Monday, 31 December 2012

Skyrim Studies - Alchemical Corner

So, here goes nothing I suppose.

I told you I'd be writing another post about the wonderful skill of alchemy in Skyrim and here it is! Two new potions with 6 effects to consider as you set about your business in Tamriel's tundra province.

My first potion steps in to protect the heavy armour enthusiasts, especially when they're working with a shield, or if they're mindful enough to put the block skill to good use. With a combination of honeycomb, sabre cat teeth and slaughterfish scales you will generate a potion that will fortify your light armour skill, your block skill and restore your stamina at the same time. As you might imagine this can be an extremely beneficial combination especially if you forsee a serious brawl in your future. This concoction ought to allow you to fearlessly charge into the fray regardless of how many enemies you might face though I won't accept the blame if you get yourself killed thinking this potion somehow grants you the gift of immortality.

Potion of Stalwart Defense:

  1. Honeycomb - found in alchemical shops but more easily obtained by visiting Honeystrand Cave where you can find 3 bee hives and a bounty of bees buzzing around you. This will provide you with honeycomb, beehive husks and bees.
  2. Sabre Cat Tooth - slightly more difficult to obtain as they're not commonly found just lying around. You're going to need to take down sabre cats for these (though they rank as an uncommon ingredient after you select the merchant perk) but to be fair it doesn't matter what type of sabre cat you kill, they all have the same chance to drop one of these.
    SR-icon-ingredient-Sabre Cat Tooth.png
  3. Slaughterfish Scales - as with the sabre cat tooth the name of the ingredient tells you how to obtain it... Kill slaughterfish. I find that simply grabbing a sword and diving in the lakes, ponds and rivers between Markarth and Falkreath provides a bounty of these through the slaughterfish that eagerly chase you down.
    SR-icon-ingredient-Slaughterfish Scales.png
For those of you wondering, the base attributes of this potion are:
- Restore Stamina: 25
- Fortify Block: 118
- Fortify Heavy Armour: 55
- Value: 198 Gold

These values will be modified by any applicable perks you've selected and your alchemy skill as it exists buffed by equipped items etc.

This next potion goes out to the conjurers reading this post. It functions to boost your conjuration skill, restore your magicka and to help you resist fire-based attacks. So if you're looking to go dragon hunting (though conjuration only comes into play once you ground them) or seeking a fight with some fire mages you'll be more than prepared. Again, I assume no responsibility for the misuse of these potions nor for an individual's failings to equip and conduct themselves properly in combat.

Conjurer's Philter of Fireshield:

  1. Bone Meal - one of the most common ingredients out there, bone meal can be found on the bodies of draugr of all varieties, skeletons, it can be bought in shops and found lying about in cabins and kitchens. You shouldn't have any trouble getting your hands on this so I'm not going to post specific locations... Just raid an ancient nord crypt or two.
    SR-icon-ingredient-Bone Meal.png
  2. Elves Ear - kitchens and covens are your best bet for this ingredient. It can be found hung up and drying alongside garlic in most cases and in the stocks of alchemist shops.
    SR-icon-ingredient-Elves Ear.png
  3. Frost Salts - much more uncommon, these will likely pose a challenge to you. You CAN buy them at alchemy shops but they're not only costly but rare to find in stock as well. They can be looted from frost atronachs but those aren't particularly plentiful to say the least. Your best bet will be raiding the shelves of alchemy shops (don't get spotted) and the various alchemy labs scattered across the Skyrim landscape. Random basements, witches covens, even down in Blackreach at Sinderion's field office if I remember correctly. Just keep your eyes peeled and pick them up whenever you can.
    SR-icon-ingredient-Frost Salts.png
As like before here are the potion attributes:
- Fortify Conjuration: 75
- Restore Magicka: 25
- Resist Fire: 86
- Value: 186 Gold

Well folks that's all I have for you today. I'd like to thank my friend Kim for the feedback that inspired me to write this second alchemy piece. I hope these come in handy for you. To the rest of my readers I hope these potions prove just as useful to you in your journeys just remember to give me a little credit if you're discussing your digital exploits with fellow Skyrim enthusiasts. Thank you and as always...

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Reader Request - New Game Guide

Hey folks!

I have a question to ask of you, and it involves video gaming.

I have finally sorted out all my games, I've got my new 500GB PS3 hooked up and kicking, but I want to do something more with it. SO, I'm writing a new game guide based on requests. Now, I have a number of games already that might be suitable for having a player's guide written for them, but I'm also accepting suggestions and if I get enough recommendations I'll likely go and get the reader-picked title and write a guide or review for THAT game. Here's what I have so far I feel would suit having a guide written for them:

  • Grand Theft auto 4
  • Gran Turismo 5
  • Skyrim, an official guide dealing with the entire storyline and general gameplay
  • Fallout 3 or New Vegas
  • Dead Island
Now it's not a big list I know, but most of my games are first person shooters or NFS titles that don't lend themselves well to guide or review writing so please, should you feel as though a game deserves higher recognition, comment with the game title of your choosing for the next Fishbowl 2.0 game guide / review article. Thanks!

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Uncommon Sense - Home Invasion

Think about this folks...

You come home to find your front door ajar, footprints in mud leading upstairs into your mother's room, and you hear noises upstairs. You know for a fact that it isn't your mother, and no one else is supposed to be in the home. Suddenly you see this at the top of your stairs...

An unknown individual has made their way into your home with intentions that you have no way of discerning. What do you do? Do you protect yourself, your property and your loved ones, or do you just run away and leave all that you own, and those that you love behind you in the dust? Yeah, didn't think running would be the forerunner in that race (pun somewhat intended).

This was akin to the scenario experienced by the man in this Toronto Sun article and since he fought off the intruder with a kitchen knife, he has faced charges of aggravated assault. Yup, you heard it right, the man defending his girlfriend and her mother was charged for going after the burglar in his girlfriend's family home.

Now I don't know what the hell even prompted this court case to begin with. If someone breaks into my house I can establish two things: One, they've broken the law already and two, I don't know their intentions or the lengths they are willing to go to in order to get whatever it is that they want in my house. Because of these two points I can establish that not only do I need to defend myself, my home and my family, but that I must do so as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure the least amount of harm done to anyone (lawfully) inside the house. If I choose to round the corner from my bedroom and let rip with a 12-gauge blast of buckshot into the intruder, that should be my business. I'm not talking about chasing him into the street and getting all Yosemite Sam'd up in anger, shooting wildly around the neighbourhood but about a controlled use of lethal force against an enemy that I can safely assume means to do myself and my family harm, the extent of which could result in one or more of our deaths.

Some people might say I owe the intruder a warning but I'd ask why? Wasn't the locked door notice enough that you're not welcome in our home, and that we have locked our doors and windows for the expressed purpose of keeping threats OUT of our home? If that's not clear enough to you, then I severely doubt you'll be missed in this world as you must just be a pain in the ass for everyone around you anyway. In any case, I refuse to warn an intruder (who MIGHT be armed themselves) and thus give away my position within the home and lose any tactical advantage I had through surprise. If I'm going to defend my home it will be swift, effective, and if I deem necessary, lethal and I don't think that there's a damned thing wrong with that.

HOWEVER, if you just break through the front door, get freak out and leave, fine. I'm not going t hunt your ass down just to put a couple of rounds into you and I don't think anyone should. Once you've started retreating I can assume you've given up your attempt and that I'm relatively safe.

