Tag Archive: Xbox



From where I sit, I’ve no idea when this blog was last updated but I’m sure it’s at least a month ago. My inability to be a good correspondent continues unabated – but don’t feel too left out folks, I’m neglecting others as well. I have a free hour in which to compose something for posterity so here we go.

Core Themes: Video Gaming, Board Gaming. In board gaming, my latest acquisitions are Sushi Go Party and a new one by Repos Games called Secrets, both of which were bought in the Swansea board game shop, The Gamers Emporium. Secrets is a hidden identity game, not unlike Avalon or Resistance but players score points and their identities can change in the course of the game. It provides a fresh take on the hidden identity game and is well worth checking out. I’ve also tracked down the 7 Wonders promo cards and a copy of the Catan Wonder for my collection which are on order.

In video gaming, there hasn’t been much outside my regular games. Star Trek Timelines have introduced the Starbase feature. When missions are completed, they drop components for upgrading Starbase rooms and you have to work together in fleets for perma-bonuses for your characters or to raise the Chroniton cap. Animation throwdown is about to have its one-year anniversary next week with gifts for players and our guild is doing pretty well at the moment. GTA Online launched the Smugglers Run update (basically huge planes that drop bombs) which I’m resisting for now – when there’s a “sale” on, then I’ll move into that feature, otherwise I’ll stick with the gun running type missions.

August wasn’t a bad month, for the most part. The weather turned ugly, much to the joy of a lot of people. After a really muggy, sweaty summer, having the temperatures hover around 21-22 degrees was a welcome respite. I had a little time off of work, kept things manageably quiet for the most part and finally got around to having a clear out of surplus and broken stuff. Two rubbish sacks of clothes got the chop, my small suitcase which had two old Sky decoders and my two broken 3DS XL consoles, one rubbish sack full of recycling (papers etc), one rubbish sack of just stuff destined for landfill/incinerator. My Xbox360 is going to go to CEX once I wipe the memory and I might take my old 3DS & DS games to be sold at the same time. That said – I haven’t decided if I’m definitely getting the Xbox One X when released in November.

Oh, we topped the Vauxhall Griffin Season 23 competiton ; god knows how. 

Stressful week – other people in hospital with serious stuff. No further details but hard times indeed.


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.


Mechanical Error

Following the (recently published) last blog entry, I found out what was wrong with my copy of Arkham Origins – the disc was somehow knackered.  Yes, between the case and the console, the physical media somehow corrupted and would not load.  I had decided to buy a second hand copy and see if the same flaw was going to repeat itself and if it did, I would at least be able to diagnose the problem as the console itself.  Game worked fine and I can finally activate my season pass.

So, after several months Team Yoshi’s Island finally won the cash jackpot at the Griffin Quiz and it was a big one – £240.  We had to guess how many days were between the release of the original Ocean’s Eleven with Sinatra et al and the remake with Clooney.  I knew vaguely that the former was released in 1960 and the latter was released around 2001-2003 so gave a generic guess of 40 years worth of days (14406) and the loot was ours.  And look just how happy we are.

Quiz Cash Prize 30th September 2014

Quiz Cash Prize 30th September 2014

My share was £80, I still have £55 left, bizzarely.

Week one of my holiday is over, almost.  I’m counting from Monday to Monday on the off chance you were wondering.   I’ve booked trips to go to Amsterdam with all those lovely Eurostar vouchers I’ve got and a few days in Berlin (that Ampelmann light will be mine!).  Still mulling whether to go over to Dublin or Belfast again or perhaps to go somewhere completely new.  Will be keeping an eye on lastminute to see what the late bargains are.  There were two to Vancouver and to Toronto this week which I’m mightily tempted by though am holding out for other destinations.  Screw it, this opportunity is here now, to hell with the bank balance worries, will leave that for November.

