2013 News

Tuesday 31st December: So, its all over, this year we called 2013. What happened in this year other than me not playing games that I wanted to, nor writing chapters that I should have done? How about a little recap for you.....

  • January - The Horse meat scandle - it must have been a slow day in the news which then escalated - havent the French been eating Horse for years?
  • February - The Pope resigned, something that last happened hundreds of years ago, and people went mental. They then watched a chimney for weeks to see whom had been picked next.
  • March - The Jimmy Saville peado cases continue, with more well known TV names of the 70's. Stuart Halls laughter on Its a Knockout now seems really seedy...
  • April - Thatcher died, and the song 'What does the fox say?' causes merriment for one or both of those statements.
  • May - Massive Tornado in Oklahoma, some people would class this ironic as a Bible belt is torn apart by an act of God...
  • June - Blured lines gets 28 million YouTube hits, I wonder why...
  • July - Andy Murray wins Wimbledon (the 'no English win for 70+ years' ignored as we now call ourself British to claim Murray under our wing) and we have a royal baby, well they do, not we - I meant it in the Royal sense obviously.
  • August - A month of Death, as Egyptians chop up Egyptians, and Syrians gas Syrians.
  • September - New iPhone releases, both just not enough for me to want.
  • October - The Government sells off the Post Office.
  • November - Doctor Who 50th anniversary - my first Doctor Who in ages, and I really enjoyed it!
  • December - Desmund Tuto died, but there was a comedy element added by the sign language man who knew no actual sign language, just waving his hands about and walking with his fingers.

For a more detailed and less opinionated read, take a look here.

Monday 30th December: This has been chopped up a bit as my Steam Played actually shows more, but I had an extra 4 games all of 3+hrs showing that I merely turned on to obtain cards to work towards the Snowglobes, so I end the year with two weeks of gaming that total approx 43hrs. Which is very poor to say the least.

The missus has mentioned my keyboard nearly every other day - which is quite weird to be perfectly honest as she has shown zero interest in anything to do with my PC previously - it lights up and looks brilliant obviously, and looks very smart when all the lights are out.

Wednesday 25th December: Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope Santa Jesus brought you all the gifts you deserve. I am retro actively typing this, but if updating on the day itself, would be tying it on my new keyboard, the Corsair K95. Loads of other little goodies as well, so pleased with my haul. Huzzah!

Tuesday 24th December: Merry Christmas Dad!

Friday 20th December: Last day of work, and forgive the bah humbug, but I just dont feel Christmassy at all....I hope to be proven wrong and full of chrimble cheer shortly though. The Steam Sale started as well, with Snowglobes earned from Voting, buying and completing badges, and this time, the globes expire as well as earn you items for the free to play games such as Dota.

Thursday 19th December: Been a little poorly for the last few days, so look at the state of my Steam gaming time - a mere 15hrs over the last two weeks!

Friday 13th December: Sod all the watching for stock on PS4's or iPad Retina, I am on Baby Roshan Trail of the Amantia watch. I waited for the big patch a month or so ago as I contemplated getting one, spending the best part of around £25 (I can sell my own normal one for £4.50ish, so net cost of £20), but after the patch, they went mental in price, hitting £50. Currently, one is available for £33...and no, I am not buying it. I know I have a habit of drunken DOTA buying at 4am, but I am never that drunk.

Thursday 12th December: I spent more time on pissing about with mods for Skyrim, getting all my mods up to date and then adding more and removing others than actually playing the game. Again.

Annoyingly, I want to play it, but I had performance issues, and then the game started to crash, meaning I again spend more time looking, tweaking, testing to get it to actually work. Fucking annoyed to say the least. It seems ok now, but I had to turn down the AA/AF from 16/8 to 8/2. Not that my cards cannot handle it, simply because the way the textures load into Skyrim mean that once the cap is hit, it can cause crashes because of how the engine was created.

Wednesday 11th December: More mucking about with Gothic II, and reading up on the latest 'best of' Skyrim Mods. I gave up in the end on G2- I managed to get Widescreen to work, managed to get a texture pack installed, but Gothic 3 and 3FG are far easier - and easier is subjective as the Gothic series is brutally rock hard anyway - to get into. Put it this way, I could not work out how to equip a weapon, and with no mouse menu support, I thought it was better spent of my time to play G3FG instead.

This is my latest Top ten played games on my Steam list, and I doubt I will see much change to be honest - I reckon Assassins Creed will jump a few places, and both Skyrim and DOTA will just get higher, but I can think yet of a game that will break into the 40+ hours required to get into the top 10 over Christmas, well by around the first week in Jan when I normally wrap up what I have been playing.

Tuesday 10th December: More Defense Grid last night, trying to beat SNATCH's score, and while failing, I did close the gap - moving from 65000th place down to around 4000th, so not bad really - thats globally by the way, not just amongst my steam friends....Oh, and I bought Gothic II Gold in the sale for £2, as its universally rated as being the best Gothic game.

Monday 9th December: Finished Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch, and very good it is too, another Folly book with Peter and all the mysterious goings on that the Folly cater to under the guise of normal police. Its not anything of the sort, but imagine Harry Potter grown up and being a Policeman, a fantastical world within London that he monitors for magical crime.....well something like that anyway. The series is good, put it that way and I will be on book four soon. I started the second book of the Peter Brett books, the Desert Spear, a follow on from The Painted Man.

Sunday 8th December: DnD today, and the events that will become Chapter 42 were chronicled. I also did some more xmas shopping in the morning, again surprising myself at my effectiveness at this time of the year. Hell, I never very effective, so any excuse to congratulate myself!

Saturday 7th December: Picked up the new car, huzzah! Then went xmas shopping, and feeling very drained and emotional after saying goodbye to a car we had owned for more than 10 years, went to bed early. Bless.

Friday 6th December: My number has been changed from EE to Vodaphone , so I have my 10 year old number once more, and I played yet more DG, completing a couple more levels and also redoing some earlier ones as someone was approaching my score. Still no gold medals though!

Also, I used my 'bare Detective' skills today as I followed a suspect via the trial of his spit. I would not have needed a DNA request as there was enough of it on the floor at quite even spaced points as I walked to work. Then, just as I thought I had lost him, I found more. I believe my suspect entered the tube station.....

This must in turn mean that I am getting old as I remember gobbing with gay abandon, or sitting on someones wall and spitting to make huge puddles which must have annoyed the owners of the wall immensely. Perhaps it was them that have tracked me down......hmm, perhaps I can go back and get that DNA sample after all....

Thursday 5th December: More DG, completed another level without losing a core, but still do not have a Gold medal yet. The next level is tricksy, with two paths to protect and no pathing means you have to get it right from the start, or in my case, experiment until you get it right, repeating the level frequently.

My iPhone went this morning (awwwww!), and I uploaded more than a 1000 pictures (built up over 4 years and almost all of them pictures of PCs and patch cabinets all related to work) last night. I also added a Yahoo App to manage my emails better as I missed the note section of Apple and its link to my account.

Oh, and I started on Chapter 29, entitled "Never interupt a Wizards Picnic" which has some other classic lines, including a corker from Chunk:

"Now they come", Chunk says, "now the Chunk is chained."

I continue my productive day at work which so far has mostly consisted of installing and reinstalling Adobe CS6 by managing my Steam Wishlist, removing a few RPGs that apparently were quite rubbish, and adding another couple that look quite good and looking for cheap Steam keys for COD: MW3.

Currently my Steam playlist (totalling 33hrs) looks like this - Walking Dead is fantastic and needs a return too - I think I am on episode three now of six currently.

Wednesday 4th December: Finished that DG level, and now on a really small one that seems to have very little in the way to re-route the aliens. It's so satisfying to fast forward through it all and have the aliens blasted to pieces...

Despite really trying to curb my eBay addiction, which really did work for nearly a week, I caved in when someone sent me a link to a charity event run by Joe Abercrombie. Yes I know I have all his books, yes, and some proofs, but these were the very limited Subterrean Press versions, signed, with illustrations.

