Hitchhikers and Birthdays.

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Don’t Panic.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read those words, or listened to those words, or even spoken those words. Lots. In fact, probably some other adjective that’s bigger than lots. Because The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of those books for me, and over the course of my life, I watched it, read it, listened to it, and quoted it more times than I care to remember. I could tell you – in detail – the differences between the original radio play scripts and the books. I could regail you with tales of my research in to the correct method for making a really good, strong Brownian Motion producer. And I could even spend many, many hours explaining why sitting through the film is infinitely worse than listening to Vogon poetry. I could do all that and more if you asked me to, and yet there was still room for me to undergo a largely unexpected epiphany regarding my most favourite book.

42

I’d like to think that one of the things that all humans have in common is the ability to feel incredibly stupid without any help from others. Like when you figure out a fiendishly simple puzzle. You stare and stare at the damn thing for hours upon hours, knowing that what you’re looking for is really fucking simple, but without ever finding a solution. Then one day, like a Chesterfield sofa, it just pops in to being all on its own, robbing you of any sense of satisfaction or relief you would have gotten from solving it yourself. That’s what happened to me this year. A huge, really rather obvious Chesterfield-sofa-of-an-idea turned up in my brain, and like Arthur Dent on a Thursday, I’ve struggled to come to terms with it ever since.

Life? Don’t talk to me about Life…

You see it’s my birthday today, and I have become the very embodiment of the meaning of life. ¬†I am Majikthise and/or Vroomfondel standing in front of Deep Thought, bewildered; I have reached the age 42 without a single clue as to what I’m supposed to do next. And this is where my epiphany comes in. Because just this year, after years and years of enjoying my favourite book, I finally joined the dots; Don’t Panic…. 42…. DON’T PANIC ABOUT BEING 42!!. Holy shit it all makes sense now. I know, I know. Douglas Adams explained where the number came from, and it wasn’t about hitting that age. But I like to think that subconsciously, the part of his brain that created the Chesterfield sofa was quietly working on the idea that hitting 42 was the kind of thing that might make the average ape descendant plunge in to a fit of soul-searching panic.

It’s not easy being a cop!

Probably not. But I do know that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has come to mean more and more to me as I’ve gotten older. A lot has happened to me in 42 years; I’ve come to terms with the fact that my father’s death means I’m never going to be able to fix our broken relationship. I’ve accepted that I’m never going to have a career – successful or otherwise – because I’ve been blessed with more children than any sane individual would want. And I’ve also learned to come to terms with the fact that society will forever shun me for not finding the “comedy” film Anchor Man funny. The one constant throughout it all is Douglas Adams’ message that life is pretty fucking absurd, and I find that quite comforting some how.

They still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

So no, I don’t have a fancy car on the drive, or job title that impresses other people, but I do have four wonderful children, and they are going to have to look after me when I’m old and smelling of piss, and shouting abuse at the world. So the universe can suck it, because I’ve figured out whats going on. I know the mice are in charge. So until the dolphins all bugger off, and Earth is demolished by an overly bureaucratic species of alien, I’m going to enjoy the absurdity of it all. Fuck dwelling on the fact that I’m 42, and have none to things that society says you need to be successful. If Arthur dent taught me anything, it’s that there’s nothing wrong with being good at making sandwiches. No, wait… that wasn’t it. Oh fuck it, I’m just going to enjoy my birthday.

Don’t Panic

Its not a game this time!

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Normally when I update my blog after a long absence, I mention my latest addiction to a video game by way of explanation. This time around, something rather more important has kept me away. On the 16th of February, my other half gave birth to our third child, and as you would expect, that has been keeping both of us rather busy. Originally, my plan was to have a post about the event ready and waiting, but the baby had other plans, as she arrived two weeks early.

Naturally, all the things I usually blog about have been put on hold for a while. I’m still doing a bit here and there, but by-and-large, modelling has gone out the window for now. So for the next few months, posts are probably going to be both infrequent and brief. At some point normality will resume ( as soon as we’ve worked out what normality is ), until then you’ll have to make do with the little my sleep deprived brain can muster.

The Obligatory Festive Blog Post

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it only does offline

Seasons greetings!

As we’re all in that weird period of stasis – between Christmas and the New Year, I thought I’d bore you with some words. Hopefully you had a great Christmas and enjoyed all the traditional seasonal things like turkey, too much chocolate, and PSN outages. Personally, having spent Christmas Eve night throwing up, I spent the holiday gingerly eating things in an effort to work out what made me sick in the first place.