So what have I done with my time?  Except for Friday, I’ve been out doing stuff throughout the days, running errands, sorting a couple of longer term projects and of course the usual run of gaming.  Wednesday in particular was a marathon having walked something like 18 miles that day (on and off).  I haven’t been ill, I saved that for my last week of work though I’m pleased to note that eyebags have pretty much receded thanks to several days of proper sleep.  I still can’t make myself believe I walked all the way up to Camden and back just to buy a pretzel.  But I had the means, motive and stupidity to do so.

Bought a couple of Xbox games in a sale – Pac Man DX + which is I think a better version that the one I had in the bundle I bought a while ago.  And Monkey Island as it was practically given away.  But it’s Arkham Origins which has grabbed the most attention.

I write blog entries and they languish in Development Hell before actually getting published long after the events are current. Joe-Fail.

The four day weekend was very welcome indeed and I’m simultaneously pleased and sorry to say it was another video game orgy. I finished off Resident Evil 5 and one of the downloadable scenarios (it was RE Porn for long-standing fans of the series), went through the Soviet Campaign in Red Alert 3 again, played several games of Civ IV (particularly Rhye’s Mod), Pac-Man Championship Edition, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, Wolfenstein 3D, GTA IV and that’s about yer lot. I do like Rhye’s even though I still struggle with managing Empire Stability (as it’s inadequately explained in overall management terms, even online).

Just to reassure the reading public, I did manage to leave the house during the weekend – drinks in the Griffin, walks when it wasn’t raining down to Clapham. Feeling regretful that I didn’t make it a five-day weekend however. Even went up to Camden on the Monday: I’d envisaged walking up there but the rain put pay to that idea so it was bus up and tube back which really grated. If nothing else however, it gave me the chance to finish off Casino Royale (yeah, I’m reading the James Bond novels).

Elections on Thursday: went as expected. Naturally frustrated at the result but with less than a 50% turn out…hey ho. I do think that the current plans to reform/screw over the trade unions ought heed that particular issue – considering the vagaries/biases in First Past the Post and how majorities are seldom over half of all voters. Compulsory voting isn’t especially popular in Australia, particularly amongst the young; freedom of choice should mean the freedom not to choose. But then again, everyone loves Order on Civ V BNW, not Freedom.

It should be something of a packed week ahead – it was the quiz yesterday (we won with 22/40 which I consider quite pathetic – the special guest was…well, someone I’m not too fond of), board games tonight, nothing tomorrow, pay day/shopping Friday, Paul’s Birthday on Saturday and finally Hint Hunt on Sunday. Then we’re in June and there’ll only be three weeks before the Solstice. Dark nights and the slow, inexorable slide into Xmas coupled with bloody sporting events crammed into the calendar taking over everything.

Something of an antsy mood this morning – not entirely sure why though the aural assault of several boring telephone conversations being conducted by stupes in the office probably had something to do with it. Bugger the so-called egalitarianism of it all; it’s not conducive to well being. Had to plug in the earphones and listen to playlist LJ1 which is my generic playlist of 800 or so tracks and there’s always something good buried away in there I forget about but becomes the day’s earworm.

Ok, have to end this as I’m feeling quite belligerent and feel like passing unwarranted harsh commentary on…people with a view to getting into trouble. Salutations, or summat.

Regent’s Bridge Gardens

Second weekend living in Vauxhall is coming up; I only hope there won’t be a repeat of Sunday morning where at 5.30, I was woken up by the sound of what I thought was a drunken hen party clamouring down the road picking up parked cars whilst screeching loudly. Turns out that there’s reasonably open parking available nearby to which some of the party-goers take advantage of.

All moved, all unpacked and as of yesterday evening, there are no further outstanding tasks to undertake after I bought a free-standing clothes rail. I hope, sincerely hope that this is my last move in a long while. If I have to pack my stuff up into crates and boxes one more time…newsreaders around the world will conclude their reports with “before turning the gun on himself” (thank-you season 5 of Roseanne).