I said goodbye to my phone today as well as it was recycled for use by another person and gives me some cash for Chrimblemass, or Coke and Whores, which ever takes my fancy.......which turns out to be another Abercrombie book. In the natural pause between me typing this section and checking my emails about how I want my Hanged to be dedicated, I went back to check what other books they had - no idea why, but anyhoo, lo and behold, a Sub Press Last Arguement of Kings popped up, not that long after money was deposited into my account for the afore mentioned iPhone.

Thinking it must be Karma, and I will say I deliberated for a few seconds (which is normally a few seconds longer than I would at any other time) I clicked buy now. Huzzah!

And last but not least, lets rewind back to September 2011, and recap on Chapter 28, entitled "Toad you not to go down there.." [mumble something about promising to complete the next chapter before Christmas so that I can have 4 chapters completed this year and not sink to an all time low of just three...]

Tuesday 3rd December: Defense Grid: Gold last night and no DOTA. For a game with so many levels and add-ons, it gets quite tough very early on...Loving the firepower poured onto the aliens, a burst of slow as the units burn, get lasered, electricuted, Lasered then meteored. I am only only level 7? and already played it about 6 times as I lose cores and want to finish it with a full 24 intact.

Monday 2nd December: Last day of the (very) late Autumn Steam Sale, which ends 6pm tomorrow, as well as all the download sites Black Friday/Cyber monday deals. I have bought myself Walking Dead 400 Days and Spelunky from Steam for £2 and £3.50 respectively, and Defense Grid: Gold from Amazon.com for £3, but have picked up a bargain or two for Christmas pressies, trades or for the AVF xmas lottery from various places.

Oh, and I have decided I will go DOTA cold turkey this week, I will let you know how that goes....

Sunday 1st December: Xmas shopping for me. Yes, I know this is pretty much unheard of, and I am as shocked as you are, as I would normally be saying this three weeks from now. However after some analysis, I bought nearly as much for me as I did others - either me taking advantage of the reminants of Black Friday, or purchasing on behalf of someone else for my own Christmas pressie's. Huzzah for self bought pressies bought with other people's money!

Saturday 31st November: Ooooo new car finally, and not a moment too soon, as our 12 year old car limps across the part exchange line.

Its now been a week with my Andriod phone, and you know what, other than Apples fantastic and seamless trasnfer of documents settings and contacts between phones, I have not missed it much at all. I was getting to the point where I played games less and less on my iPhone, and barely listened to music anymore, and as I could get no calls it was becoming dead weight in my pocket. Now the missus can contact me properly at home and work (unsure if this is a good thing? :p ) and my phone even pings again when I am still inside the underground station as it picks up 4g rather than about half a mile down the road.

Thursday 28th November: Slightly annoying about my new phone is my email account, that fails to sync which I am quite sure it did with no prompting whatsoever on my iPhone. Turns out I needed to set it to IMAP, rather than POP, and all seems ok now...

Wednesday 27th November: Played BF4 for the first time since my day off at the beginning of the month, and they still have issues with no sound on some maps, weird EMP scanning issues, client crashes and apparently one shot kills which I am sure were done to me all game (obviously! :p) - A patch is in the works (and to be fair they have patched server problems - crashes etc; a few times already) due next week.

The Steam Autumn sale started as well - very late this year but does coincide with all the Black Friday deals that pop up everywhere. Surely there cannot be much that I need for my 'collection'? You will be unsurprised to learn that I have already added a balance to my Steam account, and will likely top it up before the sale ends.

Saturday 22nd November: Dropped not just Apple, but EE/Orange as well today, grabbing a HTC One on Vodaphone. Cheaper, no upfront cost, more texts calls and data, not a bad bundle at all. Orange did the usual ".....is there anything we can do?" while I was trying to get my PAC and I left the man slightly stunned as I went in rampage mode, telling him that they had plenty of chances to get things right for me during the three or four times I called over he last few months, that my phone was basically useless for the last six months for calls at home or work, and that while they still have me tied to the account (the missus phone was also under me but different times) that they better sort that out otherwise I will be gone. I added that my loyalty was sadly overrated, that I have been with Orange for 10 years, and they couldnt give a flying fuck (I dont think I used the words flying fuck actually, but something similar) so why would I bother staying? I was rather unsuprisingly asked to be passed back to the CW assistant.

Monday 28th October: Its half term, and a huge storm beset the British Isles last night. Likenesses to the storm of '87 were made, but while devistating to those on the coast, it was not bad at all in London - transport was all delayed though as one would think due to be catious over the potntial trees on the line.

Battlefield 4 comes closer, released this Friday and some over eager people have booked the day off - what geeks! No, of course I havent....well ok, I have. Coincedental though! Oh, ok, its not. See you on the battlefield soldier!

The watch went back that I mentioned the other day - I have not worn a leather strap watch in years, and it just did not feel right, so I will be treating myself to a keyboard instead. I know they are not remotely alike, so I am still on the lookout for a watch - perhaps the baby jesus can bring me one.

AVF went live with an all new colour scheme and on the Xenoforum bulletin boards rather than the old BB boards, and I will get used to it I supose, but it is a little pinky for my tastes.

Games wise, I have played more DOTA and the patch is really throwing me off as I am playing just a little shite, Skyrim all seems fine and I think I found why my game kept crashing - but still testing. Path of Exile, the free ARPG moved out of beta and to Steam, so I played a bit of that, respecing and testing my character, and she seems fine - I just need to try and complete this quest I am on - I cant find the last bust!

Oh and in response to the benchmarks and price of hte new 290X card, what have Nvidia done? Lowered the price of the 780 to £400 to compete with it, thats what. I need to see some proper benchmarks, but based on the tiny snippets I have read if there are both equal price then I will take the card with lower noise and heat thanks if I was buying right now, which is the 780.

Lastly, I finished off the first draft run of Chapter 28, so hope to have that finished this week while I watch PC's image themselves.

Wednesday 16th October: Got some vouchers the other day from Amazon (thanks again!) and so treated myself to a new watch. Havent had a new one in aaaaaaagggggggeeeeesssss, and with other family members having nice ones, I was feeling rather left out, so this should balance things. Yes, I am aware of how petulant that sounds, but lets not go there.

In other news, why is this not allowed? It was a triple word score as well!

Monday 14th October: The AMD GPU range is apparently being delayed, well I say range, I mean the one or two cards that are not a rebadge or refresh of their existing 7 series. The 290X, the supposed Titan killer, is what we are all waiting for, and the only reason I say 'supposed' as we have not seen any real benches yet, nor even know the price! The launch party earlier in the month was a classic fuckup on almost biblical levels, as it showcased games and something to do with audio and nothing about the cards themselves as the NDA was still in effect, meaning the stuttering and quite frankly terrible speakers could not even talk about the kit they were holding a party for.

The only thing that was interesting was MANTLE, and how BF4 was implementing it, and how it acted like an OPENGL layer to communicate in some manner that would be far more efficiant. Later though, its revealed that MANTLE may actually be cross platform, and so NVidia may get it anyway, meaning its not an AMD selling point at all either. And today? Rumours that the 290X card have been delayed - they were due for release or at least the NDA was to be lifted tomorrow.

Sunday 13th October: I have had enough of Virgin and the stupid internet now, but it seems that after excessive testing that there is nothing wrong with the internet at all, but rather the wireless signal itself. I had heard (read) of problems with the Superhub, but with devices in the room being dropped and my gaming PC barely 15 feet away (and in direct line of sight rather than hidden behind a concrete wall or through a floor) I didnt think it would be that bad.

Tests proved otherwise though - as I used a cable trailing across the floor for many sessions and had no issues, but fire up DOTA and play over the air, and I am dropped quicker than something really rather hot. Another phone call to them and they offered me another router as an extender (another thing I had read and would have tried) as well as relocating the hub itself. I asked for a Superhub2 that again I had read was far superior than the original hub, but they wanted £50! Why when they were going to send me another hub? Off to Customer Services I went, and they could not provide it for free either, saying they can give me the router free, but not the engineer installation. I bring up that my Sky and phone contracts are expiring.....but still nothing. I dont want another bloody router hanging off the end of mine, so I say I would have upgraded to 120Mb and got the SH2 for free, but dont want to be signed up for another year if the internet is crap.

Something is now being arranged, so lets wait and see what happens shall we?

