Category: Commentary

2018 – A Year Gone Bye-Bye

Just a wee bit late (0230 at time of writing) on my look back over the last twelve months – y’know, in an attempt to eat up some time while not much else is going on.  How did I spent my NYE?  At the moment the clocks struck midnight, I was putting a bullet into the head of a Super Mutant in West Virginia.

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Still with head.


Yeah, I bought Fallout 76. :-0



Anyway, review of 2018 (looks back through blog for template) and no Flo & Joan song this time.  How was 2018?  A bell curve I think.

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Started off low, rose up, peaked just before summer and then slowly declined and mood is kinda where it was this time last year.  Though there’s always the chance it’s just this time of year rather than anything particularly bad in December.  I’ve been trying to rack my brains to sum up this year in one word and the best choice is “the Year of Realignment”.  I think that I’ve shifted some loyalties, prioritising different relationships according to need and desire.  I’ve shifted posture at work to be more ingratiating (within limits) and also reined back a little in allowing other ideas to be considered.  It’s not a retreat, more like redeployment.

World events – I’m having a hard time envisaging anything of an optimistic future.  The constant sabre-rattling, the lunatics are still in charge of the asylum and there’s a dangerous whiff of nihilism about everything.  Ten years after the 2008 financial crash and we’re allegedly out of austerity (yeah right) but there’s no bright future on the horizon.  One cause for optimism on a more selfish note, is that the baby boomers are finally on their way out.  The last of them are hitting their sixties now which means they cannot dominate political or social life any more.  It’s time for us Generation Xers to make our mark on the world and shape it for the next generation.  I think it’ll be a more defined partnership with Gen Y/Millennials rather than the antagonisms between the last two generations.

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No, not him…nihilism

Image result for stop the world i want to get off memeTravel – I think down on last year.  No new countries visited, sadly but I’ve been planning my grand tour for next year.  However, I did go to Bath and Southampton for the first time in September and November and went down to Swansea a fair few times.  Also went to Manchester, Nottingham and of course, Brussels.

Personal Life – down on last year I think.  Part of me wants to blame the summer that never ended aka the heatwave which just saw everyone wilt for a few months.  And it never really got back into the stride of things.  There’s also been a couple of rifts which have had invariable fallout.  Griffin Games of course returned in September which was nice.  A few of my single friends have been all partnered up this year so they’ve been around less.  But as alluded to before, I’ve been realigning myself accordingly.

Vices – I did Stoptober again and overindulged in December, especially with Chris Y, the Gamers and RR.  Lost a little weight though – not that much but enough to make me smile.

Love Life – More elusive than Bigfoot.  Not been a good year.

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Ailments – Achilles is a bit annoying, had a couple of fungal infections on the back of my knees inside the joint (essentially athlete’s foot but there) and left arm aches when bad video game posturing seeps in.  And of course the manful in February during the move.  But other than the niggling issues, it’s been ok on that score.

Image result for man vs mammoth clipartGaming – Spent a good chunk of the year stuck on Fallout 4 though did get drawn back into GTA with the release of the Night Life expansion and Battlefront 2 as I finally learned how not to suck.  Bought a few new games in the past couple of months – Far Cry 4, Far Cry Primal, Civ VI, Beyond Earth: Rising Tide and have my eye on Resident Evil 2 remastered for next year.  And Red Dead Redemption 2, of course.  On the board gaming front, my two favourite purchases have been Fallout & 7 Wonders Armada.  Still yet to try Betrayal Legacy but we’ll get that set up shortly.


Music – For the third year in a row, Sleepwalking by the Chaingang of 1974 was my most played track on iTunes but in the last six months, Desire (Gryffin Remix by Years & Years, Love Me Again by John Newman & La Serenissima by the Freemasons have been receiving a lot of repeat airplay.  Also been listening to the Classical music stations from Fallout 4 & Fallout 76 via the magic of YouTube.

The other good thing to happen just last month (I.e. December as it’s now 01/01/19) was Apple finally released the rest of the Star Wars expanded universe novels on iBooks so I can finish off my collection and take the hard copies off of my shelf.



The state of the letting market

Let’s tell the story of finding a new flat – not least because I need to record this for posterity.

So, Dr Do(o)m and I are due to find a new place in February because the contract is going to expire at Casa Beaufoy.  Whilst there might have been the possibility to extend for a year, we agreed that the time was right to move on.  Searching properly began on 6 January although I’ve been keeping half an eye on what’s happening with the aggregator sites.

