Tag Archive: GTA online

Gaming Catch-Up

I keep trotting out this phrase – and its variants – but post move, I’m starting to rejoin my life.  And catch up with gaming, of course.  So this blog post will be a brief catch up on games, both video and board.

First on the list: the Doomsday Heist on GTA Online.  Essentially, James Bond is in the world of GTA online.  First of all, you need to buy a “facility”, an underground bunker not entirely unlike one used by a supervillain.  But relax, you’re not the supervillain.  Once you buy the facility, you’ll be contacted by Lester who has an opportunity for you…

I won’t ruin the story should you not have indulged, it’s a pretty good one, as these things go.  There are three parts to the heist and each part has a number of missions, both a set-up and the mission itself.  Set-ups typically involved undertaking an activity on a lobby map so other players can interrupt you and make your life miserable.  Missions are undertaken independently of the main lobby.  Anyone in your organisation or motorcycle gang (you need to be a CEO or Chapter Leader) can help in the set-ups and a minimum of two players are required to do the heists missions and finale.

Sales aside, the cost of purchasing a facility is several million dollars which is a significant in-game investment but the pay offs after each part of the overall heist are very much worth it.  But perhaps the key part of the Doomsday Heist update are the new vehicles available, including (and I’m not using the in-game names) the flying DeLorean with missiles (aka Flying Troll Car), Lotus Submersible, the Jet-Pack and others.  There’s also the Avenger – a mobile flying base like the big-rig introduced in part two of the Heist.  Lots of stuff for players to indulge in.

Each Facility can be pimped out, has storage for a number of cars and has a few optional extras.  These include strike teams to target other players, a receptionist to hand out free snacks & Pegasus Concierge services and perhaps the most interesting feature, the orbital cannon.  Instadeath on another player – it costs a lot to fire but can be satisfying to get back at trolls.  There’s also the usual deathmatches and other lesser vehicles in the update but most people don’t care about them.

Next on the list: Star Trek Timelines.  Version 4 of the game was released t’other week, the main updates were around rewards in the cryovault for immortalising specific groups of characters (races, traits etc) and more options for organising your crew, making it easier to compare, see who needs upgrading etc.  For those of us playing over two years, collecting the rewards for immortalising characters was amazingly rewarding.

Nothing new with Animation Throwdown except the addition of a new category of card: animal.  Been getting back into Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus after a long hiatus.  Managed to get past the Roswell base and into the Uberkommando assassination missions.  Still refused to change from “normal” difficulty into easy although shouting at the Xbone is more the rule rather than the exception.

And in board games: I bought myself Ticket To Ride: France/Old West edition for my birthday as well as Eldritch Horror: Masks of Nyarlathoep expansion.  And P&D gave me a copy of Unstable Unicorns with the rude expansion pack. Haven’t tested any of them out though.  Gave away Scotland Yard to a work colleague and need to start putting my other games on eBay soon.  At KKOB’s yesterday, I played Power Grid for the first time and Small World with a number of expansion packs (except the Pirate one).


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!

Good times for Cardassia

I was accused (not for the first time, definitely not the last) of being too negative at work yesterday. My response – when people stop doing stupid things with weak, vacillating decision making processes in play, then perhaps I might just let up rather than pour scorn. But as people follow the path of least resistance, as well as generally being apathetic, I have to make enough noise for ten just to ensure that objections to ill-considered decisions are properly logged. My beef this time: micro-management and the general high-levels of control freaks employed by the organisation. Gets people stressed, work is quickly bottle-necked and outputs go awry. But the solution proffered is to…nope, I’m going to put the lid back on the jar. Get back in the bottle, genie. 

I mean Hullo readers.

It’s October therefore autumn is here – at least in this hemisphere. There are clear skies and the promise of the next 60 hours without work. All in all, these are good times for Cardassia, and the Dominion. Or was that a bit too Gul Dukat?

