Nov 27

Happy Thanksgiving

Well it is the last Thursday in November and I find myself asking along with 85% of the world’s population (actual statistics) “Where did the year go?“. I also find myself thinking about things I am thankful for. I blame the amount of Americans I know for this thoughtful mood, since it is their Thanksgiving day.  This year I decided to join in with my cousins from across the pond, and to do so I would have a traditional American Thanksgiving.

<PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT>

It turns out that if you try to order a batch of smallpox off the internet, to try to genetically modify the strain to wipe out a large racial group you get a visit by a bunch of men in black suits and mirrored shades, and a pat-down that makes the TSA look like a nervous schoolboy with his first above the clothes fumble.

Also, most races are slightly more streetwise these days, and you can not claim their country as your own with the cunning use of flags & the Winchester repeating rifle. Also the men in black will confiscate said Rifle when they leave

</PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT>

So this year due to the restraining orders, and the black vans, & choppers that seem to be just loitering in my vicinity, I have decided to just be thankful for some stuff. I therefore raise my cup of coffee to you dear readers, neh friends and am thankful of you. I am thankful for the internet shrinking the size of the world, and for good friends spread over it’s every shrinking surface. I’m thankful for good food & drink, Good films & Books. And Dear Constant Readers I’m thankful to you, and you, to him and her, but not You, and you know who you are, I’m not thankful to you, not since you did that thing to that cat…

Happy Thanksgiving.

Your meaning of “Have me for Dinner” is different to mine!

Nov 11

100 Years – Least We Forget

Each year, on 11 November, the country falls silent to commemorate our war dead. This ritual, and the ceremonies and symbols that accompany it, have become part of national life.

Remembrance started long before the guns of the Western Front fell silent with people marking the loss or absence of loved ones away at war. 100 years later, the personal and political resonances of remembrance still stir strong emotions.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

remembranceadIn Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872 – 1918)

Nov 05

Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot.

Remember-Remember-v-for-vendettaRemember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot… But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I’ve witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I’ve seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them… but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it… ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love…

 

And now I have to re-watch V for Vendetta!

Nov 04

XBox Time Machine

There was a time, many moons ago (That’s 2010/2011 for those of you who are on decimal digital time) when PlanetPete, CampyPhil, MIAdave and myself along with the occasional extra would often play as a group on various XBox multiplayer games. Over time the group dwindled in size, the times we played grew less and less, due to new Kids, Job changes, work commitments, getting addicted to triathlons, etc. basically life itself got in the way.

 

Time went by, The four worlds formed again and yet again, As endless aeons wheeled and passed. Time and the pure essences of Heaven, The moistures of the Earth, And the powers of the Sun and the Moon. All worked upon a certain rock – old as Creation, And it magically became fertile. That first egg was named Thought, Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha, Said, ‘With our thoughts we make the world.’... But that’s a different story.

Time did pass.

We now arrive at yesterday, (Let’s sit and rest for a while. It has been a long journey of years to get from the start of this post to this point).

Yesterday during a Skype IM chat with PlanetPete about the TV shows, Dominion & Constantine he asked that immortal question “Games night?” Which you have to admit is a good suggestion for winding down after a Monday in the office.

9:30PM We were both online, in a XBox party chat and ready to re-live old times.

Game 1: Batman Arkham Origins

Well, this did not go so well. We both started the game, created a private match, joined and spent a fair while trying to work out how to start the match. We tried a couple of game modes, still no luck! It was about this time the small print of “Multiplayer 3-8 players” was spotted. We were 1 person short.

Game 2: Tombraider

This had a slight bumpy start.

*XBox Chat*

GGN: “There are two discs”

PP: “Which one is it?”

GGN: “I’m putting in disc 1″ *DISCONNECT*

*SMS*

GGN: “updates!!!!

PP: “It’s disc 2″

GGN: “typical”

Once we (and by we I mean me) got online and running off the correct disc, things got better. We were soon running about lost on maps we had never seen, trying to remember how to play tombraider and do those useful things like climb, jump, not fall to your death. Eventually we got the hang of it, and started killing each other in a myriad of ways. After a lot of fun it was decided PlanetPete won after he managed to kill the whole level by pressing something inside a sub and the whole place starting to fall down around us.

Game 3: COD Modern Warfare 2

We ended the night on the game that used to get played the most back in the day, since it was the one game we all owned. Due to the countless times we’ve played this there were no issues in starting a match, or needing to remember how to play. Within seconds of the game starting we were madly running about stabbing each other, just using grenade launchers instead of guns, and general madness.

Half an hour into the game and we were back in 2011, we had lost the years in-between, nothing had changed PlanetPete still had his love of BIG BOOMS and explosions, and I was up high with scoped weapon.

I thought it was just nostalgia that made me travel back in time while running around trying to stab PlanetPete (At least it was only a virtual knife not a training knife). But this morning I received the IM.

PlanetPete: Last night i went back in time!!””!”!!!

 

Remember, Games with old friends can travel you back through time! But oddly you can not use that time travel to get the winning roll-over lottery ticket! Paradox’s People! PARADOX’S!

Until Next time, in the Voice & words of Wil “Play more Games!”

Oct 31

Happy Samhain/Halloween

Halloween is one of the oldest surviving holidays, its origins going back thousands of years. Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts (A friendly bunch of People). The Celts were Nature Worshippers, and had many different gods, The Sun God being one of the most common ones, since the sun dictated when they would work,rest and play. The Celtic New Year was on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the “season of the sun” and the beginning of “the season of darkness and cold.”

