Zelda Streams Start September 1!

First off, thank you all so much for helping me topple the $4,000 milestone! I’m way ahead of last year’s pace and can’t wait to see just how far this thing goes.

Y’all have done your part, so now it’s time to do mine. Some of the milestone beverages were consumed on the private stream, but the milestone drinks are for all to enjoy. That means I really needed to schedule a stream to consume the $2,500, $3,000, $3,500, and $4,000 milestone beverages as well as kick of my Legend of Zelda theme in earnest.

So come join me this Sunday, September 1 at around 9pm CT/10pm ET on twitch.tv/ndtex as I start my first-ever playthrough of the NES Classic: The Legend of Zelda. This blind playthrough will be accompanied by consuming one of those God-awful milestone concoctions every 30 minutes for your entertainment. Believe me when I say, they are all really terrible, but if you want the full details of the ingredients, you can find that here.

Any stream wouldn’t be complete without me having any skin in the game. The $1 per death tax will be in place for every Zelda game, something that should quickly rack up since I’ve never played the first two NES games. But, where’s the fun in not having everyone mess with me as well? 

With that in mind, here are your donation incentives:

$5 – Play with oven mitts for 2 minutes
$10 – Play with oven mitts for 5 minutes
$25 – Play with controller upside-down for 5 minutes
$50 – Play blindfolded for 2 minutes

And yes, all of these can stack. So if someone donates $25 and someone else $5, I’m playing with both oven mitts on and the controller upside-down. You can add time with these donations as well. Donations made outside of streaming time will still count, but will occur randomly.

Thanks again for your support and for spreading the word!

#ForTheKids #ForAven

Introducing the 2019 Milestone Drinks

During last year’s Extra Life campaign, I discovered that people rather enjoyed watching me consume the most terrible, God-awful drinks imaginable. I decided that such a thing would be a staple going forward because I will absolutely to dumb and terrible things for charity.

This process was rather easy last year. Every drink that I did was a recipe that people created based off of what I played last year, Mass Effect. I’m not sure why the majority of those drinks leaned into awful/terribly strong territory, but they did.

This year, I did not have the same “luxury” of finding ready-to-go recipes that would fit the criteria I was looking for. So I had to get a little bit creative, drawing inspiration from cocktails that sounded great and making them just downright terrifying.

With that in mind, let’s get to the pain. As I’m going to be playing games in both the Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda series, the first $2,000 of milestones are centered in a Final Fantasy theme with the remaining drinks inspired by The Legend of Zelda.

2019 Milestone Drinks

$500Aether1.5 oz White Rum
.75 oz Everclear
.75 oz Blue Curaco
Sprite fill
Loosely based off of the Lifestream cocktail, but with a much bigger punch.
$1,000Inner Darkness.75 oz Dark Rum
.75 oz Jager
Dash Hot Sauce
Loosely based off the One-Winged Angel, but with much more booze and taking a far more "harsh" approach with the hot suace.
$1,36910,000 Needles1.5 oz Peach Brandy
0.5 oz Orange Juice
Fill glass with André Rosé
Four Dashes (one for each year) El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero
As discussed in this post, to celebrate hitting $10k raised, I'm going to take a $10k cocktail and make it something that no one would want to buy or consume.
$1,500ShadowbringerAether + Inner DarknessIn order to become the Warrior of Darkness, I only assume you have to bring out the inner darkness within your own aether--or something. Inspired by the Corrupted Lifestream.
$2,000Triforce of Power1.5 Goldschlagger
.75 Grenadine (for color)
.75 Fireball
Top Layer Float - 151, lit on fire
A drink inspired by the goddess Din, represented by red and fire (and pain).
$2,500Jager BombchuShot 1: Jager