Saturday 12th October: With the missus away the weekend, I should have had a massive orgy of 'doing my thang' and I suppose I did really. The new season of The Mentalist had started so I caught up with that, watched more Smallville (up to episode 18 of Season 8 now?), then raged against Smallville (adding things that just infuriated me when they could have slightly done it differently without buggering up continuity - yes, Doomsday, I am looking at you) and played more DOTA obviously. I did actually play a little bit of Legends of Arelious as well to mix it up a bit.

I also had a tinker with my fan control, as my PC was being a little loud. I found that the fan splitter is misbehaving and had seemingly ramped up the speed of the fan, so it was on full tilt. I did not really get it resolved - and so settled for grumbling to myself about Gigabytes BIOS, and how I really miss the Q-FAN control from ASUS, before having to add the side fan to a molex connection.

Friday 11th October: I saw Boris Johnson on the tube, on his way somewhere, waving hello and giving a busker money, nothing to add really but to confirm that he does actually use TFL.

I still have not played more of the BF4 demo, and played more DOTA instead as I am enjoying the random games such as Single Draft (Pick one of three random characters) and Random Draft (Pick one at a time - much like Captains mode, but out of a pool of only 20? characters rather than all 100+).

Wednesday 9th October: Not played much of the BF4 beta at all - barely 4 hours as it was painfully laggy and buggy for me, stuttering to the point where I did not want to play for fear of ruining my expections for the non beta version of the game. I think I tried a few different servers over a few days and went the equivalent of 0/10 in every game. I dont care about dying and my KDR, but would prefer it to be through my lack of skill, not the server or internet fighting against me.

There was a patch in the last day or so that apparently has made a few improvements to the netcode, so I hope to get back on again before the beta runs out on the 15th.

Wednesday October 2nd: I built another PC over the last few nights, for DeadEyeMike's kids - they are just waiting on him to make his mind up on what GPU to buy so they can inherit his 460Ti hence the missing GPU in the pictire below. The cable routing is not so good with this case, and also, I did not have a second black SATA cable, so had to use a red one.

The specs are:

  • Cooler Master K350 Case
  • Intel i3-3220 CPU
  • Asus P8 H61 Motherboard
  • 4Gb Corsair RAM
  • Corsair HX650 PSU
  • WD Blue 1Tb HD
  • Windows 8 64Bit

Monday 30th September: Hate for an advert again surprisingly, the National Lottery at fault this time, with their wonderful catchy tune and their new prizes and increased payouts and the only time that the increase in price from £1 to £2 is mentioned is on a billboard in the back of the advert that flashes up for all of two seconds.

Battlefield 4 was available for preload yesterday, and so it was, and ready to play tomorrow, which it will be. Catching up on Smallville and other TV shows such as No Ordinary Family as well, to clear the backlog. Also, [insert promise that I will likely break regarding writing up the next chapter while paying attention to the fact that I have hardly written anything and surely the fact that we have only played two sessions should have meant I could have made some effort] and [bitch more about my phone signal and Orange in general while making noises about dropping Apple as my next phone until I see one and want it.]

Oh, and have a little chuckle on me.

Tuesday 24th September: It was like Christmas yesterday, as I had not one but four parcels delivered: Kindle case, Brent Weeks and David Eddings Books and my Batman Villians month covers.

The Brent Weeks Black Prism does not meet my high expectations though sadly, and it seems that like Prince of Blood by Raymond Feist is a book I will end up buying loads of times. For Black Prism, I had an edition that was a little mashed that I replaced, but accidently bought a US version. This is more or less identical (both are Orbit but has a slightly different 'Lightbringer 1' coloured band on the spine, and the US version mentions the New York Times where the UK version does not) but as it was not the UK, it 'troubled' me. So I bought another UK version, which is slightly pushed at top and bottom and has a bobble on the front cover near the spine, which is also 'troubling' me. Oh dear. Looks like I may have to get a 4th copy.....

Saturday 21st September: With one parcel missing and three undelivered, I am getting slightly pissed at the post office. Waiting on a book, my 3d Batman comics and a Kindle case for my Paperwhite, its well past postie delivery time as well...

I am working on Chapter 28 today, well for a hour or so anyway, and to get into the spirit of working on a two year old (Played 13th September 2011) document, I am watching a two year old TV program, episode 20 of Season 7 Smallville.

Thursday 19th September: Usual stuff really, bit of this, bit of that - been running iOS7 for around a month now and its really good, but I still think that when my phone contract expires next month that I will be stepping outside of Apple's walled garden into the Andriod garden next door to see if the grass is greener. The HTC One has caught my eye, and EE/Orange can quite frankly go fuck 'emselves after having a shite signal for the bext part of the last six months at home or at work, so I am likely to jump ship to O2 or Three.

We managed to play our second DnD session of the year - no ones fault, but I am sure I speak for everyone to say that we missed it terribly, even if I did argue myself into a massive headache that meant I stopped writing towards the end of the chapter and for the first time, had to flesh out the notes I took as otherwise the final version would have been a bit light.

More DOTA, more Skyrim, and started on Two Worlds II to hopefully have another game to cross off my list as completed.

Oh, bought myself an amp as well, to replace the Samsung Home Theatre speaker/DVD player which had started to have lip sync issues if left on for an hour or so. I replaced it with a proper amp, a Sony STRH520? £100 from Richer Sounds. I kept my speakers, and only the Sub does not work, which for the moment I am not worried about. Some new speaker wire and the speakers now work properly - surround sound actually dividing the sound to front and rear rather than the rear being a slightly muffled version of what came out the front. I can also now adjust volume for individual speakers, and change the pattern, meaning I can have voice come from all three front speakers. I am very happy so far, and while I definitely missed the bass from the Iron Man 3 Blu, the overall quality was better.

My Kindle paperwhite that had been in my drawer for a few months, after being charged to full was discovered to have light bleed - the lights at the bottom of the screen very pronounced compared to normal, even under low light settings. A webchat with Amazon at midnight one night provided me with some diagnostics, and when all that failed to make a difference, they sent me a new Kindle, which I am currently reading The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks on. Comparing the two, I found that if I dialed up the light to max (something you never normally do) my original one had pink splodges on, while the new one was an even white - so very happy - Amazon have not yet asked for the old one back yet either!

I still have my home made case (Plastic insert inside a velvet beer 'bag' (yes really) and I have an official Kindle case coming soon. Yes you can have cheap cases, but based on previous experience, a cheap Keyboard kindle case I bought for £8 lasted a few months, but the official one I bought to replace it lasted more a year, and still looked solid and had no ragidy edges when I sold it on.

Friday 23rd August: Another David Gemmell related item popped through my letter box, a box set of CDs narrating White Wolf. I dont think (yeah right) I will be collecting these, I just wanted one for my collection. I played some of the BF3 single player campaign, and also Max Payne 3 which sadly is starting to annoy me with the disappearing crosshair thing it does when you are trying to aim. When two or three shots will kill you, its frustrating to have to expose yourself before the crosshairs appear to then be able to aim properly.

As this is the last day of my hols, my steam hours show as dun dun der.......40.9hrs.

If you take out the 15hrs of DOTA2, then I am left with a paltry 25hrs. I only played BF3 for another 3 or 4 hours overall on assignments and the SP, so that doesnt bump it up either. So it seems I spent more time gaming when I am at work, which is quite frankly depressing. I did finish off all the TNG episodes and GoT though, which is something. The missus thinks otherwise though, and equates any time spent at all at the PC as 'gaming' so thinks I was non stop playing games all holiday, which is slightly annnoying....

Thursday 22nd August: The missus found out that a long lost relative was living not far from Brighton, so we went for a drive. She bottled knocking on the door, and so to ensure the day was not a wash out, we drove to Brighton allowing me to pop into Dave's the Comic shop and pick up Chew Vol 7 and Revival Vol 2 graphic novels.

Wednesday 21st August: Did some painting, tidying up the hall from when we got rid of our settee, which was massive and took a lot of too-ing and fro-ing to get out the door, and marked the paintwork on the walls and doors. So, its finally all cleaned up. My Heatsink also arrived, at 4pm, hence the reason why the painting was done first.

