2011 News

December 31st: Merry Chrimblemass, happy new year and I end this year with my 135th post, nearly double what I did the previous year, and largely all of it nonsense. This of course means that I have completed my task, but I must try harder when it comes to chapters, as I published a paltry four this year compared to six the previous year. I will get cracking soon, I promise.

So all together now, yes, that means you Osama Bin Laden, Kim Jong-il and Colonel Gaddaffi all hiding at the back....

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let's stop all the fight

December 23rd: On the next few days of my Christmas holidays, my true love said to me: Mong about, ill with a cough and man flu while avoiding painting the bannister. No rhymes at all there, sorry, but I did not even keep up with something I thought I might, a mini daily blog which I was only going to write on one of my holiday days. God I am useless. I finally finished Titan Quest on Epic though, and started to concentrate on games from Steam, the continuing sales and the nice little gifts that could be won through achievements. This worked well I thought, as you got to play games you already had in an effort to win a prize. Nothing for me as usual but coal, but its fun anyway.

December 20th: On the second day of my Christmas holidays, my true love said to me: Fix the broken PSU on your PC. Another rhyme, well, ish, but don't expect it all the time! The recent Cornwall BF3 LAN session highlighted my PSU being a little cranky and recently my PC would not boot cleanly, either cycling while making a loud fan noise or not at all.

So I ordered a new one the other day and yesterday, a massive box, the size of a child's coffin arrived containing my Corsair TX750M. Huzzah! I would post pics, but even a geek like me knows that a picture of a new PSU cannot be dressed interestingly enough to warrant one.

December 19th: On the first day of my Christmas holidays, my true love said to me: Spend time on your HTPC. Oh that rhymes! I had a massive clean out, uninstalled all the software and deleted all the files as the startup time from boot to MediaPortal GUI had started to get longer and longer and a few errors happened when trying to edit any settings.

Now that I have spent some quality time on it all, I have TMT5 accepting my remote, startup times are excellent and it did not take that long to scrape through the 1000+ TV episodes and films currently on my box. Plus I am resetting up my emulator again - SNES mario kart for the win!

The Steam sales also started and I bought a couple of Christmas pressies, but nothing for me yet, trying to wait and see....but I expect about a dozen games or DLCs and probably will spend around £30.

December 14th: Well the Steam X-Mas sale starts soon, so just thought I would check back to what I got last year from it and also see if I had actually played any of the ten games that I bought.....

  • Fuel @£Free - Chrissie Pressie from Brad
  • Burnout Paradise @£3.75
  • Alpha Protocol @£5.00
  • Gothic 3 @£6.74
  • Torchlight @£3.75
  • Batman Arkham Asyalum @£3.75
  • The Witcher @£3.75
  • Company of Heroes & Expansion @£4ish
  • Half Life Source @£1ish

Surprisingly, I have played all ten of them, a couple for only an hour or so and only one I regretted, yes, I am looking at you Alpha Protocol. Gothic 3 and Company of Heroes are at the top of this with nearly 40 hrs played on each of them, but sadly Gothic 3 looks like it may be put by the wayside as I just cant get past the stuttering and I dont think anyone is going to do anything with it anytime soon.

Every new driver release from ATi causes me to try the game again (looks to be only a problem with ATI cards if you are running 1.74 CP version) and I am yet to test the 11.11 and 11.12 drivers. I am just finishing Titan Quest then I will be giving this another chance before I sadly have to let it go and move on to Gothic 4 (Arcania) and Risen. Oh, I forgot about the standalone expansion - Forsaken Gods, so that first, then Gothic 4 and Risen.

December 13th: Well I have about 11 Purples now in TQ and am half way through Act III that indicates the end of the game (Act IV is the Immortal Throne addon) and pretty much all of them are useless. Whats even more annoying is that I have THREE Leatherskin Sheilds and TWO Ikki something swords. I dont think I am exaggerating too much when I say that TQ has tens of thousands of items, and probably at least a hundred purple items, so to see multiples is jarring to say the least.

Still loving it though, and just got to the Boss who killed me repeatidly the first time round, smashing me with stun, massive hit, massive hit, massive hit, stun, massive hit, dead, or to spice things up, stun, meteor shower, dead. This time round he did exactly the same funny enough, although I did not fall foul of the meteors.

So, another few play sessions and I can uninstall this, especially as it has caused my Steam rating to take a battering and now shows a paltry score of about 3, despite easily clocking 40 hrs of TQ in the last two weeks - in fact I think my TQ playtime is around 150Hrs in total!

I need to finish this now, as Karkand was just released for BF3 and the only reason I did not play it tonight was that the Origin servers were all down, and its really really annoying when you want to play and something external (like the missus for instance) causes you to do something else instead. Maybe BF3 tomorrow instead.....

December 6th: Finished Titan Quest the other day, and as usual for me in these type of games, all the mytical objects and super rare items all completely evade me. I got not one Purple item in the whole of the first game, and I was doing multiple runs (start from a rebirth shine and fight your way through to the boss, then save and exit the game to repeat once more at least 5 times and in some cases 20 times) of a 'Boss' to complete relics and to gather green and blue rarity items. Titan Quest is unique with regards to its difficulty level though, and kind of treats 'normal mode' as a massive training session for Epic and Legendary modes.....so I started Epic.

Within moments I had bought a new shiney staff far better than my own for 1.7million gold and not long later a little goatman was guarding a chest that contained my first purple, a Shield. Rubbish for a caster, but my first purple. On a goatman!

Furious randomness aside, I am now plowing through the game again. I have no intention of playing Epic, but enjoying playing a game pretty much exclusively where I had once dragged it out a bit. Roll on the Purples!

December 5th: Well my Movember month ended, and a pretty poor attempt it was too. It simply did not grow enough to warrant inclusion and I am glad I used a dry run as I would have been embarrased to gather coins for my pitiful attempt that looked nothing like the picture here at all.

I suppose it did not help that I tried a drooping moustache to start with, and that simply looked like my normal goatee effort so then tried to change to something else.

Maybe next year, I can get my photo added here....

November 29th: Well the Steam 'Black Friday' deals came and went, and I spent (for me) hardly anything. Renegade Ops - (£2.50 part of a four pack, so cheap and then sale price), Payday The Heist (£7.50 as above) and Deck Pack I for the MtG game (£0.70) for a total of just under £11.

I was going to grab the other Gothica game (not sure if I needed both at £7.50ea) and Morrowind GOY (£7, I never actually finished it and never played any of the DLCs) but I will wait for Christmas. Fallout 3 New Vegas also caught my eye with the game and all DLCs for £9ish, but I have not even finished the first game yet!

Roll on the Christmas sales!

November 25th: Why is it that only when you are slightly pissed do the words "...if someone punches me in the cock I will piss myself!" come unbidden to your mind as you walk home from the pub?

November 23rd: BF3? Pah. Skrimming since release day on the 11th! My usual Necro backstabbing character emerges, but with more of an Emperor Palpatine twist as I blast someone with Lightning, run off and let my Zombie take a beating while I recharge my batteries.

Although we have lost the finesse of the stats - only Magicka, Health and Stamina can be leveled up as such, the perks seem not bad, like a Diablo or Dragon Age skill tree.

The graphics are much improved from Oblivion but as usual 'must be' improved through various ini tweaks and third party texture mods. This of course means I will be tweaking more than playing at some point over the week. A few mods are out already and graphical tweaks such as the one I am using now that gives things a far more vibrant look - as though Charlie and the chocolate factory could be built just round the corner. Looks lush though!

November 22nd: My Mum always gives me money at chrimble, and we have chrimble day early as she buggers off on a cruise somewhere, and this year is no different. I normally buy a game - funnily enough, Call of Duty for the last two years (Black Ops and MW2), and a book or so. I doubt this year will be no different with MW3 released, but I am doing things a little different, and making a box of stuff that I buy on ebay over this month and collating that to be my christmas present. The net effect will likely be the same, ie a game and some books, but with a few of my random ebay purchases thrown in. Something slightly different in the method, if not the overall effect, which means I have wasted my effort in typing this and you have too in reading it. Result!

November 17th: My homage to Movember is quite poor really, and can't all be blamed on the fact that I didn't start until the 5th. It's all a bit straggly (my mo, not me) and hence why I never really shave my goatee all off as it takes a bloody long time to grow to how I want it, much like a perfect rose bush to cultivate. A trim later may make it more prominent methinks, but I think it will just start to do me proud as everyone shaves their own off, leaving me looking like a mofool.

Oh, and Channel 5, at approx 17:23 is the best time of the day - for updates to the weather obviously!

November 9th: I am 25th level in BF3 now (the picture below is live, so likely to change) and I got my Assualt star and now just a few thousand away from my Engineer Star as well.

Although not quite the same way of recording stats, this is how I ended up on BFBC2:

Its obvious straight away that the levelling is different - I have around 35hrs played in BF3, compared to 220hrs on BFBC2, yet only 12 levels behind. Plus, I nearly had as many knife kills in BFBC2 as I do total BF3 kills, but I will get there eventually.

Sadly, This is Jinsy has finished, but it did so on a high note, with the excellent 'Far Away!' song. Here it is for your face holes to listen to. Praise Him!

November 8th: It works! More mucking about with software and settings and a Java update and now I can finally watch the film in all its glory. I use a pretend amp, so dont have the fancy DTS PCP H2O that modern amps have, and found that the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio soundtrack was far better, but it had descriptive speech, basically meant for blind people to watch the film.

I found a setting in TMT that downmixes audio to Dolby Digital and no longer did I need the sound at full blast to hear someone speak only to quickly turn it down for a blaster fight, and so settled back and relived the wonder of seeing the film as an 8 year old once more. Huzzah!

November 6th: The amount of bloody hoops I am jumping through at the moment, just to get my Star Was Blu-Ray to play has been a massive chore to say the least. I have updated all the software (TMT, Video drivers and AnyDVDHD) that is involved in the playback through my HTPC all to circumvent the latest BD+ copy protection applied to play disks I bought.......no wonder people download films from the intamanweb, it's a lot less hassle!

I have crappy audio: speakers are popping and crackling, the spoken word is very low, the menu sounds are far clearer and louder than the film itself, then the disk pauses or slows to a crawl and catches up with itself once more. Very frustrating, and I have spent 30 minutes watching the begining of the film over and over and close to 4+hrs trying to get it to work. The one thing I can say is that although Greedo still shots, its more a simultanous afair now, and this little Star Wars puppy is happy at last.

November 5th: ....and then I bought Labyrinth and Princess Bride (2 for £15 @ HMV) and The Thing (replaces a HDDVD version for £7, also at HMV). Fireworks at DeadEyeMike's house go well, with loads of fireworks for the kids, and jacket potatoes and Chilli for us to lap up. Oh, and level 23 on BF3 as well.

November 4th: A bit of a Blu-ray buy up, as I pick up from the forums the following: Star Wars IV, V, VI (Sealed £25), Batman Year One (Sealed £11), Never Ending Story, Indy IV and BladeRunner (£14.50 for all three and replaces my HDDVD copy of BR), and Transformers 1 and 2 (£12 for the pair and replaces my HDDVD version of Transformers)

To answer the unasked question, no, I dont have anywhere to put them, and yes the missus will moan when she sees them.

November 3rd: I am pleased to announce that my sphincter muscles can withstand pain.....but even saying that in my head sounds quite wrong, so I will explain myself properly. Basically, I was in that position that some people put themselves in, which is to really want to go to the toilet (No2) but overstep the normal time requirements as you are finishing what you are doing, meaning that you are holding on to your stomach contents by sheer force of will and sphincter power. As this kind of focuses the mind on this important single task, you are more suseptable to accidents and mishaps, in my case, reaching for my Kindle in my bag and as I stood up, smashing my head on the door handle. Not a round one, but a metal one that dug a groove into my head. This kind of explosion of anger and pain normally causes one to immediately shift attention to the offending part of the body, in this case my head, which meant that my attention was diverted away from my bottom and meaning that I would have quite litterally shat myself.

As this did not happen, should there be an award for it, and I cant see why not, and baring in mind that I have extrapolated 'pain = torture', I have now completed one of my own personal goals - 'Situations that you are unlikely to ever be in No. 5: Shitting yourself while under torture'. No, dont clap, I am merely doing my duty.

