Wednesday, March 30, 2005

MP3 Player Musings

My wife is looking into MP3 players for taking along to listen while she does her gym workouts. The market is pretty saturated it seems. The question is which player is both light and portable, is supported by software that is Win98 compatible, is easy to use - meaning is easy for a relative computer novice to use: particularly where track selection, playlists and music organising are concerned AND has a decent display. I'm seriously considering an iPod Mini but don't know whether it would be supported by our current PC - we'll be changing it soon for a faster one though (see earlier posts about the Ideq).

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Cult TV

There are a few TV shows I haven't seen that I would like to:

Babylon 5
Stargate SG-1
Battlestar Galactica (2003)
Dark Angel
Harsh Realm

I don't know if I'll like them or not but I'd like to see them from they're first episode to be able to judge them.

Car Boot Excitement

Well, it's Easter again and the start of a new car boot season begins, hurray! Went to one today with a decent turnout, just a pity that there was not much that was good on offer. I did pick up Andy McNabb's Bravo Two Zero and Immediate Action that I've been thinking of getting lately. I also bought Stand by, Stand by and Zero Option by Chris Ryan - I "think" they might be fairly similar as they are both ex-SAS but I could be wrong not having read them. I don't know if I'll like these however, as I'm not sure how fictional they are and how much is autobiographical.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

New Dr Who

I watched the BBC's first episode of the new Dr Who series this evening. It was a good start overall I thought. My wife thought there were scary moments in it, I wasn't so sure about that but then I'm too old to be scared in that way. It's not the kind of show that would genuinely frighten me, its more entertainment than anything else. There were lots of screams and lots of running about. Its good that the locations were outdoors - but I suppose the budget of millions helped! I look forward to future episodes. I'm glad the show is back on, Saturday night on BBC needs a series thats not another bloody celebrity talent contest/DIY/reality TV/lottery/quiz show like every other night of the flippin' week.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The death of creativity

I used to be part of a writers group. I wrote a lot of poetry but I did it when I lived alone and was lonely. Since meeting my now wife I hardly ever write any poetry or prose. The kinds of novel I've been reading lately worry me some - they're usually about spies or the military. I wonder if this is the deatyh of creativity within me as I approach 37 this year?

Authors to read

Some other writers that I'm thinking of reading are:

Craig Thomas (who wrote Firefox, which I read recently)
Dale Brown
Stephen Coonts

The latter two are ex-military personnel who have turned to writing. I'm also considering two others:

Andy McNabb
Chris Ryan

I've been put off both of these because of the first person narrative they use, which I find slightly amateurish if I'm honest - but perhaps this is just my prejudice. I suspect that I may appreciate the style more once I get into the novel. I'm slightly put off the McNabb stuff by the fact that Alan Partridge (parody of English TV talk show host) likes reading him.

Hair Cuts

Well, gone now are the days when I pay for my hair cuts - actually I haven't paid full whack for a haircut for a while now. A relative has been cutting my hair for over a year but I've paid something towards the cost and its a little inconvenient because he is not terribly reliable or punctual and I end up waiting around and being disappointed when he doesn't show. So really, he has only himself to blame for losing my custom - but it's not a big deal to him anyway I think. So how have I achieved this? I've gone and bought a hair trimmer - the Remington HC-363 to be quite precise. My wife has trimmed mine and my sons hair and we both look very smart, here's to DIY, cheers!!

Other games on the hit list

The two games I've considered recently but haven't as yet bought are Freedom Fighters and Dead To Rights. Both have got reasonably good reviews in Gamespot but I'm worried that I've spent too much on games recently. Especially since I'm awaiting the credit card bill soon and it's not going to be good reading - several items for our new family PC are on it plus God knows what my wife has added to it.

Tomb Raider 2

I bought a copy of this for PlayStation for £1.99, which I thought was good value for a game I haven't got - despite its age. But unfortunately, its the first pre-owned game I've got that I've had a problem with. It keeps pausing the game for no apparent reason. So I'm going to take it back.