Shot 2: Bombchu
.75 Blue Curaco
.75 Vodka

Drop in glass with energy drink
Why have just a regular bomb when you can have a blue bombchu as well?!
$3,000Triforce of Wisdom1.5 oz Goldschlagger
1.5 oz Hypnotic
Top Layer Float - Everclear
The only wise thing would be not drinking this. I'm sure the goddess Nayru would agree. Hypotic for Nayru's color of blue and Everclear for the "clarity" that wisdom provides.
$3,500Ganon1 oz Khalua
1 oz Vodka
Soda Water
Float Triforce of Power
When Ganondorf grabbed the Triforce of Power, he became the monstrous entity known as Ganon, or so some legends say. So we are taking the Mind Eraser cocktail and tossing the Triforce of Power in.
$4,000Triforce of Courage1.5 oz Goldschlagger
1.5 oz Midori
Top Layer Float - Absnithe
Unsure if the absinthe in this will make me see any green fairies like the goddess Farore, but I'm definitely going to need every last bit of courage to keep going. Midori for the green that represents Farore.
$4,500Yiga ClanGanon + 99 BananasEveryone's favorite banana loving random encounters from The Breath of the Wild, now honored by a 99 proof floater in the drink named after the entity that corrupted them.
$5,000Blake Shelton's Hometown SpecialCombine one can of Bud Light with a double vodka sprite--chug within 9 seconds.Hitting $5,000 means all funds will go directly to the Blake Shelton Cancer Research Fund. To honor this achievement, we're going to make someone that Blake (nor any human) would ever drink.

We will take two separate drinks:
(1) Bud Light, supposedly Oklahoma's best selling beer.

(2) Blake's favorite: Vodka with a "little bit" of lemon-lime soda.

These will be thrown into one larger cup and consumed within 9 seconds to honor Oklahoma's recently raised beer ABV limit of 8.99%.
$5,500Silver Arrow Through the Heart of GanonShot: Silver Arrow
1.5 oz Scotch/Bourbon
.75 Gin

Dropped into the Ganon drink.
The Silver Arrow, one of the few legendary weapons strong enough to fell Ganon, created by taking the Silver Bullet shooter, renaming it Silver Arrow, and dropping it right into the heart of the Ganon cocktail.

I too may be defeated by this.
$6,000The Ultimate PowerCombine Triforce of Power, Courage, and WisdomFew can properly wield The Ultimate Power, the combined Triforce. Likewise, I'm not sure anyone can properly consume the monstrosity of a shot.

Silver lining: going to be extremely numb for the chest waxing.

Friendly reminder, the fun starts in earnest this Friday, June 29! Please be sure to check out the full schedule of opening streams.

What’s a Shadowbringer?

Four years ago, I decided to embark on my first Extra Life campaign. This was well before I discovered that milestones that have me to do/consume terrible things would become as big a staple as video games are to my fundraising.

So, back in November 2014, I fired up Final Fantasy XIV to begin my first Extra Life stream. In just one week, June 28th to be specific, I will kick off this year’s campaign with FFXIV’s latest expansion, Shadowbringers.

This time around, I figured some background would help as, to quote one of the folks that watched me play FFXIV in my first campaign, “I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m intrigued”. After all, unlike most games, this is a MMO, meaning the whole premise is based on playing with other real people. It’s not exactly a linear experience which can make for a very confusing viewing experience.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to even attempt to explain the lore and story of how we got from version 1.0 to version 5.0 that will release next Friday. Instead, I’m going to detail the incentives to both donate and watch the streams that will kick off next week. I can happily talk about the lore during the stream, but you want to know how to force me to donate out of my own pocket what to cheer for.

The Death Tax

Last year, because I knew Mass Effect fairly well, I pledged $5 per death. With a new expansion, I’m going to have no clue what’s coming and neither will the other players. Plus, my main job in the game is to literally be the person that gets hit all the damn time– in short, I should be the one dying first.

With that in mind, my in-game death tax will be reduced to $1; however, if the entire party dies (known as a wipe), the penalty will remain $5.

In short, in these games you learn by failure. The deaths will be frequent; however, there are always was to make them more frequent…

Donation Incentives

Amount Action
$10Intentionally hit a party member with a boss mechanic/attack.

