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!

Learn a 2nd language…it's useful…honest!

Newark Town Hall
Let me begin this post by stating that after 4 years living and working in Frankfurt, I still don’t speak German.  I speak a bit more than I give myself credit for, and I understand an awful lot, but I don’t speak enough.  Something I want to rectify, but things keep getting in my way….excuses mainly, but I digress.  So you can probably imagine how much German I realistically spoke at age 18 and living in Newark.

It was a nice sunny day in Newark On Trent, birds were singing and my heart was joyful as I left work early to go and visit my parents who were living in Wales at the time.  A relatively straightforward journey, truth be told, that began with a quick trip to the bank before I headed off.

Pretty easy right?  I mean, people make quick visits to the bank every day.  Depending on where you are, you drive to the bank, find a parking space and go into the bank…go back to the car and you are on your way.  It gets simpler every time I read that sentence.

So, I am driving through Newark on the way to the bank and following traffic through to where the bank is.  I remember thinking that it was pretty busy, but parked my car outside the bank and went in.  As it was impossible to start my car without knowing how, I actually left the keys in and the windows down and ran into the bank.  When I was stood in the queue, a noise filtered through to me..the noise of someone (not knowing how) trying to start my car.  I grab my money from the cashier and bomb outside to see what all the hubbub is about.  It is at this moment, as I leave the bank that the dim light of realisation slowly descends upon me and I take in my surroundings for the first time.

Probably the biggest thing that I had failed to notice in my leaving work early euphoria, was that it was Market Day.  Not only was it market day…the market was pretty much over.  Not only was the market pretty much over, the “traffic” that I had followed into the Market Square, where I had ultimately parked outside of the bank…was all market trader vans that were driving in to take down their stalls and pack them away.  Also..as I had parked (quite neatly I might add) on the side of the road…there wasn’t enough room for people to drive their (substantially larger than my car) vans, which had in turn created a giant traffic congestion of vans trying to get out of the market place, vans trying to get into the market place and vans, already in the market place, that were trying to manoeuver into position.

In short, absolute frickin chaos.

The reason for the sound of my car trying to start is now abundantly clear to me…they just want it out of the way.  Fair point, thinks I, but how in the hell am I going to get away with this.  At precisely the moment that I realise I have made somewhat of a booboo, the trader attempting to start my car clocks me..and starts heading towards me very angrily.

Quick as a flash, I remove my work pass from around my neck.  There were two reasons for this…#1 I had come up with a plan and most importantly, #2 I didn’t want this monster to strangle me with it.  Onto the plan…

I am not sure why this popped into my head, having left Germany about 2 years previous and having literally no contact with anyone in Germany or the German language during that time, but I decided that I would break into my least stereotypical, English speaking German accent.

Of course, by least stereotypical, I mean quite possibly the most stereotypical, and quite possibly racist, accent I could have come up with.  Lots of “Vot iss ze problem mit my car and vy are you startink it?” type stuff with added “I don’t unterstantink yew” thrown in for good measure.  I swear, if the producers of Allo Allo had have been anywhere near me, I could quite easily have been the next cast member searching for “Ze fallen Madonna viz ze big boobies”.  Alas, they were not around, my chance at stardom passed in a fleeting instant and I was left panicking and sweating that this monster of a market trader was a) buying it and b) not a German speaker….

Fortunately, upon the realisation that I was a foreigner…he proceeded to follow the tried and tested method of speaking slowly, loudly and gesticulating towards my car in an “away from here” motion.  It drew quite the crowd, with other people trying to help the guy to explain to me what was happening.  We had shouters, we had people making brum brum noises and also the Mime artists…I continued to look suitably confused until I finally jumped in the car.  At which point, they were all very kindly guiding me out from where I was parked and away from the Market place.

To this day I still don’t know why none of them thought it strange that a visiting German, with little or no English speaking ability, would be driving a beaten up old Morris Marina…with English license plates.

Ah well…raise your glass to the kindly hearted market traders of Newark

Travel fun

'Grupo TACA' A321 Cabin
*SNOOOOOOORE*

*CLICK CLICK CLICK*

*SNOOOOORE*

*SCRIBBLE SLIDE BUMP* “Sorry” *CLICK CLICK CLICK*

*RUSTLE RUSTLE NOM NOM RUSTLE RUSTLE*

*AAAAHHTCHUU RUSTLE SNIFF NOM*

My technology post reminded me of my journey back from the UK a couple of weeks ago, and the text above pretty much details what the audio version of this memory would be like.

I travelled to the UK for work and as such, got to experience the lovely travel experience of a decent airline.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that you get what you pay for with the likes of Ryanair etc, but it is still nice to not have to sprint to the front of the line to make sure you get a decent seat.  That said, boarding took ages due to the numpties that apparently can’t read a screen that says “Now boarding: Rows 14-22”.

Still, I had selected my seat of choice a day or so before departure (very civilised), so I wasn’t concerned about being trapped in the aisle waiting for these morons dickheads numpties lovely people to get their luggage stowed and take their seats.

I chose the aisle seat as I assumed there would be some form of delay thanks to the apparent Ice Age unfurling all over Europe and wanted to make sure I wasn’t clambering over people to get to the loo should the need arise.  Of course, the problem with being one of the first to board…and having an aisle seat means that you will get semi-comfortable before one or both of your seating buddies will turn up and need you to move.

Sure enough, a few minutes after sitting and starting to believe that my row of chairs was going to be empty aside from me, El Blobbo turns up.  Now, before you think bad of me for referring to him as such, I realise that I am of the larger persuasion myself…but this guy takes the biscuit (actually, he probably takes the whole pack…and anything else he can find that looks remotely edible)…he was certainly the kind of person that makes us bigger guys feel a whole lot better about ourselves.