The News

I once read that Clancy was asked where he gets ideas for his novels and his response was something about him reading the papers everyday. It's true, when I watch the news I can see Clancy novels. I wonder if he is charting all the news and weaving plots around the various strands? It could be the kind of thing you might do in MindManager, I wonder if any authors use that tool for novels?

Tom Clancy versus Op-Centre

I'm reading Tom Clancy's Op-Centre at the moment, written in 1995 by Jeff Rovin actually - so not a Tom Clancy novel at all. Although, the Op-Centre book's are branded as Tom Clancy, I understand that Jeff Rovin wasn't actually credited properly as the author when the book was first published. It's OK, I'm enjoying it - probably not as much as a Clancy written novel though; it lacks the fine detail and "believe-ability" one gets reading a genuine Clancy.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Men With Cigars Are Trash!

Friday afternoon, walking from Oxford Circus to Hamleys toystore. In Hamley's I'm queueing with my sons trains patiently in line when some old git with a cigar hanging out of his mouth ignores the fact that there is a queue and barges infront of me. He stinks. Why are men with cigars arrogant sons of bitches? They're all tossers!

Next Game!

Oh no, I've got to get Freedom Fighters - my addiction is out of control!

Avoiding Temptation

Well, I've managed to avoid the feeling of having to purchase a game so far. Although even as I type I'm looking up a game review for a game I've seen cheap. I'm reading Firefox by Craig Thomas at the moment. I haven't seen the Clint Eastwood film adaptation for years and years, I wonder if I could get it on DVD?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Kuala Lumpur

Good that Schumaker didn't make it onto the podium at the Australian Grand Prix : a good start to the 2005/6 season. However, Barrichello came second so Ferrari are a long way from the doldrums. This weekend it's the Kuala Lumpur grand prix, so I'm getting exciuted about it. Check out the interactive circuit map.

Monday, March 14, 2005

A New Leaf

After some reflection, I think I have to stop buying new games that I may never have time to enjoy. Afterall, I don't have time to play the ones I've got already. I do like to swap between games but this means I never get very deep into them. I must change this behaviour, take a new leaf and play games more deeply instead of playing a lot very shallowly - if you see what I mean. I MUST NOT BUY GAMES ANYMORE - but equally, I know I can't resist a bargain. I MUST NOT BUY GAMES ANYMORE - UNLESS IT IS A BARGAIN.

Weekend Additions

Three new titles added to my games collection over the weekend. I must stop buying games and start playing them instead. I do worry about where I'm going to find the time to play though - I'm so tired once the kids are bed and whether I play on the PC or PS2 depends largely on what my wife wants to do. I also have DVDs to watch and books to read, no TIME! If only someone would pay me to do what I most enjoy!
I also bought 7 new books over the weekend - for the than a fiver, not bad at all! All good condition, in one swoop on a MacMillan charity shop I acquired most of the Power Plays series and two more Op Centre novels all bearing the Clancy name on the cover but not written by the man of course. I finished Sum Of All Fears over the weekend and started the Craig Thomas novel Firefox because I'm missing Without Remorse from my Clancy collection - my "Tower of Clancy" I call it because of the vertical height of the book stack. I want to read the books in order and without this I have had to pause.
I was doing some book research over the weekend on publishing dates for Clancy and related novels and it was quite hard work. I will post the results some time but I had to use the Library of Congress, Amazon and British National Bibliography web sites to identify them. Not at all easy but the number of series bearing his name and a young adults series that I have included for comprehensiveness made the task a bit harder than it might have been. I look forward to reading them all though.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Irritating World!

I know it's a sign of increasing years, I've been getting this way since my 30s began. But I find small irritations in life lead to stress and annoyance far beyond their individual weight of importance. Last night for example, I spent over an hour searching for and adding my PC games collection to my Gamespot profile and what did I discover when reviewing my list of games at the end of it? 21 games! No way, I've got a shit load more than that. I was infuriated! But today, I view my profile after logging out and it says there are 81, which is a lot more like it. Now, I'm not so annoyed because my work doesn't seem to have been lost.

