Revenge of an old-school gamer on Super Mario Bros. 3 – part II

What’s up fellow gamers? I finally did it! I defeated Bowser in Super Mario Bros. 3 from the old-school Nintendo Entertainment System or the Famicom if you had the Japanese version. It just took me 34 years to do it. This is part two of my journey to defeat the evil princess kidnapping dinosaur. You can read the first part here.

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I quit after making it to world 4 for part one which I figured was halfway, but things go so hard after that point that it was more like a quarter of the way through even though I was cheating using save states and the rewind time cheat.

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I never used the frog suit or the hammer brothers’ power-ups. I think I’ll play this game again just to have the experience of using those powers. This damn fish ate me at least a hundred times. I would rewind time, try again, and again, and again. Sometimes I got so frustrated that I wouldn’t play the game for days.

What a great super-power rewinding time would be. Even if it was just for a 24-hour period. We could check CoinMarketCap, see which shit-coins made the biggest gains, then do the same thing again the next day like we were Biff from Back to the Future. If you could rewind time and change just one event from your past what would it be? For me, it would be not selling all of my cards. I got greedy and thought selling all of my Splinterlands maxed-out Beta cards would be a good idea because DeFi was all the rage last year. If I had just held on to those cards, I wouldn’t have to worry about money today. Everything happens for a reason. I just hope I get another chance to grow my crypto wallet.

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Super Mario Bros. 3 has to be the best 8-bit game ever made. I wonder if this had been the first game to come out what kind of games would’ve come after it. If I were the CEO of Nintendo I would’ve never stopped making games for the NES. Of course, it wouldn’t make sense to continue making games when you’re trying to sell Super Nintendos, but making just one game a year would be a great way to say thank you to customers and it would also guarantee that your system never becomes obsolete. It would also be interesting seeing how they could innovate and be creative given the technological limits.

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This game was just way too hard. There is no way I would’ve made it to giant world without an endless supply of quarters or a Game Genie when I was a kid, but I sure would’ve enjoyed seeing this back then. Speaking of endless quarters, I remember when I was a kid in a casino in Deadwood, South Dakota back in the 80s, we noticed that they didn’t lock the quarter collection box for the video games. Back then I thought it was just because grown-ups were stupid and didn’t think that we kids would steal quarters, but looking back it makes sense now. They were using the video game machines as virtual babysitters while our parents were losing serious cash on the slot machines and blackjack tables. Even if they did empty out the quarters, we just needed one. We would drop it down, catch it so it didn’t make a sound, then re-drop it so we’d have as many lives as we wanted.

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These hammer brothers used to give me grief, but playing through the game this time, I learned that the best thing to do is to approach them right away before they start raining down hammers. It’s like if someone intends to hurt you with a sword or a bat, the best thing to do is to get up close to them. It doesn’t seem like the right thing to do, but they can do less damage if you’re closer.

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Another thing I didn’t realize until this run-through is how easy it is to get the star at the end of the level. You don’t have to think about it, run, or time it. Just walk over without stopping and jump up to the box and you will get the star every time. By the time I made it to Bowser, I think I had about 70 lives. This really was a genius way of ending a level. It looks and feels like you broke the game. It’s like an early version of The Matrix as you pass from the colorful world to the inverse digital one.

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How many times did this stupid king get changed into some animal? They all still knew and respected him as king so he should have stayed in bird form. If he really cared about his kingdom this would’ve been best. He could’ve served as an eye in the sky warning his people whenever Bowser and his gumbas were approaching.

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There were a couple of spots where I felt it was just impossible to continue and I wish I hadn’t wasted my infinite flying ability power. Did any of these spots ever trip you up too?

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This evil angry sun even comes after you in the dark? Come on man!

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I’m no fan of mazes. They are truly cruel. I quit playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild because I got stuck in the stupid haunted forest maze and couldn’t get out even with YouTube’s help.

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I had so much fun playing the third Mario game that I went back to play the original, but it was too easy and there is a maze at the end. I didn’t even bother looking up how to beat it on YouTube or care to beat it because I’ve done it many times before and it’s a lame ending. I never liked the second Mario so I didn’t play that at all. Besides, it’s not even a real Mario game. It’s a completely different game that Nintendo converted into a Mario game at the last minute because they knew that the American audience wasn’t going to like the Japanese version of Mario 2. It was exactly like the first one, just super difficult.

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This is it! The final level, Bowser’s castle. Are they just going to let me walk up to it without some hand pulling me away? OK, let’s do this!

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Just wonderful! There are Bowser laser-shooting gargoyles!

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You can’t just jump on Bowser’s head like one of his kids.

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This is the moment I’ve been waiting for…

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If your enemy is stupid enough to destroy or kill themself, then don’t get in their way.

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Later alligator, I mean, Bowser.

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Are you kidding me? This is the ending? A lame joke? Not cool Nintendo. Oh wait, you’re going to play some cool music and flashback to all the worlds I defeated along the way?

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Thanks for reading about my old-school gaming adventure today. Have any of you beat this game without cheating?