Sorry, I digress.  El Blobbo has booked himself into the window seat..so I get up and allow him to squeeze into his chair (and some of the middle one too), and then take my seat again.  10 more minutes pass and I am just starting to believe that I may end up with the extra comfort of the middle seat being free, when El Techno turns up.

Fortunately (at least for the seating arrangement), El Techno makes me look like El Blobbo, so we all appear to be relatively comfortable.  El Blobbo immediately falls asleep with light (read ear bleedingly loud) snoring.  El Techno decides that the overhead storage compartments are for losers…and brings a briefcase, laptop bag, coat and a whole load of paperwork into his small seat between El Blobbo and myself.  During seating he manages to avoid hitting El Blobbo…but unfortunately hits me with, well, everything it would seem.  I get the paperwork on my lap, the coat over my head, the laptop bag and briefcase hit both of my knees with deceptive force.

Through the pain I realise that he has finally settled…and got out an iPhone to add into the mix.  So now, he is taking up more space than El Blobbo and knocking into me with monotonous regularity when swapping between the iPhone, briefcase and laptop.  Of course, it would appear that he has never travelled before as…just as I am closing my eyes and getting comfortable, I am disturbed by the stewardess to get this idiot to put his seatbelt on and take off the iPhone headset.

We then taxi (technical aviation term, we didn’t jump out and get in a black cab) to the runway..where the captain informs us that, due to the French Air Traffic Control issues….we will be a little delayed in taking off.  Of course, noone actually knows how long the delay will be, so we can’t listen to iPods or mess with computers etc…that would be far too civilised.  Instead, I am forced to listen to El Blobbos Snoring Concerto in Oh My God flat.

Eventually the French come back from their onion soup break, and we are given the all clear to set off.  El Techno is asked to take off his iPod headphones again, El Blobbo remembers to ask for his extra sized seatbelt, and we are off.  At this point, I have finished the amazing in-flight magazine and am looking around the cabin for anything of interest.  Now I come to think of it, why do they call it an in-flight magazine…it isn’t stored behind some sort of cupboard that only opens when the plane is actually on the move..in-aircraft magazine would be more acceptable surely..Anyhoo, I digress.

As the flight is only scheduled for an hour and a quarter, the crew start tearing around, trying to get the drinks and nibbles out to everyone, and I start trying to contort myself so that a) My shoulders aren’t getting hit every few seconds by the crew and trolley and b) I don’t end up in El Technos lap.  I manage to avoid sitting in his lap and the doctors assure me that I will regain full movement of my shoulder in 12-14 weeks.

It’s a busy flight so, as I have chosen the rearmost seat, I am forced to wait until last to get my free coffee and biscuit.  The snoring to my left is as loud as it has ever been until, that is, the crew get the trolley to me.  They haven’t even said a word and El Blobbo is awake and ordering a coffee, 2 orange juices, some crisps, a couple of biscuits and a roll.

El Techno declines, presumably, because any form of liquid would pose a major electrocution risk and I take a single coffee and biscuit.

As I settle in to have my coffee, I notice the guy opposite me for the first time.  I will call him Sneezy Bean McFerret as, well, he sneezed…a lot…and looked like a cross between Mr Bean and a ferret.  There were two reasons for my astute observation of this fine example of a hybrid man/ferret….#1 he was in the seat that I should have had, on his own in the entire row.  #2 was his peculiar nut eating habit.  He would rummage around in the packet…with his nose almost buried in there…pull out a single nut, look up…throw the nut into his mouth…chew, sneeze and then repeat.

Now, I am not talking a CW’esque cutesy “chu” type affair, I am talking a full on…probably slowed the plane and caused the turbulence, gale force 9, Wizard of Oz, knock over the staff and cause a number of natural disasters over Europe type of sneeze.  A sneeze so loud that it made my ears bleed and I think crashed El Technos laptop.  Honestly, it was a sneeze of comedic proportions…cartoon makers would have been fearful of basing a sneeze on this one in the fear of noone believing it.

You couple this with the rapid click click clicking from next to me and the snoring from the window and I did not have the most pleasant journey home imaginable.  I should note though, that even with all of this…and the typical latecomers trying to cram oversized suitcases into the full overhead lockers, by attempting to move and indeed crush my laptop bag…Ryanair should still pay attention about how to run a flight.

In other news…I get to do it again soon….something tells me I will be making a phone call to discuss my travelling companions in advance…they make you specify your size, the amount of technology you plan on using and if you have a FUCKING NUT ALLERGY but intend to eat them anyway….right?  RIGHT?

Web 2.0?

[embroidery exercise] basic
OK, so I must have missed the upgrade notification…but it would appear that we are all dealing with Web 2.0 these days…by the mere act of blogging this, I have added to the interactive and social aspect of the web (apparently).

I don’t understand the term to be honest..I mean, surely it is just Web with a natural evolution based on technological advances.  Do people consider themselves to be Monkey 3.0…or Neanderthal 2.0?  No, we developed and evolved based on what we needed.  So no…I refuse to use the term Web 2.0

That said, I do find myself using things that I said I didn’t see the point of.  Blogging wasn’t my kind of thing, Twitter was pointless and Facebook was just a waste of time.  I loved Outlook, had no need or desire to sync everything online and hated web based email…anything other than ICQ was a joke and not worth my time.  A mobile phone was for calling people and, possibly, texting…oh, and Webcams were for perverts (this hasn’t necessarily changed though)

Don’t forget, I have been in IT since I left school…so I am used to being on top of technology (so to speak).  KT always maintains that I am just stuck in my ways…and there may be some merit to that.  So let’s review The LaughingWolf technical report.

Mobile phones

Bought as soon as they became actually mobile..never used for anything beyond calls and SMS until 5 years ago when I got a PDA and used it for, well, calls and SMS…AND Sat Nav.  Over the last 2 years ago, I started to appreciate the built in camera..and even managed to use my Sony as a camera in preference to a dedicated camera for a while.

