Destiny: The Taken King Review

destiny01My relationship with Destiny has been troubled.  In the year since it’s launch, I’ve been flustered to understand why I’m even playing.  The game had such potential, but there were gaping problems; The story line was cut last moment, leaving a confused journey where nothing made sense.  There were 3-4 weapons that dominated all others, and if you didn’t have one yourself you were screwed.  And oh man, was it seriously repetitive; You would play the same jagged story with the same boss again, and again, and again…

There were a few positives though:  Excellent use of resources, perfect FPS controls, and many fights that really make you think and play your best.  It was easy to see how Destiny could have been the best shooter ever, which is why the constant let downs are what ultimately drove the title to simply “good”.

DestinyTakenKingGuardians When The Taken King (TTK) was announced, it pissed off fans even more.  They were charging $40 for the 3rd expansion, totaling $140 cost for all expansions for those playing since the beginning.  The fact new players get the whole bundle for $80 does little to relieve the pocketbooks of those who’ve been so dedicated. I even had a friend blow up at how Activision and Bungie were “ripping people off” and it was “complete bullcrap” that they charge so much for such limited content.

But then it came out.  Here we are, three weeks after launch and I’m still completing new parts of the story line.  They’ve tied events together and explained how the heck humanity ended up worshiping a giant space-ball.  They added new enemies who now interact with each other more.  There are a TON of new weapons and the upgrading system has been improved dramatically.  There’s a new raid which I’ve heard is good but my guardian is too weak to attempt, so… working on that.

BungietkkIt’s not only the new content that’s great.  Bungie went back and added new levels to the systems that were already in place.  This finally feels like the game that was supposed to be released in the first place.  The Gunsmith now has “field test” guns that you need to use in specific ways to earn reputation, and that reputation opens new quests, gives legendary guns, and some think hold secrets to the best loot in the game.

Person-Vs-Person (PvP) is even better now. The Crucible has always been fun and TKK has added multiple new play modes. Control, a game where you have to overtake and control certain areas of the map, was always a crowd favorite and now there’s two versions, fixing a primary complaint where controlling the zones became secondary to racking up points off kills.  Thorn (a thorn in players sides) is much less used thanks to the PvP nerf I haven’t cursed or thrown my controller across the room once!  Go me!Destiny-8So what’s the final say?  This is the game we always wanted it to be.  It has groves of content, a real “love for the grind” attitude, and a sense of community I really haven’t experienced before.  Destiny is now one of the best shooters on the market, if not ever.  Guardians, see you on the battlefield.


Boston’s Own Cheesesteak Sandwich

IMG_2288Really this has all been a dream; you know the kind that have been sitting in the back of your head for years.  You’ve run through how awesome it would be and how happy it would make you, but it just seems so unfeasible.  For Wade Norris, that dream has been about making cheese steaks.  Coming from Boston, he’s arguably grown up with the best in the country.  Every single trip back home was highlighted by being able to eat his favorite food. Flying is expensive though, so back around 2001 he got together with some more knowledgeable individuals and learned to make them himself.  His son’s 8th birthday was training ground and they went off with a hit.  Now at 22, he’s attended innumerable events with his dad’s sandwiches on showcase.   Family outings, children’s parties, church get togethers… the reviews garnered were consistently positive.

IMG_2268Perhaps it isn’t surprising then that he wants a food cart.  Being a new student with a family, life hadn’t supported that want.  Recently though, things started falling into place.  He found an opportunity to grill at Last Thursday, a big art event that occurs on NE Portland the last Thursday of each month.  He didn’t have much time – in fact Wade put together everything needed (enough apparently to score 100% on his health inspection) within 24 hours.  Rushed, he didn’t know what to expect.  With help from the family they set up shop, fired up the grill and hoped for the best.

IMG_2266Every sandwich sold out.  It was easy to see with the quality cuts of steak being used.  The Original blends that steak with red and green peppers, onions, and a thick slice of cheese.  The Combo adds mushrooms and Italian sausage, truly making one of the best sandwiches I’d had in a while.  What really caught the attention of onlookers is his upcoming masterpiece, “The Louise.”  Named after his mother, it’s a batch of collard greens and freshly fried chicken topped with 4-cheese Mac & Cheese, onions, and peppers.  While not yet available, he promises to bring the sandwich to life once he has a cart.  How nice is it then, that members of his church are investing in his progress and donating a trailer to the cause?


The taste is incredible.  The experience is even better.  In my short time there I met friends and supporters, as well as a few who tried the sandwiches last month and are back for more.  This food has the ability to do well, and if the powers that be keep moving in the right direction, Wade will have one of the hottest stands in the city.  Take this opportunity to check it out at the very beginning.

