Monday, 29 December 2014

Zeus, am I right?

Zeus was doing his usual Zeus thing, chatting up a mortal priestess (ancient greek devouts were so much open to seduction) named Io, when Hera came along and was all like "Zeus, you better not be hitting on some human again?!"  and so Zeus, being that he was the king of the gods, was crafty and quick enough to change Io into a cow before his wife could catch them together. 

Hera though, being that she was the Queen of the gods and also, you know, knowing what Zeus was like, was suspicious when she found her husband with his arms wrapped around a cow and so, using her wit, proclaimed "Oh, what a fabulous gift you've got for me there, I've always wanted a cow!" and Zeus was forced to give over poor Io to Hera.

However, thinking quickly, Zeus burst out "Ah, but we live on Mount Olympus, can't take cows up a mountain, they're very terrestrial, scared of heights, don't you know."

Hera conceded the point but insisted that the cow be kept in her sacred olive grove (somehow not a euphemism) and watched over by her friend, Argos, who was a giant with like, so many eyes, just, freaking, so many, it was weird. Hera knew that loyal Argos would keep an eye (or two, or fifty, or a hundred) on Io at all times because he never closed them all at once.

However, she had not banked on Hermes, who Zeus sent to kill Argos because that's the logical reaction to being cockblocked by your wife. Send your son to kill her friend. Anyway, Hermes went there and tried to get Argos to leave the cow unattended, but no matter what he did he couldn't get the giant to close all his eyes at the same time. He tried spells and hexes, he tried playing soothing lullabies on his lyre, nothing would work until he started spouting on about the history of musical instruments ("Hey, did I ever tell you how I made the first lyre? First, I got this turtle right...." and on he goes, oy) which knocked the giant out. Then, Hermes lopped Argos' head off with a sickle because fucker was hardcore.

As it turns out, Zeus had kind of moved on by this point and didn't really care anymore. He went off to do Zeus things. Argos' eyes got put on peacock tails because they were Hera's favourite bird. Hermes got no comeuppance. And as for Io, well, she eventually got turned back into a human, after being cursed by Hera to madness by gadfly (just one, that couldn't be gotten rid of, just stinging her, all the time, to induce insanity you see), meeting the titan Prometheus and swimming across a whole fucking ocean (as a human that's tough, as a cow...yeah). But it was all worth it because in the end Zeus had his way and she ended up giving birth to some of Zeus' kids (sure, he had given up on her, but Zeus is Zeus), who then had kids of their own, who then had kids with other Zeus babies because looking at the family tree of ancient greeks myths is a lot like reading a rednecks family tree (oh my mother is my brother, is my fathers aunties uncle, is my grandpa, is my nephew is my son! and so on, seriously, zeus hit up his own grandchildren multiple times, who then procreated with each other, and don't even get me started on Herakles and the Danaids, 1 Zeus male descendant, 50 Zeus female descendants, and all 50 were impregnated, and then started marrying each other, and all the ancient greek rulers pointed at shit like this and was like "we is descended from this union, this is why we're more specialler than you!" and you know, they weren't wrong)....

....anyway, where was I...oh yes, the moral. I guess the moral of this story is don't trust Zeus. If you're a woman, he'll probably turn you into some kind of animal...and then fuck you....or turn himself into an animal...and fuck you...either way, he's going to fuck you. If you're a male, don't get in the way or he will have you killed...and then probably fuck you.  


When I was a kid I used to do these voice imitation things. Like, I'd put on different accents, imitate celebrity voices or whatever. One time, I went about a week or so changing my voice every day. I'd spend one day speaking in a cockney accent all day, the next, an Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation, the next I'd do a hoarse Glaswegian voice. Anyway, it got to the point where I forgot what my actual voice sounded like. Have you ever had that? It's a surreal moment of depersonalisation. It was kind of like that thing people get when they hear themselves on a recording, the "do I really sound like that?" moment where they're not entirely certain it's them because they're hearing their own voices without the differing timbre and such created by their own skulls. It was like that but taken to the extreme. "Do I really sound like that? Hang on, what do I actually sound like?" 

