Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm Leaving, On a Jet Plane.....

...but I will be back again in April so never fear. I've been getting things ready for the trip: planning this, booking that, printing maps, etc. I'm also wondering where I can train to understand the British rail system (see what I did there?). The public transport system is some confusing shit. It finally clicked when I realized that's its just like travelling in Guatemala: each bus (train in this case) is independantly operated, charging variable fees, and providing extrememly different services. Once I approached it with that mentality it all became clear though I'm confident the military won't board the train and demand my passport.

What an age we live in though huh? I've already got my boarding pass for two of my flights, and a train ticket is waiting for met at a machine in Dorchester. I hope it's not too lonely. I've also got my tickets sitting right beside me for the British Museum exhibits I'm seeing. In addition I have the pubs I'll be visting all picked out. My CAMRA (which is a real ale association which points you to friendly pubs with good ale) app tells me that currently, the closest pub to me with real cask (English) ale is 3200 miles away. Hmmmm.... a bit far to go for a birthday drink.

Oh, and yes, it's my birthday! Ya, happy birthday to me. As luck would have it I'm extremely busy today as well and have no time for goofing off or leaving early. Ah, well, in fairness I am leaving early but it's to see the lawyer to get my will finalized. Come to think of it, that may be the worst way to spend a birthday- contemplating your own demise and what should happen to all your worldly possessions. On the other hand, though, it may be the perfect time to grow up and get it done. Of primary importance now, of course, is what would happen to New Mouth To Feed should a 'common distaster' (Lawyer talk) befall me and She Who Will Be Named Later. For some people that would be a no-brainer: off to the Grandparents with her. In our case, however, we would like to avoid that so a Will was necessary. Life..... so complicated.

Right so, I'm 43 then and it appears my Irish accent is coming back as I contemplate my trip home. I'll likey return with a Northern Irish accent from my time in Belfast (I'm a horrible mimic) which will mean I won't be able to understand myself as it's a tough one to follow. When I talk to my mate on the phone I can only understand about half of what he says. The only accent I've encountered that was as tough was Essex.

As far as 'the south' I'm only going to have enough time to stop in Dublin, and since Dublin and Ireland are in fact two different places I'm not really going to be seeing Ireland. I will get to re-visit some favorite people, pubs, and places (She Who Will Be Named Later and I met in Dublin) however so all is not lost. It's going to feel strange, I think, being back. I was last there before the big crash so I wonder if much has changed? I'm assuming Dublin won't be all boarded up but it has to have slowed down some, at least outside the Temple Bar area which hosts the vast throngs of tourists who could have saved some time and money by visiting any tacky 'Irish' bar in their own city. True story (designed to make any of my Irish readers cringe): in my old city the 'Irish' bar (Green McPaddy or something equally awful) had a leprechaun door beside the main door. It worked and everything as the drunken idiots who all crawled through it at the end of the night could attest to. Fucking North Americans. Why do they have to ruin every culture they adore? And stop drinking green beer- it's just wrong.

I'm assuming London, on the other hand, will be exactly same. Busy, grey, and frownie. Ahhh, a humid place full of grumpy, bastards. My kinda town. I sometimes like putting on a thick Canadian accent and smiling cheerfully at everyone I encounter just because I know it makes them very unhappy inside. That's right, I'm off to grief Londoners. (It's fun in Bloomsbury, but dangerous in Kilburn so I'll have to pick my battles). When She Who Will Be Named Later and I were travelling in Calgary, AB, Canada on the public train system a guy next to us starting chatting. It was a brief exchange of nothing in particular but when we got off She Who Will Be Named Later was appaled. 'What's wrong with him? Is he mentally ill?' I had to explain that in Canada, sometimes we talk to each other whilst in public. How very odd, these colonials.

Right, so that's my rant for the day. It's my birthday and I'll babble if I want to, babble if I want to, you would babble too if it happened to you, da, da, da, da, da da!