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Our Private and Enchanting Hike up Phousi

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There are many ways up the hill called Phousi Mountain, but we decided to park at Miniso so I could grab some water because Wan’s strawberry shake was a bit too sweet and it’s always good to hydrate before exercising. Do you have a Miniso where you live? Here in Luang Prabang, it’s the only chain store that exists and it’s also the only place to buy anything of some quality. Since Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site there are many rules protecting the historical look. Their goal is to keep the mix of French colonial and Lao architecture look which means new construction is almost impossible. Buildings can not be over two stories and most corporations are kept out. This means there isn’t any 7-11, Mickey-Ds, KFC, or any other corporate crap. It’s kind of like being in Westworld. I’m not sure how Miniso got past the rules, but they are a great shop so I’m glad they did.

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Stop!

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At first, we went up the wrong steps. It led to the monks’ quarters.

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There were these three buddhas sitting together, but not a path up the hill unless you are willing to climb over the wall and hike up the dirt path which Wan and Rapper weren’t willing to do.

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Other than a few monks, we were the only people going up the hill on this beautiful day. It’s possible to come here and be alone in the middle of the night, but I doubt there will ever be another opportunity to have a private hike like this ever again unless there is another pandemic or World War.

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The steps up to Phousi are behind this temple. There are many signs leading the way. There are a few ways to the top, but most people will go this way.

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Buddha’s Footprint

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Local legend claims that this is the footprint of a giant. Wan told me that the monks pray to keep the giant in check and from destroying the town, but I doubt some young boys in orange robes are going to be much of a match for a giant. If there really was a giant and I saw it, I would try to be his friend, but I’ve never seen anything to convince me that giants were ever real. Maybe there were some freakishly tall people back in the day, but where are the bones? I think they just heated up some steal in the shape of a foot to melt this volcanic rock back in the day to scare bad people away.

Wan told me that the giants are not actually physical beings, but supernatural. They are demons that will possess and curse people. That is why the monks are always beating on the drums. It keeps the giant inside the mountain and from hurting anybody. It’s like how the Jedi temple was constructed on top of an ancient Sith temple in Coruscant suppressing the dark side.

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Another thing you will see a lot of in Laos and Thailand is the Naga. He was half serpent half-man who lived in the river and came out only to marry a most beautiful woman. This legend is older than Buddhism itself and I can’t help but wonder if it was passed down way back during the Egyptian times.

There are also legends of the Cam people. That is where Cambodia got its name. They were black people with advanced technology that came here a long time ago. They sure sound like Egyptians to me. Luang Prabang is a truly beautiful place with lovely weather. If there was an advanced ancient civilization back in the day, they surely vacationed here as well.

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We took all of these pictures with my Samsung Galaxy A12. I wonder how many DSLR cameras are getting sold today now that almost similar results can be captured on cheap phones. I’m proud of the beautiful pictures we took but most proud of getting good ones of Rapper here. Puppies are almost impossible to take pictures of because they never stay still, but you should do your best because they only stay this cute for a very short time.

Pray for Good Luck and Fortune

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When you pray at a Buddhist temple you will sometimes see this cup full of chopsticks with numbers on them. Shake it until one falls out to reveal your fortune.

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I got number 13, so I found the fortune for my number in the box.

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It says:

Number thirteen is lucky. If you desire anything, you will be able to manifest it into reality. An elder will bring you happiness and fortune, but you will have a bit of suffering in your heart. You will have good karma. Your life will be comfortable. If you have a child it will be a boy. You will have an easy time your whole life.

I always pray that today will be the day that our Earth finally makes contact with benevolent extra-terrestrial life that shares their technology with us ending our wars, politics, and capitalism, but I’ll take what fortune Buddha has given me. Wan didn’t want to shake the cup of fortune for some reason.

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At the Top

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This is where most people will take their photos from. Since we were alone, I put my phone up here, put it on a ten-second timer delay, and ran back to take a selfie with Wan and Rapper.

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Back Down

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Rapper took a little protest nap not realizing that the journey is only halfway complete. After some rest and a bit of water, he was ready to go down all the steps.

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Thank you for reading about our puppy’s first hike up Phousi Mountain in Luang Prabang, Laos today. May you avoid any giants or bad luck and have a wonderful day.

7 ways to call someone a LOSER

A good student from Thailand recently asked me for a way to call someone a loser but found that Google wasn’t of much help. She told me she wanted to use the word loser in the strongest way possible for her digital art class project. Knowing I have a dog’s mouth, she asked me for some help. I’ve spent a few days asking my British, Australian, and French friends what they would say, and here’s what we came up with. Feel free to leave a comment on your favorite word for loser below.

นักเรียนเก่าจากประเทศไทยถามผมวิธีที่จะด่าคนเป็นไอ้ขี้แพ้ Google ไม่ช่วยเขาเลย เขารู้ว่าผมเป็นคนปากหมาเขาก็เลยถามผม ผมถามเพื่อนคนอังกฤษ,ออสเตรเลีย, และคนฝรั่งเศสจะว่าคนไอ้ขี้แพ้ยังไง กรุณาฝากความคิดเห็นที่ด้านล่างด้วย

Loser

Don’t be creative, just use the word, loser, but add a bit of sign language and focus on the O. “Loooooser…”

ไม่ต้องมีความคิดสร้างสรรค์ แค่ใช้คำว่า loser ใช้ภาษามือก็ได้ ที่เป็นนิ้วชี้ และนิ้วโป้ที่เหมือนตัว L

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You can also mime the word, loser, slowly as you give the sign language word for loser. Make sure the L is perfect with your thumb and index finger and over your forehead.