On Friday as part of Inclusion Week, there was a de-stress session one afternoon where colleagues were invited to play board games. Friday is deadsville around here – people taking days off, working from home etc so the office is nowhere near full capacity but still, a respectable number of people turned out to play a few games. I brought in Avalon and taught it to a bunch of people and they all really enjoyed it. We played three games and there’s talk of doing that and other games on a regular basis. Am somewhat sceptical whether this will come off but I choose to remain a little optimistic. Albeit with the usual caution, caveats etc.

Post-pay day weekend: yeah, was really not in the mood to cook so ordered Mexican food from hungryhouse. I was handed off the wrong order and it took a while to resolve but that was all sorted out nicely and I’m pleased to say it was so filling, I could only manage half of it (the Quesadillas) leaving the child-sized burrito for lunch the next day. Totally worth it – Big Mama’s Burrito’s in Battersea.

I went out to Finchley to Games Quest on Saturday (after the aforementioned burrito) to see what was new, hip and happening – or at least as these things go. Bought one new card game (Twilight Squabble which is a 15 minute version of the bigger game), a mini-expansion for Boss Monster (the one with the aliens), a copy of Resistance (inspired by the Avalon example above) and some card protectors which ran out pretty damn quickly as I protected cards for Bang!, Archer Love Letter and Batman Love Letter. Just a word on Card Protectors – make sure you take an example of the cards you wish to protect otherwise you might end up a bit screwed. My goal was to try and protect my 7 Wonders Cards but the sleeves were too small. Fortunately, Bang! was the right size (and I was only able to protect the characters, role and help cards, not the ones you actually play with.

Post board game shop, I had a coffee in Costa where I spent thirty minutes waiting for my iPad to make a move on Twilight Struggle, didn’t have the wherewithal to stay out (i.e. visit Orc’s Nest & FP) so went home. Just as I exited Oval station, the massive, nasty downpour that blighted London for two hours began. Was thoroughly soaked by the time I made it through the front door. So spent the rest of the evening feeling slightly damp.

Clearly, I must have been desperate for something to do on Sunday as I washed the sofa covers. The flat was covered in feathers as one of the cushions has/had split (cheap Ikea furniture) and days later, the damn things still keep popping up, just when you think you’ve nabbed the last one. I managed to con (beg) Dr Do(o)m into a game of Twilight Struggle – I won, principally as he forgot that scorecards can be played in the headline round. Which wasn’t really fair but they should really make a more comprehensive cheat sheet.

The latest GTA Online addition has been released as of Tuesday which allows players to form their own motorcycle gangs. In summary, motorcycle gangs work kinda like Corporations but with bikes, up to 8 players in a chapter and the ability to run your own enterprises across Los Santos and Blaine County. And I’m pleased to say that this is in line with a suggestion that I made to Rockstar about a month ago (see earlier blog entry). I’m sure they’ve had similar suggestions and were probably working on it already but I said roughly that I would like to see Corporation missions extend the entirety of the map and perhaps one way around having to do missions where the player was forced to drive/fly/said 10km was to have smaller businesses like drug labs in Blaine County/Paleto Bay where these things could be assembled before being brought to the city. And behold, that’s pretty much what’s in the Bikers Expansion. Whether or not my suggestion was read/heeded, I’m happy to have (possibly) been a tiny part of what looks to be an interesting twist on the online experience. Only issue is that I’ve spent almost the entirety of my online bank balance on setting up my Biker Chapter (I ripped off Robocop and called my gang the “Splatterpunks”, buying in some bikes and suitable attire so more grinding is needed to generate cash.

To Scott and Joey’s on Monday for some last minute gaming action. I was on the way to Zeitgeist as I had one of those rare days where I could not go on with my evening without a beer and a pretzel, though it was only the former that was required. Received the invite, downed a Köstritzer quickly and headed off to Clapham Junction. We played the space alien game which involves hunting humans, a couple games of Secret Hitler and a round of Room 25 which I was a guard and messed up madly. Met some new gamers which is always nice and when I got home, I was so tired I passed out as soon as I hit the bed.