Check my build thread on AVF to see loads more pics, and it has helped the temps all round (Hard drive, motherboard, CPU and GPU), despite me not really caring too much (as long as it did not get worse obviously) and only wanting to install it to stop the side fan from pushing on the heatsink.

Oh and the car decided to break, but thankfully was just the water bottle that was not that expensive to replace.

Tuesday 20th August: My Swords of Night and Day Proof edition arrived today, and lovely it is too - pics will be added to my Gemmell pages later - I may have said this before haven't I?.

No news from Scan about there 'busy in the picking stage, so your order may be delayed', and when I contacted them later in the afternoon, I found that the memory card (that I only ordered to qualify for free delivery) for my camera was out of stock. Why not bloody tell me that in the first place?

Monday 19th August: I still feel like crap today. I dossed around and watched TV, hardly played the PC, read some early Order of the Stick. The usual cant quite concentrate on one thing, and not really commit to anything without moaning a lot, means I waste another day.

Sunday 18th August: I felt like crap all day today. I did finish TNG Season 2, which ended on a really crap episode that I dont recall seeing before, or perhaps I just washed it from my memory. Apparently, it was the product of a writer's strike, which also resulted in the series having only 22 episodes rather than 26.

Saturday 17th August: Bowling and Pizza today, redeeming some free games owed due to being mucked about the last time we went, and this time it happened again. Another set of free tickets are issued, plus the kids got about £15 worth of free credit in the arcade. We then confused the hell out of the girl serving us in Pizza hut, meaning I got a free pizza. Dont worry, karma caught up with us as the missus backed the car into a pole and damaged the rear bumper.

A few too many drinks with my brother later, then finished off Game of Thrones Season 2, plus some more TNG.

Friday 16th August: I got an email later in the day to say that my order has been delayed, bugger. More gaming and reading, then out for a quick drinkypoos.

Thursday 15th August: I am continuing my way through the second season of Star Trek Next Generation and there are some episodes I dont recall for some reason as I was sure I watched them all from the beginning. My Legends of the Drenai David Gemmell book arrived from the US this morning as well - I will add more details to my book pages later, and I have just ordered my new heatsink, the Thermaltake WATER 2 Performance.

Wednesday 14th August: Played lots of The Adventures of Van Helsing, a Diablo/Torchlight clone, which is not bad - I will give it a proper mini first impression review later - some more DOTA, a little bit of BF3 that annoyed me as I could not get many servers to appear, finished off MonkeyMadness' PC and then watched England (just) beat Scotland 3-2.

Tuesday 13th August: Usual pottering about on a nice relaxing day. I updated the software on my HTPC (StreamedMP, MediaPortal to 1.4 and TMT6), also AnyDVDHD, which has now beat Cinvina (DRM of some kind, but unsure what it actually did.) I watched (finally) the Batman Dark Knight Bluray (part one) and jolly good it is too, and also worked more on MonkeyMadness' PC.

Monday 12th August: A good PC playing session today and I finished off Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, which although short (I think Steam has me playing it for under 8 hours, but I am sure I played it longer than that?) was very good. While the majority of people think that the COD series is rehashed over and over again, and quite possibly is for the multiplayer side of it, the single player was quite good indeed. It was linear as a piece of string but it pushes you onwards, with action all the time, and a good storyline. Oh, and the credits were brilliant as well.

However, the storytelling pales into comparison to the other game thats on my 'finish in the next two weeks' list that I played today, Max Payne 3. I managed to get past the difficult save game that was right in the middle of a firefight (stupid stupid savepoints) and slowly got back into the afore mentioned storyline dragging you in hook, line and sinker. One game where cutscenes are not an annoyance to flick past and add to the overall experience.

A few more hours of gaming (DOTA2 and Van Helsing) plus I watched Kickass in preperation of Kickass 2 later on in the week, and then working on MonkeyMadness' PC, with all the fun of the fair activating a product due to motherboard replacement issues via webchat to Microsoft.

Sunday 11th August: Off to the seaside, at Hastings for a cavery and a (sadly crappy) boot fair before off for a quick paddle at the exceptionally stoney beach before heading home and having a lie down with a 'funny head' - Hardcore I am!

Saturday 10th August: The next chapter is ready, Chapter 27 - "A Spider, a Dragon and an Oooze walk into a bar...", enjoy - Its only 2 years ago since we played it :)

Today I am also working on MonkeyMadness's PC, watching a Game of Thrones (classic quote - "Why are the Gods such Cunts? Where are the Gods of Tits and Wine?") and also played a couple of games of Dota2. Not a bad start to my hols!

Friday 9th August: Two weeks holiday coming up, and the goal is to simply relax - well, my definition of relax, which is to game, read and write. I have finished Chapter 27, so that should be up soon, and really I would like to get another two done within this holiday period, which should get me back on track to my six/year average.

I have given up with the 'books bought' list, as its quite obvious that I am failing to balance them - I am sure that list is at 21+ now, with the new Ben Aaronovitch and Mark Lawrence books both bought recently - oh, and the latest Raymond Feist book - thats three for a start, all within the last month or so, and all signed as well, naturally.

The other weird thing to note is that I have not really used my new Kindle Paperwhite very much at all, as all the books I have read have been physical books, ones from the library, or a double - the Brent Weeks book for intance - and I guess that now is not the time to say I am thinking of buying a third copy, a signed 1/1 :p

I wont say what my recent gaming playtime (Dota2) has been spent playing (Dota2) but I am sure you can work out (Dota2) that it was one from the 'Will never finish' (Dota2) list. Although just checking, it looks like I have played 49hrs! in the last two weeks according to steam, spread out as 7hrs in Skyrim, 17hrs in Dota2, and 25hrs in ACII, which is surprising.

So onto the list:

  • 15 episodes of Star Trek Next Generation season 2
  • The last two epsiodes of Game of Thrones Season 2
  • Five episodes of Sherlock
  • The 20 issues of the Batman Death of a Family storyline
  • Chapters 28 and 29 written and published.
  • 48 hours (2/day) of gaming - Dota2 and Skyrim hrs not to be counted
  • Finish off my Gemmell website

The Gemmell website I think is pretty much done bar some last minute news to add, but I do have some sections that need work, and I have a new camera that I hope will allow me to take some better pictures, or failing that, I am going to pick up a little tripod thing for my iPhone.

I also have my own PC to finish off, tidying cables, more temp testing and also buying a new CPU cooler, probably the Corsair Hydro H60, and also Monkey Madness's rebuild of his PC back onto the ASUS Sabertooth board.

Now if only I could get rid of the family, then I could manage it with no problems :)

I will also try the time honoured tradition to post something every day, and then failing as I normally do.

Tuesday 30th July: I wrote on AVF that my goals were to complete some games, and this was my list for 2013:

Started but had to put into my 'Sadly dont bother' category

  • Numan: Conquest of Heroes
  • RAW: Realms of Ancient War

Completed

  • Blackwell Unbound
  • The First Templar
  • Torchlight II

On the list to finish

  • Max Payne 3
  • Deus Ex HR
  • AC2
  • BF3 (Want to just finish off some assignments, not the single Player game, although I should do that as well)

Will never finish

  • Dota 2
  • Skyrim

The 'started' list for reference is not played for 5 mins and thought nah.....I did give each one a minimum 4 hours - they just did not cut it for me in some way.

So, after writing that list, what game did I play for two hours last night? Yep, you guessed it, Skyrim. I started a new lad, well rather an old lad, as once more I created a Redguard called Mr Jenkins, a character that I have played in all the Elder Scrolls games bar the first. He is normally a Conjuring Sneaky backstabber in heavy armour, yes, it works, trust me - but it has worked too well - especially in Oblivion where I could one shot most things. This time I will be lightly armoured and no sneaking - Conjuration is enough anyway, and already having a 40th level Conjurer with Twin Demora Lords kicking my way through most things, I should be fine. However, the start (when on Master difficulty) is rock hard.

One of the first quests is a spider at the end and some Druger, and they kicked my arse (I was only level 2) so I went and bought a Fire Elemental that I couldnt even cast, fought a couple of bandits, then levelled to be able to cast the Elemental, then managed to complete the quest. Of course, next up is your first Dragon fight, and when you are 5th level, and have Deadly Dragons installed on that difficulty level, you get a fantastic fight, lots of running away and healing, and plenty of reloads. Epic!