ใช้ภาษาใบ้พร้อมกับภาษามือพร้อมกัน อย่าลืมวางมือเป็นตัว L ที่สมบูรณ์ที่หน้าผาก

When I was in Japanese class back in high school, the Sensei or teacher wasn’t getting any responses from the class to her question so she asked me. I asked her why she asked me out of fear my fellow students would call me “Mr. Kanji” again and she said because she knew I knew. After I gave the correct answer, the cutest girl in the class turned to me and gave the LOSER sign as she mimed it. It really hurt my feelings!

เมื่อสมัยเรียนอยู่ชั้นมัธยมเรียนภาษาญี่ปุ่นอาจารย์ตั้งคำถามแต่ไม่มีใครตอบ อาจารย์ก็เลยถามผม ผมถามอาจารย์กรับคืนไปว่าทำไมอาจารย์ต้องถามผม แล้วอาจารย์ตอบว่า เพราะอาจารย์รู้ว่าเรอรู้คำตอบ หลังจากนั้นผมได้ตอบคำตอบที่ถูกต้องแล้ว มีผู้หญิงสวยคนหนึ่งในห้องเรียน เขาทำภาษามือไว้ที่หน้าผากเป็นตว L หรือ Loser ใส่ผม ผมรู้สึกเสียใจมาก!

Karen

Karen was originally black slang for stuck-up and entitled white women. Few people outside of African American society knew what it meant until Chadwick Boseman, The Black Panther, went on Black Jeopardy from Saturday Night Live and made the word blow up.

เมื่อก่อนคำว่า Karen เป็นคำแสลงของคนดำที่ด่าผู้หญิงฝรั่งที่ชอบคิดว่าตัวเองสำคัญแต่ตั้งแต่ Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) ออกรายการ Black Jeopardy ของ Saturday Night Live มันทำให้ทุกคนรู้คำว่า Karen เป็นคำด่าhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/lLkmZzcedhs

The crazy lady is back and demanding to speak to the manager again. What a Karen! “

Noob

ThrisandCim’s YouTube channel did a pretty good job of explaining what a noob is back in 2010. Noob is used mostly in gaming culture, but it can be used for anybody who sucks and or is inexperienced.

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Our gaming guild only accepts experienced and strong players. No noobs allowed! “

NPC

NPC is another gaming culture word that refers to someone who doesn’t really exist or has no brain or original thoughts outside of their programming.

NPC เป็นภาษาเกมเมอร์ที่หมายถึงว่าคนที่ไม่มีตัวตนจริงๆ,ไม่มีสมองหรือคนที่คิดให้ตัวเองไม่ได้

I told the clerk at 7-11 a thousand times that I don’t want a plastic bag or receipt, but they always put my stuff in a bag with the receipt. What an NPC! “

Dud

A dud is a bomb or firework that failed to explode. It can also be used for people who fail to live up to our expectations.

dud เป็นลูกระเบิดที่ไม่ระเบิดเราใช้คำนี้กับคนที่ทำให้เราผิดหวังก็ได้

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We all thought the new football player would be a star player, but he hasn’t scored a goal all year. What a dud! “

Einstein

Albert Einstein is considered by most to be the smartest person ever. Scientists name-drop him all the time to support their theories and experiments. No one is as smart as Einstein, so when someone thinks they are super smart, you can sarcastically call them, Einstein.

Einstein คือผู้ชายที่ฉลาดที่สุดในโลก ถ้าเราอยากประชดคนที่คิดว่าตัวเองฉลาดเราว่าเขาเป็น Einstein ก็ได้

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Einstein can be replaced by any other name who is the greatest at something. For example, if someone thinks they are the best basketball player you can say,

OK, Jordan. Make sure to pass the ball to your teammates. “

Dork

dork is different from a nerd or geek. Nerds and geeks are usually smart or good at something, but a dork doesn’t fit in with society and is usually awkward-looking.

dork หมายถึงคนติ๊งต๊องที่ไม่เข้ากับสังคม

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Your new haircut is awful. You look like a total dork! “

Thank you for reading. If I made any mistakes in Thai language or if you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate your comments. Have a good day and don’t be a loser!

9 Things I Miss About the 1990s

Technically, MTV was a product of the 1980s, but it was still relevant and watched by young people up until the 2000s. The biggest complaint I remember most of us had was that they used to only play music videos and moved too much to reality TV shows, but as a young person at the time, it felt refreshing to have shows and a whole TV channel geared towards us. My fondest memory of MTV was when we’d stay up all night watching the top 500 videos of all time. The number one video would always belong to Michael Jackson, Madonna, or Guns N’ Roses but we’d have fun arguing which music video would come out on top. Today, we have YouTube and a fairly good algorithm that predicts pretty well which song to play next, but it just isn’t the same as watching MTV back in the day. You can show your kids the videos you used to watch, but can’t recreate the fun of watching MTV with your friends while your parents were asleep. What was your favorite music video? What was your favorite show on MTV?

