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Just Beat Halo

So I just beat Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition today (on normal difficulty). I had been playing it since last summer (after I beat Halo:Reach) so it's good to have finally beaten it. I decided while playing Reach that I would try to go through and beat all my Halo games in order, so that I could follow the storyline. So after Reach I started playing Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, I planned on re-beating Halo 3 (Halo 2 is not available for Xbox 360) and then playing Halo 4. However I have decided to take a break from Halo and instead play Grand Theft Auto V next (I may play Halo 3 on the side). My Cousin has GTA V and has been talking about it for a while, he says its his favorite game (he already beat the game now).

Halo was a pretty fun game to play. It's got ten levels which probably take about 2 to 3 hours each to beat. It took me a year to beat the game because I had long stretches of time when I didn't play the game because I was busy. The game is a remake of the original Halo game made on its tenth anniversary. The Anniversary Edition has new graphics, but you can push the select button to see the old graphics. It's kind of cool to see. Amazing how well the graphics have improved in 10 years, the old graphics remind me of a computer game like Minecraft (they old graphics are also a bit darker and harder to see). Sometimes the newer graphics include newer features that aren't shown in the old graphics (for example in one level that takes place at night you can see the moon - a full moon - in the new graphics but not in the old graphics).

Happy Fourth of July 2014!

Well, it's that time of year again: Independence Day. Today is a day that we here in America celebrate our Independence and our freedoms. And speaking of our freedoms, earlier this week the Supreme Court issued a land-mark ruling defending "our first, most cherished freedom" (i.e. the freedom of religion) against the Obama Administration. The ruling on the Hobby Lobby case ensured that Americans do not forfeit this freedom when they decide to open a business. As Thomas Jefferson once said: "No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority." That's one of the things that makes America great, the fact that individuals who feel their rights are being impinged upon by the government can go to the courts and get a fair trial and maybe even a favorable judgment from the court. In many other countries that is not the case; the courts there do what the government wants.

Now there are many traditional ways in which Americans celebrate the Fourth of July: The most obvious way is fireworks. Many cities and towns have their annual firework displays, and people usually shoot off their own fireworks (not all of which are legal for them to use) at their family gatherings. The other way is to have family get-togethers and usually eat picnic foods such as burgers and hot-dogs and various kinds of BBQ food (though today it seems at our family gathering, we'll be having steak and lobster, and my dad is making clams. It's not really the traditional Fourth of July Food, I think the steak and lobster was my cousin's idea).

So enjoy the food and the fireworks. And speaking of fireworks, here's a funny video involving fireworks.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Independence Day 2013

Well it's the 4th of July today, so we in America celebrate our independence from those crazy Brits, which means among other things that we no longer have to use phrases like "tally ho" or "cheerio" (which to us is a type of cereal). Today many people engage in traditional Fourth of July activities, like picnics, barbecues and fireworks.

Happy Fourth of July!

Got a Dog

So a few weeks ago (about three weeks as of last Tuesday), I got a new dog. A German shepherd puppy, ten weeks old at the time.

Frogs in the pool

More on this later. This blog is right now being used as a place holder to so that my blogs are in some chronological order. I will finish this blog after making my Fourth of July Blog.

I beat Halo Reach - quite a while ago

So I beat Halo Reach, back in April. I then rebeat that last level about a week later because I didn't really save that last level, so I beat the level again, a little bit at a time, saving after every few checkpoints

The game was quite good, it was like the other Halo games, though it did have its own unique elements.

You can see my review of the game here.

Blizzard Day 3

So Today is the third day of Blizzard Charlotte (which is also being referred to as Nemo for some reason). On Friday I already posted a little bit about what happened in the early parts of that day, when people we're preparing for the storm. Normally my father parks his car in the driveway, and my mom and sister keep their cars in the garage, but on Friday my mom parked her car up in the yard (we couldn't keep a car in the driveway because then it would get hit when the driveway got plowed) and let my dad put his car in the garage, because her car is the highest up and she figured it would be able to get over the snow easier. Meanwhile nextdoor at my uncle's house the cars the three cars that normally park in his driveway (there are five cars in his household, but his garage only fits two) were parked up onto the hill near his driveway. A little later that day, my family contacted one of our neighbors to see if he would plow our driveway. Friday evening was when it started snowing. The neighbor ended up coming twice and plowing our driveway, creating a rather big mound of snow where he pushed the snow to, burying my downed basketball hoop (my dad put it over on its side before Hurricane Sandy hit to prevent it from blowing over). That being said, by yesterday morning the driveway and the whole yard was all covered, it was like the driveway had never been plowed (except for the visible mound at the top of the driveway where the snow had been plowed, which looked a bit like a sand dune). This is not due to any lack of effort on our neighbor's part, it was because the snow was falling so fast.

Yesterday morning I had a dream that seems quite out of place for a blizzard. I dreamt that my cousin and I were in my kitchen reading some paper that a tutor gave us, eventually my cousin got in a little argument with the tutor. After that argument my cousin asked me (the tutor had now mysteriously disappeared as sometimes happens in dreams where one person is present and is then gone without leaving) if I wanted to go outside and play basketball, but I told him that it was too hot and he agreed, so then I got up and went to get some ice pops which I thought were in the freezer in the garage but which were actually on the counter because my cousin had already brought them up. I grabbed an ice pop, and went to cut it open with a knife and then I woke up, remembered there was a blizzard going on and thought it was pretty weird to be dreaming about ice pops during a blizzard. When I awoke,the snow was high all over the place. My mother's car was buried in snow, it looked like a big mound and pretty much all I could see of the car was the side mirror poking out. My mother was in the living room sitting on the couch looking out the window watching what was going on in my uncle's yard, so I watched too. The guy that normally plows my uncle's driveway (and the first part of the driveway, which my family's driveway and my uncle's driveway both connect into) was there with someone else (possibly his wife or maybe a worker), there was one guy in a backhoe/bobcat thing, lifting up the snow and dropping it in the yard, and another person behind him in a truck with a plow (at one point the guy in the plow almost backed up into the plow truck), eventually the truck left and the guy in the backhoe kept working but then he stopped and got out. We saw him talk on the phone to somebody, stand there for a while and then walk down the driveway. We figured the backhoe either ran out of fuel or got stuck (we would later find out that he ran out of fuel).