Towards the end of last year got a Blackberry which I would…and I quote myself here… “Never use properly in a million years for gods sake, what would I want one of those for”…now I have all of my emails and pretty much everything else running through it…and this is only my personal phone…no work stuff here.

Laptops

I have owned 3 laptops in my life and been provided another 2 by work.  I have never travelled extensively for work (apart from driving to other offices) and still cannot ever imagine pulling the laptop out of its case on a train or plane.  Especially when my lovely Blackberry does everything that I want on the move Smile but even taking that into account, travelling time is my time.

Desktops

Now, I will admit to spending the debt of a large 3rd world nation on my desktop pcs over the years.  I was a gamer (still am from time to time), so I always wanted a great graphics card, lots of RAM, a big screen, the best mouse…even the best mousemat.

My desktop does everything for me, it is my entertainment center (movies, tv, music) and my working from home station.  It has dual screens, more hard disk space than most small-medium size company server farms.  My desktop is everything to me when it comes to technology and yet, up until the end of last year, it was an isolated data hub for me.  Had that machine died (which it did a while ago, but I was able to salvage the data)…I would be pretty much lost.  All of my photos, documents, contacts, game configurations, applications….everything would be lost.

Websites

I was an early Geocities user and created my own brand of utter crap that noone wanted to read (a bit like this blog really)..I tinkered, messed with HTML and went on from there.  Got my own domain a year or so after creating my first page and have continued with them regularly ever since.  I ran LAN parties in the UK, was a member of a number of gaming teams…so dynamic content was important and thus PHP became a part of my normal website routine.  I have never been a full coder, choosing to take stuff that almost did what I wanted and butcher it until it did exactly what I wanted.

I use the BBC website for news (predominantly sports)..but this has always been because I am too much of a tightarse to buy a paper.

MP3 Players

I was a very late adopter.  These fell under the “What is the point” category for me.  I either lived close enough to work to barely get through 2 songs before arriving, or I was so far away that I had to drive to work..where my handy CD player (and god forbid…the radio) would provide me everything that I wanted.  I didn’t go running and certainly didn’t need one for the house.  When I flew, it was almost always with other people..and if I was alone  I would have a book.  3 years ago I got a ThaiPlayer…a cheap and nasty iPod clone that was supposed to do video…I am not sure why I got it, but I found myself using it more and more..until I realised that it wasn’t good enough and went for the iPod touch..which was great..until I realised I wanted to have access to all of my music, all of the time…and CW got me a 120gb iPod Classic for my birthday.  I use it on the way to work, walking into town, on flights…even on my lunch break at work from time to time.

Web Browsers

I stuck with IE longer than I wanted to, I stuck with IE longer than I should have done…I was stuck with IE.  Why?  Well, there was the internet standard and then there was the Microsoft standard..and the problem was that more often than not, people wrote their websites to look good with the Microsoft standard…so I stayed with that.  I didn’t need tabbed browsing…I much preferred to have a seperate copy of the application for each site I wanted.  Up until a few years ago, I could never see the benefit of tabbed browsing to my own internet experience.  Firefox was a nice product that suffered from hideous memory leaks.

Now I am a full Firefox user, with a number of plugins, about 20 tabs at a time and only go back to IE when I absolutely have to.  That said, Chrome isn’t worth the change over to me Razz

Wireless Stuff

Here is where I still have a few issues.  I have a wireless router..which gets used for CWs laptop and for some of the people I know in the bar..but I never actually use it myself.   I could connect my phone to it…but I have mobile internet service bought and paid for with the Blackberry, and if I am at home….why would I surf the web on my phone.  Also, I have a real aversion to wireless mice and keyboards though, which I think are a hangover to my gaming days where the slightest lag would cause issues…of course, this is largely non-existent these days, but I am also a tightarse and can never be bothered to remember to charge things and/or swap batteries about.

Internet Access

I have been connected since day 1.  I was connecting to bulletin board systems at 1200 baud and stepped up through all of the modem levels until broadband began making headway.  Until it was freely available, I even paid for ISDN and then again to run it in 128k mode for the extra juice.  Since then I have been with the maximum available speed until recently..when I could get 50mb by switching to another company…I can’t be arsed and have stayed at 16mb

Chat

This is a topic close to my heart…I was always relatively quick on the uptake with chat technologies.  I started on IRC and ICQ (my number is 7 digits long and I still have it…) I derided MSN as not necessary and insisted on people bouncing over to ICQ.  MSN is a joke said I…why on earth would I want that crap…ICQ is the future.

Fast forward a few years and I am scrabbling to remember my ICQ password after being solely on MSN for so long…and then people want to start adding me to GoogleTalk.  Pah! says I, I have no need for this, MSN is perfect for me….and now I have Google.

I don’t get on IRC anymore these days, which is a shame as I had some good fun on there…when I wasn’t being asked to idle in a million Quakenet channels…

Email

I mentioned Outlook earlier and I stuck with this until as late as last year.  I have emails in my archive from 1998…and it would have been longer if not for the catastrophic hard disk failure of 98.  I have never seen the merit in having access to my archived stuff other than on my own PC.  I setup my own webmail client on one of my websites that allows me to get access to new stuff when I am not at home, and of course now my Blackberry means I can always stay in touch.  Over the last couple of weeks though, I have started to contemplate moving to web based only…although I am currently on Thunderbird and loving it.

The “Cloud”

I have never been interested in online storage of any description.  I sometimes uploaded important things via FTP to my website as a kind of storage, but this was rare and never used properly.  I have always been perfectly happy with having my home machine as the center of my computing universe.  It certainly wasn’t fear of security…it was need, I didn’t need to access any of this stuff anywhere other than at home…and of course control.  I am used to working a certain way and have never seen a “single” service that would do what I wanted, how I wanted.