However, for the first couple of weeks, we weren’t having a great deal of success.  Every time we even thought about expressing interest in taking a place, the damn place was already snapped up.  And prices seemed to have increased rapidly in the area.  That said however, we also noticed a number of properties with falling prices over days and weeks (optimism on the part of the letting agencies?) so didn’t want to be fleeced.

This caused a bit of a rethink for us so we rallied and organised a blitz on a cornucopia of properties.  Couple on Monday, couple on Tuesday and a flood on Wednesday.  Ultimately, our choice came down to three: two close runners and a distant third place property. Property number one is behind Casa Beaufoy, a flat in a Victorian house.  A little larger in terms of floor space, a lot larger in terms of attic space.  Perhaps the biggest sell is the fact that there’d be significant cost savings from living there.

Number two was in Lavender Hill – close to Clapham Junction.  This flat blew me away – just under 1000 square foot of space – it was a huge place, great rooms, light, two bathrooms but the location (and lack of walkability to work) was the only off-putter.  Still, I was having visions of social events, multiple activities in the same room and the quirkiness of having rooms that weren’t quadrilaterals.

And the final one was a place near Stockwell.  Three floors, huge garden, older furnishings but still had a retro charm going for it.  Saw it when it was chucking it down with rain which might have contributed to a negative impression.  I mean it was quirky, different and the large garden was different but for me, wasn’t enough.  I just saw problems with space, with the narrow staircases which would be a bugger to move things up and down and there was definitely a lack of heating.  It was as if someone saw a gap between two houses and just bunged a property there.

Over a fantastic Ethiopian dinner (Harar – South Lambeth Road), we ruled out Stockwell.  It just wasn’t ticking the boxes and was an easy decision to make.  So we debated the two flats, using the scientific method, using the emotional method, using every comparison tool we could think of and there was just no X factor making one place triumph.  As you might have guessed, we were championing our respective corners.  I wanted Lavender Hill, he wanted nearby.

Went home in the end, to bed but neither of us got any sleep.  Even in the morning (after I did pass out) there was still no clarity.  Unfortunately, this is when I was thrown a curveball.  Y’see, there was one more property on the list which we didn’t fit into the blitz down by Bakery Close towards Oval.  More or less the same as where we are currently living except no pool/gym.  I’d come around to taking the flat close by – I have my reasons as to why.  But there was a certain amount of…persuading going on over having a look at Bakery Close.

That flat was ok – but not great.  The price was more or less the same as we are paying now, just a little further out.  The clock was ticking – a decision had to be made, not least as we’d been chosen to take the flat near us by the owners.  I cannot describe (in the few minutes I’m taking to compose this paragraph, it’s not going to be my magnum opus) how fraught things were.  A spontaneous walk mid-morning, quiet meditation in the afternoon, hastily composed Whatsapp messages… in the end, it was Heyford that won out (the flat near us).

So then all that’s left is the paperwork, the inevitable clearout, the actual moving and vague vows about never having to do that again.  Amazing how this move is focussing one’s thoughts.  The prints that I bought back from Berlin for example, I’ve framed them up rather than having them squashed in boxes.  And I’ve been eyeing up books, games and the line with a view to parting ways. Mixed bag of emotions.

A farewell to 2017


My belated review of 2017.  Hadn’t made time to jot this down until today.

So, how would I sum up 2017 in a snappy sentence?  Difficult.  In some respects – and being my own worst critic – it was kinda wasteful.  I think for me, I allowed many opportunities to pass me by.  Kinda turned into the sort of person who I loathe in respect of maintaining contact with people and forgetting appointments by not writing them down.  However, I did try some new things, visited two new countries (Malta and Poland), did a couple of small, personal growth activities so there’s some stuff to cheer as well as boo loudly.

World events: lots of schadenfreude.  The chickens of 2016 are starting to come home to roost in 2017 with 2018 being I suspect, something of a “crunch” year.  The sexual abuse scandals hitting people in positons of privilege, certain MPs being forced to resign because they think they’re above the rules, humiliations of celebrities because they just don’t know when to stop (Katie Hopkins, Milo Yiannopoulos, Piers Morgan).  More optimistic than pessimistic I think overall.

