College Retrospective

April 19, 2010

The extinction of the “dollar menu”

     I know I shouldn’t be eating fast food since I’m currently in a sport right now, but every now and then this season, I’ve went to the local Mcdonald’s or Burger King. And something I noticed yesterday at night when I went to Burger King; It was a poster in the window advertising a new burger, called the “buck double”. I would’ve been confused by this ad if McDonald’s didn’t come out with their own version month’s earlier. It looked just like a double cheeseburger except it had one less piece of cheese. i wouldn’t have notice the difference if it weren’t for McDonald’s. McDonald’s has their own called the “McDouble”.  

Can you see...

...the difference? (Not the background either)

     This bother’s me. That a whole new name and burger would be created just to take less from customers. McDonald’s had the one dollar double cheeseburger and subtly replaced it with the Mcdouble, then gave it it’s own ad campaign later on. Burger King is following suit these months later. I personally don’t like that they gave a burger with one less piece of cheese it’s own name and identity and an ad campaign, to sell more and give less for it. It’s identical for one less piece of cheese. Does that constitute a separate burger? I don’t like it personally.

     Burger King played it smarter, marketing-wise. They had a long campaign about the double cheeseburger and how it was a quarter-pounder and such. Raising the attention to this burger and got me, personally, on the bandwagon. I knew it was too good to be true, and i knew would end soon. That day has come and now the double cheeseburger is 1.29. Subway, my favorite fast food place(Does it count as a fast food joint, since it’s semi-healthy?), also did a cheap tactic similar to burger king’s. This made me a little mad also. They had around eight 5 dollar footlongs, and then during the superbowl season they announced a 5-dollar footlong ad campaign where all regular footlongs were 5 dollars; and again, I knew this wouldn’t last long. When they recently stopped the campign, i was surprised to find my favorite 5 dollar footlongs were more, and the list of 5 dollar footlongs were down to about four.

     I don’t know if it’s just me, but that one piece of cheese does a lot for me in terms of flavor. And just knowing I’ve been shorted makes me less want to buy it and like it. McDonald’s McDouble is also 1.29. I don’t think a piece of cheese is worth 29 cents.

      One thing my brother pointed out a while ago, is that fast food joints have scrapped the name “dollar menu”. Now they use the term “Value menu”. This doesn’t sound like much difference, and sounds interchangable, but it really is just a broader term that gives the businesses a way to not be held down to just a dollar  and still claim that a product is cheap. Next time you enter a fast food joint, try to see the subtle differences.

     I did in the past do the math behind the price differences and value burgers, but that was a while ago. I hope you like math, my next post will have the math on it. Comment if you still see these rare places that still have “dollar menus”.

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April 13, 2010

Expansion packs and cheap people

     One thing I don’t like is how people think they are entitled to certain things based on their own logic. We, as a culture think we’re entitled to much more than we really are. Just as in the “isomd” post about a prom being cancelled (isomd.wordpress.com), it shows our culture twists what we have and need for what we want, for our own selfishness. I’m using the example of expansion packs for games to illustrate this.

     Let me explain what expansion packs are. They are “expansions” on the game that it is attached to. Simple. They add content to a game so the shelf life can be prolonged. This, in my opinion, is a win-win for consumers and for business. Consumers get extra content without having to buy a completely new game for full price. And then businesses get more revenue between sequels. It’s like an adrenaline shot that just gives everything a little extra push. Expansion packs are usually in the form of downloadable content which is relatively new in the video game industry, initially used for pcs which were the only systems that had hard drives. Now they expanded to the ps3 and Xbox 360 and even onto the psp system. It was popularized by “The Sims” franchise.

     Anyway, I’ve found all throughout the internet, that the consensus seems to be that they should already be in games, when looking at “Call of Duty” and “The Sims” and games mostly all games that have DLCs.