Monday 29th July: Surprisingly, I only feel slightly bad this morning - just knackered, recovering from a Kings Cross ticket only event that finished at 4am Sunday before heading to Egg, pouring myself and the missus into a cab a few hours or so later. Spent all day in bed, apart from getting up for dinner and watching Simpsons for 2 hours before going back to bed.

One thing to remember, is not to kick off Prime on your PC before a heavy session. Thankfully my two Spectre Pro's had arrived Saturday morning as my temps only hit 61 degrees after a 36hr Blend......*phew!*


Friday 19th July: Money paid - Orange delayed me far longer than Home Insurance did and I have a phone for the missus.

Monday 15th July: Nearly a month on from the stolen phone, and only now have I received the letter from Orange. I was ringing them every other day during the last week and said that I expected delaying tactics from my House Insurance, not my phone provider. Lets see how long this process takes to complete shall we?

In other non news, its bloody hot at the moment (30 degrees!) - which makes a change but as a result, I was up at 5am. I pottered around on the Steam Sale for a little while, adding £25 and then promptly spending half of it, and at work before 7am.

Not even an hour later, I have the following tabs open: eBay; Overclockers; Scan and Amazon as I pick up bits and pieces for my PC to add the cooling - not helped by the heat.

I may have accidently bought some new headphones (Corsair 1500's) as well, the Roccats being a little grating on my shaven head and not helped by the jaunty angle I wear them at so I dont shout too much. Can you tell its payday? :)

Thursday 20th June: In the last week, the missus iPhone 5 was stolen, I have watched about 20 episodes of The Mentalist Season 5 and I am slowly catching up, or rather watching from the begining as I started and stopped ages ago, Game of Thrones Season One on Bluray. I am making my own rips for my HTPC, so using a comination of MakeMKV and then Handbraking the files to get them vastly condensed but to little discernable difference. I used this guide for reference, on 18 setting.

Thursday 13th June: Its weird when you look at all the games I have in my Steam library, and then check again the games I have actually played this year. I estimate that my playtime has been dominated by free games - DOTA2 obviously, but I just started playing a Titan Quest clone called Path of Exile, which as well as being pretty damm good, is also free. I am currently playing a Ranger called RobinHoodsMum are 30th level and just finished Act II.

3rd June: Well the LAN was excellent as usual, but marred by the fact that MonkeyMadness' PC died a death as soon as it was set up. We lost around 10hrs of gaming before he bought the parts required to rebuild the PC and be back up and running again.

Loads more info and pics on the Madness forums, but here is a taster of my desk after about two hours of arriving...

Wednesday 29th May: One setee picked up and donated to the Heart Foundation - I dont normally mention my charity work, but sometimes one does need to remind the masses that people like me keep this country at the top of the recycle tables across the countries. I just need to find the charity shop that takes pants now.

I also changed a tyre but then needed a well earned rest and so have watched back to back Revolution and New Defiance all day to catch up - I must have a total of 15 episodes to get through - this is how you spend a day off...

Monday 20th May: LAN closing fast and I have my cough back - I suspect the missus has been slowly infecting my food so I suffer while away.....plus today at work is dragging despite the fact that I am only here for another two days as I have Thursday off, and I still have the niggly head ache from yesterday. Sometimes a full blown one would be better as you just stop doing everything, while this 'niggle' is a constant annoyance.

On the plus side I did alright over the weekend on eBay - check my Gemmell pages for more detailed info.

No DOTA for the last few days apart from betting, and some BF3 tonight with Pelet and SgtPaulus methinks.

Thursday 16th May: My first pay day in well, ages where I did not buy anything at all. No eBay lots to BIN, I didnt go home via the comic shop route, I didnt even buy lunch AND I forgot my sandwiches. No DOTA clothes for the little people, nothing. Oh wait, I did buy a Humble Bundle - but thats charity so it doesnt count, right? $5 got me Drakensang - a German DnD 3rd person RPG, expect me to review it sometime in 2017.

I spent my lunchtime tinkering with my Mediaportal installation at work to get the Online plugin to be how I wanted it, as the front end is well a little crap to be honest. I tinkered with making submenus which I liked, but I could not disable the button, meaning if you click 'On Demand' rather than push up on the remote, it took you to a blank page. I settled with creating a group, which meant that the first thing you see are the four channels now rather than having to press another button before you could see the channel list.

All up and running and looking good as shown below.

Wednesday 15th May: Installed Online last night, and with the play around I did at work yesterday, it all installed very quickly. I removed the excess channels that are included (pr0n, German channels and weirdly, a Seseme Street channel) added the plugin as a menu (renamed to 'On Demand') and fired it up. It downloads some info (very quick as I only had iPlayer, iTV, 4oD and 5) and baring a slightly boring front screen, you can select the plugin, then browse categories, then the programs, much like browsing through the web based application. It asks for quality, buffers, then starts. There are no adverts, and the remote control works as you would expect. Very pleased!

Tuesday 14th May: Accidently installed Mediaportal on my work PC as I had a random thought on the way to work this morning and so wanted to muck about with webplayer's (iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD etc) for my own HTPC build. I am currently using Online (a StreamedMP plugin) but while it scrapes the actual things available, the playback itself is all blocked so I cant actually watch anything.

The concept however is there so I can do it when I get home. Why now? I never set it up before as I never thought I would actually watch it - with internet access on 10? devices dotted around indoors (phones, pads, PCs etc) and also Sky+, why would you? Then I recently found I missed not one but two episodes of Endeavour, my daughter recording crap - her reality TV channels which also knocked 'Not going Out' off the Sky+ schedule and to top it off, I missed the (lovely) Gillian Anderson crime thriller last night as I was getting my arsed kicked in DOTA2. Again.

So, no DOTA tonight, as I will be adding Online to MP instead. I will also install the new TMT6 I bought (the upgrade was £7 from TMT5!) and finally get rid of the stupid on screen remote that if you tick the box you can never ever ever get rid of. A slight lie, there is supposed to be a hidden ini file somewhere, but a quick google revealed nothing other than the helpful 'uninstall and reinstall the app to get rid of it'.

Monday 13th May: I fucking hate Netbooks. Cannot connect them to the network as they come with Windows 7 Starter edition, and one that I am working on simply has taken days to do something a normal laptop would have completed in a few hours. I am only installing office and updating it, and it has failed during installation, or sat and done nothing for ages before kind of saying ".......oh, me? You want me to update? Oh, ok, I'll do that now. Hmmm, so sleeepy. I'll do it in a minute." I am currently winding myself up wondering why its using 25% CPU and 70% memory usage when nothing is running.....

Saturday 11th May: With the LAN (finally) fast approaching, the following conversation was always due to happen.

"If I am really ill next Friday, will you be going to the LAN session?"

"Of course not my dear"

"I think you would, I think that if would not matter what happened, you would still go."

"Why are you getting annoyed at a hyperthetical question to which I answered correctly? You are simply asking to initiate an arguement"

You cant win, so its better to just do 'the face' and not speak, which infuriates, but they have no where to go arguement wise, thus you can claim a win of sorts.

Friday 10th May: Hopefully the day continues to be a quiet one, as I am working my way through Chapter 27 (added 200+ words so far). In my chapter writing, I do sometimes come across oddities where I am obviously caught up in the moment actually playing the game rather than writing it, so things get a little confused. Such as this sentence: "I leap hit it well, despite pointing out that the kuatoa is back attack the spider."

Well ignoring the clipped words, for one thing I was under the spider a mere few words back in my notes, and why does a Kuo-Toa care about back attacks?

Now these are just notes after all, but I think I have got so used to my notes being quite legable that I am thrown when I get a bad note session like this one. I am unsure if my iPad ran out half way as well, as I have a few loose letters at the end of the notes as well, and a line that starts with a capital 'B'. Oh well.

I added another side bar, 'Books/Proofs Bought:' - this year has been excessive and aggressive increase in my collection - I dont even remember books bought in Jan and Feb for instance - and so I hope will help me curb my collection during the year to less than the books I have read for a start. I heard good things about Peter Brett for instance, which then caused a flurry of cost as I quickly tried to pick up his books that are soaring in value - you could spend £200 to get 1/1's of the three for intance (£120/60/20) - I didnt pay that and my first book is a little beat up, but I hope to actually read them soon.