Travel: As I said earlier, Malta and Poland were the new countries of 2017.  Having the two trips to Cardiff at the start of the year were quite nice, forgot how much I enjoy the place.  Did Swansea a couple of times, always a pleasure.  Squeezing in a couple of visits to Brussels didn’t feel like a chore this time, not least as I got to play tour guide with a colleague.  It’s nice to feel useful.

Personal Life: Like 2016, it’s been pretty good in terms of mates and doing stuff together.  I also feel that with work colleagues, a number of them have stopped expecting stuff to happen just because we all happen to work together and things are being more organic, spontaneous and that works for me a lot better.  Still gaming most weeks and meeting more people through the gaming network.

Vices: Because of a certain Mr Ringsell, beer consumption went up in August and September which is why I had a month away from the sauce in “Stoptober”.  Developed a taste for Erdinger Blue though.  And December was a particularly booze-heavy month thanks to Germany and Xmas.  Sadly, snacking has been a constant except for those virtuous weeks where nothing happens.

Love Life: Erratic.  Failure.  Depressing.  However, I have at least recognised that most of the failures are of my making and am seeking to improve that for 2018.

Ailments: Achilles Tendon healed nicely and there was no further limping after February 2017.  Had two really nasty summer colds where I felt lousy but other than that, a good year in terms of health.  Keep getting praise from the dentist every time I go which is nice to hear.

Gaming: With the release of Battlefront 2, Wolfenstein the New Colossus and South Park: The Fractured But Whole, I’ve been returning to video games a little more in the latter part of 2017.  Board gaming has been a strength: tried to stick to buying more expansion packs rather than whole games although there’s still a copy of Rebellion on my shelf which has yet to be played and I’d love a copy of Ghostbusters and Thunderbirds.  I have also been investing more in card protectors – 7 Wonders, Bang, Sushi Go Party, Avalon, Resistance and some of Talisman are now protected up.  Worth it!

Once again folks, there’s been another blog gap. I’ve not had much impetus to complete an entry – there have been several false starts but after getting to a second or third paragraph, I realise that my scribings are utter drivel and just cannot bring myself to inflict them on the public. But today, I wanted to catch up re E3, GTA Online’s latest update and of course to whine about the summer. 

So in that order – E3. IMHO, Nintendo were the winners although the new Super Mario is basically a rip-off of the Amiga game Putty. Or Kirby. Still, they got people excited and talking by just announcing stuff without actually committing to anything. For yours truly, what I’m looking forward to most has to be Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. I watched the trailer and have to say, I bought that recording of “Danke Schoen” by Wayne Newton so every time I hear it, I can mentally picture BJ running through the USA blasting apart Nazis.

As for the new Xbone, looks good, upscaling might be a very nice feature to have but the biggest drawback as far as I could see, is that the console only comes in a 1TB HD model. Surely a 4K game is going to be bigger than a regular HD one and the internal HD won’t cope. However, my concerns aside, I think the better news has to be the fact that backwards compatibility is going to extend to the original Xbox console. With any luck, that’ll mean Battlefront 2 (as in the original game) will be re-released! I mean, I enjoy the occasional killing spree on my laptop but I seldom switch it on these days, not least as the dining table is horrible to sit at.

GTA Online – last Tuesday saw the release of the latest addition to the online world: gun running. It starts off by using your in-game funds to acquire a bunker where Agent 14 (aka the contact from the Prison Break and Humane Labs heist) inducts you into the world of weapons development. You can also acquire a truck to act as a mobile operations centre (which clearly underscores somebody’s affinity with Knight Rider – first KITT, now the FLAG Mobile Unit) as well as a much welcome anti-aircraft gun to swat Hydras from the sky.

The point of the base is that you can either manufacture weapons, develop new weapons (not available at Ammu-nation) or do both. All the bases are located in Sandy Shores, Paleto bay or other isolated spots in the north of the map thus further addressing one of my long-held bugbears, that players tended to spend huge amounts of time driving around LS itself whilst neglecting Blaine County. And you can access your base whilst being a CEO or heading up your local MC so both options are available to the player.

I’ve not really immersed myself into the game too much – other things going on. That said, I did manage to rack up a few hours. My in-game bank balance of $5M has crashed to $1M by just buying the base and the add-ons which _were_ optional but still… Still don’t have enough for the truck, not without buying in-game currency or grinding horribly. That said, my car warehouse is full of vehicles that are begging to be sold. Anyway, I’ve taken care of a few resupply missions and they’re actually pretty challenging on the main map and a great deal of fun as armoured vehicles are de rigeur. Driving halfway across the map to drop off a tank whilst blasting apart army jeeps – great fun.