The latest season of the Griffin Quiz finished on Tuesday. We will not know how we did until the next week as points need to be tallied up properly. Would have won the damn quiz too if it wasn’t for our 3 point deduction. Not that I need another half box of San Miguel or Bulmer’s. Pub was utterly rammed with folk and I finally told Andy to buy a book on successful pronunciations. Because he stumbles over English, let alone when questions have words in French, German or Latin.

And looking ahead to the rest of the week/weekend: should be quiet times. Wednesday’s session has been moved to Thursday (today) and Griffin Games on Sunday. I knew few Librans/Scorpios so only one birthday and that’s Dr Do(o)m this month. No other activities planned save for the Quiz prize lunch at the London Steakhouse in Chelsea in a couple of weeks’ time. Probably for the best, I suspect everyone is quietly building up funds for the last week of December.

And finally, there’s been a fair amount of mirth all round at the latest Think! campaign on safer cycling in London. Y’see, cyclists are being encouraged not to cycle on the left-hand side of lorries as quite often that’s in the middle of the blind-spot, leading to accidents, fatalities etc. But being the militant sort, several cyclists have taken to social meeja in order to protest this high-handed approach by the government. How dare cyclists be told what to do. How dare people try and gently persuade others that their lives are not worth throwing away in traffic accidents which are preventable. You may be interested to learn that there’s even a petition online to sack the current Minister responsible for this heinous campaign. I think the number of signatures is still in single figures… 

It’s been at least one year, perhaps two (I’m sure the exact answer could be delved into by backtracking through earlier blog posts) but I have finally “completed” AdVenture Capitali$t. Days, weeks, months of watching adverts to double gold, playing all the events, using gold to get upgrades etc just to buy all Earth Upgrades (Angels and Cash alike) are now over. I “completed” the Moon and Mars events ages ago but Earth proved a much tougher nut to crack. That said, I think I was close to finishing the game a while ago before their massive update which drew out the game. The periodic events will still be played, I’m sure but with no more main game, I’m going to be clichéd and say that this to me, is the end of an era. 

That said, I’ve still got the iPad version to finish…

In other gaming news, I’ve now played several games of Twilight Struggle on the PC, enough to have formed an opinion about it. It’s a good reproduction of the original, a clear map that you can zoom in and out of, just like the hand of cards you’re playing with. There are also some helpful extra features allowing you to track what cards have been played, what has been permanently removed from the deck a Defcon warning should the unwary player be about to make a colossal mistake. The beginning of age features one of the leaders of the time speaking and occasionally random patriotic music will play adding to the experience. Or just seem bizarre.

There are no difficulty levels, the only way to balance/unbalance the game is to re-weigh the influence one side might have at the start of the game. I’ve resisted that so far as the intelligence of the AI is pretty challenging as it is. My main negative-type comments are that dice rolls still seem a little weighted in favour of the AI (I’ve yet to play against a human player) but that could just be my lousy perception. And the AI always chooses the same start-up in each game (as USA, +4 W Germany, +3 Italy and as USSR, +1 E Germany, +4 Poland, +1 Yugoslavia). Strong positioning to be certain but you’d like them to do something a little different. Just for fun. Or the sheer challenge of it. Not tried the multiplayer version, simply as I am not confident enough to jump beyond the “novice” stage.

Overall, a worthwhile purchase on the PC. I might get the iPad version for my trip to Vienna/Bratislava.

We’re all struggling with the humidity this week. Summer is having something of a last hurrah with temperatures in the high 20s/early 30s but air is being sucked directly off of the Atlantic making it utterly stifling. It’s predicted that temperatures will begin to fall a little but will remain coat-free weather for some time yet. Most of us Londoners are fervently waiting for the thunderstorms which are alleged to arrive this afternoon which I think will herald the official end. Tomorrow will see temperatures drop by ten degrees and the first of the autumnal rain. Naturally, the forecast isn’t good for the weekend…typical.

Other odds and sods: I sent off some unsolicited suggestions to Rockstar for potential updates/tweaks to GTA Online. One suggestion was to include a diving-type mission for CEOs, retrieving cargo from a sunken boat/plane wreck. After finishing the Humane Labs Heist, the player has access to rebreather but it’s never really used except in the lobby and even then, only ever sparingly (whilst running from a griefer). Also advocated more CEO missions outside the city of LS, simply as there’s so much landscape being ignored.