Aside from the handgun in this photo I'm pretty much aligned with the message. If someone breaks in, I'm having someone incapable of defending the home call 911 and I'm taking the fight to the intruder. If you want to come play on my turf that's fine but you have to accept that you're then choosing to play by MY rules and that leaves me are a MASSIVE advantage because my rules? They don't require me being nice. They require you getting the f*ck out of my house, getting down on the ground and surrendering, or me blowing your sad ass away with whatever's at my disposal. Sorry if that inconveniences you during your attempt to intimidate, rob, and possibly rape and murder my family it's just too bad for you pal.

In any case I'd ask people to contact this city justice and thank them for throwing out the case. Contact the man who so valiantly defended his home against an unwanted intruder and contact your local MPs to tell them how you feel about what your rights should be in the event that someone threatens your safety, or acts in such a way that you could reasonably assume your safety to be threatened while in your home.

I hope you feel the way I do on this one folks I really do. I'm sick of the system protecting the criminals and the lowlifes while making the good citizens of our country fear doing what's right because of unjust laws and over-consideration of criminal rights.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 21 December 2012

Amending the 2nd Amendment - My Take on Things

So, I've done a lot of talking about the 2nd amendment in regards to the tragic occurrences of this past year however noting purely geared towards my opposition of the way that it is too often exercised, i.e in excess.

Now this will undoubtedly, as it has before, require some clarification. By the "excessive" implementation of the United States Constitution's 2nd Amendment I mean to say the availability, purchase, and subsequent ownership and use of firearms that can be classified as assault weapons by a very specific set of criteria. It may be more helpful to list though, what I feel to be firearms suitable and reasonable for civilian ownership as there are so many weapons today with different capabilities that far exceed the requirements of home security and hunting.

Firearms suitable for civilian ownership:

  • Bolt-action rifles firing rounds no larger than the .308 rifle round.
  • Pump, Lever, or Break-Action shotguns
  • Semi-Automatic Rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than 5 rounds.
These are tools used in sport shooting and hunting and are only suitable for such uses. In the case of a home-invasion, a competent individual can easily defend themselves and their family using a pump-action shotgun as has been documented in countless cases worldwide.

Anything beyond the capabilities of these types of firearms goes over the 'sporting' line and approaches or passes the level of an assault weapon. To put it in perspective let's consider the use of the 30.06 Springfield rifle by the United States' military. During WWI it was favoured for reliability, ease of operation and maintenance and for it's accuracy over long range. It was later replaced in WWII as US forces required a semi-automatic weapon to handle the increased demands for firepower on a more modern battlefield. Even so, the Springfield became the weapon of choice for snipers and other marksmen as a specialist's weapon for it's accuracy, reliability and because the reload was much quieter than that of the much more common, semi-automatic M1 Garand rifle. This is where we can establish what should be considered as an "assault weapon" and why it should be thusly labelled. The semi-automatic rifle was invented to generate a larger rate of fire intended for use on the battlefield. Hunters through history have gravitated towards bolt-action rifles for their accuracy and range as they do not require more than one or two rounds to take down game animals. There is no place for a high-capacity, semi-automatic rifle in the hunting world. Pistols were ALSO invented as a means of defense and modified throughout history not to make them more useful as hunting tools, but as a means of killing other human beings. From black power pistols through to cap and ball, single and dual action revolvers and now semi-automatic and automatic pistols the aim has always been to increase the weapon's killing capacity against human targets.

Now I know what a lot of your typical 'Muricans and facetious history students are thinking right now... "But Josh, the 2nd Amendment was put in place to allow the American citizen to protect himself against the unjust rule of tyrants. Without it they are left defenseless!" This was true in 1776 but in the modern era it is a little less common for foreign governments to forcefully station their troops in American homes (see "The Quartering Act" as it applies to the 13 Colonies). Yes, when the threat of a British counterattack was a potential threat there may have been justification for the implementation of such an amendment however if you look at the war of 1812 it really didn't do much to stop forces moving down from Canada and torching the White House... Yeah, CANADIANS, many of them plain militia, pushed back the American forces and managed to set the White House ablaze. I'm sorry to burst your bubble but the 2nd Amendment didn't prevent that. It also didn't prevent a British counterattack either. Responsible for the lack of British military reprisals after the end of the revolutionary war would be the little thing known as "logistics", not the 2nd Amendment. Remember, once they were forced out, and Canada not being a stronghold of the British Empire quite yet, launching a full-scale invasion was far beyond the capabilities of the British as it would require them crossing an entire ocean using sail-powered ships. The Allies in WWII had a hard enough time crossing the English channel with modern technology to assault a geographic area nowhere near as vast as the United States of America. To put it in perspective, the British attempting an invasion of America would be tantamount to Napoleon's attempt to invade Russia only with the massive trans-Atlantic journey tossed in for kicks. History students should be laughing right about now.

So, you can hunt, you can defend your home, and you can shoot competitively with clay targets and the classic break-action shotgun, what else do you need? Oh! You want to go sport shooting with pistols? Well, I suppose that's alright, but you'd need to be on a shooting range to do that wouldn't you? Yeah, you would. SO why not have licensed firearms ranges carry weapons that can be rented, or purchased with the condition that they be kept AT the range for use by the owner AT that range? That would allow people to go sport-shooting with pistols for fun but not for every Tom, Dick and Harry to concealed-carry their little metal buddy everywhere. Doesn't that seem reasonable? You can do what you like, but it has to be done safely just like automobile racing (and I KNOW Americans love their cars) so why not treat guns the same way?

Now THIS is where I link the year's tragedies into the debate. The weapons used in these attacks were primarily semi-automatic pistols and converted assault rifles (converted to semi-automatic for 'civilian' use). Yes, shotguns were present at both the Aurora theater shooting and the recent Sandy Hook school killings however only the Aurora incident involved the actual USE of a pump-action shotgun whereas the pump-action shotgun at the Sandy Hook incident was found in the perpetrator's vehicle and was not used in the attack. Even in the theater killings the shotgun was only the weapon used after the attacker's assault rifle reportedly jammed and he had run out of ammunition for his pistols. See folks, even the world's madmen only use a pump-action for these horrendous acts as a last resort and would by no means attempt to conduct such atrocities with the weapon alone. The Columbine highschool shooters? Pistols and converted sub-machine guns. The Virginia Tech shooter? Glock 19 and Walther P22 semi-automatic pistols. How about the Westroads Mall Shooting in Omaha, Nebraska back in 2007? That was the work of a man wielding the AKM, a semi-automatic variant of the AK-47 firing the 7.62 x 39mm rifle round. For a little bit of perspective, here's a comparative graphic:

7.69x29mm is in the center. The .308 Winchester is to the left of center.
Now yes, the .308 round is larger, however it is most-often used as a marksman's round in sniper rifles rather than the 7.62's use in assault rifles worldwide.

Just put the mindset of people opposing this type of gun control in perspective, THIS poster comes in SUPPORT of the open use and ownership of handguns:

Yup, it wasn't because Cho had open access to the firearms that made it so easy for him to murder people... It was because they didn't have guns. Let's think though folks, if Cho couldn't have just strolled into the local sporting goods store, yeah, SPORTING GOODS store and picked up a couple of handguns... What wold he have shot people with? Yeah, just some food for thought.

I'm not against gun ownership, please don't mistake what I'm trying to get across in this post. What I am against is the apparent arms race between American citizens simply to protect themselves from what the other side buys next. If everyone just stepped back and took a look at it, they'd realize that what I've listed is more than reasonable as a change to the 2nd Amendment. No, it wouldn't be easy to round up the handguns already present in the American climate, but how much in life that is worth doing is REALLY easy to do? If things were all easy there'd be no challenge, no glory in the accomplishment of easy tasks. How often does someone congratulate you or admire you for doing something easy and simple? They don't but climb mount Everest or win a slew of Olympic gold medals and see how quickly you get noticed.