October 31st: Its gone 8pm, and I have been in doors for a short period of time after our weekend. Four days of Battlefield 3, and despite hours of 'stats stats stats' we racked up around 20+hrs of playtime (although we all suspect this to be slightly wrong) - I have all day tomorrow to sleep and recover, and I suspect it will take much of the whole week as well.....

October 24th: Well those lucky Indonesians are playing BF3 right now, while the rest of us have to restort to little tricks to get the job done. I haven't played the multiplayer, honest, just a smidgen of the single player game to get my settings sorted.

My daughter also decided over the weekend that she wanted a new iPod Touch (despite the fact that I asked her if she wanted one at Christmas and she decided on a Nano) so we are back at Covent Garden to pick up a new White one. I helped her sell the Nano, she had cash from her birthday, so a 32Gb version it is - unsure why there is no 16Gb model though, probably to cause people to do exactly what we did, and upsell to a larger model. those tricksy fruit sellers.....

October 21st: Some fucker knocked into the missus at the market on Friday, and made her drop her iPhone, which promptly shattered the screen into a bajillion pieces. I booked an appointment, went to Covent Garden and within 20 minutes of explaining what happened to her, the screen had been replaced. For free. Thanks Apple!

I then went to work on Mikes PC, before playing and losing at Poker. Good games though!

October 20th: BF3 released to download through Origin! Phew. That makes things a whole lot better for a start, and a lot less running around to be done later in the week to make people like me all panicky. I also worked on Chris's PC over the last day or so and now he has a lovely 560ti GPU, and a new heatsink to go with Windows 7. Hu-Har!

October 16th: Men and Women really are from a different planet, and here is my careful reasoning behind it. We went to Ikea, and whilst I looked and chuckled at the couples arguing, I carried on, head held kind of high, well as high as you can when you are slightly hungover from the night before. Well, I say night before, as I had been drinking Friday, a couple of beers through the day as I built my PC, then a lot more (for me) in a short space of time at MonkeyMadness' engagement drink the night before. Anywho, then we get to the blind section (not where they sell blind people, just blinds) and suddenly its my fault that Ikea do not sell the size we need, as though my job is in Ikea purchasing.

She strops off, and me and the daughter pick up a sideboard for her, which is massive. I then get the impression that she (the daughter) wants me to set it all up straight away, when all I want is my bed. Why would you want a drunken dad to set it up anyway? It would end up looking like a wardrobe, or a pile of sticks or something, anything but its intended shape, size or usage.

Back to my point. So, women think like the above, ie weird, while men think like this: You know when you see two lovely ladies, not three, or one, but two together, and they are talking in a foreign language, they must be lesbians, right?

October 15th: I am working on my PC today and I added all the fans and cables bought over the last few days so that my machine is finally getting to the point for me to overclock the nuts out of it.

October 14th: iPhone 4s day! And I type this a happy bunney as my Orange order came through on time and is now sitting at home waiting for me to lay my grubby little fingers all over it.

Altogether now, "..I got a golden ticket....."

More LAN session nonsense, with teams allocated so that we can make squads better - plus it helps when we lay out all the kit as we can group people together. Myself, SgtPaulus and MonkeyMadness (all coincidently running AMD cards) are the Red Team, and McGlory, Pelet and DeadEyeMike (all coincedently running NVidia cards) make up the Green team. Sadly six team member squads from BF2 are missing, but this should work out fine....just a million seconds to go!

October 13th: Well my new cables arrived, and so did one of my fans - just waiting on the last few bits before I dig my case out and start tinkering. Also, a big pile of Molton brown samples as the nice lady at Molten Brown's package arrived as my order was slightly messed up. The order that included a free bottle of Shower Gel, courtesy of filling in a 1 minute survey....

Just a note to any of you companies that want surveys completed, always offer something. Molton Brown was very generous and gave away a free full sized bottle (which just happened to be a choice between Silverbirch or something else), so on that note, have a free bit of advertising - Molton Brown is better than a unicorn riding a rainbow, and may lots of my millions of viewers buy from your store.

October 12th: The Beta has finished for Battlefield 3 and all I can think about is the LAN session at the end of the month. With Pelet coming now, we have two squads of three as well. Everyone has or will spend a fortune, with the game, petrol and food costing £70+. Add to this the fact that some people needed Windows 7, then extra bits such as new GPU's, Keyboards, Mice and headphones means its going to be our most expensive trip as everyone wants there rig to perform the best for the upcoming LAN session.

Some people however have taken this to an extreme though and are buying new cables for a case that will be under a desk, which is just silly.

October 6th: A great man in the Tech world dies - as someone said, Apple has lost its Genius.

September 30th: Well the Battlefield 3 Beta has been running a few days now and its beyond awesome. I witter on about it here and here if you want to know more.

September 29th: Chapter 20 - "The Man in Black", is now up. I am a bit behind with my chapters, but an Inset day at work may allow me to crack on with Chapter 21, tentatively entitled 'Once is funny, twice is gay'. This is something Phil said to me, but I am not sure what I was doing to him to provoke this...perhaps I wrote it in my notes....

September 25th: I have had a few headaches over the last few days and nothing to do with what I have ate or drink, but rather that I had the wrong pillow.....now where did I put the application form for the SAS?

September 23rd: Picked up a key (first red costume) issue of Daredevil, in a sale and I am really really chuffed to bits. A complete bargin at just under £60 (in this condition [FN], its £120+) and I tentively read through it.

Did I say I was very pleased with it?

September 21st: More comic related posts, although this time about my other bestest comic book Superhero, Batman. The new DC launch is in its third week now with Batman released today, and it has sparked my comic buying furor like no other. I have a sub list with Economic Comics who have been brilliant and the orders I have pulled so far have been well packaged and promptly delivered and around 40p cheaper per comic as well. For little mini reviews on the titles and other related discussions, read the New DC 52 Relaunch and Issue #1 Spoilers threads on AVForums.

September 14th: I got a bit too clever with my syncing of notes etc between iPhone and Yahoo Mail as the sync seems broken or intermitant for some reason, suddenly stopping syncing correctly at the end of August. So I turned off the sync on my iPhone and restated it, to try and force the connection between the two, and it promptly deleted all the notes that I had on the iPhone that are not in Yahoo Mail. Doh!

This is a bit bloody annoying as it is my default method of blogging - a quick note to remind my self of an amusing anecdote, a blinding flash of inspiration, a stupid comment or disturbing dream that I partially recall which I then type up and upload to these very pages.

I think I lost about five of these 'gems of wisdom' and as usual when I dont write things down, I have not a scooby about what they reffered to.

At a rough guess, try the following:

Old Daredevil comics, Battlefield BFBC2 made up goals, a rant at an advert that I can't remember followed by liking an advert that I can remember (the cheddar cheese one with the dancing mouse) LAN/BF3 excitement as the end of October draws closer and lastly non consentual sex with some kind of animal, probably a marsupipual. One of these is probably supposed to be in the list for the Darknet though, possibly the one regarding cheese.


Septemeber 6th: Played 'Booksnap' on the way to work this morning. The idea is to sit within one seat (opposite is fine) of someone reading the same book, or a book in the same series as you. A Kindle version is ok, but you must be reading the book, not merely have it in your library.

Today's booksnap was with a young lady reading George RR Martins 'A Clash of Kings'.

August 31st: I sold some fans that I bought a week or so ago, which looked good on paper and were recomended by a few people, but sadly didn't fit (14cm fans with 12cm fittings) and I also sold my RAM that looked good (Corsair vengence) but didn't fit due to my huge heatsink. Can you see a trend here? I am looking to replace the fans as we speak, well I would if I didn't just spend the cash on some more 60's Daredevils.

I did buy more RAM, a thinly veiled excuse to get 8Gb this time instead of 4Gb, grabbing the new Low Profile Vengence RAM from Corsair instead.

August 28th: Well that didn't last that long - my self imposed exile of not installing Battlefield after my PC build so that I can complete other games. I did finish Titan quest, well, the first bit but not the add-on yet, and shortly after a 'I will just install and patch the game' came a 'just going to play it to see how it runs'. Although to be fair, it was a good job as I had a few BSOD's from playing - imagine getting those at the LAN session with BF3! I would not be a happy bunny I can tell you.

Added to this I have the problem that AVForums has a new server and it's being run really well and full of all of the lads on the board, and its difficult to stay away, especially as you have a much smaller chance of the cheating aimbot motherfuckers, but instead a lovely server full of rainbows, unicorns and Internet friends who mock you by showing pictures of you being drilled in the face with an engineers tool.

August 25th: Have you ever got to that point in your sock drawer where you are down to the comedy pants? For some reason, mostly your own, you have forgot to add your strewn clothes in the right place or the washing has simply backed up? The same goes for that dodgy pair of socks that are scratchy and horrible but you just can't throw them away as they don't have any holes in them and wearing them is only slightly better than wearing yesterday's again?

Well kids, imagine a day when these two events actually collide. Yep, I am wearing my comedy boxers with Homer Simpson on them and the horrible scratchy socks - the missus said helpfully, "...don't get run over....."

August 20th: I have watched my first couple of newly released 3D films over the last month or three - you know I cant remember the last one I actually watched before this lot, but it must be 10+ years ago when it was really gimicky and early days with brightly coloured red/blue glasses watching something terrible. Its far different now, as I sat and watched Pirates, the new Transformers and then the last Harry Potter with my Michael Caine glasses on.

All films were subtle 3D rather than in your face and throwing stuff at you, and to be honest, now that I have seen all three close together, I can say I honestly don't think that much of it. I have not been to the IMAX in a year now, but the image sharpness and clarity on the huge beautiful detailed screen of the iMax far outweighs any of those little moments when the 3D really does give the depth perception and implied immersiveness. Maybe its just me being snobby, but until they get rid of the 'normal resolution' non sharpness and implement HD and then add 3D on top of it, its just not for me.

August 19th: On fifth day of holiday my whassname said to me: go to Orbital Comics (Leicester Square) and buy backing boards and bags to bag all the comics I found unbagged and boarded during my epic clear up. The second issues of the new Daredevil was out and I also picked up the rest of Daredevil Reborn mini series. Happy days as I trot back home and spend the afternoon watching and deleting my Sky+ recordings while bagging and boarding my purchases.

August 18th: The missus did not want me hanging about making the place untidy, so we went off to Bromley for some shopping. I bought some more socks from Debenhams in the sale (they must love me as I buy about thirty pairs of socks a year) and then cleaning out my comic cupboard continued. Loads (to me anyway!) of stuff thrown away (or rather stratigically moved to somewhere to make it appear as though I threw it all away) and I discovered comics (100+ all ready to be bagged and boarded) I didn't know I had as I went through all my comics to see what I actually do have.

I also went through my 60's Daredevils to unexpertly grade myself, to see if I had some rubbish issues that needed to be replaced, which I do. Don't get too excited about thinking I have a fortune in 60's Daredevil's, my lot are all FN and backwards until you get a lot closer to modern day - for example my drawn all over copy of Daredevil No 6 would be worth £100ish in VFN/NM condition, but its not, so it isnt.

I am aiming for FN for all the ones I have missing that are before issue 70, and preferably VFN for those above - and basically anything I can afford for issues 1-10. I was also sad to find that I am missing a few key Miller issues within the 158-190 run of Daredevil, when I could have sworn I had them all.

The cupboard looks a lot better from its tidy though, and yes, this is an 'after' shot.

Off tomorrow to buy some boards for the comics, and the next session of DnD is the weekend. Huzzah!

August 16th: A good five+ hours of Titan Quest last night and this morning saw me finish the first part of the game, but the weird way in which the game installs the addon Immortal Throne meant I had to go back and play the last hour or so again. No worries really, it simply meant I had the Caravan/Enchanter's now added and also the chance to get a artifact recipe, which handily I did within a the first 10 mins. Have not seen another one though....

I also upgraded my PC with RAM and a case fan, although I am still waiting for the White cables for the case, and still not happy with the noise from fans etc, nor have I overclocked anything.

I also started digging around underneath the stairs.....