The flat is quite nice though full to capacity – no more serious purchases without operating on a strict one-in, one-out basis; books, clothes and electricals. I’ve used the swimming pool twice now but not yet the gymnasium as I don’t have appropriate footwear and I ain’t doing it barefoot. Andy S was my first guest though not for long as Papa John don’t deliver to Regent’s Bridge Gardens and Team Science are coming over for some hot gaming action on Sunday. I had a couple of days off last week to help with the whole moving in thing though it wasn’t as nice as having a full week off as I was back in on the Thursday.

The birthday – that was obviously last Saturday and it was a very quiet affair, busier than being 30 but very little happening in terms of productivity. First order of the day was to put together my bag and headed straight out for breakfast at Parma though it was 11am by the time I ate so it was effectively brunch. Had the mixed vegetarian grill with a stack of toast whilst reading my book; good stuff. I then went out to try and sort out the sale of my old desktop PC. After multiple delays in CeX’s testing, I found out after all that my PC was not worth selling and so I prowled the backstreets of Fitzrovia before finding a skip in which to dump the damn thing. But I was able to sell my old monitor so took the cash from that sale and treated myself to some new games.

I also hit the heavy highs of buying myself a new fitted sheet for my bed – it’s two single divans pushed together which is Superking, apparently (and I thought that was a cigarette). Massive but the seam in the middle is an annoyance. Still, my king sized duvet barely covers it and I’m not willing to spend more cash on appropriately sized bedding. I also swung by Forbidden Planet, picked up the usual titles and treated myself to a Pirate Munchkin set. Also wandered past the Apple Covent Garden Store but resisted going in brandishing the credit card. Went home after shopping, opened my cards, read my comic books, had a late dinner, watched a DVD and went to bed just after midnight.

I know, not the most exciting day and I would have been pleased had someone arranged a dinner or something but alas it was not to be. However, I haven’t ruled out marking the day later in the year, perhaps when the weather is more than a little favourable and do something then, perhaps after the usual crop of March and April birthdays are over.

Had to go up to Camden for some daft reason on Sunday – possibly buying more games (that was part of it), cannot remember why and walked back home to Vauxhall (in my nasty brown, feet deforming shoes as my Merrells were still wet from Friday) calling in Wasabi on the way home for a Tofu Curry. That was last weekend in a pinch. This weekend is birthday heavy (other people this time) starting with tonight.

Video Game catch up – I purchased three Lego games on the Xbox (dirt cheap) and the Simpsons game. Spent this week playing through Lego Indiana Jones 2 and nearly finished the last part. Nothing on the 3DS and played some Wii with Andy. Also downloaded Civilization Revolution as my freebie from Microsoft now that the flat has interwebs again. Of course I’ve yet to actually play one of my free Xbox games as I’ve been favouring other titles but hey-ho.

That’s your lot for now, I’ve got places to go, people to see and liquor to be drunk.

Sauce for the Goose

‘lo people, this is most likely my final blog post of 2013 unless I get all maudlin tomorrow evening and feel the urge to write as other people are out having fun or something like that. Yeah, once again I’m carrying on the tradition of staying in with junkfood and video games, seeing the year out on a quiet note. And with Saturday’s trip to Morrisons, I’m not short of games to play as they were practically giving away decent Xbox titles so I cleaned up (Resident Evil 6, Saint’s Row 3, Epic Mickey 2, at least one other game + 3 months Live membership all for £30). Bought Lego Batman just before Xmas as that was dirt cheap at Sainsbury’s and I fancied something simple for the five day holiday. It took two days to finish it at 100% completion and get 45/46 of the achievements. Hell, the only one I’m lacking is not completing a level in co-op and that’s only because I lack a second controller!