Folks, it's about time that the United States realized what the real problem is. Share this article on your Facebook, Twitter, whatever just get it out there. Maybe SOMEONE will pick up on a half decent idea backed up by simple, not-so-common sense.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The 2nd Amendment - "Under Fire"

I'm getting really tired of being given reasons to write gun-control blogs... Seriously.

First it was families gunned down in a movie theater by a madman with a ridiculous yet legally purchased arsenal, and now it's women and children shot to death in an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL... For the love of all things good, right and humane in the world what is it going to take for 'Muricans to realize how completely fucked up their national mindset is? Here's a summary of a conversation that I've had with about half-a-dozen different citizens of the good old US-of-A.

American Citizen: But I need to be allowed to own a gun!
Me: Why?
American Citizen: To protect myself and my family.
Me: From who?
American Citizen: Someone else who might have a gun.
Me: Well, why would THEY have a gun?
American Citizen: It's their right to, I don't know, people have guns and I need to protect myself from those people.
Me: So you'd be exercising a right, to potentially protect yourself, from the possible implications of another person that MIGHT be exercising that same right in an unlawful manner?
American Citizen: Wll, um... I guess? Sort of?
Me: So in what world does that sort of idea even make a lick of sense?
American Citizen: 'MURICA!

Okay you got me, I added the "MURICA" bit but how couldn't I? That seems to be the only attitude that comes out when you question an American's right to own a gun. Now that's I've probably got half of my readers behind me and the other half pissed right the f*ck off, how's about some mathematics to solve our problems hmm? Something clear and logical?

The G20 Nations: Number of murders using firearms

  • The United States: 9146 per year
  • Everyone else put together: 1206 per year
Seriously, this came from the UNODC & Small arms survey. The entire G20 firearms murder numbers equal out to 13% of the United State's total when the US numbers stand alone While we're at the table of plain and simple truths, how about some arguments against reasons used by some Americans trying to justify or validate their drastically higher murder statistics...
  • "It's because we don't have religion in schools!" : Canada doesn't have prayer in schools either, AND we teach evolution. Our murder-by-firearms numbers equate to 1.2% of the US total.
  • "We have a history whose identity was forged in violence and we've had a generally violent history." : Well what about Germany? THEY have a violent history wouldn't you agree? Hell they were fighting in the middle ages before Europeans even DISCOVERED what was to become North America. Their current total? Yeah, it's 1.6% of the US gun murders per year.
  • "Our children play violent video games and watch violent cartoons." : Most of those are made or at least designed in Japan folks and guess what, Japan's gun-murder count? 0.11% of the 'Murican total.
Are we seeing a trend here? Do you want to know what the big differences are here between the States and these other nations that they share so much else in common with? The United States not only lists it as a right to own and operate firearms, but they ENCOURAGE people to no end to do so. Add to this fact that the United States spends the most money relative to its GDP on military spending and that it takes almost any chance to GLORIFY even the most horrible "historical violence" related to itself and you have a recipe for disaster. I'd like to direct everyone back to a wonderful Michael Moore documentary called Bowling For Columbine, you know, in case you missed the million other references and recommendations for it. It will do the best job that I can imagine of explaining the US gun culture to people struggling to get a grip on the situation. In any case, I'd like to make something clear to the States...

When the statistics point you out as the most murderous member of the G20 by an INSANELY large margin... You MIGHT want to rethink the way you handle guns in your country. Far be it for your nothern neighbours to make a casual observation though 'cause you might just shoot at us after you get bored of killing each-other.

I hope you've identified with my little rant, and if you're STILL a 2nd amendment die-hard well then I don't know what else to tell you. You're f*cking up your country and the lives of innocent people in it. If you won't at least agree with my completely, agree with me on this...
THESE are not used for hunting game...
These are the types of weapons that were used in the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown Connecticut. Just so you know, I won't be listing the pathetic, wretched, scumbag excuse for a human being's name that carried out the attack. He's not worthy of any recognition and I won't provide incentive for another f*ck-up to go shooting up THEIR local school by increasing the notoriety of this waste of skin. Instead I will ask you to grieve for the families of the victims, THEY need your support and THEY deserve to be recognized and respected.

The Victims: May they rest in peace...
  • Nancy Lanza, 52
  • Rachel D'Avino, 29
  • Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47
  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52
  • Lauren Rousseau, 30
  • Mary Sherlach, 56
  • Victoria "Wiki" Soto, 27
  • Charlotte Bacon, 6
  • Daniel Barden, 7
  • Olivia Engel, 6
  • Josephine Gay, 7
  • Dylan Hockley, 6
  • Madeleine Hsu, 6
  • Catherine Hubbard, 6
  • Chase Kowalski, 7
  • Jesse Lewis, 6
  • Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
  • James Mattioli, 6
  • Grace McDonnell, 6
  • Emilie Parker, 6
  • Jack Pinto, 6
  • Noah Ponzer, 6
  • Caroline Previdi, 6
  • Jessica Rekos, 6
  • Avielle Richman, 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, 6
  • Allison Wyatt, 6
Seriously, what kind of trash, what monster could do this to innocent women and children? I say we erase his name from history. Don't mention it, don't associate him with anything of any worth, NOTHING. Let's start turning these attention-seeking parasites into nobodies, and make their victims the martyrs, the heroes, the ones in whose names we dedicate ourselves to making sure that something like this NEVER happens again.

Your move 'Murica... Choose wisely.

Enjoy your swim, and may the families of the victims be in your hearts and minds.

Joshua J. Taylor

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Zero to Hero - Minor Setbacks

Hey everyone,

So I had a little bit of difficulty this week involving my bad knee (you might remember the issues after my Hit and Run collision from summer 2011). It popped out of place pretty badly, and I decided it was high time for me to grab a knee brace to help stabilize when I'm putting more weight that my 'typical' activities entail onto it.

The good news here is that I managed to pick up a brace today -good old Shopper's Drug Mart- and I'm on track to hit the gym tomorrow afternoon. Ought to be a fun trip now that I can actually do my lunges :p and oh, you know, MOVE normally without worrying about a stupid joint.

Just wanted to update anyone who might have noticed that the would-be first two updates never got posted. Sorry if I'd disappointed anyone!

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Monday, 10 December 2012

Skyrim Studies - An Agent's Alchemy

Just thought I'd let everyone in on my favourite poison recipes:

Poison of Terminal Disease:

  1. Imp Stool
  2. Human Flesh
As well as any one (1) of the following, the 'best' options will be marked with an asterisk (*) based on their accessibility, power, or abundance:
  • Mora Tapinella* - Common & Inexpensive.
  • Orange Dartwing
  • Slaughterfish Scales
  • Slaughterfish Eggs* - Common & Inexpensive.
  • Damage Health
  • Lingering Damage Health
  • Paralysis

Poison of Crippling Demise:

  1. Deathbell Flower
  2. River Betty
As well as any one (1) of the following. Unlike the previous potion, these options have been pre-whittled-down to give you your best choices:
  • Chaurus Eggs - Dangerous to collect but found in large quantities at each location.
  • Bleeding Crown - Inexpensive and grows in caves throughout Skyrim.
  • Small Antlers - Just shoot any deer you see and you'll collect a stash of these in no time at all.
  • Damage Health (Strong)
  • Slow
  • Weakness to poison
These ought to keep you out of harm's way either from their debilitating effects against the target as far as paralysis and slow are concerned, OR because they'll have the target dead in moments from the poison damage.