Obviously from a gaming point of view, the big news of the holiday was the attack upon Xbox Live and PSN. Both services went down at one point, and rather predictably, Xbox Live recovered quickly whilst PSN stumbled around for days until users patience had run out. I know a lot of people got hot under the collar about the outages (probably justifiably so), but I simply can’t bring myself to be angry.

Maybe it was the Christmas cheer, or maybe it’s my time spent playing Eve Online (where the best way to beat the griefers is to just ignore them until they go away), but my response was to simply play Far Cry 4 offline and ignore it all. The ONLY time I got slightly fretful was when I realised Xur had the Hawkmoon upgrade for sale, and even then my panic was quickly alleviated by PSN coming on for long enough for me to buy it.

Apart from that, my Christmas was spent either sighing at the sight of all my children’s presents spread across the living room floor, or wistfully glancing at my unfinished modelling projects, and wishing this could all be over so I could get back to doing them. Pretty much the same as usual then! Hopefully you enjoyed your festive period as much as I did. Come the New Year normal service (whatever that may be) will resume, until then, have a good new year!

The First Forty Years

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Do you see what I did there?

 

It’s Monday the 3rd of December (well it isn’t, because y’know, I’m not going to blog on my birthday), and forty years ago I was born. The day today will have started not with a nice lie-in, but with my two kids waking me up so they can shower me with gifts before they go to school. I’ll get up bleary-eyed, wander downstairs, and ask myself whether turning on a console before 9AM is what I should be doing with my life. In short, it’ll be a regular old day.

I’m not good with birthdays if I’m honest. To me it’s just another day, but my family keep insisting I should be celebrating, so I try. Presents are always nice, obviously, but I know my family love me, so I never quite know what the fuss is about. Mostly, I suspect I’ll spend the half the day moaning about how everything was better twenty years ago, followed by spending the other half trying to work out how “twenty years ago” no longer refers to the 80’s.

Honestly though, on my birthday I’ll be spending my time being grateful for the life I have today. I have a wonderful family, and two daughters I’m immensely proud of, and if anything sounds like a win, it’s that. So thank you to everyone who’s wished me a happy birthday today, and fuck you to those who didn’t ūüėõ

….It’s Gary Oldman. Old Man. And I’m forty. Get it? Oh forget it….

 

Everything stops for Destiny.

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As per usual, a long period away from my blog usually means I’ve gotten my head buried in a new game, and so it has been this time around. The release of Destiny in the early part of September has seen my tenuous grasp upon the idea that doing something productive with my day is probably “a good idea” finally desert me, and all I have left is the bewildered mental haze I now find myself in. Thankfully, just as I was about to decide that playing Destiny at 7 AM whilst my children were getting ready for school was something I could totally do, I realised the danger I was in and pulled back. Currently I’m using the fact that bounties don’t refresh till 10 AM to stay off the game until a reasonable time, and over time, I will kick this habit.

But I didn’t want this post to be exclusively about Destiny, so I’ll move on to the tiny bits of my life that haven’t been consumed by Bungie’s latest game. A few months ago, I stopped writing for The Game Jar. The seed for doing so was planted during E3, during which time I paid absolutely no attention to what was going on there. Man oh man, did it feel good. For that short period I wasn’t thinking about games. I wasn’t pouring over coverage hoping to find inspiration for my writing. I even started to wonder whether I gave a shit about gaming culture at all. When I did eventually get back to paying attention to gaming, I did so knowing my heart wasn’t really in it.

Part of that was because of the pressure I felt under to produce content for the site. Admittedly it was pressure that I stupidly placed upon myself, but it was still there, and just I couldn’t find a way to stop worrying about it, no matter how hard I tried. Then, when it looked like the site was going to go through some big changes, I asked myself whether I still enjoyed writing about games, and the answer was a pretty convincing no. I’ve never been one to do things hard-heartedly, and once I’d combined that with doubts about whether anything I’d written was at all interesting, to anyone, my decision was made. I felt like I didn’t have anything interesting to say.

But I’d be lying¬†if I said it was all about my own confidence in my work, other hobbies were calling out to me. You may have noticed that over time the content on this blog has shifted, and that’s because it reflects how I’m spending my time now. Modelling – a pastime I’ve indulged in for a very long time – has returned to me, and I now find that I want to spend the majority of my days painting toy soldiers! I do miss writing about games from times to time, and I certainly miss being part of the Game Jar crew, but I’m reluctant to swap my paintbrush for a keyboard. Hopefully, when I feel like I have something to say again, I’ll figure out how to spend time on both things happily.

