Monday, 1 August 2011

Work

Fuck. After a strange turn of events I managed to get a full time job over the summer in the web development section of the company my mum works for.

This was both good and bad

I lost all the time I wanted to use to do everything I detailed in my last posts, and also blog posts. But on the other hand I gain money, and probably quite a bit of it.

Except the first week of the job has been a farce, the manager of the IT department was supposed to organize things such as my pay and contract, but I got a call today off the man who I spoke to weeks ago about working here, and he didn't even know that I'd started, and finally asked for my national insurance number and referenfces. So I'd been working a week and nothing had even been sorted out. Granted today apparently the papers came through to sort out my pay, but if they aren't sorted soon then my pay could be delayed until something like the end of September.

 And on top of all that, for the past week I haven't even been DOING any work, they've given me a few things to do, but essentially I have been left to my own devices, to practice my HTML and Javascript and so on. This gets boring. Especially since I could be doing it at home, yet I have to force myself out of bed at 7AM to do nothing useful for 8 hours. Mum gets annoyed if I say I don't want to work until the end of August, but I honestly don't think it's even worth the money. My health is getting worse for one, because when I get home I'm too tired to exercise properly. It doesn't help that there is a machine that gives out free coffee.

I have a lot of complaints about this place, and I even decided to write a diary of WHY I hate it so much, and about the people working there. It's handwritten in a small notebook which is in my desk at work. I'll start bringing it home and typing some bits out maybe.

When it comes to negotiating a contract, I will be swindling myself less work. I have gone past caring about consequences.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

This week I've been figuring out my exercise regime, I bought some dumbbells to work out with, as I don't have a gym membership, and my old weights fell apart somehow.

Found a few websites which offer great plans with reasonable goals that are pretty good if you don't really know what you're doing, like me. Couch to 5K and hundred pushups are just two of the many options out there. I also found another handy startup guide here.

Starting the hundred pushups regime, coupled with testing out my new weights, has managed to wreck my muscles. Probably my fault for not warming up/down properly, but what the hell. No pain no gain.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Life back on track

As of today my exams are finally over!

Went out on a big one, a three-hour long computing exam. Longest three hours of my life. The exam was pretty easy and there was only like 10 people in the exam hall which was strange. Also the dick behind me kept talking to himself.

Anyhoo with summer on the horizon I can turn my attention to more important things, like looking for a job and getting on with some shit I've been meaning to do like:
  • Learning Java
  • Making my own game
  • Learning guitar
  • Learning how to draw PROPERLY
  • Losing weight
I'll be updating this blog much more often with stuff that unfolds across the summer, probably more reviews, rants and shitty drawings.

Stay tuned!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Technology and the Future

Technology is obviously a massive part of everyone's lives. If we went back say 60 years in time and tried to live like we do now, most people (at least those of my age) would end up curled up in the foetal position in some dark room somewhere waiting for the next leap to be the leap that took them home. Or for Marty McFly to come scoop them up into his weedy arms and ride off into the sunset.

But that isn't going to happen. Nobody is going to go back in time because it's sort of impossible (and if it was invented you wouldn't be able to go back any further than when the time machine was first invented. probably). Embracing change is part of human nature and culture, the only reason we even survived is because we could adapt, and now with advances in technology we don't even have reason to evolve.

Recently there have been developments in digital media, changing things to the extent that physical things like hard drives and even books may become obsolete, and this has become a concern for some people. My cousin Chlo, who recently completed an English course at Manchester University has expressed concern over the fact that books are soon become obsolete, being replaced with things such as Kindles. Her words specifically were "what if your children never got to see a book?" Now the first thing that comes to my mind is; so what? Just because they haven't got physical books doesn't mean they won't have the opportunity to read. If I ever do trick a woman into having children with me, then I will sure as hell make sure they'll have a few books under their belt, but I honestly don't give a fuck over whether they read it from paper or off a screen. And besides, until the world's entire supply of literature has all been translated to a digital format books won't be dying any time soon. People still buy vinyl for a variety of reasons, so books, while maybe becoming less popular, would not completely cease to exist.