As for where to find these ingredients, I'll leave the majority of that for you to discover however some ingredients listed are more difficult to find if you don't already know where to look.

Human Flesh:
-"Human Flesh can be found in locations where people have performed the Vlack Sacrament ritual to summon the dark Brotherhood (along with human hearts), and in a few necromancer dungeons. Flesh cannot be taken from dead humans. It is easily overlooked because it looks like raw beef." -

These guaranteed samples can be found in the listed quantities, at the following locations:
-3 in the Alftand Animonculory (Winterhold)
-3 in Tovald's Cave (The Rift)
-2 in Dawnstar Sanctuary (The Pale)
-2 in Reachcliff Cave (The Reach)
-1 in Black-Briar Manor (Riften)
-1 in Raldbthar Deep Market (The Pale)
-1 in Volunruud (The Pale)

This ingredient is limited, but it CAN be found in Rare-Type apothecary's satchels (6% chance), and on the bodies of Falmer magic casters, warlocks and Forsworn, all of whom have a 0.7% chance of carrying a sample.

River Betty Fish:
-These guys are all over the place, merchants very typically sell them but they're on the expensive side. I recommend grabbing a "water-breathing" enchanted piece of equipment and just swimming through the rivers starting at Markarth and travelling eastward. If you start at the Apprentice Stone you'll be near about 30 "spawning sites" for fish. Just dive into the water and look around. Remember that the above-listed Orange Dartwings as well as their blue counterparts often hover over these locations so be quick and snatch them out of the air while you're passing through.

Hope this helps my fellow potent poisoners.

Enjoy your swim,

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 7 December 2012

Old School Style - 8 Bit Buddies

Hey everyone,

I'm working on creating a mural-style graphic for a wall and I'm creating it using characters from the gaming world, regardless of the era, all turned into 8-bit versions of themselves. The thing is, I found a graphic that shows a TONNE of the most iconic characters from the last couple decades... But there are just too many to pick from.

So I need your help.

Click to view in its full glory.
This is the picture I've taken as the basis for my mural. What I need from you, dear reader, is to comment on this article with your votes for the characters you feel NEED to be included in the piece as the most iconic characters from the gaming universe.

Now I understand that there may be characters that you wish to vote for who aren't included in the graphic. That's perfectly fine and all you need to do is include the character name and the game they're from in your comment and I'll consider it a valid vote.

Please readers, comment with your picks. I know there are a lot there but if you can just pick out 5 or so, there's no limit on how many you can vote for (though there'll likely only be 25-30 in the final project) so weigh in and be heard!

Thank you, and enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor


As far as which games I feel need to be included, my list of the top 25 is (in no particular order):

  1. Pac Man
  2. Modern Warfare 2
  3. Tomb Raider
  4. Pokemon
  5. Starfox
  6. Legend of Zelda
  7. Assassin's Creed
  8. Final Fantasy 7
  9. Twisted Metal
  10. Super Mario Bros.
  11. Goldeneye 007
  12. Motal Kombat
  13. Sonic the Hedgehog
  14. Halo
  15. Grand Theft Auto
  16. Duke Nukem
  17. Doom
  18. Fallout
  19. Portal
  20. Ratchet and Clank
  21. Metroid
  22. Donkey Kong
  23. Mega Man
  24. Star Wars
  25. Minecraft

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

From Zero to Hero - My Fitness Journey

I'm finally back -you know you missed me- and this time, IT'S PERSONAL! Well, it's personal fitness at least.
From Zero to Hero!
Yup, I'm getting back to my old ways, going start putting my gym membership back to good use and you all get to come along for the ride... Aren't you stoked? If not, please go drink a couple of Red Bulls and try again :p No seriously, don't. That shit'll kill you.

In any case, over the next few months I'll be a man on a mission... A mission of self-improvement and it's all going to be documented here in the Fishbowl in the hopes of inspiring some of my readers to make a positive change in their own life, and to (hopefully) earn some encouragement as I take on this challenge. In essence I'm going to try to go... From zero to hero :p

Yes, this was necessary :p

Well with that said er... um... sung I suppose, we can move on with the introduction of my "Zero to Hero" article thread. Basically I'll be hitting my gym (The Goodlife Fitness downstairs in the Oshawa Centre) with a planned-out routine each week. On every visit I'll be documenting the workouts done, the weights used, reps done, distances run and run times. Each week I'll be posting a scan of my fitness tracker as signed off on by a Goodlife employee each gym trip along with a picture of myself every month until I'm satisfied with my progress. I don't really have a plan as to how long I'd like this whole effort to last but I'm thinking after about 6 months I'll be ready to stop documenting it on here.

The routine is going to start off with 3 weeks of a simple routine, just to get me into the habit of being back in the gym and to start me on a healthier eating track. Ensuring that one meal is healthy and balanced each day, and hitting the gym 3 times each week will be the system for these first three weeks. I'm going off of an article from Men's Fitness and you can read the entire article here. It only recommends a 2-day system, with a rest in between each day however I think I'll feel better throwing in a third day for my own former routine, just to keep my mentality linked from before, and to allow me to keep my running in check each week.

My official start SHOULD be one week from today. I'll keep you guys posted!

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 2 November 2012

Welcome to the Tundra - A Player's Guide to Profit in Skyrim

Welcome to the Tundra:

This game will give you seemingly endless options for personal growth and character creation, fighting styles, allegiances and more. With all of these factors to worry about I'm here to take the weight of making money off of your shoulders.

Math Warning:

This is likely the most important lesson you will learn as it applies to turning a profit in this game... Learn some simple math. It sounds obvious but too many adventurers will make a beeline for the big, shiny, 'valuable' treasures during their travels but this is a pitfall you can avoid by asking yourself this question: "Can I really afford to be carrying this around?" Here's an example...


You have 11 items ranging in weight from 0.5-10lbs ALL valued at 200 gold each. Which item would you think is the most valuable? If you need help making a decision, here's a handy little graph!
"True" Value
As you can see, the 0.5lb item is worth more per pound than any other piece of treasure on the list. To be realistic not all decisions are going to be this simple, with items all having the same value but the rule of thumb here (unless obviously out of the question) is that lighter is better. Because you can carry more of an item, it is USUALLY more beneficial to do so unless you require the heavier item for another reason (it's a better weapon or piece of apparel than you already have equipped). I'm not saying 'keep a calculator handy', just be mindful of what you're carrying and what it's true value is.

Transmutation of Iron Ore:

(Cost is a result of Alteration skill, and related equipment boosts as well as skill perks)

It's really simple... Get the "transmute mineral ore" spell and use it... A lot... Like, as much as freaking possible okay? Alright, lovely. Now that the basic point is out of the way, here's how you start turning iron ore into gold ore FOR FREE!!!
  • Go to the Halted Stream Camp north of Whiterun (if you don't know where Whiterun is... I can't help you lol)
  • Clear the camp and mine (Use the suspended fire pots in the mine to wipe out the leader and a couple of henchmen without much of a real fight).
  • Pick up the "Transmute Mineral Ore" spell tome from the bandit leader's table.
  • Grab a pickaxe.
  • Gather up all of the iron ore you can find (deplete all of the iron ore veins in the mine).
  • Read the spell tome, select the spell, and get to work generating your gold.
Now the spell's costly, no doubt about it. It's an adept-level alteration spell that costs 85 points of magicka so players just beginning their adventure are only going to be able to cast it once before waiting for their gauge to refill. However like many barrier in the Bethesda world, Skyrim offers you a loophole. You can hit the select button to wait (just select one hour) and your gauge will refill faster than if you'd stood there waiting for it.