Well, that said, over the last few months, I have started seeing the benefits to the cloud and storing a lot of my information online and securely.  After swapping numerous phones and devices and getting seriously narked off with managing all of my contacts separately on everything..I finally took the plunge and have all of my information neatly organised and stored in Gmail…I am also considering uploading everything I have to Gmail (or an alternative) so that I am fully sync’d everywhere.  I link Facebook, Gmail and Gmail Calendar with Thunderbird and the Blackberry…I sync my Firefox bookmarks and saved passwords with a central server so that I can get to my regular sites (and non-regular ones) without having to search or remember.  I have a web gallery on my site with almost all of my photos.  Facebook holds a substantial amount of my photos too.  I even tried to use Google Docs, but to be honest it still isn’t advanced enough for me and I do like my MS Office…although hey..based on the rest of this post…give it time Grin

Social Networking

Here comes the crunch for a lot of people when Web 2.0 is being bandied around.  Facebook, Myspace, Beebo, Twitter, Linked In and all of the others…pointless (even Linked In, especially now it has gone all Facebooky).  Completely pointless…which in most cases is the point.  Facebook did allow me to get in touch with one of the two people from school that I actually wanted to get in contact with…so I guess that helped.  I am on it all the time and posting as much inane crapola as anyone else (although hopefully with better spelling).  Myspace never has and never will interest me…when every site you visit is shockingly bright white text on a scrolling black starfield background with some crap music hammering along that you can’t turn off, I am not interested.  Beebo I never passed so much as a cursory glance at and so Facebook it was.  I am still at a loss as to the point of Twitter…I tweet my blog posts (automatically) when I occasionally remember to post something…I send the odd message to my daughter and I read some interesting celebrity information…beyond that, it offers me zero value to my day, and in fact there are days when I forget to check it.

So does all this mean that I am LaughingWolf Upgraded?  Will Keanu Reeves turn up and start offering me pills of the red and/or blue variety?  Am I really Web2.0 enabled?

Am I hell…the web, like printed media, television, films, computers, game consoles, mobile phones and everything else in this world has adapted and gotten better to suit what people want from it.  Sure, sometimes we don’t know what we want until someone develops it and throws it in front of us, but this is a natural progression people…so can we please ditch the media induced bollocks and stop inventing terms for things that already exist.

Right, I don’t know what all that was about, but I better go and tweet that I blogged and update my facebook/linked in and MSN status to show that I tweeted about a blog which is about my tweeting and blogging facebooked In status

Or something

Only 18??

Shopping?  Not with a man
Photo by The Rocketeer
Over at CNN they ran an article entitled “18 things to teach our sons about women” Which lead me to wonder a couple of things…

Firstly, as it was written by women, why only 18 things?   There has to be more…although maybe 18 is the maximum that sons are capable of learning without suffering a haemmorhage or other catastrophic brain damage.   From what I remember of my youth, this is entirely possible.

Secondly, are they planning on running the same thing from another perspective?   I didn’t find anything so, in an effort to get in touch with my feminine side, let me present to you:-

18 things (I believe) women teach our daughters about men.

I will put the topic that the original article feels should be taught to sons in brackets, you know, for reference and all that.

1. Pick your battles

Ok, I chose the same topic here as it seems like quite an obvious one really.   By picking your battles, I mean save them up…save up all the reasons you might like to have a go at the man in your life about.   Better to hit him with everything from the last 6 months in one go and (speaking from experience) just as he is going to sleep.   He will undoubtedly be tired and is guaranteed (almost) not to argue as he will simply want this to end.

2.   Walk 2 paces in front (Walk on the outside (closer to the street) of your female companion)

This may seem a little strange, but men don’t want meek and indecisive women.   They need strong women to lead their man through the throngs of shoppers.   The exception to this rule is when he needs to get football tickets, or a new computer game…at this point it is better to give him some freedom while you pause for a coffee.   Also, it will be funny to watch him trying to keep up and get along side you.

3. Never speak during anything on television that he is paying attention to (Saying “You’re being crazy” is never an appropriate response, unless you want her to go postal on you)

Pretty obvious when you think about it.   That said, this is the perfect opportunity to get that new outfit that you expect him to say no to.   Additionally, if you feel like you need more ammunition for the bedroom chat from point 1, then make sure you do, in fact, interrupt whatever he is watching to tell him something, he won’t pay attention and whatever you need will most certainly not be done.

4. Cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids are things men can actually do as well as women

Again, I chose the exact same topic here to address modern women and their boundless talent to manipulate stupid men (and by definition all men).   Essentially, it is absolutely true that men can do these things…and in fact should do these things.   What isn’t addressed here is the ability of the women to be able to convince the man that they should do these things without expecting you to do it in return.   This can be via a series of headaches, “womens problems” and a clever use of all points collected in point #1.   If performed correctly, your saying “Darling, let’s get Chinese tonight” from time to time, could ensure that he cooks, cleans and spends almost all of his spare time with the kids…and thanking you for it.

5. Ensure that beer and snacks are available at all times (Keep backup supplies of quality chocolate in the house for her to raid)

This is vital.   Especially when related to point 4, these snacks can be a vital distraction from having to cook.   They will also guarantee that he will be in the mood for watching sports, a show or film on TV, thereby ensuring that you can go out without even needing to ask if he is willing to watch the kids whilst you do so.

6. Buying shaving equipement and toiletries is an absolute necessity (Buying tampons and other feminine products shouldn’t embarrass you –everyone knows they’re not for you)

Let’s face it, men remain pretty much childlike and reliant on the women in their lives.   Unless you want a very smelly and unshaven partner, you will do this.   Remember though, it is not enough to simply buy the products…oh no, you must then nag, cajole, prod and push him into actually using them.   Under no circumstances get anything with flowers on the packaging as he will rebel and refuse to use them.   Make sure you buy manly sounding products such as Axe (Lynx) and Brut…anything by Jean Paul Gaultier should only be purchased for him if you allow him to set it on fire.