I made a post a while ago about a band called Ayreon, headed by Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Arjen has a big concern about becoming too dependant on machines, leading to some next matrix-like future. This shows in his music, especially a recent album, 01011001 which dealt with a race whos technology had progressed so far they had become dependant on it, and had lost all sense of emotion. I think there are a few people who actually are scared of this sort of situation taking place, but if it DOES happen it's going to be a very fucking long time, and I'm pretty sure even the idea of it is unrealistic considering resources and politics.

Anyways my main point is that people should not be scared of technology, they should embrace of it. Instead of avoiding what you don't know about, you should make the effort to learn more and adapt, as humans do. Advances in technology are usually for the better, and the only thing that worries me is companies exploiting it, like Amazon making your digital books "expire" which would be fucking ridiculous.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

To my followers/those who care

More shameless self promotion but I would reeeaaally like people to get following my other blog, most of my effort will probably be going into that one from now on, but I may still post here occasionally. Seems a waste to just leave 100 followers behind.

Link is here.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Politics

In the wake of this disappointing week for the young Liberal Democrat voter, I have decided to exercise my democratic muscles and join a party.

While I voted Lib Dem in the council elections, I don't think I can convince myself that supporting Clegg would be a good idea. I'm not going to change my political views just because of one man's grave errors. He's getting enough shit for it as it is.

So instead of joining a mainstream party that could let me down, I figured why the fuck not and joined something a little more in line with my personal interests.


The Pirate Party UK.
Haters gonna hate.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Dragon Cake

Elexerdelex of the delicious looking and sounding Chocotaster blog asked me to think up an epic chocolate cake. My imagination is running a little dry but I came up with this:


It is a chocolate cake shaped like a dragon sitting on humping a chocolate cake. The cake is infused with a very slight chilli flavour for that fiery dragon taste. Could probably but the dragon together with cleverly coloured frosting.
I might do another cake, I enjoyed this.

New blog - Serions Blog

Me and my good friend Aaron have decided to get cracking on our own little blog. Currently it's in its primordial ooze stage of evolution, but soon it shall be bursting with new forms of life, including video game reviews/news, game development, rants from the both of us and more delicious art (less cacti) from me. It shall be greater than both our current blogs.

Forged in the mighty flames of Hephaestus' volcano, our opinions are steeled and true, your thoughts are welcome, but be warned, as if your opinions oppose our own, swords and minds will clash.

Bear in mind this is a work in progress, soon to be completed and set forth upon the masses.

Saguaro Painting


Goddamnit guys someone tell me something to draw. All I can think of is cactus.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Game Idea

So me and a friend of mine are interested in making a game.
Loads of ideas get thrown around and we never follow them through, but I liked this one so much that I want to blog it for future reference.

The plan is to make a simple platformer with a nice physics engine, where you have to use the momentum of your character to do anything. You'd need a big run up to kill enemies, overcome obstacles and break shit down.
Like you could roll into a ball and roll down a hill to break through a wall or smash an enemy.

As illustrated by this terrible sketch

Levels would get more complicated to solve, making stuff harder to break or enemies harder to kill, and requiring the player to set up stuff like springs or trampolines to swing your momentum through the stage.

Bosses would work like stages where you have to figure out how to use your momentum to get into a position where you can smack his weak point or something.

As illustrated by THIS terrible sketch.

I know the sketches are bad and the ideas are vague but I'd like to know what people think, and also tell me if there's a game already like this so we can avoid being too unoriginal.

Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro cactus has appeared in a lot of films, the guitar is mostly for show.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Welcome to the N.H.K



Hikikomori: A Japanese word for those suffering from acute social anxiety. Here in the west we might just call them shut-ins or agoraphobic, but over in Nippon it's a very serious social issue, with charities and help groups to try and alleviate the problem. These hikikomori also fall into the NEET (Not in Education Employment or Training) category because of their inability to hold a job, and frequently live off social assistance and/or their parents.


So what better way to handle an important social issue than to adapt it into a novel, manga and anime?
Welcome to the NHK is one of my favourite anime, and is indeed a favourite among many anime fans worldwide. This is probably due to relating to the main character a little too well.


