Oh Schäde…

Sunday, January 24 2010 at 14:22 (Games, Home, Rants, Reviews) (, , )

Author’s note: It’s not particularly up to date or finished, but I’m tired of having it sitting and festering. Imagine that you were reading this on the 4th of January.

Well, bugger me. A blog.

Since someone said at some point that spending your whole blog-time apologising for not having written a blog in so long is rather self-aggravating (a sentiment I agree with) I will give it none of my valuably unvalued space beyond this miserly excuse for a paragraph.

So, why have I not written? I’ve done two vlogs, both eminently cringeworthy and completely worthy of deletion if I was the kind of pussy that decides to delete videos off YouTube that they are embarrassed about. You know the people I mean. Maybe I’ll dabble in vloggery in future, but since the response I received was largely negative, I shall postpone their production.

This is, in fact, the first blog that I have written on my new laptop (Dell XPS M1530 w/ 2.0GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB HDD and nVidia GeForce 8600m graphics chipset), which brings with it a host of other reasons for my absence. One reason, and I suppose a fairly decent one, is that the keyboard just isn’t as good as on my old laptop. It just isn’t. It’s not as firm, the keys aren’t as tactile and the strength of them is questionable, seeing as I’ve already broken my Tab key. However, for you, dear blog reader, I shall bear it.

The other factor brought out by the laptop is that the higher specs mean higher ability, and higher ability means… well… lots of games. I told the bloke in GAME that I was going on a binge, and I guess I have been, to a certain extent. I am now the (legal) owner of The Orange Box, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead 2, Oblivion, Bioshock and Modern Warfare 2. Of those, I have yet to play Oblivion and Bioshock as they require internet and are in German anyway, but I have played Half-Life 2, Portal And Modern Warfare 2 in-depth. Yes, yes I am that guy from XKCD. Portal… Bah, it’s Portal, of course it’s bloody amazing and funny and terrifying and heart-warming and confusing and all those other weird and wonderful emotions. Half-Life 2, on the other hand, is more like that stretched out aver about 14 more hours. It says something about the Source engine that sometimes in HL2 I just had to stop and say ‘That’s a really good-looking texture’. I really hope I’m not the only person who did that. Overall, it was just awesome; particularly the bit in the Citadel right at the end. Oh yeah.

As for MW2, I think GameTrailers got it right when they said it personifies the phrase ‘short, but sweet’. The game really isn’t that long, only taking just slightly longer that its predecessor to complete on standard difficulty… whatever that’s called in the game’s impermeable army lingo. However, what you do get is a rollercoaster ride of really quite amazing set pieces and intense firefights except when some stupid kid with an AK-47 shoots you through some tiny window and then you die and have to do the whole damned fight all over again… I hate those stupid Rio de Janeiro levels.

A few musings, though:

-Sometimes the game does overstep the bound and really just seems to laugh at you. It’s not even nice.

-What the FUCK did they do to Soap’s hair?

-Although the story did a pretty good job of carrying you along, it really didn’t make any sense at all. You basically just follow the objectives.

-Seriously, the character is just ruined now. I did NOT play the whole of the first game as a guy with some retarded Mohawk thing.

-Making a sequel will be an interesting task, seeing how they left the story. Also the fact that half the US has been shot to buggery.

-Why, Infinity Ward? WHY?

The multiplayer is another matter entirely. Apparently it’s been made ‘more accessible’ to n00bs. I disagree.

Well, now that I’ve cleared that out of my system, there are a few more onions to bite, namely some recent events worth me plumbing the depths of my memories to write about for your pleasure.

First comes the late lamented school-based sixth-form Christmas party. Even a concealed hip-flask of Polish vodka couldn’t make that fun. I spent the whole night trying to get Max to talk to a certain other individual, with mixed results. Overall it was kinda shitty. (The music was in this ‘Drum and Base’ style. I couldn’t see the appeal, myself.)

After that came Max’s birthday party, held a week after originally planned due to otherwise engaged peoples and a general lack of enthusiasm on anyone’s part. This Sunday, however, had snow. And in a pretty big way. The snow we got (actually fell on Thursday evening, mostly) was some of the most persistent I’ve  ever seen, remaining in place for about a week and thoroughly screwing many people’s travel arrangements. I did, however, elect to travel to Ipswich on that fateful day by train, cuz I’m well’ard and use public transport, innit.

