Thursday, 25 August 2011


Whenever I try to ring anyone on my mobile, I find myself having to dangle by my feet out of the fucking window in order to get a signal. Either that, or go outside so the GoldenEye satellite can get a fix on me and triangulate my Nokia. And that, my friends, is because the mobile phone network in this country is utter dogshit. You may recall that a few weeks ago I was spunking all over my new 'non O2' network Giffgaff, and waxing about how good it was. And to be honest, my opinion hasn't changed. It's outstanding value for money. The only downside is that it still runs on the O2 network...a network that, in all honesty, is about as reliable as an Alfa Romeo without an engine. So, you can imagine my interest when the BBC released a network map of the UK that details the coverage of the 3G signal.

Where I currently reside (and in the vast majority of rural locales I find myself in), you can count yourself lucky if you can get two bars of 2G signal, let alone 3G so all these people with smart phones and other devices that rely on a high-capacity data connection in order to function - forget it. And yet the major networks are all getting giddy about the impending 4G standard that should start rolling out in the next few years.

Now, I'm by no means a telecommunications expert, but here's an idea O2, T Mobile, Vodafone and the rest of you cunts: how about sorting out the 3G coverage before you start looking at moving to 4G? Just an idea. Oh, and while you're at it, how about extending it beyond the boundaries of London? How fucking brazen can you get: I was listening to Talksport the other day - a national radio station - and I heard an advert for Vodafone that was boasting about how good their signal was in London. London! Fucking great! What about the rest of the country you douchebags?! I realise that a lot of people who reside in our nation's capital are probably oblivious to the fact, but there are other places that exist outside of the boundary of London y'know. Sheesh.

But I'm digressing. The crux of what I'm bitching about is this: what's the point of trying to improve the data capacity of the mobile network in this country if the current one is still a pile of festering arse? Surely it'd be cheaper and more useful to improve the 3G coverage as more people currently own compatible handsets. The mind, my friends, boggles.

Other news: Steve Jobs has finally stepped down as the head honcho at the world's most pretentious company. Thinking of sending him a farewell card with a note asking for the reimbursement of the money I wasted on multimple iPods over the years before I realised they were SHIT and stopped buying them. As I've mentioned here in thepast, I've cracked my way through several iPods in my time simply because they stop working for various reasons. Batteries stop holding a charge, chargers break, buttons stop working...I could go on. Anyway, on the subject of mp3 players, my last one (a Phillips GoGear Vibe) died earlier this week and so I needed a replacement to use while running. I headed to Tesco and found this thing for a mere £9.50:

Yes, it looks like something Miley Cyrus might shit out, but I'm quite impressed with it. It's a Samsung Tictoc, and it's clearly aimed at teenage girls, but I'm open-minded. And tight as fuck too, so the £9.50 price-tag was a deal-breaker for me. It's quite an odd contraption - there's only one button but it takes on multiple functions depending on how you orientate the device. Press the button while it's facing upwards and it increases the volume, press it while it's facing the floor and the volume decreases. Press the button while holding the thing horizontally and it skips tracks etc etc etc. It's a bit like a Wii, but in mp3 form. Without a shit-load of rubbish games. Or the layer of dust as it sits under the TV unused since the last strained dinner party with your wife's work friends. Or the stench of the death of Nintendo as a proper games company wafting through the room.

I'm digressing again. So I'll stop.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fun with Dorset Naga

Remember how I went to that chilli festival a few weeks back? Well, here's a video of me stupidly sampling one of the Dorset Nagas I bought there. At work. Not recommended:

The moral of the story is this: Do not eat a Dorset Naga. Especially when it's bright red and emits a low humming sound.

Incidentally, after the events shown in the vid I found myself experiencing severe nausea and stomach pain, so wound up back in the toilets chucking up my guts to get rid of the remnants of the chilli that I must've swallowed. I never thought that a chilli could deliver such a powerful kick, but I've been proven wrong in spectacular fashion.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Chillax. Do You See?