With Dr Do(o)m away doing unmentionable things in Berlin (it’s Folsom…), I’ve had the flat to myself. Nothing particularly raucous has been going on this week however, Zeitgeist on Tuesday aside. Though that was nice and we got in a couple of games of Avalon.

Despicable Portmanteaux


September 1st today – or at least at time or writing. I’m officially 37½ years old (if you take the six-month break period rather than 183 days being a leap year and all). Half-birthdays aren’t really a “thing” here in the UK but in the US, there’s a little more traction behind them. Principally, I hasten to add, to allow those who have a birthday either overshadowed by other events (public holidays, anniversaries, disasters) or for children who have their birthdays in the middle of the school holidays to be able to celebrate with most of their friends. I might have mentioned in earlier posts that I was thinking of marking a half-birthday given my lacklustre/zero effort six months ago but alas, I lost another fight with my old enemy, procrastination.

Brexit means Brexit and we are going to make a success of it. That’s the official line re the ongoing political saga. It was recanted six times in a document (I’m not breaking official secrets, those are the “public” lines) I read at the tail-end of last week. Thing is, I am ever-despising the “b” word so need to figure out how to make it more palatable. And this was reinforced by the poll of the three most hated words in the English language, according to this island’s natives. Still, it may be overshadowed in the next year by “Nexit”. There’s a good chance that’ll happen. Possibly followed by “Quitaly”. Disgusted by the events in Harlow over the death of the Polish man. It feels like Enoch brigade are back, not helped by media hysteria championed by the usual set of right-wing loser-bigots.

Subject change: the Bank Holiday weekend. The rain didn’t really manifest itself. There were a couple of light showers but not the hour/two hour long downpours promised by the weather service(s). I feel cheated. Though I did get caught in the middle of one of the showers when I went to the new/re-opened Sainsbury’s at Nine Elms. It’s much bigger than the old store but despite all that space, they didn’t really seem to offer anything “new”. The shelves were full of increased amounts of the usual fare rather than say having an expanded World Foods section or a more comprehensive liquor section. It’s not a bad store, I just don’t think it’s making the best use of its potential.

For the most part, it was a GTA Online weekend. I’ve been making the most of the Finance and Felony update, filling up my two warehouses and then doing some manic cargo runs in order to build up a nice stockpile of cash. I also doubled the size of my vehicle fleet, taking advantage of a couple of weekend sales to get a supercar, a Benny’s special (both fully tricked out) and several bikes/motorcycles (mainly for off-road racing and wheelie challenges as my Carbon RS & Western Daemon just don’t cut it). This precipitated the need for a new garage, now in the south-east of the city. And despite spending…quite a lot, I’ve still got twice the amount of cash banked compared with the start of the weekend. Didn’t have a good one as pay-day fell on the wrong side.

The old noggin was in hyperdrive on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Spent more of that evening awake rather than asleep which has somewhat phase-shifted the rest of the week. Tuesday was a noticeably bad day. Brain was on a five second-delay. On the plus side, last night and the night before has been quite good in terms of nightly unconsciousness. Tuesday’s quiz, we had a three-way tie for first place at the end but lost the tie-breaker. If we hadn’t had the pesky two point deduction, we’d have won the damn thing. We just had to console ourselves with our plastic cutlery spot-prize.

No games last night, just could not be bothered to organise anything. Malaise forever…


It was a forlorn hope that the temperatures had peaked last week and were going to return to more “manageable” levels in the run up to September but I read with trepidation that by the middle of the week, they’re going to spike in the 30s (that’s “hot” to those who refuse to join the 21st century and continue to use Fahrenheit). The water in the flat has started to act up; shower plumbing is somewhat temperamental with about five minutes of water before it dies off completely. TFF the swimming pool. 