Time and target chosen by me.
$20Ban an ability, chosen at random. Can stack.

Lasts for an entire dungeon run/instance.

One stack removed from all bans upon death.
$37Intentionally kill a party member, chosen at random.

Failure to kill in a single dungeon run/instance is a $5 penalty to me.
$50As Tank: Drop tank stance

As Healer: Stop healing one party member, chosen at random

As Damage Dealer (DPS): Dance in place and stop moving/attacking.

Each of the above will last for a single fight/pull.

Let’s go over each of these so you have a better idea of how to make me dead your donations are going to work.

  • $10 – Every boss has multiple kinds of mechanics and attacks. About 90% of the time, if you are doing things right you are either avoiding them or making sure your party doesn’t get hit by them. So this will make me do things very wrong and hit a party member with something that could kill them.
  • $20 – Ah, the ever popular one. In FFXIV there are a group of abilities called “cooldowns” that can help enhance damage or protect you from dying. This will ban one of those abilities. For example, in my main role as a tank, I have a set of abilities I rotate through to survive certain attacks…not having these can be bad, bad news.
  • $37 – We #RememberTheSix (or at least Notre Dame fans will) by intentionally killing a party member. I am going to try to group up in two ways: with CPU members known as “trusts”, or with my friends that I play with. Yes, some of them willingly signed up for this. There’s a lot of ways to cause death, but if somehow my target makes it out alive, it’s $5 out of my pocket.
  • $50 – So each of these outcomes are flat out party-crippling. By dropping a tank stance, I’m disabling a very basic ability to build enmity, which keeps enemies hitting me and not everyone else. Chaos will ensue. Flat out not healing someone should be self explanatory, and if this happens to be a tank, it’s gonna be real bad time. And the dancing in place (more hilarious because I’ll likely be playing a Dancer for the DPS role) just means I’m a waste of space. I’m also opening myself to getting hit by, well, everything.

Now, there may be times when I’m grouped with random people that have no clue what I’m doing. I’m going to spare those poor souls and let the incentives carry over until I have a chance to unleash the pain on people I actually know/agreed to all this. So keep that in mind!


I actually took time off for a solid week of streaming. The fun will kick off on June 28 at 4 AM (CT)–yes, that’s not a typo, that’s when the servers are scheduled to go live. Further, to celebrate in the spirit of Extra Life gaming marathons, June 28 will be XIV hours of FFXIV.

Want me to go longer? (That’s what she said!) Every $100 donated until the end of the marathon will add 15 minutes to the clock. If you’re doing the math at home, that’s 90 seconds for every $10 or 9 seconds per dollar. I’ll be sure to play every last second, and, yes, I’m counting donations already received as well.

The longer you keep me up, the slower my reactions, the more chance for mistakes, meaning more deaths and wipes, meaning more money for the kids!

As I mentioned, the marathon will not be the only stream. Be sure to check out streams throughout the weekend and following week! The full schedule is embedded below. Each stream will be a minimum of three hours long.

Extra Life 2019: The Major Milestones

Throughout the years, I’ve found that the best motivation for donations lies in making me do terrible things. Most often, this comes in the form of terrible booze concoctions every $500, but there also has to be larger, overarching goal that I have to carry with me for a while.

Here’s the example from last year to “celebrate” hitting the $5,000 mark:

Yes. Full pornstache. For the kids, obviously

This year, I am again pushing to raise more money. More money means higher stakes. I’m happy (well, mostly) to announce a couple major milestone “incentives” for 2019.

$6,000 Goal: Chest Waxed Live on Stream

I’ve been asking for my wife to join me in some way on stream the past few years. She was far too excited to give this as the suggestion. I am a fool for leaving everything on the table.

So yes, Mrs. Tex will join me on stream when this goal is hit. It will be live and I will immediately regret the decision when it happens.