There's a couple of things I want to talk about today. Or should that be 'blog' about? I don't really like using that word, even though this is essentially a 'blog,' simply because it sounds so disgustingly middle class. Its the kind of word an angsty teenager uses when they're ranting online about how misunderstood they are and how much they hate their parents. Whilst sat in a bedroom housed in the west wing of a small mansion, typing on brand new Macbook Air that daddy bought them a month ago to apologise for not coming to their sixth-form production of Romeo & Juliet (with a modern emo twist). What hypothetical spoilt little cunts these teenagers are, eh? Gah.

So. Item the first: Pepsi Max. I love Pepsi Max. It is, without a doubt, my fizzy beverage of choice. I don't drink normal Pepsi (or Coke for that matter) simply because it contains the equivalent of 24 bags of sugar per 100ml (or something similar), and I know that Pepsi Max is probably no better for the human soul...but it's sugar free. And that's why I choose it over normal Pepsi. Now, the reason I bring up Pepsi Max is this: why is it so fucking hard to find it in 330ml cans?! You can buy it in most newsagents and corner shops in those massive 600ml bottles that recently appeared, but what if you don't want that much? And what if you prefer it from a can because it always seems colder and fizzier from a can? I walked around town the other day searching high and low for a shop that sold Pepsi Max in a can, but could I find one? Could I bollocks. Every shop had Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero in cans AND bottles (and some even had that pointless creation Diet Caffeine Free Coke, the cola equivalent of a nicotine-free cigarette), but not a single one stocked cans of Pepsi Max. Why is this? Is Coca Cola secretly paying Britain's corner shop owners a fee not to stock it's rival's drinks? After visiting five different corner shops (and a supermarket) and still drawing a blank, I'm inclined to question whether there is some kind of Coca Cola-powered conspiracy afoot. Just like when they ordered the assassination of JFK. To that end, I'm currently in the process of writing to Pepsi Co. to ask whether they're aware of the horrifying situation faced by Pepsi Max loving can-fans. More on this subject to follow.

Item the two: I attended the Great Dorset Chilli Festival over the weekend. It was more like a big market than a festival to be honest, but it was still quite good. As the name suggests, it was devoted to our friend the chilli. The vast majority of the stalls there were being run by local chilli farmers and they all had free samples available to punters who were brave/stupid enough to try their wares. The first thing I and my girlfriend did was head to the 'tasting' tent where we were presented with a vast array of chilli sauces ranging from 'mild' to 'hot,' and encouraged to taste them all and vote for the most flavoursome. The term 'flavoursome' stopped having any meaning after I got halfway through the 'medium' selection of sauces though, as they all tasted like fire and I couldn't tell what I was eating due to the tears blurring my vision. To my credit, I did make it around the whole lot and by the end of the ordeal my tongue felt as if it had taken the full brunt of the Tunguska blast; but it felt strangely satisfying to have tested them all - even the stuff that looked like a grizzly bear had devoured Satan's spice rack and then taken a shit in a bowl. Attempting to douse the inferno ripping it's way toward my sphincter with a pint of chilli & ginger-flavoured real ale probably wasn't the most intelligent thing I could have done at that point, but I forged on regardless.

As you would expect, I also made a few purchases. The first thing was a little jar of 'chocolate chilli curd,' which for all intents and purposes is Nutella with a few bits of chilli in it. Actually a lot tastier than it sounds, especially on hot toast. The second thing I bought was a little bag of Dorset Naga chillies. For those who don't know, the Dorset Naga is consistently rated as the world's hottest chilli. I haven't actually tasted one yet, but there's still time before they shrivel up like tiny green penises and die. The last thing I bought was what I like to call The Motherload. Its a bottle of hot chilli sauce the likes of which I have never come across in all my days of loving hot food. It's called '10 Minute Burn' (see picture below) and features the tag line 'Another bottle of pure pain.' The most accurate description of a foodstuff yet? Possibly. This stuff is horrifyingly spicy - three drops in the curry I made last night was enough to almost send the whole lot in the bin, even though it clearly states on the label 'do not ingest directly - use only in cooking.' Cooking what, exactly? A fucking isotope pie? So yeah - it's hot. Stupifyingly hot. I can't think of any more stupid metaphors to describe how hot it is, so just take my word for it.

Note the skulls. They are relevant in this case.

And now that you've read all that, have another look at this post's title. Do you see? Eh?! Chilli. Pepsi Max.

I'll get my coat.

