THE MONTHS OF BER: Once More, With FEELING.

And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.

The Team Trolling July 2014 Hangout — Casey's Birthday
With the summer gone, it’s time to cherish the memories, but prepare for an entirely new season ahead with entirely new challenges. Photo Credit: Justin Baisden

With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.

It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.

#100HappyDays — Five Days in the Life of Casey Palmer, Father Blogger

When Sarah got me doing the #100HappyDays, I thought it’d be a good exercise to teach me how to write shorter posts, giving my readers a break from the lengthy novellas I usually write.  A daily picture with a short description — not that hard, right? Except that all too soon, I’d lapse back to my old habits, and contextualized them with lengthy stories instead of posting pictures that simply spoke for themselves (a thousand words and all)!

It worked well enough until I just didn’t have the energy to keep it up.

With enough real-time stuff to keep me busy (visiting my parents in Mississauga, celebrating a friend’s birthday and having company over); side projects to work on (archiving old drawings at 1200 dpi so I can resurrect my Fish ‘n’ Chimps webcomic, marathoning through Seinfeld and playing this stupid game); and of course, the stuff that pays the bills and keeps my family flourishing (spending time with Sarah and our son, writing for The Hooray Collective, PTPA and other clients, and — of course — the 9-5), the weekend got away from me, the blog posts I planned to write fleeting with it.

But stumbling blocks only last forever if you let them win, and my blog posts won’t write themselves!

Welcome back, Mr. Palmer — it’s time to get your blog on!

#100HappyDays — Day 29 — Candy Crush Saga: Dreamworld

#100HappyDays — Day 29 — Candy Crush Saga — Dreamworld — To Be Continued Screen

It’s on the day where nothing seems to happen that we must remember that amazing things seldom happen overnight. Everything I build as a side hustle may never be perfect, but I’m all about reaching my potential with anything I’m working on.

The DC Comics Guide to Creating Comics: Inside the Art of Visual Storytelling

After clearing up what blog post goes where from yesterday’s fiasco, today was all about re-linking images to their proper posts and boning up on my foundations of creating comics to throw my hat back into that arena soon enough.

Totally helped that I’ve beaten both the Candy Crush Saga and the Dreamworld levels, though — one less set of distractions keeping me from working on all this. Sure, I could show a little more self-control, but I love accomplishing things, no matter how ludicrous — or meaningless — that accomplishment might be.

#100HappyDays — Day 29 — Badass'D Biz+Ink — Garage Party VIP

Speaking of accomplishments, I missed something on Monday, when I showed up in the 6th edition of Tania Dakka’s Monday Mosh Pit (Entrepreneur Style!) over at Badadd’D Biz+Ink, coupling my choice of Jhene Aiko’s “The Worst” with a killer description:

This next dude keeps me in stitches…he’s a riot to work with and claims he’s not a blogger, he just talks a lot. Pft. Such a poser. LOL Enjoy Casey’s track!

And say hello to Casey  (word is he’s working on making you dudes be dads with cool duds, too…but that could be a rumor) and check out his #100daysofhappiness posts! (It’s kind of sickening all the happy he’s got going on…;) )

You should check it out if you’re looking for other entrepreneurs who want to get your attention!

So here’s to a day that on its own may have seemed nothing spectacular, but could very well be the beginning of many amazing things to come!

#100HappyDays Day 29/100 is a wrap!

‘Til tomorrow,

–case p.

#100HappyDays — Day 23 — A Wedding Invite on a Great Day!

#100HappyDays — Day 22 — Wedding Invitation to the Family

 

Barely four months old and my son’s already getting invited to weddings — he’ll probably be even more of a social butterfly than I am, time he gets to my age! (Okay. That made me sound really old.)

Today was nothing short of mind-blowing. Despite a 6 AM wake-up call to tend to a son more awake than he really should’ve been, some awesome things happened:

  • An old high school buddy asked out of the blue to hire me for a communications audit of his new business’ website;
  • Winning a brand ambassadorship and an evaluation opportunity over at Parent Tested Parent Approved, both of which I completely didn’t expect to land; and
  • Finally beating level 530 of the game we all love to hate — the Candy Crush Saga!