It was genuinely terrifying, like losing a piece of the self, or rather, not knowing it at all. Never told anyone about it either, never wrote it down anywhere, but people (randomers as well as family and friends of) would always say that I don't sound like I'm from Liverpool (sadly, I do sound more Scouse now, which is a shame as I cannot stand that fucking accent...thinking on it, probably some psychosomatic thing that caused the change in voice in the first place...hmm) and of course, that just fueled the fear that I had done something to my voice. That it wasn't *my* voice, if that makes sense.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Lucky Chloe

This is Lucky Chloe. She is a new character in the fighting series Tekken, joining the roster when Tekken 7 releases. Except maybe not (at least in America) because of the fans outraged at the idea of a cute character in their grimdark serious fighting game series (the same series that has characters such as: a literal robotic schoolgirl, a tie in promotion chibi dinosaur, and many more...I've also got to include this scene because it's the badass main character of the series being made to wear a thong...serious bidness!).

Reading through the comment sections on various sites (listed at the end of this missive)the outrage runs the gamut from the aforementioned "you can't put this in my fighting game!" to "screw them for appealing to the popular vocaloid crowd" to "this character is oppressive to females and only reinforces stereotypes!" to which I say...fucking shut up! The arguments seem different but they all boil down to the same basic point, "I feel undue privilege, give me what I want or I will scream." 

Your fighting game? No sir/madam, it's the makers (Harada's) game. He could make the game's roster consist of nothing but Lucky Chloe reskins and it would be perfectly fine because it is "his" (well, his teams, but he's the boss so) game. 

'It's just to appeal to Vocaloid fans', yes, and? Vocaloids fairly big in Japan but, hmm, lets think about this, a Japanese game trying to appeal to a Japanese audience...there might actually be something in this one...except the outrage is justified because...what? It's not targeted at you? Get the fuck out.  

And lastly, my favourite, the "this character is oppressive to females" blather. This one I love most of all because it's so utterly hypocritical, basically "you can't tell women how to act or dress, only I (and people like me) can!". Add in some casual racism (as tends to be the case with these people commenting) along the lines of "Japan needs to start acting more like us civilised people in the West" and you have to laugh if only to curb the murderous rage now burning within.

Anyway, to end this (not really focussed tirade), here's a picture based on the Tekken character designer Harada's tweet saying he'd make a big, burly man character to appease the offended inclusionary folk.

Bless that man.

- Outraged points of view were taken from Gamespot, Polygon, Ign and Eurogamer website comment sections. (The reports themselves were about the outrage)   

Tuesday, 7 October 2014


I've pretty much stayed out of this whole gamergate thing, I think I've talked about it with maybe two other people and it was like a five minute "yeah, it's pretty bullshit, can understand both sides, blah blah blah" thing but yeah, my ire has slowly been rising...the first photo linked is from the xoxo festival of last year, the second is of this year. We'll get back to that in just a tick.
Brief notes for those who don't know anything about gamergate, it started when the ex-boyfriend of a female indie game developer accused her of sleeping with a games journalist to get her product a better rating. This might not be entirely true (or at the least is unprovable, though it is a fact that the two accused started dating the day after the review came out which is fairly suspicious in itself though not at all any indication of guilt).This accusation of (note well) of falsifying journalistic endeavour led to a massive backlash against gamers by a group of people who said that such wild claims were examples of the rampant misogyny and lack of diversity in gaming as a whole, the general view being that the male gamer was upset that his hobby was being usurped by emergent female gamers, whilst female gamers in support of such males were falling victim to institutional gender bias (somehow).
Gamers argue it's not about misogyny or being upset about more/less diversity in games (which is a contestable point anyway), but rather that it's about the lack of oversight these games journalists have, that, in effect, these journalists are free to write whatever they want, however they want and receive whatever they want in the forms of free games, merch, etc. and never be held to account for it and that leads to unmitigated corruption with the medium itself.
That is a very, very brief summation of what has transpired thus far in the whole sorry saga. Why I linked those two pictures though is because they are pictures of the XoXo festival, a festival that claims to highlight and support diversity and independence in art and technology. It's all about diversity, right? That's what it claims? Now count how many of the people there that are NOT white, 20ish, males. If you cannot count without using your fingers, don't worry, you won't run out of fingers, hell, if i say take away the white women from that NOT list, you'd probably only need the one hand to count the rest. That's not a diverse crowd. That's a group of people, a very large group of people, who want to sound as though they support diversity because it's the "moral" thing to say. Oh aren't we good because we say good things.
Now compare that audience of people made up of those bemoaning the lack of diversity in gaming with:
There's still an overabundance of males in both pictures, yes, but compared to the ones at the diversity symposium? The second picture was from League of Legends, a game with a reputation for a terrifying toxic environment, so toxic in fact, its developers had to implement ways to curtail player interaction because it was damaging the title...and yet still, there's asians, there's africans/african-americans, there's white folk, male, female, all there having a good time, but it's gamers who have the inability to diversify/cope with diversity? And yet, instead of looking at the quote/unquote journalists attacking people who were attacking them (not as people, but as journalists), other media picked up on it and were heavily sympathetic to the plight of the poor women so traumatised by this event. Which is why women like Zoe Quinn (which I should've mentioned at the start was the woman who started this whole furore) and Anita Sarkeesian are getting articles in places such as,, even british tabloids like the guardian (oh sorry, it's a broadsheet, snicker snicker) where they talk about their plight and what they've had to suffer through, because they have suffered, that is without question, they've been attacked, time and again. Not because they are women but because what they purport as truth is anything but. Anita Sarkeesian in particular has made a living out of being a victim, it's actually quite masterful, because there'll always be a pack of moral activists willing to jump on the lance pointed at her lies when she screams "misogyny!"
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that gaming is this great, all inclusive thing, because it patently isn't, but as hobbies go it's definitely got a fair leg up on most of its competitors, and for it to be attacked and slandered in such a way is sad, most of all. Not because I like gaming (though I do, a whole freaking lot), but because of what attacking it without thought shows our society to be. The observation I take from it (and other things like this) is that there are far too many people who are far too interested in looking and appearing correct and moral than actually being correct and moral.
Anyway, I've bored you all long enough now, go have an ice cream and/or carbonated beverage of your choosing.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Frozen Iron