The train was a little bit late, but I arrived in plenty of time for my 2:20 deadline. Unfortunately this was the twenty minutes (originally a half-hour) that I had elected to use to find a GAME and buy The Orange Box. In the end I did find it, and also found the box and handed it to the woman. Unfortunately, her training had apparently not extended to finding the disc and manual to put in boxes, so I had to wait around for about ten minutes whilst she flustered before running back the cinema. Remember that there was several-day old snow on the ground, so these pavements were icy and deadly enough at walking speed. Running, they were slippery slides of imminent death in front of the evil scythe-cars that were going by. Lucky for me, my balance sustained and I reached the cinema only five minutes late, already having made excuses and apologies in my head. I met Eliza and Chloé (whom I am now forced to admit is not a robot), who had also been shopping, and said hello. Max, Chris and Lauren had not yet arrived.

We talked for a bit about things, I forget which, but after I while Eliza concede that the rest of our party was no longer ‘on the drag’ as I has been, but were officially late. The others eventually turned up about ten minutes after the film was meant to have started and twenty minutes after the meeting time, and we all went in to the cinema. Now by this point it was about 2:45 and there was a showing of Avatar (in MIND-POPPING 3D!!!) at 3:00, which i thought might be a better choice seeing as how I wanted to see Avatar, Eliza had already seen New Moon and wanted to see Avatar, Chloé wanted to see Avatar and I’m pretty sure that Lauren wanted to see Avatar too. But no, we were going to see New bloody Moon.

I suppose it wasn’t so bad, after all. I mean, the acting was still pretty pants in places, any action scenes made waaaay too much use of slow-motion and the cinematography at time made me feel queasy because it was so hacked together and barbaric, but there was 700% less Robert Pattison than the first film, and that made all the difference in the world. I’ve always been a bit of a Jacobist (Jacobite?) and by the end of the film several of the girls agreed with me. He’s just less of a prick that Mr Shiny-Vampire-Emo-Bitch. Overall… eh. Two, two and half stars? We’ll make it two and a quarter.

After the film we decided to go and find a Costa or something, but seeing as how it was a past five on the Sunday before Christmas everything was shut. Unperturbed, we wandered around the town looking at the lights and eating of my oversized Large popcorn tub. This was probably the nicest part of the day.

Afterwards Max’s dad picked us up and we went to a Pizza Hut, where we all stood around not deciding until Eliza decided to decide. If you follow me. We then went back to Max’s abode and ate pizza and watched The Hangover. After a while I turned to Max and said ‘We’re what, fifteen minutes into this? It’s already better than New Moon’. The whole vibe was basically a ‘Dude, Where’s my Doug?’ as a number of guys try to find their misplaced friend after the mother of all stag parties. It takes the theme of a kind of comedy-detective story as they try to find clues to exactly what happened to them. Actually, screw that. It sounds really boring. Anyway, it’s much funnier than I can feebly describe and it comes with a Ben Brown seal of approval.

Then I went home. I was sad, but it had been a good day.

The next day I had to go to Cambridge to see my sponsors for the Arkwright Scholarship. The talks in the morning were supremely boring, but in the afternoon we were shown around the facility including the Scanning Electron Microscopes used to find impurities in metals, the huge vacuum chambers used for electron welding and the Lotus Elise chassis they helped design in the foyer. It was an interesting enough experience, but how much I actually gained from it remains to be seen.

The next event after that was, uh… Christmas, I suppose. It started with me completing Half-Life 2 at 2am after realising that I wasn’t going to get any sleep. Then I tried to get to sleep, couldn’t and so started to play HL2 Episode 1 instead. I did actually get some sleeping done at around about 5, but it was short-lived as I had to get up to receive gifts from Father Christmas. He comes through our village on a sled pulled by a Land Rover, doncha’ know. He gave me some books which I didn’t want to read particularly, so I went back to sleep until it was time to present the presents. Main gifts were Modern Warfare 2 and Left 4 Dead 2, but I also obtained a nice new shirt and some other crazy shit that I have completely forgotten about.