Friday, 12 August 2011


Did another half marathon last Sunday. It was the Sturminster Newton half marathon, more affectionatley known as the 'Stur Half,' and I must say that it was a really good event. My previous half marathon was the Plymouth one, and whilst the Stur Half was on a much, much smaller scale it was every bit as well organised. In case you give a toss, I finished in 50th place, which I don't think is too bad considering over 400 runners took part and I started quite a way back from the starting line. I'm not sure how the organisers got their timings, as the Stur Half didn't employ a chip timing system like Plymouth did, but I'm happy with my 01:31:09. Slightly dissapointed that they didn't award medals to all finishers, but I suppose that as it was only a small, locally run event I shouldn't complain too much (and I did get a free cake and t-shirt on completion).

The next race in my less-that-hectic schedule is the Bristol half marathon in September and I'm also considering the New Forest one later in the same month, but the only thing that concerns me about that one is that you aren't allowed to wear headphones/listen to music as you run. This is a bit of a problem for me, as music blasting through my lug holes is one of the only things that motivates me when I run. Have you ever tried running or jogging without music? It can only be described as horrendous - the only sound the desperate rasping of your own laboured breathing broken by the occasional clearing of the makes a pretty unpleasent activity even more unbearable. To that end, I'm not sure if I'm going to enter the New Forest one. I suspect I'm not the only person who will give it a miss either as several people I've asked about doing the event have also complained about the same ban on aural entertainment. Maybe I'll look at some other, less stringently managed races instead.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London's Burning

What the fuck is going on in the capital? I've been watching the news for the past couple of days and all I'm seeing are reports about groups of feral youth smashing up branches of Debenhams. It's like a scene from that Clive Owen film Children of Men. Which is actually a pretty good movie, incidentally. It doesn't feature ferral youths smashing up Debenhams, but it does paint a picture of near-future London where people are out of control and the police are prety much powerless to stop acts of random violence. I'm drawing comparisons here, people.

I've also seen a few TV interviews with Theresa May, the Home Secretary. What fucking planet does this woman live on? The scumbags running amok on the streets of London clearly don't have a modicum of respect for the police, so how she expects 'robust policing' to stop them from smashing up Debenhams is a mystery to me. The only example of 'robust policing' that has been evident thus far has been a copper with a megaphone telling feral youths to stop smashing up Debenhams from the relative safety of an armoured car. Whilst other policemen, clad in armour and carrying shields, watched from across the road. Very robust policing, that.

Furthermore, what has Debenhams ever done to deserve being smashed up? Fair enough, some of their Jasper Conran t-shirts are a bit expensive, but does that warrant having the perfume counter demolished by a Nike Air-clad foot?

The whole rioting/burning/looting business appears to have stemmed from the killing of a young black teenager by Met officers a few days ago, and I'm not well informed enough to comment on that incident, but how this event leads to the setting alight of a carpet shop, the destruction of an Italian restaurant and the continued smashing up of Debenhams, I don't know. People keep saying "send in the army!," but what good will that do? Instead of police offers just standing there and being powerless to do anything because of the ridiculous laws of this fair land, we'll have soldiers in there doing the same.

Can you imagine if this kind of shit happenned in America? or Turkey? or anywhere where you give the police a wide berth because if you don't they'll smash your face in? Or shoot you? Quite. Anyway, David Cameron's cut his holiday short to come back and sort shit out. Kind of smacks of a mum telling her naughty little twat of a kid "you wait till your dad gets home" dunnit? I bet the feral youth smashing up Debenhams are quaking in the aforementioned Nike Airs now that Cameron's back in his pastel shirt and chinos.

Well, there's my two penneth. I'm off to Debenhams for some free stuff.

Monday, 8 August 2011

An Ode to Audi

Time to use your imagination. Picture the scene: you're driving down a country road, windows down, music up. It's a lovely warm day and the sun is high in the deep blue afternoon sky. The subtle scent of cut grass blows through the car as you pass a field, and the rolling hills beyond create a magnificent vista not seen since the Riders of Rohan took to their horses to administer a knuckle sandwich to the baddies in Middle Earth. Quite simply, amazing driving conditions.

