Polar bears are not meant for heatwaves

Yet another day of scorching heat. Hooray… 30+ degress celsius is not ideal temperature for thinking work, and when there is no wind to occationally lick your body with its cool tongue, it is even worse. Sitting at a sidewalk coffeeshop trying to stay alive with some iced coffee and, I kid you not, the world smells like it is about to catch fire. Violent, scorching fire.

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Deadlines be damned in this weather! Now I shall enjoy the rest of my iced awesome and look at pretty girls in sun dresses, I can worry about writing in the evening when it gets cooler.

-Still a hot bastard-

Everybody expects the Thedian Inquisition

I’ve been keeping an eye on the latest videos and other information about the new Dragon Age: Inquisition game from Bioware, like 90% of the rest of the internet, and the more I see of it, the more I can’t wait to get my dirty little hands on.The updates promise a game that will deliver several things that I’ve been wishing for in gaming, especially when it comes to narrative. I expect great things from this game from that perspective. The significance of choices, play style, companions utilized, they promise that all of this will have a meaningful impact on the overall experience. The more agency, the happier I am. Hopefully it will not just be window dressing, but actual meaningful play and meaningful narrative agency. That is the reason why I fell in love with CD Project RED’s the Witcher and, to a certain degree, the Witcher 2 (which was somewhat weaker in the delivery; less difference in kind and more difference in degree when it comes to choices and agency).

I admit, I love games that focus upon narrative, more than those that focuses upon play, which is why I rarely bother with multiplayer games, save for those few evenings with a some buddies and some beers. I love a good story, and games are capable of telling very good stories, in ways that we haven’t been told stories before. It is the shaping of a story, to see that our own interpretation of a story is brought to life, that intrigues me. This is part of what disappointed me when it came to Mass Effect 3, the feeling I was left with that I had no proper agency when it came to the outcome of the game, but I am hopeful that Bioware has learned from this experience. Sixth time is the charm, right? (Counting the two series as “one” is justified in the similarities between the two game systems, in my opinion). Though it has to be said, I love the conclusion to the Mass Effect series and think it was a solid entry into the series, so don’t get me wrong.

Deep and meaningful play is what I can see in the videos they’ve shown so far, and I am hoping that they will deliver in the final product. I just hate the wait until October, and hoping that there will be no further delays, ’cause damn I want to play this. Also, how many times will I repeat the word “meaningful”? It’s starting to lose its meaning.

-A meaningful bastard-

Summertime, fun time, not-getting-any-work-done-time

I love the summer, don’t get me wrong, but Oslo has recently been struck by either thunderstorms or heatwaves. Either of which fuck me up royally when it comes to getting work done. I feel like I’ve been walking around with a headache for the last month. Not a great idea when I’m stretching a deadline further and further. But, it can’t rain all the time and as the temperature has taken a turn for survivable, the work commences yet again. And with that, we can enjoy the summertime. And the sundresses. How I’ve missed you, sundresses. You make me smile all day long, while I’m sitting on a sidewalk pub, having a beer to cool down and try to survive the heat. That is one good thing about a heatwave, the sundresses become more sunny, and skimpier. Who doesn’t love skimpy sundresses?

I kinda lost track of where I was going with this. I’m not sure I had somewhere I was going with this. Sundresses… they have that effect.

It is reassuring to see that people smile a lot more as the sun brightens up a dreary everyday and people take their clothes off in the park, to just lounge about and simply enjoy life. What is life for, if not for enjoying? Which reminds me that I haven’t seen Candyman in ages, should dig out that DVD from where ever I put it. Probably gathering dust, as most physical formats do these days thanks to the digital revolution. Wireless is the way to go, as the great prophet once said. Either way, happy faces all around, ‘cept for those that fake it and haven’t quite made it yet, but A+ for trying. Save the sulking for the winter, it is what I do.

It is now just a few short weeks until I head for the mountains to go fishing, barbecuing and drinking while the sun gently licks my bearded face and Dog licks my toes. I wish I could get her to stop that, but can’t teach a old bitch new tricks, and you can’t make an old bitch stop doing something that she’s learned will have me giggling like a catholic schoolgirl so that she can steel food of my plate. I’ve been told it is a hilarious sight…

God, I could use a smoke right now. A proper cigarette and a cold beer. Unlike the cyborg cigarette and ice tea I’ve got at the moment. Cravings, why must they haunt me so? But it is time to stay strong and keep away from temptations. I SHALL BE STRONK! (Cue dramatic music and thunderstorm, ala old timey vampire movies)

-Still a bastard-

 

 

Have fun AND study?

This clip from Extra Credits is a bit old, first uploaded back in 2012 (the speed of content creation and evolution on the internet makes the tag “a bit old” strangely credible for something that happened only two years ago) but the message is one that strikes a chord with me and touches both upon what I am personally trying to do with my thesis and upon several views I’ve seen in people, both online and in real life: “Why do you bother studying games? they’re just games!” “Doesn’t studying games take the fun out of them?” Studying and understanding something does not  take away the fun of the subject, it opens up potential for MORE fun, not less.