I posted about this last night but w.bloggar complained the server was busy - last time this happened I just tried again and after about three attempts it was accepted and posted. Unfortunately, when I next viewed my blog I had 3 duplicate blog entries so I had to log into Blogger and delete the redundant ones. Now last night, instead of trying again I just thought -oh well, it's probably posted them anyway but I find it didn't and I lost the post: oh crap!

Sometimes life is just annoying!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I've been installing a few older PC games and trying to get them working on my system. If you have a SoundBlaster Live sound card and can get Cannon Fodder 2 working please get in touch as I have tried everything I can think of - the furthest I can get is about 3 seconds of gameplay. The copy I got is on the Sold Out label. At the same time I bought Iron Assault and this game installs and works perfectly.
If you have Tomb Raider and the image is a bit grainy hit the F1 button and it instantly improves the resolution. I really like Tomb Raider, I will play it some more. I found a really great Tomb Raider web site, check it out here.

Hide and Seek

A package came for my wife this week. Inside was a baseball cap and T shirt, she's obviously won a competition (she spends half her time on the Internet filling in forms about soap powders to win prizes). I don't know what Hide and Seek is but it has 20th Century Fox on the label so it's fairly safe to assume it's a film. Nice stuff though, I'm not complaining.


I've been a game demon this month. I've bought eight games so far and we're only into the second week. Games are a serious addiction for me. I caught the bug when I was bought a paddle game from Binatone as a kid. It worked on the black and white TV I had, it never did tune very well, I remember the picture not exactly being rock steady like today's monitors. But since the eighties I've slipped behind in the video games world - mainly due to the price of new games and consoles. Since I've had my Playstation 2 in January I've been doing some catching up and now I have 12 PS2 games and 9 PS games. The last couple games I've actually hidden from my wife, I'm embarassed to admit buying them. It's a compulsion I can't resist! Maybe an addiction???

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Airgun Tragedy

A horrible news story about some thug who called the fire service out on a false call and shot at a fireman and also hit a 2 year old boy in the crossfire, killing him. In my opinion these people are scum. But what punishment would fit their crime? I have a 2 year boy myself so its hard not to be emotional about this, the way I feel right now I would like to see a painful death for him.

F1 Kicks Off

The 2005 F1 season kicks off this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit. I have dusted off my F1 Championship Season 2000 PC game and done a quick race on the circuit - but I was tired and the experience of using a racing game on PC (being so close to the monitor) is quite draining, so I didn't complete the race. Good game though from Electronic Arts.
The new FIA rules sound quite interesting but I wonder how effective they will be in reality - they are trying to de-engineer the cars to even things out for the drivers but I think that the stability and reliability of the most successful teams will give them an advantage under the new rules.
I disagree with Ecclestone's comment about Schumaker's dominance being good for the sport - last season was a complete washout seeing him win almost every race.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Celebrity Fame Academy

It's for Comic Relief I know - so it is a good cause but this show is the pits. Nuff said.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Care Bears To The Rescue

This is a fairly strange to post about I know. But, my kids seem to like their Care Bears - I don't really understand why. We have about three large ones in the house and a Care Bears cartoon movie on DVD, which I just can't seem to work out - probably because I can't sit through very much of it without being totally bored and confused. That's not what this post is about though. It's about a tape we bought on Saturday called Care Bears To The Rescue - it was 50p and my daughter wanted it so what the hell right? Anyway, after a quick listen on Saturday in the car I thought it was pretty much like the movie - confusing and boring. But after the traffic today I had a much better listen and could follow what was going on. Not to say it was MY thing or anything but I recognise putting words to music is a skill and the guy who wrote the songs obviously is of a higher order of quality than normal because they actually work well as songs and they tell a story. That's it. That's what I wanted to say. I don't know if you can get it anymore - we got ours from a charity shop and it was released in 1989.