My last post was about a month ago so I haven’t really commented on the election. One of my abortive posts which I still have the draft of read:

“Speaking of the election, in Vauxhall the Liberal Democrats are really going all out to see Kate Hoey (current Labour MP) dumped, principally on her pro-EU exit stance. I’ve had correspondence and flyers every day this week, stickers are appearing all over the borough – on lamp posts, on telephone exchanges and the like. Given as Lambeth recorded the highest pro-Remain vote (Gibraltar aside), it’s not looking too good for the incumbent.”

Alas, that didn’t become manifest. I did see the candidate on polling day, with child strapped to his chest in one of those baby carrier things but no sign of Labour’s electoral machine. Ah well, I think that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election. Correction – I hope that she’ll be dumped ahead of the next election.

Oh, and I wanted to post the following about the Griffin:

The refurbished Vauxhall Griffin has opened under new management. The new landlords have gone for an idiosyncratic look, kinda like the old place but there’s a smash-up of two very different styles (possibly three) which I have a hard time seeing it blending together. I don’t know if they’ve deliberately gone for eclectic (or post-modern) deliberately – it’s just…odd. The two feature walls: one is red brick, the other is recovered (and painted wood). The bar area is white ceramic, the furniture is contemporary, the light fittings are quite nice (hi-tec lanterns), the toilets are a vast improvement but the upstairs function room hasn’t been touched other than a clear out of the art (so far). It’s definitely lost something but I’m at a genuine loss as to say whether anything has been gained. The landlords seem nice enough. So all things considered, I don’t hate the place – I don’t ‘like’ it – I guess cautiously neutral for now. If nothing else, at least I still have Zeitgeist (although I still object to the sneaking in of Adnams behind the bar for the real-ale twats).

S’all for now.



Nope, not the flat number, nor my lucky number.  But the number of successful orbits of the sun whilst maintaining my status as a passenger on planet Earf.

Like most people, I’ve taken the opportunity to bunk off work (read: taken  a couple of days off) to mark the event.  And  it’s been a quiet old day so far, noise from the street excepted.  The last two days were spent in Dublin with work.  I had a quiet, pleasant stay although the rain felt quite incessant at times.  There was allegedly some snow on Tuesday morning but it had melted by the time I emerged from my hotel room.

So what’s been new, hip and happening?  Answer: not much.  More of the same, really.  Am I in a rut?  Perhaps, though I’m not rushing out to embrace the new.  Is there anything that’s truly new?  Apart from picking up a new mobile last weekend, no.  Letting February slide by as quickly as possible, I guess.

Continuing to enjoy Star Trek Timelines and the recent events have given my inventory a chance to rest and rebuild following a succession of missions which have drained them dry of all the really useful stuff.   And finally have a couple of friends playing it although they are not quite as into it as I.  Still, good times.

On the Xbone,  I downloaded the free copy of The Force Unleashed and replayed that, forgetting how much fun it was to throw Felucians into Rancors.  And to fry that bitch  Shaak Ti.  GTA continues to be my most played game although I’ve been trying to get into Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts again.  It’s just hard to like it.

Board games: lots of 7 Wonders, finally got around to breaking in “Under the Pyramids” expansion for Eldritch Horror and whilst in Dublin, I treated myself to “The Dreamlands” as it was cheaper there thanks to the collapse in GBP. I was particularly proud of this game with Joey and Scott:


Finally folks, I was doing a YouTube crawl and stumbled across this parody music video.  I almost wet myself cackling as I think I’ve experienced every one of these deaths:

So that’s your lot, just a quick update before my second coffee of the day and hopefully, a decision about what to do with the rest of my time today.  And if anyone else is celebrating a birthday today (Ron Howard, Harry Belafonte,  Dirk Benedict, George Eads, Doris Hare and of course, Frederich Chopin), PISCEANS ROOL!

Five minutes on 2016

It’s almost time to stick two fingers up to 2016 and I know of few people who actually will be sad to see the back of this year. Flo and Joan said/sang it well in their song (just ignore the patronising comments below). 

But in time-honoured tradition, here’s my review of 2016.

