Monthly Archives: November 2010

Hunting – I don’t get it

I like meat. Not in the biblical sense, but in the way that I like to feast on flesh. I am fairly certain that at some point in my life I will eat a human. And probably not even out of necessity, or any other justifiable reason – just because I want to. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I have a bit of a pesky conscience eating away at the back of my mind, telling me to at least try and be a bit nicer about the animals I choose to eat and take into account how they’re treated and blah de blah. Basically, I like animals and I like to eat animals.

That’s just a bit of background for what I actually want to talk about here, which is hunting. Now yesterday I Google image searched for “thrill of the hunt”, which obviously returned images of real hunts. I found myself not particularly sickened, but more slightly saddened and generally a bit perplexed about the whole thing.

I’m not about to whine and rant that people shouldn’t hunt – fair play, you do what you want. But there are things I find questionable, and there are things I find disagreeable. I dislike fox hunting less for the cruelty to the shitty little vermin and more because it’s an excuse for the kind of people I dislike without giving them a chance to get together and enjoy themselves. For this I will not stand.

But then there’s the more American style of hunting, which was what made up 90 per cent of the images I was gawking at yesterday. A man, alone in the woods, armed with nothing more than a knife, maybe a bow and his wits – Rambo, essentially – taking on a fierce, dangerous opponent is something I can respect. That bloke who had a fist fight with a bear and won, basically.

But when it comes to finding a bear, shooting it in the head with a large-calibre rifle/shotgun and posing next to the carcass as if you’ve just done something worthy – that’s where I get uncomfortable. When people kill things to kill them, that’s when I get uncomfortable. When people encourage their tiny children to wield massive handguns to take down giant boars, that’s when I get uncomfortable.

It’s an argument for video games being a good replacement, actually. There are some things you’d never be able to recreate on-screen, sure, but at least it would mean you’re not going into the wilderness just to shoot a large, innocent creature in the face.

As I said though, I’m not judging. I’m just airing my half-baked views.

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I do find strange things “thrilling”

Much as I whine about travelling on trains – no, don’t worry, I do, I’m not just exaggerating for hilarious effect – I do still find some elements of their involvement with my life quite nice. For every twat there is in a carriage, there’s… well, there’s another twat if we’re honest here. But then for every goit looking over your shoulder, there’s at least another goit looking over who appreciates what you’re watching (dude watching me watch Penn & Teller yesterday: well done for laughing at the sight gag).

For every massive delay, there’s a funny cow mooing at the train (okay, that only happened once). For every time you have to change somewhere like Rugby, there’s the chance to go for a refreshing station-poo. For every rail replacement bus there’s… the fact I don’t have cancer? That’s the best I can think of there.

But the best aspect of travelling by train a lot has to be the ticket hunting. If you’ve ever put some real effort into getting tickets as cheap as possible then you know what I’m on about, mainly because that’s exactly what I’m on about. There’s a real primal winning sensation when you manage to find a ticket – no matter how stupid a journey it is – for a low, low price.

They’re becoming all the more rare these days though, what with prices inflating massively because train people are greedy cunts, or something. But that just makes it all the better when I do find the ticket that’s actually Worth The Effort – changing at Rugby, for example. But I honestly doubt I’ll ever manage to find a Bournemouth to Manchester ticket for £12 ever again. That will be my crowning achievement – the one time the thrill of the hunt was on a par with the actual outcome.

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LITERALLY the worst thing in the world

There are great deal of things to get pished off about – things like how today I had a reserved seat on the train, but for some reason a woman had the exact same reservation as me. As a result of being polite, I ended up sat in another seat. As a result of the electronic reservation system above the seats being broken, I didn’t know the seat I was in was reserved for someone else. This meant at Birmingham I had to shift again and stand up for ages, as the train was full. That’s one of the worst things that’s ever happened in the world, obviously.

But there are worse things, like AIDS epidemics, starvation, the rich getting richer and the poor continuing to get shat on – things like that. But all of that – even the train stuff – pales in comparison to one thing. One thing that makes me want to die. One thing that makes me wish the world would just detonate right now. A thing so bad it makes me shudder, want to cry and evacuate my bowels all at the exact same moment – all while I’m being shown on live kids TV.

Seriously – the Match Of The Day intro really is that bad.

It’s one of those things that about three people – all with no understanding of how shite the finished product would clearly look – thought would be a good idea. They wrote down the idea with the most glee a person is capable of, probably claiming “it’ll blow the audience’s minds!” or that it would be “the future of televisual football coverage introductions!”

All of the people involved with the creation of this intro need to know they have done more damage to the world than the Pope’s anti-condom stance. To be fair, those who actually did the digital editing stuff could only do so much, but they’re still on board with the whole thing, and as such I hate them.

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Ian’s wishlist, November 2010

I’ve had a day of wanting new things today, mainly fuelled by the fact I’ve been lazing around doing fuck all in spectacular fashion. Though I did have an awesome sandwich, thanks to THE LOVELY WOMAN. But yes, the act of Not Doing Much is deeply conductive to the state whereby I simply browse the internet, looking at fings wot I want. Seeing as it’s nearly Christmas (it isn’t) and you all want to buy me things (you don’t), here’s a list of the things I have decided I will buy today. It is not interesting, nor is it in any way surprising.

Asus EEE PC 1215N: I love Tiny Laptop, I really do. But at the same time I find its resolution settings restrictive, in that I can’t play things that need more than 600 pixels of screen depth. Most old games are fine, but there are some less-than-old-games that just don’t work out for me, and this annoys. I’m looking at you, GalCiv2. It is £429 though, and that’s far more than I earn in a year.