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I had a hard time restricting this post to just nine things. Feel free to copy my title and make your own post about nine things you miss about that decade. I think I’ll make another post called 8 things I miss about the 1980s too. I don’t think it’s wrong to steal someone else’s title as long as your post is original.

It was fun to remember all the quirks and unique things from the decade of the 1990s. As far as music formats, it was either going to be Boomboxes, Walkman, Minidiscs, CDs, the radio, or even the few of us who still used records in the 1990s, but in the end, I chose cassettes. I used Wikipedia for all of my image resources so some of my decisions were defined by the quality of the picture they provided. I thought restricting my image sources to Wikipedia would be good in case anybody wanted to read more about what I wrote below. I would’ve gone with Sony Walkman for this item, but without the cassette, there wouldn’t be a Walkman.

Minidiscs were really cool too. I am a person who rarely feels jealousy. If I see a handsome young man with a good body, I think good for him, and feel sorry for him at the same time for all the pain he must put himself through to look that way. If I see someone who’s rich, I know that material items don’t bring happiness, but one time in 1999, I was at a dance club and I saw a DJ with a clear plastic box full of MiniDiscs and I remember feeling so jealous of him. I loved MiniDiscs for many reasons. First of all, they looked like something from the future. They had the benefits of both CDs and cassettes and were really small too. I think they would’ve been a lot more popular and widely used if MP3 technology had never come along.

Now some of you may be wondering where are CDs? I actually started off this part with MiniDiscs, then remembered that only tech nerds used them. CDs were definitely a big part of the 1990s, but they suck in my opinion. For one thing, they’re still with us today and still suck. The names may have changed to DVD or Blu-ray, but they are still easily stolen and scratched. Although I still have a fond memory of seeing a CD for the first time and seeing its rainbow in the sunlight, I would grow to hate the technology in no time. I do remember that my first CD was The Lion King soundtrack. And the first CD I purchased with my own money was Queen Greatest Hits I & II. I thought it was such a great deal to get my first two CDs for the price of one at Fred Meyer. The first DVD I purchased was Army of Darkness with Bruce Campbell. Do you remember your first CD?

Cassettes are another technology that was around before the 1990s that we all associate with that decade. The technology goes back to WWII and the compact cassettes we all remember came out in the 1960s. Speaking of the 60s, I’d really like to read a post about 6 things you miss from the 60s. I can only guess since I was born in 1980, but ask anybody who was alive back then about that decade and I can guarantee you that their face will light up and they will most likely remember Rock and Roll, NASA, and really cool cars.

For me, I remember getting in arguments with girlfriends in my car about silly things and them ejecting my CD then throwing it out the window. I’d of course stop and search for it only to find it never works again even if I bought one of those fancy CD repairers, but if you did the same to a cassette tape, it would be just fine. I also remember being useful to friends because I was one of the few people who could fix a cassette with just a pencil and some scotch tape.

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Why were movies from the 1990s the best? I was shocked when my girlfriend had never seen a Hollywood movie in her life. She has only watched crappy Thai dramas on Facebook and YouTube, so when it was time to introduce her, I of course showed her Terminator 2, but I started her off with Titanic. I just showed her a few scenes from 1984’s Terminator on YouTube just to introduce her to Sarah Conner and T-800s. I’m not saying all modern movies are horrible. I really wanted to get her into Star Wars so I showed her Rogue One before episodes IV, V, and VI, but she doesn’t even know the prequels exist. She was really shocked to hear what Darth Vader had to say to Luke in Cloud City. How would you break in a Hollywood virgin? So far she’s seen TitanicE.T.Terminator 2Rogue OneA New HopeThe Empire Strikes BackReturn of the JediArmy of DarknessGoldenEye, and Red Notice.

I was a teenager in the 1990s, so I remember either straight up sneaking in the back door of the theater or buying just one ticket then sneaking into as many other films as we could. Another trick we would pull to stick it to the man was to have a little gang of friends. One would work at McDonald’s or KFC and sneak out free food. One would work at the grocery store and ignore a bit of shoplifting, and one friend would work at the movie theater and let us watch as many free movies as we wanted. We’d even have the movie ticket in case a company man with a flashlight showed up.

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Speaking of movies, who can ever forget Blockbuster? I think they are a good example of how having a huge ego and thinking you’re king of the hill can lead to your own demise. Blockbuster could’ve bought out Netflix for nothing back in the day, but now they no longer exist.

Be kind and please rewind stickers were even put on DVD boxes by Blockbuster employees. Although I rented my fair share of DVDs and VHS tapes from Blockbuster, I would go there mostly to rent Nintendo games and also remember sneaking into the adult section just to sneak a peek at the adult videos. I always wished I had a pair of star-shaped screwdrivers so I could swap out whatever crappy NES, SNES, or N64 ROMs with the ones I was renting. Did any of you think or actually do that?

