Category Archives: One a Day

Calling it a day

Being quite a bit stubborn, I really didn’t want to have to write this post, but I think two weeks worth of entries to catch up on has finally convinced me to quit while I’m…well, two weeks behind. I had been struggling prior to the holiday, but I feel a little refreshed after the holiday and I’m eager to do more of the stuff that I’ve half-heartedly done for a while now and it’s beginning to feel like this is a drain on my time, or at least a bit of an unwanted distraction.

I’ll probably still write something every now and then, as there have been posts that I’ve really wanted to write, amazingly enough. Having to write an entry every day has made me comfortable with the idea that I’ll never write anything that’s perfect, so that’s not something that bothers me anymore for anything I write in the future. Plus, I bought this domain so I’m not letting it go to waste. I’m not made of money!

The idea of using the site as a blog for posting the occasional thought or silly video actually appeals to me much more when I think about it. Hopefully the other one-a-dayers that are still going strong will be a reminder that this site exists.

So, this isn’t a farewell as such, it pretty much just means there won’t be a 9gag picture here every other day, which can only be a good thing.

France, day three

Well, this isn’t good. I’m finding it genuinely difficult to both remember, and find the energy to write something here since the holiday. The holiday itself has actually been really good in terms of my general laziness. That is, I don’t keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll do it later” to everything I ought to do. Maybe that’s why this feels like so much more effort than it was before, or it could be just because I haven’t gone back to work yet, so I don’t fully feel like I’ve adjusted to being back home.

Anyway, this was taken on the third day of the holiday, after a short period of rain in the evening. It was 44º on the day we arrived, and only slightly lower the day after, so rain was very welcome by this point. We even got a nice lightning show after we ate and sat in the garden.

It’s not the greatest picture, but I like it. For reference, this is the vast majority of the village we were staying in. Our gîte was on the right down a small path and a barn.

Home sweet home (almost)

Hello you! It’s been a while, how’ve you been? You’re looking well. Me? Oh, I’m fine, thanks. Yes, France was lovely, but then who wouldn’t be happy with a diet consisting mainly of red wine, bread and cheese, and obscenely cheap beer?

Sorry, not sure what was going on there. Right now, I’m in holiday purgatory: in a French hotel for our last night before returning to the UK. I’ve said for some time that I use the internet too much and mentioned to my girlfriend on a few occasions that I was looking forward to being cut off for a couple of weeks. Internet, I apologise. I was right, we do see each other too much, but good God, I’ve missed you.

It’s rather expensive to use 3G over here on my contract, so I’ve tried to limit it (about 5mb use in total), but I was somewhat horrified when my RSS reader informed me of a Steam sale in the middle of our second week. Almost as horrified as when I realised it’d cost me about £4.50 to find that out. Thanks, O2. A slightly-more-expensive-than-planned call to my parents tonight has rectified it slightly though: Portal 2, Dead Space 1 and 2, and Crayon Physics Deluxe. Lovely.

Amazing, isn’t it? I’ve not written anything here for almost two weeks and I’m already writing about Steam sales. I’d like to write about what I’ve been up to – and I’ll probably some pictures of the stunning house we stayed at, amongst other things – but it was a holiday of doing as little as possible by (or in) the pool, so that may not be particularly interesting. I’ve spent a good deal of my time finally playing GTA: Chinatown Wars and finally finishing the first Professor Layton game on the DS, so it’ll be even less interesting if you’ve played either/don’t like games.

Anyway, it’s gone 11pm here now and I’m surprisingly tired for someone who’s spent most of the day sat on their arse in the back of a car. I also appear to listening to Lady Gaga, even after my girlfriend fell asleep about a song and a half in. So, bed it is. Words cannot describe how excited I am about arriving at the first UK motorway service station and buying an overpriced coffee. In UK currency. From someone who understands me and who I understand. Probably, anyway.

The journey to France: LIVE!

I’m writing this on my phone, in the car, just outside London, I believe. For fairly obvious reasons, I find this amazing.

I don’t have anything interesting to write, but the 3G connection has been fairly good so far, so I thought I’d try to fire a quick post out to lighten the load when I get back.

The journey so far has mostly involved the last third of Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well – which is excellent, after a slow start – and my girlfriend singing loudly.

The weather is looking increasingly grim as we get further south, which is fine as long as this trend reverses once we leave the country, and I don’t get wet on the ferry. I tend to go a bit ‘drowned rat.’

Anyway, I’ll wrap this up now as we are pulling into some services for a wee break; that’s Scottish for ‘small’, or, in this case, another word for ‘piss.’

Holidays and books

At 1am last night I finished work until the 13th of July. It would be an understatement to say that this makes me happy, but what makes me happier is knowing that I will be in France in a few days by the private pool in 35 degree sun, if the forecast is to be believed.

It’s going abroad that makes me realise how I spend way, way too much time on the internet. The weather isn’t particularly exciting to me if I’m honest, the idea of sitting around with nothing to do but read a good book or play on the DS is infinitely more interesting to me.

Even if it’s just a two day trip somewhere away from home, I get an excited buzz packing three or four books that I’ll never have enough time to read. It baffles me that I don’t get this feeling at home: I’ve had Simon Pegg’s autobiography, Nerd Do Well, since my birthday at the beginning of March and I’m still only about two thirds of the way through. I’ll have read it within an hour of arriving at our gîte.

If I’d thought this through, I would’ve asked for recommendations a few weeks back, but I’m an idiot. Thankfully, I still haven’t read Catch 22 or Down and out in Paris and London since I bought them about 5 years ago, so after I’ve read Ninteen Eighty-Four for the eight millionth time, I’ll start them. Or not.