$10,000 Total Raised: 10,000 Needles Cocktail

Did you know that I’m currently $1,368.98 away from raising $10,000 for Extra Life? That’s quite an achievement, especially considering that this is only my fourth year.

Did you further know that there is actually a cocktail served in Las Vegas, specifically the Wynn’s XS Nightclub, called the Ono that costs $10,000 to purchase?

Of course, that cocktail actually sounds pretty tasty. Clearly, I can’t do that. So let’s go down the list of ingredients and make this incredibly crappy and offensive to my taste buds:

  • Rémy Martin Louis XVIII Black Pearl Cognac – This cognac retails at over $2,000 per shot so yeah, we’re just gonna use something slightly cheaper.
  • Apricot Puree – I’m not pureeing anything for a terrible drink. Believe it or not, a drink from last year, Serrice Ice Brandy, actually called for apricot flavored brandy. We couldn’t find any, so we have peach brandy in the house. Guess what I’m using!
  • Charles Heidsieck 1981 Champagne Charlie – This champagne retails at $500 per bottle. NOPE! Cheap bubbly it is.
  • Rose Nectar – To quote the Eater description, “the Sence Rose Nectar the XS adds to the Ono is a syrup made from Kazanlak roses harvested in a three-week period from central Bulgaria.” I don’t even know what that means, much less how to replicate. Since I need cheap champagne too, let’s just fulfill this with some André Rosé. Fancy!
  • Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice – Yeah, whatever’s in my fridge is going in here.

Of course, if I’m going to call this thing 10,000 needles (for more reasons than I’m a Final Fantasy fan), I need to get something to kick it up a notch. With that in mind, I turned to the Scoville scale, aka the spicy meter, and found out that a hot sauce I have is in the 10,000 range, El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero. Perfect!

With that in mind, here comes the pain, served in a champagne glass:

10,000 Needles

  • 1.5 oz Peach Brandy
  • 0.5 oz Orange Juice
  • Fill glass with André Rosé
  • Four Dashes (one for each year) El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero

Stay tuned for more news of the terrible drinks that I will consume every $500!

Extra Life 2018 Kickoff

As I enter into my thirty-third year on this earth, I certainly need and desire very little for my birthday as I get older.  Time with my family and friends, some favorite foods, a couple of drinks, or maybe some time to just relax is all I really desire.

At some point, and I’m not sure when, Facebook hit on something I found rather brilliant. Attach a charity to your birthday and encourage people to donate as your present. I love it. It’s brilliant.

Unfortunately, something I do for charity every year doesn’t exactly plug in to that nice little feature: Extra Life.

In the last two years, I’ve taken part in Extra Life, a charity effort that takes my love of video games and turns it into a benefit for the Children’s Miracle Network. My drive will specifically benefit the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Oklahoma City in honor of Aven, son of family friends, who lost his life to Leukemia at just two years old.

If you are curious as to what Extra Life is and why I do this, take a look at the promo video I did for last year’s drive:

So, instead of Facebook’s birthday charity drive, I’m kicking off my 2018 Extra Life campaign. My goal is to raise $2,000, matching the mark I hit last year. If you’d like to get me a birthday present this year, let’s get the donations rolling. Your donations are 100% tax deductible and, much like last year, your donations will effect how I play during my drive…but we will get to that in a little bit.

Last year, I shared my love of my all-time favorite series, Final Fantasy. This year, I’m sharing a more recent favorite: Mass Effect. Mass Effect combines two things that I’m a gigantic nerd about: role-playing games with incredible stories and science-fiction.

What makes Mass Effect unique how the choices you make will span and radically alter an entire trilogy worth of games. I plan to take on that entire trilogy with my 24-hour charity stream at the end of the year featuring Mass Effect 3.

Choose My Path

While donations will play a large role in how I play, throughout the year, I will have many polls open that will help you shape the game. In fact, the first major decisions are available now as your votes will help shape and create the Commander Shepard that I will use throughout the trilogy.