That's not the only option though, you can purchase or enchant equipment that will lower the cost of alteration spells as well as items that will speed up the rate at which your magicka regenerates. Don't use potions though folks as it's a waste of your money for just one or maybe two castings of this spell. 

Once you've turned all your iron ore into silver ore (first casting of the spell) and then into gold (transmutes from silver to gold) you'll have to find a smelting furnace and turn the gold ore into gold ingots. After this, turn the ingots into gold rings at a forge (2 rings made per ingot), enchant them for some practice if you'd like, and sell the rings (or keep them as some 'bling' or beneficial accessories if your enchanting ability makes it worthwhile to keep them). Here's the summarized breakdown with the items in bold and the process used to change them italicized:
  • Iron ore
  • Transmute
  • Silver Ore
  • Transmute
  • Gold Ore
  • Smelt
  • Gold Ingot
  • Forge
  • Gold Ring (2)
And there you have it folks. At about 30-35 gold per ring once sold (with a decent speech level or with SERIOUS bonuses from blessings, spells and equipment) you're making next to pure profit off of simple, common iron ore. Also, since you won't always have a loaded iron ore vein within arm's reach, you can usually buy iron ore from general goods stores and blacksmiths for between 4-6 gold each. Either way you're making a 400% profit at least through the deal not to mention the smithing, speech and alteration experience gained in the process.

Honestly folks that's all there is to it. Once you've nailed down this little trick you're sure to have pockets jingling with gold throughout your travels as long as you make sure to pick up iron ore wherever you go. With money being next to no object, you'll be able to afford the best equipment, spell books, staffs, and weapons available to your character's level and that makes diving into the unknown of a new cave or crypt a little easier knowing that no matter what's waiting for you... You've got it out-gunned.

Oh, and what with the dragons and all..

Eyes on the skies!

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 26 October 2012

Green day - At It Again

I'm going to see them in concert on the 29th of January... But that's beside the point.


Album Art
Green Day, now in their 25th year (formed in 1987), is releasing a trio of albums to bring their total dick count up to 11 studio albums (setting aside their 'greatest hits' types and the Live performances such as their Bullet in a Bible live concert release). !UNO!, !DOS!, and !TRE! have brought a new twist to the old Green Day sound and I've come to bring you a little taste of !UNO! today.

Now their best song on the new album (in my opinion) has to be... A toss up haha. In all truthfulness I can't pick a single song but between Loss of Control and Sweet 16 you can get a pretty decent grip on the entire album. It seems to me that the songs tell a mashed up tale of love, loss, bitterness and nostalgia and these two piece bring out those tones perfectly.

Loss of Control - !Explicit Lyrics Ahead!

Yeah I figure I'll toss the warning up there just in case there's some misguided 12 year old reading this... However I've heard worse language from kids in my town so I don't think there could be much damage. ANYWAY.

There's a lot of resentment, social awkwardness, and a general distaste for what can only be assumed was a rather traumatising high school experience. The obvious stuff is fine but if you ask me this runs a bit deeper than that. To me, this song represents a rebellion against any and all things of the past that make their attempts to cling to the impending future. Being a fake asshole only gets you so far in life and Billy's fine with throwing that fact out there with lines like "we never had anything in common and I never liked you anyway". Let's face it, who HASN'T been at some social function where they've had to act nice and make small talk? And who of you hasn't at some point wanted to just tell someone that the latest story about their cat's sore tooth just isn't the conversational highlight that they seem to think it is?

Now I do find it odd that Billie Joe, now 40, is singing with the attitude of youthful revolt... Let's face it the 'youthful' days of the band should've been over and done with after American Idiot after taking a serious stand against the policies of former American President George W. Bush. However we find them back in an old, well-worn but still comfortable pair of shoes with Loss of Control and with a couple of other !UNO! tracks. The attitude is odd for the age of the artists, but at least they're not using yesterday's tune for yesterday's issues. It's a matured topic range (if only slightly) and the growth to me is something to be appreciated as most bands never hold a punk edge of any sort as they age and release new material. It'd be easy for Green Day to go on tour with their International Superhits tracks, but it would just be regurgitating the exact same tunes without any creativity.

Sweet 16 - Growth and Nostalgia

Sweet 16 takes you back no matter who you are. It brings you along on a ride into the past where things at the very least SEEMED to be simpler. It will likely remind the listener of someone that they spent time with in their younger days regardless of the specific events in that relationship. It's a feel-good song even with the obvious longing for the past but at least it's a positive set of memories and not some brooding, angsty list of whines and complaints.

Now I do note 'growth" in the subheading for the track and I think it fits. Far away from acting like some adolescent kid wishing their parents would leave them alone (Simple Plan hate slid in there... They deserve it) Billie takes time to play with his falsetto voice, and to soften up the 'alternative punk-rock' sound that's made the band what it is today. It's good to see him stepping out of the box a bit if even for just one or two tracks on the album.

So there's a little insight into the album... I hope you've enjoyed my takes on the songs but in case you'd like to review the album at-length, here's the whole thing in one video or you know... You could go out and BUY the album at your local music store (don't bother going to Walmart though as Green Day refuses to censor their albums just to be allowed onto Walmart shelves).

Enjoy your swim!

Complete Album:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Re-Introductions - Tyrel Cote

Hey readers!

Some of you might remember Tyrel from the old Fishbowl, well he's back... Yeah it's that simple.

Ty's going to be writing a number of articles for the blog spanning more topics than the previous sports world pieces. Of course the usual sports news updates will be coming in periodically however Ty's looking to branch out in preparation for his journalism studies so I hope everyone will spread his links and show him the support he deserves.

That's all for now folks. If you don't know who Ty is you will soon.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 19 October 2012

Negotiating - The Importance of "The High Ground"

Just a little background on the concept...

Having The High Ground: Military

  • A position of strategic importance in bygone times.
  • A position easily defended and maintained.
  • A location from which a conflict is more easily and safely observed.
Having The Moral High Ground:
  • Being able to know what you believe or do is 'right'.
  • Makes a person more qualified to assess the validity of the actions of another when comparing those actions or beliefs to the actions or beliefs of the person who is already established as being in a "morally sound" position.
Whenever you find yourself in conflict with another person or persons, it is always beneficial to assess what constitutes the "high ground" in the argument. The high ground is a place from which it is very difficult to displace someone and whether your struggle is military, political, or legal, having this position gives you the upper hand in when it comes to establishing final terms to resolve the conflict.

Let's lighten this up before I get too serious...
See? Kittens. Mood lightened.
The reason I am writing this post is rather simple, and relates (as most posts do) to events currently unfolding in my life. In this case we are talking about a disagreement between myself and an acquaintance of mine regarding a financial matter. To clarify things without actually releasing any real details we disagree over how things should proceed regarding my share of the cost of a purchase that has been made and she is insistent on changing our original agreement to one that suits her needs now without regard for my concerns.

  • An agreement was reached wherein payment FROM me would occur when my share of the order was handed over to me. "Cash on delivery".
  • The order was placed on credit.
  • Unbeknown to any party involved, the order's delivery date was such that payment of the credit account would be required BEFORE the order was completed (before the 'delivery' portion of "cash on delivery").
  • My acquaintance has now requested payment for goods that I have not received (something I am not required to do under our standing agreement of "cash on delivery").
  • Talks have begun to come to a new agreement that would replace the original "cash on delivery" contract.
Simple enough right? Well it isn't working out so simply but this is where my lesson to you on the "high ground" comes in.

