Friday, July 24, 2015 and the Seven Habits

Who needs another addictive game? I've got one for you. It's called, which you can play here. I seldom review video games, but this one is just so awesome.

You start off as a tiny cell with mass 10. You can gain mass by either eating the tiny little rainbow dots (about 1-2 points each), or by eating another player's cell. The bigger you are, the slower you go, but the more you can eat. In the picture above, I was the 2nd biggest cell on the map, and I don't think doge lasted much longer. Poor little doge.

You move around by simply moving the mouse pointer in the direction you want to go. No clicking necessary. You can also split yourself (with the space button) to launch and destroy other cells. And there are viruses, and just all around coolness.

I have two warnings for you, though. #1) The names people choose can be somewhat offensive, but there's a no-name option if you don't want to see them. #2) Did I mention this game is offensive?

What's also cool is that is isn't too hard to get to the number 2 spot. I've only been playing for a week, and there I am (temporarily) on the leaderboard. #2!!!!! I'm still trying to get #1, but evidently that's a little harder.

Plus, while you play, you can think about a very important concept discussed in all the 7 Habitsbooks. Let me explain the "Circle of Influence."

Recently in the news, you've most likely heard about fun controversial topics such as gay marriage and the Confederate battle flag. And I bet that you had some strong feelings one way or the other. Perhaps you took to facebook and poured out your guts. This demonstrates our "Circle of Concern." This is stuff that we worry about -- things we may want to change, or concerns about things not going our way.

But when you think about it, what do we really accomplish when we pour our guts on facebook? Perhaps 200 people tops would see our post. Perhaps we'd get into a good discussion with our friends. Maybe friends get angry, or someone decides to troll. And then ... our posts disappear into oblivion. Sure, posts are eternal, but nobody cares anymore -- after a while.

The sad thing is, these efforts seldom change or affect the big outcome. That's because we often worry about things outside of our "Circle of Influence." Who do you have power to influence? Your family members? People at work? At church? In your neighborhood? If you're anything like me, your circle doesn't extend much further than that.

Now think of how much time you may have spent on one of those passionate facebook posts that don't really go anywhere. Was it worth the time? Or could you have spent that same time attacking issues within your Circle of Influence?

Covey suggests that we shrink our Circle of Concern so that we can spend more time worrying about stuff that really matters to us. If we do that, something strange happens. Our Circle of Influence actually expands. We gain more responsibilities, and we become able to influence more people.

Imagine if you're some famous person who has accomplished a lot. If you were to then opine on some controversial subject, how many people do you think would hear you? More than 200? How about 200 million?

If you're really passionate about these controversial subjects, and you want to effect real change, then you can take real steps to become a person of more influence. You can study what it takes to become a politician, or what it takes to write an influential blog. You can take classes to increase your skills, and so on, and so on.

In the meantime, you can practice with As your circle starts small, you wouldn't want to take on the biggest dudes. They'd swallow you up whole without blinking. You'd be better off eating the little tidbits until you're big enough to start attacking other players. Then as you get bigger, you can swallow bigger players, and before you know it, you're that biggest dude.

So have fun. Increase your circle of influence, and show them what you're made of.

Update (8/1/2015): I did it! Boom baby!

Also, here's a funny Youtube video that's a good energetic intro to Agario. Warning, though ... a few of the names are a little offensive.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ant-Man: This Is No Small Movie

Talk about surpassing expectations.  When I first saw the movie poster for Ant-Man, I thought, "Really Marvel?  This is stupid.  Do you really expect me to believe yet another one of your superheroes?  I mean ... being small is a superpower.  Really?"

But then after seeing a trailer that didn't look so bad, I figured it was worth a try.  Even though it's another one of those Marvel-formula movies, it was surprisingly funny, original, entertaining, and sufficiently action-packed.

In fact, among the Marvel movies, I'd place this one near the top.  I enjoyed Ant-Man more than both Avengers movies, and maybe even more than the first Thor.  I even laughed much harder than I did with Guardians of the Galaxy, even though the latter was overall funnier.

My only complaint (aside from inconsistent science, which I don't care much about) is that the writers chose to place Ant-Man in the same Avenger universe.  The movie does so well as a standalone, it doesn't need that extra baggage.  The tie-in felt forced and unnecessary, but yet still entertaining and funny.  The writers will do what they do, and they evidently have future plans for Ant-Man.

Perhaps after the movie's successful opening we should hope to see him again sometime soon.  Count me in!