Alive and Kicking!

Well…it has been some time, hasn’t it? I confess I am surprised my blog has survived and not been culled into the zombie internet. However! That means I can crawl my way out of the digital shadows once more and poke myself into keeping my writing habit going.

Which brings me on to the main point, really! I’ve had ideas bubbling, seething and developing since I was 15 or 16 years old regarding a sci-fi/fantasy world. I even kicked it all off back then in an online roleplay game on a Final Fantasy fan forum with some proto-info on the world I was slowly drawing together! (Though let us not speak of the acrimony that eventually it all fell into – teens are moody buggers) So for years I had all these ideas and talked to friends and family about it and what I was going to do…but I never really got it anywhere.

Until I met Ray Feist (yes, THE Raymond E. Feist) and David Gemmell (the LEGEND) at their book signings in Southampton. David was wonderful and said “I would like to see that, some day!” when I word vomited all about how I was an aspiring author and wanted to write my own books. Sadly, I never got the opportunity to show him as he passed away before I got the chance. But Ray (I feel I should call him Mr. Feist…), he gave me solid, if honestly blunt advice:

“You aren’t a writer unless you are writing. Until then, you’re a dreamer.” Ouch.

I’ve met him twice at different signings since then and pathologically have avoided mentioning it to him each time. Probably because I still hadn’t gotten my novels off of the ground at those points. Still dreaming, apparently!

But I don’t want to dream any more. I want to live the dream and actually do something about it. Not least because I have two kids to whom I want to be able to say: “You don’t have to just dream. You can live your dream.”

So. Writing! Two chapters and 13,103 words in and I am writing! Huzzah! I even have some short story ideas puttering around set in the same universe (or ‘world?’ not sure what the right way to put it is there…) to give more depth to it. Some of you (if anyone actually reads this) may be wondering what it is that I am writing about. Possibly. Maybe. It’s a bit like showing a newborn to the world, you want to protect it and keep it safe. But with a novel – or even (gasp!) a series of novels, you need to let people see, let them wonder. So, this is me letting my fledging novel and its world blink sleepily at the light of day and for everyone to know about it.

I call my world Viredia. Be gentle, she’s still fragile.

Nick

A Geek Cave: Every Geek’s Dream.

I would consider myself a geek. Not the geekiest, perhaps, but certainly a fairly big one. That being said, I have my own ‘man cave’ to hole myself away in if I feel like wiling the day away.

But my man cave pales in comparison to some of the AWE-INSPIRING odes to Geekdom that are out there.

Have a look at THESE and kow-tow like Mike Myers in Waynes World. “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”

Thanks to Dvice for the info!

The final fate of Mockingbird Lane

So, as any self-respecting tv enthusiast should know, Eddie Izzard had planned to reboot the Munsters into a show called Mockingbird Lane. It sounded awesome and potentially the ‘Desperate Housewives’ of the supernatural genre.

Then it sank like a rock and seemed destined for the cutting room floor. Que lots of sad faces and shrugs of ‘I’m not surprised.’ As a lot of good series premises do sem to go down the tube, I agree.

However!

It now appears that NBC are willing to air the original pilot episode of Mockingbird Lane around Halloween, so we may get to see some of the awesomeness after all! Here’s hoping!

You never know, someone might be willing to pick it up for a full series, but don’t count on it!

For more info, you can see an article on Blastr.

How to pee in a straight line…

Okay, let’s get this straight. I’m about to talk about something disgusting and how I DO NOT GET IT.

How hard is it, as a man, to piss straight? No urinal, okay, there’s a toilet. Okay, there’s a toilet seat on it.

The next step is this: LIFT THE TOILET SEAT AND PEE IN THE TOILET.

You do NOT just piss all over the goddamn thing! Worse is when whoever was in there last decided to piss all over the seat, floor and some of the walls as well.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!?

I am a man. I know how to urinate in a straight line, even when I’m completely wankered (extremely inebriated). It’s not difficult to pick up a toilet seat and pee straight!