#100HappyDays — Day 23 — Finishing Candy Crush Saga Level 530

 

In all honesty, when I’m questioning whether my blog’s having an impact on the world or whether it really matters to anyone, it’s days like these that keep me going 🙂

So yes — it was a truly happy day in Caseyland.

#100HappyDays Day 23/100 — was a good one!

–case p.

The Art of Candy Crushing — How I Finished 395 Levels in Candy Crush Saga

“I never placed a game on my phone ever, and then I played Candy Crush.”

— becsophia

There’s a whole list of things that make Candy Crush Saga as addictive as it is:

  • You get 5 lives to progress, and lose a life every time you fail a level. While they do come back, it takes 30 minutes for each individual life to return, so there’s incentive for you to do as well as possible
  • The map showing all the levels is not only massive, but it shows the current positions of every Facebook friend you have that plays. So it gives you a strong incentive to prove that you can do better than everyone else you know.
  • But that’s not all — King didn’t only want you competing on the macro scale, trying to make it the furthest out of all your friends; they went right to the micro level, showing where you rank for top scores on each and every level! Talk about a shot straight to the ego!
  • And to anyone out there who thinks that Candy Crush Saga is just a jazzed-up Bejeweled clone, I’ve got news for you — where Bejeweled is  usually just a fixed grid with different modes of gameplay, King angled to blow PopCap Games out of the water, with 5 modes of gameplay in its levels combined with boards of different sizes and a bevy of obstacles that only grow harder to navigate and infinitely more frustrating as you advance through the levels. Don’t knock it ’til you try it!

But I assume you’ve come here today because you’re already a Candy Crush convert, so you already know this. You don’t want an overview that you could go get anywhere on the Internet — you want some concrete tips on how to beat your addiction by beating the game. So let me tell you about my journey.

Beating the Unbeatable

A screenshot of Candy Crush Saga Level 391
It might not LOOK so complicated, but it gets VERY frustrating, VERY quickly. Lots of keep an eye on!

I’d been warned about Level 391 well in advance by my longtime friend Justin, who told me that he might stop playing Candy Crush Saga because it was too impossible. Within 40 moves, they wanted you to get 77 yellow candies, 66 blue candies and 55 red candies, which were all relatively easy. The hard part? Getting 240,000 points in the process.

To put that in context, getting to level 391 is a pretty amazing feat by Candy Crush standards. Of my 1600+ Facebook friends, there’re only 4 of us who’ve made it that far, or only about 0.25% of the sample. I attacked 391 with the same powerful methods I’d used to get to that point — combinations of sprinkled candies (or “colour bombs”) with striped and wrapped candies for more points; combining striped and wrapped candies with each other when I needed to do so that I could last longer — but no matter what I tried, I consistently landed in the 120-150K point range.

As ashamed as I am to admit it, it looked like the end of my candy crushing!

Like I said though, I eventually figured it out. There is a way to make it even further, but  it’s not the method you were expecting! First, though, let’s build up with some basic tips.

Some Basic Tips

Let me put this bluntly — if you’re stuck on level 23, you’re either not trying hard enough or not playing well enough. In the early stages of Candy Crush Saga, there’s some quick things you need to know so that you too can crush all the candies:

  • Combining special candies is your new best friend. There’re 5 different types of special candies in Candy Crush, but the more common combinations are:
    • Striped Candy + Wrapped Candy = larger candy that clears the 3 rows and columns surrounding the spot where you activated it
    • Striped Candy + Sprinkled Candy = turning every candy of the striped candy’s colour into a striped candy, having them all activate simultaneously for some major damage
    • Wrapped Candy + Sprinkled Candy = destroy every candy of the wrapped candy’s colour, plus all those of another random colour right after
    • Sprinkled Candy + Sprinkled Candy = destroy every candy on the screen (as long as it’s not behind a barrier)

    I also recommend combining striped, wrapped and sprinkled candies with the other special candies (i.e. the jelly fish and coconut wheels) to see what happens when you combine them (or you know, just visit here: http://candy-crush-saga.wikia.com/wiki/Candies)

  • Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure from the start. If you enter a level and the conditions don’t look well-suited to victory, if you haven’t made any moves yet, you can exit the level without losing a life. Gotta be economical with those lives — you only get so many!