Tatsuhiro Satou is a university dropout, living on his own in a tiny apartment. After entering his fourth year of being NEET, he comes to the conclusion that he has become a hikikomori due to a mass-conspiracy by the NHK, who are apparently trying to convert as many people to hikikomori as possible. Eventually Satou meets a young girl named Misaki Nakahara claiming to be from a charity which helps people in his situation. The couple continue to meet at a local park to discuss Satou's life, and their relationship develops. Eventually characters are introduced, including Kaoru Yamazaki, Satou's otaku neighbour.




The series has a particular style of black humour, which reflects upon Japanese culture. This humour blends well with the drama in the narrative, creating a rich, tasteful entertainment smoothie. Even those who are not particularly acquainted with anime may enjoy this, as the characters are down-to-earth and relatable, and the few surreal moments are simple hallucinations or dreams, and nothing close to the stereotypical view of over-the-top anime. 


The animation is pretty sweet, with a lot of detail going into backgrounds, and when you see Satou's or Yamazaki's apartments you can really see their personalities come out, just through use of art. Aside from the main story the series touches on many popular themes, such as gaming, anime, sexuality and even pyramid schemes.


The ending theme is also done by one of my favourite musicians, Ohtsuki Kenji, who's music was also used for the opening themes to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, which I may review in the future. One particular quirk with this anime is the recurring use of the theme song from a fictional "magical girl" anime called Pururu Pururin as a ringtone. This song is first seen in the first episode, where it drives Satou to the brink of insanity. The song has since been used as somewhat of a replacement rickroll between me and a friend.


If I was forced to give it a rating, I'd give Welcome to the NHK 4 and a half square watermelons out of 5. I would recommend watching this with the intended Japanese dialogue, but if you really don't like subtitles then there IS a dub for you to enjoy.

Golden Barrel Cactus

Apparently cacti don't feel pain.

University

It seems every time I look into my future prospects, it seems less necessary to go to university.

I THINK I want to get into the gaming industry, but a lot of jobs just need the skills, and some experience.
What I'm thinking is I'd rather spend 3-4 years developing my current skills in art and programming, and maybe working towards developing my own game with a friend, all the while looking for prospective jobs.

This would save me time, effort and money, and it just seems better than going to uni. Sure I miss out on the university experience but it sounds mostly bullshit anyways, I can go out and party when I want.

I'd like to move out from home soon anyway, a couple of friends are staying in Sheffield for university, so I could house up with them for a year or two while I carry on doing my thing.

I don't know, it just seems everyone tells me to go to university, but the more I look into it the less appealing it is.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

San Pedro Cactus

San Pedro is running across the border to escape the hordes of teenagers looking for an easy, legal high.

Cacti Doodles

D'aww look at them.
Cute enough to lick (apart from San Pedro and Peyote lest ye want to trip your shit)

Conversation

I've been speaking to one of my very good female friends lately, and it has come to my attention that she doesn't really have any particular interests.

Me and my close friend groups discuss a wide range of topics; music, films, games, comics and anime, but this girl, and apparently quite a few others aren't interested in anything like that.

Which begs the question: what the fuck DO people talk about?
It generally confounds me. I presume they just talk about their lives, or what they did at the weekend or they bitch about people but it sounds pretty boring to me. If someone doesn't have any mutual hobbies or  interests with their friends, then how are they even friends in the first place. Pretty strange in my opinion.

Edit: Vienna raised a good point about TV, but this girl doesn't really watch TV. A lot of people just watch the same shows as each other, usually trivial things, which don't exactly promote discussion.

Maybe I'm just being strange or autistic or something

Monday, 25 April 2011

Ayreon - The Human Equation


So recently I've been listening to a lot more music. Last.fm helped me discover some new bands, and I recently discovered a nice little program called Songbird as a replacement for iTunes.

A friend of mine suggested to me this interesting act called "Ayreon".
Dutch composer Arjen Anthony Lucassen and his horde of fellow musicians band together to create heavy/progressive metal operas featuring large hosts of characters, each voiced by a different vocalist.
The albums generally revolve around science fiction, and the story lines somewhat link together.

The album I want to talk about differs from the standard formula in the sense that it isn't standard science fiction, and more of a psychological thriller opera. It follows the story of a man who falls into a coma, every song representing one day. His wife and best friend come visit him, while he must confront his past and his turbulent emotions.