That is, until this fucking thing appears in your rear-view:

Right up your arse with those ridiculous little lights on that (to me at least) scream "let me past - I'm a fucking cock and I've got a fast car!"

I despise those little lights that most new Audi cars have. They're something of a mystery to me: are they 'always on,' like the sidelights on old Volvos? And if not, why do Audi drivers feel the need to pierce everyone else's rear-view mirror with the horrible little things? If I'm driving along - and not just in a situation like the one described above - and I see those cunting things appear behind me, I just know that within a few minutes they'll be right up behind me, growling in my mirror and making me feel like I'm driving Miss Daisy, no matter how fast I'm actually going. The other day, I was going at a fair old whack down some sleepy A road, and one of these Audi twats just 'appeared' behind me trying to make me speed up. I'll be honest, I don't think my Proton Impian could travel much faster than I was going, and it'll easily do 100mph, so you can kind of appreciate the speed we were travelling at...yet this absolute CUNT with his stupid little LEDs still wanted to go FASTER! Eventually, the bell-end overtook on a corner (!) and disappeared into the distance (hopefully slamming into a wall a few miles later).

To that end, I have bestowed upon these headlights a new name. One which I hope enters the Oxford English Dictionary along with the abominable 'LOL' and 'WTF.' This name is: Wanker Lanterns.

Wanker Lanterns (noun): The row of LEDs under the main headlights on any new Audi. They always seem to be lit, no matter how bright the sun is on any particular day. They serve no purpose other than to alert other road users to the fact that the driver of the Audi owns an Audi, and that their Audi goes faster than your car. Unless you own a Porsche.

Quick edit: Just reading today's edition of The I newspaper (see previous blog entry) and on page 11 there's a little piece about the rise in cyclist deaths on Britains roads. The story details the death of a cyclist in North London on Saturday, who appears to have hit an open car door before being thrown into the path of a bus. the last paragraph reads (this is absolutely genuine, by the way): 'A post-mortem examination is expected to take place today. The driver of the car, an Audi, was arrested.'

Your honour, the prosecution rests.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


Got to work this morning and someone had bought a newspaper and left it on the side. I picked it up. Inevitably, it was The Sun (inevitably, because most of the morons I work with aren't capable of digesting news written in a style other than that of a Ladybird book). Now, I haven't read The Sun for quite a while because there's now a newspaper published in these fair lands called The I, which is an offshoot of The Independent. It's basically a smaller, condensed version of said broadsheet and is in all honesty one of the best rags I've ever had the pleasure of reading. And it only costs 20p - but that's beside the point. The point is, I read The I. Not The Sun. So, one can only imagine the utter disgust I couldn't help but display when I flicked through the nation's 'favourite' red top this morning. It's fucking full of stories about The X Factor, Rihanna's tits and (honestly) a scan of the sea bed that revealed a shape that vaguely resembled the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. I couldn't actually be bothered to finish reading the fucking thing - so I threw it at the wall and left it there in a sorry heap.

I can't believe that people pay 30 pence to read such festering dogshite. I'm no snob, but after nearly a year of buying The I (and being labelled as 'intelligent' for doing so (it's meant as an insult in the military, by the way)), I'm shocked that this comic can still masquerade as a legitimate newspaper. Atomic Kitten are not news. Amy Winehouse is not news. Joey Barton's Twitter account is not news. I could, rather depressingly, go on giving examples of subjects covered in today's copy of The Sun that shouldn't qualify as news items. But I won't, for fear that I may projectile vomit all over the computer.

I suppose I shouldn't really be suprised that every single person I observe leaving the shop on the base where I live/work has a copy of either The Sun or The Star (spit) folded up under their arm on a morning - the vast majority of them look as if they have only just mastered the ability to walk in a straight line and/or fashion their own name on a slate with a crushed crayon. And if that comment makes me a snob, then so be it.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Take a Gamble on Giffgaff

Mobile phones. We’ve all got one. And as anyone who’s read the past posts on this blog will attest, I’ve had my fair share. They’ve mostly been top notch bits of tech – The O2 XDA was a nice PDA type contraption; The HD2 was an amazing (if slightly large) iPhone alternative; and the Palm Pre was a pretty damn good Blackberry substitute – until it went tits up a few months ago and was sent to the big phone bin in the sky. After being snapped in half in a fit of furious rage. But that, my friends, is a different post.