But this is basic stuff — simply knowing how to mix special candies and reset levels will only take you so far. You’re gonna need a little more — so let’s take a look at…

Secret Ninja Art: Advanced Candy Crush Saga Techniques

There are three tips I suggest to have the best chance for success in Candy Crush Saga.

Tip #1: Don’t Be Ashamed to Let Your Facebook Friends Know You’ve Caved

Candy Crush Saga is becoming more of a household name every time the sun rises — a recent analysis estimated that it’s played 600 times a day, and doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing down!

But I’ve come across a ridiculous number of people who try to hide that they’re playing Candy Crush!

People. It’s a social game. You’re SUPPOSED to tell people that you’re playing it.

Plus, King makes your life a whole lot easier when you connect Candy Crush Saga with Facebook:

later in the game, where you need to meet certain conditions to keep advancing, you only need to get 3 Facebook friends to send you a ticket to move forward (relatively easy since so many people are playing right now). If you choose to play without Facebook connected, not only do you need to either play Mystery Quests or pay to keep going, you can only play one Mystery Quest per 24 hours, meaning it either takes you 3 days to get new levels or $1 to advance in a game that’s supposed to be freeBITE THE FACEBOOK BULLET ALREADY!

Also, while extra moves from friends in Candy Crush never quite work as they should, extra lives do. You can stay disconnected from Facebook like a sucker if you want, but I can tell you that there’s no way I’d have made it through levels 370+ as quickly as I did without a stockpile of 50+ lives to help me through.

Why make things harder for yourself?

The Facebook connection makes life far easier, particularly because you can take advantage of Tip #2….

Tip #2: Never Play on One Device Alone

One of the great things about Candy Crush Saga is that it’s available everywhere. You can play it on an iOS or Android device, or straight through the app on the Facebook site. But as I played on my iPad and Galaxy SIII, I noticed something funny — while my progress synced between every device, my lives and charms didn’t. So when I’d play through 5 lives on my phone, all I needed to do was pick up my iPad and carry on from where I left off — part of the reason I could burn through 10+ levels a day without having to fork over any cash for it. But it was because of this tip that I came across the craziest tip of all — Tip #3 would change the way I played Candy Crush Saga forever.

Tip #3: Crushing Candies on Your Phone Does Not Crushing Candies on Your Computer Make

In the end, it all comes back to Level 391. I’d tried on my phone, I’d tried on my iPad, but that goal of 240,000 points wasn’t getting anywhere in reach.

But on the computer, I got 300,000… in 3 moves.

Wait, what?

That’s right, you heard me — the mobile and browser version of the game don’t score the same way!!!

If you Google about Candy Crush scoring, there’s no definitive guide to it — everyone knows that it’s complex and no one’s explicitly detailed how scoring works, but one thing I know is that it’s inconsistent.

So in short, if you want to play to progress, play mobile. If you want to play for points, you better get on that Facebook tip!

Game Over

Admittedly, one of the best parts of being barred from playing Candy Crush while on the go is getting to stockpile all the lives I used up while I was stuck in the 370s. But it is pretty sad to open the game to send lives, help others make it to new levels… and do nothing else. A friend pointed out that I could go back and get the top scores on every level before me, but now that I know about the scoring discrepancy, I’m more likely to do it on the computer at home than on my phone, so nuts to that.

With that said, the computer version has 440 levels compared to the mobile’s 395, so I’m still plowing through in preparation for whatever’s to come!

Anyway — I hope this helps you crush more candies, and I’m going to go do some of that myself!

Good hunting!

HYFR and YOLO,

–case p.