October 16, 2006

The Comeback King

Holy absence, Batman!

More than a year since I added to my blog. Possibly it’s been more than a year since I’ve been in the library on a computer with so little desire to do any of the work I should really be getting on with.

This begs the question as to what I should write about now. Perhaps the blog will simply end here, with nothing more to say.

Almost had you?


Anyways, I feel like getting a bit agro towards 9 o’clock lectures. Suuuure they prepare you for the real world (although I’ve only heard rumours of this “real world”, apparently it’s only unlocked if you press up, down, left, right, then hold start and select at the title screen) of getting up and commuting to your boring job, but I see it like this. How often are you gonna have a period in your life where you can go out and get whacked off your gourd with such frequency and have such a good laugh as at university?

Which reminds me… workaholics at university suck. I’m gonna be working hard (or at least pretending to) for like… 50 years from when I leave university, so why give up 3 years of fun to add 3 more years of being a working stiff? I mean yeah, work a bit, make sure you’re not a colossal disappointment, but go out at least once a week!

But, back to 9 o’clocks. True dedication is hitting Sugar hard, finally getting to sleep at 6am, waking up at 7.15 and being on time for your 9 o’clock devil-lecture (By the way, trying to get your head around important ethical dilemmas as a business school student at 9am with a banging Red Bull hangover is NOT recommended). If I can do that, as a self-confessed lazy hobo, I don’t see why people can’t get the right mixture of work and play. People who have more drive and ambition than I do. Which is most people (nothing like being a perennial under-achiever, huh?).

Hmm. As I’m sitting here biting my nails, trying to form a coherent sentence for my random stream-of-conscious blog, I can’t help but feel like I should do some work. I think all this “going to lectures” stuff is bad for my sanity. That and lots of Guitar Hero.

Ahh Guitar Hero…. you beautiful piece of gaming awesome. It is quite worrying, however, that I can’t listen to Ozzy’s Bark at the Moon without seeing a stream of green, red, yellow and blue circles streaming through my head.

[Green, blue, green, red, green, yellow, green, blue, green!]

That’s the start of the bridge on medium, by the way. Seriously though, come end of November, you will have to pry the Cherry Red Gibson SG controller out of my cold dead hands before I leave the comfort of my bedroom/gaming zone. Laugh you may, but I won’t care, for I will hammering my whammy with delight to the dual guitar attack of Freebird, by Lynyrd Skynyrd (“They don’t really want you to play ‘Freebird’, they’re just heckling you.” O RLY?)

That reminds me. To the 3 people (2, if you don’t count me fawning over my own blog) who read this, check out Yngwie Malmsteen. The man is a bona fide legend – not many people could have a song called “I Am a Viking” or “Wield my Sword” and actually make them rock hard, but he does, all the while being an overweight arrogant Swede. Once you’ve felt a Rising Force, you’ll know what I mean.

This is one arrogant virtuoso

Perhaps I’ve gone on too long – I’ve done about 5 minutes work in the last hour, which is pretty poor, even for me.

But then again… there’s always more to be said. But, that will have to wait until next time friend, so until then~

Alex out.

October 07, 2005

Back to Uni… Marvel–lous!

Well, I be back at the splendiferous learning establishment that is the
University of Warwick.

Much to my dismay, the inter-lecture snoozes I enjoyed back at Rootes are now
replaced by mind-bendingly boring Library visits, of which this is my first. As
you can tell, I'm using it constructively. If I had some work to do, fine, but
spending 3 hours dossing about with nothing interesting to do really is boring.
Phat Bloggage could fill this fairly yawnful void, but I'd need something to
write about. I could document my social life, as some are wont to do, but who
wants to hear about evening alternately filled with massive drinking or massive
lazing? Precisely.

I could alternatively talk about something relevant and "current-affairsy" but
then, that's pretty damn boring too.

So dear listeners, you see my dilemma. I do, however, only have 75 minutes until
my next lecture and so perhaps a bit of mindless rambling could munch away into
that time.

Oooh, I know, how about something controversial. Taiwan. There. That single word
has prevented anyone in China from viewing this blog. Dang…

Anyways, maybe I should move onto something a little less cutting edge. How
about… superheroes? While I was on holiday with two friends from school, we
got onto a discussion about superheroes, be they Marvel, 2000AD, or whatever.

More importantly, rubbish superheroes. You know who I mean… people like
Superman. "Superman?!", I hear you cry. Well, think about it. In terms of
superpowers, he's pretty much invincible. Man of steel, can fly really really
fast, has all kinds of funky vision and stuff. Kind of unfair, doncha think,
when someone like Jubilee from the X-men has the almighty power of firing
sparks from her hands. She'd be more of a nuisance than a hero, especially
around petrol stations… Anyhow, I digress. Superman is fundamentally rubbish.
His real world "disguise" consists of friggin' glasses for god's sake! Anyone
who can't see through that "diabolical" ruse needs to be lobotomised – If I was
Lex Luther, I'd just dump Kryptonite on the Daily Planet and be done with it!.