Lastly, these free games with micro transactions are no good for me. I get caught up in the moment, and buy stuff for the sake of trading - I must have spent nearly 100 hrs in the DDO auction house for instance, and I seem to be spending quite a lot of time looking for items on DOTA2 trading places as well. I havent spent a fortune mind you, the game itself was free and currently I have nearly spent as many hours on this as I done BF3. I think my DOTA2 spend is currently around £15? Based on how much the prices are though, I have items 'worth' more than the £15 I have spent of keys to trade items with. Chests have no value to me, and I prefer the safer trading of keys for entire (3-5 pieces) sets - a guarenteed purchase rather than the lottery side of things. I would be worse, but the internet at work blocks Steam so I cannot trade!

Thursday 9th May: Played about 4 hours of Numen: Conquest of Heroes, and have now decided to put it to one side. Not that its that bad, but I have a lot of great games to get through, and this one was an itch - a fleeting 'lets play this' rather than concentrate on games I have already started and need to finish (Yes, Deus Ex, I mean you).

So, why does it fail as such? Lets start with what it is, a Action/RPG. Its set in Ancient Greece, and like Titan Quest, has a small town and then the fields about to fight beasts and finish little quests which are all not bad. You start as a small child (Boy or Girl) and in a neat little twist for a tutorial, you have all the 'special moves' available to the three (Magician/Archer/Melee) classes. The game tracks your use of these, and once the first island has completed, advises you which class to specialise in based on your usage.

So, not bad then. Which is faintly damming praise to be fair, but its the little things like the controls being a little aqkward to use - clicking is combat as well as movement, which casues a few problems. The font is tiny - try and tell how much coin you have after it hits 4 figures for instance, while the rest of the graphics for enviroment etc are all ok, well apart from getting stuck on some scenery. The clever tutorial section that ends when you grow up and leave the island fails as I liked being able to mix the skills, and not be focused on one class, and the save system is annoying requiring the use of campfires. The day/night cycle was a good touch (some creatures are found at night for example, not during the day), but the shopkeepers store was a little bland (not the differing colours differentiating items rarity of Torchlight for instance) and gender swapping of items did not work for me.

I spent a little while wandering around as an adult, found an island to fight on that had nothing on it (Multiplayer? - Unsure) and while I appreciate quests being vague to help me focus, I couldnt be bothered to look about for the Temple I needed before signing off the game and marking it in my 'Dont bother' Steam folder.

Not a waste of my time by any stretch, and I would have played on, if not for all the other RPGs crying for attention, and I got it during a steam sale/giveaway/humble indie bundle anyway. I hate to not finish a game, and it seems I have done this twice in the space of a few days, but sometimes it has to happen this way.

Wednesday 8th May: Chapter 26 ended up being just over 2500 words long (See April 19th) and as my lapse in writing has continued, could actually be the longest period from playing to published yet. I have some serious catching up to do as I am currently 13 chapters behind.....

So I am quickly moving to the 27th. Currently at 1400 words, and played at some point in July or August 2011 (I just saved the document and overwrote the date created) - doh, what a spaz. I should know how to see the created date of a Word document and a quick check reveals 10th August 2011, or nearly two years ago. Lets see if I can get this one done and ready by the end of the month shall we? Or not, seeeing as I have a LAN session, time off to play games and watch TV, and probabbly roped into some painting again....

Tuesday 7th May: Chapter 26 is up, "Dont fall down the spikey pit, with anyone else but me..."

Monday 6th May: Spent most of the day on the comfy settee, watching Hobbit and sleeping. Then remembered that Raymond Feist was at Forbidden Planet, so quickly roused myself to see him. The queue was massive, and sadly due to this, it was very production line like, and therefore no time to ask anything at all. I got a few books signed, including the battered copy of Magician in the picture, that my Grandad gave me many many moons ago, and cannot be ignored as an influence on my reading material now.

Thanks Grandad!

Sunday 5th May: Blinding Night out, at brixton for Up on the Roof, with Norman J as DJ. Got wrecked, took the wrong tube and ended up paying £23 for a cab home. Remember kids, drinking is bad, m'kay?

Friday 3rd May: New Settee came, and very pleased with it. Lovely and comfortable, and seems larger although smaller in the room, yes, I am aware that makes no sense at all, but it does.

Tuesday 30th April: Buried Scampi with full trimmings yesterday, so he is frollicking in the fields with my own Hamster, Hammy in some golden field that has no predators.

I was wondering how to explain without sarcasm the answer to this question from my daughter: "I'm going to look for other jobs this job is depressing me with stupid hours I have money and no time to do anything with it so whats the point" and settled for "When you find a job that pays well with minimal hours and allows you time off for shopping, let me know as I will apply too" which is sarcastic to be fair, but then that is my default status, so why try and fight it.

Off to buy the Stella Gemmell book The City, probably at lunchtime, as Forbidden Planet have some signed copies left I hope, although I did not see it advertised, so perhaps she just snuck in to do some.

Monday 29th April: Well the animals are leaving the house, as Coco the rabbit finds a new home and Scampi the Hamster (or whatever it was called, Scampi was a better name anyway) sadly curled up and died. The weekend away was a good laugh, and I was blamed for (but actually did) one or more of the following: blocked the toilet and/or knocked my mates kids tooth out.

DOTA 2 stats, currently 181 games played and a respectable 88 for 93. And yes, I have racked up 220+ hrs in 4 months....

Friday 26th April: More wheelings and dealings as I get the Speed Demon Courier for DeadEyeMike for 3 keys rather than the £10 it is in store, and also Skip the Frog for MonkeyMadness (also £10 in store). SgtPaulus Llama also came out as well, so once he grabs that, it looks like we are all courier-ed up!

Monday 22nd April: Got a couple of Joe Abercrombie versions of Best Served Cold in the last few days, starting with a Subterrean Press version, and also a Signed and Lined Proof edition. Chuffed with both!

Saturday 20th April: DeadEyeMike bought himself a new SSD, and I helped set it up for him while we played Magic. The Elementals versus the Treefolk, and a close match ended with the Elementals winning 5-4.

Friday 19th April: Had a good run on the next chapter, number 26, and completed the first draft and then went through it a few times after that to tidy it up and make it flow better. As a rough guess, one of my note taking sessions is normally around 1000 words, which is pretty good while still attempting to play a game at the same time if I do say so myself, and after a few passes, is around 2000 words. Well, 2118 according to Office 2013 actually, but who's counting. Oh, yes, I am obviously, as otherwise I would not have bothered mentioning it in the first place.

Monday 15th April: I fucking hate banks and their fucking overdraft non facilities. You can arrage an overdraft, but not a cap, and so with some stupid account management from me meant that I went over my overdraft twice in the space of three days. Banks are FUCKING TWATS is all I can say, and my own fail of micro managment of my own account should not be taken into consideration. I am now off to sell my twat for £60 to cover the charges, which means at 2p a go, I should have it paid for around Sept 2015.

My hosting package expired, and while I thought about getting it cheaper (£40/yr), my normal laxidasy approach to stuff meant that while I contemplated changing it (I had the renewal notice weeks ago) for a cheaper one, I forgot that I had set up the renewal automatically and so it simply charged and paid for itself out of my funds. Damm my own efficiency!

Friday 12th April: Last official day of my hols and have I got all that I wanted to do done? Have I fuck. Very selfishly, I could have done with more me time, and so these are on my 'failed to get done in the holidays' list:

  • Read the Batman Death of a Family Story Arc
  • Watch Game of Thrones - End of Season 1 and all of Season 2 (and work out what book I am on)
  • Finish Star Trek Voyager Season 7

To be fair, I just need to watch the last episode of Voyager (watched 8? or so during the last two weeks), and I have caught up on the new Batman (1-12) as well as reading the second huge 600+ page tomb of Knightfall story arc, and I have watched other programs and read more comics. Games wise? I hope that I have done well, but would need to see a minimum of 30hrs to even come close to a 2+hr/day average.

Today I also updated my Gemmell pages - see here for more info.

