As you may remember, I was in Los Angeles for E3 last week to see what was happening in the world of video games. We learned some new information about the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4, for example, and we found out that the NVIDIA SHIELD is going to start shipping very soon. I didn’t have as much of an opportunity to roam the trade show floor as I had hoped, but I was able to return with some swag to give away to you guys.
Even though there is an increasingly large focus on console gaming (and that’s mostly where I find myself too), PC gaming is still alive and well. If you’re the kind of person who prefers playing games on your computer, then this is the contest for you. While at the NVIDIA press event, we were introduced to several developers and how they implement NVIDIA’s technology in their titles. This included blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag and Splinter Cell: Blacklist, but it also looked at titles developed by indie studios and international developers. One such example is Snail Games USA, a division of Snail Game based in Suzhou, China.
As a thank you for attending their event, we were each given a copy of Age of Wushu, along with a couple of special downloadable codes for Age of Wushu and Snail Game’s other big title Black Gold. And I’d like to give these to you, the Beyond the Rhetoric reader.
What Can I Win?
So, just to quickly go over what’s up for grabs, there is a PC DVD-ROM of the Age of Wushu game, a “Premium Loot Card” to receive some special items within that game, and an exclusive 7-day Guest Pass Key to try Black Gold.
How Can I Enter?
There are two ways to enter this giveaway:
1. Leave a comment on this post with your all-time favorite PC game and why.
2. Tweet out the following:
I just entered to win an #AgeOfWushu prize pack from @michaelkwan and so can you. Here’s how – http://ow.ly/m5kx5
Do both and get two entries. The contest closes on June 30, 2013 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.
The Fine Print
The contest is open to anyone in Canada and the continental United States. If you are an international reader, you can still enter, but you will need to supply me with a mailing address in either Canada or the United States (unless you want to pay for shipping yourself). The winner will be chosen at random and will have 48 hours to provide a shipping address before an alternate winner is selected. All decisions are final.
I’ve given away games before and I’ll likely give away games again. This is my little way of thanking the Beyond the Rhetoric community for your continued support. Good luck!
There is nothing wrong with this post. Do not attempt to adjust what you see. We are in control. The stories you are about to read are true. They are six examples of ridiculous things that happened in the history of finance. This is… The Outer Limits Of Finance…
I Hope You’re A Collector
In the history of the world, there’s an endless supply of stories where central banks have mismanaged the money supply. It’s almost seems inherent. When money is mismanaged, it collapses and is basically worthless unless you like to collect old, pretty-looking pieces of paper. To date, there have been 3800 currencies that are no longer in circulation.
I’m A Quintillionaire!
When the Hungarian currency was re-introduced in 1942, it was actually worth something. Due to political turmoil and hyperinflation, the government constantly printed higher denominations until it produced the highest denomination ever printed: a $100 quintillion bill. They didn’t even bother showing the number on the bill since it was so high.
Now THIS… Is Hyperinflation
Hungary also holds the record for highest inflationary rate of all time. During post-WWII, the rate of inflation was 41,900,000,000,000,000%… A MONTH. Zimbabwe comes in second at 5473%.
Go For Gold
The 2012 London Olympics broke the records when it used eight tonnes of gold and silver to produce the medals for the athletes. In today’s dollars, that works out to $200,638,512.
Luckiest Find EVER!
The largest gold nugget ever found weighed in at 2520 oz. Found in Australia by John Deason and Richard Oates, it would be worth $3.5 million. The largest bar is in Japan and it weighs 8818.5 oz. That makes it worth $12,345,900.
Default Is Good For Something
In 1932, a German carpenter made the equivalent of a million dollar business by using discarded German marks as wallpaper. The currency was worth so little that people used it as fuel for fires. Not this guy. This guy made his millions with worthless millions.
Never say never. In the world of finance, if you can think it, it’s probably already happened.
“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up, it dies and ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”
We’ve become a society that is obsessed with possession. If we see something out there that we like, we want to own it. This lends itself to a discussion on our rampant consumerism and our obsession with buying the newest and shiniest thing on the market, but the concept extends far beyond that.
When we travel to faraway lands, many of us feel compelled to return with a little piece of it. We might take a small stone from the Great Wall of China or the ruins of Machu Picchu, but we simply accelerate their decay if we all take a small piece. We are stealing them away from future generations.
A spiritual leader and guru from India, Osho was actually born Chandra Mohan Jain in 1931. He took on the name Acharya Rajneesh in the 1960s and then Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the 1970s and 80s before finally becoming Osho in 1989, one year before his death in 1990 at the age of 58. I don’t know a lot about Osho and his teachings, but I do understand that he became quite the controversial figure because of his outspoken opposition to socialism and Mahatma Gandhi. Whatever your opinion of him, we can all agree with the sentiment expressed in the quote above.
Yes, we feel compelled to own the things that we love. Maybe it has to do with wanting that sense of control, that desire to possess the objects of our affection so we can look upon and enjoy them as we desire. However, as Osho points out, the very act of “picking” that flower effectively kills it. Now, you can not only no longer enjoy the flower yourself, but you have prevented anyone else from also enjoying that flower. You have stolen away the very properties that made you love that flower in the first place. Its beauty fades and withers.
Of course, we can see how this concept also applies to our personal relationships. Dysfunctional relationships can easily arise when one partner feels compelled to “own” the other. A solid relationship is one that is built on trust and, indeed, mutual appreciation. You are both complete within yourselves, but your significant other makes you a better person (and vice versa). I know that’s true for me and I hope that it is true for you too.
The next time you are out and see something you truly love, remember the old adage of respectful travelers: take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.