Do you wanna build an Iron man? Come on, lets go and save the day! I never see you anymore, come out the door, it's like you lost your way! We used to be avengers, and now we're not, I wish you'd tell me you wanna build an Iron doesn't have to be an Iron man....

Do you wanna build an Iron man? Or ride around our flash new cars, i think some company is overdue, I've started talking to that AI you've got hidden in your walls!

It gets a little lonely, saving a world from certain doom, just watching as the foes fly by....

Tony, please I know you're in there, people are asking where you've been, put down the dutch courage, i know you're trying to, we're right out here for you, just let us in....

Us avengers only have each other, it's just us and Nick Fury, what are we going to do....

Do you wanna build an Iron man....

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Originality is dead; long live originality!

Ideas are a funny thing. Not funny "ha ha" but funny in a very stroke the beard and go "hmm, yes, quite" kind of way. I say they're funny in a strokey beard kind of way because they've all been done before. Or thought up before. Or experienced in a fevered dream brought on by too many custard creams and mint liqueurs. The point I'm laboriously driving at is that being original, truly original, is a very hard thing to achieve.

Well, that's not entirely true I suppose. It can be quite easy to be original, putting on your socks with a shotgun loaded with not buckshot but tadpoles, yes, I think it's fairly safe to say that no one has shot themselves in the foot with frogspawn whilst getting dressed in the morning, so I guess I should amend my previous statement to "It's very hard to be original AND be a success at it". Which is fine you know, as my bufo related sartorial story has shown, being original can be overrated, and vastly so. Though, that's not to say you should ever stop trying or striving towards being different. I would argue the worst thing a person can ever do is stop pushing for change and simply accept everything as it is, that's basically a living death. But you can introduce change without being novel about it and that's fine.

It does annoy me however. The other day I had an idea for a story and I got super excited about it. I was lying in bed, doing my usual thing where I can't sleep because apparently I store all my thoughts in my pillow, when it was like a switch just flipped. The story popped into my head, the characters all fully developed, the twists, the underlying meanings, the ending , everything, it was a fully formed story. The last week I have just been running it over and over my head seeing what I can add, what I should take away, but there hasn't been much for either side. Then, just as I sat down the other day to write it, a little voice whispered in my ear "Hey, isn't that just The Wizard of Oz?" and I stopped and then I thought about it and then I did a little inward screaming. It wasn't entirely the story, it was just very similar. Then I started comparing the idea I had to Neverwhere (by Neil Gaiman), Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll) and a number of other stories and of course, it was all very similar. Character finds themselves in a fantasy land, has struggles adapting, experiences heartbreak/overwhelming physical or emotional trial and prevails, becomes hero, goes home...and yes, I've read about the hero's journey, the monomyth, and it's a very interesting thing, but it just annoyed me that it...well...that it was so perfectly fitting.