If you haven't already noticed, I hold what we can call the "high ground" in this situation. The previous agreement cannot be altered or negated unless all parties involved agree on a new arrangement. I have offered new terms for an agreement and they have been rejected, though no truly new terms were offered as the principle for the rejection was basically "I'm not willing to compromise." Now legally speaking we've come to an impasse... The equivalent of what a courtroom setting would call "a hung jury" where no decision can be reached. My acquaintance unwilling to negotiate a compromise while I have the backing of the original agreement and no leverage or collateral is held against me and the original agreement cannot be breached. In the end, only two options are available to my acquaintance.

They are:
  1. Refuse to negotiate mutually agreeable terms to replace the original agreement and thus be held to the original agreement's terms.
  2. Negotiate to establish new terms.
At no point in this, due to the clarity of the original agreement, can I be REQUIRED to change my stance on the issue as the standing agreement favours my argument and cannot be changed without my consent. This folks, is called the "High Ground". I cannot be made to move by any force other than my own will, which allows me to dictate how far I move, IF I move.

Now for some A/V aides...

Enjoy the duel, but take note of the ending.

For the most part, THAT is what happens when arguing against someone who holds the conflict's high ground. You waste time and energy by refusing to bargain when you have no leverage or tactical advantage to use against them. I guess I really posted this to let the issue off of my chest but I think a valuable lesson can be learned here. The first thing you should do if you ever find yourself challenged by a person, persons, a system, regardless of what the opposition might be, manage to find yourself a piece of "high ground" and then hold onto it. If you cannot but moved, but your opponent requires you to move in order to reach an end that accomplishes their goals even partially, then they MUST agree to your terms. This position should not be abused though as the abuse of power only leads to resentment. If you have the advantage, although you may not NEED to offer terms other than those strictly beneficial to you, it may be a better choice in the long run to make some concessions regardless of your influence on the matter. Be respectful, but don't be a doormat.

Hope someone took something useful from this. I know it took me a long time to recognize how easy it can be to get yourself a slice of an argument's high ground and wield it to your ends... It took too much longer to learn how to wield it responsibly and in good taste.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Boo-Boo vs. Big Bang

Honey Boo-Boo:

Say hi to the family... But don't feed the animals.
This might just be the most culturally damaging show I have seen on television since... Well, ever really. Now I'm not talking about the late-night stuff I'm speaking about the prime-time realm of television's airwaves. As far as that section of the TV Guide is concerned, I've been around to see a decade and a half of television that I can remember watching and the only sort of pop-culture phenomenon that depicted even slightly negative family roles would be Roseanne... Let's face it the whole group was dysfunctional, or abusive, or ill-educated. The points I'm trying to make is that I've really only ever seen one show that 'lowered the bar' and maintained such a high level of public support. Now I'm not saying that Roseanne is down on the same level as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, just that it was something that could be seen as lowering the 'family standard'. Roseanne has one advantage in my mind that keeps its reputation above water for me though and that is the fact that the show is a sitcom, created for entertainment and that it does not portray an ACTUAL family in scenarios that are really taking place.

This is where Here Comes Honey Boo Boo loses the fight. The show is based around a real-life family (a spin-off from "Toddlers in Tiaras" for those readers who haven't seen the show) and it follows them around and documents their lives in the style of so many modern 'reality' television shows. Some say that the show's harmless but I'd like to point out just a couple of my problems with this family:
  • Diet:
    "Sketti", a spaghetti-type dish made up of noodles drenched in butter and ketchup.
    "Go-Go Juice", a mix of Red Bull and Mountain Dew fed to a seven year old to keep her energetic in pageants.
  • Health/Lifestyle:
    June, the mother. She weighs well over 300lbs but it's okay folks. To her, her weight makes her "sassy".
    Alana, "Honey Boo-Boo", this kid is beyond overweight, her habits and manners disgusting, and she's on the fast track to winding up either 230lbs or pregnant by 15 like her mother.
    Anna, pregnant at 17 and just as ignorant as every other family member.
To sum things up, there's not a single family value displayed by this show that I can get behind. Even their mask of 'we don't let what people say put us down' is really only their way of enabling the family to continue being just as obese, ignorant, and offensive as ever... Seriously what mother would feed her seven year old daughter Mountain Dew mixed with Red Bull? This show is nothing but poisonous filth and to all of the viewers who claim that they only watch it to make fun of the family... Think of the fact that you watching the show makes THEM money and wastes YOUR time. The next time you go to mock the idiots on the show, remember you're paying their bills.

[Note* I have not seen a single episode start to finish yet, and I do not intend to do so. The information I've gathered has been through acquaintances that watch the show or that I've found online.]

The Big Bang Theory:

"Raj", Sheldon, Penny, Leonard, Howard.
Yes I watch the show. Yes I'm a nerd and so, yes I could be considered biased here but I'd ask you to hear me out anyway.

This series, created by Chuck Lorre, depicts a group of friends as they pass through the worlds of academia, social stigma and Warcraft all while working at a university and living out of Pasadena, California. The core cast of players is as follows:
  • Jim Parsons as Dr. Sheldon Cooper: Socially inept genius with an eidetic memory and an IQ of 187.
  • Johnny Galecki as Dr. Leonard Hofstadter: Princeton graduate and experimental physicist, romantically linked to Penny and Pria Koothrappali.
  • Simon Helberg as Howard Wolowitz: Romantically inept aerospace engineer who marries Bernadette Rostenkowski. Designed the ISS's plumbing system... "Space Toilet".
  • Kunal Nayar as Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali: He might not be able to speak to women without alcohol or experimental pharmaceuticals but he's Howard's best friend and a particle astrophysicist originally from New Delhi.
  • Kaley Cuoco as "Penny": Aspiring actress and currently a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory. She has a great heart but is influenced much more by pop culture and societal 'norms' than the other lead cast members.
When you look at this cast (sparse as the bios are) you will see that four out of five of the leading cast members attended a post-secondary institution and that three out of those four have at least one doctorate. The humour is witty and based (mostly) in academia or in the 'nerdier' pastimes with some sexual innuendos to appeal to the adult and college crowd and the relationships are quirky in a "Friends" a la Monica and Chandler but rarely dysfunctional. The worst that this show can be accused of is showing characters who engage in premarital sex (which is more of a Religious-Right concern than a real problem) and who drink alcohol an act that hasn't been illegal for almost a century now. It's good, clean, intelligent fun and nothing more.


I wrote this because of two conversations that I've had these past 24 hours. One generally opposing the existence of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and one defending The Big Bang Theory when someone claimed that Honey Boo Boo had more to offer as a television show. I would like the reader to weigh-in on the issue now though and take it from my hands. I would love to hear what my readers think about each of these television shows.

Here's hoping that you comment on this post and...

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Splatter Zone - Asylum Assassins & PRZ Paintball

The Splatter Zone – Asylum Assassins 

Let’s Get It Started:

Some of you will know about my connection to this group of crazies from my Facebook account but for the rest of my readers, let me fill you in. These guys are the best group of ballers that I have ever met, and best of all they’re my cousin Jay’s team. They’re called the Asylum Assassins and they play out of Picton, Ontario at PRZ Paintball (specific location and contact details listed later). The team was founded this year “to become the new field scenario team to represent the fastest-growing field in Eastern Ontario”.
The Assassins Circa Sept. 5th
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting to know the teams members as well as more about paintball as a sport and I’ve liked what I’ve been learning. I used to think that paintballers were no offense, a bunch of crazy (sometimes sadistic) individuals who enjoyed running around shooting at people without all the messy legal issues. Unfortunately I’d only known a very small group of ballers and this biased my opinion greatly. After getting to talk to the Assassins about their experiences with paintball in general as well as their times with the team I learned that being part of a paintball team is more about family than any other sport I’ve been involved in. I played hockey and lacrosse for 8 year a-piece, soccer for a couple and I’ve heard about damned near every other sport from someone else at some point in time but these guys… They might as well share a bloodline and honestly, it would seem that paintball does have something that runs in your blood (Especially if you ask Steener or Mouse).