Back in a few weeks.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: Bring on The Museums

After much wrangling, and train/plane/ferry consultation the final details of next weeks trip have been set out and it's a doozy. Life is never simple and when you have friends, families, and interests scattered across a few continents (and islands) things get kinda crazy.

As it stand we start off by driving 7 hours in the complete opposite direction that we want to go (west) to an entirely different city to catch our first flight. This is because, you may recall, I live in the fecking sticks and no decent airlines operate out of here (for a reasonable price). Following this lovely drive through the Canadian praries (booooooooring) we fly to London (the big smoke) where we have the pleasure of then jumping on another plane to Edinburgh (my ancient nemesis). After what I'm sure will be an extremely restful two days (not) we drive, yes drive to Belfast (ferry crossing and drive combo approximately 7 hours). Then, finally, we get to chill out for a few days, attend a wedding, and catch up with old friends whilst dodging terrorists intent on killing and/or maiming children.

Following that I am being freed by She Who Will Be Named Later who will be taking New Mouth To Feed back to Edinburgh (via car and ferry again) to see the in-laws (yes, I am lucky in missing out on that). I am heading to Dublin by train to visit friends and locales I've been away from for some time (that means a butt-load of pubs). After two days of that I am taking off for some alone time in Dorset. This is the first time I've travelled anywhere unknown to me, on my own, in a very, very long time. It's something I used to do a lot (for my job and for personal enjoyment) but as life changes, of course, so do your travel habits. I'm using the time to check out the Bovington Tank Museum, chill in some Real Ale Pubs (are you sensing a theme yet), eat my weight in proper fish and chips, and savor some Sunday Papers (The Observer). I'll then head into London to see two exhibits at the British Museum (I've been there loads of times to this is a tactical strike on the new Pompeii exhibit and the Ice Age Art exhibit) and attend my favorite Mexican restaurant (outside of Mexico) nearby. This makes more sense if you recall I worked as an archaeologist in Central America (and elsewhere) once upon a time.

We wrap things up with an overnight at Gatwick Airport (in a hotel, not on the floor), and then its a quick 7-hour flight back to Canada followed, of course, by another 7-hour drive back home and bang, bobs your uncle! Total away time: 12 days. Yikes! It's gonna be busy, but fun. If nothing else it will be a reminder of how we used to live (trips like that were quite common once sans baby of course) and will emphasize how much we enjoy our more static and stable life now. I spent 10-years away from home and during that time I had a lot of adventures and seen some fantastic things. I do hope my current city won't be the last one I live in (please god, no, it's the third day of spring and all the roads out of the city are closed due to snow storms) but I am happy to be where I am- figuratively speaking at least- for now.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: Curtis Woodhouse Got Duped. The Trolls Win Again.

The anonymity of the Internet makes brave men out of many of us. And by us, I mean you, shit head. You know who you are. Trolls the world over rejoice! You've scored two victories in recent days. Curtis Woodhouse, an (ex) world champion light-welter-weight boxer lost his title recently but made headlines when he confronted his Twitter troll after offering a one-thousand pound reward for anyone who helped him track the guy down. He found the troll in question, showed up on his street and twittered he was ready to meet him in person to, uh, discuss the situation. The troll being the cowardly maggot he is of course declined the invitation and twittered an 'apology' which satisfied the tormented boxer who claimed victory. Much like the recent (close) loss of his championship, however, he also lost this one because that apology wasn't, in fact, an apology.

Anyone familiar with the principals of Statement Content Analysis will see that for what it is: not an apology. The troll twittered this:

"I am sorry it's getting a bit out of hand. I am in the wrong. I accept that."

Yea, I'll fucking bet he was sorry that it was getting out of hand when a professional, and pissed off boxer turned up on his door. Who wouldn't be sorry that it was getting out of hand. I know I sure would be. Being sorry that a situation is getting out of hand (and you may subsequently take a savage beating because of it) is very different from being sorry that you trolled the irate party in the first place. 'Admitting' that you are 'in the wrong' is also not an apology. It's a statement of fact without any real remorse. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's all wrapped up to sound like he's sorry for what he's done, but what he actually says clearly shows he is not. He was sorry he got caught. That is all, so I am sorry, Mr. Woodhouse, but your Troll got away without actually apologizing to you. Looks like you lose on points again and if by saying that I make you mad enough to want to track me down, then I am sorry. Really.