I'm still going to write the story because how could I not? But I am still annoyed. Not at the monomyth, not at the idea that originality is a night unobtainable ideal or even that my story is similar to other stories. I'm annoyed at my own brain for getting so worked up about it, letting me become so excited to be writing this thing before going "hey, that character, remind you of anyone from any other story? tsk tsk, Terence." Because, and I think I've said this before, my brain is an asshole who likes to troll me, and I hate him for that! But I sure do love anthropomorphising my organs and blaming them for flaws such as my growing insanity and also my expanding waistline, damn you stomach, can't you just lay off food for even a moment! Yes, all their fault, not mine....I'm sure.

Anyway, that's enough for now...I know, I made you wait a month (WHAT?!) from my last little rant, I was busy, doing things, like unknowingly plagiarising everything in existence, which is quite a feat, let me assure you of that. Later taters. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


So yeah, religion, how about that eh? Me? I love it! Completely unfounded belief in something just because it feels right? Heck yeah! What I hate about it is (ironically) all the hate it's just...imagine you're God, or a god, whatever, you got all this fantastic power, you know everything, control everything, can see across the whole breadth and depth of existence and what's this?! Someone doesn't believe in you?! Out of the whole universe, from its birth to death, a statistically insignificant number of atoms either don't acknowledge, or even refute, your existence!  Drown them! Drown the lot of them!

Oh, okay, maybe that was an over-reaction, let's save a family of them and have them repopulate the Earth (itself an insignificant speck against the backdrop of, you know, the whole fucking universe!) because there's no way that the generations of inbreeding as a result of this will backfire in any way...not like the last time you did that it inadvertently created fucking Murder (.....that's not to mention that that could only happen because you created death simply because your creations, which you made that way, ate some fruit....which seriously, what were they supposed to do, they were idiots! they didn't have any intelligence until eating a fruit from the tree called the fucking tree of knowledge! what did you think was going to happen?! Oh, your arch nemesis who took the form of a talking snake told them to eat it and you couldn't do anything about it; least of all just let the thing slide like the forgiving being you are supposed to be??? Good for you! *rolls eyes*.)

Anyway, I'm getting away from myself here; the point is religion is okay. It is only a tool, after all, and you don't blame the hammer for being used to murder someone. The problem is many people just use religion as an excuse to inflict harm on others. He's eating a foodstuff that my book says we shouldn't! She's throwing away her hard earned cash by gambling! They're having fun on a Sunday! Those rat bastards!

The food thing annoys me. You can't eat pigs, because they're filthy! You can't eat cows because they're sacred! You can't eat people because oh so many calories! And I also guess it's a sin...the point is, the human thing aside, because that's a joke, because of the calories, it made sense when it was first introduced. "Don't eat the meat!" says noted historical figure Joe Blogg of Babylon.
 "But!" say the people.
 "You'll die unless it's super fresh because we can't store meat properly as we've not yet invented refrigeration and we live in a fucking desert," continues Joe Blogg.
"We don't care!" say the people, eating the bacon and promptly expiring post haste.
"Hmm," says Joe, "I know...People, hear me! You know that God dude? Totally hates you eating those animals because they're like, his favourite creations and shit."
"What, all of them?" says one of the audience, who somehow survived death by bacon.
"Erm, yes...I mean no! Some are also possessed by demons, which he hates, and if you eat them, you take the demon into you and become corrupted! For example, by eating a pig, you become like the pig demon, full of sloth and gluttony."
"Well, sir, I am convinced, because after that plate of bacon, and the second, I cannot move a muscle save to adjust the cushions on my ottoman...ottoman...say, that's a great name for an empire!" and off went that audience member to found an empire based around footstools.

It made sense back in the day, not so much anymore. People don't really die from eating meat anymore. It's an archaic practice that is only still done because it's what has always been done, which is no excuse to do things!