When I first listened to this album I genuinely sat in awe. The mix of different musicians, instruments and styles just blends so well together. I do like a lot of music, listen to a lot of albums and different genres, but The Human Equation really stuck out as something special.

To anyone who appreciates the likes of Dream Theater or Opeth I highly recommend Ayreon.
Start with The Human Equation as I can honestly say it's the best I've listened to, but the others come pretty close. If I had to give The Human Equation a rating, I'd give it 5 life support machines out of 5.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

after3 wanted me to draw the characters from his comic.
I did but this dinosaur I drew ate them.
Sorry bro.

Why does Amstel have to be so delicious.
I mean really.
The city of Amsterdam is amazing enough without it outputting this delicious bastard.

Edit: To the people who live in America and have to wait until they are 21 to drink: you have my deepest condolences

More doodling

Another quick and dirty sketch since people seemed to like the last one.
Edit: It's a robot, albeit a very emaciated one :P

A little cynicism

I got into an interesting argument at the pub last night., about my friend's month long trip to Kenya. He did all the usual jazz, going on his travels and helping the peasant folk with the rest of the group of young upstart activists, building a school, playing with the kids and all that harmless stuff.


But is it harmless really? I've done a lot of reading into this sort of thing and it seems to me like that last thing these countries need is thousands of tourists coming and erecting mediocre (at best) structures all over these villages, when really the community should help themselves. 
If a big group of sun-burnt Americans came into my quaint little village and set up some shitty houses then I don't think I'd be very happy. Especially if I made a living building these houses. It's massively patronizing for someone to come up to you saying "I know you're poor as shit and can't do anything about it and are too stupid to help yourself, so let me half-heartedly help you out".


Another thing is the people who go to these third world countries to teach English for like a month. These "teachers" are more often than not very inexperienced, and for the students this probably gets pretty frustrating, when every month a new, useless teacher shows up and by the time they've got in the swing of things it's back to college to finish their liberal arts course.


This sort of short-term charity gets a lot of positive media attention, meaning most of the money goes towards it, when really people should be going and just teaching the people the skills they need to get on with their lives. Sure build a well while you're at it but you better make sure it's a bloody good one, and people actually know how to take care of it. An example of this is some orphanages in South America; a friend of mine went to work in one and it turned out only about a quarter of these "orphans" had actually lost their parents. The rest were either just lazy or couldn't afford to keep another child. Which begs the question: "why are they having more children?". Surely more media attention and charity money should go to supporting these families, or at least giving them some education in contraceptives. Missionaries are partly to blame here, as a lot of these families think it's good to have an overabundance in progeny because of their religion, and seem to be completely ignorant of their dire financial situation.


The thought of going to help out some poor little Africans might sound nice, but half the people who go only go to flesh out their CV with fantastical voyages to arcane lands, in hopes that they can get into a good university or job. These people will presumably never even go back to that village again, where the school has most likely fallen apart, and just sit smug, fanning themselves with their elongated CV. In my opinion, this is not the right reason for someone to go and help these people.


While this rant may seem a little pessimistic and cynical, I'm sure it isn't too hard to see where I'm coming from, and it's entirely possible that I have been very wrong in many of these points, so comments are welcome. I want to know what everyone else thinks.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Always bet on Duke.


So there's been a lot of hype about this game. Up until a few months ago it was considered vaporware (a game or program that's been in development hell for so long it doesn't seem likely to be released), and even now it's getting delayed like a month.

I admire Gearbox for picking the title up, and I'm looking forward to the release (if I could afford the balls of steel edition then I'd get that in a heartbeat). But I'm a little worried about them making a mess of it, like making it too much like current consolized FPS games such as Call of Duty.

There's also been a lot of controversy surrounding the misogyny and general crudeness of the titular character. I don't mind this particularly but I'd like to know what everyone else thinks.

Doodlan robots

Finally managed to upload a drawing after getting rejected D:

Anyways I like to doodle, even though I'm not amazing at it.
More to come.

Hello World

Good afternoon internet.

I'll be blogging some uninteresting things from time to time. Stay tuned.