Now The Asylum Assassins, and on a larger scale PRZ Paintball work primarily with what’s known as “scenario” paintball which requires that a certain objective or a series of objectives be followed through with in order to complete a match. One of the course favourites out at PRZ and a particular gem for the Assassins is known as “attack the chopper”. Basically it’s like Modern Warfare 3’s ‘Survival’ mode for a limited-respawn group defending a helicopter mock-up as wave after wave of endlessly respawning opponents. Once the defending group has been eliminated, and depending on everyone’s remaining ammunition, the teams switch sides and run the whole thing all over again. This really lights a fire in my heart for the sport as I just love a good objective, a challenging goal, something specific to go after rather than just ‘kill everyone before they kill you’. Sure deathmatches can be fun, but the REAL fun comes with strategy and teamwork.
But now, and without any further ado, let me present to the readers the amazing guys and gal of the Asylum Assassins:

The Roster:

Jason McLinton

Alias: "Monster"

Age: 35

"Big Jay" as he's known to his friends, Jason's my cousin and he's recently become quite the inspiration to me. I never knew that much about paintball before I started asking around through Jay and then through his team mates on the Assassins so for the wealth of knowledge that they have given me I have to thank them Jay's always been big on family so it comes as no surprise to those around him that he has taken up big place in a sport that fosters such strong, familial connections between its players.

Jay's been balling for the last year and he founded the team alongside the next Assassin you'll see known as "Preacher". He's a versatile baller who enjoys bringing in aspects from every style of paintball and every scenario regardless of which scenarios or matches he finds himself playing in. When I asked him what his favourite thing about being a part of the team was, in a way he refused to answer my question telling me that they're not a team, they're a family and that the best part about that family was the time that they spend together both on AND off the field. Jay's taken the family thing to new heights in some ways though helping to get new gear for his team mates that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get themselves (entering every and any contest he can find to win every prize, giveaway and sweepstake possible). He's also big on getting others to feel better about who they are and helping them to make friends with others around the sport.

Logo I did for Jay
As a closing note to his interview, Jay asked me to relay this message to the reader:

"Paintball is so much more then a sport. We are family. I have met the most amazing people in the last year since I started playing. From the time I began, everyone did whatever they could to help me play, from lending me gear to giving me pointers. As an Assassin, my main goal is to grow this sport through fair play & sportsmanship just to make sure the new renter starting out comes back and becomes part of our Family at PRZ!!!!!! Pay it Forward!!!"

Name: Matt Burwell

Alias: “Preacher” - Heavy Gunner Style

Age: 30

1000 yard stare anyone?
One of the co-founders of the Assassins, Matt’s been paintballing for 7 years now and the Asylum Assassins team has become his second family (as it has for many of the other members). I asked each of the team members a couple of questions to get a better feel for their experiences both with the sport and the team, and this is what I got from Matt.

For him, the best part of being on the team is the family environment by far. He mentioned overall camaraderie and the individual friendships you forge as major contributors to that overall family feel. It struck me as a little odd that you could come to see people that you shoot at on occasion as those you forge a “family environment” with, but as Matt answered more of my questions, it became clear to me pretty quick.

When I asked Matt what his two favourite memories were, one about paintball as a sport and the other about his time with the Assassins, he picked out the day that he was asked to join his first team which seemed pretty standard to me, and who wouldn’t be proud? But his answer about the Assassins really nailed it down for me. Matt’s wife underwent heart surgery and all the way through it the entire team was there for him. When you can rely on your teammates to help you through something that emotionally draining, yeah I can see how they become a family to you.

Each team member was also asked if there was anything else they’d like to add to their bio section, and I really liked “Preacher’s” motto:

“Live for Sport, Love the Family”… A good sermon if I ever heard one.

Name: Paul Lowe

Alias: “Steener”

Age: 23
Like father..
Years Balling: 7

With the Assassins since: Day 01

Favourite aspect of team life: The closeness that comes from being part of a team; the family environment.

Favourite paintball memory: Introducing his daughter "Mouse" to the sport.

Misc: Paul has been one of my main in-roads for information about the team and the sport, and I can't thank him enough for that. He's a true competitor and sportsman with an attitude that makes you wanna hit the field with him... just not on the wrong end of his gun.

Name: Rachel Lynk

Alias: “Mouse”

Age: 10
Like daughter.
Years Balling: 2012 Rookie

With the Assassins since: June 2012

Paintballing Style: Constantly Evolving

Favourite aspect of team life: getting to hang out with all of her friends on the team.

Favourite Assassinss/Paintball memory: "getting [her] dad in [her] first game".

Misc: Most kids get their start in the sport around the ages of 15-17 from what I’ve managed to gather, making Mouse what amounts to a prodigy by current standards. You can DEFINITELY expect big things from her because she’s in it for the sport and the friendships that come with being part of a team.

Name: Jacob Viitamaki

Alias: "Pyro"

Age: 22
Chillin out, maxin' n relaxin
all cool...
Years Balling: 6

With the Assassins since: Tryout #1, Summer 2012

Paintballing Style: Maverick: "Someone who refuses to play by the rules. he/she isn't scared to cross the line of conformity. but their unorthodox tactics get results!" - Urban Dictionary, Maverick, result #01

Favourite aspect of team life: "Being part of a team with AWESOME people, with an AMAZING home field."

Favourite Assassins/Paintball memory: "I can't pick just one memory, they're all great."

Misc: I used to wonder why his name wasn’t “Maverick”before he told me about his background. Dude’s a trained pyro technician, yeah, went to college for explosives and he’s been through the government testing for pyrotechnics and fireworks. He's out to "promote the sport repsectfully and safely" and who can't agree with a goal like that?

Name: Rob McMahon

Alias: “Big Red”

Age: 29
Man in action
Years Balling: 2012 Rookie

With the Assassins since:
A newbie to the sport, Rob answered with “not even a year… Seriously” when I asked him how long he’d been balling for but don’t let that make you think the Assassins are some rookies wandering around a field, Big Red’s serious about his sport as are all of the others.

Rob’s just one of those guys who loves to be “throwing paint” whenever possible. The main style of play at PRZ Paintball is scenario-based “though [Rob says] I find I do have moments of very aggressive play”.
Matt is another “family man” of the sport. He values what he calls the “interesting dynamic” that comes with being a part of paintballing and the Asylum Assassins that he says “isn’t common with teams and other sports that [he] has been involved in such as baseball and rugby”. To him, and to many others, the Assassins “are a family” and knowing that my cousin Jason is among those ranks of those family members is comforting to me.

Onto the “memories” section of things now though, as it really is my favourite part. Big Red’s favourite moments with paintballing come “at the end of the day when everyone is out of paint and too worn out to do anything but sit around for hours and tell stories.” And what’s the reason for these twilight hours being the best of his paintballing day? For him it’s all about “the friendship and that bonds that are formed during this time”. The team really seems to have changed Rob’s life from how he speaks of it. He wasn’t able to pick out a singular memory about being with the Assassins just saying that spending time with his family -family being the team and his literal biological family- was the highlight of his Assassin's career.