I’ve got a Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type now, and while it isn’t a smartphone like the other two were, it’s still a really nice handset that has all the features you’d expect from a mobile that should cost well over £200. Stuff like Wi-Fi, 3G, 5 megapixel camera and a touch screen. All things that you wouldn’t usually expect to have on a sub £100 (well, £79.99) phone. But I’m not really here to talk about mobile hardware today. No, what I want to waffle about is freedom. Freedom from O2, to be more specific. I’ve finally done it! I’ve broken away from the monolithic and omnipresent mega corporation that’s been sucking £50+ out of my bank account every month for as long as I can remember. And it feels good. Damn good.

You know when you think you’ve lost you wallet or your keys and have images of the shit-storm that’s coming your way, only to find them again? Where that wave of nausea and sweatiness suddenly gives way to an enlightened sense of euphoria? That’s how good it feels.

Indeed. So, June saw the expiration of my latest hellish 18 month contract and I decided that rather than go for another 24 months of shite with said demonic network, I’d move my number (via use of a PAC code) to an O2 pay as you go sim. All fine and well…until the number porting didn’t go through on the day it was meant to. And so I waited. And waited. And then on the third day after it was meant to happen I rang O2 customer service again to find out what was happening. The idiot on the other end of the phone rudely told me that there was no evidence that any such request had been made on my account (it had – about a week earlier), and so I politely requested again that it be actioned. Typical O2 uselessness rearing its unsightly head like some hideous clockwork scarecrow. Happily, after waiting for another few days, the number went across to my new sim card and I was finally a pay as you go customer. Success! Or so I thought until a week or so later when I stopped being able to receive texts. I rang customer services again, whereupon an operative who displayed unrivalled levels of arrogance and rudeness proceeded to tell me that I may have a bar on my sim card “just because.” That was his actual reason for why I might not be able to receive texts, I shit you not. At that point, I snapped, and told him give me another PAC code. I was put through to yet another imbecile who tried her best to not let me have my PAC code until I virtually screamed at her to give it to me. So she did.

I looked at the other major networks and weighed up their pay as you go tariffs and bonuses, and I was going to go with Orange due to their network coverage (which is apparently pretty good now they’ve teamed up with T Mobile) and the Orange Wednesdays offer, but that was until I discovered a network that excited me greatly. And that network is Giffgaff.

Giffgaff? Who the fuck are Giffgaff? Exactly the question I was asking myself until I discovered the amazing tariffs they offer. They only do pay as you go sim cards, and the top-up options are nothing short of staggering in this age of ubiquitous customer fleecing. Example: I topped up with £5, for which I received 60 cross-network minutes and 300 texts. For a fucking fiver! Even more breathtaking is the way that if anyone rings me from their mobile, I get an extra minute added to my balance for every minute I’m on the phone! If you choose to top up by a larger amount, you get even more free shit like unlimited mobile internet and texts etc. Remarkable stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

So there you go. It is possible to find truly bargainous deals when it comes to mobile networks. I’ve unshackled myself from the burden of the 50-odd quid bill and horrendous customer service of O2, and found a network where customer service is all done via a forum and email and costs virtually nothing to use. The only negative is that Giffgaff kinda runs off the O2 network and was actually set up by some O2 bigwig, but boy am I glad to be free of those cunts.

Moving on to a slightly different subject, you may recall me wanking (not literally) over the prospect of owning a Nintendo 3DS a few months ago. Well, I've finally managed to blag a go on one...and it gave me a monstous headache! It was only one of the display ones in GAME, and the game was Pilotwings or something similar (some cartoon flying game), but it was pretty rubbish to be honest. And the 3D effect was nothing like what I was expecting. When I think about it, I don't actually know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I played the other day. I felt like I was looking at one of those magic eye things where you stare at a blob of spew for an hour and try to make out a load of dinosaurs. Or how everything looks after one too many ciders, where you start to go a bit cross-eyed. It wasn't pleasant.

I realise that you can turn the 3D effect up or down, or even completely off - but surely that defeats the object of owning a 3D-capable system in the first place. So to surmise: after playing Pilotwings for 10 minutes in a shop, I don't think I'll be investing in a 3DS just yet.