On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet and light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.

When the morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits.

The November 1st festival was called Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”). The festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would become the first Halloween.

So Happy Halloween, Merry New Year, Happy Samhain, and any other greeting you wish!!!

Oct 30

One More than the Queen of England – Revisited

Last week I was annoying my mother while visiting my parents, and she threatened me :-

Mother: “Just remember your birthday is coming up!”

Me: “Yup, next Saturday!”

Mother: “Yes, Sunday”

Me: “Sat-ur-day!”

Mother: “No, Sunday, Saturday is the 1st”

Me: “Yes, the 1st, Saturday, my birthday”

Mother: “But your birthday is the 2nd”

Me: “1st!!

Mother: “Are you sure? I’m positive it’s the 2nd”

Me: “It’s the 1st as it has always been”

Mother: “Really?. what does it say on your birth certificate?”

Me: “the 1st!!!”

Mother: “that does not sound right, Why do I think it’s the 2nd??”

The conversation then went into the area of, “When was I actually born” which reminded me of an old post where I explained my theory I should get a 3 day birthday.

 

From the vault “One More than the Queen of England

Weird post title right? What I am referring to is birthdays, The Queen of England has two birthdays a year, Myself I have Three. So if you will sit down comfortably dear Reader, I’ll explain, mostly because its become a FAQ.

A few years ago a friend offered to do one of those astronomical charts for me, One of the larger complicated ones that show your personality, and long term fortune, etc. So I gave my friend the details I had, Date of Birth, and Location of Birth. Both of which are required for accuracy. I was then informed that if i wished a more accurate chart then they would need my time of birth, because when it comes to stars that take a millennium for the light to reach us, knowing what minute you were born makes all the difference. So I asked my parents for the time of my birth.

I think I’ll jump ahead here to the conversation with my friend later, for pure comedy affect.

F=Friend, M=Me

F:So, you got the time of your birth?

M: Yes, Nov 1st

F:no the TIME? if you don’t know the exact time you can narrow it down to morning, afternoon, evening, night. it will still help with accuracy

M:Nov 1st

F:No, can they narrow it down a bit?

M:They did, they narrowed it down to Nov 1st. Apparently no one made a not of when i was born, and they latter could not work out if it was Oct 31st, Nov 1st, Nov 2nd. so the narrowed it down to the middle one, Nov 1st

F:You just can’t do anything normal can you? you even managed to mess up and complicate getting born!

It turns out that it was a very long and painful labor, and I was a home birth (a uncommon occurrence at the time). Also the Midwife was not that good, and forgot to fill in the forms at the time. She also banged my head repeatedly against the bed, but thats a different story. So basically everyone was tired, exhausted, and under belief that the midwife did her job. It was only later when it came time to register my birth they realised they were unsure of the date. My father, Mother & Nian (Grandmother) all believed different days.

They settled on the middle day of the range, since it was central and my mothers vote (well she did have the pain so its only fair). Since then a few people have stated I’m more suited to a Halloween birth than a All Saints Day birth.  The upshot is that since I was born on one of three possible days, I think to play safe I should celebrate my birthday over the full three day period. Its the only way I can be sure I have got the right day.

Oct 30

Poem: Samhain

A bit of mindless fun considering the time of year!

Samhain comes just once a year

and when it comes it brings much fear

for the dead get just this night

to leave their graves to spread such fright

Ghost and Ghouls and Zombies arise

So best stay in doors if you are wise

and from trick or treater’s you best keep clear

else you’ll be with them this time next year

Oct 29

All Hallows Read

AHR13_LargePromoTout#allhallowsread

So what is All Hallow’s Read?
All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.Scholars have traced its origins as far back as this blog post.

Is this instead of Trick or Treat? Because I don’t want to get egged, and the kids around here are mean.
Not at all. Trick or Treat is Trick or Treat. This is All Hallow’s Read, a great excuse to give someone a book.You can give out scary books or comics to trick or treaters on Hallowe’en if you want to, obviously. (We recommend looking the child in the eye and saying, “Take it. Read it. Trust me… around here… a book can be… safer than candy.” Then chuckling to yourself, as if remembering something unfortunate that happened to some of the local children only last year.)

What kind of scary book?
An appropriate one. If you’re giving a kid a scary book, make it a kid-appropriate scary book. You wouldn’t give the same kind of scary book to one person than you would another, any more than one book is right for everyone. People like different things.
Do I have to buy it new?
Nope.Obviously, we support bookshops and authors, but more than that, this is about making a holiday tradition of book-giving. So feel free to give second-hand books or books from your own shelves. And feel just as free to buy a beautiful new book from a small independent bookseller, or from online or… look, there’s no wrong way to buy a book. You can even gift it to their Kindle.

How do I choose an All Hallow’s Read book?
If you do not know what scary book to give someone, talk to a bookseller or a librarian. They like to help. Librarians will not mind even if you admit that you are not planning to take out a book, but instead you are going to buy one and give it to someone.
What about the apostrophe in “All Hallow’s Read”?
We are not sticklers for it. In the Twitter hashtag it has to be #AllHallowsRead. Apostrophise or not. We shall not judge you.
Can it really be that simple?
Not necessarily. It’s All Hallows Read, a tradition we just made up. You can fancy it up as much as you like. Just make sure you give someone a scary book this Hallowe’en…