August 15th: I spent time prepping my new Kindle (Birthday pressie) and playing more Titan Quest. Chuck in some discussions about the upcoming Cornwall LAN session (is it going to happen? Will McGlory have the Internet? What games are we playing?) and the first day of my holiday is over.

Over the weekend, I bought myself a few Graphic Novels up London including the latest Walking Dead (14), Batman & Robin and Morning Glories, all of which are very good indeed, and a lovely meal at Rizzo in Chislehurst to top it all off.

August 11th: The riots are all over now, with a mass Police presence pushed on to the streets to clean them all up. Loads of people have smashed up shops or burnt out property, and the riots spread from London to Manchester, proof that it had bugger all to do with the dead bloke, and all to do with oppurtunism. Told you it should have been stamped on hard and fast......

Today I have mostly been looking up Daredevil comics on the Internet. Now I know you probably have had a terrible day at the office, or roaming the streets doing whatever it is that you do to earn your pay, but let me tell you, it was bloody hard work. Do I go for the bargin early editions in a VG+ condition or the more expensive FN versions?

Buy four 'teen issues costing a bargin 30 or the same issues in better condition at 50? Why exactly am I looking at comics with days until payday anyway? Surely this is when I am at my most weakest, the most broke period in any monthly cycle? Well it's my birthday for one reason, and my lovely mum is depoisting cash into my account, and two, I got a rebate that added enough cash to make consider buying a Daredevil no 7 in fine condition (that normally sells for 120+) on sale for 70.

That's why I have done little work today people, thats why. And I can almost see you, elbows bloodied and bruised from shoing horses or somesuch, nodding 'fair enough' in acknowledgement.

August 8th: Riots in Tottenham, which then moved to Hackney, Brixton and Lewisham via Twitter and BBM of all things as the kids coordinate attacks. Shut it down, then batter the fuckers - how hard is it? They are not interested in the bloke shot by the police, merely in looting a new pair of Nikes from JJB Sports.

August 7th: Lets start todays ramblings by saying there is a new Judge Dredd film coming, woohoo! Additionally, I have spent at least 15 hours playing Titan Quest over the last few days, continuing with my trend of multiple boss runs, especially as I have only just found out that you can stack relics to triple their power as well as gain a bonus.

So there have been many runs as I try and find the last piece of three to complete a specific relic. I then went back to act I and farmed the first Telkene over and over again and soon had the relic that I was looking for that gives +Energy, +Energy Regen, and once complete, gave +Int as a bonus.

However, along the way, I found the +Lightning% relic - something I had completely forgotten about.....which naturally meant that I then had to continue until I had three of them.

A mere 16 runs later, and my staff is now a killing machine.

July 31st: My Daughter celebrated a coming of age by dragging me around Camden in the sweltering heat. She got her first tattoo, which looks nice actually, and of course, loves the iMac we bought her. Shame really as I thought she may prefer an expensive bag or a puppy - something I may tempt her with later in an effort to steal the iMac from her. This may also stop her from saying "....that there is no such thing as an apple key, you obviously did not pay attention during your course."

Grr, there used to be an apple symbol on it, and as its my website, I can have the last word. So there. Happy birthday anyway chick!

July 29th: You fucking know it.........I am not a ACSP (Support Professional) anymore, but an ACTC - you may refer to me as Apple Top Cat if you wish though.

July 27th: Just about to start day three in the big apple server snow leopard house and I feel more relaxed than I did on the first day, where DNS issues caused us to have impossibly slow communication between server management tools on our client macs talking to our MAC OSX Servers. I actually suggested that we move to a more specific IP range using 255.255.255.0 rather than 255.255.0.0 (/24 rather than /16 to all you CISCO fans!), which when we did, was night an day difference with regard to response times.

Now this may sound like I was right (again!), but honestly I was more relived that it was all working as I was getting very stressed and by 5:30 on the first day, after spending 10 hours elbow deep in server based tools I had effectively never used was taking it's toll on me. So, I was merely extremely pleased that I understood the problems enough to be able to help resolve the issues that plagued all four of us during these very stressful and intense times.

Fuck that, I was right baby! Champion of the world! Er, unless I dont do well on Thursday and then this bit may well be deleted so that you never knew it existed. Thus my big headed ramblings are confined only to my notepad on my iPhone, where I write this drivel on the train as I head to the University where my course is held.

July 21st: Is it wrong to eat a small chocolate (in a wrapper) that you put in your back pocket, sat on and then farted on? Dont look at me like that, you know you would too.

July 13th: Brilliant brilliant story in todays metro. In Russia, a man goes into a shop and holds the female owner at gunpoint, demanding the takings. She turns out to be a black belt in some martial art, and does the business flooring the attacker. Now this is were the story changes from its normal robbery gone bad story and as we all cheer the shopkeeper, the story continues.....

She then strips the robber naked, ties him up in the basement and feeds him Viagra and uses him as a sex toy for three days. When discovered, and they are both arrested, she says "...but I did buy him some new jeans!"

Now that is how you report a story Mr Murdock!

July 12th: Raven shield is kicking my arse, and you need to take it slow as the tango's are randomly placed and where none were previously, two are hiding making it good that you cannot simply run shoot, run shoot at spots you know are occupied before moving on. I am playing it in a self imposed hardcore mode, meaning any deaths cause a reload, and with no saves, you get to play some inetense games. Like the one I played last night were we took on and killed 20+ terorists, freed one hostage, and then as I flashbanged the last room, I killed one Tango, as another one (later found to be the last Terrorist) not affected by the Flashbang, took me out. Brilliant.

July 11th: Persil Small and Mighty are advertising the fact it removes blood and mud. Are they catering for those type of people that like to take children deep into the woods but return alone? 

July 10th: I have surprised myself during the sales, as I thought I would be all excited and buy loads of games and then play none of them. As of last night I think I had 25hrs logged on steam with a score of 7, so not bad at all, and I have been playing the games I bought as well, which is a bonus.

As it was the last day of the sale, it was choice games from days 1 to 9 reposted, and I was half tempted with Dawn of War II Redemption at £7.50, but sadly it was one of those unoffical early bird games that within an hour of them being at one price, they went up. Shogun 2, Risen, Terriaria, Test Drive Unlimited 2 and a few others all did this, and I dont think there was anything official to say why, but a few sales were definitely lost because of it according to various people on AVForums.

So, another day of the girls being out, and I did the garden and then cleaned out a few cupboards, and then quickly went back to gaming/buying, playing Left For Dead 2 and playing the Cold Stream level (which has changed since me and SgtPaulus played it last month) with MadMcGlory and picking up Rainbow Six 3: Gold (£3.74). Yes its ancient, but with my disks missing, a longing for a good old fashioned tactical shooter and add to the fact that although we played this at nearly every LAN session for around 3 years, I never actually finished off the single player game. So, MP5 in hand, I am off to rescue some hostages...... chuff chuff!

Lastly, and I do mean lastly, I bought the last few games of the sale for me. This means I bought about 15 games overall, and spent approx £70. They are little indie games, both getting very good ratings Braid (£3.49) and Toki Tori (£0.87) - I have a master plan to add my Steam games like this to my HTPC, and one day it may come true.

July 9th: Last night I added Fallout 3 GOY (£6.79) and seeing as how both DeadEyeMike and MadMcGlory both had now clocked around 8+hrs on Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, I bought that as well (£6.99). I picked up my Xbox controller from the post office this morning, and then when the girls had gone out for the day, settled into some good old fashioned blaster action with Jamestown. There is nothing more satisfying than dodging a screen full of bullets and taking down a boss with stupidly massive weapon fire.

I then cracked on with Magic, and racked up 5+hrs myself, including an excellent two headed giant game with DeadEyeMike vs two random opponents. An excellent game, but marred by the fact that just as we had worked it all out to win, our opponents left one after the other, meaning we won vs AI instead.

Other honourable mentions today go to being locked out of the house and sitting on the doorstep (thankfully my wifi was working outside meaning I could play Words with Friends) and then later, as I was explaining to Mike how to get his other PC to work on his wireless network, my internet died! It was later found to be a major BT problem in my area, but the coincidence of me talking to him over Steam, and saying the words 'click here...' and then it all going DOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo.........as everything died was very confusing.

July 8th: Day 8 in the big Brother Steam Sale and I stump up roughly the cost of a single journey bus ticket for Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Adding the two new armies and some extra campaigns for £2.49? Yes please.

I played the demo of Beat Hazard, one of a few sound based shooters, and even the menu made my eyes bleed. I thought SgtPaulus was going to be sick when I started playing the demo, accompanied by the Beastie Boys in the background....

Lastly DeadEyeMike and MadMcGlory seem intent on providing me more Steam games to buy, as they both give a resounding thumbs up to the new Magic game, and both have nearly 4hrs clocked at this time, so I will probably pick it up the weekend when the missus wnats me to clean the garden and various overflowing cupboards.

July 7th: On the 7th day of the Steam Sales my true love gave to me: Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods (£2.24), Jamestown (£3.50) and a partridge in a pear tree ($160 according to this website). I am now £50 lighter and 8 games richer.

My ASUS Xonar arrived yesterday, but I have had a few laptops and PCs to fix, meaning that although I have a brand new gaming PC, I probably have spent more time trawling the Steam Sales and reading up on games to buy (video reviews etc) than actually playing them....I will be adding the soundcard tonight, and hopefully my controller will arrive as the little blast I had of Jamestown was very 1980 as I tried in vain to dodge a screen full of bullets.

July 6th: Day 6 of the Steam sale (it changes to the next day at 6pm) and so far I have bought the following, totalling approx. £44.

  • Day One: Shogun 2 and DLC (£19) Risen (£10), and Test Drive Unlimited 2 (£5)
  • Day Two: Just Cause 2 and a few DLCs (£4)
  • Day Three: Nothing
  • Day Four: Nothing
  • Day Five: Frozen Synapse (£4)
  • Day Six: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky (£2)

July 4th: Fat new headphones arrived, my Roccat Kave's, and they are indeed proper Bo, but the sound is just not quite right. So I bought another ASUS Xonar DS soundcard to make them happy, and also a wired XBOX remote to play my new driving game, TDU2.

July 1st: Turns out the device was faulty, so no amount of jiggery pokery would have made it work, which makes me feel better.

June 30th: I feel like I have been playing Mastermind (the board game) in the dark with 16 colours and a deaf and dumb opponent who is not giving me any clues on how I am doing, and I cant think of any other profession that has so many different options to get something done right. Imagine a builder that built a house from top downwards for instance...or can build the doors before he starts on the walls.

What has me raging this time? A Superloader 3 device. Can I get the bugger to be online and run an Inventory? No. My options, among others are:

  • Reboot the device
  • Reboot the server
  • Within Hardware Management, remove the unknown Medium Changer and refresh
  • Stop and restart the services
  • Make device Online - which handily warns you that, and I paraphrase, "...that this may not make a device online." Why fucking have it as an option then?

What order do you do these in? What extra steps need to be taken to get it to work? I dont know because I have admitted defeat for today......

June 27th: DeadEyeMike asked if I wanted to play Magic the weekend and so for the first time in nearly a year, I played a booster draft with him and Pelet. A year? Has it really been that long? Checking back, it really has been - M11 was the last tournament I played and I don't recall playing any games (with friends or tournaments) at all from then onwards. I did go to attend the new Mirroden block in October, but the event was cancelled a few days prior and although I bought around £20 of cards (some Pre-Cons and a few boosters) after they were released, I never played at all.

So we played a 4 booster draft of the latest Mirroden block (now all three sets hin the block had been released) in a 2/1/1 distribution - and we had some good games, all winning one game each. Will I go back to playing Magic in the same way? I will never say never as I have had a large break before, but I think it will all be booster drafts infrequently if at all.

June 21st: B-Day, er, Build Day! My new little PC is born, and I turn this:

....into this:

...read all about the progress from cattypillar to beautiful buttiefly here.

June 20th: So, what are your best comedy sketches ever? In no order, I think mine would include the following:

June 17th: Still coughing, although I actually managed to get all the way to work and nearly breaktime before my first cough of the day. More bits for my PC came yesterday as well, and build day is due for Tuesday next week......

June 14th: Chapter 19, The Twisting Twindles is up.