7. Men like to be left alone…and gifts   (Women like compliments and gifts)

Nuff said really.   Try and get gifts that are in the rough area of interest though.   Don’t buy a Football for a Rugby fan…that’s all I am saying.

8. The BBQ is for him (Earning less than her shouldn’t be emasculating)

Earning less than her shouldn’t be emasculating…it isn’t.   Men may seem to be competitive souls, but trust me on this…if you can earn more than him, he is happy…and probably contemplating how he can stay at home whilst you go out to work.   BBQs, however, are another story altogether.   There was an article recently, where a woman had decided to start the BBQ and cook before her partner got home…after the divorce he was at a clinic and can now be found working as a part time masseuse called Kylie.   The BBQ is for him…learn it, live it, love it.

9. Get there sometime within an hour of scheduled arrival (Be on time, even if she usually isn’t)

I know that this is expected…you think that you should be stylishly late…no, this is the excuse used when women are late to meet other women.   When meeting your partner you need to make sure you are late for a variety of reasons…and none of them are anything to do with you.   A man waiting for a women, where he can almost guarantee lateness, is afforded the opportunity to get certain things out of his sytem.   Flatulence for one, the chance to forget the punchline to the terrible joke that person X from the office told him, some time to check the football scores and basically the chance to remember that he is meeting you…not one of the lads.   That said, any more than an hour and he is likely to forget why he is there and wander off, like some sort of forlorn lost puppy.

10. Unless necessary, don’t take him shopping (Don’t be a pouty puppy when shopping with her)

By necessary I mean if you are shopping for a) Him, b) a computer, c) a car or d) a BBQ.   There is no other purpose (with the possible exception of his credit cards, but you should have already gotten him to provide you one of those).   If you have what is referred to as a “Gay Boyfriend” (not to be confused with a gay friend)   and he is able to adequately recommend clothing that looks good on you, feel free to push, prod, pout and cajole until he agrees.

11. Find out what his favourite team is (Find out what her favorite flower is)

I am not just talking about the name here, you have to know at least 3 players, their various team colours (home and away etc) and how the scoring system works.   Under no circumstances should you be asking “Which one is your team?” and “Who is winning?”.   This will lead to head shaking and possible loss of control.

12. If you like him, then don’t buy him a computer game; it will be the wrong one (If you like her, then don’t buy her shoes; it’s bad luck)

The obvious exception is if he has told you specifically what version, the shop to go to and preferably the serial number on the back of the case he wants.

13. To a man, smiling and nodding is the same as listening (Smiling and nodding aren’t the same as listening)

Contrary to popular belief, men do listen.   The important thing missing from the “teach our sons” article is that listening is not the same as understanding.   There is no help here for this although some women report that raising the voice about 4 octaves and about 20 decibels has had some effect in certain cases.   The most important thing to remember is that you don’t actually need him to listen and understand…you just need a sonic reflection device.   If your man is out, a large sheet of cardboard will give you the same sensation.

14. It’s never OK to cry in front of him (It’s OK to cry in front of her, but keep the blubbering to a minimum)

As said in point 13, he wouldn’t understand anyway.   Also, crying onto his shoulder and unburdening yourself is simply a way of reminding him that he is necessary to your daily life.   If he begins to realise this, you can kiss goodbye to the credit card, compliments and gifts that you have managed to secure on a daily basis.

15. Knowledge of sport and/or computers goes a long way (Personality goes a long way)

Men aren’t really interested in looks, they claim to be but they aren’t.   Sure, if they can get the looks too, they are happy.   What they want is someone that won’t start yawning the second they begin excitedly discussing that penalty decision from the TV or the shot they made in Game X.   Personality suggests conversation, men don’t want conversation where possible.

16. He will never be as important as your Dad (At some point she’ll be more important than your mother)

Your Dad will never approve of this man, or any man.   In the event of any kind of argument or emotional turmoil created either by him or both of you, your father is where you will turn.   He is allowed to criticise your choice of partner…Your man, on the other hand, understands this and is simply using it a learning experience until he is in the position of Father and will then be able to exact his revenge for years of abuse.   The first recorded incident of a woman not feeling her father to be more important than her partner was Deirdre the Dodo….and we all know what happened there…

17. There is nothing to understand about men (You will never completely understand women)

It’s true, by and large they are simple creatures with simple needs that are very easily controlled.   They spend their whole lives trying desperately to understand you, they have no time to become complicated enough for you to worry about understanding them.   If they are sad…beer and/or sex.   If they are happy beer and/or sex.   If they are indifferent…beer and/or sex.   Are you detecting a theme here?

18. Oh yeah, and no woman will ever be good enough for my baby!

There is one peril though, and that is “The Mother”.   You must remember, “The Mother” was a daughter once, and has been well schooled in these instructions.   They will be able to predict your moves and, will probably accept them…unless she was not blessed with a daughter of her own.   In these cases, the mother may be overly protective of the son and you have to tread carefully.   In these situations, be the daughter she never had….just be subtle about it and you will be ok.

Oh, and for the record…I am not saying that these are my personal beliefs….they are, however, my personal belief as to what women learn as they are growing up.. important difference.

Grin

The Birthday Post That Never Was

Sulk
Photo by Mr Jaded
Now, I haven’t written anything in quite some time (as has been repeatedly pointed out to me) and a lot of you may be forgiven for thinking that it is sheer laziness on my part.   Under normal circumstances, you would be right…and frankly, up until quite recently, I believed this myself.