The Mass Effect series plays heavily not just choice, but the morality of those choices. Commander Shepard can either be a Paragon, the compassionate and just hero, or a Renegade, the ruthless anti-hero who will get the job done at any cost. Your donations will determine the morality I play as in a constant, year-long tug-of-war.

All donations ending in even numbers will go to the Paragon pool. All donations ending in odd numbers will go to the Renegade pool. The highest value will be how I play–no matter what. If the pools happen to be tied, the last donation’s alignment will serve as tie-breaker.

Make Me Pay

Much like last year, your donations can also mess with me during my playthrough (which was both a huge hit and highly entertaining). They return this year, but I’m sweetening the pot (much like Ty from The Solid Verbal encouraged last year): every death throughout the series equals a $5 donation out my own pocket.

I’m still working through the specifics because each game is a little different, but here are the tentative donation tiers to help guide your charity into my pain (which will lead to further charity):

  • $10-$19 – Ban Tech/Power of Ally
  • $20-$39 – Ban Tech/Power of Shepard (me)
  • $40-$49 – Ban Weapon of Ally
  • $50-$74 – Ban Weapon of Shepard (me)
  • $75-$99 – Ban First Aid (healing)
  • $100+ – Ban Unity (squad revive)
  • Game Over (Shepard Death) removes longest standing ban

I’m excited for this year’s effort. Right now, I’m working on replaying the trilogy to help plan out a schedule for streaming and to plan future polls. I’m hoping by late spring/early summer, I will be able to start this journey in earnest.

Follow the Journey

By far the best way to keep up with this crazy effort will be my Twitch channel. Live streams, as well as replays, will air here. Following the channel will allow you to opt in to email alerts for when a live stream or replay begins.

This year, I will also export clips to my YouTube channel.  So if Twitch isn’t quite your cup of tea, you can check out the archive footage here as well.

Donate! By donating, I can keep in touch via email. As this is going to be one heck of a long journey, so many an update will be required.

You can also keep an eye out here (RSS feed) as well. I’ll be adding in a lot of stuff and making sure ndtex.com/extralife will serve as a useful hub going forward.

One Year Ago, Today…

“Babe, I think my water just broke.”

That sentence replaced my alarm clock one year ago, today. Less than 24 hours before the world’s most effective alarm went off, we were at the first of weekly doctor appointments before our son arrived. Less than 24 hours ago, we thought we had less than a month to finalize our preparations to become parents.

Finish the nursery. Make a decision on our pediatrician. Finalize our birth plan. Pack our delivery day overnight bags. Squeeze in one of those parenting classes. Perhaps enjoy a day or two of pre-parent life.

Instead, I found myself driving to the hospital (and smacking every speed bump way faster than I should have along the way) quickly learning what I like to call one of the primary laws of parenting: all of your “plans” are worthless, welcome to the chaos.

The next thing I knew, my wife and I were hearing confirmation that her water did indeed break and we would be having a baby within the next 24 hours. So much for that month of prep time.

That morning, my wife settled in for a long labor that wouldn’t end until the early morning hours the following day. Once the initial shock of “holy shit, this is happening” wore off and phone calls were made to family, I headed back home to pack some clothes and get the nursery and house ready for our new bundle of joy.

He wouldn’t be allowed to come home with us until nearly a week later. Even my last minute prep plans went to hell. Welcome to parenthood.

Most people mark the day of their firstborn’s birth as the day everything changed. While that is certainly true, personally, today marks the day that my world was truly flipped upside down. Not only was I scrambling to finish a month’s worth of final preparations into single day, but, throughout the day, I found myself reevaluating and re-identifying everything that made me, me.

Editor-in-Chief of Her Loyal Sons.

A large part of my world revolved around writing and talking about Notre Dame football. To some extent, it still does, but it is no longer the large priority that it once was. I had warned my team in advance that I would be stepping back a bit after the birth of my son, but I had no idea at the time that I would more or less completely step down in September and hand over the leadership reigns.