Yeah, these last few days have been video-game heavy. I also finished off The Force Unleashed II after a prolonged absence, have been screaming up a storm at Bubble Bobble Neo (don’t ask), restarted Arkham Asylum on Hard Difficulty (and cussing out the Bane Level), won and lost countless games on Zoo Keeper Battle as well as garnering the usual hits on Streetpass 3DS. Also finished two paperbacks, several comicbooks in my “to-read” pile, learned how to use the grinder on my coffee maker after sixteen months (discovering that chocolate and orange coffee might smell great but tastes bitter).

What did happen on Wednesday? Well, I left my alarm on as it’s programmed to jerk me awake at a reasonable time and my orders were to be in Vauxhall no later than 12. A quick breakfast of Belvita biscuits and I made my way south, stopping by Xian and Stephen for coffee and to give them their gift. And it luck would have it, as soon as I got there, it began to chuck it down despite the weather forecast saying it was going to be clear. Fortunately the rain passed quickly and I was only fifteen minutes behind schedule.

Next a major thank-you to Pret-a-Manger whose Trafalgar Square branch was open on Xmas morning thus enabling the purchase of a much desired lattè. You wouldn’t think there’d be so many tourists out and about but the streets around the landmarks were quite laden with them. Still, I guess it’s either that or be bored in your hotel rooms. However, I powered through the throng and got to the pub at exactly 11.59am. It was a relief to be able to tear my rucksack off my back and let the dents in my hands even up.

Then we just spend the day together: John, Andy, Pepina, myself and Nova & Sable getting appallingly drunk, playing games, commenting on various odds and sods, talking about anything and everything. Lunch was a grand affair and I felt it a point of personal honour to finish the whopping great plate set before me. Of course that completely ruined me for the evening’s buffet and frankly, everyone else as our collective guts heaved. Still, it was all salvageable and little wasted. For the first time in twelve years I had someone else cook for me on Xmas day which was quite an experience, truth be told.

And yeah, the rest of the holiday was game heavy as mentioned. I just wish…well, I wish I had a bit longer off of work. It’s a little frustrating how everything has popped up in the diary for January forcing a revisiting of my plans to take some leave in the latter half of the month but it’s only a two-week deferral and perhaps…perhaps I might take leave immediately after the ReReg Working Group, dunno, have a couple of weeks to think about it.

Forward Look time: well, some sort of event-thing happening tomorrow evening followed by a Bank Holiday (YAY!). Breaking in the new manager from Thursday, mad rush to get work finished by the 10th and need to plan what’s happening for both my trips to Brussels. Also need to get some gaming days and evenings in the diary and of course, there’s only two months before the big 35…

Ahoy Ahoy (and it’s very easy to see why that particular greeting never really took off in early telephone usage). I’m turning into the world’s worst correspondent here – it’s all due to bloody interweb filters overstepping their marks. Access to video gaming sites has been blocked as they come under the generic category of “games”, like flash games and the like. So I only get to see the latest video gaming developments on my iPad these days. Blogs and journals are also out thanks to the web-filter though in many case, it’s a handy addiction breaker. I used to really enjoy Bobby Hardenbrook’s “Shattered World”, or at least until it crossed the line and entered into the territory of fantasy. And the lack of regular updates didn’t help but that’s the problem with writing projects of this size, at some point they gain sentience and cease to provide entertainment for the masses.

Gripes against literature aside, today is a very tired one not least as I’ve forbade myself any coffee today having spent half of last night with gut-ache (from about 6pm but it peaked at 4am) and need to steer clear from caffeine and acidic drinks. As such, eyes are struggling to stay open whilst concentration is prone to roam quite freely. And somehow I’m going to have to plod on home; might have to hop on an 88, dunno yet. Heh, it reminds me of a Matt Groening “Life is Hell” strip where Binkie spends about his entire day half asleep. He gets up, goes to work and generally has a normal day but looks half wrecked throughout it and yet when he goes to bed, he’s wide awake. How many times have we all been there?