Then I discovered old age, something that I had recently been blissfully unaware of.   Now, I am not trying to say that 36 is enough to qualify for a bus pass and the right to shout at kids that aren’t yours, along with a tendency to tell stories that noone wants to hear or, even worse, have already heard before….ah shit!

You would think that I would be used to it by now, time marches steadily on and in some ways I was given advanced warning, a “preview” if you will of what it will be like for me.   I started going bald many years ago, so long ago that I forget.   Which reminds me, I have had a pretty crappy memory my whole life.   Additionally, due to repetitively eating ill advised things (such as fists), I have a number of missing teeth.

Oh, and before you ladies get all excited by my description of myself…I am already taken….sorry.

With this in mind, you would think that I would be positively welcoming old age, so I would at least have an excuse for some (if not all) of these failings.   If you do, in fact, think that…you would be wrong….very very wrong.

My 36th birthday passed with a little whimper..which was exactly how I wanted it…although it was also the leaving party for the inimitable MK and KH, and my name was put on the board at the Anglo…which was nice and got me many free drinks Grin

I don’t feel 36…not that I know how 36 should feel…I still love messing around on my computer and playing the odd game…I love a few beers and a laugh and can’t resist watching Spongebob with the kids (part of me always sulks when they want to turn it over).   Is that 36?   Probably not.   I have a bad ankle, a bad back (occasionally), very little hair and too much belly…does that sound 36?   More like 50…as a certain CW keeps telling me.   Oh, and I seem to have early onset senility…now now, don’t get jealous.   If you eat all your greens and work hard at school…you can grow up just like me.

I have to say though, CW made me a fantastic birthday cake and then decided that it would be amazingly funny to actually put 36 candles on there…I genuinely thought that the bloody kitchen was on fire.   The cats thought it was bonfire night and legged it under the bed to wait out the inevitable explosion of fireworks.   Then we legged it to the bar to see in my birthday properly with SCK and a beer.   I got my flight to see Zak and Brandon paid for and a digital photo frame, which means you can actually walk around my flat without falling into photo frames now.   On top of that, the amazing friends I have chipped in with cash to allow me to spend it all on on the boys.   I even got a new router…pretty impressive birthday now that I come to think of it.

On a side note, and this could well be construed as me getting old…I feel I need to mention Facebook again.   In the past I have been guilty of using it too much and putting all sorts of asinine garbage on my status etc…but does the world really need to know that your boyfriend is amazing in bed?   I mean, are you pimping him out and want to up the possible price.   What happened to “So?   How is he?” being responded to with a knowing grin and a twinkle in your eye?   Do I need to be told that he can’t move because you tired him out?   No…I frickin’ don’t.   I am pleased for you, although you are forgetting the serious damage that you are doing to the battery industry…and now your neighbours can’t sleep because you have moved from that repetitive, sleep inducing, buzzing to screams of “Yes, yes yes”…answer the frickin’ question properly.

Oh, and stop telling unfunny jokes.

Hmm 36 and already sounding like Victor Meldrew…

I don’t belIEVE it!

Back once again…

Just recieved another Facebook group invitation…for the renegade master (apologies for the terrible 80’s song reference).

Ok, ok, it’s been a while…I know this, you know this…and yet I write it anyway.

So what has been happening in the land of the Laughing Wolf?   Well..I am officially now bumming around Frankfurt as I am out of work.   It’s not as bad as I thought it might be at first and it is giving me a chance to recharge and more importantly….reflect.

I am giving serious consideration to an out and out break from IT…provided I can support myself and my kids.   I have been under unbelievable stress for the last two years, and am not entirely sure that I want that for myself anymore.   The only problem is living in Germany..once they get your CV at the unemployment place, they pretty much will only consider you for positions that you are skilled for.   Not too much of a problem in normal circumstances and certainly better than being sent to apply for a job as an underwater basket weaver or something when you are in the UK.

Admittedly, I am now being forced into some serious belt tightening exercises..something I have always allowed my ample girth to stop me from doing up until now Wink

Now onto rant mode….Facebook.

At what point do we think that you can update too much?   Could it be when you feel the need to wish Happy Birthday to your 2 year old.   Not announcing that it is the birthday of your 2 year old, I can kind of understand that…especially if you are horrendously busy trying to prepare a party etc…but actually wishing Happy Birthday to him.   I mean, does he have an active Facebook profile?   If he does then you are raising one ignorant super-genius kid…they didn’t even say thanks.

That said, you did manage to achieve a relatively high number of “Dickhead likes this” thumbs ups though…way to go!   Are we really saying that these people like the fact that your child has managed to get to the age of 2?   Do they doubt your parenting so much that they feel they should celebrate when anything you have to rear   lasts more than 2 weeks….sure you can’t seem to even keep a cactus alive more than 5 minutes and your back garden is what Steven King based Pet Sematary on, but still….feed them, change them, play with them, make sure they go to school (eventually…especially if you don’t want to end up in jail) and you can’t go wrong really..

It gets right on my tits….people will facebook or twitter every time they or some snot nosed relative manages to wipe their own arse unaided, like it’s a bloody masters graduation ceremony or something.

It’s almost as bad as joining a group, where the criteria for doing so seems to lie entirely with making sure that the group is exactly the sort of group that people on your friends list think you should be joining.   We will ignore the fact that 99% of these groups have absolutely zero affiliation outside of Facebook itself, so they are all just pat yourself on the back self-sanctimonious coffee house smoke filled crap.   You would be aswell to forward on those fucking chain emails that insist that Microsoft will donate ?2,000,000 to the Society for Anaemic Grasshopper-Legged Lesser Spotted Wombat Conjuctivitis Research Center in Botswana, for every message forwarded.

Yeah, let’s make a group to protect the <INSERT PERSON AND/OR GROUP> of <INSERT LOCATION> from <INSERT TRAVESTY HERE> because a group of lifeless, friendless tossers who have stopped leaving the house for anything less than mini kievs can succeed where the police and/or government fucking couldn’t…you care..we get it…we do honestly.