Weekend; quite a productive one as it happens, or at least as productive as can be had when you’re committed to leisure time. Friday night was a GTA evening but felt tired which definitely meant my game was off. Was making a lot of mistakes that could have otherwise been avoided (repeated car crashing, just not taking cover when the bullets were flying etc). Also made time to clean up my captures on my Xbox Live profile, deleting the poorer quality content and captioning the better ones. It’s like a scrapbook, it has to look presentable rather than be a random collection of rubbish.

Saturday: a four-part excursion from home to Borough Market (Utobeer & German Deli), to Covent Garden (Orc’s Nest), to Waterloo (Real Food Market) and then to Clapham for board gaming. I’d never been into the German Deli shop but it was quite good, a lot of recognisable products on the shelves including some favourites which could lure me back on a regular basis. The only missing detail was a lack of Riesen Pieces, particularly the jumbo-bags. Though that’s a blessing in disguise, I’m sure. The market itself was a frustrating experience. Too many people walking at pall-bearer pace, too many people conveniently ignoring my “excuse me please” as they were slack-jaw gawking at people slicing cheese or measuring out olives whilst blocking the thoroughfares. Or walking around with Selfie sticks…it’s not a goddam museum, it’s a frigging market.

It took all of three seconds to decide to buy Archer: Once You Go Blackmail in Orc’s Nest and whilst there, I snapped up a booster pack for Boss Monster. The Archer Game is a Love Letter derivative which tweaks the rules by making more use of the hidden card: being able to see it, subbing it out, mixing it up etc. It plays a lot faster than other versions of Love Letter that I’m familiar with and it easier to remember. A worthy addition to my collection, I think. As for the Boss Monster booster pack, it gives you a little of everything: bosses, heroes, rooms and spells. The overarching theme – well, there isn’t really one but many of the cards give a +1 (so you’re required to find some tokens to play with as the +1 is a one-time use bonus). It’ll be interesting to see how it plays with the imminent expansion pack which throws space aliens into the mix.

Real Food Market was a bit more civilised than Borough Market and I picked up some cakes for the board gaming at J & S’s. The Cookie Dough cake was by far the most popular as everyone descended upon it like wolves on a carcass. We played a couple round of Bang (I was on the side of the lawful in both games where we won), Some Quiplash & Bidiots, Room 25, Archer and Martian Dice. It was a great afternoon – crawled off home around 10.30, got in and was all but ready to pass out but as Star Trek Insurrection was on TV, thought I’d watch that, an episode of Sherlock and then surrendered to oblivion. Damn compulsive telly.

Twas Griffin Games on Sunday, headed over and pre-determined that I wasn’t in the mood to play anything new. Having learned three new games this week, I wasn’t up for adding a fourth to my repertoire. So it was a familiar pattern of Avalon, Archer, 7 Wonders, King of Tokyo, and Hex Hex. Lunch was good, dinner was absent (IKR). Met a few new people but pleased that I could remember the names of many of the now familiar faces. Felt drained by the end of the day so was lucky to have been able to snatch a shower before the water went off-line again. Though I enjoyed Games at the Griffin, the room was kinda noisy, particularly when a round of Dobble started (I’m not a fan of the game) which really made it difficult to play a couple of the more verbal-type games such as Avalon and Hex Hex. Might have to make more use of the space downstairs – possibly. Though I’m not going to be there next month, I’m going to take the Bratislava trip. First things first – I want to plan how I’m going to make maximum use of the time both there and in Vienna.

Stuffed aubergines and spices

Post R-Day, I have very little to do at the moment, principally as we’re in political paralysis. The dust doesn’t look like it’s going to settle any time soon and until it does, progress can only be measured in molecules. I took a few days off last week as I had the leave/TOIL to spend and it wasn’t as if I was going to be missing anything at work in the short term. So Wednesday afternoon after a half day, I had lunch with Dean at Taquitos (another very spicy meal, another decision regretted eight hours later) before prepping for board games (made stuffed aubergine rolls which are now on the list of “who cares how fattening they are?”). We played 7 Wonders but failed to get round to a third game with Babel. 