Currently, Wade’s Steak & Cheese can be found at every Last Thursday near the corner of NE 21st/Alberta.  He can also be found weekly at the Saturday markets held in the NE Hollywood district.  If business picks up, he’ll have a cart up and running in the coming months.  Support Wade in the quest to fulfill his dream.   Go get a steak & cheese sandwich.


The Best Modern Fax Options


Why is faxing still a thing?  The technology came to popularity in the 1980’s as an easy and somewhat secure way of transmitting documents.  Fax machines turn your paper into auditory tones which are sent over the phone line and interpreted and reconstructed on the other side.  While that all sounds great, fax requires a dedicated phone line and fax machine meaning you’re likely spending $500 dollars or more every year for antiquated technology.  Don’t even think of using FedEx or Office Depot as sending my recent 18-page fax cost a whopping $32.50!

So why use it?  Unfortunately, fax is still required in the business world.  A generation gap exists where people have no idea how to scan and attach documents.  Some companies won’t work with you without a fax.  So what about the modern generation?  Instead of faxing you can just scan/email documents.  Heck, in 2015 we can take a photo with our cell phone and email from there!

We did the research on online fax services.  These services bring faxing into the modern world.  You can send electronic documents and have them come out as a fax on the other side, and faxes received simply show up as an email.  There are tons of options and almost all are better than a traditional fax machine.  So… what did we find to be the best?  Read on.



This was the best overall option.  Plans start $7.99/mo for 500 pages (in/out) which is plenty for most small businesses.  Operation is simple:  Simply email the fax number (ie,  What’s even nicer, they have an app!  Send/Receive faxes straight from your iPhone/Android device.  We found this feature extremely useful for the busy, on-the-go professional.    Lastly, all your faxes can be set up to automatically save in Google Drive which is helpful for documentation purposes.

efax-logo1FaxZero2:  eFax/FaxZero combo

For those with minimal usage, this is a completely free option, though it requires the use of two services.  eFax gives your own personal fax number and allows up to 10 free incoming pages/mo.  FaxZero allows you to send faxes (up to 15 pages per fax) for free with the small caveat of an ad being placed at the bottom of your cover sheet.  These services are basic but really, there’s no price better than free.  Because they do exactly what they say and nothing more, combining these two services makes #2 on our list.

myfax3.  MyFax

If money isn’t an issue, MyFax offers the most extensive list of options and is very modern and well designed next to its competitors.  Basic plans start at $10/mo and allows you to send 100 pages and receive 200 so some businesses will need to upgrade.  What’s nice about it?  An option for a local fax number for one.   It also allows you to schedule faxes at a future point in time, something nobody else does.  MyFax supports more file types than the rest and allows you to email from PC/Mac or mobile just like RingCentral and it backs up the documents on it’s website.

Have you worked with these or other services?  What are your thoughts?


Success is Nothing Without Failure


People fail.  Failure sucks.  I mean it really sucks, especially when you’re one of those striving to be the best.  What’s funny (in a non-amusing way) is we often seem to fail again, and again, and again. We spend a good chunk of our lives dreaming about what could be.  Where can we go?  Who can we be?  What can we accomplish?  It’s sad when circumstances come crashing down from above.  But what if that crash wasn’t really a negative?  What if we’re looking at it the wrong way and failure is needed for success?  That change of mind may actually help in our next venture.

Success is coveted by all of us so why do so few reach it?  Why don’t they go through the same crap we do?  News flash!  They do.  Most of your idols didn’t just make it there.  They overcame great failures on a myriad of occasions.  What separates them from the rest is their tenacity to keep pushing forward. They shun doubt and go for it again. Our greatest heroes are not typically born on top, they’ve hit bottom and still managed to find crawl, leap, press towards their hilltop.  While keeping that in mind, let’s glance at some of the best who found themselves in the same position we’re in today:

-Smithsonian Mag

-Smithsonian Mag

KFC’s Colonel Sanders:  Lesser known by his full name Harland David Sanders, the Colonel actually faced many setbacks.  He was fired from a dozen jobs.  He was once a lawyer who assaulted his own client in court (probably not the best way to earn repeat business). His first foray into restaurant ownership ended up failing and left the man broke.  It wasn’t until 65 years old, with hardly a cent to his name, where he found an investor and began KFC, becoming the legend he is today.  If not for the lessons of past failure he wouldn’t have had the handbook to success.