 

 

-Still a bastard, but an updated one-

Vintage Car or Vintage Game?

Yesterday there was an article on Pressfire.no, that also was posted to VG.no, about a NES cartridge that was for sale on Ebay, the auction being finalized now, with the winning bid being just under $100k. You can read the Polygon article they referenced here. The cartridge in question is a very limited edition (116 cartridges all in all), namely one of the Nintendo World Championship cartridges from 1990, used in said tournament. As such, it is a rather unique memorabilia for the gaming culture. But I’ve seen and heard a lot of people both before and after this that were flabbergasted that “people would spend so much money on a GAME?!” But, on the other hand, if it had been a vintage car, it would barely have raised attention at all, despite that the car would most likely see as much use as the game would. It would be taken out for special occasions to show off, played with now and then, and the rest of the time put somewhere safe.

$100k is a lot of money for a piece of plastic, but it is also a lot of money for a car that you won’t use on an every day basis. It is a hobby, it is memories and it is love. It is most of all a luxury. The kids who grew up with the vintage cars and are interested in cars are willing to pay big bucks for cars that by today’s standards are not worth what they’re charging, just as the kids who grew up with vintage games and are willing to fork up for games that are far less by today’s standards.

I love the fact that we’re at the point where gaming culture has it’s own “vintage cars”, but I’m hoping that the shock value of it will eventually disappear.

-Still a nostalgic bastard-

The New Better You

On the subway on my way to Uni this morning I noticed an ad for Fresh Fitness, a gym chain that I’ve never heard of before. The ad said something along the lines of “are you tired of those sweaty, red faced, huffing people fresh from the gym next to you on the subway? Are you tired of those people going to the store in gym clothes to only buy healthy food? Join us and they won’t be annoying anymore!” First of all, I go to the gym and I eat healthy, but those people are annoying anyhow, and secondly, your idea is that if I am annoyed by some people I should just join them and all my troubles will disappear? Doesn’t sound like too good a deal, as I am rather annoyed by both religious nutjobs and neo-nazi scum too. But hey, if it will give me a change and a better life, who am I to argue?

-Still an annoyed bastard-

Snap goes the vertebrae!

Ruts. Ruts are terrible things to be stuck in, kinda like a soggy armpit of that smelly, hairy thing that you brought home from the bar yesterday, that you were certain was looked just like that hot model that you’ve always been into. Sadly, in daylight it looked like a grizzly bear survivor, whom the grizzly bear attacked just because it was too horrid to live. Ruts are just like that. Only worse. Much worse.

But then something shiny comes along and the rut begins to roll over and off your arm, so that freedom is approaching. Then you can burn your sheets with fire. As opposed to burning your sheets with water or jello. If you try to burn stuff with jello, I personally recommend kiwi/lime. That shit is horrible and good for little else. If any of your friends or family are eating kiwi/lime jello, I recommend that you contact your local exorcist and check your cupboards for signs of a Scientology invasion from the planet of Xenu. ALL HAIL XENU! Ehm, where did that come from?


Ok, back to ruts. They’re horrid to be stuck in and it feels so liberating when you finally feel that they’re letting go ever so slightly. Personally, ruts mean that I need some change. The Gears of Life (next big hit game by Not-So-Epic Games!) are winding down and you’re just sitting there in front of the computer watching hours and hours of netflix and porn as you’re very very busy “working” on that text document in front of you. Honest. Cross my heart and hope for coffee. So, changes. Which this time around means kicking into action the plans for a new RPG campaign and buying a shiny new camera. The camera was something I’ve been thinking about for fucking ages, but haven’t been able to justify using that much money. Now that I’ve gone and upgraded my gear, I HAVE to get more active on it. It is sitting there on my desk, constantly reminding me that I have to walk it and feed it and bathe it… scratch that last part, but the rest is all good. It’s my new pet that demands what a pet demands. Attention and time.

The RPG campaign is called Dark Roads and borrows themes from Twin Peaks, Supernatural, American Gods and The Devil’s Rejects. Folklore, rural mysticism and the Road™ is what we’re going for here, played out in the Mage: The Awakening system, with all that silly goof-gaff about Atlantis conveniently tucked away in a corner where it shall stay out of sight and out of mind. If it knows what is good for it. I’ll be using the system for M:AW and themes and settings more in tune with M:AS. The orders will be cut away too, as they don’t quite fit in with what I have in mind for this game. The sense of being alone in a world of mystery, no global magical societies, no back up, no one to hold your hand. It’s as much an exploration of magic and mysticism, as told by old men and women down along the road, shamans and mountain men and women that live with nature, as it is about slaying monsters. There will be no damsels to rescue. If you’ve read the book Crime in Southern Indiana, there is a lot in that book that I want to incorporate into this game. I’ve also put together a soundtrack for this campaign, which is a first, as I’ve usually just put on something something in the background, just to have something on.