So why, countless times, do I find that my fellow men cannot pee straight? Did their parents never teach them this vital skill? Do they drop their pants, turn around continuously until they are dizzy and then just let rip with a golden shower in whatever direction they see fit?

I have no idea, but every time I see it I am rather ashamed.

Plus, can you imagine really needing to have a crap before you find that? *shudders*

Game Review: Bastion for iPad

Bastion

Bear with me, as this will be my first review! The first thing that you notice about Bastion is is gorgeous visual and, when played with headphones, the way that the narrator’s voice curls around you like a gruff, worldly blanket, sealing you off into a little world all on your own. After this impressive intro, you’re thrown into the world of The Kid, the protagonist of this little adventure.

Like The Kid, you know nothing about what has happened to cause the Calamity which seems to have ended the world and, as you walk with the world zipping up under your feet in a colourful waterfall of pastel beauty, get totally sucked in. I lost nearly three hours the first time I played, and looked up to realise that it had gotten dark without be noticing or caring.

The controls are intuitive and easy to master: tap once to move, twice to dodge and once on enemies or obstacles to attack. It’s that simple, and I found myself often eagerly tapping on groups of enemies to hammer my way to victory. Dodging and blocking, which you later acquire, is a skill that you need to master in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed by later enemies, but it is introduced in an easy and graceful manner that allws you to adjust. In addition, weapons each have their own ‘proving ground’ to train and win prizes, so there’s no excuse for claiming weakness with particular abilities!

Customization of your weapons and abilities is easy and swift, once you procure the correct materials. These are found often enough not to frustrate and can also be purchased or won during the game from the in-game shop. No real money is needed either, other than the purchase cost of the game! For me, this was a welcome change to other games, which ask you to pay real money to get the best items.

The plot is both believable and engrossing, making it hard to resist going back to the game over and over to get just that little bit farther, get more achievements, find those hidden nuggets and challenges. My willpower must be quite, low, as I found myself playing again and again, quite happily. In terms of time to complete, I managed to do this in around eight hours of continuous playing, but to get all the challenges and achievements, a much greater length of time is probably required. So far, I have completed 50% of the achievements after around 12 hours of gameplay.

The music is a delight and an absolute masterpiece, supporting and emphasising the story beautifully. Once you reach a certain point, you are able to play any of the music that you have heard so far, and certainly there are some that are incredibly catchy to hum along to.

Overall, I found this game absolutely amazing to play, listen to and look at and would recommend it to anyone that has an iPad, Xbox 360 or PC (via Steam)! I say 9/10!

But don’t take just my word for it, IGN have rated it a 9/10 as well! See their review at http://uk.ign.com/articles/2012/08/30/bastion-ipad-review

Super-fast broadband? No, not really!

So, we live in the age when modern life is increasingly integrated into the digital realm. TV, movies, games, newspapers and shopping, all through the internet. So, what happens when you don’t have the wonderful luck to live on a street that has fibre-optic cabling or are near to a phone interchange?

I’ll tell you: sweet fanny adams. At previous addresses, I’ve had sweet speeds of up to 20MB per second, making downloading music, tv et al an absolute dream and completed within a snap of my fingers. Now? I’m getting 0.02Mb/s because I live ‘too far’ from my local interchange.

That means it takes nearly an hour to download ONE SONG, averaging at around 4MB. Streaming videos? Don’t make me laugh. Online gaming? A thing of the past.

Oh, apparently my area is being ‘upgraded’ by BT Openreach with a super-fast fibre-optic interchange etc. But when will this be completed? God only knows. So, wireless internet, aka 3G (or 4G soon) is actually going to be faster than broadband in my home.

What. The. Fuck.

And the general concensus? Oh, it’s ‘coming soon.’

NOT SOON ENOUGH.

I don’t even want to contemplate what it’s like to live in a village in the middle of nowhere, with no hope for anything within the next few years. A digital age? Only if you’re lucky to hit the postcode lottery.