Then there's the whole thing of attacking homosexuals because a man shall not lay with another man and all that bullshit. Again, probably because back in the day that probably was far more dangerous to do because of hygiene reasons. Got shit on your knob? It's staying there because all you got to wipe it off is a dirty rag, or you can wash it in the river, I guess, but you know, that probably ain't much cleaner....because fish pee in know.....doesn't just apply to homosexuals, but heteros as well, think about it. "Don't have sex!" "Why?" "Because demons live in semen and labial juices, they're attracted to it, and they can get into you via that and corrupt your mind and body!" "Are you talking about STDs?" "....that sounds like scientific demon lingo, you're not a demon wearing a man suit are you?" "" then he grew fangs, his eyes glowed yellow, he sprouted wings and flew away....weird conversation, but he had a point, maybe this science thing could be right? Could it be that being promiscuous is looked down upon because it was ridiculously unhealthy back in the day? Probably. I'd also wager there was a lot of jealousy involved in making it morally reprehensible. 

Which leads us neatly to attacking women, denigrating the entire gender because of original sin, right? We only live these shitty, temptation-filled mortal lives because a woman had a major hankering for an apple, which to be fair, haven't we all had at some point (I may be projecting here, as I bloody love apples) so let's blame her! As opposed to, you know, the being who inflicted the punishment in the first place because his astoundingly arbitrary rules were broken by the crack team of his infinitely less powerful adversary and the woman who literally had the IQ of a retarded sponge (remember, this is before intelligence was even a thing, sure Adam had his little interview things with God, but they were on the intellectual level of say, your average sports journalist.). This is something I feel that gets overlooked a lot. In terms of plot hole, that ranks way up there, and the cover of "well, he's a bit unknowable, you know, we don't know why He does these things, but we do know that we shouldn't know, you know?" is fucking ludicrous. If God is truly unfathomable, then why follow anything He's apparently said, who interpreted it in the first place, how did they do it correctly if He is literally, not figuratively, but literally unknowable. He says woman are bad, maybe he meant it like 90s kids used the word bad, to mean good, and for centuries, millennia, that was (perhaps deliberately) misconstrued? 

I do realise I've gone on a bit too much here about religion from an Abrahamic perspective...mostly because that's the one I was raised with and the ones I despise the most because of the harm and hate they cause in the world. Announcing you're a Jew, a Muslim or a Christian in certain areas is likely to result in your head being caved in, and for what? It's not the religion that causes the hatred, well, sometimes it is, ("Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"...again, the woman thing, I wonder what's up with that, I reckon the bible writing men just had a serious vagina envy thing going on), but mostly, it's the users of the tool. They're free to pick and mix what to use, to take away from the texts, and instead they go with the stuff liable to do the most damage.

What's really sad is the ones who do do the good crap from the books are the ones you don't hear about. The ones who are temperate and who let things go on, not judging, letting people do their own thing, who don't proselytise, who just live their own fucking lives...course, you don't know how much of that is their own choice and how much of that was forced on them by their parents and how much damage they'll do to their own kids simply because they don't know any other way of being.

In conclusion, some religion is fine, most is bad and only used to exclude and harm others whilst making one's self feel better. Personally, I'd go with Norse mythology as it just makes sense, plus Vikings were pretty fucking cool, even because they spent hours before battle shampooing, conditioning and braiding their hair, because what point is there in looting, raping and pillaging your way through a country if you don't look fabulous whilst doing so?! Exactly! None at all!  

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Death and other things.

Lately, I've been thinking of death. Not in a big way or anything, just in the way where one is falling to sleep then jolts awake when the thought "oh crap, I'm mortal, one day I will no longer be!" pops into one's head. 

It's annoying. I really do jolt awake, I'll be there, slipping off into sleep then boom! My brain says in a creepy voice "Hey, bitch..." and I say "...yeah?" and it replies "You gonna die!" and I sit up and make a kind of mewling noise and stare at my hand, touch the walls, pick up a book or whatever, just something to convince myself that I'm still here, that things are real. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining as such. I've had those thoughts/reactions to said thoughts for pretty much as long as I can remember and they used to be more frequent to the point where I'd have them every night. Now it's only like once or twice a week so yeah, that's a marked improvement. It's just this last week that they've become a regular reoccurring thing again. Mostly, it's down to university. I might actually fail this year. I wouldn't be so arsed because I don't even want to go onto the second year of this course, but I need to pass it to get onto the first year of my new course. I didn't learn this until quite recently, after I'd pretty much given up any pretence of caring for the current course. So I was way, way, WAY behind on work and knowledge of what I needed to do and I know, don't misconstrue this, I am blaming myself entirely for it. I counted my chickens before they were hatched, ate my goose before it was cooked and other such avian related metaphors on making poor assumptions.

