Monthly Archives: February 2010

Repetition and avarice

A quick bash on Borderlands starting at around 9pm last night – an hour or so, before Match of the Day and a bit of progress for my Brick character. Or so I thought. The addition of two chums (and a few interchangeable randoms) and you have the recipe for roughly seven hours of play. Seven hours. And this is exactly why Borderlands is pretty much better than you.

It’s absolutely compulsive stuff in single-player, of that there’s no doubt. But it doesn’t really smack of any kind of genius; it’s just a well-made title that appeals to the hoarding part of the brain, for those who actually have that part of the brain. Obviously. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s almost boring – annoying, even – when you play Borderlands alone. Hours of running backwards as endless streams of irritating, snappy enemies run straight at you. It’s not so much fun as it is outright addictive.

But then you throw in a couple of mates, and you end up playing the bloody thing for about seven hours, forgetting to eat, drink, visit the toilet or talk to yo’ woman (SORRY ANNA). What changes? Well it actually adds enemies the more players you have working together, so surely that should just make it more annoying? Well, yes, on paper. But then, on paper Borderlands should be a bag of shit anyway – a game where all you do is run about killing roughly three types of enemy for dozens of hours, picking up thousands of pointless items. But just like Communism, what’s on paper doesn’t necessarily translate to the real (virtual) world. More people = more fun. You can actually use character classes as they’re meant to be used, work together as a team and – probably best of all – spend ten minutes standing in a circle throwing weapons onto the ground in the middle for the group to peruse. Sod your MMOGs, your MAGs and your OTHER UPPER CASE ACRONYMS: Borderlands, four (or three) people and a bit (lot) of spare time is all you need.

Oh, plus it helps when Rich is a big flaming prat who kills everyone for you. Makes things less irritating, at least.

Problem is, now I’ve got to remember to avoid a “quick bash” on Borderlands today, as I have work to be getting on with. Stupid time, gets in the way of everything.

(Today’s entry brought to you by: not saying everything you want to say about a game; the need to get some work done dominating your mind; really wanting a cup of tea; tiredness; hunger; AVARICE)

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Social networking? More like SHITcial networking! HAHAHA! AAAAHHHH!

Myspace ruined the word ‘procrastinating’ for me –  I’m sure it did the same for many others out there too. Aside from those who were using it every other day, obviously. They just thought it was a word that made it sound more intellectually stimulating than admitting the truth: ‘I am sat in my pants stalking someone I fancy on this thing, while listening to Hoobastank and crying’. They were so dumb they opted for a knock-off Incubus rather than some real emo shit. Fools.

Anyway, this got me thinking about other things the social networking revolution of Myspace, Facebook and all the other ones I don’t know about has ruined. For one, it’s ruined me as I use terms like ‘social networking revolution’. Before I would have just said ‘them sites wiv pichurs on HUHU’. Anyway, I’m going to break it down into a handy bullet-point format because I’m nice like that:

  • Mystery. No longer do you wonder what happened to people – you just know. And no longer can you make up some fun little thing in your head about how they moved to Namibia to live with an 85-year-old courier named Nigel. No, instead you are confronted with the truth.
  • The truth. It is often a horrible thing, especially when it comes to old school friends. Though at the same time it’s quite heartening to see that your paying attention at school has actually made it so you don’t come across as having the IQ of a puddle.
  • The past. None of us realise we looked like that in the past. It’s nice – tying in with mystery and the truth – to have an element of nostalgic glee about the size of your gums ten years ago, and simply rely on rooting out an old photo every few years to look and laugh at. Instead, Facebook sees these pictures on display all the time forever. Though my Umbro shirt is rather fetching in the fourth year junior school photo of my class.
  • Boredom. This doesn’t actually apply to me so much, as I have another go-to when bored in the form of videogames. But with other people it has had an interesting effect: they no longer seek out other things to do when bored. Rather, they trawl Facebook for hours, intermittently Tweeting about how bored they are. This in itself is an act designed to stave off boredom, which opens up a whole world of interesti discussions that I can’t be bothered thinking about right now.
  • Confusion. Girls you once knew turn up again and have done that stupid thing of getting married, thus meaning you don’t know who they are anymore. It’s not like I can recognise faces – I only know surnames.
  • Blog entries. Blogs now have a disgusting habit of talking about things like Facebook in a semi-serious manner, dissecting their societal impact and offering what is essentially a throwaway distraction much more attention than it deserves. They also use lists related to these invented issues.
  • Haircuts. Sigh.
  • The Grauniad. Not every story has to have a quote fromTwitter you hessian-wearing pricks.
  • People. I don’t want to go to that event, I don’t want to join that group, I don’t want to read your shitty blog, I didn’t realise you were a massive racist, you aren’t funny, you’re ugly – not pretty, re-tweeting someone famous doesn’t mean they’re your mate and JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Anyway, I hope this has been inspirational.