June 12th: Spent the majority of the day returning my iPad back to OS 4.3 as 5 was still just too beta. The restore process just did not work, and kept closing my apps two seconds after they opened, so had to be rebuilt from scratch. This problem kept happening, and it took 4 or 5 system DFU restores before it finally 'took'. Then add another 3 hours or so to add back all my comics, and its finally back to its original state, minus all my saves from all the games that I have bought in sales but never played.

I bought the next item on my PC list, a Gigabyte UD4 Z68 Motherboard, and I am still coughing like a plague victim.

Hardly played any PC games at all this week - a few hours on Terria because of the map feature, which gave me a goal as such to aim for (I had found loads of crappy chests and nothing new) and so discovered (randomly) a few good chests. Instead I have been playing the Wii Fit, doing some fitness stuff, simply because I dont want to go to the gym round the corner and disolve into a coughing fit, and instead my little Mii can watch on as I slowly cough myself to death on the floor. Thinking about that now, thats got to be some fucked up Fruedian thinking, dying while being watched by a small virtual version of yourself, staring dispassionately down at you while you clutch helplessly, clawing up at the ceiling, wishing Nintendo had made the console sentiant to be able to call for help..........

June 11th: At Mike's son's birthday party, complete with Bouncy castle which meant no end of adult fun, smashing into each other while pretending to bounce (like the no bumping in the new and improved bumper cars). His missus tried to push me over onto the splayed arms and legs of everyone else, but I caught her and threw her on instead, and in the process of swinging her round, she kneed the birthday boy in the face, producing a large purple bruise on his cheek half an hour later. I have obviously rung child services to report her, as abusing your child on his birthday is surely the lowest a parent can sink too.

June 10th: Grandad's Funeral, went as well as can be expected really.

June 7th: Apple WWDC yesterday, and sadly no iPhone 5 was mentioned. All about iOS5, Lion and iCloud instead. I will be trying OS5 on my iPad later I think...

Borrowed my mums Wii Fit this weekend, and the goal is to use it for 30 mins a night, which I have stuck to so far, and a moment of elation of losing 3 pounds by removing my jeans was lessened as I put a pound back on by having a cream cake at lunchtime. I suppose a 2lb overall loss is good, even though I weigh more than I did when I started. Hopefully time will tell and it will go downwards once more!

June 3rd: Just finished off setting up an IT room at school. Think of it as a massive LAN session, but all 29 PCs had to be security locked down, both PC and TFT. Thanks to my many IT careers that involved setting thinsg up and taking them down again, as well as all the LAN sessions, it was a piece of piss.

Played a lot more of Titan Quest, and as indicated, been farming one of the bosses. I think farming at Normal level is a bit of a waste of time as no artifacts drop, but its worth it as a test I suspose. The 20+ runs I have done have probably earned me the equivalent of a level in XP, from half way through 22 to half way through 23, and that particular mob is very close to the spawn point. It also allows me to check the Vendor to see if any new staff's appear as well, as the stuff they sell is random, so it does all work out in the end.

June 2nd: Politics gets in everywhere these days, even Football. FIFA cant keep the alligations of rigging quiet, and lets be honest, hosting the next two World Cup in a place that happens to house many 'oil baron level' wealthy people seems a little too coincendental (Russia and Qatar) and really does not help their cause. I know they have the money and the years to build any stadiums they may need, but the UK, Mexico the joint bids from a few European countries (Belgium and Netherlands; Portugal and Spain) all have world class established stadiums already, while the winners can each provide Vodka and 150 degree heat.

I know, why not diffuse these horrible rumours by having a vote for the next FIFA boss, so that these allegations can be stamped out! So, who's in the running, Sepp Blatt and .........no-one. So the great plan to dispell the rumours that the two world cup bids were NOT rigged is by voting for the next FIFA boss in a campaign that includes only ONE candidate. Genius!

June 1st: Picked up Applecare for my iPad yesterday, £35 at CEX rather than £90 at Apple, a big difference. Yes I know its a glorified warranty extension, but in my few dealings with Apple and there products, you know why there are so many fanbois out there.

Been playing lots of Left for Dead 2 with Paul, and into the wee hours, loads of Terraria and Titan Quest. I think I have about 15hrs with Terraria, and fought the Eye of Cthulu, but it disapears at dawn, and it still had 1700hps! In Titan Quest, I was 19th level, just starting in the second main area (Egypt?), and ready to fight a boss Mob, the Scarab King thingy.

May 24th: I have been playing the single player game of Battlefield Bad Company 2, and it's very good indeed. It's an on rails shooter, which sadly seems to be the norm nowadays, but there is quite a bit of leeway to the approach of various mini battles. For example a path leading to a tennis court sized area that would be a normal senario in Medal of Honour, is a large football sized area in BFBC2, with plenty of nooks and crannies to hide around and be sneaky with, and a lot less boxy terrain.

There have been lots of areas that have allowed me to hang back slightly and snipe at enemies, while my lads 'psudo fight the enemy' far more than there are narrow areas that you are forced through.

Add MCom stations to find Easter egg style, along with extra weapons to pick up and interchange as you see fit. In fact iirc you are only handed the air strike goggles, all the rest of the weapons can be picked up and used when you want to use them - shotgun and sniper rifle or pistol and LMG or whatever you see fit.

It is short compared to something like Crysis or CoD4, but with a very good story backed up with some excellent cut scenes, it seems a perfect compliment to the multiplayer game, and well worth playing through.

I will let you know if this all changes by the end of the game, and these thoughts are based on me not having played MW2 nor Black Ops yet, but really liking this at the moment.

May 23rd: Grandad died today, and as usual, I had not seen him in ages. So a lesson to you kids out there, always find some time to see your family, as you may find yourself in my position, feeling annoyed that you had not. 

May 19th: New pirates of the carribean last night and not bad at all, a good rollicking Christmas film though I think, rather than appearing late Spring. Ian McShane stole every scene as Blackbeard though, playing it not that far from his Deadwood character - in fact had he called Cap'n Jack a cunt it would have seemed most natural. 

May 17th: Typed a little of Chapter 19, and posted some pics of my new Corsair case in my build thread on AVForums.

May 16th: Just had a weekend down at Cornwall, helping Brad move into his new bugalow in a little sleepy cornish village. Eight hours (45 mph average, 20ish on a hill) of watching Rob drive was really tiring, so Rob made up stories that all coincidently happened while me and Racheal dozed for half an hour, ranging from driving near a 300' drop which we nearly fell from as the back wheel lifted off the floor to a field full of cows fucking.

After unloading the van, we got ready to go round the pub while dinner cooked and I set up his new TV. Dont make the mistake I did, and press 103 thinking you will get ITV - instead you get 'Gay Rabbit', which then turned into a fun game as we tried to work out what there messages meant to each other, trying to work out acronyms. This was hours of fun for 15 minutes or so, then we turned over to the Eurovision song contest, which with the aid of the red button, meant that we could sing along to.

The song we actually sang along to was the Azerbaijan entry, the shows winner, and thus it was me and Rob that made it win. Altogether now:

I’m running, I’m scared tonight
I’m running, I’m scared of life
I’m running, I’m scared of breathing
‘Cause I adore you

Then Pub, dinner, bed, breakfast, farmers shop and back on the road again for another eight hours (thinking we could zip home at 70mph was spoiled by crosswinds) drive back home. A word of advice when ordering a van for a long 1000 mile round trip, make sure the radio works. We all had a stack of CDs, but the van had a tape drive, and when we got some tapes to try, (from going back in time with a Deloran to the early 90's) the bloody thing ate the tape and would not give it back. And to top it off, the only radio station it found was radio 2.

So the obligatory verbal games and randomness followed wih gems such as:

"If God made fruit, why did he bother making anything else after the Strawberry? Surely its job done!", "Where do raisens come from?", "If you could do any job in the world..." and "do you know what Gelatine is?"

Then Animal/Vegetable/Mineral games, where the longest ones to track down were one were 'Tyre' (Rob) a 'DVD of the film Scream' (Racheal) or 'Cats Eyes' (me), and the quickest one to be found out was Lego (me).

And my Corsair 650D case arrived this morning, yay me!

May 9th: Tickets for olympics in four easy steps...

  • Step One: Choose any number of tickets, in some cases, picking more than £35,000.
  • Step Two: In a random lottery thingy that happens in the background, get a certain amount of tickets allocated from none to all of what you have selected.
  • Step Three: Money is withdrawn from your account.
  • Step Four: Three weeks after the money is taken, you are then told the tickets you have been allocated.

Wait, what now? Are they mental? The fact that its possible to try and buy £35k worth of tickets in the first place must ring alarm bells, but to have money taken out BEFORE you know what you have will put massive finiacial pressure on eager sports fans.

People take the Daily Mail as they find it in most cases, but this article explains more:

Meanwhile, the thrill of seeing a home-based Olympics has led to fears that some people have been seduced into over-bidding in the ticket lottery, which could leave them carrying punishing levels of debt.

Many Britons applied for a large number of tickets on the basis that they would probably be successful in only a minority of applications, which could leave them with a large credit card bill they are unable to afford.

At the same time, they will not be able to resell any excess tickets back to Games organisers until early next year.

Surely there must have been a better system? Even using what they have now but re-arranging the steps would be better - apply for tickets. Lottery tells you what you have won. Pay for the ones you want, the remainder are put back into the pool for a second lottery, then released to the public to pay for normally. That took me all of five minutes to come up with and no one will be suddenly whacked with a £35k bill a month after they booked random tickets. Fucking shambles......

May 8th: Showed my fine plumbing skills this weekend, and then rocked table tennis at Mikes - is there anything I am not good at? Smart, humble and now I know I can surf like a ninja Plummer replacing taps while riding a wave playing Table Tennis.

May 7th: Jammy? Jammy, Jammy. hmmmm, toffee! Toffee toffee. Jammy! Jammy............
I thought I was mental, but the ad men for Jammy Dodgers - monkeys with biscuit collars saying 'Jammy' over and over again while stroking their relevant chosen biscuits top me with room to spare.

May 6th: There was a sticker on the lift at my tube station that read 'bukake ruined my carpet'. Yes it's Japanese, no it's not anything to do with raw fish. If you have never worked in a place were people try to make you laugh in front of your boss by sending you dodgy emails then you may be blissfully unaware of this, so don't be tempted to goggle it. You have been warned!

As for carpets, it also ruins cashmere as well....... No I am Joking obviously - find a discreet dry cleaners and it will come right out. Fnar fnar.

Got a few weeks left to grab Applecare for my iPad as I come up to a years ownership. My how times flies! Dont fancy paying £70 for it though, but CEX, where I bought my 3GS care from, has it for half that price, so I think I will be making a trip to Croyden to pick one up. Piece of mind and all that - my iPhone went a bit flakey within its original 12 month period, and the £30ish I paid for that was easily worth it for the same level of support until I get an iPhone 5 later this year.

May 4th: This months scores on the doors.....

And its not escaped my notice that I have done a Chapter in Jan and March, so May should be the next one in the sequence. I will get on to it soon, honest!

May 3rd: Just a few more random observations on Gothic 3, which I have played more hours (35+) than I have of Dragon Age II (which is not as good as the first one, dont let anyone tell you otherwise) - its very good indeed, if only you can get past the stuttering that sadly plagues you throughout the game.

It is most definitely hardcore - at level 7, I only had the cash for 4 levels worth of points, and most of those were the cheap +20hps (you do not get hps automatically when you level!). Don't try and play it like most RPG games, snaffling everything in sight as it cost me 500 gold for stealing, everyone is very observant of you, and if you get spotted they take suitable compensation, normally half what you are carrying. At least I was not thrown in jail like Oblivion/Morrowind. Even a map to the game costs a huge amount of gold, and its little more than a slightly enhanced version of the quest map, but with a location marker.

Sword combat is a little annoying as EVERYTHING seems to knock you over, and a few swipes and you are dead before you can get into the rythm of anything. I am kitting most things with a bow though. Soon this changes as you learn not to quick click, and realise that there are 4 or 5 moves depending on the left or right click and short or long durations.

The AI is very good as they do attack each other - some of a Wolf pack were eating a Scavenger. This is something that I modded to Oblivion when I played that to make the wildlife more real.