Xian’s 40th birthday party on Saturday. Left the house early to do stuff (i.e. get gifts and party foods & liquor). Was a pretty good turnout considering everything generally going on in London on Saturday (the anti-Brexit march, the pro-Heathrow march, stupid Tennis, stupid Football and decent if indecisive weather). Didn’t feel like I was drunk despite having eight or nine cocktails plus a beer although when I went to bed, I really felt woozy. No hangover however and I think I managed six hours sleep which lately, is somewhat on the generous side. Next house or flat that we live in is definitely going to have igloo-like qualities.

Griffin Quiz was pretty quiet this week but after the first day of blue skies for quite some time in London, I suspect everyone was out trying to get some desperate use out of their BBQ sets. Never understood the UK craze for BBQ whenever there’s a dry spell but I guess if you’re one of those families where typically the husband will only cook if there’s open flames, there’s a certain novelty to al fresco dining. That segue aside, we didn’t win the quiz and to make matters worse, there were no cola floats either. For SHAME.

I’m kinda between video games at the moment, chiefly as I just can’t bring myself to return to games like Zombi or The Escapists, not can I be bothered to finish the final chapter on Walking Dead Season One so this week, I decided to return to San Andreas and play some GTA Online. The latest pack (Further Adventures in Finance & Felony) was released back in early June which kinda acted as a spur/incentive to try. Put succinctly, the update expands the nature of being a VIP into running your own business properly, being able to buy/sell illicit commodities and more free-play missions. There are the usual vehicle and wardrobe choices to accompany this but it’s helped to maintain interest as the spread of players in online sessions is a good mix of old hands and n00bz. It’d be good if they hurry up and announce GTA VI given the recent spate of interweb speculation but a TripA title obviously takes time to craft.

I was threatened with having my account hacked/deleted by what I think was a German player who didn’t like it when I successfully stopped him making a cargo delivery. He sent a series of abusive messages, I told him to get over it, he said he was going to delete my account, I reported him to Microsoft. And when I looked at his profile picture, his avatar is him in what can only be described as an SS uniform. That’s not why I think he was a German – it was the syntax in the messages, the profile name and the fact that on Friday, many of the players seemed to be German based on all the names of players and the chosen names of their criminal enterprises. I’m guessing term has finished in FRG.

Sedate Week

Today, a capsule review of last week. 

Feel free to tune out

The pub was absolutely rammed last Tuesday night at the quiz; there was a birthday party and a leaving do occurring simultaneously with the quiz and some really noisy teams in. One selfish turd was vaping whilst people were eating (I don’t like the smell so object to whatever particles land on my food) – the smoking ban was the best thing EVER and businesses, particularly those where food is involved, should extend this ban. But then I would say that. We came second in the quiz, winning four large shopping bags from poundland. I chose the one with the pretzel design, because y’know…

Temperatures outside have dropped rapidly in the past few days, must be time for the trees to drop their leaves and for Westminster City Council to not body sweeping them up until people start to fall over from the sap spread all over the pavement, he said hyper-cynically. It’s caused windows at home to be mostly closed though you can still hear the urban foxes cackling at 3am like the red-demons that they are (next time I see Animals of Farthing Wood, I’m going to cheer when the fox cops it).

I’ve been really getting into GTA online the last couple of weeks, the complete freedom to do as you wish with regard missions etc has been a strangely…liberating kind of experience. The joys of proper, well thought out sandbox gaming together with regular new content = very happy gamers. My character is a mere Thug imbut I’m getting familiar with the nuances of the game and can hold my own in death duels. Can even win races too! Problem is at home, the connection drops when you do anything else that requires the interweb (i.e. watch TV). Might be time to upgrade (back) to fiber optic bb but if we’re going to be kicked out in five months, best wait.

Last Friday, Brendan and Stephano came around for some gaming – the idea was to try the Strange Relics expansion for Eldritch Horror but ideally that game needs a critical mass of about 4, 5 or 6 people so we played Age of Mythology instead. It was nice to have the nostalgia trip to a game not played in over a year. I was the norse and alas Frosty the Snow Giant was felled by an Egyptian Spearman. I did better at King of Tokyo; cannot believe it was Brendan’s first time playing that.