A bit of a weird post (even for me) this actually has a point which does relate to my gaming activities (believe it or not). I make no apologies for the fact that I am easily trolled. I almost always react because though I know they like the reaction, I don't feel they should be able to get away with it. It's like bullying- you can turn the other cheek all you like but at some point you have to deal with it. My recent You Tube endeavor is coming to a close in no small part because of the odd troll and other ignorant idiots who turn up in the comment section. My blog is nice because it attracts a different crowd (those who can read for starts) and since I moderate all comments the trolls never get their day in the sun. You Tube, however, is like a shopping mall and your site is like a store. Any fucking idiot can pop their head in and muck things up.

With my free time dwindling due to a (still) difficult baby I am finding it hard to muster up the energy to do You Tube videos. I often get the choice to either play for an hour or play for 15 minutes and spend 45 minutes getting a video of it ready to upload. When I then have to face ass-hats in the comment section it can all become too much. I don't do You Tube for cash (I've yet to see any income or even any 'proposed' incomes since becoming a 'partner') so I have to look at it as another hobby and one that I no longer have the time or energy for. If not for the trolls I might stick with it- posting a video here and there- but for now I'm done. The trolls win but at least I, unlike Curtis Woodhouse, know it.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wow. Is That The Time?

Wow. I just checked the date of my last post. Yikes. My poor, neglected blog <sobs>. If it's any consolation I've also been neglecting my fledgling You Tube channel with only three videos in the past month or so and no video today on my 'Two Battle Tuesday' day. Bad Gank.

Would you like a list of reasons? No, I don't blame you. Excuses are boring. Would you like me to promise I'll do better? Too bad, I'm can't. I'm busy, tired and when I'm not tired, or busy, I'm sleeping or hanging with my family (which means I'm busy). There we go- obligatory excuse done.

What I have been doing is gaming- but not much of it. I still get a few WoT battles in daily and I am currently playing a lot of Gnomoria because it's easy to jump in, and easy to leave when the baby demands it. I've also made my first foray into GoG (good 'ole games) and bought an older, turn-based fantasy strategy game (yes that long fancy intro is to make up for the excuse that I've already forgot what it was lol) which I need to try. I haven't even loaded Hitman: Absolution which I pre-ordered and have had in my Steam library for ages. I also have a copy of Tropico 4 that was given to me (and a spare if anyone wants it) that I need to look at.

Two things are certain- I am never, ever pre-ordering a game again (except for Rome II Total War) and, um, well, I can't remember the second thing, but the first holds true- at least not from any "AAA" publishers. I'll still support promising indie games but with idiots like EA ruining classic games (Sim City) and buffoons like Firaxis not fixing others (X-Com) I'm done with those. I'm sick of forking out $50+ to get hosed or treated like I, as the consumer, don't matter. If I want to throw money away I'll buy more WoT gold (I'm nearing $700 total spent on the game...ouch). At least I still play it daily and, despite it's flaws and general monotony, it keeps me happy.

Fun fact- my page views over the few weeks that I HAVEN'T been posting have remained constant so I wonder if anyone actually notices when I go absent. I estimate that there are less than 10 regulars here at the 'ole blog and a handsome group you are! Thanks for sticking around.

As for the You Tube endeveour I'm still debating the future of that. I do like certain aspects of it, but it is a lot of work. My actual job can be quite demanding on my ability to withstand humanity as a whole so some days I can't face the trolls- even though they are few and far between they are still annoying. They take little bits of my mental energy that some days I just can't spare. You Tube may not be the best format for me but I will stick to my decision to do 100 videos and see what happens.

So there, you're all updated. Carry on.