Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Perks of being a failure.

Today I had an interview for a placement that I have been working towards for the last couple of years. A placement that would have put me on the path towards my dream job. Important stuff.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I did not get the place. Gutted for me. But it's nothing I can't deal with, and quite frankly, I'm already getting over it.

To paraphrase Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins (no, I couldn't think of anyone else at time of writing), "we fall to get back up again", which is a philosophy that could make you pretty much bulletproof in this world if you make it your motto. Life has winners and losers, that is inevitable. People who fail to get what they want, only become the latter when they accept this face and give up. Losing out on anything can be a beneficial experience, added to experience and character building.

The last point there is an important one. Failing is an important part of life, yet there are schools who want to protect their children from this fate by implementing 'prizes for all' schemes which discourage actually trying. Take sports day, for instance. I hated it. But if I didn't win (I never did), I wouldn't win anything, as it should be. Rather than dish out prizes for last place or taking part and celebrating mediocrity, children should be taught to take things on the chin, and turn it into a positive experience. Or they will be in for a nasty shock when they leave school and go into the cold world, where there are no prizes for just taking part.

And if there is then I'll be expecting my 'well done for trying' certificate in the post pretty soon.

Today's Tune - Wolf - First Aid Kit. Female folk-rock, somewhere between Fleet Foxes and Florence and The Machine.

Fact: - Karaoke means 'empty orchestra' in Japanese. Thanks to How I Met Your Mother for that one.


Monday, 14 January 2013

Sir Bradley of Blighty

For those who didn't know, I am from Britain. We are a queer old race, having many traditions with origins unknown even to us indigenous people. 

We queue; a concept alien to a lot of our overseas visitors. I have travelled to far away countries, some of which prefer to gather around the point of interest, creating a semi-circle of pushing and shoving, with varying degrees of efficiency. We have Morris dancers; a cult-like dance of people banging sticks together, again, the origins of which I have no idea or who the hell Mr Morris may have been. In Gloucester we have lunatics who chase rolling cheese down a hill and we burn effigies of a man who tried to blow up parliament over 400 years ago (the latter of which has been described as the only man who entered parliament with honest intentions.)

It's strange but it's home.

One of the more archaic of these traditions is our honours system. The reason I'm writing about this is due to the fact that the Queen's honours list for 2013 has been announced, heavily featuring the athletes of last year's successful Olympic games. 
For those who don't know or aren't of this country, people who are recognised for certain achievements and contributions can be nominated for a title, the some of which being one of various knighthoods which carry the prefix 'sir' or 'dame' for males and females, respectively. I won't get into the intricacies of it, I'm certain it runs pretty deep.

It's hard to believe that in this day and age that we would have any need for knights and dames, especially since the threat of dragons is pretty minimal these days. Neither would I expect any of the recipients to be handy with a sword, or any of the dames to be giving favours to these brave knights before a quest. It seems pretty unnecessary. 

As I mentioned  before, this year's honours list is full of Olympic stars after last year's successes. This has divided people. Some are arguing that the recipients, notably cyclist Bradley Wiggins, are being recognised for 'being good at riding a bike', to quote one keyboard warrior on a news article. Some have claimed that these honours trivialise (an already trivial system) and undermine it.

Personally I have no problems with athletes joining the round table. They have been great ambassadors for their country and have done much more for the national identity of the UK than a good many already on the list. And if they can invest in sports, help out charities and reduce the number of fatties in the country then I can't think of a better use for such a high profile.

Also, there should be cheese-rolling at the next Olympics, it really should be a thing.

Today's tune: Woodkid - Run Boy Run. Used in a few Olympic teaser trailers last year, awesome jungle-like percussion juxtaposed with beautiful strings. These guy should be huge.

Random fact: Cracking knuckles/fingers does not cause arthritis. The noise made is the popping of the bubbles (made up of oxygen, nitrogen and water vapour) in the synovial fluid in your joints.


Thursday, 10 January 2013

And another thing...