So, what’s new? We finally got the second Risk Legacy group off the groups last Saturday with Team Science (me & Alex, Clare, Paul and Rupert) at the Griffin. Only Paul had played Risk before so naturally I cleaned up in the first two games before people began to get the hang of the game. But they’re a smart bunch of people, it won’t be long before they twig how the game is played properly and indeed, in the third game, the signs were there. But the other Risk Legacy game last Wednesday was just beautiful. After some patented Joeanian kick-ass chili, we started game 6 and it commenced with Joey taking out Robyn before she even got her first turn in and he was poised to win the game on his second turn. However, Jad and I had other plans. He massed a huge army in North Africa and was ready to invade when between us we fired off the three missiles to trigger an event, wiped him almost clear off the map and completely derailing his game. Jad gloated, I merely pointed out first he had the pride and this is the fall (in the hubris/nemesis terminology I’m fond of). It was one of those memorable moments in gaming which you just want to treasure.

Finished Batman Arkham City on normal and collected enough trophies (all Catwoman, most of Batman) to get the Riddler. In fact the only sidequest outstanding is the Political prisoners one. So I picked up where I’d left off on Godfather II at the weekend and finished that off too. It wasn’t as satisfying to complete compared with the original game though the promotion system and family management system had such potential. It’s a shame they wasted it on such a mediocre experience all in all. So then I whacked in Star Trek: Legacy into the Xbox and tried to resume that game until the stinking thing crashed on me. It didn’t help matters much that I’d completely forgotten how the controls worked so played a couple of skirmishes whilst I reacquainted myself with it. To be honest, all I want to do is try a campaign which isn’t in the NX-01 era.

The Griffin quiz finished the latest season last Tuesday and YI came second overall. Considering what Team Science won, we think we got the better end of the deal as I’m fairly certain that nobody on the team would have wanted to see Dolly Parton at the O2 Arena. We won 2 hours (for five people) at HintHunt which is just down the road from me. It’s not too dissimilar to a Riddler Death Trap from Arkham City but without the electrified floors or slice n dice doors. Ok that’s slight exaggeration but you get the point. There’s a standard 180-day booking clause on the game so it’s just a case of finding a suitable date and time in the diary. Perhaps January, when people are too poor to afford any other entertainment. Speaking of the quiz, the new season commences on the 10th so most of the gang are choosing to do something different tomorrow. I dunno what I’ll do but if I have another day like today, I’m going straight home to fester/wallow.

I have a five hour meeting on Wednesday. Not looking forward to it. It doesn’t have the glamour of Brussels or the Eurostar.

Actually, there’s nothing particularly sexy happening this week to be honest. Grim stuff – except RL.

Ned Ludd is back

Technology rant today:

iOS 7 – Having finally caved to pressure, I decided to update my iPad to the latest Apple operating system. Rather than fall into the iOS 6 trap of having all the issues and dramas from day one, prudence seemed the better part of valour. Having seen a third iteration of the operating system, now seemed a good a time as any, plenty of time enough to iron out the kinks in the system.

First of all – what have they done? The aesthetic looks grotesque, the transparent panels really don’t work with a white overlay and is reminiscent of a pencil case? What is this recent propensity for “brilliant white” – it’s all over Office 2013 and now all over Apple. Some of us don’t like the dazzle or the melding and have to spend forever tinkering with settings to get a decent balance.

The icons for the Apple range of products are just rank. Reminds me of a child’s pencil case or a really naff sticker-book. I’m a die-hard skeuomorphicist and proud. Skeuomorphism at least helps foster memory as any idiot knows. The best way to store something in the brain is to summon a memorable image and commit it that way. But who will remember that “Game Centre” is a series of bubbles or what the difference between notepad and reminders is? And sub-menus? Ugh.

Yeah, I fell prey to the music problem. I don’t know what exactly the issue was but 1400 of my songs (about half) just refused to copy over to the new system and restoring them proved excessively long and complicated. Why the transition between old and new had to be difficult I don’t know, sufficed to say it lowered my overall opinions by a lot. Ditto the videos.