If you do follow this notion and decide that joining these groups is really your thing….please don’t expect me to join, or even be grateful for, the 20 or so a day that you spam me with.   It doesn’t make me care less…it really doesn’t.   Let’s be honest, if I have managed to spurn the advances of the combined might of Viagra/Cialis and any number of tempting weightloss and penis enlargement patches…you can imagine how little chance groups, with titles and descriptions WRITTEN ENTIRELY IN CAPS or with teribal missspelingz everwere, stand.

Hmm that felt good….maybe I should get back into this blogging malarky properly

This rant brought to you by an LW idea Smile   Cheers matey, I look forward to destroying Frankfurt with you in a few weeks

Film LaughingWolf 09

Watchmen

Ok, so this isn’t going to be a real review…I am not honestly sure that I have one within me anyway.   That said, I went to watch “Watchmen” the other day with CW and frankly I was underwhelmed.

Firstly, it felt like about 4 films rolled into one with very little flow..very disjointed.   Secondly, it was fast approaching an hour too long.   Thirdly, it wasn’t anywhere near as dark as the comics and finally, if you are a being made entirely of energy (or whatever…and I am speaking to Mr Manhattan here for the uninitiated)….you would give yourself a decent sized schlong surely.   You would possibly even consider being Super Schlong, with the super power of “Sperm Tsunami(tm)”, none of this teleporting and scattering everyones newspapers around nonsense.   Ok, so he could grow himself to 200 feet tall, but that has limited benefits in a sexual situation….and let’s face it, most people want superpowers for just that reason.   I did like his ability to clone himself though, it would certainly stop all that “trying to find someone suitable for a threesome” rubbish too…although if he could clone her, that would be especially useful…

That said, some of the action scenes were really good…the trouble was that they were over in seconds and there were not enough of them…and they were generally cut with stylised nonsense that distracted from the action going on.   I can honestly say that I felt like leaving on no less than 6 occasions during the film and that has only ever happened to me once before.

As I said before, I almost walked out in the middle of Event Horizon, a piece of AliensWannabe nonsense that only kept me in the cinema because it was raining outside and I had a ticket to another film immediately afterwards.   I can pretty much sit through any shite, even if I don’t particularly enjoy the film.   Don’t get me wrong, I will try anything to avoid chick flicks and anything with Pauly Shore, but if cornered and the goggle box goes on…I will sit through it until it is over.   At home I have only ever turned off 2 films… Natural Born Killers and Signs.   Never in my life have I seen a more pointless film than Natural Born Killers…and I watched Rony and Michelles High School Reunion FFS.   The least said about Signs the better…I wanted to put some silver foil on my own head and hide from “Them”..you know the “Them” that chose to release this insufferable piece of shit.

So with all that in mind, I think I will head out and see “The Pink Panther 2” or “Confessions of a Shopoholic”…I should be safe with those at least Smile

Seen any disappointing films recently?

Big trouble in little Bielefeld

Bielefeld by night....apparentlyThere is a conspiracy in Germany that Bielefeld does not exist.   There are even Wikipedia entries about it.   So, for any Germans reading this, it may surprise you to know that I have actually been there, eaten food and drank various soft beverages there and in fact was arrested in that veritable Bermuda Triangle of Germany.

First, the conspiracy:

Apparently it started off as a Usenet joke which took on its own life.   Made much worse some years later when Google Maps misaligned their satellite hybrid view, so that the street overview was placed on a blank forest area.   Apparently the council of Bielefeld even went so far as to create an advertising campain with the slogan “Bielefeld gibt es doch!” (Bielefeld does exist!” and they still recieve calls and emails that doubt the very existence of the City.

There are 3 questions that you need to ask yourself:

Do you know anybody from Bielefeld?
Have you ever been to Bielefeld?
Do you know anyone that has ever been to Bielefeld?

If you answer yes to any of the questions, you are part of the conspiracy…

Based on this, it is my belief that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is based there and not, as people were led to believe, in Kansas.

My personal memories of Bielefeld as a city are somewhat cloudy.   I get glimpses of the place in sort of random 4 second snapshots…Almost as if my memory was wiped in an alien abduction/probe kind of way.

That said, I do clearly remember being there with around 5 other guys, at about 8 in the morning on a Sunday.   I don’t actually know why though, seeing as there a no shops open on a Sunday.   I quite like that, even though I am not religious, you get Sundays as a proper day of rest…unless you work in a Bakery.

Or a restaurant.   Or a bar.   Or cafe.   Of course the Kiosks are open obviously.   Other than that nothing is open.   Oh, mustn’t forget the people that operate public transport.   So other than bakeries, restaurants, cafes, bars, kiosks and public transport…everything is.. wait, swimming pools.   And fitness centers.   Almost forgot cinemas…oh and the souveneir shops.   As you can see, they feel really strongly about making sure that the Germans get their day of rest…you can even get in trouble for washing your car!

Anyway, back to Bielefeld…so myself and 5 others were wandering through Bielefeld playing Def Leppard at a reasonable volume (if we were deaf) when the police arrived and asked us very politely to turn it down arrested us.   It might have been OK if we had simply turned it down when they turned up and spoke to them, instead of scattering like cockroaches when you turn the light on.   Apparently, the police don’t like getting exercise that early in the morning…especially before they have had their morning doughnuts and coffee.

It took them around 20 minutes to round us up.   We were slowed down considerably by not knowing where the hell we were running to..although let’s face it, where we were running from was more important at the time.   We, of course, played the dumb English card to try and get away with it…the 2 German lads that were with us did this too, albeit somewhat less convincingly.   Unfortunately English is a little more widely spoken than we gave credit for and we were well in the shite.   Well…as in the shite as 6 kids can be when facing a noise pollution charge…it’s not like we robbed a bank or anything.   I am pretty sure they were just trying to shock us.   The problem was that we were cocky little bleeders…at least I was.   I may have even tried to tell them we had diplomatic immunity *cough*

Still…we got away with it and our parents were none the wiser.