Although it feels like Strength/Hunting etc do nothing unless you have required level to gain a skill or weild a weapon, damage apparently is modelled off of certain skills and stat levels, despite it not showing on the weapon you weild. So this changes my perception of the stats being useless, or simply precursors to using better weapons - even Dungeon Seige and Diablo type games showed a damage increase based on stat or skill increases. It meant that my 55 damage bow was more like 155 (55 bow +25 skill +75 half of Hunting skill).

Ignore the bland textures of the people, as the world it all lives and breathes in is amazing - think Oblivion with all your favourite flaura and fauna and wildlife mods and you will be close - G3 is better.

The place is massive - from my limited experience so far, the scale is more Morrowind than Oblivion, easily. Running around (make sure you find the teleportation stones) feels like you are running round huge parks and the countryside. Loads of caves, hills and valleys, and lots of exploring the nooks and crannies - no invisible walls so far like Oblivion either.

Oblivion had caves and beautiful hills and countryside, but this has proper cliffs and dangerous looking drops and its all open ended - there is no loading to go into a cave or any of the towns (which is probbaly why it stutters, but you cant have it all) - and I love the cooking of meat, the different fauna for potion levels etc.......I could gush on.

The lighting is also brilliant - torch flames flicker and blur, and shadows dance about the walls. Weather and day and night cycles are also very good, and quite long - maybe an hour = 12hrs?

Due to its more hardcore nature, take note of the following:

Do not attack your party or nearby friendlies. They will not stop until you are on the floor, and then steal your gold. They also remember you even if you run off.

As the place is very big, the map is very basic indeed and cannot be zoomed in, or written on. No quest markers either, so be prepared to stumble across stuff long after you forgotton the quest, or accidently read the quest spoiler from the FAQ sites.

Gets my thumbs up easily!

May 2nd: Osama Bin Laden was killed today and also Henry Cooper died. Knowing the Americans, they probably got the wrong man and that's why the body was dumped at sea.....

April 30th: I nearly achieved a personal goal of laying a couple of dog-eggs that looked like a twix. Oh well maybe next time!

April 29th: Still coughing, and it still causes problems when I laugh and bubbles when I get ready to make mischief with my witty vocal skills. My own three second rule of reacting to someones previous comment is somewhat blunted as I turn red and cough dropping to my knees.

Obviously not improved by my surfing skills at the weekend, which I loved, and I will add that I cannot be classed as a beginner as my skill level was far greater than that of a normal user, and many people on the beach stopped and commented on my big air skills, but mostly because Brad did not make us wear matching t-shirts and use banana boards like the newbie schools 100 yards from us had to. Suckers!

April 28th: Back from Cornwall, and having a week off, to do as usual, bugger all. I have played 6+ hours of The Witcher and the same of Gothic 3 over the last couple of days, and both are very different to my last few RPG games such as Dragon Age and Never Winter. The Witcher seems more adult in nature, and very cutscene driven as well as standard skill trees - although no real stats as such, with strength and other skills measured in levels from I to IV.

Gothic 3 on the other hand is a proper hardcore rpg - you get nothing automatically on leveling and have to find trainers in your required fields, such as Fighting (Str and weapon training) or Hunting (Hunting and bows.) Hunting and foraging for food is a big part of the game as you do not regenerate hitpoints unless you sleep, and the later skills in Hunting allow you to skin and take trophies of animals, meaning you can earn more cash.

I also played a few hours of BFBC2 but could not hit for toffee and only scored around 1k points / game and so logged of in disgust. Absolute shite and one can only hope that it improves!

The Royal Wedding is tomorrow! I have all the bunting set up and am ready to sit and watch 4+ hours of people marching down the Mall, while wearing my Union Jack pants. Right......

I would though, and her sister too.

April 24th: I am in Cornwall and getting ready to go surfing for the first time tomorrow and already mentioned to the missus that I would likely be coming back crying with blood on my face from head slamming a rock. She commented that I did not seem to troubled as I spent quite a long time (probably nearly an hour) dressed in my wet suit switching between my surfing persona and that of a ninja - a surfing ninja! parading around the caravan, trying to impress.

She would not let me go to dinner dressed in it sadly, so I had to go and change.

The problem is that I don't like the cold at all really, as it males me sleepy and want to go to the toilet, hardly a good combination for any sea based activity as I gently drift off, wet myself and then drown. The toilet part is apparently ok though as it can warm the inner layer of the suit up and I think it says something of my character when I say I can't wait to wee inside my wet suit, and was very tempted to do so while running around the caravan, but have a feeling I may have been spotted.

April 21st: I really should not have spent my lunchtime yesterday watching hack and aimbot videoes of Battlefield Bad Company 2, as I played Vietnam just to get my last Gold in all the Medic weapons and fuck me, got smashed over and over again. All the servers I joined were half way through a game and all the bases were red, meaning I logged off and found another, which was also all red bases....

Then when I found one, they kept switching to rush, and my k/d ratio is bad enough as it is, and all the other team were 45+.....I got my Gold in the RPK, and logged off half way through the game - cheating bastards the lot of them!

I now proudly have an Insignia that does not exist even more than ones already in BFBC2, my made up Distinguished Medic Service Medal (Gold in all 11 weapons available to the Medic class, inc Specact and Vietnam.)

About 8 Knife kills from my Platinum, which triggers around 20k points (Plat and 2 plat Insignia) and only 8k from Captain, level 34 - so hopefully I should level tonight!

April 20th: Talking of Dragon Age, I found that someone is doing a little web series based on the game, called Dragon Age Redemption....the lead character used to do a online comedy parady of a online rpg guild, which I am watching through now which is quite funny, and very true to life if you have ever met any of your guild mates from EQ or WoW in the past....

Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who played Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who passed away today - I fancied her rotten when she was my fave Doctor, Jon Pertwee's sidekick. Altogether now, doodle le doo doodle le doo oooooooo oooo oooooo waaaaaa oooooooo la la la da da da dum te dum dum te dum......

A little late, jogged by Clegg giving back £30k of cash he received after selling a house funded by us - so a rant, well more a 'confused to bits' about the MP scandal. The MP Elliot Morely is facing jail in the news at the moment, scamming £30k for mortgage fees. The cheeky fucker deserves all he gets naturally but what about the rest of them? The reading of it makes me fucking angry, that these cunts have basically funded second homes, nepotism through employment and various dealings that see them paying themselves a fortune without the need for reciepts etc.

What happened to the people in accounts? Normally these people are the most scruntinising sons of bitches and look down at you through glasses perched on the end of their nose as they quibble a tenners worth of petrol that you have a reciept for. More than likely, the accountants were someones sibling, probably an unborn feutus given a false DOB and when anyone wondered why they were not at there desk got the "...off buying a duckhouse..." response and simply returned later to find their spending of £2000 for some wallpaper, duely autherised by the fucking shoe makers elves. Bastard Elves.

April 19th: Well the Call of Duty Black Ops LAN weekend has been and gone, and it was not until the morning itself when we found out that it does not actually do 4 player co-op......doh! We should have probably checked this, having assumed so from playing World at War (COD5) co-op but did not want to read up on Black Ops in case of spoilers.

What made it worse was that Paul bought it online and it did not arrive in time, so he decided to pay for it again, spent all of Friday night downloading it from Steam, and so arrived late on Sat morning (the game itself arrived Sat lunchtime). Co-op is apparently limited to zombie mode only, but if we wanted to play zombie co-op then we would play Left for Dead 2 thanks!

So, we decided on a mixture of Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Left for Dead 2 and started at 11am, finishing just before 5am on Sunday. We had such a good laugh on Bad Company that we never actually played LfD2, flitting between Squad Rush, Squad Deathmatch, and various Conquest and Rush maps to help us all get the pins we need - I just needed the Squad Deathmatch pin myself to get the Exemplary Combat Service insignia (11 combat and 8 objective pins).

Sadly after that epic 12+ hr session I am still missing my stationary weapon pin to give me the Exemplary Weapon Service insignia, but another day perhaps.

Below are the latest stats based on the details I captured 11 days ago, and baring in mind that I had a massive session of my own the other week as well means that these are now the scores on the doors.....shaa ting!

Me +2 levels in 29hrs, Mike +7 levels in 22hrs, Paul +3 levels in 8hrs, Brad +6 levels in 15hrs, and Chris is finially in the game. Also note that Brad and Chris, both Snipers at heart, have now been catergorized as different classes due to the highest score in their fields - probably due to the fact that quite a few maps/servers limit Recon to 3/side.

Although Mike, Paul and Brad seem to be nipping on my heels, take a look at the scores. I am a million+ points ahead of Mike - he will find out soon that the levels he has been eating away at suddenly slow right down as he hits 26th, suddenly needing 100k+/level rather than 40k.

So what about Dragon Age II then? I fall into that thing where I have a new game that I like and so don't play it. Yes yes, that makes no sense at all, but it means I want to savour it. I was actually waiting for mods and patches - the 1.02 patch came out the other day that supposedly fixed a ton of things, none of which I have seen yet, and it did not fix my 'rare and priceless book' for a quest that when I looked for it, found it in my junk pile. Rare and priceless my arse, and not fixed retrospectively in the patch. I may have to reload and go through that section again to see if it was fixed when you recieve it though.

I have applied a few texture mods to the game, but thats it really - there are some companion armour mods that I am looking at and will have a play around with at some point as the 'all in one jump suit' armour is an annoying feature and means that my companions are clones of everyone else's.

I am tempted to leave both Dragon Age II and BFBC2 alone for a while and play the Witcher and Gothic 3, bought at the Christmas Steam sales. Perhaps in my really long holiday that I have coming up over the Easter bank holidays.

April 15th: Day two of removing crap from the server room, and no more mice (a live one dropped out of a box I moved yesterday), dead or otherwise have appeared.

No-one likes surprise 'bills', but they are made worse when you already have budgeted a good chunk of your paypacket to things (MOT and new tyre) and then the extra bill comes along and 'steals' cash from your leftovers. My reminder for this website hosting renewal arrived in my email today, and so I decided to try that old chessnut of getting money off the £60/year renewal fee. That didnt work sadly, so I dropped my package from 5Gb/50Gb Bandwidth to 1Gb/5Gb which costs half the price.

I had upgraded from the basic to the next one up years ago as the basic was very stingy, around 250Mb/1Gb? and I kept exceeding the bandwidth. I upgraded, and along the way the price has risen but then so has the allowance. As all my little websites only add up to 150mb or so anyway, and I have nowhere near the traffic I had when the EQ site was popular, the £30/year package seemed far more palitable.

Talking of tyres (read back, I do mention it....) If you didnt know, then this could save you cash - simply book and pay for your tyres online at Kwikfit. My continental cost just under £70, but would have been £85+ to book/reserve online and pay in store, or if I had just walked into the centre, it would have been £100!

For me the price difference handily works out to be 'buy a tyre, and get a years web hosting for free', something I doubt you would see in any tyre fitting place....

April 14th: I have decided to name my own goals for Battlefield, feel free to use them for your own goals:

Medic Service Ribbon: Gold in the base 7 medic weapons.

Distinguished Medic Service Medal: Gold in all 11 weapons available to the Medic class, inc Specact and Vietnam.

Medic Special Service Cross: Platinum in 7 Medic Weapons.

Medic Good Conduct Ribbon: 600,000 Medic Points.

Medic Good Conduct Cross: 1 Million Medic Points.

Of my own goals, I have the MSR, and nearly the DMSM. Seems I have some work to do!

Its lunchtime here at work, and I am currently stripping out the server room as the once soaking wet carpet from the leak two months ago is finally being removed, so we are gloved (mouse droppings all over the corner areas and I also found a little mouse skeleton) and masked (I swear my dirty cough came from when I helped move all the server room back into a heavily air con and humidified room with still wet carpets) and I sit here typing, mourning the loss of my Kindle.

When did I get a Kindle you all cry together? Well technically, and its only technically, I didnt. I got one for my Mum, and helped her put some books on it, and I then had to test it, obviously. And test it I did, cramming in Joe Abercrombies 'The Blade Itself' into 4 days.