Wednesday 10th April: Painting done, and I have made a massive meal of it as I only painted a windowsill and a banister, but thats far more than a DIY handicap like myself should be allowed to do.

Tuesday 9th April: More Voyager, nearly finished them now, and I have good intentions to do some painting. Whether they emerge or not, is another thing entirely.......ooo theres somebody at the door*.....Amazon, well the postman, has brought me a box of goodies, the Logitech K400 keyboard and Arctic Heatsink for the HTPC build that they said was coming Thursday, and my Hobbit Bluray Steelbook.

Now, what was I saying about good intentions?

* - While this could just be a well thought little prose, I was actually typing this as I watched Voyager (Q2, ep 19, S7) and I had typed 'whether they emerge or not' and then the door did go. Jesus is obviously trying to tell me something.

Monday 8th April: A good session on Deus Ex, bugged by the fact that it started crashing randomly after half an hour of play. DX11 seems to be the culprit, and I am not sure what the point was, as Dragon Age II was the same thing....hmmm, are they not both EA games? Perhaps its just them then. Sorted out the remote on the new HTPC, and test material copied to the HTPC is, well, tested. Oh, and I also got off my lazy arse and swept the garden.

Sunday 7th April: More work on the HTPC, and some gaming as I finish off the point and click old school adventure Blackwell Unbound. Deus Ex is up next I think, I keep putting this off, and every time I play it, I want to play more, only to get distracted by the......oooooooo buttyflies!

Friday 5th April: The build of the new AMD FM2 HTPC for my mate goes well, and all documented here. I also cram into my busy day, more Star Trek Voyager episodes, more DOTA (yes I lost again - eight on the trot now!) some BF3, and some comic reading. I did have to forgo my afternoon nap though, so you can tell that its taking its toll on me, this trying to fit stuff into my busy schedule...

Thursday 4th April: Most of the bits arrived for my mates HTPC build, details to follow shortly, and I looked after my poorly daughter. Well, sort of. This meant I stayed off the computer and watched some TV and read while waiting for her to use the modern day bell for the serving staff - the mobile phone, to call me to get water or freshen her facecloth. Later was DOTA time, and I managed to lose about 7 games on the trot, which I blame entirely on the brothers, a couple of games with one, and then a couple of games with the other, and we lost them all. They also keep making me play melee characters, which I actually enjoyed, playing Dragon Knight and Spirit Breaker. It could also be the fact that we were playing until half three in the morning. Can you tell I am in holiday mode?

Wednesday 3rd April: Day two of my holiday, and more gaming and a little tidy up of my book case. NIce and relaxing, this doing bugger all thing. Last night I also sorted out the remote control on my HTPC, more on that here, as that took enough time to arrange, bloody computers. Loaded up my iPad with British comics from the 70's, and settled in for an hour or so, drifting back to the 70's for Action Comics, and the early 80's for Scream Comics. Brilliant.

Tuesday 2nd April: First day of my holidays and completely wasted it as I lay in bed until midday, played a few hours of DOTA, bought the bits to make a HTPC (a low profile AMD FM2 build based in a ML03 SIlverstone case) for my mate, then fell asleep for an hour or so as I was still tired. Thats the way to do it!

Monday 1st April: Went and bought a new Settee, cloth rather than leather, and nice and comfy. Due to arrive mid May. I then cooked a joint of pork, which probably had the best bit of crackling I had ever made, but I forgot the Apple sauce...

Saturday 30th: Easter party with loads of kids, and then over the cage to play football, which of course ended with us smashing the kids (quite literally as DeadEyeMike nearly booted one kids face off) and me suffering with aches and pains for days afterwards.

Friday 29th March: Easter Friday and in the wee small hours, I managed to not only spank the Sniper Assignment by beating it by nearly 100mtrs, but also jihad'd myself to kill the last few vechiles for the Support Assignment and move on to the Assignment that requires 1500+ kills across all four classes. Of course I then went onto to die horribly that night and could not hit the broad side of a barn, but I did not really care - it was all about the Assignments.

Thursday 28th March: Worked on my BF3 Sniper assignment last night until the wee small hours and I can tell that I am slowly getting bored with it, although I did have a little run of headshots and silenced MP443 kills so that wiped out the crushing boredom of being a rubbish sniper.

I am not that far away from my first Sniper Service Medal, and my current Sniper kit is all counting to various other assignments, so I still have a little time before I will move onto something else, and have to admit defeat.

I am typing this as I wait for contractors to come in, and despite everyone all ready to leave in 10 minutes for the Easter break, I am sitting here waiting for them to arrive, let alone before they are finished setting up three rooms. *sigh*

Wednesday 27th March: Power was out until 7pm ish last night, so I had gone home, but in before 7am this morning to start the servers, which then leads into a busy day full of projector passwords and profile issues as fallout from the power cut.

Its been a 'not bad at all' ebay month this month, as despite being very annoyed at a Stella Gemmell proof edition of The City being withdrawn from sale, I picked up the following:

  • Magician by Raymon Feist [Harper Special Edition Hardback]
  • Game of Thrones by George Martin [Harper Special Edition Hardback]
  • Before They are Hanged - Joe Abercrombie signed Proof edition
  • The Blinding Knife - Brent Weeks
  • The Fifth Elephant - Terry Pratchett signed

Along with a few Batman trades to help fill the large gaps in my collection. My wages return to normal soon sadly, so needed to make the most of them!

Then, just before lunch, the power goes again. Servers shut down, blah blah blah, but thankfully the iSCSI card that I needed to install for a Server arrived during the outage, meaning I did not have to stay late at work. Power back on at 3pm, servers up 40 minutes later, me off home an hour early. Huzzah!

Tuesday 26th March: Nearly there now.....I have a two week holiday stint coming up, with nothing at all booked to do. I have a 'cunning plan' that involves reading lots of comics, reading books and watching TV, along with playing hours and hours of games and maybe even typing a chapter......but you know how me and plans turn out.

I must finish Max Payne and Dues Ex as a minimum, and as my BF3 stats show 251hours, this should be 270+ by the 15th April. As assignments are something I like to measure myself against, I am currently on 36/75, and working on the Sniper 350m headshot one.

SgtPaulus and Pelet (or Peletto as he is known in BF3) finally bought Premium, and so last night and hopefully all week we will be cracking on with this. Endgame was released a week or so ago, and I was holding off from playing it, but it looks lovely, and the dirtbikes are excellent to get around in.

However, just to round off the day, the power goes down an hour before I leave work and with no indication on how long it takes to get back up again and a 45 minute cycle to bring the servers back up, seems I will be staying late.........why can my last few days not be restful? I have a late night tomorrow replacing a iSCSI card, and the next day sorting out projector bulbs in three rooms....

Saturday 23rd March: I bought some old British Comics on DVD from eBay for my iPad - all apparently legal (I am assuming from the listing that because they are from the defunct IPC publishers, and all the comics are not printed anymore, plus they are approx 30 years old) so glorying in the old Action/Tornado/Starlord - sometimes refered to as seven penny nightmares. You can see why, as Action is all about killing bad guys and sharks eating people - I think I was just that bit too young to read or notice them, otherwise I would have greedily grabbed as many as I could. My comic collection in those days (up until we moved house) was a few (high!) stacks by my bed that numbered in excess of 1000. I know, because I got my Mum to get me the little coloured stickers and numbered them all.

So, if you have Whoopee, Beano, Dandy, Whizzer and Chips, Jackpot, Cheeky or any other of the comics of the early to late 70's, and you see a coloured sticker on it with a random number, it is quite likely one of my old collection.

As I hit 11, and started School, I was introduced to 2000AD, and from that Starlord etc. Then came Scream, which I had all of them, but like my 2000AD collection, was sold long ago. I have bought back the odd edition of Scream and most of the 2000AD's, but those 16 issues are hard to find (I think I have around 8?) and so now I have picked up them as well, and should be delivered any day now........

Wednesday 13th March: You know that special list of things to do - a bucket list or wish list, something to achive before you are 30, 40 or dead? Well I can cross one of mine off as I laid a twix last night. Clean and of equal length, it was an absolute marvel of bodily control. Sad really, as I think I have now finished all my fecal related tasks.