So that’s where I am today. Stuck between my desire to play Destiny, and paint little plastic men. With my bingeing period over, things on my blog should get back to some sort on normality. Already I have updates to projects piling up, awaiting ¬†photographs and other such finishing touches. Over the next few weeks I’ll get caught up, and we can all pretend this whole sordid affair with a certain game never happened. Until then, thank you for reading, and please keep visiting my tiny little corner of the internet. I’ll get lonely if you don’t :-p

 

 

Domestic Chore Hell!

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server-meme

So yeah, real life huh?

I can’t remember the last time I sat in front of my keyboard long enough to type something, all I know is, it was really long time ago. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been so bogged down with redecorating, head colds, children off school sick, school holidays, and other various random things, that I begun to wonder if I would ever escape! Thankfully, after spending what felt like 6 months trapped in Ikea, I’ve made it through the tunnel of domestic chore hell, and burst back out into the light.

In other words, I was real busy before, but now I’m not, so new blog posts incoming!

Contains No Skill

Hopefully you’ve noticed my blog has undergone a bit of a revamp, chief among which is the name change. A while ago, I decided the Random Ramblings name had gotten a bit stale, and didn’t really suit my purposes any longer. Time then for Contains No Skill! I’ve been wanting to consolidate the various bits of ‘internet me’ for a while now, and I felt I needed a name or idea that suited every thing, and Contains No Skill seemed to best suit what I wanted to do in the future.

Broadly speaking, the content on my blog will stay the same, but I would like to add more video content. That’s where my Twitch and YouTube channels come in. At some point this year, I’ll be making more use of them, until then I’ll try to work out what sort of content I want to produce. I’ve already tried to record a few videos focussed on my 40K modelling, but the quality wasn’t what I was after, so they’ve never seen the light of day.

Anyway, that’s a brief overview of what I’m aiming for this year. Whether it actually comes to fruition is another matter, but I really do want to push myself to do more videos. In the mean time, I’ll carry on blogging about the usual sort of stuff, and hopefully someone will find it interesting.

Get back to work!

This post is a bit of an in joke for my daughter, Charlotte. She’s probably at school, right now, reading my blog instead of doing the work she’s supposed¬†to be doing.

So Charlotte, while you look at this funny cat picture, just imagine me scanning a certain passport photo into the computer….

Mwuhahahaha!!!!

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Ashamed to be a Gamer.

I’ll start this post by up front with you, I don’t really want to write this one. It really depresses me that in 2012 I’m blogging about racism, anti-Semitism¬†, and homophobia in gaming. And not just from 12 years¬†old¬†looking to be shocking on Xbox Live either. But here I am, a not far off forty year old gamer, wondering whether I’m crazy to think that the next generation of gamers are just a bunch of racists. Rewind to last year, I’m looking for a community of gamers to hang out with. I find what looks to be a solid bunch, sign up to their site and have a nose around. All looks well. They have a podcast too, it has an explicit tag but I’m a big boy, I can cope with swearing, so I give it a listen. Three quarters of the way in, someone makes a “joke” about getting gay men to have sex with women and I switch off. Obviously not the community for me. Return to the present and I’m listening to another gaming podcast, also tagged explicit, this time containing a “funny” quip about Jews in gas chambers.

Am I going mad here? Is homophobia and anti-Semitism¬†in your podcast perfectly¬†OK¬†if you slap an explicit tag on the front? Do gamers really exist in a bubble, one where they don’t know right from wrong? Maybe they skipped school the day¬†tolerance was taught. I’m grasping a straws here because this genuinely makes me want to cry.

For the first time in my life, I understand why some people are ashamed to admit to being a gamer, because in future I will be to.

 

Some uninteresting wordz…

And I’m back! With nothing much new to say!

The TL;DR – Kids summer holidays, writing for The Game Jar, playing games, not good at multitasking.

I have been mulling over re-posting my articles from The Game Jar over here, but after a period of time. Most likely I’ll just add another tab and bung them in there. Otherwise you can just read them on The Game Jar. You have been going there right?

The other thing is that I’ve been handed the keys to the Monkey Dogs. Mostly so far this has involved me scratching my head and wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do next. I have managed to do some graphical tidying up and add an awards system to the forum. I copy pasted the code but the members don’t know that, so I’ve been lapping up the praise! Don’t tell them.

That’s me done, have a great summer and check out The Game Jar!

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