Someone asked me on the forums about the difference between reading on the Kindle and the iPad, to which I replied "To me they are two different products. The iPad for internet browsing, games and Comics, and the Kindle for books. I only read a book on the iPad for the book club thing as it was 70p, I doubt I would have bothered with an electronic version for £6 - I personally did not buy the iPad with books in mind.

Although I read a whole book on the ipad, it is too heavy? for comfortable reading - this sounds weird as I type it as most of my books are hardbacks and so probably weigh the same, but its the way in which you hold the iPad that makes it different for this purpose. The difference is slight, and could change over repeated use though.

The iPad backlight, which although did not make any differenece to me during the book I read, could be a problem to me after reading a few books - again it would require repeated testing.

I have had the kindle tucked in my bag for reading on the tube, something I would not do with the iPad either. I dont know if this is a cost thing - the Kindle is a sixth of my iPad, but possibly size comes into it as well.

I dont think I am getting my point across - but if I have a spare £100, or get it as a present, I would be very happy and not think 'why do I need this, I have an ipad' at all, and if you gave me both, with identical books loaded on it to read (ignoring the iPads obvious other versitle points) I would probably choose the kindle."

I miss its little monochrome pictures of Jane Austin already.....

April 11th: Another massive Battlefield post with nothing else, so feel free to skip - normal DnD or random nonsense posts will be resumed shortly.

The missus was away for most of the weekend, which meant that I crammed in just over 10 hours of BFBC2 play the last couple of days (not including my Dragon Age II hours as well.) Knowing that I would have a good session, I decided to aim for a few badges and Insignias (I was around 20k short of 32nd to start with), and racked up this little lot:

  • Hit 32nd
  • Long Service Light Weapons Compat (500 SMG Kills)
  • Long Service Surveillance Ops (100 Motion mine detects)
  • Long Service Tactical Weapons (500 Shotgun kills)
  • Combat Veteran (5000 kills)
  • Gold Grenade (huzzah!)
  • Gold AKS-74U
  • Platinum MG3
  • Gold Knife (8)
  • Gold Tank (7)

....which ended up putting me 100,000 into 32nd and only 60k left to hit 33rd.

Which means that my 'goal' of Captain (level 34) was a little short sighted - it was half a million points away at one point, and now is a mere 200k away. So here is my new revised list:

BFBC2 levels and Insignias

  • Major I (level 37)*
  • Distinguished Weapon Knowledge - Get all weapon bronze stars
  • Valorous Battlefield Knowledge - Get 2 platinum stars

My own Goals

  • Gold in all the Medic weapons - I am nearly done with this though.
  • The BF2 Meritorious Service Medal (my variation is 1000 revives/1000 repairs/1000 resupplies)
  • Gold all the Engineer Weapons*
  • 1 Million Medic Points.*
  • Gold the Specact Weapons*

* - New Additions.

To complete this I need 800k points, 300+ kills across all weapons for the DWK, Another Plat (probably from 100 knife kills, 150 Tank kills or 400 M60 kills), 70 kills for the last Nam Medic Gold, 70 Repairs and 700 resupplies for the BF2 MSM, 400+ kills across the Engineer weapons, 500k in Medic points, and 2 more Golds in Sniper and Assualt Specact weapons.

Spreading my kills over all the other weapons and classes means I am unlikely to hit the million Medic points, but who knows? It will be a piece of cake. :p

April 8th: 9 days is a long time in Battlefield bad Company it seems as we all have leveled, and some people have managed to cram in a ton of hours....

For reference thats me +1 level in 13hours, Sgtpaulus +3 levels in 6hrs, DeadEyeMichael +8 levels in 19 hours, and MadMcGlory +9 levels in 24 hours.

April 7th: I had my X-ray today and thankfully nothing obvious showed up. I am not sure if that was subconsciously giving me a mind fuck yesterday as I was really really bad - put it this way I was sick so many times (twelve) that I felt like I had a bad hangover suffering morning sickness all day.

Turn away if you are squeamish, but there's nothing like some sick induced comedy moments. After not making it to the sink and vomiting all over the floor, once I recovered I started to scoop it up to carry to the bin - much to the dismay of my missus. Four or five trips later I was then washing the floor with my t-shirt before washing the floor and then washing my top.

What? I was covered in my own filth anyway.

April 6th: Caught up with about six episodes over the last week now of The Mentalist and am sitting here watching episode 18 with what feels like man flu on top of my stupid puke cough. Just what I need....

Videoed myself coughing again but it was not a puker - I am likely to be back at the doctors tonight and hopefully I can 'perform' within the time frame of my appointmant as last time I complained bitterly about a cough that never materialised, which made me annoyed and looking stupid.

However it's not long before I do have another puker (two this morning) and once again vomit on myself. That never gets old I can tell you...although I would have preferred it down the couple of quid worth of T-shirt that I was wearing rather than the best part of a hundred quids worth of jeans. At least it was not on my ipad....

April 5th: Day 42 in the big brother lurgy house. Stuart is still feeling like crap during his episodes of coughing fits and feels a little tickily scratchy throat during the rest of the time. He has also taken another two days off work after a weekend of feeling like shit.

Battlefield is telling me I should be Captain in +37hrs with 166hrs total played but as I muck about with my own goals this is unlikely but still very doable before Novembers est Battlefield 3 release date.

I played more Dragon Age II as well and it's definitely more of a hackfest than DAO and I still don't like the modern menus nor the way the dps works - if I add a +3% damage item why does dps not increase? Why does a cold frost rune that does +4 not add to dps? Why bother to calculate or add an item with a meanigless stat and then not do it properly - the dps is more or less meaningless anyway and probably calculated against a specific mob, so why not reflect all changes even if it is a placebo effect?

I have been reading a book on my ipad - Hard landing by Stephen Leather - and it's not bad at all really, both the reading experience and the book itself. I have my Mums Kindle on order now, which should arrive by the end of the week, to test this with books as well - I am looking forward to it actually!

April 1st: Not an April fool honestly, unlike the BMW wedding limited edition cars, this is a genuine poster that I saw for London Zoo. It shows all the landmarks in a collage type way, with animals climbing buildings and walking around in the park etc. Then I saw a Little kangeroo in the bottom right corner, which appeared to have blood on its fur, and on closer inspection, a feral red eyed stare....its a fucking zombie Kangeroo!

I dont know about you, but I have booked tickets already...

March 31st: A few thoughts on what I would like to see for my gaming rig in the coming year (along with the Corsair 650D case as well) simply so I can reflect back on whether I actually managed to get any of things that are on my wish list as such. Its been a few expensive months for me to start this year, with my daughters Egypt trip, then the Clutch for the car using (stealing!) my cash, meaning that a new case and other bits and bobs I want have all fallen by the wayside.

PSU

A new PSU for my gaming PC. I dont actually need one, but I need a modular one for my HTPC, so rather than spend £70 on a decent one for that, its better to buy an upgraded version for my gaming PC and then move the modular one I have in my PC to the HTPC.

I am looking at the Corsair HX series, probably a 750 or 850 model at around £110.

The reason I need it for the HTPC is purely because of the mess of cables inside. To make sure the HTPC is quiet and has good air flow, I have jammed all the cables into the space where the drives go, meaning I have no room for more hard drives. A modular PSU will remove a hell a lot of cables in my HTPC as the PSU is an old but brilliant Tagen. It also has the 20 - 24 pin adaptor block on top of the long SATA/Molex extra cables.

HTPC Keyboard

Dropped one to many times onto a hard wood floor, my HTPC keyboard gave up the ghost not long ago, and although I can VNC to the HTPC to move stuff about, I do miss the keyboard I had.

Another Keysonic will do the trick.

pic

Headphones

The Roccat Kaves are my current choice at around £66. I have been looking at these and the Corsair HS1's, which various people rate better than the Kaves. I tried both of them on in PC World, and the Kaves on my smooth shaven head felt more comfortable.

Oh, and of course, it has that all important blue light! :p

Cables

More of the braided cables such as those to the left - I have spent around £25 on these already, they are sitting under my computer desk waiting for my new case, I just need another £25 worth or so to finish things off.

Lastly, my big PC upgrade to Sandy Bridge - An Asus P67 board (£150ish), a 2600K (£240), a new heatsink (£35) and 8Gb of Ram (£100) I think - although I will then also need a 64bit copy of Windows 7 (£70) as well as my Windows 7 is only 32 bit.

The PC upgrade other than the 64bit OS is all subject to change - by the time I get round to it, it will likely to be around September, and by then the board that I currently like may be gone or a better one available, the prices will all change, or the full i7 replacement - the LGA2011 would have been released or at least information leaked on it, meaning I may hold off again depending on how far behind I think I am.

As a very rough estimate, I reckon it will be Case, cables, keyboard and headphones by August, around £300 of kit, and hopefully the rest of it in the next few months after that. Tune in over the coming months to see if I 'get away' with spending £900 on computer bits over the next 8 months, or whether the bloody washing machine, fridge and cooker win and I spend more that £900 on them instead.

March 30th: I forgot to add that I finished off Medal of Honor (2010) as well. I bitched and moaned my way through it - I have collated my thoughts from the AVForums thread below and only really wanted to finish it to remove it from my PC, and against the possibility that they added the beta BF3 key at the end of the game hidden in the credits or something. Its a long rambling sprawling fucking winge, so here I go.....

Only just started the game but already annoyed by the dog horrible graphics, even with everything on High and AA 'on'. On?!!? FFS! - this is 2010, even the textureless mess that was Rainbow Six Vegas had the option of up to x4 AA, 'on' is a fucking insult.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 has really spoilt me, even ignoring the graphics for the moment, as I am talking about the sounds - the guns in MoH sound really weedy and not very effective at all. I lose myself in the game for a little while and get a little more impressed by the slow mo action bit, it was quite cinematic....but over far too quickly and also I dont think was repeated either.

I was not happy with the different graphical engines either - I loved the MoH series for its single player game, where its legacy lies, not a refresh to cash in on its long lost cousin, the COD series. Having a seperate engine for the MP game, and using that better engine for MP is a smack in the face really, and I doubt I will buy another MoH game until I know that some love has been given to the SP mode.

Time passes.

I continued playing, but I was still struggling with it. At times I feel like I am playing Dragons Lair - move, wait wait wait wait, jump left! Not impressed.

Add to this random horrible graphic glitches such as the sparkly jaggies round the character on the quad bike level and I continued to be annoyed by the rigid structure of it all. I arrived at a location and did not catch what was said, so jumped down from a ledge and went to open a door. It was one of those usual doors you get in a video game, ie does not open nor allow any interaction with it, and so I went round the corner, to find terrain boxing me in. So I moved up higher and tried to jump a low fence into the stream, but an invisible wall that was higher than the small wall I could actually see stopped me.

Angrily I run back to my mate, who suddenly proceeds to continue with the conversation and tells me to take out a bloke on the wall, who magically appears like the shop keeper in Mr Ben, before we head to the previously unopenable door and walk through it. Why did it just not penalise me for not taking out the sniper, rather than drag me screaming down its rigid structural path?

I continue to be fucked off that I had to turn everything down from HIGH as the framerate suddenly plummeted below 15, meaning it was unplayable. After a week or so to calm down, I gave it another chance and suddenly found myself getting caught up in it all - telling myself that this is more an interactive film than a sandbox type game and to live within its boundaries.

Then the game spolit it for itself, and just locked on me - all my team are looking at me waiting to do something, and I am just looking at a burning building, with all the men against walls etc, and I am stuck as I cannot advance onwards due to the terrain boxing me in, and the fact that I must be the only special ops bloke who cant actually climb a wall and have to rely on the 'buddy system'.

You can tell me straight boys, did they only bring me along on this Tour of Duty to forfill some equal oppurtunities checkbox somewhere? Do I have ricketts? I tried it again and it was just a glitch, and played through smoothly this time. But we had to have another - "I saved your ass!" then yet another shortly after that - why cant I save someone for a change?

Then yet another section where rather than you run off and go the wrong way, it puts a small ledge in your path, meaning your crippled legs cant climb or jump over it, forcing you to go one way, yet once you complete that, the ledge myseteriously disappears!

I know I am having a pop at this game left right and centre, and I would love to say its excellent, but sadly, it fails on so many levels. This game is so linear, we should stop using the expression "..as the crow flies.." and use "...as Medal of Honor pushes you through the game..." instead. I admit, its not as catchy, but you will get the hang of it.