It sucked. Kinda like 2015 actually (I’m looking at last year’s post as I type this) though with far less potential optimism. Aside from deaths of some well-loved, talented and creative people people (again, listen to Flo and Joan), the EU Referendum and the run on the pound, the Berlin Market atrocity, ongoing strife in Syria, failure of peace deal in Columbia, the rise of “post-truth” and pseudo-fascism…

In the good news? Possible cure/vaccine for HIV is definitely top of my list. Granted, it’s not confirmed but is the best news for a while in that area and could bring relief to what – 50, 60 million people? Team GB did well at the Olympics which isn’t really my bag but brought a bit of cheer to the UK. And despite the failure of the peace deal in Columbia, the Nobel Prize for Peace went to someone who deserved it. There was also Obama’s historic visit to Cuba; progress of a sort but might be undone in 2017. But perhaps more cruelly, there’s also been a lot of schadenfreude to revel in. Like Martin Shkreli’s indictment (true, it came at the arse-end of 2015 but close enough to enjoy this year). Michael Gove’s back-stabbing backfiring. Zac Goldsmith’s two election defeats, England losing to Iceland (that was hilarious), Sarkozy being dumped in the first round of his party’s Presidential selection process, UKIP’s meltdown…

Travel: Failed to get to Prague. But visited Vienna, Bratislava and Madrid for the first time, two trips to Berlin, couple of outings to Brussels as well as the usual forays to Swansea. A very memorable year for getting out and about and I really hope that June 23rd will not see this curtailed. Though I can probably skip ongoing trips to Brussels as I’ve been there several million times. I would like to try for a transatlantic trip for 2017 though am not confident of this happening. Still, never say never, especially if I can stop splurging on board games and video games. And food. Liked the new Eurostar carriages, didn’t like the mini planes I went on from Berlin to Brussels and from Berlin back to City Airport.

Personal Life: I think an improvement on the previous year. Felt more involved with everything going on. Emphasised some friendships over others which has been rewarding, trying to build in more diversity with activities. Gaming at Casa Beaufoy has gone from strength to strength. Met a couple of new people this year, others have faded off my contact list.

Vices: Booze has been up and down. Some dry(ish) months, some very wet months. And regular trips to Utobeer haven’t helped! Weight – up. But that’s because of the damn Achilles Tendon problem. It’s on the mend however and I hope that it’ll begin to fall soon. No other vices to report. Hell, I’m even going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. My younger self would be disgusted.

Love Life: Picking up. Some options at last but I’m being careful in how things proceed – given track record.

Work: Post-referendum was tedious but things have picked up since and am in the middle of things again. Going to put a little bit more effort into getting a promotion. It’s more about the money than anything else. Job satisfaction is for the middle classes.

Ailments: The Achilles! So that started in May time, got progressively worse in the summer and culminated in me registering with a GP for the first time in almost 20 years. But the pills and the new shoes are allowing me to reclaim my independence…or at least my ability to get out and walk more. Other than that, a couple of sniffles, the hay-fever seems to have largely gone away. There are a couple of days I have to reach for the antihistamines but they are by far the exception rather than the rule. Sinus pimples have been a nuisance.

Gaming: I’d like to think I’ve bought fewer games and expansion packs this year, at least with regard board games. Cannot necessarily say the same for video games. 7 Wonders has been the main game played this year with Twilight Struggle a distant second and all the others jockeying for third/fourth. Playing in the board room has also been great and I hope that can continue throughout the year. More Eldritch, more Talisman – and I still bloody well need to learn how to play Age of Empires 3. On video games, regular readers will know my ongoing love affair with Fallout 4 which has supplanted GTA Online as my “must play” game. Though I’ve enjoyed the HD versions of Dead Island and Arkham Asylum City. On my iPad, AdVenture Capitalist and Clicker Heroes have been supplanted by more Talisman, Twilight Struggle and a resurgence for playing Bang! As for my laptop – been playing very little…

Murder at Ku’damm


I’d written a blog entry for today – was at the editing phase but following yesterday’s news, I thought I’d shelve it for the time being.

According to the Beeb, the death count for the Berlin Market murder is at twelve. I was there, one week ago. I visited that market three times in my time off because I reckoned it my favourite. I soaked up the ambiance, ate and drank there, engaged in conversation in my halting German with people, bought souvenirs, admired the arts and craftwork. And now, some quark-for-brains coward with nothing more than hate in his black heart, has so callously acted, ploughing a juggernaut into the middle of the market just because. 