I can’t recall exactly when it was that I first shot a hotel room video tour and posted it on YouTube, but it has now become something of a tradition for me every time that I travel. You might remember my video tour of Westin Taipei or the videos from the range of Outback accommodations in Australia. Following this tradition, I naturally endeavored to shoot brief videos of where we stayed for our trip through Europe.
In general, we’ve stayed at some rather conventional hotels for most of our travels. Some have been decidedly higher end than others, but decided to take an entirely different route for most of our accommodations in Europe. All in all, we stayed in seven different cities and we only stayed in hotels for two of those. I neglected to shoot a video of the Best Western in Nice, but I did manage to put together video tours of the remaining six locations.
Five out of these six locations were private apartment rentals. The thinking was that we could get better value, more home-like amenities (full kitchens, laundry, etc.), and more central locations for less money compared to regular hotels. For the most part, I’d say it worked out.
Amsterdam, Netherlands – AirBNB Apartment near Wibautstraat
Our first stop was in Amsterdam (check out my Amsterdam photo essay and travel guide post). We stayed in a fairly large one-bedroom apartment in Wibautstraat, which was a short distance away from the heart of the city. It had a full kitchen with a Nespresso machine, a separate bedroom, and a fairly sizable living and dining area, as well as a small balcony overlooking a garden.
Paris, France – Lodgis Apartment in 6th Arrondisement
For Paris (where I also have a Paris photo series and travel guide), we stayed in a very quaint flat in the 6th arrondisement near Jardin du Luxembourg. It was easily the smallest apartment where we stayed, but it had everything we needed, including laundry and a workable kitchen. There was also a fantastic boulangerie (bakery) and patisserie (pastry shop) next door.
Florence, Italy – Casa Santa Rita near Ponte Vecchio
Offered through Florence Holiday Homes, we spent our two nights in Florence at Casa Santa Rita. The ground level one-bedroom flat was quite large and had a great living room area. Our host, Paolo Scheggi couldn’t be friendlier or more helpful. Again, we had a full kitchen, laundry and complimentary wireless Internet.
Rome, Italy – AirBNB Apartment near Vatican City
We booked a studio apartment for Rome and it was located about ten minutes on foot from Saint Peter’s Square and the Vatican City. Again, it was quite small (not as small as Paris), but we did have a balcony, a comfortable dining area and a full kitchen. In lieu of conventional Internet access, we were provided with a Wind Mobile USB mobile Internet stick. Combined with one of my USB battery packs, this meant that we had “free” Internet throughout the city too.
Venice, Italy – Hotel Villa Adele in Marghera
Staying in the actual city of Venice can be very expensive with even the most modest of hotel rooms going for $300 a night. So, we decided to stay in Marghera instead. Hotel Villa Adele is a five minute walk from the Venezia Mestre train station which, in turn, is a 10-minute train ride away from the main Venezia Santa Lucia station. Aside from Best Western Hotel Riviera in Nice, this was the only other hotel for us in Europe.
Milan, Italy – AirBNB Apartment in Porta Venezia
And our journeys through Europe wrapped up with a studio apartment in Milan. Our flat was on the third floor of a walk-up and it had a bunk bed-style setup with a sofa on the bottom and the bed on top. Again, we had a full kitchen and our host was nice enough to provide us with a “breakfast box” with crackers, spreads, coffee and juice.
Affordable Europe Accommodations
Staying in Europe can be very expensive, but you can save a substantial amount of money and still be comfortable if you take the time to shop around. We didn’t really want to stay in hostels and we didn’t want to deal with shared rooms or shared bathrooms, so renting full apartments was a good option for our needs.
On average, we spent the equivalent of about $90 to $120 Canadian per night for our accommodations. I’d say we did pretty well, particularly with our larger flats in Amsterdam and Florence.
This is a subject that we explored very briefly earlier this year in a What’s Up Wednesday roundup where I linked to a post by Allyson Bird, but I feel it is a subject that is worth discussing further. There are many reason why someone may choose to be a professional writer. Perhaps they feel that they have a story to tell. Perhaps they’re fascinated by the power of language. Or maybe they just want to make a name for themselves.
But therein lies a strange paradox. While there are certainly some extroverts among us, the stereotypical image of the professional writer is that of the loner. This isn’t always true, to be sure, but I find that many writers tend to be more private individuals. Maybe it’s because we find ourselves holed up in our home offices for so many hours of the day. We’re alone with our keyboards and our thoughts and, perhaps, this sense of isolation brings with it a certain level of comfort. At the same time, we prize the value of the byline. Many of us want people to know who we are.
There is intrinsic value in that byline and I’m not just talking about the passive marketing that results from this. It just feels good to be published. It just feels good to see your name attached to something that you accomplished. The barrier to entry for publication, particularly online, is a lot lower than it once was, but it’s still there. And that’s why it feels even better when you see your byline in something bigger, like the Wall Street Journal or Time Magazine. And that’s why, monetary concerns aside, it felt good to see my name on the cover of the book I co-authored with John Chow.
This phenomenon, this obsession with the byline and this desire to be publicly recognized, is not unique to writing. Look to professional photographers and many of them are keen to have their images published in a major magazine or book. Look to professional musicians and you’ll see how happy they can be when their song finally makes it on the radio or when it reaches the top of the charts on iTunes. What about that struggling actor who finally gets his big break, starring in a major television show or movie?
Is it necessarily fame that we seek? Is it that we assume this fame will be accompanied by fortune? Or do we just want to be respected for our craft, acknowledged as being among the best at what we do?
Maybe, just maybe, we are just seeking validation… but isn’t everyone?