Desktop PC: Yes, as well as a new Tiny Laptop. One is for work (gaming on the go), the other is for work (gaming at home). I think it’s about time Big Laptop was retired, and I think I want to go back to the world of desktops. This is another £800-900 investment to be made. So that’s two years’ salary.

A second Xbox 360: I want to be able to play debug code for games at home, and I know I’ll never get sent a debug console by MicroSoft. Hence, I want a second 360 that I can flash. Bam: semi-pointless waste of about £100, total.

A second PS3: see above reasoning, only replacing flashing with ‘jailbreaking’. Unfortunately it seems quite hard to get hold of a PS3 – even a broken one to be fixed up – for anything approaching the super-cheap prices I am willing to pay. So there’s another £100 minimum.

This book: though admittedly this is for Anna, not I.

See? Isn’t that just a thrilling not-quite-Christmas list? I’ll provide my address to whoever it is that wants to splurge £1500+ on me. Eight years’ wages.

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Eliminate all records

As a man who recently dabbled a bit too much in gambling (it’s fine, I only lost the house, not the consoles/beanbag etc), I am not a big fan of records, runs, in-a-rows or sequences. I watch football, whenever I can, and am constantly confronted with “this team haven’t won here in 30 years”, or “this player has never scored against this team” and other such balls.

Obviously I know there are psychological effects when it comes to records like this – having never won at a ground means you would place yourself under pressure (if you actually cared) and would therefore be more prone to pressure-enforced mistakes, or something better-sounding, meaning you’d still not win. But generally speaking, I really don’t see why these numbers, stats, facts and figures hold any importance whatsoever, as things change all the time, results and outcomes – not just in sports, but in anything – can vary and saying “oh, it’s been that way for five years running, so it has to be that way again today” – even if it’s only implied – is fucking stupid.

Back to the gambling thing I brought up, it reminds me of people who claim to have ‘skill’ when it comes to roulette. Believe me, I’ve spoken to them. I’ve tried to listen to their vaguely-literate ravings about how there is skill and technique to a game that is utterly random*, but it just fills me with FURY. Alright, not fury, but when you tell me “if it’s come out as black eight times in a row it’s definitely going to be red next” then I’m not going to take you very seriously.

A run of one thing does not guarantee this thing will always happen, just as a run of different things does not mean it will always alternate. I understand the need for fun little tidbits here and there – something for commentators to fall back on, or to introduce a game with, but I do wish they’d be more imaginative with them. Sequences of games lost: boring. Times Joey Barton has been accused of punching someone: less boring. Just a quick example, but you get the point.

And roulette is still entirely random, so shut up about that. I’m sure I had a point here.

*And always in favour of the house thanks to 0, fact fans.

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I’m a person who likes witty, intelligent humour. I like to be made to laugh before having that moment of realisation kick in – the part where you feel you’re in on the joke and a member of an exclusive HUMOUR CLUB. Or the times where you predict the joke before it comes, but the comedian/actor/film/book/whatever doesn’t patronise you into completing the joke, so you know you’re clever enough to, again, be part of the gang.

I like all of that shit, true. And I am quite arrogant about the comedy I like. But at the same time I find the lowest level, stupidest crap incredibly funny. One thing in particular stands out as being consistently one of the things that has made me laugh throughout my entire life. I am talking, of course, about trumping, poo, farting, shitting, gassing, dropping the kids off at the pool, pumping, dumping, pooting and dropping a floater.

I won’t embarrass you all with great details as to why farts are funny or what farts in particular have made me laugh over the years – though an answerphone message does spring to mind as being particularly hilarious. But I will wonder aloud: do the people even more comedy-arrogant than I realise they are being lying dickheads when they claim pump-based humour to be unfunny? Has the Queen ever made a joke about an arse-rippler? And – most importantly of all – did cavemen find poots funny?

Don’t let it be said I don’t hit you with important, necessary subjects here on this blog. You’ll miss me when I’m gone.

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How to be surprised by a 10-year-old game

This is yesterday’s entry – I was travelling all yesterday evening and have been doing THINGS today. I’m not sorry. I AM NOT. Also this is about games, so jog on if you have no interest.

Doing that whole long-haul thing yesterday allowed me more time to explore the games I have littering this here Tiny Laptop. Between bouts of watching Penn & Teller’s Bullshit (more on that later, most likely), I had a bit of a muck about with a few games I have installed. Eventually, after dicking about with the likes of Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment I settled on one I’d never heard of, but had recommended to me a long time ago: Anachronox.

I put about an hour and a half into it, and I’m not about to go talking about the game itself as I really do feel like I’m a long way off even scratching the surface, but it does have quite a lot going for it. The one thing that really struck me – that really stuck with me – is something I didn’t even notice for half an hour.

Such is the thoroughly thought-out nature of this game – so complete is its world, so fleshed-out is its fiction – that the cursor (the mouse pointer you use to click things in the game, on Windows, on OSX etc) is actually a character. There is a narrative reason why there is a floating pointer device going about its business around the main character. The mouse pointer is introduced; it has a history and motivations of its own.

This is an aside – something that like I said, I didn’t even notice for a while. But at the same time this is one of the best things I have ever seen in a game. It’s witty, it’s clever, it’s funny and – probably most importantly of all – it makes sense. On one hand it’s the kind of thing I’d want to see more games adopt, but then on the other I do think the impact of this method of getting the player more immersed in a game would be neutered if everyone was doing it.

So even if I never go back to Anachronox again, at least I’ve bore witness to one of the great, forgotten things that those hidden gems out there are daring enough to do.

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