(Not quite the market just up the road a bit) 

No justification, no warning, just pre-meditated murder, the most heinous of all crimes.
There’s no rehabilitation for someone like that. I hope that when he’s tried and convicted, the German government dumps him in a pit somewhere and leaves him to rot.

Twenty Fifteen

It’s January – that means it’s time for a look back at 2015 or to use last year’s quote, a time for modest meals and modest reflections. First, the question: what was 2015? How can I best sum it up? 

In terms of world news, 2015 has pretty much stunk: religious fundamentalism (not just in the middle east) on the rise, doom and gloom over antibiotic resistant diseases, the turmoil in Ukraine, stress over the economy, Paris, the developing situation over the Spratley Islands and climate change wreaking havoc. And here in the UK, the political scene which saw the re-emergence of adversarial politics with nearly 4 million people voting UKIP, 1.6 million voting for nationalist parties and then the Labour Party’s continued meltdown. We’ve also got the serious housing issue – a bubble which threatens hundreds of thousands, a rental market which is going to erupt like Vesuvius in 79CE and the fact that there are so many empty properties hogged by developers with a government firmly on the side of the money. And we saw farewell to Leonard Nimoy, LLAP.

But it’s not all bad, I guess. Top of my list is that Kirchner has been kicked out of office in Argentina (well, she couldn’t stand again but good riddance), Cuba/US relations, Polio all but consigned to the ashcan of history, the Climate Change deal, the case against News International which showed just how vulnerable Murdoch’s empire actually is (despite a lack of actual prosecutions) – this is getting hard, I stand by my 2015 stinks comment.

Travel: Not as much as last year, particularly with a lack of Brussels action for six months. Berlin twice, Paris once, Swansea twice and that’s about yer lot. Failed to get to Prague which was a target but short of a nuclear war, it’ll be there in 2016. 

Personal Life: improving on last year, more stuff happening for a majority of the week rather than the minority. I avoided the trap of taking huge blocks of time off so that things could continue unabated. The Griffin quiz prizes of the escape rooms, lunch up the Shard et al have also been very welcome. The quiz has been somewhat grating this year as attendance has been ropier than the bridge at the end of Temple of Doom.

Vices: Well, you’ll recall I whined back in October about weight issues having seen myself in the niff in a changing room and going on a strict diet. That has helped, as has a fairly good November and December. Salad for lunch most weekdays, a reasonable meal in the evening (lots of baked beans for some daft reason). Even curtailed diet Pepsi consumption in favour of squash. Alcohol – thanks to my predilection for German ale, this went up in 2015 but is back under control at the end of the year. I bought a load of Belgian beer the other week and it remains untouched in my cupboard at home.

Love Life: Again, the tomb of the forbidden subject. Had only one proper date this year. And one…improper date (that’s not the right term but it was a spontaneous thing with a friend… I know what I mean). Sufficed to say, if I actually owned a date book, it’d be a poor return on my investment. At least there weren’t a score of multiple cancellations. That said, these last couple of weeks have shown a flurry in recent interest. Dunno what to make of it – yet.

Work: Want to leave. I’ve been here almost five years and enough is enough. Looks like redundancy is not an option any more in this organisation unless I get lucky (or unlucky). But I’m going to have Re-registration finished off and will then make a concerted effort to get that promotion. I’m feeling coerced into trying for a leg-up programme to help people at my grade get to the next level. I don’t want to do it, it’s a load of rubbish but there’s a tribe of monkeys (checks collective noun for group of simians…) – correction, a barrel of monkeys on my back.

Ailments: I don’t recall any sick leave taken this year though had a couple of colds which were enough to cause several days’ worth of misery. Nothing has fallen off, ceased to work, grey hairs are kept in check, hairline recession is still glacial. Ankle is a cause for concern though not majorly so.

Gaming: A very good year for games in general. Bought the Xbone obviously and have racked up a lot of time on that. And the releases in 2015 have been pretty inspiring for the game I have/have played as well as the games I want/want to play. Still haven’t replaced my DS… For board games: an equally good year with 2016, or at least the first half, looking to have some good releases. There are a lot of expansion packs being developed for pre-existing games which helps keep stuff interesting. In a way I’m glad I haven’t cashed in on the recent Imperial Assault fad as it’d be hard to keep up with the current packs. I must have spent…£500 on new board games in 2015…definitely not sustainable!