Actually, speaking of the German lads trying to pretend they were English..   A loooong time ago, I was heading to visit my folks in my battered Morris Marina when I remembered that I needed to get some cash out of the bank.   I left work early and headed into Newark to do just this.

I was in holiday mode and not really concentrating too much…so much so that I just followed the traffic into the Market Square.   I pulled up outside the bank and nipped inside.   I left the keys in the car as it was impossible to start without knowing how.   I got to the cashiers desk and was waiting for my money when I heard the distinctive sound of my car trying to start.   A quick glance out of the door and I suddenly notice the world.   A world in which the Market Square is full of Market traders…on Market day no less.   I had followed market traders onto the market square and had parked in just the right position to stop any of them moving their vans around to pack up and leave.

Thinking quickly, I whip off my work ID badge, pickup my money, put on my sunglasses and head outside.   It is fair to say that the guy trying to start my car, along with his 10 friends…were not happy.   He immediately starts swearing at me to move my “fucking car”.   Panicked, I put on my stereotypical German accent and pretend to speak broken English.   I am left with the image of my getting into the car, starting it up and then being guided whilst reversing by a load of market traders talking loudly and in very simple English words.   Trying to explain where to head and making sure everyone was out of my way…   I got my karmic retribution though, a 3 hour journey took 9 hours thanks to an accident on the motorway…

Accents are fun…and can get you out of the odd sticky situation I guess…just try and using them for good

Bargains, Bargains, Much Geekness

protect your pocketOk, so I recently told of how I have been recently referred to as an emotional geek.

I can live with that, I don’t really have much of a choice. That said, even though I embrace my inner geek, I have always maintained that I am not a sterotypical geek.

The problem with that statement was brought to light when I looked around the office the other day…and realised that none of the lads I work with (except one or two) are what you would refer to as a sterotypical geek.

By definition, that makes us all stereotypical geeks, albeit new and improved, or something.

Gone are the days of open toed Jesus Creepers with grey socks, glasses, a beard and pocket protectors lined with pens. Instead, todays modern geek is generally social, likes sports, drinking and women (pick your own order).   Also, as I have 4 children..I can say with absolute certainty, that I have had sex at least 4 times in my life…fuck you original geeks, fuck you in your taped up glasses, bad acne and too short trouser legs.

It’s a little like “Alternative comedy” (a phrase coined in the 90’s I think), it started off as alternative when it was unusual and new..now almost every comedian is an alternative comic, which by definition makes them standard comics I suppose.   These days Little and Large would be considered alternative… Oh god, I hope they don’t try and make a come back…they really should just stick to advertising double glazing.

The thing is, it is pretty good to be a “New” Geek these days.   The fact that almost everyone has a computer of some description and the internet connected means that we are in demand…I have had many a night out pretty much paid for through the favours network generated by geekdom.   Although you do have to be careful, CW and I were watching a show on Sunday and I made a throwaway reference to Star Trek, which prompted a look, that I can’t accurately describe, from CW…followed by “Oh god, you’re not a trekkie are you?   Battlestar Galactica is one thing, but Star Trek!”

Fortunately for me the whole Star Trek thing passed me by.   Don’t get me wrong, I have watched some episodes in a “It’s on but I can’t be arsed to get up and reach to the coffee table to turn over” kind of way.   I will even admit to liking some of what I saw, but I could never get into it.

The new Battlestar Galactica is genius though (I say new, it has been running for 5 years).   When you watch it, half the time you can forget that it is set in space..it is a deeply dark drama.   Sure, they are playing the spiritual/Gods card a little too much for my liking, but the acting is superb and it kind of draws you in.   I am a fan, but not a fanboy.   That said, I think that the vitriol laid against it by Dirk “Face from the A-Team” Benedict is possibly a little too much.   He goes so far as to say that this “Re-imagining” is actually an “Un-imagining”.   I kind of think he has missed the point a little bit.   The original show was an enjoyable family Sunday evening show in the Buck Rodgers style…harmless basically.   The new version has turned it into a serious drama set that explores humanity with compelling writing.   He rails against allowing the “Enemy” to be able to justify their actions.   Surely that was missing from the original.   Based on the original show, the “Enemy” were mindless robots who just didn’t like humans.   Giving them their own sense of justification makes the war make sense in a certain way.   It allows the viewer to empathise if they want to….Arse.

Ah yes, it’s nice to be able to prove other peoples points sometimes…I stopped typing above as I realised that I was being particularly geeky there, and possibly fanboy’esque.

Talking of TV shows, it was recommended to me by JD and a couple of others after her that, I should watch Leverage.   So I did…what a great show.   It reminds me of the Oceans series of films, but episodic.   Great show, can’t recommend it enough.

Umm, back to my Geekness or lackthereof….I can’t really deny it I suppose, but think of me as Geek+ or Geek 2.0…I maintain compatibility with the old Geeks, but add new options and features.   I don’t have an adenoid problem a la Morris from the IT Crowd.   I don’t believe that Star Wars and Star Trek are insightful glimpses into our future.   I do recognise the importance of technology…particularly to me, but don’t believe that it is the be all and end all.   I do eat some crap sometimes, but I don’t survive on whatever the German equivelant to Mountain Dew and Cheetos would be.

That all said, watching someone double click a link on a webpage makes a little piece of me die…

So there it is, I am Geeky McGeek of the Clan Geek…and frak it*, why not.

* May or may not be copyrighted by the creators of BSG…

PS:   I probably should apologise for this post, I am feeling particularly discombobulated this morning, and possibly frasmotic…