Spot the difference!

Someone like Spiderman is a far better hero. Yeah, he can sling webs and climb
walls and has lightning fast reflexes etc etc but at least he has a proper
disguise, so it's like a real alter-ego. Having said that, these regular
heroes are pretty poor. You want the bad guys for the real fun. Someone like
Venom, he's kinda bad but he's much cooler than Spidey.

Some villains are pretty rubbish and overpowered too. Someone like…
Apocalypse, I think, from X-men… He's damn near invincible, has no apparent
weaknesses and stuff, can morph and grow into anything he wants, kinda limits
the fight you can put up against him.

Having just realised how nerdy that seems, I feel that it's time to end this
entry, for fear I suddenly develop acne and a need to wear NHS prescription

Alex out.

July 29, 2005

Wanna come in for some 'coffee'?

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

One of the best games of 2004, if not recent memory. Some may deny it, but most would agree, and heap the necessary (necessary!!) praise on such a pinnacle of gaming.

Much fun is there to be had jacking cars, dealing drugs, gambling and randomly killing innocent bystanders and law enforcers – not only gangbangin' thugs need be iced to further your nefarious dealings.

Yet, this game is in the media view all over the world for the supposed "mod"; Hot Coffee. As it seems everyone has a viewpoint on this, I suppose it's time to air mine – being an avid gamer I have an informed opinion, other than someone such as, oooooh, I don't know, Jack Thompson. Being a lawyer seeking to further his career and extend both his ego and his wallet, he's been spitting fire and brimstone from his righteous pulpit at us game-playing sinners, about how computer games are ruining the youth of today. Of course, giving credit to the common sense of the young is totally out of the question - It's much more likely that games make young people stab their friends 38 times than mental disorders, troubled families, or however many other issues it could be. Why, just yesterday I went out and attacked an old lady with a Katana after playing a large dose of GTA. Doesn't quite sound right, does it?

In fact, statistics from the US suggest quite the opposite. It seems that violence amongst the youth of America has actually steadily declined in recent years. Now, while this could be due to a plethora of other reasons, it doesn't exactly back up the idea that computer games are "training" the serial killers and terrorists of tomorrow.

The mod, which was later found out to be locked content actually put in place by Rockstar Games themselves (most likely originally a minigame scrapped at some point during development), involves simulating sex between a fully-clothed man (the game's protagonist, CJ) and a excruciatingly poorly animated naked woman. Since this content has been released, the ESRB (Entertainment Standards Rating Board) has raised the game from R rated (17+, scenes of violence, sexual content and swearing) to AO (Adults Only, 18+ with scenes of violence, prolonged sexual content and swearing).

Call me slow, but that's almost identical… Wait, wait. I think I see the logic. Killing pensioners, cops and whoever happens to be walking past at the time while spouting profanity… that's OK for 17 year olds, right? Right! BUT!, I hear the right-wing conservative game-watchdogs cry, prolonged sexual content!! (At this point I can virtually hear the collective heart attacks of a committee of over-the-hill fuddy-duddies) This is BAD for our youth! They can see sexual content at 17, but not prolonged! 5 seconds of sex is faaaaaar better than 10 seconds! We must bump this game up to a rating dominated almost solely by Japanese Hentai dating games!

Rockstar capitulated voluntarily, rebranding future copies with the AO rating, and making it impossible for the sexual content to be accessed. In Australia, the game has even been banned causing me, yet again, to ask why. Seriously.

Let's look at this from yet another angle. Sex IS natural. Now while I'm sure Hilary Clinton, Jack Thompson and whoever else has jumped on this bandwagon haven't HAD sex in several decades, it's no reason to get up in arms about it, seeing as the game was aimed at those over 17. Now I know, the age of consent is 18 in America, but who under the age of consent hasn't either had sex already, or at least watched a healthy dose of porn? Amongst men (the predominant audience of computer games, not just violent ones) I would imagine this percentage is well into the majority.

One of the most popular arguments put forth by the anti-video games camp is that too many children play these games. I got Grand Theft Auto 3, the first 3D outing for the series, when it was released in October 2001. I had just turned 15 at this point, clearly under the age rating for this game, also an 18. I have seen many many films while being 'too young' to watch them, and yet, I like to think of myself as a well-rounded individual (no weight jokes intended), ignoring quirky character traits. I certainly haven't killed any relations whilst playing computer games. I put it to you that games do not breed violence in young people 'due to their inability to distinguish reality from simulation', it is, in fact, other problems; reasons I have already mentioned.

