Month: January 2009
I got me a “What If…?”
Did you ever browse around in a comic book store as a kid and find the Marvel “What If…?” comic books? Books that were about renown comic book characters but “What if…?” something about them was different: Part of their backstory, part of their powers, or results of one thing or another that has happened in their comic books…
I won’t go into the geekdom of the what-if concept and the different stories that were based on this. Let’s just say it as a venerable butterfly effect — the flapping of wings on a different continent were part of the reason why a typhoon formed in the Pacific Ocean. One small happening causes a huge domino effect and results in something seemingly indirect and different to happen. That kind of thing.
Today I came across (by way of Dave Lowe) a joke observation from the Back To The Future saga and the original movie. It was composed as a (profane) letter from Doc Brown to Marty McFly regarding one of Marty’s choices on the eve of November 12th, 1955. It’s funny as hell but it leaves you wondering just how different the story would have turned out if Marty McFly had done things differently?
So I got me a “What if…?” like this regarding a movie that I love. It’s (the film’s) basis is pretty simple and was the framework for plenty of different action movies from the late 1980’s through the 1990’s.
My Quest for Glory
I’ve been re-playing the old Quest for Glory games from Sierra Online the last few days. The redesigned Trial by Fire from AGD Interactive, Wages of War and Shadows of Darkness. So I’m really re-living my love for the game.
Re-living it so much that I took the Famous Adventurers Corespondence School’s Admissions test:
My name is Forge of Armongaar and I am a Paladin.
What kind of Hero Are You?
The odd thing was that with my love for the game, I wanted to finisht eh series and re-play the fifth and final game of the series: Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire.
After I installed it and played for a few minutes, I couldn’t believe how much I hated it.
The three previous games I had played (I skipped the original game, but the design I am about to talk about holds true for that game as well) were graphical/art driven adventures. Dragon Fire, however, is a bridge game for Role Playing Games in general. Everything is developed in computer-animated 3-D… Not the quality you would see if you were playing a MMORPG now, but a very early version of such interfaces.
I just wasn’t satisfied with the product, which I had played before, this time around. Not after playing the other adventures back-to-back-to-back. I expected the cartoonish 2-D fun and instead I got early 3-D boxiness that just didn’t fit in the overall scheme.
Financial bubbles have burst all throughout the financial industry. The two that come to mind first and foremost when I think of financial bubbles bursting are the tech bubble of the 1990’s (when IT and the World Wide Web were all the rage for scheming and dreaming on Wall Street) and the housing bubble, which is part of why we’re in this current financial mess that we’re in.
But has anyone noticed the Soft Drink bubble?
It seems like just 2 years ago, you could get two 12 packs of Coca-Cola products or Pepsi Cola products for five dollars (at least on sale). Now? At times, a single 12 pack of Coke or Pepsi alone could cost five dollars. Give or take.
Millers derive high fructose corn syrup, the number two ingredient for most soft drinks, and ethanol, the number two ingredient for gasoline, from the same yellow kernels. The cost of those kernels jumped in the last few months after congressional efforts for energy independence collided with the fallout from a volatile stock market.
Beverage manufacturers have seen those costs passed on to them. Food Business News reported in early April that HFCS cost an average of 18.65 cents per pound, up from an average of 15.7 cents at the same time last year. Thatâ€™s a 19 percent increase thatâ€™s causing financial pain for beverage companies. And that pain will likely travel down the supply chain into the cooler case.
But with the falling prices of gasoline (and the decreasing amount of driving by Americans) there is no fall in soft drink prices… Or Corn futures for that matter.
Another quirk is… well, no one is talking about it. Costs were up all over last summer, but how they’ve failed to fall back down is bothersome. What ever happened to the old addage “fast nickel as to a slow dime” when it comes to selling a product? It creates demand, it stimulates production and it stimulates the rest of the economy – laborers, producers, consumers, etc.
For the record, you can get cheaper packages of Pepsi — though you will only get eight cans as to 12. But Marketwatch’s Matt O’Hern pointed out the glaringly obvious last October:
Pepsi claims higher prices for energy and food combined to raise expenses by 11%/ They’re betting the 8-pack will appear as a better value to consumers. Who does Pepsi think they’re fooling?
The 8-pack might be easier to carry around, but that’s where the “value” ends for me. I’m used to paying about $3.50 to $4.50 for a 12-pack, $10 for three 12-packs during specials. I just paid $3.50 for the new 8-pack at Publix, which shows that Pepsi is out of touch with the average shopper.
Even his cited numbers that he is used to are high, as they’ve become a recent feature of the increase to soda (pop, softdrinks, whatever you want to call it). But that’s a bit besides the point, the fact is that the “fast nickel to a slow dime” is being applied here — with less value for the “lower” cost.
So when is this Corn-inspired Soft Drink bubble going to burst? And how painful will the fall-out be for that?