     Oh how soon we forget the age before expansion packs. People forget what a game is. I have to say Call of Duty is a beautiful game. The thing that shines most about it, is the multiplayer. The game got near perfects and for a couple of critics, perfect 10s. And the main reason was because how well it handled multiplayer so flawlessly. And this wasn’t with an asterisk saying “call of Duty: MW 2 got a 10/10(if you wait for the DLC). No, CoD got the near perfect ratings for what it was, not what it wasn’t or what it may bring in the future. CoD is a great game with what it has to begin with. The expansion pack is just extra. The game didn’t skimp on anything just so it could sell it to you in parts.

     Another argument I’ve heard on the internet is that developers are trying to sell the game in parts now. That is not really true, or smart if it were true. If a game was terrible to begin with because it was short-sold to sell you more down the road, then it wouldn’t make money to begin with, and then you’d need the game to get the extra content, and not everyone who bought the game would get the content, especially if it was a terrible game. So that wouldn’t be a feasible marketing strategy. Let’s look at CoD for the “short-sold” argument. It has 17 original maps that come with the game in multiplayer. 17 is a very good number of maps, all uniquely designed and made. This is nothing to look past and definitely not skimped on.

     Another thing about expansion packs, they add a new concept or whole other thing to the game that wasn’t apart of the original telling. Such as in “The force: Unleashed”. It gave a side-story and a lot of extra little things. And in “Fallout 3”, it gave a whole new setting in each of the expansion packs, nothing recycled. “The Sims” franchise gives a whole new concept to the gameplay which almost makes it a brand new game within your sim’s world.

     The Sims too get put under fire, with people arguing “they should’ve put all these things in the original game”. When in reality, if you look at the expansion packs, they are brand new things that are different from “the sims” formula. Like the new “world adventures”, outside of getting new furniture and balancing your sim’s mood, it’s a whole new concept og the game, which, if you don’t want you don’t have to buy.

     One thing good it creates is versatility and choice. It creates a sort of buffet line of concepts and features and extras. You just don’t buy what you don’t want and lose no money over unwanted expansions and extras. So expansion packs shouldn’t be something to complain over.

     And expansion packs shouldn’t necessarily be free. Under one argument, people think so. The argument is: “Since I bought the game, the developers should give the expansion packs to me”. That is not profitable and has no incentive from the developer’s side. Games take a lot to produce now. And it takes even more money. So to give another piece of content, developers should profit off these things. It takes work just like any game.

    Also, the way to change developer’s minds aren’t to complain online, because if profits are still up, they’ll keep doing it. If you really feel expansions are a waste of time, then don’t buy them and they won’t change how it was before they came out. Same for games, if you feel they’re shorted on content, don’t buy them either and you save money and you won’t get something you don’t like. COmplaining isn’t a flattering side of us, but we do it too much.

     The final word is, people are really cheap, and really selfish. This is a sad truth and why people all across the internet are angry, and for the rest of them, they just like the sound of free expansion packs or just want to jump on the bandwagon in the chatrooms and posts. You need to look at it from a marketing point of view and from an economical point of view. It does do good to consumers and makes the game industry better. The games that are initially released are full games in themselves, and they should be appreciated as so.

The word: wander

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — johnyourk @ 9:38 pm

In the past two days I’ve seen an article and an online essay sample that used “wondering” or “wonder”. The article is from the homepage of the wordpress website, and excellent article since I like cooking, and they use the word once.
Here’s the link: http://noonionplease.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/turkish-sweets/

The second was about Oepedius “wandering”. The essay was selling for 11.95 and “wonder” was the predominent term. Is it just me, or is is supposed to be “wander”.

April 5, 2010

Update: 4/5/2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnyourk @ 8:10 pm

     I got a laptop over spring break. Going to use it for school, getting myself organized, kinda like my blackberry. It’s basically a bigger, better-in-every-way(except portability) version of my blackberry. It’ll help me a lot as long as I don’t spend too much time on the games. It’s a Toshiba. Yes, i am promoting Toshiba. I like it, has everything I need. Not exactly what I wanted, but it does what I want it to. But that’s what happens when you don’t have the proper funds.