Roll on Playstation Vita...?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I Ran So Far Away

Finally worked out how to upload my running totals from my Forerunner watch to the Garmin Connect website this morning. It's pretty cool to be fair. Not only is it much more detailed than the software that you can install on your PC, but it allows you to share the details of your runs and training sessions. Yesterday I completed a fairly epic 22 mile jaunt around the highways and byways of Somerset and here's the little info pane that relates to the run:

I did another run today, but it was only a ten mile one as my legs were fucking killing me from yesterday's little escapade. Here's the info box thingy:

I'm doing a few more half-marathons in the coming months so this gizmo really helps with the training, and being able to embed the workouts on your own blog is a nice touch. Still on the subject of running, I bought some Saucony Jazz 13 running trainers a few weeks back to replace the bargain basement Saucony Prestige I got from M&M Direct. To be honest, the only real difference I can see between them (apart from the price) is that the Jazz are 'Pro Grid' and have a little window in the heel so you can see the cushioning thing, while the Prestige are just plain 'Grid' and have a solid heel with no window. They're both pretty comfortable, as you'd expect from Saucony, but I'm not sure splashing out on another pair was such a good idea when I'm trying to save money for my impending return to the real world (see previous posts on redundancy for clarification). Saying that though, the Jazz are a lovely shade of electric blue whereas the Prestige are boring old white, so I suppose it was money well spent. Not just an investment in fitness, but also an investment in fashion. Like the Scarlett Pimpernel. Or am I getting that reference confused with something else. Meh.

Friday, 17 June 2011

A Retrospective

I’ve been playing Aliens Vs Predator recently. I remember all the fuss when it was about to come out, and then the slightly poor reviews it received, and as I didn’t have an Xbox or PS3 back then, it kinda just passed me by. However, I picked a copy up for about a fiver a few weeks back and I have to say that I’m very impressed with it. As a ma-hussive fan of the sci-fi genre and of the Alien franchise in particular (c’mon, I’ve got a Weyland Yutani jacket), I feel that I am qualified enough to say that it’s the best game set in the Alien universe that I’ve yet to play. And I’ve played a few – including the gash 8 and 16-bit era ones, Alien Trilogy, Alien Resurrection (which I’ve still got for the PS1), and even the previous iterations of the AvP license. And yes, I even had the Jaguar version back in the day. None of them though, match the atmosphere and feel of the dank and gloomy colony like this new AvP does. The sound samples of the weapons and Alien screeches are spot on; and the franticness of the marine missions is perfectly pitched whilst the Alien missions capture the experience of actually being on the other side of the battle. I must, however, admit that I haven’t touched the Predator missions at the time of writing. I’ll get round to them, but I much prefer the other two characters.

I’ve re-read some of the reviews that appeared upon AvP’s release and I can’t help but feel that a lot of them are just a little harsh. The graphics are actually really good and the aforementioned sound effects are straight out of the movies. Sure, the Alien’s controls do get a little confusing in the heat of the moment, but they’re nothing a fully dextrous, sober (cough) human can't handle. Basically, what I’m saying is that if you’re a fan of the Alien films and/or canon, then you have to get hold of a copy of this game as it is the most authentic way to fully immerse yourself in the xenomorph mythos. Fuck the reviews, come get some. Furthermore, on the basis of AvP, I have spectacularly high hopes for Aliens: Colonial Marines, which I believe is out later this year. But don’t quote me. I’m often wrong, and this is no different.

Remaking or rebooting old games seems to be the ‘in’ thing at the moment though, and I have to say that the subject is one that definitely interests this particular gamer. I’ve just been looking at comparison shots of the new Ocarina of Time for the 3DS and the original game on the N64. Saying that the new shots look amazing is an understatement – the level of detail lavished upon familiar and well-trodden low-res haunts is heart-warming, and may even sway me towards actually investing in a 3DS. It looks that good, in my opinion. Another retro-ish game getting the upgrade treatment is Halo. It was the first thing I ever played on the Xbox and it was a truly great game. Having it re-mastered for the current console is a masterstroke. Screaming around that little tropical island on a Warthog blowing the fuck out of Covenenant grunts in full HD glory will be nothing short of orgasmic, you mark my words. Obviously, rebooting an old favourite doesn’t always go well, as we have seen with the recent release of the new Duke Nukem game. So, it’s not technically a reboot as it’s a whole new game, but I see that the reviews have been a little harsh on the Duke. To be fair, a lot of the critics have lambasted the game simply because they view the central character as an archaic womanising asshole rather than because it’s a poor game. Erm, wasn’t the original reason Duke shot to fame because he was an archaic womanising asshole?! If Duke Nukem Forever had been set in a sanitised suburbia and featured a suit-wearing family man in the title role, I’m sure the same hacks would be complaining about the dullness of it all. Pricks.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