Another week or so passes.

I got caught up in the massive firefight and just kept getting killed, and more annoyingly, getting killed because like a real human, I wanted to try and survive, and not stand in a broken up shed while 400 men run at me with RPGs. You try and sneak round the side for cover, but this is not allowed, and so you are instantly blow up or sniped, but not if you stay were you have been told to despite being in the open. You also move slowly (I am hoping its my imagination) when attempting to move away from the invisible box of were you are told to.

Another few goes and I got through it all and then got to be a more exciting helicopter pilot, but even this is spoilt as they changed the way the keys work. You set the keys to scroll up for different weapons that works on everything apart from the helicopter, which forces you to press 4 to use a weapon. Sadly this section turns into something from Dragons Lair as I mentioned before, press button a.........now! and then move, and press button b............................now! I give up. I just want this off my hard drive, and hope I dont have to install it again to get my BF3 key.

Another week passes.

Despite all my slagging off of the game, I really really like the story, and how it all gells together, but, and its a but the size of Big Moma, the game is so rubbish. Pushed along to try and create tension, you end up feeling like you have zero control over the game at all. Why are my men lost? Is it because I failed to shoot down all the randomly spawning RPGS? No, its because even if I was an OCD teenager with reflexes quicker than a black mamba I still would not have done it because its part of the story.

One minute I think the graphics look quite nice actually, but then it randomly glitches to no texture at all. I have nearly finished the game, and its STILL telling me to 'PRESS LEFT CTRL TO GO PRONE' right across the middle of the screen to go prone. You cant have immersion (in their terms means to be more like a interactive film than a game) and stupid screen message hand holding at the same time. Why do I suddenly have a big arse sniper weapon for certain sections, but have mislaid it for others?

Another week passes.

Well its all done.

A last little moan as the knife 'all exciting section' suddenly disappears and then is replaced with a silenced pistol (wtf?) and then suddenly...

...it all gets really good.

The last tiny bit of the game is exactly the same as before, but it just works properly as you fight your way up a mountain. The storyline really works, and you don't feel forced at all.

So did I change my mind about the game overall? No, sadly not. The story has been brilliant, and if it was a film, I would be thigh slapping my way through the action - I genuinely thoroughly enjoyed it, but it would been a film with a brilliant story, good actors and let down by being on a very cheap budget with rubbish special effects.

A few changes to the storyline, an engine that is not 5+years old, weapons that sound better, weird controls that have not been tacked on as an afterthought......it could have been very good rather than 'meh'.

I have MW2 and will be playing that after I finish WaW, and I do need to finish off the BFBC2 single player as well, and I am looking forward to testing them against MoH to prove that my beloved fps genre is not going to the dogs for its single player experience simply to churn out multiplayer maps.

March 29th: Chapter 18 - "Are Six Heads better than One?" is up.

Battlefield stats as of yesterday for future reference. Hopefully we will get some more games in as a group, and I think Mike leveled last night as well.

March 28th: I have been back at work for a week now, and although the cough and its extra bonuses are still in effect, they are alot less often, more like once every 60 - 90 mins rather than every ten minutes.

The efforts of Paul and I have finally born fruit as Brad is now playing Battlefield BC2, even if he is slighty twisting things to say its our fault, we told it was not all that good! We even managed to get Mike back on board as well, although his broken mic was driving me mental with its constant static last night as all four of us had a 2hr session, communicating through xfire.

I am an hour or two of play away from 31st level now, and I also made my list of things that I want to get done before we all jump ship to BF3:

BFBC2 levels and Insignias

  • Captain (level 34, some 500,000 points away for me)
  • Distinguished Weapon Knowledge - Get all weapon bronze stars
  • Valorous Battlefield Knowledge - Get 2 platinum stars

My own Goals

  • Gold in all the Medic weapons - I am nearly done with this though.
  • The BF2 Meritorious Service Medal - my variation is 1000 revives/1000 repairs/1000 resupplies. I currently need 150 repairs and 750 resupplies.

I also found out my level history by play time as well - 29th level was approx 1 million points, and to get to Captain, I will need a total of 1.8m...

  • 17th - 31:46
  • 20th - 38:37
  • 24th - 51:02
  • 25th - 54:03
  • 26th - 63:16
  • 27th - 74:36
  • 28th - 81:10
  • 29th - 100:04
  • 30th - 107:47

In other news, Gadget Friday has been and gone, with the Nintendo 3DS and the iPad2 released on the same day. I largely ignored the iPad2, not that I had the £250+ it would have cost me to sell mine and rebuy one exactly the same with slightly better specs, but because it really isnt that much better. Now I would say that obviously, but its (quite a bit) faster, (slightly) lighter and (alot) thinner - only one of those I care about, and I care not a jot about the rubbish camera's that have been added. No better screen was added, and no larger capacity models either.

So, this Apple fan will be happy to skip the iPad 2 and to satify my Apple kit yearly quota will instead bag a iPhone 5 when they appear in July.

March 27th: I have been playing a lot of BFBC2 recently, so no time for Dragon Age II - but this is fine, as I like to drag out games I like anyway. I know I have moaned a bit about various changes from Origins to II, but I will get to the end of Act I and then hope for a patch to address some things - one can only hope its a massive retexture to the dungeons so they dont look like they were all built by the same builders, but I think I may be waiting for a patch called Dragon Age III for that.

I also need proper 11.4 drivers to appear, to help with some performance issues, but I would have thought a DAII patch would solve these rather than drivers. Oh, and also I want to give them time to create another DLC, and some fan mods that made the first game better as well.

More on my Dragon Age II comments and thoughts so far here.

March 26th: What do you think is too much to spend on razor blades? £9 for four, or a razor and a single blade for £11 is beyond me - I expect the razor free when I buy blades, not pay around £8 for it!

I personally have a rule to only buy them when they work out to be £1.75 or less, and never buy the ones in packs of three.

Why not the three packs I don't hear you cry? Well they don't sell them in threes normally, so why are the special cheap packs done like this? I belive its because they are using seconds or they are recycled or something and if they made these into packs of four, it would be too easy to get them mixed up with good ones.

So my advice to you is only buy razors at half price and never blades in three packs as I guarantee they are made of old man toenails and the sharp bits of a blister pack that rip your hands to pieces when you try and open it. No thanks are necessary, I am happy to provide this detailed level of professionalism as a public service.

Oh, and I watched around 25hrs of Lovejoy and one and a half seasons of AD while I was off.

And lastly, my case has finally been released! The Corsair 650D that I have been patiantly waitng for! Just my luck that it was now that my car had 'something funny' going on with it, and rather than the ever so lucky response of "....it was only a clip mate, call it £20!" it was actually "...you clutch has gone, sorry." and cost me more than two cases added together and the rest of the special cables I have been buying.

Maybe next month......assuming the poxy washing machine holds out....

March 15th: Bought Dragon Age II from Steam (Play had it for £35, Steam £30) so got the Steam version and then the DLC for free (well thats how I worked it out anyway). Let the mutton chops moustaches begin!

A pic from the demo which I played through a few times - I am a female Rogue here (on the left) with Isobella from DAO appearing on the right. Surprisingly, many pictures of Isobella have appeared prodimantly throughout all DAII threads.....

March 12th: My TV watching over the last week and a bit (when I am not so stunned by coughing fits and cant move and so end up watching Jeremy Kyle) has been Arrested Development and Lovejoy, as well as reading a lot of comics on my iPad.

A random thought that I had after I woke in a coughing fit was "..do we consume gold?" Gold is finite, ie we cant make it, and there is a finite resource (what we have mined, and whats too mine), but is gold ever destroyed, meaning that the amount we have go down quicker than we mine it? Do we use gold to create something that when that item breaks, we cannot get the gold back to recycle? Is gold used in things that break?

DnD this weekened, but I am too bloody ill. I dont think I have ever cried off a DnD session before, and I dont like it. Ooo, I have found a bit of custard on my arm......

March 11th: Still coughing badly, but it is not as relentless as it was. I was coughing approx every 10 minutes a few days ago - I actually wrote it all down on my phone, but now it is less, and I am still really drained when I do cough though. For those who want to know the gory bits, I now have a little 'flemmy' element to my cough, but rather than having a horrible boogey or groll like flem, its more like custard, which I am trying to work out if thats bad or not.

If I was coughing up greenies, I would not think anything about, it, but Ambrosia Custard? If you could think of all the fluid bits in your body, you would think the horrible bits are all grolly, while the nice bits are custard, so am I coughing up good bits? I have kind of stopped looking at my hands looking for blood though.

March 8th: Is my inhaler doing something? I had a good nights sleep, and am coughing less, seemingly every 30 mins rather than 15. I also had a shave for the first time in 10 days, and have enough hair to make a small dog, or a massive moustache for a small person.

Sorry, I just ruined the illusion of 'getting better' as I had another coughing explosion and had to wipe the screen.

I have become so used to watching DVDs / Blu-Rays on my HTPC, that I forgot all about the stupid theft trailers that are on DVDs when played on a normal DVD player. ANYDVDHD screens out all that beginings, so my Arressted Development DVDs I have to watch the "You wouldnt steal a car...." crap, and other warnings about theft. I know this has been said a thousand times on a thousand forums, but did they really think that people who copy and rip DVDs would copy that warning as well? I bet when they thought it up, a work experience lad said exactly they same thing and they laughed at him. They Laughed!

Oh, and Dragon Age II out in a few days.......

March 7th: Doctors has been and gone, and apparently I had a lung infection, and now I have an inhaler. Now I think back on it, it propably was all the water damage in the server room - that will teach me not to lick the floor to see what damp tastes like.

March 3rd: Well my cough has come back with a vengeance, and I have been off all week with a stupid explosive cough. What's worse is not that it brings me to the point of a headache, but that I have this little gay ending to my cough, a "..ah, uhhhhhhh...." that causes my daughter to burst out laughing in sympathy.

I get no sleep during the night, as I cough myself awake, and only sleep between 7 and around 11. Then I cough during the day, which progressively gets worse and worse, until now, at around 10pm, I am knackered, and my head is buzzing.

You would think that I have done loads while I have been off as well, but no. Probably only watched a bit of a film or one tv show per day, as I can't concentrate, and kind of mope about a bit. I have played a bit of computer, some battlefield and some Company of Heroes, but I speak a few words only, as anymore that "tank coming to base B" causes a coughing fit that only sees me dead as I stop looking at the screen and am checking my hand to see if I am coughing up blood yet.

Doctors on Monday, hopefully they can give me something to get rid of it...

24th Feb: Details of new games that have got me all moist - Battlefield 3 and Dragon Age II. The demo is out for DAII which I downloaded last night to play today, and a taster and very small snippet video is out for BF3. Altogether now, Dun der nun der Dun DUN!

Details can be found on the Madness website where I have posted links etc.

23rd Feb: New Blu-Ray releases of Nausicaa and Laputa Castle in the Sky available. A perfect accoumpliment to my Region 3 Japanese import DVDs that I paid £15-20ea for about 6 years ago, these cost around £50 ea! Yikes, but they sure are pretty....

The trouble is its not just one is it? The others I would buy as normal Blu-Rays, like Nausicaa here for £14. Laputa, Porco Rosso, Spirited Away, Mononoke, Kiki all deserve the best editions, taking a £50 purchase to £200? over the next year or so, as indications are that they will be released chronologically, four a year. Tune in next pay day when I say I have Laputa in the post!

21st Feb: First day of Half term, servers down for maintenance, a few odd jobs to do and rooms booked meaning I cant get to do any of them. Oh well, looks like I am editing Tenpast's Meanagre of creatures into a customisable Excel spreadsheet then.....

16th Feb: Following on from my 'Two Words' from earlier in the month, I found Lego Batman, sadly too late, as an original Lego Batman or the brilliant Joker will cost you around £25 to £50 a piece. You know I will get one dont you....

15th Feb: Thought for the day: Why do we know when Jesus was born but can't pinpoint his death within a 8 fucking week period? Ponder that sinners!

14th Feb: Tom hardy playing Bane in Chris Nolans last Batman film? Get in there!