     And last week was spring break for me, and I went into spring break telling myself I need to catch up on my math and do some studying for my other classes, a lot of studying. Also, I was going to catch up on some much-needed napping. i didn’t get to either of those. I ended up driving around everywhere looking at laptops and doing a lot of work. And then track and then youth group work. I had a busy break, and all the free time I did have, went to lazier things, like tv and video games.

     My track meet up in the bay area on saturday went as I expected. I false started on my first race of the day. well, I didn’t expect that. This was the first race I false started in my career, and it was embarrassing. I was so pumped and focus. My focus and level of intensity was higher than it has been for a long time. I got in my blocks, only thinking about the hurdles in front of me. And on the set, I twitched, barely noticable, and i knew that would DQ me, but i hoped he didn’t see, and the gun went off a millisecond later and I thought I was good, and halfway to the first hurdle and i heard the second gun go off. I was disqualified.

     Then my second race, I was so nervous and out of it, it was the 400 hurdles, the event I’m better at, but its a hard race to run, and I was psyching myself out, my mind kept jumping from one thing to the next, and I told myself to take it out hard, but instead I started real slow. By the end of the first 300 I had so much energy I sprinted it as if I didn’t just run a 300, and my time was what i expected, since I haven’t ran in a meet in over two months. I wasn’t tired at the end, but i was mad at myself. I didn’t expect any different. I should’ve ran about 5 seconds faster than I did. which in track, 5 seconds is a lot. I feel good about the potential I saw, I just hope I can do it in the future.

March 23, 2010

Exercising

Filed under: Living Life Healthy — johnyourk @ 7:40 pm

     What I’ve noticed most over the years working out, is that a lot of people have no balance in working out.

    Epecially in the weightroom, I can always tell if they ever have had formal weightroom training or been on a sport’s team before, or if they only go in the weightroom for exercise. Unless you’re a professional bodybuilder, you shouldn’t be in the weightroom lifting only; but you should do cardio. The legs is what gives it away. I have noticed a lot of people in gyms who have big upper odies have really skinny legs. But I have yet to see a buff-legged guy with a skinny upper body. This is because people mainly focus on chest, abs, back and shoulders. All this is in part to a very superficial culture. I could care less what my muscles look like as long as I am healthy, strong and athletic(Which tends to go hand in hand with a healthy-looking body). Also, lack of cardio isn’t that healthy if you spend time only in the weightroom.

     Pure cardio is all you really need for healthy bodies(as far as exercising). Lifting weights is excercise, but its more lop-sided, because it works on muscle strength, and more anaerobic(speed and strength) exercise, while cardio(running) works on aerobic, which promotes a much more active(which leads to healthier) body. For weightlifters, cardio will improve your work in the weightroom too, as well as get you in shape and lose more fat. So if you do want to get strong, add a little cardio in your routine. But if your goal doesn’t include strength, stick to cardio. And if you’re doing it to look better, you either have to be a bodybuilder or you need to re-evaluate your life.

     So workout the legs and balance the body.

     Diet too. I know this is something is overlooked; but it is probably the most important thing to excercise. Food is fuel, if you’re giving it crappy fuel, then the output, in all respects, is going to reflect it. Give good food in good amounts. I personally try to stay as natural as possible (I don’t strictly eat all-natural, and don’t do for only all-natural, but i do like eating it.). If you don’t eat protein, then don;’t expect to gain real muscle, seeing that protein is the building blocks of muscle. that brings up another thing, have a balanced diet.

     So many people focus on one thing or another too much. Real exercise has to do with staying in shape and living healthy and strong. I do that by running, lifting and eating well.

     So, basically, when you work out, balance it out, doing cardio, with weight training. Balance the muscles, don’t focus on one group, focus on the whole body, don’t have skinny legs(when you do work out, focus on one or two muscle groups a day, but overall, balance). don’t work out to look better, its such a terrible reason and only promotes an already superficial society. Diet is very important, thats determines how your body works out and what it produces. So, in the end, be balanced. Oh, and finally, love what you do, that the easiest and most efficient way to work out.

