Sodding Typical

M802OAN-1 310312 CPSSo, you have a car…it’s not great, but you can’t really afford anything else and you only really use it to potter around town in.  Every now and then, you look to see what else is out there…even though you can’t justify the outlay, not even for a cheap one.

You see hundreds of the damn things, within your theoretical price range.  All of them, arguably, better than what you have.  You consider it briefly, and then realise that it’s stupid as you already have a perfectly serviceable car.

Fast forward to getting a job that you won’t be able to get to without a car and, you can probably already guess, your perfectly serviceable car becomes less than perfect and most definitely un-serviceable and you find yourself looking for any one of these hundreds of cars.

In the last week, I have seen around 4 or 5 cars that fit my needs and they are all adverts that have been online for more than a month..yup, already sold.

Damnit

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Life begins at 42/43….

…hopefully.

I am going to make this post public. It’s normally the sort of thing I would post with a password, but I don’t want to do that..so I am going to keep it deliberately vague.  I am not doing that so that people will fish for information, nor am I fishing for anything from anyone.

Many years ago I used to blog.  Anyone that forgot to remove me from their feed might even remember.  As much as I used to write about funny stuff that I have experienced through life, writing was therapeutic.  I didn’t need it for the longest time, I need it now.

At 42 and approaching 43 fast, my life has completely changed.  I didn’t want it to and, as it turns out, I had no control over it.  But it has, and so I need to deal with it as best I can.

I had plans to move and maybe I still will at some point, who knows.  Maybe, in time, I will be back where I was only a couple of short weeks ago.  I was happy, blindingly so it appears.  In the last couple of weeks I have come to realise that friendships I had pretty much let slide were still there.  I have come to realise my own self-worth, despite the fact that this is very hard to do for someone that suffers with mild depression, who unexpectedly goes through something that is the absolute polar opposite of what has kept the depression at bay for many years.

Objectively, I am depressed right now.  I know that, I am self-aware enough to recognise certain things in myself, if not everything.  I actually think that it is OK to feel this way, which is why I have denied it for the last couple of weeks.  Why I have tried to mask it with anger not sorrow, tried to fight down the tears and put on a front to be myself as always.  I have also reached a level of understanding that I didn’t think I had within me.  And it is true, I really do understand what has happened recently.  I will never be able to say that I agree or like it, but I can at least understand and try to move forward.

Maybe, through understanding, things can be different in the future.  It’s not something to dwell on, fixate on or even hope for, but it could happen and, just that faint possibility makes me smile regardless of how I may or may not feel in the future.  It’s weird, anyone that knows me and that knows what has been happening, would not expect that sentence from me.  Neither would I to tell the truth, but I agree with it, and I find it changing my previous (and long held) attitude about certain things.

2 days ago, I asked for 2 things from someone (well, one thing really).  I have already been given some of what I asked for, and it has helped.

I think I asked, to begin with, as a test of something.  I don’t know what, exactly, but a test nonetheless.  Since then, just the act of asking has helped me a lot.  I realise now, these two things are not a test. They are absolute confirmation of my understanding. They are confirmation of my ability to process what I have been through the last couple of weeks and to come out the other side how I think I can.  Am I where I think I am?

I need them, a small part of them isn’t going to be enough.  I can’t explain how much I need them, but I do.  Obviously, I will try to understand if they cannot be given, I hope I can, understanding seems to be theme at the moment and it is not easy.

Why I don’t “Console”

PS3 ControllerNo, before you ask, I don’t do the whole “PC Master Race” malarky*. My reason…I can’t use controllers.  There, I said it.

It doesn’t make sense, I mean, I used Joysticks on the Vic-20, ZX81, Atari 2600, Spectrum 48, Spectrum 128, C64, Amiga etc etc etc.  Even on my green-screen PC back in the day, I was playing Prince of Persia with keyboard and wishing I could connect a joystick to it.

At some point, the Master System and the NES dropped, with controllers…and I loved them.  Then, Megadrive and SNES.  I was still hooked,  Controllers were great.  Mainly they were for action games…a lot of platformers.  You needed skill to use the controller properly, but none of the games required any level of pixel perfect precision.