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Good, honest prattle

Walking to work today I was confronted by the sight of a market stall in the middle of Bournemouth town centre. Nothing amiss there. It was selling pies, pasties and other such tasty treats – how I managed to control myself and not devour the lot, I do not know. But again – nothing amiss there. What caught my eye was the banner for the stand, which proclaimed the proprietor was selling “good, honest food”. Forgive me for being crass, but that’s just fucking nonsense isn’t it?

I can understand where the phrase is coming from, obviously. We live in a world where we are constantly fed things that are made from 99 per cent ground-up irradiated colonoscopy equipment mixed with one per cent emulsified matter. But when you have companies like Pedigree marketing dog food as “good, honest food” then you can probably see my problem with how far it’s gone. I’m assuming their ‘honesty’ doesn’t stretch to in-depth ingredients listings, stating just how many cow knees and chicken ani (plural for anus, natch*) go into each tin of tasty goodness. Plus this marketing probably doesn’t take into account the fact that it is neither “good”, nor “food”. Not that this would stop a dog, obviously, but I don’t like the thought that my (imaginary) pooch is being lied to. Damn you to Hades, Pedigree.

While I am seemingly against the notion of honest food, I would actually like to see a world where lying food existed. Imagine the potential for hilarity – you buy a punnet of clementines, and when you open them up at home it turns out to be a tin with one giant bean in it – that would be a hoot and a holler,  no doubt about it. Still, a man can dream… a man can dream.

I do think it’s a sorry affair when food has to be marketed with the caveat that “it really is food, guv” – and I don’t think it’s just the evil food companies that are at fault here, even if they do mince up the fingers of orphan babies, tightly pack said mincey-fingers up in hard, sugary coatings and sell them as “Smarties”. No, I also blame the good, honest people out there for their unending quest to ruin everything by complaining about it. Who here had a problem eating Frankenstein apples the size of your TV before we were told we had to have a problem with them? Then Prince Charles got involved, and now everything has to claim it isn’t GM. I’m sure I could come up with a witty, recession-based joke about General Motors containing no GM, but I can’t. Instead I’ll just write that thought in the blog, like I just have done.

Anyway, there was a train of thought here but it seems to have been lost. It must be all the radioactive Nik Naks I’ve been eating recently. They’re definitely good, honest food.

*I know they don’t have an anus, they have a vent. Shut up. And yes, it really is called a ‘vent’.

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A routine procedure

Woe is me. It’s been at the back of my head for a while now, but things really came to the fore this morning. I realised that I’ve settled into a comfortable routine. In the past I’ve been fine with this, as my routine consisted of sitting/laying down and being poor. Usually while playing games or trying to make Anna watch things she doesn’t want to (films, you perverse morons. And not those kinds of films either – the classics, like Aliens and Terminator). That was an honourable, scummy routine any true bum would be proud of.

But I am ashamed to admit that I have settled into the lower echelons of habit-forming, on a par with smoking, crack and smoking crack. For you see: I have a particular seat on my particular bus in the morning. Obviously this has been true for a while now, but I only noticed how much this affects me when I saw someone – an interloper – sat in my place this morning. The other regulars know their places, they respect boundaries and it’s a mutually beneficial situation. But these outlanders come in and completely upset the balance, sitting where they want and throwing the whole thing into disarray. What do they think it is, public transport or something? Oh wait.

Regardless, it isn’t their fault that I have allowed this banality to encroach on myself, instead of truly living life to the fullest. This stark realisation forced me into something drastic this morning, when I had to sit in a different seat (one with no leg room, natch). But from now on, I make a vow: I will totally mix up where I sit every day. It’ll completely fuck with the heads of the other regulars and – you never know – it might inspire them to follow suit. Soon enough it’ll be anarchy on the bus: people sitting in seats they don’t normally; some getting off at stops that are one or two before their normal hop-off point; some even going so far as to get off a stop later! Oh, the potential for hilarity is endless.

One thing’s for certain though – we’re still not going to talk to each other or make eye contact. That would be ridiculous.

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Oneaday? Nottoday.

I’m no motivational speaker. I’m not one for arrogance, and I have an ego the size of a pea – most of the time. I don’t tend to get on board with causes, nor do I preach very much. I’m far too unmotivated to set up any kind of group activity, and I’ve never been to a book club. But there’s one thing I’ll say for Ian: when I say I’ll do something, I’ll at the very least try my hardest do it. This blog is case in point – I only decided to join the #oneaday thing because my good chum Rich was doing it and I felt a bit left out, but now as I look at all the others taking part I’m seeing people drop like flies for one reason or another.