Swiping through apps is…well… just too easy. It’s no problem for the iPad to misinterpret a gesture and yank you out of what you were doing (big problem with online gaming where it translates into a rage-quit) and penalises you accordingly). And some apps just no longer seem to be accepting gestures for some weird reason. Movement of familiar buttons and no more words for commands is particularly irritating.

Of course the worst part is that I have yet to drag my iPhone through the same process. I don’t know if I have any positives about the new system because I’ve only lived with it 48 hours but I’ve seen enough frankly – I want the old system back. I note that there is STILL no option to change the default font for iBooks. There’s only one sans-serif font available (Seravek) and I’d rather all my literature were defaulted to this rather than the random fonts that seemingly get assigned.

Next technology rant – my boiler. How the hell does it work? There is no operations manual, the interface is bewildering and non-intuitive and although “manual override” is always a simple affair, I’d rather operate a programme so it switches on automatically etc.

Outlook 2013 – why are certain menus not included when you impose a blanket view change such as sent items and delete? And where are the options to amend those menus? I don’t want Segoe, I’m already beginning to regard that font the same way Joey regards Comic Sans…

My Xbox crashed for the first time at the weekend – thank heaven for suitable save points liberally dotted throughout games. One of the dramas with the Wii was that save points were often manual affairs and if the console crashed (which it seemed to, sometimes with reckless abandon during certain games), you would have to backtrack for ages. Let’s not mention the infamous level of Scarface: The World is Yours…

I know it’s been a while since my last blog entry – it’s all the fault of Batman: Arkham Asylum (and other stuff). But now that I’ve finished it, I feel another review coming on.

More precious than platinum?

It seems harder and harder to make time to add entries to this blog. With work dominating more of my brain space and social activities picking up now that summer is waning, a fair amount of stuff is sacrificed for duty AND pleasure. I’d apologise but there are so many apologies flying around these days for all sorts of infractions; perceived and actual. I’m not sure they have meaning any more.

In catching up with things going on, let’s see – we won last weeks quiz and came third this week (enjoyed the chocolate pudding on the menu), Risk Legacy starts up again tonight, been playing a fair amount of Xbox (finished Banjo Tooie and the Force Unleashed on a harder setting) and a hair away from completing NSMB2 on the 3DS. Have completely failed in my quest to find locals (well, ones that I want to try and integrate into my life) to hang out with etc. Though my methodologies have been utterly pathetic, I must concede.

We’re off go-karting at the weekend in Thurrock (Lakeside) as part of our quiz prize from last season: Joey, Alex, David T and myself. Whether we’ll dress up in Mario costumes and throw banana skins at each other or not remains to be seen. Should be fun – and it comes after being able to sleep in an extra hour thanks to Fall Back.

I’m off to Brussels again on Friday for a day chock full of meetings. On the first train out and on the last train back. At least I booked myself into Standard Premier again for the return leg so I can feel knackered in a larger seat whilst playing Robot Unicorn Attack on my iPad. And speaking of the iPad, I’m tempted by the iPad Air as unveiled last night. For a while, because of the Brussels thing and other travels through work (mostly), having a 3G/4G model rather than a wi-fi only model would be handy although there’s the monthly charge to consider, of course. And I said that I’d wait to see what the fifth iteration of the iPad would look like before making a decision; think I’m sold and the 128GB memory would come in handy for filling it full of yet more books!

Oh – Saturday was particularly irritating when the oven went on the fritz. I’d painstakingly prepared a meal (for one, of course) and bunged it in the oven. 45 minutes later when everything was supposed to be done, it was all stone cold and no heat was coming from the oven despite the fan going which had led me to think there were no issues. Checked everything – in so far as my knowledge of catering appliances go and couldn’t find any issues except there was no smell of gas when the oven was switched on but the hob works fine. The cooker is an older model (couldn’t find it on the interwebs so it must be over ten years) so I think it can go the way of the dodo.

At least it saves on cleaning it. See, glass half full.