13th Feb: Its been one of those unique weekends, that combination of things that mark it different from every other. on Friday as mentioned our server room at work was flooded and if it was not for my bosses quick actions, things could have been a lot worse. Yes this is the boss that I normally moan about but he deserves the props were it's due. Its hard to quantify just how bloody tough it would have been to recreate a 500 PC domain with the main servers sitting knee deep in water, with new servers required to be order, OS installed, devices attached and then the data to be put back and then a bloody lot of configuration work.

Thankfully we did not need this and so after checking that the servers all worked ok on Friday, we set to work cleaning out the wet room. Three humidifiers were set to work all day Friday and continued through the day on Saturday, and here I am at work on Saturday, moving all the servers back onto pallets to raise them off the floor.

A floor that stinks of wet water and will have to have all the floor ripped up at some point as well. Lots of humping servers back into position, recabling and testing, and if the room was not so damp and horrible, it would look a lot tider as well.

Then on Saturday night I popped my bingo cherry. Proper bingo mind, not seaside bingo but suprisingly mental as they shouted numbers at you in quick fire succesion.

I then topped off my weekend with shopping at the 'smelly shopping place' (Galleons Reach to you, named as it is next to a sewerage plant), and a Internet session with brad and Paul on company of heroes. Ok, maybe Saturday was unique, and not Sunday. However, this exact time last year, I was in work on Saturday and Sunday (valentines) working on the Servers running upgrades....so maybe Saturday was not that unique either.

12th Feb: Server room flooded. All morning was spent running round like a headless chicken to make sure the servers booted up ok, and the rest of the time spent reading DnD stuff as we were booked in to sort it out over the weekend. I also wrote some more of Chapter 18.

8th Feb: I dont like the latest in the series of Paul Whitehouse Insurance adverts, where he plays the Dad. It makes me feel funny.

7th Feb: Angry Birds Scores, damm Rob for getting all three stars in all levels! 159/189, 99/126, 86/135, 104/135, 0/135. The 0 is a new theme, the cowboys, and I forced myself to not start that until I had more than a 100 in all the other levels, then get a 100 in Cowboys, then set myself another goal rather than just try the same level over and over again.

5th and 6th of Feb: LAN session at Brads, played Company of Heroes and Left for Dead 2. More info on the Madness forum - but it was bloody brilliant, and hopefully I have put to rest the painfull bullying jibes of 'lightweight Stu' after my recent not quite 1am bailout at the last LAN session, as I rocked on until 08:45 Sunday morning. Rock on!

27th Jan: Stumbled across the comics from Cyanide & Happiness, which are just brilliant, and suitably disturbing at the same time.

Like this:

Two words.....hold on, I have just realised what a stupid expression that is. I have used the obvious lead into something that deserves your attention to warrant the expression 'two words' by actually saying the words 'two' and 'words' which cunningly equals two words. Surely the phrase should be 'four words' which is the two words 'four' and 'words' and then the two words you want to say.

And now I can't prefix it with anything either, for instance if I say "and back to my original point, four words, " and then add the two words I want to say, I have actually said ten words...... The English language is tricksy, and not helped by stupid phrases that don't make sense. To conform, and not be Mr Pedantic, I will play along.

Two words: Lego Ninja.

Lastly, I am off to see Joe Abercrombie tonight at Forbidden Planet, and I finally have my Inception Blu-Ray. Huzzah!

26th Jan: For some reason I have replaced my normal standard curse for anything non specific (ie not at anyone) from "..for fucks sake!" with the more random "..fuck nuggets!"

A simple question, why?

In other news, my desk has just as much stuff on it now as it had before I tidied it up, and I upgraded my HTPC and my PC, moving drives and data around - check my threads on Brads website for more details.

25th Jan: The Star wars Blu-Rays are out in September and although I won't buy episodes 1 to 3 at first, I know I will cave in at some point.

My problem is that they would have needed some serious work done on them though - Episode 2 was on TV the other day and some of the scenes in the arena near the end were painful to watch as they layered multiple computer effects on top of one another - some of the robots were made to look better by being obviously on a blue screen background of the arena itself, which I doubt was as intended.

Mr Lucas has the cash, and the knowhow, so has he gone back and redone all of the computer animations? Time will tell.

Episodes 4 to 6 will be day one purchases obviously, but what versions are they? Theatrical, or the 30 year anniversay editions with Greedo firing first? Oooooo......I can hardly wait.

And where are the Indy films? Except 2 and 4 I don't like those ones. Temple of Doom because of the annoying Chinese kid and weak story (I cant remember specifics, but I know the other two rank much higher for me), while Crystal Skull (and its appalling blue screen work) is bettered by so many other films of the genre, including the Mummy films (the first, possibly the second but the third would be pushing it), Tomb Raider (one, and possibly two) and the national Treasure films, both of which were better.

24th Jan: Went to have a grand watch of Inception on Saturday, only to find out that my cunning purchase of the blu-ray for £10 from Morrisons had no disk in it.....

Thankfully I remembered that we had also bough some other specific bits (paid by cash and could not find reciept) and the nice lady at Morrisons found the purchase and so I can pick it up in the week.

Huzzah for Morrisons!

16th Jan: You all know how much I know about football, so I long ago bought a football app for my phone to at least try and know who plays for what team. The app cheers as a goal is scored and alerts me telling me the goal scorer’s details, and the idea was that I would at least get an idea of who the England players actually played for and determine their relative clubs record.

Today, just as I was sorting out my daughter’s Tiffany necklace, the lady looked funnily at me as when I handed over the necklace, there was a loud cheer from my groin area. This timely cheer has happened a few times, a good example being the time was I was having a heated discussion and my well thought out reasoning was punctuated with a cheer to show just how well they thought I did.

This however pales into comparison with what is likely to be the best opportune timed cheer ever, which happened in the toilet. Yes you can tell where I am going with this already can't you? I laid a massive dog egg, and just as you settle into that warm glow of a job well done, I got a rousing cheer from the football crowd as well. Wiping a tear from my eye and after I had finished laughing, I stood, took a bow, and then wiped my arse.

15th Jan: I grudgingly conceded that my gaming desk was a bit of a mess, and so had a tidy up - how can something half the size of an ironing board accumulate so much crap? Disks, paperwork, my passport, some games, receipts, cufflinks, Molton brown after shave....Its all clean now, but I expect it to last around ooo, 37 minutes after I start another couple of hour playing session. 

With a LAN session coming in the next few weeks, me and Brad had a jolly good time playing Company of Heroes fighting the naughty Germans. I am glad I managed to get this session in, as at one point I had set my machine gun turret facing the wrong way and in my brief play of the tutorial games did not even know the proper way to create my army - put it this way, the last time we tried this at a LAN session a while back, I had loads of basic men running at tanks and dying horribly as I did not know how to upgrade to better platoons or even trucks....

By the end of our few hours play I had a far better idea and I intend to experiment with my specialities rather than keep choosing the Heavy Tank path. I scored well in my games with Brad, but at times I had no men and one tank compared to Brad's massive army - but apparently the different armies do work in different ways, as the US are more vehicle based... well that's what I tell myself anyway.

14th Jan: On thursday I did far more than my normal DIY skills allow as I put a picture up and also a bulb in the outside light. As you can guess from this strenuous activity, I needed to lie down for a lengthy period afterwards. 

The week ended with me sloping off early despite the audit to go and buy a 2Tb hard drive for my htpc. I then spent all Friday night copying files across from the multiple hard drives to the 2Tb one to consolidate everything and I am now back to 2 drives inside. I can fit 5 in there, but it affects cable management and cooling, so better to have a few larger ones than a hodge podge of different sizes.

I will then grab another one in a few months just to make sure I am kind of future proof ..... well for a while anyway. I took loads of pics as usual as I took the opputunity to clean out the dust bunnies and redo the cables to try and fit everything in just nicely - the older style PSU I have in there currently is 20 pin rather than 24 and so needs an adapter, and also is non modular, adding to the amount of redundant cables inside. This then leads to a dilema - do I buy a little Corsair 450 for my HTPC for about £50, or spend £120 on a big Modular PSU for my gaming PC and move the modular PSU in that to my HTPC?

The 1Tb drive I removed will go in my gaming PC to help give me some space, as I am running dangerously low, as my steam folder is so large, and the rest of it is full of comics. 

12th Jan: Day three of the audit, and as expected things become rather paranoid when you add up your jobs for a time frame such as morning to lunch and they don't come anywhere close to the actual time that has passed. Take this morning for example, where I have dropped an hour and a half within a 4 hour slot. How is that possible?

With one chapter under my belt I will get cracking on more - with only six completed last year, I need to better that, and I am nearly at the point in which I stopped writing them in my notebook and typing them on my iPad instead. This should mean that half the work is done already, but I am sure to prove that theory wrong for sure.

My Steam rating slipped down to 4 with around 15 hours played in the last two weeks, and I brought it back to 5 hitting 20 hours, but with Fronter work and the stupid audit pissing me off, I have reverted back to that thing were I read up on things rather than actually do anything. Put it this way, rather than be Batman or Gordon Freeman, I was watching video reviews of PC cases. How am I supposed to raise my rating this way, and revert back to the 30hrs or so I had over the chrimble period? Perhaps I should take some time off with Stress, like my Boss did. A nice four month exile would do my profile a world of good!

11th Jan: Chapter Seventeen is up!

10th Jan: Went through a large section of editing Chapter 17 last night, so that should be up soon. Especially as I am embaressed to say that I first started converting it from note form to written form back in August last year!

Having one of those mildly fucked off days today, as Monday the 10th Jan is the start of a two week audit, which involves time management, writting everything you do down. Now you may question why this annoys me, as I do write more or less everything down anyway -it just does is my only answer. I used to have a job in which I had to do this for a few months, and it gets really tiring, working your nuts off for 8 hours, yet your total allocated time relating to jobs adds up to only 5 hours. On less busy days, this time decreases obviously, so you end up second guessing yourself and worrying what its all being collated for. Its bureaucracy at its worst (and yes I did look up the spelling), and I fucking resent it.

I finally got a new man bag as well - I was after a Lyle & Scott one, that went down in the sale and I was going to pull the trigger on (or rather the missus was as an extra Chrimble pressie) but when I saw it in the cloth, I didnt like it. Luckily, Covert Garden has a Fred Perry as I liked one of theirs, and so got that instead.

9th Jan: I met a real life dementia sufferer today and to say the conversation was random is an understatement. Its not just the tangents that they go on, but as she talked, topics flitted from one thing to another, mid sentance. So not just talking about a fish living in a tree, but proper random, something like "...and I said, yes, whats her name she started, and so we lifted it up, and that thing was over there, ambulance."

The lack of recognition of objects was also discorcerning to see, as well as the transgretion from herself to being her own mother or daughter. This is me we are talking about, so yes I was amused in that warped way - but she is not related to me or mine, being a friend of the missus' family, however, I cant think how I would feel if this was someone I once knew.....

Bit more Half Life Source and watching a new series called No Ordinary Family, which is very good, and I am back to the chapters now that I have caught up with some Fronter work I needed to finish. I did six chapters last year, heres hoping I beat that total this year.

Oh, and I picked up a new mini 'last year' a custom Harsaaf, painted by the bloke from Orc's Nest. I picked a model from the Reaper minatures that was closest to what I wanted - there were no humanoid demon type mini's to choose from, so I picked a human and asked for him to have a red head.

Very happy!

Lastly, I forgot to add this last year, but Johnathon Ross ran a program called 100 Greatest Toys before Chrismas. Now I dont agree with how some of the consoles were lumped together while others were not - I think the various Playstation were, while the Wii and the Gameboy did not - they should all have had there own spot as such. What was surprising however, was that Dungeons and Dragons came in at number 3. Three! Bloody hell! Nice one Mr Gygax!

1st Jan: Happy new Year!! Continued the last of my Steam Sale Madness by buying Company of Heroes and Half Life Source (it uses the HL2 engine). All done with my spending now, and this means I now have purchased/been bought 12 new games over christmas - not to bad at all!

My Steam account shows 22+Hrs played in the last two weeks, and that does not include BFBC2 which I played for a few hours as well, so I think I can say I chalked up my gaming hours I wanted to, and I still have two more days to crack on with this.