The main reason that these types of incident (you know, the old 'person who once knew a gamer back in college kills a burglar entering his house' story) seem so common and generate such media hype is purely that they're the current trend in litigation. If you look at the statistics, I'm sure there are far more murders committed by those with mental instabilities or motivated by revenge than there are games-related. However, the media loves to insinuate that Doom 3 or whatever new release makes everyone who plays it into an emotionless automaton, bent on genocide. Having said that, I'm a helluva lot better with that BFG10000 I bought off Amazon.co.uk since completing Doom 3… In fact, violent games can even be stress relief. Picture this. You've had a bad day at school, it rained at lunchtime, the other kids called you names… if you're sane, you go beat up some virtual hookers. Of course, if you've got a screw or 10 loose, you go back to school next day and shoot the place up. I know it calms me down (the gaming, not emptying a clip of parabellums into the cafeteria) far better than something wussy like 'a long walk'.

If I was a militant, slanderous fool like Thompson, I'd be more concerned about the violence. I mean, if he went home and went to his daughter's bedroom he'd probably find her sleeping with the poolboy. The Americans have the audacity to call Brits angry and repressed!! I got very angry about the sex and violence, but managed to hide it very well. If this isn't a massive outburst of pent up frustration, I don't know what is. Maybe I'm just being level-headed (is that the right word? Yeah, I'll run with it) by not giving a crap about some ugly-looking sex minigame, as opposed to sensationalist and, let's face it, totally unrealistic, but I really can't see why everyone has got so frustrated and angry about this.

I know I'm just feeding the media machine by blogging about this, but I feel that I have to state my side of this argument. Seems the people who have control (I'm looking at you, Australia) can't be reasonable, so I'm a-havin' my say.

This is my last statement to you sharks, feeding on the media attention of what you have created –
Get real, get laid.

And you can quote me on that, although Jack Thompson would probably manipulate that into an anti-games "fact".

What does anyone else think? If anyone has other opinions (agreeing or otherwise), please, write on.

Alex out.

February 22, 2005

First Blog

This is my first blog, born out of boredom mostly, and the fact that it's possibly the second most happening scene after last week's mammoth tiddlywinks and backgammon social.

I'm not really in a particularly productive mood for blog entries, I feel no sadness or rage, except towards those pesky kids, I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for them! I guess my reasoning behind this is 'cos everyone seems to be getting in on 'em, and my criticisms were made without ever having tried it out. So I guess just be gentle with me, and I can have a smoke after it (Do you smoke after blogging, or have you not checked?)

Perhaps though it will provide a good outlet for one of my favourite pastimes (after tiddlywinks and backgammon, obviously) which would be speaking at length about absolute rubbish. It's especially bad when I hear a word or phrase which sets me off on a tangent, and then there's no stopping me from rambling on and on and on and on and on and then somehow I'll manage to get back round to where I started having established nothing useful or interesting. Have you ever heard the song Albuquerque by Weird Al? Kinda like that. Doesn't tend to involve so many snorkels though.

On the subject of songs, I strongly suggest (read: if you don't, I will find you and set your shoes on fire) you go out and buy/pirate/craft from sticks with rudimentary tools/steal/loot (or lewt, for those in the know. And it is indeed phat.) a copy of the album "De-loused in the Comatorium" by The Mars Volta. It's fairly obvious where the talent from At The Drive-In went after the split. The new album, "Frances the Mute" is also excellent, but contains a bit too much silence/unnecessary quiet… uhh… noises. Now before I turn this into a music review and go on to pass judgement on all the latest releases, I think it's time to move on. But seriously, buy it. Or else.

If you've been reading the news lately, you might have read something interesting. I, on the other hand, read about Ken Livingstone, Supreme Ruler of Londinium, being branded a Nazi. Although it's had far too much column time devoted to it, I thought I'd add my own insight into it, and leave it be. I know it's extremely sad to make this kind of thing in your spare time, but it's not like i got any work to do or anything…

What a silly boy. If anyone needed a good haddock-slap, it's him. And possibly that Jackson guy, although it might result in a case of "nose overboard!" and no-one wants that. How would he smell? Either terrible, or with great difficulty. Think about that for just a minute. I got another one… How do frogs like their sandals? Open-toad of course. See, wasn't that hi-larious? Full credit for that abomination against comedy goes to Louise :D

I think I've rambled on far too long now, seeing as I started off not really knowing what to say… If I can leave you with one thing, it would be this. And remember to always listen to naked bald Traffic Safety man, he talks a lot of sense.

Full credit to RoG and the guys at i-mockery.com on that piece of much funniness.

Alex out.

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