This, of course, leads to stress. I'm having to make up a lot of ground in things I don't want to, or even can't really, do and it's not really going fantastically well, no, not well at all. Which leads to me being awake, depressed, fatalistic, at five in the morning. Then, when I do get to sleep, I have anxiety inducing, cryptic dreams about, well, everything. I can't even explain. Like, last night I had this dream I was at a formal party and this girl I once knew was there and we got to talking, but she was a completely different person. It was someone I really cared about, I hadn't seen her in quite a few years, she had, literally, a new face, a new personality, new mannerisms, almost entirely different to the person I knew, but it was still her, and in the dream she tried to engage with me but I rejected her. Obviously that wasn't the only thing, there was also a part about being a vampire and trying to sell a castle but being unable to let go of it. 

From them it's easy to see what the problem is. Holding onto the past, incapable of accepting change and moving on. But then, maybe it's the other way. Maybe it's that I should be holding onto the past. I mean, I do tend to stop and drop things pretty abruptly, simply letting things go because it's easier than holding on. I don't know, I'm starting to hate going to sleep though, again, which is something I thought I'd gotten over.

As I've said in other pieces, depression is something you don't really ever get over. The best you can do is suppress it for a while. At the end of it, those thoughts always come back. The ones about not being good enough for anything, anyone, the thoughts about how insanely close to oblivion everything just is, so what's the point of anything.

I can feel it there, at the back of my mind. I think it's there at the back of everyone's mind. At least, I'd like to assume so, because then it would mean I'm less crazy by virtue of everyone else being crazy too and, you know, that shits relative. It's frustrating though. Every time, I fuck up. Not other people, me. Myself. I. Who knows, maybe Douglas Adams was right with the other Trillian thing. You know, if there was another you created who, in their life, had made the opposite choices to yours, they'd wish they made the choices you made. In other words, we'd both regret the choices made....grass is always greener is what I'm trying to say in my own, distinctively obtuse way. I don't know. Can't find out. Just nice to think that no matter what I'd be fucked up anyway, right?

But yeah, it's always my mistake. It might sound egotistical, or conceited, but honestly, I've basically been in control of my own life my whole life, people have bent over backwards to help me and all I've done is piss on their help. All I ever had to do was be something slightly other than myself and I might actually be somewhere right now. Hell, even these diatribes are a lesson in self-gratification aren't they. I could stop writing them, right now, could not post it. But I'm going to, aren't I? The whole world must know and read about the all Great and Powerful Terence...though I'm sure they won't. Maybe it's a cry for help. I don't know, I have a bad time actually asking for help. Maybe, I really don't know. Indirect, perhaps. Not that I think anyone really could, or indeed, even should because I think that way. 

I better get to work, increasingly disjointed rant over.  

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Xbox One: A rope of Sand

I hate talking about self indulgences. No, wait, that's an absolute lie, I love talking self indulgently. Everyone does it, talking about things that make them happy in some way. Even if it's just talking about "ooh, we've got to help the farmland critters from being made into tasty treats and wearable cleats!" people only talk about that because it makes them happy in some way. Whether it is the thing itself or the reaction they get from talking about, pretty much every conversation is self indulgent. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, it's basic pride and yes, in general, we're taught that pride is a bad thing, a sin even. So we talk about the little sins, the peccadilloes, the little things that we can take a small amount of pride in because modesty is so much better which leads me to the Xbox One.

For those of you unaware of what the Xbox One is, it is the third video game console (I know, why is it called the One if it's the third...I'll get back to that...) by the mega-corporation Microsoft, who brought you other such fantastic things as Windows 8 (you mean people on desktop pcs didn't want tablet software running their systems?!) and the Zune (which, by all accounts, was actually a decent piece of hardware, just had the bad luck of running against the apple-ites) and okay, yeah they did do good things like basically popularise home computing and make the industry what it is today.