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Today any game from the 1990s can be easily downloaded and emulated on a phone or PC, but the only ones I keep coming back to are the N64 games. Riding my bike to the “SuperMall” and buying an N64 and a Super Mario 64 cartridge will always be one of my favorite memories from any decade. It was September 29th, 1996, and the electronics mega-store which no longer exists and I can’t remember its name either had a contest on a huge screen. If you could get the secret castle star where you slide down in under 21 seconds, then you could win a free Mario game. It’s one of the moments in time I wish I could use my current gaming skills to go back to. I would also never open or damage that Mario game knowing that it could sell for a million dollars today. There were many great games for the N64, but the first one, Super Mario 64, was definitely my favorite. How many times has that happened in video gaming history? Where the first game was the best? Maybe only ever with the Gameboy and Tetris.

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I never owned or even liked a Honda CR-X, but it seemed like everybody else did back then. My first car was a pickup truck, a Chevy Luv. It was a total piece of junk, but I drove that little guy to San Diego and even to Texas without it ever breaking down. The only reason I got rid of it was because the communist state of California made (and still makes it) almost impossible for any old car to pass emissions. I sold it to a Mexican friend for $500 and he told me it kept on going well into the 2000s. If I were to ask you for a lift today and handed you a one-dollar bill, it would be a total insult, but back in the 1990s, just a few friends handing you one-dollar bills could actually put some gas in the tank.800px-PlayboyLogo.svg.png

I didn’t get my first peak of pornography until I was 16 years old. I’m not a psychologist, but I think it’s perfectly healthy for a teenage boy to see some beautiful naked women. It was very exciting to see. I can’t see how it’s a good thing that kids can see porn so easily before they’re ready to see or even like it. If some boys want to see titties today, all they have to do is open Twitter or do a Google search. I had to bribe a bum to buy my first Playboy magazine at 7-11 and when I was 18 and old enough to buy it legally, I still felt so embarrassed to wait in line and ask the 7-11 clerk for it.

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I grew up on a small airport in South Dakota, so aviation has always been interesting to me. Even when I was a kid, it felt like the technology had hit some kind of wall. When asking my grandfather why it was so, his answer was, “Because the god-damned lawyers ruined it.”

My grandfather had good reasons to hate lawyers and they very well may have ruined general aviation, but surely not military or commercial aviation. The F-16 still looks cool today. Flying on a jet has not changed at all since I was a kid. Well, maybe a bit. The cabin crew got a lot fatter and now there are TV screens, but the general look and feel of commercial aircraft are sadly exactly the same, only worse. How the hell did that happen? It’s stuff like that which fuel conspiracy theories. I don’t have a conspiracy theory, other than that it’s Generation X’s fault. Millennials may be a bunch of whiney-ass bitches, but Generation X was named appropriately. They did X. They did nothing. They definitely are the worst generation. Seriously what did they do besides continue using horrible banking and invent the iPhone? One thing I really miss about the 1990s and before that was the whole airport and airplane experience. I remember you could send your loved ones all the way to their seats and even meet the Captain and take a look at all the aircraft controls in the cockpit before 9-11.

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Before making this post I asked my followers on Facebook and Noise.Cash what they miss about the 1990s. Nothing. I got nothing. What a bunch of like monkeys. I showed a few people my draft of this post and the only thing I got was how they miss landlines. What’s there to miss about that? OK, maybe a few things…

I remember if I wanted to eavesdrop on my parents’ phone conversations, I’d first remove the phone line so they wouldn’t hear me pick up the line, then slowly slide it back in without clicking it and covering the noise of my breathing. Sometimes I’d just break the little snap off and have an extra line I’d use just for listening in on them. There was also the fun of making prank calls before *69 or caller-ID came along. (I still like using the Arnold Schwarzenegger soundboard to prank call people today.)

Today, you can go out and buy the latest iPhone, but unless you truly need it for the camera, you just look like a cunt trying to look cool, but anybody who had a pager back in the day looked cool as fuck. You were either a soldier, doctor, businessman, or drug dealer if you had a pager. I never had a pager, but I felt they were the coolest tech at the time.

Thank you for reading about my 1990s nostalgia. I used Wikipedia for all these images and shared the links to the articles below. What do you miss about the 1990s? What did I forget to mention?

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTV
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassette_tape
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terminator_2:_Judgment_Day
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockbuster_LLC
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CR-X
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_64
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_747
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playboy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pager

Our Wednesday Walk around town in Luang Prabang

This horrible pandemic bullshit is finally coming to an end. Can you feel it? For the already mega-rich billionaires and tech companies, it was a dream come true. I’m not one of them, but I must admit, I enjoyed the whole staying at home playing Splinterlands and watching Jocko Podcast all-day thing. Maybe I’m a bit agoraphobic. I enjoy being an introvert, but I miss my extrovert life too. I doubt few people in the whole world were as lucky as me during Covid because I’ve been stuck in the wonderful town of Luang Prabang, Laos. Winter has come and it was a beautiful day so my girlfriend Wan and I ditched her motorcycle and went for a good old-fashioned walk around town today. I really like this old red car, but have never seen anything like it before. Do you know what kind of car it is?

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I started our walk with a dark Beer Lao while Wan went for the original Beer Lao. Laos has some of the best things in the world in my opinion. I find the women to be the kindest and most beautiful and I’ve been to America, Mexico, Canada, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Burma, and Cambodia. The food is definitely my favorite and the weather is great all year except for the few months it rains all day. The beer is also my favorite in the world and it only costs $1 for a big bottle.