Name: Darren Creighton

Alias: "Heavy D****"

Age: 23

Darren's a true paintballing hybrid with serious experience between both woodsball and cqb/scenario balling over the last 8 years. He started getting involved more and more with cqb ball as the years went on after getting involved with PRZ Paintball and the Asylum Assassins this year he's been playing a lot more than usual. D pointed out that it wasn't (and still isn't) easy to get used to cqb balling with all of his time playing woodsball as the tactics are so different but he's more than happy to hone his scenario skills at PRZ, attributing his new love of this particular style to the quality of the PRZ field and its environmental diversity.

Logo I designed for
Heavy D.
'Heavy' (as I've taken to calling him) started his paintballing journey with his father and brother with whom he shares his favourite all-time paintball memory:

"My best memory of Paintball however would have to be back when I first started ballin. It was just my dad, my brother and myself out in this very grown up area at my grandparents -I'm talking thick brush and hydro towers- but long story short I ran a good 50 yards behind my brother and my father and managed to take them both out with about 5 shots."

It saddened me to hear that Darren no longer gets the chance to play with his father or brother anymore though as his dad simply can't do it anymore and his brother's drifted from the sport. As per his time with the Assassins Darren's stuck for 'best' memories between the actual formalization of the group as a team and defending Jay as their general in an insane balling match.

Darren wanted me to remind everyone that the sport is for ANYONE, and that it is both fun and safe. He says that he's met the most amazing people through the sport and that everyone who is able should try it out at least once in their lives. I hope that you, the reader, will take his words to heart and give paintball a chance too.

Name: Matt Lyons

Alias: "Judas"

Age: 28
Taking cover under fire...
Still finds time for a 'selfie'. Way to go Matt!
Years Balling: 6

With the Assassins since: Day 01

Favourite part of being an Assassin:

Favourite balling memory: He "snuck to the other team's base" and wound up eliminating 90% of them during a night time game all by ambushing them from behind.

He might go by Judas, but this guy's definitely a team player. Matt's been balling for 6 years and he's been with the Asylum Assassins since day one. He loves paintball, that much is obvious the second you start talking to him but what he really enjoys is the fact that being part of the team means being part of somethin so much more than "just the game".

avourite paintball memory is one that would've earned him a Victoria Cross on the real battlefield. He "snuck to the other team's base" and wound up eliminating 90% of them during a night time game all by ambushing them from behind. This might seem like lone-wolf behaviour, but Matt's been publicly recognized for his efforts to help out everyone around him which still stands as his favourite Assassins memory.

When I asked Matt if there was anything he wanted to add to his bio, or to say to the readers, he gave me this:

"What is paintball to me? Paintball is where anyone regardless of age, race, gender... can come out and have a great day of fun with no bias against each other. If you come out solely or with a crowd of people you can leave having met many new friends. Paintball appeals to the kids that played GI Joe's for running as if you were in Call of Duty. [Paintball] also appeals to the kid that played with Lego since half the fun is cleaning your gear and customizing it to your style and preference."

I think that's a pretty good way to sum things up don't you? Paintball is a game for everybody no matter who they are or what their history is. The game doesn't judge you, doesn't think you're lame, or weak, it just accepts you and brings you around other people who will acknowledge you for just being yourself.

Name: Connor Swann 

Alias: "Moose"

Age: 19
A great shooter in a great shot.

Years Balling: 5

Time with the Assassins: 1 Month

Favourite aspect of being on the team: "The shenanigans"

Favourite paintball memory: His first time at PRZ

Best Assassins memory: Holding off the side alley of cqb with no ammo.

This kid is serious business, and it shows in his bio. 

When he answered my questions it came across as something like what I'd see in some government agent's bio... Dead basic, need-to-knows only, and it leaves you with an air of confusion and mystery. Also, he's managed to hold off an alley by himself without any ammo... Yeah, ball-less so-to-speak Connor kept blasting air downrange and managed to keep his opponents at bay just out of fear from the sound of his marker popping off shot after shot. Don't ask me how it worked, or Connor for that matter as even he can't explain how no one called his bluff. 

Guess the old saying "gotta have balls to win" doesn't apply in some cases.

Name: Dylan James Swann

Alias: “Joe Dirt”

Age: 19

Respect the mullet, or else.
Years Balling: 3

With the Assassins since: August 2012

Paintballing Style: Git R’ Done, Gritty, Reliable.

Favourite aspect of team life: the close bond he’s established with each of his team members; the sense of brotherhood.

Favourite Paintball Memory: PRZ Paintball, Summer 2011, a successful Hostage Extraction game where he and a cobbled-together team of Sunday competitors defeated an extremely well-equipped, organized team. Dylan stalked back and forth between two stairwells to contain the enemy team as what he called a siege tactic.

Favourite Assassins Memory: The recent September road-trip of the Assassins to CQB Tactical Paintball which was Dylan’s first road trip with the team. Witnessing the new “cohesiveness” of the team was a highlight of the CQB experience.

Misc: “I just wanted to say that there is no sport or activity in general can match paintball for many reason:
  • It’s an athletically demanding sport but anybody can play it to some extent or another.
  • It takes a toll of your body that leaves visible marks which are conversation pieces at a later date.
  • The camaraderie is undeniable from the helpful tips on and off the field to the pod of * ammunition* that you give to someone bunkered down in a crappy spot with none of their own.
  • I've seen people give away expensive markers, hoppers, boots, masks, lenses, and clothing, anything you can possibly imagine to help others grow into a better baller!
In conclusion Paintball is one of the most amazing experiences any boy, girl, man, or woman… can have throughout their lifetime and if you don't believe me ask anyone in the community and you will hear some of the most passionate responses and stories you could imagine!”

Name: Ryan Holmes

Alias: “Kitten”

Age: 26
Kitten's got claws
Years Balling: 13

With the Assassins since: September 16th, 2012.

Favourite aspect of being a part of the team: Getting to share the sport with new players and being able to introduce them to PRZ Paintball field or as Ryan puts it, their “playground”.

Favourite Paintballing Memory: Playing at PRZ for the first time and getting to enjoy the size and variety of the terrain, indoor and outdoor terrain.

Second Favourite Paintballing Memory: Getting his EGO 11, his pride and joy.

Favourite Assassins Memory: The last game, “Battlefield Asylum” where the team played essentially against to other teams. Outnumbered and outgunned their held their own for the better portion of the day and grew to become a tighter-knit group because of it.

Misc: “Paintball is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” “We need to grow the sport and keep it in good standing with the general public to grow it as a sport ‘cause if it isn’t growing, it’s dying.”

The Wrap-Up:

Now that's all I have at the moment for the team's roster info. Unfortunately I'm still waiting on a couple of submissions but since I've been getting asked as to when this article is 'finally' going to get published, I'm going to release it in this incomplete format and edit and repost it later on once I have all of the submissions from the team.

I've learned a lot from these guys in my short time dealing with them and the one thing that I have to stress above any other is that this is a family and not 'just a sports team'. It's my opinion that the Asylum Assassins are what this sport needs to really bring people into it. They're kind, outgoing and open people who love what they do and love to share it with anyone who'll sit and listen for a couple of minutes although they'd much prefer you rented a gun, gear, and went out to shoot up the course with them.

In the case that you'd like to meet them, they can usually be found out at PRZ Paintball, but if you wanna get in touch with them, or PRZ before making the trip out to Picton you can follow the links below and get something set up that way (I'd recommend it). So everyone, I hope you've enjoyed this little look into an up-and-coming team from a sport that seems to finally be catching its big wind.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Contact Information:

PRZ Paintball:
The Asylum Assassins:
That's everything everyone. I'd like to thank you all for your time and please, do both of these wonderful groups a favour. Go to their Facebook pages and like'em up!!! They've shown my support, and they've opened up to the world wide interwebs through me, the least you can do is pay them a visit and like the pages!