(Half) Marathon Man

Took delivery of my latest piece of running-based tech yesterday - a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch. You may recall that I previously owned a Garmin Forerunner 405 (or you may not. In which case – I did.), but had to sell it in order to pay my rent when I lived in that fucking weird house-share last year. Anyway, I got my new Garmin 110 yesterday and went for my first trial run with it (13.6 miles, just in case you wondered), and the verdict is thus: It’s every bit as good as the Forerunner 405, and happily (in my humble opinion) omits the slightly fiddly touch-sensitive bezel and questionable water resistance.

As you may be able to guess from the numbers in the title of the device, the 110 is marketed as a ‘lite’ version of the 405, and as such it boasts fewer features (for one, it doesn’t support wireless data transfer to the PC software suite that collects your activity records), but to be fair I never used the advanced features of the 405 anyway. For me, the important factors of any run are covered: time taken, distance covered and speed. Don’t personally need any more than that to be fair. I’ve not updated this blog for a while (well, prior to last week) so you won’t know (or care) that I’ve been keeping on top of my running and even took part in last month’s Plymouth half marathon. According to the official timing website, I completed the 13 mile course in 1 hour and 31 mins, coming in 200th out of about 6000 runners. Which suits me fine, considering it was my first competitive run/race. I think the actual winner did it in 1 hour 5 mins, so I’m more than happy with my time. I can see why people get so addicted to doing those kind of events though, as even though I’ve done much longer road runs on my own, the sense of achievement when you cross the finish with a large crowd cheering is amazing. As a result, I’m also doing the Bristol half marathon in September and there are a few 10k runs I’m looking at entering between now and then.

On a slightly different note, last night I looked at the records from when I had the Forerunner 405. I only owned the thing for 5 months, but I appear to have run, jogged and staggered a grand total of 741 miles during that period. No wonder I fucked my leg up...

In other news: Wii U. Why? I know I said the same thing about the iPad when it came out, but for fuck sake Nintendo - who exactly is the Wii U meant to be aimed at? They're taking a console that alienated the hardcore Nintendo fans and then complicating it. I don't know about anyone else, but when I saw the promo videos for it, it just looked like too much hard work. What, by the way, is wrong with just having a normal console with a normal joypad that connects to your TV? Pfft. I already know I won't be bothering with the Wii U and it's not even out for another year or so.

Call me a morbid, depressing, nay-saying cunt-hole if you want, but the Wii U just looks like a gimmicky waste of time that'll be fun for a few days and then just end up sat under the telly collecting dust. Like most of the Wiis various mates own.

Right. I'm off for a run. Or a brew. Probably a brew. Knackered.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A Brief Social Commentary

Have a look at this:

It's a snap of a page from the Argos Catalogue mini pamphlet thing that fell out of the paper this morning. Look closely at the picture. Right there at the bottom, below the image of a wallet containing at least 20 quid and a load of credit cards, and below the price tag of £6.49, it says 'contents not included.'

Contents. Not. Included.

Argos obviously felt the need to include this helpful notice. Think about that for a moment. Quite scary, eh?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Assorted Stuff from the Ether

Hello. It’s been ages since I’ve even thought about updating this shit. Mainly because no-one actually reads what I spunk out on here. But I’m a bit bored so I thought I might as well have a go at writing something to see if it makes any sense. To be fair, I’ve actually done quite a lot of interesting stuff since I last put anything on here (and looking down there at my previous entry, my amazing deduction skills tell me it’s been 9 months), so I may start updating again on a more regular basis just to boast about the exciting shit I’ve been up to. Maybe.