By the time the Playstation dropped in ’95 (I think), I had been playing Doom on PC for a couple of years.  Shortly after the Playstation dropped, Duke Nukem 3D hit and I was gone, done with consoles.  I was playing lan and (eventually) online multiplayer and loving it.

FPS games have always been my go to game genre.  I love them, I love the immediacy of them, I love being able to drop into a game without needing to commit to anything more than a 20 minute round of something (although invariably for longer).  I like that I was better than some people, and took great pleasure in taking out people that were better than me.  The team aspect was amazing.  Consoles couldn’t stack up.  They still can’t.  I have watched videos and streams of people playing FPS on consoles and, don’t get me wrong, they have improved….a LOT.  However, they still have the same movement/aim issues they always had.  Aim assist is still an option (and in fact the default as I understand it).  Movement/aiming are considerably slower and the art of strafing a circle around people is just lost as a technique.  As soon as you can use a mouse/keyboard for this kind of game, your reactions improve and the game speeds up.

Consoles have improved.  I mean, sure, they are always going to lag behind PC gaming in terms of power and tech, but they give a standard platform to work on where the limitations are clear to the developers…meaning the developers can explore pushing the console to the limit, knowing that it will work in the exact same way for everyone that buys the game on that console.  For me, I can see why people thought that the end of PC gaming was nigh.  Devs were going to rush to consoles and ditch PC forever.

People make a big deal over exclusives and a lot of people point out that the PC gets a massive amount of what are, technically, exclusives (in that they aren’t being released to console).  That isn’t strictly an exclusive as far as I am concerned.  An exclusive would be Halo or, more recently, Destiny.  These are games that appealed to me and I was interested to play them on PC.  Even if I wasn’t personally interested, PC Gamers in general were.  That makes an exclusive to me.  A “triple A” title that causes another group of gamers to consider buying some other hardware specifically to play it.  The day that the Battlefield series becomes a console exclusive, that could be problematic for PC gaming.

Even Halo eventually dropped on PC and it was, pretty much, a disaster as far as I remember.  The didn’t factor in what makes FPS on PC different.  They kept the speed that they used for the consoles, it was a direct port.  Direct ports can’t work.  It’s that simple, taking a game that works so perfectly in one format and then just altering the code so that it works on different hardware doesn’t work.  It can’t work and it doesn’t.

If you think that PCs are the best gaming platform or not, you cannot deny the benefits of of them.  Want to play games with an old/current console controllers?   We have USB connectors for that.  Want to turn it into a fully functional driving simulator?  We have devices for that.  Want to be on voice chat with some people, video chat with another, play a game, have some music playing and still be able to type a quick message to your friend who isn’t responding to you? (I am looking at you LW)  You can do all of that too.

It can be as flexible or restrictive as you want it to be.  Run it from your couch plugged into the TV, run multiple monitor setups.  Flexible.

I think that’s the key here, flexibility.  When I am not happy with my performance, I can upgrade individual components.  Yes, PC hardware is more expensive..but, I bought my current PC 4 or 5 years ago and only felt the need to upgrade the video card in the last few months.  I have been able to play every game that I have wanted to, with good quality settings during that entire time.  Seeing as I don’t exclusively use my PC for gaming, the usage that I get from a PC is well worth the investment.

When I do game, the games are normally cheaper.  If you game a LOT, then this saving on its own will stack up over time.  Also, backwards compatibility is not a problem, so you never have to re-buy games for each iteration, or keep old hardware lying around.  With a very small amount of tinkering, I could easily install and play old DOS games from the early 90s.

I like the idea of consoles, I really do..everyone on a level playing field, no complicated setups.  Devs only have to worry about one hardware standard and the same controls for everyone.  I just need flexibility, cheaper games and options.

Oh yeah, and I suck with controllers..did I mention that already?

 

* Good word, should be used more!

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Game Servers

Newark NJ Refurbished Playground HVLP PaintSo..I talked about it yesterday and so I added a Game Server section to the website. Click on Game Servers on the site menu and you will be taken to a list of the servers that are available.