Lincoln01Abraham Lincoln: Mr. Lincoln is known as one of the greatest men this country has seen.  It’s easy to look at his list of accommodations and feel everything he touched was gold. What most don’t know is his long list of defeat. In 1832 his run for legislature took a beating and Abe lost his job.  The following year in 1833 his new business venture collapsed. In 1835 his lover died which led to a nervous breakdown. 1838 found him defeated as Speaker and 1843 he was rejected entry from Congress. The next 10 years brought another 5 lost nominations, including a Vice Presidential defeat in 1856 and US Senate misstep in 1858.  Heck, if this man didn’t keep pushing forward he wouldn’t have become the human we know and love.  Finally in1860, when he was finally elected President, an even more prestigious position than what he’d sought came to light and an avenue to shine came forth.

A celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of company founder Henry Ford will be held throughout 2013. Go to for an interactive timeline of Ford's life, tours, a calendar of 2013 events and information about efforts to preserve Henry Ford's heritage. (12/11/2012)

Henry Ford:  Ford Motor Company is one of the greatest American success stories.  The company didn’t take a dollar from the Federal Government during the Recession of 2008, a remarkable feat and show of stability.  The funny thing is Henry’s success came after a number of failed iterations. His first venture with the Quadricycle saw all of his investment dry up without producing a vehicle. Detroit Auto Company raised another round of investors and produced a car but went bankrupt after 2 years in 1901 with over $86,000 lost (that’s over $2.1 million in today’s money). It wasn’t until a 3rd round his vision started to grow and Henry’s dreams began to turn into reality.

-Smithsonian Mag

-Smithsonian Mag

Thomas Edison:  Simply, his teachers stated he was “Too stupid to learn anything.”  He fought against teachers and schools who didn’t want to accept him.  That seems like a stretch for the man who invented the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the electric light bulb.

The point here is many of the greatest, most successful individuals took a hard beating in life.  Many of them were criticized for what they loved and did best.  What separates them from the everyday-man is their tenacity to get up and get at it again.  Without that last push they would not have become the legends they are today.  Keep pushing, keep being beaten down, keep hearing “No,” because you never know if the next thing is your greatest thing.


House of Cards: Season 3 Now Online

HouseCards01If you haven’t been following the antics of Frank Underwood and his rise to power, you’ve been missing one of best dramatic thrillers of the last few years.  Frank, played by Kevin Spacey, is one of the most powerful and underhanded men in the US Congress.  His dream to be Vice President was ripped from underneath him in the final seconds.  But does this man get mad?  No.  He gets even.

House of Cards is a home-grown effort via Netflix.  The first two seasons have been a plethora of shock and excitement.  Some of the sexiest, classy ladies have been on board too.  Robin Wright (years after The Princess Bride) plays Claire Underwood, Frank’s wife.  She’s the wife every powerful man wants.  Kate Mara plays a naive reporter who finds close ties to those powerful – perhaps those too powerful for her own good.

housecards02Season 1 got us hooked.  Season 2 brought about such surprises most of us held our hands to our faces in shock.  What does season 3 bring to the table?  From the teaser Netflix put out last week there might be some trouble brewing in the Underwood household.  Goodbye friends because I’m about to binge watch the entire series.  Good luck to my social life.


Success Can Not Be Rushed

Car02Timing is one of the biggest factors I’ve learned to let the universe control.  There are a lot of things that could, or would be beneficial ‘if only’…   Sometimes the world works at it’s own pace, and we learn, if sometimes slowly, to accept that fact for reasons unknown.

Success is similar.  Often times we wonder if, or when we’ll find it.  Perhaps it just needs it’s own time.  What if we struggle to appreciate and recognize the peaks and valleys?  What if our continued devotion help us inspire others to follow suit?

As with most things in life we will likely struggle to understand the moment.  Lacking perspective makes us miss accomplishments we provide each day.  Be slow and recognizer the moment.  I bet if viewed from outside eyes we’d all be more successful than we think.


Number One Fan

Gold Dust01““Dreaming” people say is a waste of time,
Apparently they will never come true.
I have proof dreams can be reality.
Because when in reality, my dream was finding you.
Wishing is said to be a lost hope,
Something hoped for but one never sees
I don’t understand how this can be told
When I wished a perfect girl suddenly you came to be.

Some people search their entire life,
Trying to catch a glimpse of an angel.
Its apparent they’ve never met you,
Someone intelligent, sweet and beautiful.

Desires are something everyone possesses,
They are things in life that completes us by far.
I have but only one true desire,
To tell you just how amazing and special you are.

We all have so many thoughts in our head,
Some of our thoughts will never part.
There is only one thing I can’t stop thinking about,
That’s of you, and your beautiful heart.

I hope you know how amazing you are,
And how special you make people feel.
You are truly one in a million,
Everything I’ve said about you is so real.

You don’t deserve anything less than the best,
So be all that you can.
I will always be there for you,
For you see, I am your number one fan.”

-Brandon Hall
*Brandon Hall is a guest writer from Portland, OR and we’d love to hear your take on his work.  Should we press for more of his work?  Like and Comment below.