Leave has finished and it’s back to the office. Commitments have to be picked up and resumed once again and that includes tending to my WordPress site.

Although it was only two weeks, my leave was quite satisfying and seemed to go at a measured, even pace. As usual, I faced a barrage of questions “where are you going, what are you doing” before it started. And almost everyone had the same incredulous look on their faces when I said “I’m going nowhere as I’m not paying the school tax just to go away in August and I’m doing whatever the hell I feel like.” To be honest, it’s the same every damn year. For posterity’s sake, I don’t “do” summer holidays in the conventional sense. My summer holiday involves me clearing my calendar completely, ducking out of ongoing responsibilities where possible and doing what I like, when I like. That to me is a vacation; no responsibility and all indulgence. You can tell I don’t have dependents.

Anyway, this year was no exception to the rule. It began with the arrival of my new phone post-theft on the Saturday although EE in its infinite wisdom did bungle the restoration of the service which took three hours of phone calls to get everything harmonised again. I think that the staff and customers of the Costa Coffee in Finchley were highly amused by my woes. Why Finchley? Well, I went to Games Quest once again and bought not one but two games: Star Trek Five Year Mission and Ticket to Ride card game. I haven’t been able to make time to play either so no reviews yet.

Finished my latest Alien Isolation play-through and returned to GTA online to try the latest addition to the game, the stunt races. I’m kinda feeling mixed about them: I’m not the greatest racer so my win:loss ratio is embarrassing (invariably another driver smashes into my car/bike sending it into a spin and I never recover). Some of the courses are good fun (if a tad long) but it’s almost impossible to catch up to the leaders if you make any sort of mistake which can really drain a lot of the entertainment. During the races, you’ll see plenty of drivers dropping out mid race or refusing to race any more because they are _that_ penalising. I’m not saying you have to have a blue-shell or a bullet bill added so that anyone can win but I would like Rockstar to have a think about balance. I almost won one of the stunt races on the motorcycles until some other driver rammed me off the course right at the end; and I’d done pretty well the duration of that race too. Alas, not many other racers like “no-contact” events. Also am saving up for an office in the online world: need something like $6 million for the top of the line office and I’ve $4.5 million banked. Soon…

As I had finished one game, I thought I’d finally obtain a copy of Dead Island for the Xbone and try and complete that game. The graphics look pretty good and the framerates refresh a lot more smoothly than what I recall from the 360 version. I can’t see other major differences though all the DLC is immediately unlocked which is a nice treat. I’m mid-way through Act 3 so not too much longer to go (I hope) and then it’ll be Riptide. Or the DLC bonus campaign. I also tried the Retro Revenge for a laugh – it’s like Streets of Rage on acid. I’m sure I’ll go back to that at some point: other games/challenges first. Three good games for £25 (at least currently) is a bargain, particularly if you’ve never tried any of them before now. 

Over to P&D’s last Wednesday for gaming and I have to say, it’s a fantastic flat, I don’t know why they’d want to move. Well, I know _why_, personally I’d endure somehow. Brendan and I taught them Machi Koro and Smash Up; the latter must have made a mark because Darren rushed out and bought expansion packs.

Those are pretty much the highlights of the last fortnight. Other stuff: gonna moan that some of my friends have turned into utter Poke-bores. Their sole subjects of conversation are Pokémon Go and that’s it. Frequently, they’re bitching at the fact they are nowhere near finishing the game – considering how much they paid (nothing) and how many extras they’ve bought (none), their complaints are…ill-founded. I’d be more sympathetic if they’d invested some cash in the game.