Probably most shocking, however, was that of the chap who set the whole thing up, who has apparently signed out of this mortal (blogging) coil with this here message. I said before, I’m no motivational speaker. This isn’t a post trying to convince people to pick up their… fingers… and get writing again. I suppose more than anything it’s a comment on my disappointment.  A lot of the people involved who have fallen by the wayside are scribes by profession, yet have seemingly found it too hard to churn out a few hundred words a day on any topic they want. This, frankly, is ludicrous. Though to be fair, if you can’t sit for ten minutes with a blank Word document and fill that page with ideas for blog entries then maybe you’re better off quitting. You should probably give up the writing gig too, as it’s evidently too hard to do a bit of work on any subject you want which should take you less than an hour to complete. Half an hour tops, really. And that includes editing a daft picture of yourself into every accompanying image.

I understand there are reasons, there are days you might be travelling, away from a computer or whatever else – and obviously this little piss about shouldn’t get in the way of real life happening. For example, I’d let you off a day if your Mum died. Only a day though. And I’m not judging or singling people out – especially as I don’t know 99 per cent of people doing it. I just find it incredibly disheartening if a bunch of writers can’t actually do – or can’t be bothered to do – what they’re supposed to be good at. I’m one of the least proactive people I know, so if I can manage it (while fitting in a trip to Sweden, visits to my girlfriend’s house in Manchester (I live in Bournemouth) and god knows what other social engagements) then so can you. Pull your finger out and get fucking writing. You’ll feel better about it in the morning.

I know this will bite me in the arse when I quit in a few weeks, but hey – I’ve outlasted a few of you. So ner.

Fuck it: I’M GOING BUKOWSKI ON YO’ ASSES.

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What is writing? HMM?

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a writer. Sure, I can string words together and make myself (and sometimes others) laugh. But I’ve never been able to successfully dissect the very meaning of a piece of literature (or a game, more realistically), I’ve never been able to set myself out in a logical, academic fashion and I absolutely cannot write essays. I can write to the extent that I can churn out reams of bollock on command – that much I’m sure – but give me a one sentence statement of academic leanings with the word “discuss” at the end and I’m pretty much fucked for what to put.

At the same time, I know of many people who are more than capable of spunking out an essay of literary worth without so much as a second thought, but to whom the thought of waxing lyrical about nothing in particular for a few hundred words off the top of their head is absolutely alien. As well as the thought of writing sentences as long as that. To me, it is these people who are the freaks. But it still doesn’t mean I really think I can write.

See, making a thousand words appear on a screen when you’re working from thoughts and instinct isn’t truly writing. Or is it? One of my most preferred authors is Charles Bukowski, a man who professed a love and respect for the art of sitting and letting the words come. But I’ve been through a life of schooling that has taught me otherwise: research, planning, structure and a lack of opinion is what makes something truly good to read. No one wants to read the opinions of others – and no one wants to read shitty blogs like this.

There are many types of writer, many types of reader, but so much gravitas is placed on those who can formulate the stuff of academia that I’ve always felt somewhat second-class. Thing is, I just realise I can work in an awful pun, thinly-veiled knob gag or put on my wank hat and go to town on something I truly love without caring about if my words will impress. So it’s all good, I suppose.

Apologies for the self-doubting (Thomas), rather confused entry; I will return to my usual ball of self-confidence and respect for all tomorrow. It’s just something that springs to mind when you’re meant to be a writer (not a journalist, as this what I do isn’t journalism) and you’re in one of those daft, reflective moods.

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The Best Joke Ever Written

I would like to try and set up some kind of mob war/diss trading thing like those there American rappists do, but I can’t. See, the chap I want to mobwardiss, Rich, has had his blog account suspended like a dillweed. This means I can’t link to his blog to show what I’m on about, nor can we keep up some daily, weekly or monthly updates on how far our confrontation has progressed. Still, I’ll diss him even if he can’t blog respond, as I am super-cool.

See, Rich claimed the greatest joke in the history of the world is on Airplane. A fair start – immediately wrong – but fair. Then he goes on to explain why a forgettable-though-quite-funny sight gag is the funniest thing ever written. You’d get a better explanation if his site worked. It doesn’t. Still, it’s safe to say the man is deluded, and me and my homies are going to… errm… diss his ass… or something. Solely because the greatest joke ever written, or performed, or whatever else, is on Police Squad! – another Leslie Nielsen vehicle.

The setup: Frank Drebin, local supercop, takes up residence in a neighbourhood locksmith and shoe repair shop in an undercover fashion. He has been sent there to investigate a local mobster who has been shaking down businesses in the area, and so poses as a local businessman to lure in the gangsters. On rooting out who the bad guy is, Drebin finds where he is located and pays the baddie a visit. We take the scene from Drebin’s entry to the mob boss’ office:

Mob boss: “Who are you? How did you get in here?”

Drebin: “I’m a locksmith, and… I’m a locksmith.”

Repetition, wit, timing and simplicity. It’s the best joke ever performed. The ball’s in your court, Rich. HAHA YOU CAN’T REPLY AS YOUR BLOG IS BROKEN! Ahem.

Still, there is that other joke, where the woman hasn’t told him where she lives… and the “piece of cake” quip… oh, and there’s…

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