I can’t even remember the last time that I wrote a post purely about football. My last podcast was after the national championship game this past January. At the time, I said it would be a winter break. Winter has now bled into summer.

At some level, I will still write. I love writing. At some level, I will still podcast. Playing radio host is a lot of fun. People, many of whom that I’ve never met in person, seem to enjoy it too.

But it’s all back at hobby level now. It’s no longer a borderline second job as it used to be.


Work was mainly that thing that paid the bills. Maybe allowed some nice things here and there. I’ve always been motivated in moving my career forward, but once I knew I would become a dad, the way I looked at my job changed rather quickly.

My current job killed the product that I was working on and supporting. There were opportunities within the company to move to another position, but it felt like a lateral move at best. If I’m working my tail off, I better be moving forward, not sideways.

So I went job hunting. More accurately, I went career-hunting. My job was decent and even if I moved positions internally, it would still be a decent job. I got picky. Very picky. I even turned down a job offer that could’ve potentially made me more money than I was currently making.

The day my wife went into labor, I was waiting on new job offer. On the day my son was born, I got that offer. At the end of June, when my son was supposed to be born, I started.

I’ve never worked harder in my life. I travel a ton, something that I never thought I wanted to do in my career and, honestly, something I don’t really enjoy. However, it’s worth it. The opportunity was too good to turn down. I see more potential here than at any other job I’ve had before. All the travel and the long hours are worth it, especially since my time not on the road is spent at home.

My new job has probably killed more free time than becoming a dad; however, becoming a dad was a major motivation for making such a huge change in my life. I work for my family now. They are the main motivation for what I do and the sacrifices I make.


A new dad that still manages to be a serious gamer may be harder to find than a snipe on a hunt (and if you’ve never been snipe hunting, please hire me as your guide…it’ll be fun, promise!).

Remember all those plans I mentioned earlier? Part of those plans was one final binge in Final Fantasy XIV as their first major expansion, Heavensward, was set to come out on June 23rd. I pre-ordered the game to get access a week early. I “played” maybe a few hours that week at most. I only recently finished the main storyline of that expansion, almost a full year later. That then put me two full content patches behind.

And then there are other games that I foolishly ordered that haven’t even made it out of plastic wrap. I have purchased games on my Steam account that haven’t even been downloaded yet, much less played. I’ve lost count of how many games I’ve started but have yet to finish.

Because when it comes to a choice of staying up late or sneaking in some gaming time, I’m going the hell to bed about 90% of the time. Even if I’m on the road by myself.

A great example: I declared to my wife last Friday that I would stay up late and enjoy a few adult beverages. In the back of my mind, I also figured an hour or two of gaming. I watched TV in bed with a drink and feel asleep about 30 minutes after her.

My real gaming days are over for now. My filthy causal gaming days have now begun.


“Marriage” and “team” are terms that you hear mixed a lot. The “team” mentality really came into play on this day, one year ago. It really hasn’t stopped since.

I went from focusing on spoiling my wife to trying to simply make her life easier. I’ve never been hated more by someone who loves me than after my son was born because hormones and lack of sleep is the worst cocktail known to man. I say this with all the love in my heart. It may sound terrible, but it is hilariously true.

And, to be fair, I’ve grown crazier by the day myself. I’ve gotten angrier at the dumbest things possible and my wife will end up catching some collateral damage.

Some days are more of a survival effort than others. Every now and then, we get some moments in which we can remind ourselves that we are still the same lovebirds that we’ve been for years.

Honestly, it’s hard to put into words. It’s a different dynamic that has seen us both grow as husband and wife in so many different ways.

Bottom line: I can’t see any way that I would survive this crazy ride without her. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else either.

All of this started one year ago, today. It’s been harder than I could have ever imagined. It’s been better than I could have ever imagined.

Now, I have a single word in which I can identify with. A single word that can easily describe all my motivations and goals in my life.

It’s a word that my son has learned to say as well.