"I don't think we build cemeteries for the dead. Sure, it may seem pointless to you, but... How can I describe it? It's so that we can think like this: 'We'll never forget you. We'll remember you every time we stand at your grave. And we won't let the fear of death, which each of us knows, stop us from living our lives. ...Because my friends will remember me when I'm here.'"
—Black Mage No. 288 
After mentioning Final Fantasy IX in the last post, had to post a pretty moving bit of speech from it.
Speaking of moving, I saw The Impossible last night; the film about beautiful Ewan McGregor and his beautiful wife and their beautiful kids on holiday in beautiful Thailand who get caught up in the not-so-beautiful tsunami of 2004.

My girlfriend cried. I didn't. 
I am man. Man no cry.

Unless it's the opening ten minutes of Pixar's Up.

Manly tears are shed.


Push 'Art' To Play

I read an article today, disputing the credibility of video games as art. This comes as the Museum of Modern Art in New York is to create an exhibit showcasing video games alongside the renown works of Duchamp and Picasso et al. This, of course, has caused outrage amongst many arty chin-scratchers and pretentious weirdbeards.

Let me get this out in the open first; I think modern art is shit, pretentious and baffling. And I am also a gamer, so you can already see what my opinion on the matter will turn out to be. But back to the exhibit.

Fourteen games are due to appear in the new exhibit set to launch in 2013. But hang on a moment! 'What possible games could they choose to exhibit from a veritable smorgasbord of aesthetically beautiful titles available today?', I hear you ask!
Well, eager beaver, I'll tell you.
Set to be included in the projected line-up are Pong and Minecraft.

Pong and fucking Minecraft.

For those not in the know:



Is it any wonder that the arty-types are denouncing MoMA's bold move? I think it's more the primitive visual styles of the selected exhibits more than the issue of the medium of which they are based. Furthermore, if the game itself is the medium being hailed as art as opposed to solely the visuals, then surely a static screenshot in a gallery is not going to showcase it? A game has to be played to be appreciated, something I'm sure the stereotypical art lover would never dream of lowering themselves to.

Like most things, art is subjective. Everyone has favourite styles, and artistic quality is in the eye of the beholder.

I grew up in what I like to believe to be the 'golden age' of video games, starting out with a Super Nintendo and Gameboy as a kid, making the 3D transition via Nintendo 64 and Playstation, and beyond. I could fill a whole post with games I have played with artwork worthy enough to sit in a gallery; the Final Fantasy series, Legend of Zelda series, World of Warcraft etc etc.

I'll stop there.

I'll leave you with two images to stew over, if you're still undecided.

Artwork from Final Fantasy IX, one of my favourite games ever. (not acceptable modern art)

'Black on Maroon' by Mark Rothko (acceptable modern art)      

I don't get it.

Today's tune: Alex Winston - Velvet Elvis.
Famous for being the satchel song on the latest Google Chrome ad, unashamedly catchy pop, great stuff.

Fact: The average person eats about 2-3 spiders in their sleep a year.

Sleep tight.


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A new year's revolution.

A new year, new start.


If you're reading this and have set yourself a new year's resolution that's still in effect; well done, give yourself a pat on the back. Tis the time of year where the smokers are still having 'one last cigarette' and the less athletically inclined are crawling back from the gym, already wondering what the hell they've signed up for.

A study taken in 2007 by Richard Wiseman of Bristol uni showed that 88% of new year's resolutions fail, and it's unlikely people have become more committed in the five near 6 years (feels old man) since it was undertook. Again, if you're still going strong with yours then kudos, have a cookie.

Unless you're dieting; then have a celery stick and drop and give me twenty, you worthless maggot.

Personally, I don't believe in resolutions; if you want to change something about your life then why not start right away? But what do I know.

Today's tune: Thrice - In Exile.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a nomad, as do I, then you won't find a more beautifully written song.

Fact - Licking a stamp consumes 1/10 of a calorie.

There's a thought for you dieters.