The Xbox One is the third machine they made for the sole purpose of playing video games...well, I say sole, they actually marketed it as a home media centre, able to watch tv, play games, listen to music etc. i.e. a machine that does the function of several machines, an "all in one machine" if you will (and that, my friends, is where the name comes from, told you I'd get back to that!), which, if you're a gamer like I am, was a worrying noise for Microsoft to be making. It makes sense from a business sense, more generalised content means more sales right? But it also means a lower degree of emphasis on video games, you know, the thing that made the previous console (the Xbox 360) a genuine contender for the crown of Console King (what is a handheld gamer to a console king, what is a console king to a PC God?! I joke, I joke, all three types have merit to them....unlike tablet/mobile gaming, fuck those so called "games") and it shows.

Well, that's not entirely true. The thing that is really hurting the Xbox One at the moment is a lack of titles. Surely this a result of Microsoft's broadening of their scope for the console. Not exactly. The Playstation 4, it's prime opponent (Nintendo, with the Wii-U, just sits in the corner with its fingers in its ears, repeating over and over to itself that "gamers just want more mario with more costumes, more mario, more costumes, more mario, more mario, more mario...") who in the lead up to both consoles release dates put the emphasis on gaming, again and again, and mocked and derided the TV-centric model of the Microsoft effort.

Yet, here we are, five months down the line and both systems don't really have that "game", that title that sells systems. As good as Titanfall is, all the great publicity it gets, is basically for naught. It's available on Xbox One, sure, but it's also available on PC and even the Xbox 360. The PS4's major release, Infamous: Second Son looks fairly fun (on a more personal note, it looks to me like Aaron Paul with Powers simulator, which, if they had followed that path, would have been a far greater title) but in terms of enticing people on the fence to buy a £350+ console for? Don't get me wrong, I bought an Xbox One partially on the back of the Titanfall release, but mostly it was out of a desire to throw my hat into the ring now. I'll be buying a PS4 somewhere down the line, but that the Xbox One, Microsoft, who disregarded games in basically all their speeches have that slight edge at this point in the race (an edge that will continue to grow as shown in this video), are moving back to games being the focus, its a good time to be a console gamer. 

At least, it will be, when we actually get some decent titles out, come on man, give me something I can't live without, not a numbered sports title/last gen port like what we currently have! Later taters!

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Remember how I said in my last post (what? you don't remember? did you even read it?! I am disappointed in you, tut tut and for shame, I say, for shame...) I wouldn't be changing course...well...turns out I may have been a little too hasty in stating that. 

Yes, I am changing course (hopefully, I've made the application, met the tutors and been accepted onto the new course, pending successful completion of this year, but still something may go wrong), moving on, setting sail and other such sayings that indicate movement from one state to another. I discussed what I didn't like about this Journalism course in my previous blog (please, please read it! Every time I write one of these things and don't get readers, I die a little...partly metaphorically and partly literally as the boss pours black scorpions down my shirt and ooh how the toxin burns...aka, HELP!) but to briefly outline the main reasons:

1) Spending teaching time on shorthand is, in my opinion,'s taught entirely from a book, it's time wasted having someone teach it. Could use that time on something else. Have shorthand as ongoing homework or whatever.

2) I dislike the moral ambiguity of "chasing stories". Going after information for the sake of knowledge is something I'm cool with. Going after it, not to learn, but to sell stories is abhorrent.

3) It's writing Jim, but not as we know it. Writing is an art form. News Writing is a science. There is a formula to follow each and every time and that is heartbreaking for me.

Anyway, there are other reasons, but yeah, those are probably the main ones. Well, that plus how the course is set up...bits of it just don't make sense, like the shorthand I mentioned, but also...well, we've got an assessment coming up where part of it is using voice recorders and cameras...but there's been barely any training on them. I recognise that teaching time is limited, but surely if something is going to be assessed it warrants a bit more than a one hour session that only covered the absolute basics and even then missed some points out. Luckily I have my own gear so I should be okay for it, but others? 

I don't know, maybe the pay off is in the second and third year, but honestly, I don't feel like I've learnt anything this year. In fact, I feel like I've regressed because I've not been engaging my brain as much as I did in college. 

Or maybe it just isn't for me, I don't know, it wouldn't be the first time I've been completely wrong with my choice, with something I thought that was entirely right for me. In any case, this will be a short one and I am going to wrap it up here because I have still got a lot of work to complete and yeah...that needs doing, so later taters!

PS: I didn't mention what course I'm hoping to switch's English and Creative Writing, and now you know.  