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A nice breakfast at my friend’s guest house and restaurant ain’t a bad way to start the day. I really feel bad for all the restaurants around the world. They provide such a great service for us all but have all been hit so hard by this pandemic. When are we going to have a global crisis that ruins all the lawyers’, bankers’, and politicians’ lives?

Xiengtong Temple

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Usually, you have to pay the monks to enter here, but now that things have shut down into ghost-town-land, it’s been free every time. It’s interesting visiting spots that have been places of worship since before your own country was a nation. Ancient kings were crowned and married here in the past. I imagine there are many spirits roaming around this holy and ancient place.

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We came here to pray for my dying dog Spot.

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He was such a cute and sweet boy, but he sadly didn’t make it. There was nothing the vet could do for him. I believe he died of Covid because he had all the symptoms and went from strong and healthy to dead in just three days. Only God and Dr. Fauci know what really happened. I feel like he must have been an angel because he led me to find the sweetest girl I’ve ever met and brought so much joy to my life when I was in a very dark place. I hope that he is in heaven relaxing on an air-conditioned cloud full of pizzas.

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This was the king’s house before 1975 when the Americans pulled out of South East Asia and the communist took control of everything. They moved the capital of Laos from Luang Prabang to the southern city of Vientiane. They gave the king a wonderful job in a labor camp, but at least they preserved his house. It is a museum today and you can check it out if you ever visit.

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This bridge is a total piece of junk. If you ever cross over it on a motorcycle you will know true fear. It’s got wood for pavement. There are also two pedestrian paths on either side that are even scarier because the wood looks old as hell and it’s a long dropdown. I’ve jumped off the bridge into the water before so you won’t die as long as you hit the water where it’s deep if you do fall.

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It was about 16:00 so we went to Big Tree Cafe for dinner. Most Asian locations are total noobs when it comes to cooking western food like Spaghetti, but Luang Prabang used to be a French colony so they can cook it pretty well in most locations.

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The Mekong River is so beautiful. I hope the god-damned Chinese don’t screw it up like they do everything else with their hydroelectric dams.

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Thank you for reading about our Wednesday walk today. I hope you have a wonderful day and the chance to visit Luang Prabang one day. God bless you and my dead dog Spot and may the CCP burn in hell!

Paintings from Luang Prabang, Laos

If you ever visit Luang Prabang, Laos I recommend Lexaku Art Gallery by the intersection across from Dara Market. It’s also next to Chaleunphone Restaurant which serves the best-tasting food for the price.

ถ้าคุณมีโอกาสเยี่ยม ຫຼວງພະບາງ ฉันแนะนำ Lexaku Art Gallery มันอยู่ที่สี่แยกตรงกันข้ามกับตลาดดาราและติดกับร้านอาหารโปรดของฉัน Chaleunphone Restaurant

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Each painting sells for about $300 and captures the beauty of the local traditions and lifestyle of Luang Prabang.

ภาพขายได้ในราคาประมาณ 300 เหรียญสหรัฐฯ และแสดงความงามของประเพณีและวิถีชีวิตของหลวงพระบาง

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Here is the entrance. There are many more paintings to admire. These are just the ones we liked or could get a good shot of without too much reflection. The staff is friendly, speaks English, and won’t mind if you take pictures of every painting in the gallery.

ส่วนนี้คือหน้าร้าน Lexaku Art Gallery มีรูปวาดที่สวยมากพนักงานสามารถพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้และเขาไม่ได้ว่าอะไรถ้าเราจะถ่ายรูป

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This is a lovely painting of the sunset behind the Mekong River, but it also reminds me of Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings.

ฉันชอบรูปภาพที่มีพระอาทิตย์ตกที่แม่น้ำโขงแต่มันทำให้ฉันนึกถึง Mount Doom ของ Lord of the Rings ด้วย

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This painting looks like a road you might see in Zelda or Genshin Impact.

รูปนี้ดูเหมือนเล่นเกม Zelda และ Genshin Impact

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This Hmong lady looks, boss. She’s probably wondering why the farmers above aren’t working harder and who’s going to get her more to smoke.

ผู้หญิง ມົ້ງ คนนี้หน้าเหมือนเขาเป็นหัวหน้าและเขาคงสงสัยทำไมพวกชาวนาขี้เกียจจังและใครจะซื้อยาสูบให้เขาอีก

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There were many horses back in the day when they were used for transportation and Calverley, but I can’t remember the last time I saw one. Have you ever ridden a horse?

ในสมัยก่อนมีม้าหลายตัวที่ใช้สำหรับการขนส่งและคัลเวอร์ลีย์แต่ฉันจำไม่ได้ว่าครั้งสุดท้ายที่เห็นตัวม้าเป็นเมื่อไหร่คุณเคยขี่ม้าไหม

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You can wake up and give an offering to the monks every morning at 5 am.

เราตื่นแต่เช้าในทุกวันเพื่อใส่บาตร

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I saved my favorite painting for last. I love how this painting captures the look of wisdom on this young monk’s face. Thank you for checking out Lexaku Art Gallery in Luang Prabang with me today.