One or two items of geek

Xmas 2015: summed up by saying five days spent playing GTA V Online.  

OK, there was other stuff too. The usual heavy meal (cooked in the evening rather than at lunchtime), bad TV, inability to get off of the couch, late nights, late mornings (no snoozes past midday though). A foray to the usual den of iniquity (most productive though I’m sure my pocket was picked – my shirt pocket…) and a mad dash around the supermarket late on Saturday evening. Today is the first day I’ve eaten breakfast in five days – when you get up after 11, there’s just no point otherwise.

Steam Sale: I bought four games in this year’s sale, all very heavily discounted. It feels more of a token purchase compared with previous years but the games acquired are Dark Forces, Dark Forces II, Tropico 4 (+ all expansions/DLC) and C&C RA3 (I know I have this game already, I just wanted the e-version). What is more interesting are the purchases of friends through Steam. I note Jackbox has been spreading throughout the land which will be fun at games evenings. KKOB was gifted Rome Total War II (I think he’ll be disappointed), Alex got more Might and Magic, couple of people were lured to Civ V and Beyond Earth…

So, 2015 in terms of Geek. First, I have to say that someone has to stop the octopus that is Marvel from spamming the airwaves with so much garbage. I saw two episodes of Jessica Jones earlier this month – housemate was watching it as I was on my laptop. What unadulterated garbage. The protagonist is someone you’d happily drop off the end of a cliff, David Tenant looks bored (possibly waiting for his paycheque), the other characters are the usual bit-part nobodies. Agents of SHIELD – what little drivel I’ve seen is…oh, I’ve already finished my sentence. These shows have such lousy actors, I’m sure they exist so the talent can do proper stuff. Not that DC is much better. Arrow and the Flash – ugh. Like the bad old days of Lois and Clark (season 4). I still haven’t made time to see Gotham, I really should do one day but have no overwhelming urge.

Haven’t really done any films this year – hell, I can’t remember the last time I was at the cinema. Comics then: my regular titles are tie-ins. Probably the one I most look forward to each month has been He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. The story has been absolutely terrific, a lot of good twists and turns, proper development and a good weaving of the He-Man characters into a modern story. I wish the whole Hordak storyline had been stretched out longer as they only really focussed on She-Ra’s development with a couple of the minor characters (Shadow Weaver and Swiftwind) getting any sort of a mention. The return of Skeletor and the epic duel between Teel and Evil-Lyn (still don’t know what happened there) are particularly noteworthy. 

Munchkin Comics have been a pleasant surprise this year (with free cards!!) – they’re more akin to British comics from your childhood such as the Beano, Buster and Whizzer & Chips rather than proper graphic novels. And they’ve finally started bringing in other Munchkin sets for the main characters to play in/tell jokes. I’ve enjoyed the limited Galaxy Quest series and have picked up the Back to the Future comics too, certainly not disappointed there. The Star Trek series has been dropping off in terms of overall impressiveness lately. I thought the Star Trek/Green Lantern cross over was a bit much and refused to buy any of the titles. And the recent story where the Enterprise was stranded in the Delta Quadrant (hmmm, where have I heard that before?) and then managed to get home in the next issue…ugh. 

Simpsons continues to please as does Futurama (whenever I can get a hold of the bloody title) though I think that the former are still spreading themselves too thin with multiple titles. Their major plus is that in comic book format, Homer is not the centre of attention (Marge and Maggie et al get plenty of air time) whilst there are very few stupid guest stars). I have spotted more and more rehashing of episodes in comic book format lately after a streak of some truly original episodes. And Edna K, Lionel Hutz still live on!

Board games – been another great year. Betrayal/Traitor type games have been the driving force this year amongst our circle. Strategy and Eurogames have taken more of a back seat whilst Talisman goes from strength to strength. Still a major bastion of originality and creativity though expansion packs really should be reduced in price. I’m worried that many of the bigger titles have been the sort that require a PhD to read the manuals (could just be lousy editors). If companies keep churning out difficult games, people will stop buying them. Or just play the utter dross like…no, I can’t say it.

 Back in the office a mere two days this week before another four day weekend. Then working full time with nothing in the diary for 2016 beyond the usual annual (and weekly) events. Ho-hum.

Nous sommes Français

I was going to post some regular bumpf today but having read what I have read, I think I’ll leave it as the title says. 
Aujourd’hui, nous sommes tout Français.