Then came the trek to my grandparents’ house, interrupting the patching of Left 4 Dead 2. This left me annoyed, as I had nothing to play in the car. Fortunately my grandmother installed WiFi, so I used that to finish Left 4 Dead 2 and also to make a start on installing Modern Warfare 2, a behemoth apparently requiring 2 DVDs to merely exist.

Then we ate food. Half the family was away this year, so I actually only had one set of retarded cousins to deal with, and the added bonus of my brother being away. This proved a double-edged sword, however, as boredom quickly took me due to the fact that I didn’t have a proper mouse to play any of my new games with. I managed to hold out for the whole day and then went home to get some CoDage on until the wee hours of the morning.

Boxing Day was fairly standard, mostly involving me getting to the end of MW2, but towards the end of the day I started packing and sorting things out for the imminent trip to Germany that was to depart that evening. We left at about 9pm to get the 11-ish ferry from Harwich to the Hoek, and then we all got on board and found our respective cabins. Present were me, my brother and his girlfriend, my parents and another family of friends including Henry and Tom Gibbons, their parents and Tom’s girlfriend. This made a total party of ten.

Throughout the week we went on walks, ate beef and yoghurt, played table tennis, went to Nüremberg (where I got Oblivion and Bioshock… in German), played games with bouncing ping-pong balls off pots and pans into cups for many, MANY hours, went sledging when there was snow and woed the forgottness of my laptop power cable. The only one I had was one for use in the car, so any time I wanted to charge my laptop I had to take it out to the car and plug it in. And since any vaguely fun application can drain my laptop in about an hour, my gaming position was pretty limited in terms of zombie-killing and the like. Really there hasn’t been much else to it. Oh, the New Year came, and went. I guess I ought to sort out some New Year’s Resolutions and also review the previous year’s, so let’s do that now:

Last year’s

  1. Read at least one book a month. I’ve been getting seriously lax in my reading, and as a result my vocabulary has suffered. Currently lined up I have The Amulet of Samarkand.
  2. Try and go to more social events outside of school.
  3. Ask someone to the year 11 prom.
  4. Play less videogames. Not give them up, but try and be less dependent on them for escapism and entertainment. In addition, find other forms of entertainment. Listen to the radio.
  5. Rather conversely, get Portal to work on a computer I own. This either means getting a new laptop (which would be nice; my current one, much as I love it, is dying) or stripping apart my old one and doing thoroughly dangerous things.
  6. Do something more radical, and more exciting than last year.

Review of those:

  1. Erm… no. I read at least twelve books, easy, but I don’t think I read one every month.
  2. Mmmm… kinda. I went to fewer parties, in fact.
  3. FAIL’D
  4. FAIL’D
  5. OWN’T. Portal is awesome.
  6. Unsure.

And this year’s new ones

  1. Do more exercise – for health, rather than any abject weight loss.
  2. Learn to own at Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.
  3. Work on getting all my RS essays done.
  4. Get all A grades in my AS levels.
  5. Prove that a photon has mass.
  6. Refrain from buying an extortionate smartphone.

There are also a few miscellaneous things to fill out space. Not that it needs any more filling out; this is already looking ridiculously long.

I spent Christmas Eve turning my old laptop into a server. This I did with the help of a certain Mr Hicks. Installing Ubuntu Server Edition I could handle, but dealing with the command line required some aid. A ‘sudo makethisserverworkdammit’ command would have been useful, but it seemed to work and allowed me to stream the new Family Guy Star Wars thing to other computers in the house via magic.

I’ve decided that I like the temple of Apollo Epikouros at Bassae. It’s simple, but it’s also simply awesome, brand-spanking just-invented Corinthian columns and everyfink. It’s just cool.

I also finally finished reading ‘Watchmen’. God it was weird. It was still really good and brilliantly written, but… I suppose it can just be summed up by saying that all of the main characters are psychopaths.

I also sat through Transformers 2. Honestly, they don’t make head-bashing walls hard enough.

I think that’s all that doesn’t just consist of further nerdiness about my laptop. So I’ll leave it there, and add to it later.



  1. Chris said,

    Will later though.

  2. Chris said,

    “Ben Brown’s seal of approval” That means squat! As if that is a respectable source of review =3

    • joethearachnid said,

      What if I made an actual seal in Photoshop?

      • Chris said,

        It’d be… better….

        • Max said,

          Hehe, I have MY very own seal of approval. 😀

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