ฉันชอบรูปนี้ที่สุดเพราะว่าเณรองค์นี้ดูเหมือนอายุน้อยแต่เป็นคนที่มีความรู้เยอะขอบใจที่ดู Lexaku Art Gallery กับฉันวันนี้ในหลวงพระบาง

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Lexaku’s Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/L%C3%A9-Xa-Ku/100212968704571

Lao Phone:
+8562077772129

SPLINTERLANDS: Wan’s First Battle Challenge and Elven Cutthroat Win

Elves can be found living in many of the forests of the Splinterlands. They live in the trees but come down often to collect resources from the forest floor. Though the elves are small and beautiful, they always have a seemingly endless supply of concealed knives, with which they are deadly accurate.

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I’ve tried to get a lot of my friends into Splinterlands, but I’m not much of a salesman or recruiter. I did work as a recruiter for the US Army for a few weeks back in 1999 with my recruiter who got me to join. It was really fun to go back to my old high school in uniform and impress all my younger friends. I even got invited to the prom by a few girls, but I didn’t sign up anybody. I have convinced a few buddies to join the military and they found good jobs as officers, but they were Australian and British, so I don’t get any high fives from the US Army, but I’m glad they found careers they like.

One of my students from the hotel I worked at back in 2018 really liked Splinterlands and has turned his original $10 into over $10,000 of valuable NFTs, but he has played every day for years and is really good at buying cards low and selling them high. I’m not much of an accountant and never remember what I bought cards for. I just buy cards I think look cool and let my emotions decide. (Which is why my student is a much better player than me now.) I’m glad he’s doing well with the game, but he’s a dude like me, and dudes like games. It’s hard to get girls here in Laos into games. 99% of them will say, “Koy bo mak game.” Which means, “I don’t like games.” When I told my girlfriend, Wan, that she could use my old account to play she instantly fell in love with the game. She plays it all the time now. I even hear her play it in the bathroom and when I’m trying to sleep. I think she might be the one.

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I explained to her about this battle challenge and that she should use the Elven Cutthroat so I could share her battle. Now she uses her in almost every battle. She just apologized for dropping rank below 100 and losing all the progress to Bronze II, but I told her it’s no problem because the game forgives your losses if you fall under 100, but to be careful not to end the season that way or she’ll receive zero season rewards. It won’t be a problem because she plays the game ALL the time now and I’m sure we’ll get her to Bronze II or maybe even Bronze I by the end of the season.

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I asked her why she chose the three-headed dog and she said it was because he can heal himself. She thought the snake was strong and she thought the Goblin Shaman looked cool, but I think she chose him because he’s the first card to choose from. I then asked her why she chose the Elven Cutthroat and she said it was because I told her to and that she is a badass card that helps her win. This was her first time ever using the Elven Cutthroat, but I see her using it all the time now. I’m so glad that she loves the game too!

Check out her battle:
https://steemmonsters.com?p=battle&id=sl_ecec4e8f7cad1969672d59e367adda1e&ref=bountame

Participate in this week’s challenge:
https://peakd.com/hive-13323/@splinterlands/share-your-battle-weekly-challenge-elven

Big Tree Cafe by the Mekong River in Luang Prabang

This is a great place for coffee, food, hanging out with friends, or having a meeting. It is located along the Mekong River in Ban Vat Nong on the peninsula of the heritage part of Luang Prabang, Laos.

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It’s another beautiful day in Luang Prabang and another opportunity to explore a new restaurant. While riding around town today, I decided to post about a cute little restaurant and cafe that I’ve always passed by, but never entered for some reason. That was a mistake because I missed out on years of great meals and atmosphere with wonderful local art.

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Even though I’ve had the pleasure of living in Luang Prabang for over three years now, I can still get lost and discover its hidden gems. Maybe it’s because of all of the green vegetation or maybe it’s the lack of recognizable street names, but I always feel like I’m stuck in one of those hard to escape haunted forests you’d find in the Zelda video games. Big Tree Cafe & Restaurant is on the same side of the river as this famous temple, just farther down the street.

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This time I’ll park my bike and actually go inside for a change. I don’t know why Treks don’t usually have a kickstand. Maybe it seems childish to some riders, but I miss having one. It’ll just get stolen eventually, so there’s no use in adjusting it or getting attached to it. It was hot so getting some shade and good food was just what I needed.

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Keng, the restaurant manager, was friendly, spoke English well, and was nice enough to pose for this picture at the entrance.

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I was the only customer, but I can’t complain. It gave me the opportunity to look around at the lovely local art on display.

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The owner of Big Tree is Korean so they have Korean food down and their Lao and western food are some of the best in town, but not too pricy. I feel the choice of green paint and colorful birds, as well as funny meme signs, are an effective good mood generator.

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Plumeria or frangipani is a beautiful fragment flowering tree I see a lot of here in Luang Prabang. I don’t know enough about plants to know if this is a native plant here or if it was imported back in the day when this was a French colony.

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There are so many NFT artists and dealers making a killing these days. Most of it is very Photoshop-looking. I wonder how well this unique Siamese art would work out? At least it’s something new and fresh injected into the world of NFTs. I really haven’t figured out how to get started with the NFT world. It seems most sites require you to be an artistic star on Instagram before they let you in.