Tuesday 12th March: Well things did not go as I wanted them to at work, but I will survive. At least now I can settle back into medicority and take the holidays that have accumulated over the last year unused, and have a long weekend this weekend and then another two weeks off over Easter. Yay me, and watch for numerous updates!

Monday 11th March: A little Skyrim action, the new Deadly Dragon upgrade makes the fights just brilliant. I took a load of screenshots, but this one is probably the best of the bunch, my Demora Lord fighting a Dragon while I hide in the bushes.

Sat 9th March: Finally finished the first season of Star Trek Next Generation on Bluray. And it was epic. Very good presentation of the series, all cleaned up and looking as though it was released six years ago, rather than TWENTY six years ago. The uniforms in mustard red and blue are all popping from the screen with vibrancy, the added special effects are cleaned up to make them not look that dated at all, and you ignore the 4:3 ratio especially in space as the blacks of a decent TV just make the enterprise look that much smaller in a vast universe.

I have already picked up Season Two, and Season Three is out in April sometime. Also, not entirely sure I have seen one of them before, well not uncut anyway. The blokes head blows up! Surely this was never shown on normal TV, but I remember the episode, so it must have been hastily cut. Quite amusing though!

Fri 15th Feb: I dont need to explain the absenses here, but I will, its just very very busy at work and as much as I would like to sit here and muse all day long (alternating with catching up with chapters etc) it just is not happening. My Steam rating is suffering as I get home and crash in front of the TV and watch nothing or sleep.

On the rare instances I am gaming, it appears that I am constantly on DOTA2, and it has leapt to the top of my Steam history, as I have racked up over 100hrs now, which for me is very good. Skyrim and DA2 are hot on its heals though with 80+ hrs each.

Friday 8th Feb: I forgot to add the games I played over the Christmas period, which as I expected was no where near the amount that it could (should!) have been.

Over the period of one month from 6th December to 6th Jan, I played a measly 62 hours, which works out to approx. 2hrs/day. This is shocking for a period in time in which I was also off work for two weeks, as on a typical working day I still could spend 3 hours of gaming in anyway.

  • Blackwell Legacy - 8hrs
  • Torchlight II - 16hrs
  • Dota 2 - 11hrs
  • Magic The Gathering 2012 - 2 hrs
  • Half Life: Source - 2 hrs
  • Black Mesa - 7 hrs
  • Insane 2 - 1 hr
  • Deus Ex - 6 hrs
  • Gothic 3 Forsaken Gods - 4hrs
  • Battlefield 3 - 5hrs

I will explain a few of the above titles, and gloss quickly over the fact that in the Steam sale I purchased a shit load of games that I never even played, and own practically all the AAA titles released coming up to Christmas and at Christmas.

Blackwell Legacy - A classic series of old school point and click adventures, in true Lucase Art style. I did need to revert to a cheat page once, but it was not obvious, so I let myself off. Loved it, and bought a few more from the studio and another two of the four in the Blackwell series.

Torchlight II - Finished this game off, and loved it as much as the first. As the Diablo III demo kind of was, well, meh to be fair, a game that cost less than a quarter of the cost was always going to win. It was suitably different from the first, I got just as crap drops as I always do, and played a little more of the map room style maps after the end of the game to make sure I played it enough. I think I paid the grand total of £15 for both Torchlight I and II overall, and played them both around 45hrs each. This was with only one play through as well, so there is more replayabilty there with different characters. While not a Titan Quest beater, they are well worth the time to play.

DOTA2 - How on earth do you try and explain this game to someone? It has one map, 100 characters, you start at 1st level each game and nothing but cosmetic items that you are rarely awarded are carried over. Each game lasts 45 mins roughly, and is 5 on 5, is rock hard and an almost vertical learning curve, a fixed camera zoom, and plays almost like a towwer defense game. And just when you are about to give up playing, you are sucked in to play more....

Half Life: Source and Black Mesa - Well, I 'finished' HL:Source (just to get to Xen) before restarting with the released (and free!) Black Mesa, which is quite simply just brilliant. Slightly different to allow the physics from HL2 to be included within the game, and a perfect example of how to re-release a 20+ year old game. It looks fantastic, plays brilliantly, and brings back memories. Black Mesa itself only goes up until Xen, and I think I finished a little before then so I need to carry on with this and finish it off at some point.

Dues Ex - I really like this game and dont know why I have not continued with it, as each time I fire it up, I enjoy the few hours I play it - I know I have an unexplainable 'thing' with games where the ones I like I dont want to finish.....yes yes it makes zero sense to me, let alone writing it down for others to read. Its good, I am still going the more stealthy of the options, and am currently beating up people in Japan while talking in my Batman gravelly voice.

Gothic 3 FG - Sadly, even changing my GPU meant that I had to give up playing Gothic 3, it really was unplayable with the stuttering. In a game that was VERY unforgiving in combat, where a wrong move equals death, kiting is an important tactic. But if the game engine struggles to allow you to run and spin on the spot without locking, you die. Alot.

So, I binned the near 50 hours of playtime in G3 to start G3FG, and its brilliant. A rock hard RPG that looks lovely, and the world feels massive, far bigger than Oblivion and possibly Skyrim? The game has some issues, mostly why is the character that supposidly single handidly righted all the wrongs in this area a few years back doing fetch quests to get faction, but once you are in the story and deep in the wilderness marvelling at the open endedness of it all, you can ignore that.

All in all it was a good gaming session, just unfortunatly one that did not last anything like as long as it should have done.

Sat 26th Jan: Well I didn't think I would be at one of these again but here I am sitting at a Magic the Gathering prerelease. Why the change? A few booster drafts with Pelet and DeadEyeMike did the trick, plus the set is a throwback to a set of old, Ravnica and its lovely guilds.

So I am here at Gatecrash, the second part of the set and early as usual to these events, sitting waiting for the registration to open, waiting here with about a dozen others. I picked Simic as a guild, and was very happy with the cards - it was a good day, but I lost my 5th game and so dropped. The venue was different to before, and run by different people - slightly weird as there was no card registration, meaning that if you were with a group of friends you could simply swap cards if you were running different guilds to your friends. Plus the dealer was a fucking robbing bastard, charging 110% and buying at 25%. No wonder he had no cards that anyone wanted and only sold loads of cheap foils.

Enjoyed it though, unsure if I will go again, but who knows...

Monday 21st Jan: It snowed all weekend, but not hard enough to stop me from going to work today. It's not 7am yet and I here already, the Missus waking me up by getting paranoid in the night and opening the front door, which was stuck fast from the cold and therefore very loudly waking me at 4:45am. I then could not get back to sleep due to the dripping of melting snow, hence being at work at this ungodly hour. I suppose it makes up for all the times I have woken her up, mewling like a child as I fight zombies in my sleep, or weirdly, scoring a really rubbish goal in a goal mouth scrummage - I punched the ball at the goalie and it rolled down his back and just dropped in the goal. Yes I am aware of the rules of football - are you aware of the rules of dreams?

Tuesday 15th Jan: Lewis is brilliant as always and a perfect addition to the Morse family, but why the bloody hell have they choosen to split an episode over consecutive Mondays? It simply does not work Mr ITV, and I know you are finishing it, but if a Hathaway TV series ever appears, don't split the episodes again. Sod the people that have no attention span and need every TV show dumbed down and a synopsis reiterated every 15 minutes. Where is that Mitchell and Webb Gift Show clip when you need it?

Jan 9th: Spent the last few days updating my Gemmell site.

Jan 8th: Best advert on TV? The Go Compare advert with Prof Steven Hawkins. Its his little face as he see's in his minds eye the tenor singer sucked up into a black hole, and then punctuated by the Ha Ha Ha of the speak and spell. Just brilliant.

Jan 7th: Moved all by posts around to create a fresh new canvas to write on. I will be updating my Games played over December (see December 6th from last year) to see if I did over the average or not, and also the seasonal "Just how much did you spend in the Steam sales this time" game.

Here is also where I traditionally look back on last years posts, promise that I will write more chapters and stop writing crap, but we all know how that turns out, dont we? So I will fool no-one with my cunning plans, but this year, I will show you, honest!

Nah, didnt think the double bluff would work either, but a lady has to try, doesnt she?