the left hand move the camera around the map. Hold SHIFT while pressing WASD keys to speed up the movement. When you have the T key toggled (don’t hold it down), raise and lower the camera with Q and E keys. Note: If those keys rotate, then press T to enable first person view (freelook).
Ctrl Z will undo your last action and Ctrl Y will redo it.
The path and track laying system could be improved (Transport Fever gets it right) but in time you will understand how pathing works in Planet Coaster, so don’t give up. Note: there are two ways to make a path. Either on a grid or freeform. (In my experience, both ways kind’ve stink and could have been implemented better. Just remember to practice to see which method works for you best)
When all fails, you might consult a YouTube tutorial or two or three.
My rating (out of 10): 7.5
It’s on Steam
Get the game and dlc in a bundle on a steam sale and it’s a great deal.
What do you like (or not) about Planet Coaster? Tips or tricks for me? I would love to hear them.