In summary: Woo, Books! Yay, holiday!

Paper jam!

Apologies, I didn’t want to do a lazy entry today, but I have roughly 300 million things to do before we go away and very little time to do them. Still, it’s nice to see an explanation of the inner workings of a photocopier, right?

A post about indie games (AKA something nice on the internet)

These days you can’t go anywhere on the internet without happening across a game being developed by one man and his small terrier dog called Larry. It’s time for indie games to shine, apparently. Still, it’s nice when something good happens on the internet to reverse some of the monstrous shit that happens in the Youtube comments sections.

It’s great to see some of these games have a lot of success too: World of Goo is fantastic; Super Meat Boy made me want to throw my Xbox out of the window, but I didn’t because that wouldn’t have been enough to ease the frustration (in a good way); and I’ve made no secret of my love for Project Zomboid, which, incidentally, has a free demo available now, so you’ve got no excuse to not play on it.

David Rosen, one of the people behind the awesome Humble Indie Bundle (and Wolfire games), posted a link to a game that, despite being in pre-alpha (version 0.1) – pretty much the earliest playable stage a game can be at – is showing a lot of potential. Running With Rifles doesn’t sound like anything special – “Running with rifles is a 3D warfare PC-game with solid action/stealth/tactics flavor.” – but is somehow amazing fun. It’s also free to play at the moment, so I suggest you try it.

Lastly, I will leave you with this:

Indie Game: The Movie is a feature documentary about video games, their creators and the craft. The film follows the dramatic journeys of indie game developers as they create their games, and as they release those works, and themselves, to the world.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/25268139]

On familiar ground (Yet another post about Valve)

I’ve been struggling to think of something to write here all day, but for once it isn’t because there isn’t anything I want to write about; it’s because there is one thing I really want to write about that I’ve done before, and on more than one occasion: the Half-Life series.

The fact that I’m now writing this should make it quite obvious that I’m going to do it anyway, but it’s only because I need to get it off my chest. I also wrote that previous paragraph so you realise how I tried to avoid writing it, so don’t go rolling your eyes. I tried.

As anyone who follows me on Twitter will know, I spent a lot of time on Half-Life 2 yesterday. My memory tells me that it’s one of my favourite games, but it couldn’t back it up with any details, so playing through everything again was a brilliant refresher on why it’s such a special game. The Ravenholm chapter made me completely enamored with the game again, thanks to a terrifying(ly brilliant) atmosphere and absolutely inspired use of the physics engine for traps/puzzles.

I reached Nova Prospekt today and I’m still completely in awe of the game. Maybe it’s because due to other games doing it, but I always recalled the vehicle sections of the game as filler for large sections of the map, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. A lot of games have vehicle sections to mix things up and more often than not,  you will “become” the vehicle until that section is over, but Valve made sure this wasn’t the case; any damage suffered remains with you after you leave the vehicle, which, importantly, you can do at any time if you feel like exploring on foot. It felt strangely liberating and is still streets ahead of some games, even now – 7 years on. This applies to the facial animation system as well – seeing Alyx for the first time is still as incredible as it was the first time.

For reasons that escape me now, I decided to turn the original Half-Life after I’d been on the sequel for some time, and for the first time since I originally played it, it got it’s teeth into me. It’s obvious even now what made it an absolute masterpiece back in 1998 and you can see Valve’s potential seeping out everywhere; Even with a much more basic toolset they still managed to subtly feed you elements of the story and guide you through game using brilliantly designed maps.

I still feel strangely proud of myself after defeating the first “boss” you come across in the game, which is one of the reasons the game clicks with so many people – it makes you feel clever by using subtle hints as to how you solve sections of the game, as opposed to having an NPC explicitly tell you. Having you backtrack across parts of the map has another great effect: there’s an element of familiarity when you recognise where you are, but the area has often undergone a change to keep you on your toes.

There’s an obscene amount of anticipation for a new Half-Life game from the gaming community and while it’s fairly obvious that I’m eager for it to happen, especially after the last few days of being utterly obsessed with them, I would happily wait another few years if Valve can keep the quality at the same level as the previous two (and two thirds) titles. I just wish they’d at least announce that they’re making the bastard thing.

 

A Nice Day™

Hello. Did you see those shamelessly lazy posts I did yesterday? You didn’t? Oh. Well, that’s good. Let’s move on, shall we?

So, it was Father’s day yesterday. I had a lovely day and I’m not even a father, I’m not sure that’s even allowed now that I think about it, sorry dads! Rather predictably, I went to see my parents – mainly for my dad if I’m being honest – and we ate a bit of food and sat in the garden.

In a hilarious turn of events, my sister sat between me and my dad on the swinging hammock and snapped the wooden support it was hanging from, throwing my dad’s beer in the air and making us all slide into each other. It would have been the easiest £250 we ever made if someone had been filming it. Instead, it’s stuck in our brains where it will remain a worthless memory. Stupid brains.

It was a nice day though: My dad and I got to share our frustration at iTunes; my sister broke a chair and got the giggles; my mum pretended to ignore me for a while, after I mocked her for being on the phone for 40 minutes to me the other day; and my niece wore one of my nephew’s toys as a hat and danced around at the top of the stairs. Y’know, the usual.

It’s a shame that my girlfriend was stuck at stupid work earning stupid money, so we can pay the stupid mortgage. Whose bright idea was that, eh? Ours? Yeah, that sounds about right. Idiots.