Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Stronghold Press Preview

I nearly forgot about this - I spent a night of debauchery in the company of the good people of Take 2 last week (only last week?), for which

check here for more pictures.
MJ Hibbett Song Blog:

"The Girl Who...
One last look
Before she surrenders her swipe-card
She's gone for good
To somewhere where flexi-time's almost unheard of
She got ten pounds worth of vouchers
To be redeemed in Boots

She wanted more than that

Something to shout about
To care about
To prove that she's part of the planet
To put away
So on Judgement Day
She can say 'This is what I did with my life'"

Thank you Dov! The most uplifting song since I got bored of Belle & Sebastian - The Girl Who... by MJ Hibbert. Only available online!

I've tried to ignore this whole song-blogging thing, but it seems to have taken off anyway, disproving my incipient solipsism, curses!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Yes, sorry, to explain that image below - I had a jaunt to Berlin to see Atari's line-up of games. We stayed in the excellent Q! Hotel, a picture from whose website I inserted below. As you can see from that picture the hotel has a certain, aha, 'bent' on hospitality, one emphasised at reception. I bent over to do up my laces, and the slender male receptionist leant over the counter, said "Oh, those are *lovely* shoes", and flounced off down the corridor. We were later informed that Q! stands for Queer, and that when they saw 90 pallid thin male journalists walking in, they naturally assumed we were here for the hotel's attractions...

However, as most of the games were for PC I scared of not being able to do my usual flying visit of the various attractions of the city - the odd clubs that are Berlin's stock-in-trade completely eluded me. That said, as it turned out, at 3.30 one drunken morning, after having spent 12 hours trudging round genre and platform titles, aborted beauties one and all, only passing attractions, me and an unnamed compatriot, decided to visit the Reichstag (there's a symbol of Imperial ambition - the whole place, with its surrounding screen of futuristic buildings, and every office open to public scrutiny is decidely odd at four in the morning). The following day, with a couple of hours free before our flight, we managed to hit Checkpoint Charlie and blitz that (if you forgive the quite-deliberate, premeditated expression.) I still don't feel I saw anything of Berlin, but damn that hotel was good.

In other sad news, the father of a friend died suddenly recently - it's odd in that, most of my university friends have now lost a parent, whereas my school friends, as far as I know having lot touch with most of them, are still secure in a swaddling blanket of parental vitality. Without looking at the stats, I honestly don't know if one group is particularly unlucky or lucky - I certainly feel lucky myself. I want to spend more time with my family because of it, but on my salary and with my commitments on time, that's just not possible. Seventy years suddenly seems nothing at all.
"One night in October 1986, CBS News anchor Dan Rather was walking down a Manhattan street when he was punched from behind and thrown to the ground. His assailant kicked and beat him while repeating, "Kenneth, what is the frequency?"

Apparently the strange event moved R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, who said of the incident:

It remains the premier unsolved American surrealist act of the 20th century. It's a misunderstanding that was scarily random, media hyped and just plain bizarre.

In 1997, based on a tip from a psychiatrist, Rather's attacker was identified as William Tager. According to the psychiatrist, Tager, who was currently serving time for killing an NBC stagehand, blamed news media for beaming signals into his head, and thought if he could just find out the correct frequency, he could block those signals that were constantly assailing him. Hence the enigmatic inquiry."

Oh, the hilarity. The art of entertaining explanation stymied by the illogical ravings of a madman. (And Tager.) Let's let alone just how illegal it is for a psychiatrist to reveal his patient's condition and beliefs to public ridicule, and focus on the details. This phenomenon, of the sadly insane believing that information is being beamed into their head, is an oddly modern one (Yes, I'll reference Philip K. Dick's pink laser beam from God again), a convenient explanation. Before that people heard voices and before that it was the voice of God Almighty.