                                               -It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle

Dieting

Filed under: Living Life Healthy — johnyourk @ 7:11 pm

Dieting doesn’t work. Dieting is when you try some new concept of eating to lose weight. They don’t work. For good reason they don’t. Will power is one of them, and when they do, it’s because of pure will power.

     I will use the phrase “My diet” a lot, and it’s not the same thing as dieting in general terms. My diet, isn’t really “dieting”, but it’s just my eating habits, not a specific diet or fad. So don’t get “dieting” and “my diet” confused.

     “Diet”, in general, mean “eating habits”, “dieting”, means trying something to lose weight, and “on a diet”, means that they are currently trying something to lose weight.

     People use diets to lose weight fast, which for one is unhealthy, when went to extreme measures, and two, isn’t quite attainable. Seeing eating and exercising habits, and how people live on a day-to-day basis; I noticed Americans expect everything to be given to them, and that there is an easy painless way out of everything, even if it’s against nature. they think God will give them the perfect body by doing something for a few weeks. And then, if they ever get that, they want it to stay, without staying on the diet.

     Dieting doesn’t work because people have that mindset, and also because they don’t like it. I don’t do “dieting”. But I am in great shape. It’s because i exercise constantly and consistently, and because I eat healthy. I don’t force myself to eat healthy, but I made it a lifestyle. Same thing with exercise, I love working out and running.

     Again, i have to stress this, “dieting’ doesn’t work, healthy lifestyles works. My first college track meet I went to, I had a liter of carrot juice(my favorite drink). It used to taste nasty to me, but I started eating whole raw carrots, and they are now my favorite vegetable. Carrot juice used to be disgusting, but now its my favorite drink. I always take one bottle with me to every track meet. Anyway, I brought it to the track meet and my team looked at it and asked me how I could be drinking that? And I told them because I like it. And after the track meet, we went to an all-you-can-eat buffet, where, for some reason, they were eating all fried and fatty foods with soda and ice cream. I had my steak with pasta and a salad, with my chocolate milk. They again, asked me how I could eat a salad, and they tried to get me to eat what they were. It’s not like I was trying to act better or stop myself from eating bad, it was just that i personally, find it tastes better.

     This is why diets don’t work. We grow up eating these kinds of foods, liking artificial sugars and fried foods better, when there are much more healthier and more natural, unprocessed sugars and fats. That is why the American diet is so bad. We are fed and surrounded by these foods that over the years, our taste buds tell us those are good.

     I’m not saying rebel against corporate America and their ads that get us to eat those kinds of foods. I’m just saying until you change your lifestyle, it will be hard to lose weight, and that is why diets don’t work. I hate to be the one to break the news, but there is no magic pill. It’s a lifestyle, its kind of how you approach life, in a small way.

     I like the foods I eat, And my body thanks me for it. Learn to live healthy. If you lose weight, or get surgery, but don’t change how you eat on a day-to-day basis, you will end up going back to how you were.

                                                    –It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle

Whole grains craze

Filed under: Living Life Healthy — johnyourk @ 6:48 pm

     Whole grains is the “new thing’ when it comes to dieting recently. It’s said to help lose weight. Because of fiber, mainly. In my nutrition class I took last semester, I found out, fiber does nothing to the body, and that fiber is indigestible (That little fact has nothing to do with what I’m writing about, but i thought it was really interesting). But it does help metabolize food and a lot of really good stuff. So it does help the body a lot, but just indirectly.

     Whole grains is the new weight-loss fad and i have to admit, I’m on it too. This is the first weight loss fa that I’ve jumped on. But to me, I’m not treating it like a fad like every other person who wants that miracle cure to drop pounds. I am just incorporating it into my diet; and its fit very well. What this means is I switched all my grains to whole grains(good-bye white-bread). Whole grains is generally non-enriched, or non-bleached grains. That sucks the nutrients out of the grains for one, and makes them weaker altogether. I actually prefer the taste of it anyway, which fits well. And then when choosing a meal, lately I’ve went for the meal that has more whole grains. I’ve been eating cereals like multi-grain Cheerios and chex, which I’ve always eaten but lately have been eating more.