Occasionally, more when I am trying a new game and changing configs a lot, they will be passworded. If this is the case, send me a message on Twitter and I will either give you the password or at least an ETA as to when the server will be public.

The only exception to this is the Mumble Server. You will always need a password, which I will happily provide, and I need to be able to connect and register you on the server…otherwise you won’t be able to change channels or speak, which kind of defeats the purpose for a voice comms system Smile

Enjoy!

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Survival Goodness

You don't even get one of these!!

You don’t even get one of these!!

Survival games on PC are all the rage at the moment.  Mostly with Zombies, but there are a few non-zombie titles too.

Essentially, you are dumped into a world with little or nothing and sent on your way.  Most of them will include crafting, base building, hunting (or indeed being hunted), differing weather conditions and, in a lot of cases, other players.  Some games will have you figure out what you can craft from what, others will employ a kind of levelling up where you get some points and a finite amount of choices.  All of them will involve some level of grind (you need materials to be able to craft things after all).  However, in all of them, the focus is on crafting and gathering.  Even in PVP you need to craft more weapons, better weapons, better armour, some bullets etc.

This is where I should switch off and, quite possibly, fall asleep.  These kind of games are everything I have spent my gaming life trying to avoid.  I have been an FPS player since original Doom, always multiplayer and always looking for a game that gives me the option of a 20 minute “quick fix”…even if I end up then playing for 10 hours.  Occasionally, and MMO would hold my interest briefly, and then back to FPS.

And yet, I love Survival Games now.  I have lots of them (although I confess that the more unforgiving ones are not being played a lot at the moment…yes, I am a scaredycat).

I blame FrankieOnPCin1080p and Sl1pg8r personally.  They are both responsible for my love of Ark: Survival Evolved and Frankie is the reason I bought Arma 2 for the DayZ mod.  They both seemed to be having a great laugh, so I thought “I’ll have me some of that”.

After getting Ark and DayZ Mod, I figured I would try H1Z1, which I also love..so then Miscreated happened, Rust and most recently 7 Days to Die.  I can’t explain it.  I know I should hate these games..but I don’t.  They are fun, even the grindy bits.

The key, is to get some people together that enjoy gaming and that you can have a laugh with and, even the most boring sounding game in the world can be fun.

To that end, I will be posting shortly about the Discombobulatory Ramblings servers that are available.

In the meantime, take some time to head over to Frankie & Sl1pg8rs’ channels, look for their Ark playlists, make yourself comfortable and settle in for a bloody good laugh.  Then, when you buy the game (on PC), let me know and we can join up Grin

See you soon

A *small* commentary on dogs

So, it’s been a while since I posted anything…it has been considerably longer since I posted on the comings and goings of my little world  and the idiocy of people.

Now, let me start  this off by saying that I have a dog.  He is a German Shepherd Mix with approximately 90-95% German Shepherd.  This means that German Shepherd owners/clubs/experts have been convinced he is a pedigree and he looks like a fantastic example of the breed..but, as a mix, he doesn’t suffer all of the medical ailments that plague the inbred pedigrees.  Regardless, I couldn’t care less how much of a Mongrel he is, I love him.

Look at how cute he is :D

Look at how cute he is Grin

Now, being a German Shepherd makes him a dog.  I write that specifically as an animal that weighs somewhere between 70 and 80lbs and is instinctively protective of familyis an actual dog.  As opposed to the furry four legged children with attitude problems, that you predominantly see in cities.

And that brings me to my issue.  Dog owners…specifically, small dog owners.  Now, let me start by saying that I know quite a few small dog owners that try to do it properly.  They don’t treat their dog like a toddler, let it do what it wants and never correct it for pulling/barking etc etc.  I don’t take issue with these guys.  The small dogs that they own are simply small dogs.  I like these dogs and I like these people.

What I don’t like are people that do the frickin’ opposite.  No correction to unwanted behaviour, “protecting” their dogs from..you know..being dogs.