Friday, 7 March 2014

Weights and counter-weights

Samurai had this idea that one should live as though one is dreaming and that death is where we all "wake up" so to speak. Well, that's not entirely true, but then, it's not entirely false either and for the purposes of this piece it's truth enough which is actually pretty lucky as this one is all about perception.

It is one of my favourite things in the world. The idea that someone can experience the exact same thing but recount or otherwise interpret it differently than myself or anyone else who witnessed said hypothetical event. To a lot of people it can be quite scary, not knowing what is going on in other people's heads. I would be lying if I said it doesn't scare me at times, but then at others, I marvel at it, because what else can you do? People often think I'm attacking them when I ask them to explain their point of view on something, because I can be too brusque, too accusatory in tone or whatever...which is a failing on my part, because almost always I am just trying to understand a different perspective. I'm not attacking, I'm not chiding or demeaning, I am simply trying to understand.

Sometimes I do take it too far though and I forget about myself, my own actual point of view, and put on the mask of questioner, the me who isn't me but is... I think everyone does this to some extent, the football fan that, for example, is swept along in the moment and attacks someone for insulting their team, the anti-hate protester who becomes a reflection of the people they are protesting against, the people who care so much it hurts them to care at all. In trying to satisfy the inner desires, to belong, to be good, to be righteous, we do sometimes create a monster.

But of course, you can't see that. It is like living at the bottom of a lake, even if you could potentially see the sky above the water, but you would not know it is dry until you get out. Would you even know what "dry" is, having spent your life at the bottom of a lake? We only know what we can know and, even then, not all of that.

Perception is a funny thing. I know what I am talking about and I think I have even explained it pretty well, but you could interpret it another way entirely. You could be angry that I've implied you've been living at the bottom of the lake (hey, I didn't say perceptions had to make sense) or take umbrage at my use of the word "umbrage" could think it banal, funny, insightful, insipid, boring or anything in between or outside of that range but I can guarantee that not one of you would read it in the exact way I had meant it to be read....which is really poor phrasing for which I do apologise, I am very tired right now. You might get close, very close, but you would never, ever be able to read these words as I would, nor could I ever be exact in the way you interpret maybe you would interpret them correctly because I can't perceive that doesn't mean it can't be done right?! Heh, tangents, love them, anyway.

This has just been a long-way of saying I am leaving the journalism course. For a few reasons; firstly, I don't really believe in objectivity and it seems dishonest to try to claim it as a career. Secondly, you have read my writing, right? It is good, very good, even if I do say so myself, but it isn't really suitable for news (see objectivity complaint). Thirdly, I can't report. I get too interested in what people are saying, why they say those things, the reasons etc....which means I don't get the quotes down....Fourthly; I get bored when people speak (I know, both ends of the spectrum right, almost like a person can have more than one trait!) and I zone out to think about video games, or books, or food, even *whispers* girls! Don't tell the priests! brain isn't quite right, I blame Deadpool. 

Fifth and finally, the cynicism. Now, I am a fairly cynical chap, or at least, I was until a few years ago. I still kind of am, but it's more of a jovial cynicism now...that was until I started doing stories for this course....people hoping for tragedies because they make the best stories....dismissing people's hardships as irrelevant because they won't sell papers...treating people as leads or contacts instead of just...people...there's a dehumanisation there, you know? As much as I dislike being around people I do value them as people, as humans, to be treated rightly not because I'm trying to wheedle a story out of them either now or in the future, but because treating them rightly is the correct thing to do. There is just something ever so slightly abhorrent about it.

Which you may realise is hypocritical because at the start of this I said about my asking people questions to try to understand them, basically getting a "story" for myself. There isn't much of a difference, but, also remember this is about perception, it makes sense in my eyes.

So what now for this old wolf...I have started on the road to sorting out an English course next year, just have to finish and pass the current year, and I might combine it with something, maybe. It looks like I will have to repeat the first year (if I can even get onto it) but that's fine, I expected that. Why did I write about perceptions today, partly it's because I know that people will think I'm insane for doing this, I get that a lot because I do things that seem like crazy snap judgements, but it's not. This particular thing has been bubbling away in my head since the start of the year. If anything, the insane snap judgement was deciding to stick at it to see if it would improve. Generally speaking, these apparently hastily made decisions are the result of months of mostly silent contemplation on the subject. Perceptions are a funny thing.