Looking out the windows I could see snow all over the place, it was very high too. I already mentioned my mothers car being covered, but that wasn't all that was covered. The three cars parked in my uncle's yard (my cousins' cars and my uncle's mother-in-law's car) were all buried under the snow, all we could see of them were three wavy bumps, that looked kind of like pyramids.

Throughout the day we tried to figure out who would plow our driveway. Our neighbor who had plowed before was working that day, plus he had his own driveway to take care of and his truck was probably too small to plow all the snow in our driveway. We also considered using the guy who my uncle used, but my father figured that he would be expensive (partly because he probably would've had to use the backhoe). We also considered using these guys that we had used back in 2011 (when there were a large number of snow storms in quick succession that piled up a large amount of snow) to clear out our driveway with snowblowers and then plow it.

Car got stuck in my driveway - and it's snowing today

Okay this happened a few weeks ago, but I am just blogging it today. In Mid-January, when it was snowy outside, I looked out my window and saw a car in my driveway a few feet before where the driveway that my family and my uncle's family share forks into our separate driveways. A little while later my sister and I went to Dunkin Donuts and saw the car, it was actually not in the driveway, it was in the yard a little off to the side (from my house window it looked like it was in the driveway). Once we got home my sister texted our cousin and asked if anyone was at my uncle's house that might have their car in the driveway, my cousin replied that it was her grandfather's nurse who had gotten stuck (it was actually the nurse's first day too, at least with my uncle's father-in-law). Eventually the poor lady had to get her car towed up on one of the tow trucks with the ramp that carries the car.

Anyways, there is a lot of snow today. My dad's work was closed for the day, my mom got let out early at 11:30 and my sister's school is closed. The college where I already graduated from is closed too. It's a blizzard, the first one in our area since Dec. 2010. The Governor has declared a state of emergency and implemented a travel ban on the highways. The power companies expect 30% of their customers to lose power, due to high speed wind gusts. Snow is expected to reach about 2 feet.

As of this writing the storm is actually a Nor'Easter, but it is expected to become a blizzard.

Internet Explorer working again

Okay this is pretty weird.

On December 11, I was using Internet Explorer and it was working quite fine, but later that night my mother tried to use Internet Explorer and it kept hanging (i.e. it wouldn't respond and the little blue circle would keep spinning) when she tried to log-in to her e-mail account or when she tried to use facebook. I tried using those same websites on my sister's laptop and they worked fine on that computer. I also tried using Google Chrome to access the e-mail accounts and facebook that night and the sites worked fine on Chrome. I figured that the problem was with Internet Explorer and hoped that it was some glitch on Internet Explorer's side that they would take care of, rather than being something wrong with my individual computer or browser that I would need to take care of.

The next day my mother and I tried the same sites on the computer but it still didn't work. I had a final exam in that morning so I had to let the computer wait for a while when I went to take my exam. Later on my mom and I were still trying to fix the computer, and I noticed a little icon on the bottom right corner of the computer that mentioned that it was downloading updates, I hoped that the update download was slowing down the computer and causing Internet Explorer to hang and that once the downloads finished everything would work fine. However, when the computer finished downloading and installing all the updates, Internet Explorer still kept hanging.

I told my mother that until I could figure out how to get Internet Explorer to work we would just have to use Chrome, so that is what we did (I also used Safari). Meanwhile I tried using Google to figure out how to get Internet Explorer to work and would occassionally try Internet Explorer. One thing I noticed about Internet Explorer that I hadn't noticed before was that there was this blue "no sign" (the circle with the little diagonal line through it) that was showing up on the url bar, when I would click on the sign it would say something about ActiveX filtering. So I tried changing the ActiveX filtering options on Internet Explorer's "internet options" tab, turning filtering on, turning it off, but it didn't seem to make any difference. I tried using a Microsoft Fix-it program for Internet Explorer that I downloaded from Microsoft and found via a Google search. The program appeared to do no good in getting it to work, but it did reset Internet Explorer to default settings. I had considered uninstalling Internet Explorer and then downloading Internet Explorer and re-installing it, but I never got around to it.

After a while I got used to Chrome and would just use Chrome when I wanted to use the internet, occasionally checking Internet Explorer to see if it was working. Then one day a few weeks ago I was fooling around a bit with the control panel and stumbled across the "Accounts" menu, I noticed the guest account option and turned that on. Then I switched users and logged into the guest account, while I was on the guest account I saw the Internet Explorer icon on the "DellDock" at the top of the computer and decided to click it and see what happened. I logged into my e-mail account using Internet Explorer and everything worked. I then logged off of the guest account, enter the other account, went on Internet Explorer and logged into my e-mail account and everything worked! I then told my mother about this, went back into the control panel and turned off the guest account option.

So now Internet Explorer works and I use it sometimes (I'm writing this blog on it), for example I have used Gamespot on Chrome in the past few weeks because sometimes in the past few weeks Gamespot wouldn't respond when I click something using Chrome. But I've actually gotten used to Chrome. I think my mother still mostly uses Chrome now.