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I really enjoyed my Luang Prabang salad, Dark Beerlao, and the complimentary water. The salad dressing was so tasty that I added a whole new bowl halfway.

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I’m pleased to see that Food Panda, the delivery service here, has Big Tree Cafe. I’ll surely be ordering more breakfast, lunch,

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And spaghetti. Thank you for reading. If you get the chance to visit I hope you drop by. Have a great day!
Big Tree Cafe
67 Ban Vat Nong
Luang Prabang, Laos
https://www.bigtreecafe.net/

SPLINTERLANDS and my Waver Runner NFT battle challenge win

The Wave Runner sees not one but two sets of prey. The first set of eyes scours the ocean for a tasty morsel. The second set of eyes looks above to the skies for unsuspecting flyers. With a powerful swipe of its tail, the Wave Runner can leap out of the water and bring giant birds and dragons alike into the water where its body provides a natural fighting advantage. It’s best to find land or make peace with your soul if you’re unfortunate enough to face a Wave Runner.

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I can’t seem to win a match to save my life these days. Before the game became popular I’d soar through the Bronze and Silver Leagues as if they were a joke, but now it seems as if my enemies can predict my moves even though I carefully look at their past matches before I select my cards. Even though I usually choose older, stronger, and better cards, they still seem to win more often than I do. My neighbors must think I’m crazy hearing me scream obscenities alone in my room. My dog will look at me all scared, but I’ll tell him, “It’s not you baby, it’s these cheating A.I. bots!”

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I guess you could call me a Splinterlands veteran since I’ve been in the game since 2019 and have once been the top 86th player in the world, but I feel like a total rookie today. All I know is that this is truly a decentralized game and that you should never give up. You won’t get rich quick, but you will see cards go from $1 to over $100 if you are patient.

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For this battle, I sacrificed my chicken by putting him out front. My enemy would’ve won if they’d put their Water Elemental in the rear, but thankfully, they did not.

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My Wave Runner wasn’t the MVP of this match, but he did help us to win. This is a beautiful card, but it brought back a bit of PTSD for me. I’m a pretty crazy and fearless guy. I will fight guys twice my size and ride my motorcycle as fast as the engine will go, but I remember surfing in Monterey, California back in 1999 seeing a dark shadow swim underneath me. At first, I thought it was lovely that another dolphin had come to say hi and possibly swim in the waves with me as I surf, but then I noticed how big the shadow was. After it swam underneath me three times, I started to feel true fear. As it swam away, I could see its tail wasn’t like a dolphin’s and its black eye of death. Luckily for me, it didn’t find me interesting and a big wave came along. I didn’t dare to stand up, rather riding on the board on my stomach all the way to the beach grinding the board’s fins into the sand. I then screamed for my friends to come in and told them what happened.

When we were putting our boards into the back of my pickup they thought I was lying until a Japanese tourist came up to me shook my hand and told me that he was happy to see I was still alive and that the shark was as big as my truck. Thank you for reading about my Splinterlands battle and my close encounter with a great white shark today. Get in the game!

Check out my battle:
https://steemmonsters.com?p=battle&id=sl_76d3acaf8f1e143d97d3edff78b00634&ref=jeremiahcustis

Participate in this week’s challenge:
https://peakd.com/splinterlands/@splinterlands/share-your-battle-weekly-challenge-wave-runnerz

DRAWING: Getting Started with Contour Lines

Are you a new artist just getting started or want to try something new? If so, then I recommend doing a still-life sketch of something focusing on just the contour lines. This means that you ignore the shading and draw like we did when we were kids.

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For this sketch, all you really need is a pencil or pen, some paper, and a subject. I used some 3M painter’s tape to secure the A4 paper to my clipboard so I could focus on my drawing and not worry about the paper, but it isn’t necessary. I also enjoyed some strawberry-flavored Korean rice wine, Soju, and a bottle of Pepsi. Why does Pepsi taste so much better from a glass bottle?

Blind Contour Sketch

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For my first sketch, I focused on the plant 100% and only looked a the paper once to place the pencil. It is important you only look at the subject and feel the surface of the paper while you slowly draw the lines. It’s not going to look great. In fact, it will look like something you drew in grade school, but it’s good practice.

Semi Blind Contour Sketch

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For the next sketch try to focus on the subject 95% of the time only glancing at your drawing for a bit. The only times I briefly looked at my paper and pencil was when I was making sure the lines were right.

Look All You Want Sketch

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You still don’t want to spend too much time on this sketch, but you can look at your paper and pencil all you want. See how much better the third drawing is? I was able to focus on the pointy parts and details of the plastic this time.

The only thing I had to take these pictures was a crappy old iPhone 5, but I lit up my room as best I could. I then used the auto-enhance and auto-crop feature in Google Photos. Still not happy with the results, I adjusted the levels, brightness, and hue in Adobe Photoshop to tweak the pictures a bit more. I constantly make grammar mistakes and typos in my blog, so I always highlight the words and have the AI extension, Readme, read the words back to me. Listening to my post always shows mistakes I’ve made that proofreading doesn’t.