Both of which any but a primitive faith-based community, seeking to cope with the mental stability of a member, would ascribe to pychoses. Yet merely because Tager failed to claim that God was talking to him, doesn't mean we can't claim it though - it's just another little tool in the atheist's kit for ridiculing religious arguments by replication - only the seemingly mad hear voices - perhaps they are all god - and if the voice of god makes the intermediary mad, how can we possibly obey or interpret accurately God's diktats?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Monday, March 14, 2005

Dreams after a night of drinking and curries, and having to deal with my newly-ex-girlfriend. All the dreams seemed to rotate around a mountain, and I'm not sure of the chronology.

The first has me climbing a mountain with two companions - their faces are gone. We're trying to get to a particular point, but when we get near it, there's a gang of thugs/bullies there. Leastways that's how we treat them, though they don't appear to be doing anything wrong, except standing on a ledge. I go ahead and try and deal with them. As each rushes me, I pull the chunk of mountain he's standing on away, and he plummets down the extremely steep, but still sloping, mountainside. This continues until the second to last man, a large-nosed, bald man with large eyes and protuding chin. He wears a jerkin, tough thick cloth trousers, but everything's grey. I'm holding onto to a crack in the rock by one hand, but I see it;s the next rock - pull it and I lose my grip too. I pull it anyway, and the gray man topples, leaving the last one, a blindingly white dressed man with red/blonde hair, and as I pull the last stone from under our feet I see it's the side of the mountain and it sheers off, sliding into the deep river at the bottom of the mountain, which I only see from a distance. I don't know what happened to my friends.

The second has me having walked up the other side of the mountain, much gentler, to a cave where my Jewish Grandma is having a soiree. I don't see her, but my mum is there, or at least for a moment, then I'm serving champagne to a lady with a large face and pearls, and I spot on the side of the bottle 800 calories per glass, so I tell her. She's not happy, and tells her friend so.

The third dream is inside a compound at the other end of the path from the cave. I'm inside an office or compound or something and I'm trapped and we all know implicitly what the only way out is . so everyone else goes into the next room, while I put something into the sink, and start running the water. Then I stand on my head on the plughole and wait for the waters to rise. I keep slipping, so this happens several times, and while it's happening I try to think how this is going to help. Eventually, when the waters at the rim of the sink, I realise it isn't, unless we're planning to break the door down with water pressure.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Ynetnews - News - Army frowns on Dungeons and Dragons: "Thousands of youth and teens in Israel play D&D, fighting dragons and demons using their rich imaginations. The game has also increased in popularity due to the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

However the IDF does not approve of this unusual hobby and prevents D&D players from being considered for sensitive army positions by labeling them with low security clearance.

'We have discovered that some of them are simply detached from reality,' a security source told Ynet.

Game enthusiasts are aware of their problematic image in the army and prefer to maintain their anonymity. Many of them are from the former Soviet Union, where the game is very popular... 'One of the tests we do, either by asking soldiers directly or through information provided us, is to ask whether they take part in the game,' he [A security official] says. 'If a soldier answers in the affirmative, he is sent to a professional for an evaluation, usually a psychologist.'"

Friday, March 11, 2005


Chiarina's website. Full of songs, quotes and pictures from the delightful lady. (Yes, she threatened me unless I stuck it up.)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

UK Resistance SP: "'New Games Journalism' is a way of writing about games centred around how GREAT the writer is, how long he can write for in one go and how many books he knows about and films he's seen.

It is also a big, stinking, cesspile of used condoms and nonsense. Here's why."

and Jonty seems to have agreed...

Ideal project: "NGJ as it stands at the moment is a step beyond into faux-literary pretension. As a defined movement it's both uneccesary and unwittingly demeaning; a validation for any gamer who has spent hours spent playing shitty RPGs and mediocre FPSs and understanding appalling gags like 'sword of +4 sarcasm' and lame previews that had to be enthusiastic about games you knew were going to be terrible. It turns out it was all okay! No more little boxes listing the publisher and the maximum number of players; it's a literary movement, worthy of lots of self-important discussion."