(no subject)

I'm home, and by home I mean in London.

Yeah I finally made it back here after 18 months of complaining of living in Birmingham. I found a job and a place to live the weekend before Christmas, I start full time tomorrow but I like what I've seen so far.

I'm really liking my room as well, its quite large and its got its own little arm chair and everything, I'm sitting in it now sipping coke and breathing a sigh of relief that all that stress and all that effort paid off and I can start my life again.

I'm working as an an operations support analyst, its kind of like my old job (1st line support) but this one is with a heavy dose of operations support (3rd line) and pays nearly 10 grand more than my last role, which is a little intimidating but does mean I can afford to go on holiday occasionally and generally have more fun.

I keep calling my new home Wombleodeon, I'm not entirely sure why either. Looking forward to exploring more over the next few weeks

Writer's Block: Boldly going

Which fictional world would you choose to visit, and why?

While tempted to say the Warhammer or 40k universes I really wouldnt... not nice places to visit.

Instead I'll plump for the world chronicled in Hugh Cooks Age of Darkness series. Its fairly grim world but at the same time seems fairly amusing and self contained, with the possibility of some super sci-fi gadgetry to those determined enough to look for it.

Or maybe I just like the though of pratting around with a sword and maybe living forever, though odds are I'd die horribly in a ditch

Alpha Centauri

I reinstalled SMAC the other day, I must have played it about a thousand times over the years since it came out (1999) and enjoyed it everytime.

I dont know what it is about this game I enjoy so much, I think its the sheer rich, coherent world it builds, the story it manages to tell. Each bit of technology you research is accompanied by a bit of text, usually something pseudo-science or religiony or a famous quotation that tells you just what it is you've managed to discover.

Some of my favourites: http://www.generationterrorists.com/quotes/smac.html

The Morgans fear what may not be purchased, for a trader cannot comprehend a thing that is priceless.

Sister Miriam Godwinson
"The Collected Sermons"

Organic Superlube? Oh, it's great stuff, great stuff. You really have to keep an eye on it, though--it'll try and slide away from you the first chance it gets.



T. M. Morgan-Reilly
Morgan Metagenics


A handsome young Cyborg named Ace,
Wooed women at every base,
But once ladies glanced at
His special enhancement
They vanished with nary a trace.

Barracks Graffiti
Sparta Command

Once a man has changed the relationship between himself and his environment, he cannot return to the blissful ignorance he left. Motion, of necessity, involves a change in perspective.

Commissioner Pravin Lal
"A Social History of Planet"

Its also fairly fast paced, no slow dragging out of the turns that happens in Civ4, each turn something happens. The only flaw is the AI which is... well, a bit annoying. Auto-formers dont bother building improvements and rival factions are constantly building bases within about 2 spaces of there own and your bases so you end up with a constant "city creep" that cuts wide swathes out of your territory.

I miss games that built other worlds so well, modern games seem to put a lot of effort in but are ultimately a bit bland. Games like this and Homeworld function better, perhaps the poor graphics add to the sense that you build the world yourself, you have to fill in the gaps. Or perhaps they just tell a story better, they are the Dickens of the gaming world because lets face it... not all old games are classics

(no subject)

The first pictures of an extra solar planet, this thing is 500 Light Years away... we're seeing this planet cooling after its formed, its a snapshot in time and it leaves me amazed.

The sheer distance of time and space that separates stars is something that always leaves me just humbled, gobsmacked and feeling like an ant. The stars we look at in the night sky can be 100 million light years away, its a unit of time and distance that just leaves my brain feeling like someones melted it and dissolved it in warm milk.

We cant be the only life in the galaxy, but I can really believe that due to the randomness of existence and the gaps between stars mean we'll never know.

A Very Long Enagement

I watched this last night and I was really impressed, its a beautiful film.

The film tells the story of Mathilde in 1920, her fiance disappeared in 1917 during World War 1 and she is still looking for him 3 years later. She finds out that he along with 4 others were sentenced for cowardice to die by getting put into No Mans Land and for the Germans to deal with. Slowly Mathilde will learn of just what happened to the soldiers and despite all evidence to the contrary Mathilde never gives up hope that she will find her beloved alive, much to the despair of those around her.

The film opens brutally, detailed scenes of the horror of life in the trenches examing each of the five men and how they injure themselves. Each of the men injures his hand, a fact which will become more and more important as the clues to the eventual fate of the men unravel. The first 20-30 minutes of the film are so bleak and so... cliched in places that you start to wonder if this is a parody, any minute you expect a guy in a black sweater to start smoking and cursing fate but eventually the film finds its feet in the transition from the dark, heavy enviroment of the trenches to the soft golden light of Mathildes world and her investigation.

The story is adapted from a book and you can very much tell, there are more plot strands and characters in here than you'd find in a standard film, however there are enough flashbacks and side explanations to make this understandable but  suspect the film would benefit from a second viewing to make it all clearer for most people as some characters such as Biscuit and the sergeant who escorts the men to the trench of Bingo are very similar in appearance, must be the mustaches. One element that doesnt work as well is Mathildes opposite, Tina, the bride of one of the other men executed in the trench, her story acts in tandem with Mathildes but takes the path of revenge instead of discovery but could easily have been left out.

The film has enough stars in to be a big blockbuster, practically all the famous character actors in Europe make an appearance, including Jeunet regular Dominique Pinon and theres a surprising cameo from Jodie Foster who speaks pretty good French which was a surprise. The sets are also lavishly gorgeous and very evocative of the time period. Theres extensive use of CG in the opening section and it works very well, none of it stands out at all, in fact CG in the film as a whole is done remarkably well, probably one of the best uses of it I've seen of it, used to augment the film rather than as a focus of the action.

On the whole I'd give the film 8/10, its a lovely film and its a sweet and romantic in way that isnt constantly plugging the heartstrings heavy handidly but tells you a story instead and really lets you get to know the characters involved.

(no subject)

John Hurt doing a voiceover for Warhammer 40'000

My Birthday came early, it'd only get better if it was Sean Bean

(must say that it looks awful, even if they did get the sound right)

(no subject)

Theres something not quite right about this advert, telling kids that Ribena is made by mincing up baby berries and drinking their blood seems off to me

I love this mental image

(Yoinked from RPGnet and a debate about what the hell do Space Marines actually *do*)

Keiro - Because Space Marines don't spend every waking minute fighting enemies of the Imperium. And they live centuries and have to do something with their downtime.

Cappadocius - All 15 minutes of it!

Kargush - And over the course of a century, that adds up.

Darren MacLennan - It's going to look a little odd going into battle with it half-finished, though. I mean, people bitch about people playing with unpainted armies; imagine somebody who has a half-sculpted mask on. ("Are you supposed to be some kind of cartoon dog?" "FUCK YOU IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A WOLF'S HEAD I'M NOT DONE YET.