But anyway, here we are. I’m still in the employ of the navy, but hopefully not for very much longer. Why? Well, I’ve applied for voluntary redundancy. You may think this is madness in a time of recession, but I think I’ve definitely had my fill of being treated like an imbecile and living in ‘unsuitable’ conditions. I’m not one for being cryptic, so let me explain. When the powers that be in government decided to bin the Harriers and flog the Ark Royal for scrap, they also happened to shut down most of the Fleet Air Arm’s operations at several RAF bases around the country. As such, we had an influx of naval personnel sent back to Naval Air Stations. Where accommodation was already stretched. So the top brass decided that all junior rates should be taken out of single living accommodation and forced to double up – that is, cram two people into a room designed to house one. This might not sound like the end of the world, especially considering the cramped conditions people serving onboard ships have to live in, but when the only place you have to store all your belongings in suddenly has to accommodate the belongs of two people, you can imagine how crowded it gets. So yeah, along with hating my job, I now have to live in a cramped shoebox. With a bloke who snores so loud that the corpses in the graveyard at the back of the base probably have to wear earplugs every night.

To combat this, I have been sleeping on a couch in the mess square (basically a communal TV room), and it was during one such night a few months ago that I decided that I’d had enough of living like this, at nearly 30 years old. Doing a job I fucking hate, sleeping on a couch, living in the middle of nowhere and only getting to see my girlfriend at the weekend and never being able to go home to Manchester because it takes 5 hours to drive back there. So for me, the idea of taking voluntary redundancy has been a bit of a dream come true. People constantly ask “what are you going to do?” and I constantly reply “start living my fucking life again.”

So that’s the main thing going on at the moment – getting away from here, this job, this subservient lifestyle. Meh.

Got my car insurance renewal quote a few weeks ago. For some reason, the same company that last year demanded £550 for third party fire and theft cover wanted £2165 for the next. £2165 to insure the most undesirable car ever built?! To them I said “fuck you kindly,” and went on the hunt for a new insurance company. I eventually managed to get a quote of about £400 and I’m happy with it, but because I went on Compare the Finance Supermarket or whatever the fuck website it was, I’m now getting constant phone calls from dodgy insurance brokers asking me if I want a quote or, more worryingly, if I want to claim the accident I had recently. What fucking accident?! Has somebody stolen my identity and started having accidents? Sounds outlandish, I know, but there are shady fuckers around and they’ll stop at nothing to make a quick buck and bollocks to whoever’s life they screw up. Hypothetical cunts.

Also managed to acquire another Xbox360. Selling my old one cut me deep, but I had to in order to buy food or something. That was last year so since then, the only consoles I’ve been able to play have been my trusty old Dreamcast (respec’) and my crusty old PlayStation. But now I’m back in the game (excuse the piss-poor pun), but not without a bit of annoyance. You see, because I’m a cheapskate, I thought I’d go for a pre-owned Xbox 4GB from GAME. It was £139.99. And then a day later I saw that Argos were selling the exact same machine for about 10 quid more, but brand new. I then, after a few weeks of ownership, discovered that the 4GB hard drive fills up pretty quickly and have had to fork out for a hard drive that slots into the bottom of the console. That was another £30. So all in all, I would probably have been better off just buying a 250GB model in the first place. It’s not all bad though, as I now have a 250GB console, but in the preferred matte black, as opposed to the shiny, smear-prone actual 250GB. I’m confusing the hell out of myself now, so I feel for you, dear reader. The games I have bought thus far are such: Aliens v Predator, Alan Wake, Halo Reach, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Forza 3, Fight Night 3 and WRC and I must say that I am impressed with all of them so far (and looky over there at my gamertag thingy! It's automatically updated itself! The wonders of modern technology, eh?!). Not so much Fight Night, actually, but it was only a fiver so I can’t complain too much.

The last thing I want to announce, proudly, is that I have finally defeated my Facebook addiction. I decided one day a few months ago, to go cold turkey and totally deactivate my account. I thought I'd only be able to last a few days...but here I am, three months later and I don't even miss the cunting thing! So you see, it IS possible to exist without updating the world on when you're having a shit! WIN!

That’s enough from me for now. I’ll probably write some more words next week or something.