Let me give you an example (and let’s face it, the main reason for this post).  At the end of our street is a small park where dogs are allowed as long as they are on lead.  It’s a park that we generally use in the evening so that Likos can perform his ablutions before we all go to bed.  It is also a small park that many other dog owners use for, what I assume to be, the same purpose.  Now, we have had problems before with small dogs on this park, which has lead me to get there later and later in the evening.  In particular, we have had problems with a small Westie.  This small Westie is the least socialised dog I have ever had the misfortune to meet.  It actually lives in an apartment that overlooks the park and, if it is out on the balcony, barks at any dog that it sees (and not just the ones directly in front of the balcony).  The owners walk this dog regularly on the park and they use a flexi-lead that extends to approximately 20 frigging miles as far as I can tell.  When I say owners, I mean any member of their family, including their 8 year old son.

This dog is always at the full extent of it’s lead..regardless of person walking it.  The owners are never paying attention and all are glued to their phones for the duration of the walk.  I wish I was exaggerating, but I am unfortunately not.  It charges at rabbits, charges and barks at other dogs and is downright aggressive.

Here’s the thing, when a small dog charges on lead and pulls you, you barely notice.  When a small dog is in front of you yapping away, it’s positively cute and “has character” or “awww, he thinks he is a big scawy dog..how sweet” etc.  This, clearly, ignores a bigger issue.  Now, when Likos pulls on lead..I can easily end up on the floor**, or with a dislocated shoulder…and when Likos is in front of you barking, it can be positively terrifying.  However, the behaviour is IDENTICAL and needs to be corrected for BOTH dogs.

The difference?  When a small dog behaves that way “nawwww, cuteness”. when Likos reacts to this or behaves that way “Oh my, he is very aggressive isn’t he?” *cue backing away*.

So, a few nights ago, I am walking to the park and couldn’t go late as we were meeting friends.  As I get about 10 meters from the park (across the other side of the road), I notice the Westie but can’t see the owners from my viewpoint.  It charges towards Likos and then stops, just short of the road.  I assume that it is just at the end of it’s flexi-lead as usual.  I couldn’t really see as it was pretty dark.  So, I get Likos to sit as he is starting to get a bit worked up by the fact that the Westie is losing it’s mind at him from across the road.  But I figure I will wait until the owners catch up and can remove the Westie from the situation.

Turns out..the Westie was actually off lead entirely and, at the precise moment I turned to Likos to keep him calm, it shot across the road at Likos.  Likos, as you can probably imagine, LOST HIS FUCKING MIND!.  Especially when the Westie bit him, twice, on the leg.  Now..I am now faced with a Westie that is repeatedly, and with some small measure of success, trying to attack large German Shepherd and a German Shepherd that, understandably, would like to have a quiet word with the Westie and suggest that he might like to stop his current line of actions.

So, with my left arm…I am forced to lift Likos with his lead, so that he is on his hind legs..hopefully avoiding having a dead Westie in front of me***.  With my right foot I am trying to push the Westie out of the way…and on a personal level, trying my damnedest not to just punt the fucking thing as far and as hard as I could muster.  The Westie won’t give up and Likos is now resembling a large, brown, furry shark on the end of a fishing line.  The Westies owners then saunter around the corner, pick up their dog and immediately start checking it for any damage that my, clearly, aggressive German Shepherd may have done.

I was incredulous…and was composing myself enough to bring my limited German to bear and lose it..when I noticed that I had witnesses, both of them in cars that and they had watched events unfurl from start to finish.  Witness #1 goes apeshit at the Westies owner.  A full 5 minute tirade…turns out she has a German Shepherd herself.

By the time it was over, both myself and Likos were considerably calmer, the Westies owner was suitably chastised, Likos had his walk and we got home relatively unscathed.

Why did I write this?  Not sure, except my left arm is still aching from time to time and I can almost guarantee an “event” of some description every time I get on to the park with Likos of an evening.

Please, small dog owners, I implore you…treat your dogs as dogs, correct bad behaviour and for the love of god socialise them a bit…next time your tiny little Napoleon might go for a larger dog that is owned by someone that cares a lot less than I do about your little precious.

 

* in this case family = anyone that will fuss him and/or provide treats.
** Just ask LW about his multiple faceplants when not paying attention to Likos and his love for rabbit chasing  LOL
*** Let’s face it, it’s not like German Shepherds are unable to bite hard, should they be so inclined. ()