     I feel more balanced diet-wise and I’m liking how my body’s been feeling. Ezekiel 4:9, I think its called is really good. Other grains I like to eat are irish oats, various rices, rice works sweet chili rice chips, and multigrain chips by :Food should taste good”. I really like those, whether the last two things are whole grain, I don’t know. I’ll have to look into that.

     I don’t like fad diets and stay away from them for the reason that they are just fads, but whole grains are a different story for me. As long as it’s not a ‘trend, but a really good idea and I don’t overdo it like I see a lot of people doing, I’ll do it. This is one of those cases, and its a good fit into my diet.

March 21, 2010

Update: 3/22/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — johnyourk @ 10:19 pm

     Got my first paycheck of 131.75 dollars. Very easy job. But my boss only gives me about 1 day per month of work. He’s a workaholic and he doesn’t let me work often.

      My brother Jay came back from Texas, where he was living with his friend, and being his personal trainer came back home about a week ago. His friend Tim got signed with a semi-pro athletic team in Cali, so he came back here, and now he got his old job back(which is my new job), so I think I’m fired…

    Last Friday I got left while my team went up to a track meet near the bay area. The coaches don’t like me and I’m getting fed up with the track team. So I went to my old high school to practice with them, which I actually prefer. I wanted to go to the beach, I should’ve went to the beach instead of track practice. It was a beautiful day.

     Spring break is coming. My brother who’s going to school on the other side of the country went to Florida, and his spring break was I think two weeks ago, and he asked me to go, but for obvious reasons, didn’t; and also I don’t have that kind of money. One more week till spring break, and for mine, I’m getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Really good way to spend my spring break. I’ll probably be at the beach everyday after I recover. Then also I want to go paintballing again, maybe then. I need a break at this point in my life.

My new Favorite Pastimes

Filed under: Updates — johnyourk @ 9:30 pm

     Yesterday, I went paintballing(Is that the right term, paintballing? It doesn’t sound right to me, maybe its just me) with the local youth group I volunteer for. And I have to say its one of my favorite things to do now. I only been once before and got kicked out of that one(It’s a long story), and I still had fun. And when I got the chance to set up one, I jumped at it. And on three day’s notice, I got 5 other guys from the youth group to come. I think I did good organizing it on such short notice. We went to Hollister, and that morning ran into way too many problems, but we got there over an hour past the time I planned to get there. But it still worked out really well. I felt like a pro, I played more games too than the rest of everyone else, that was in part to me not being so trigger-happy.; and I think I did good. Especially at the end of the day I was doing good. One game of 3v3, in a city-type field, I got the whole team. And when me and Charlie were on the same team, we did magic with the communication skills, flanking and covering each other; Thats what we get for playing “Modern Warfare” so much. My favorite type of game is shooting games, and I just applied the same play philosophy to paintballing, and it came natural to me. I got shot in the face more than anywhere else. And I was a bit ruthless shooting a couple people up close with my sneaking skills. But the day was good. And in the hot sun I was drained of energy driving back. This made me consider joining the army(But I really doubt if I’d ever). I played 1v1 too. Those games were fun too. Such a memorable weekend, I’m planning to set up another one real soon.

     Also, another one of my new favorite things to do is snowboarding. The first time I ever went i just fell in love with it, picking it up real fast, and not being scared to just do it. I have been snowboarding only twice, and the same with paintballing. I plan to make it a consistent hobby in the future. I need to do them more often.

March 19, 2010

Starting March Madness

Filed under: Random — johnyourk @ 6:22 pm

One of my favorite teams, Florida, is out, but my favorite team, St. Mary’s, won against Richmond.

     The most ever double digit-ranked teams made it past the first round with 4 of them, one including St. Mary’s. And three last second shots won the game for Wake Forest, Murray state(ranked #13), and Northern Iowa(even though there was still 3 seconds left after, still, it won the game for them)

     I love this tournament, and there is no better. Pure team basketball in a tournament to settle who’s the best. If this opening round is any indicator, it’s going to be an awesome month…

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