And yes, a lot of this game comes from the fact that I want to move to the mountains, build a log cabin and live out my life there. At least until I get bored and need a beer and some metal, in a sleazy dive, with skanky ladies. Three days at the cabin this X-mas did nothing but ignite my love for the mountains again, the simple life. The life of no stress and no ruts. I’m slowly turning into a stereotype, I admit that. But the flannel shirt matches my eyes and beard just so gosh darn well!

-Still a bastard, and now stealing your wife-

Nothing Hill Matters


So, Christmas is creeping closer and I’m watching Nothing Hill with two of my sisters and their cousin. While it is rather nice to spend time with them, I’d rather watch something else… like a duck being fellated by a Kodiak bear or a bobcat shitting on my fence… fence? I must have meant face… totally meant face.

Yes, an angry bobcat shitting on my face is better than watching this. That is how little I think of this piece of sodding crap. This is a piece of rat-infested bobcat feces slithering its way across my eyes and down into my mouth. Wow, that sounded rather perverted and [insert weird something something here]-erotic… THIS IS WHAT WATCHING NOTHING HILL DOES TO PEOPLE!

I am going to spend the rest of this night attacking the beer-supply and watching  some horrible twisted movie about happy people being torn to pieces. Too bad I am not at my cabin right now, watching horror movies at a cabin as a major storm is heading towards you, in the middle of the night, that… that is how you do Christmas!

Now where is a hockey-mask when I need one? Also, I should oil and fuel up the chainsaw. This Christmas falls on Friday the 13th!

 

Christmas time at the Mountain of Madness

It’s that time of the year again; Christmas, when you pack your shit and head up north to grow fat and useless due to the feeder tendencies that kick in with all the relatives. Thankfully the the mountains are here to provide both some fun and some exercise. The mountains are the thing that I miss most when I live in the city. Considering moving up to the cabin for a month or two this summer, would be a nice experience. Long walks, fishing and hunting, getting some use out of the camera. Mmm, sweet wilderness. Dear gods, how I miss the mountains. The best feature of the icy cold north. Well, I say icy cold north, but right now there is no cold, though plenty of ice. Everything is slippery as fuck. I miss proper winters, when the temperature hits 20-30 below zero and you get 4-5 meters of snow. It sounds weird, but I actually miss having to dig out my cabin during winter. Nostalgia? What is this? Am I getting old? Nah, I doubt it.

Maybe it’s time to start heading to the mountains again this spring, even if I’m down south. It’s not the same, but they’ve got some nice places there too.

The perfect day right now would be a long trek across the mountains, then some whiskey and fish fried over coals, while the dog sleeps by my feet. Spending three days at the cabin was marvelous and I got some good photos from it. I think it is the fact that there is no stress up at the mountains that appeal right now, time has no meaning and you can just do what needs to be done and go about your business as you please, there is nothing that you have to do and nothing that you have to make on time, save running to the outhouse when you’ve eaten some suspicious berries and the like. Though, who cares about the outhouse when you’re up there? The world is your outhouse and leaves your toilet paper.

Fuck, I think I’m turning into a mountain man again. Must have been living in the city for too long, is my guess.
Time to get that hunting licence and leave civilization behind for a while, time for the simple and rewarding life.

But, if not for the mountains, I’m getting a bit tired of this place. Just on schedule, been here a week now, it usually sets in at around that time. People everywhere and no time to just relax and be alone with oneself. And no, I don’t mean jerking of, get your mind out of the gutter. Filthy people… What would God think of this?  You should be ashamed of yourselves. Say ten hail Mary’s and drink some whiskey, then God will forgive. God will, but Jesus will not. Eh, I have no idea where I am going with this and what I’m on about. If you need some answers to this, dress up as a choirboy and go see your trusted neighborhood catholic priest.

Nature is a blessing and I miss accepted stinky scruffiness, mud and the lack of public transportation. The city might be filled with stuff to do, but sometimes, sometimes you just want to do abso-fucking-lutely nothing. This restlessness to do nothing, it is glorious. If I could get some decent internet connections at my cabin, I’d pack my shit up and move there to finish writing my thesis. Maybe I should move to Alaska and live with the bears. Mmm, bears… I wanna pick a fight with a bear. OK, maybe the restlessness is getting the better of me.

If there is no communication for a while, assume that I’ve either gone crazy for want of something to do or that I’ve been eaten by a bear or a bobcat. Dear gods, I hope it’s not a bobcat. That would be embarrassing…

Smoke, coffee, whiskey and a roaring fire up north, being a bastard is great.

Too early

You know you’ve started your day when you arrive at the airport too early for a decent cup of coffee or a overpriced beer. Now there is an hour left to wait until the murderbird takes off, and I’m starting to rethink my decisions. Mostly, why the hell did I take the early flight? I must absolutely loathe myself, that’s the only reason I can think of. Actually I loathe the bussboy at the coffeeshop more, filthy swine that tricked me into believing I could get something to sooth my aches and drown my liver with.

Going on a x-mas vacation is rough business.