Monday 27 March 2017

#186 Bring the noise

"I show you how to make this!" blurted Bruno excitedly. He'd just come roaring into the kitchen from the gym and had tossed a bag of ingredients onto the counter. My Portuguese housemate had had a spring in his step ever since he started working out a month ago. That was alright with me. I'd been quietly enjoying my own dinner before the ambience of the evening was slaughtered by the unexpected cookery lesson but it came as no surprise. It was the price I paid for eating in the kitchen.

The amateur chef smushed up all his mincemeat with abandon, handling the cooker knobs with his raw meat-covered fingers, while I sat there quietly horrified. I wondered to myself how the bastard could afford gym membership in the first place. It seemed to do him the world of good, although I couldn't quite work out how one was supposed to relax in a jacuzzi that was open to members of the general public.

Take a load of mincemeat, smush it with an egg and some onion. Lay it out flat on tin foil. Put ham, cheese and spinach on it. Roll it into a tube. Wrap bacon around it. Bake it for an hour. No wonder he needed the gym. The guy knew how to cook a few things though. It was clear that for him, making dinner was an end in itself. 

I wonder if extroverts subconsciously decide to be loud as a way of drowning out discontent. I wonder if introverts subconsciously behave quietly because their minds are busy trying to drown it out inside their heads. Either way, it's a noisy world.

Monday 20 March 2017

#185 A New Hope

Spring has come. After leaving my last job in December, three months have passed. I've finished editing my book and the time to start searching for work has arrived.

Contact with my ex-girlfriend was lost following the end of the two and a half month relationship. In her absence, I've found myself craving some isolation and have managed to spend the last two weeks without excessive contact with the outside world. It's been quite relaxing.

The US President and Brexit in the UK continue to dominate news headlines, suggesting that a role in either the media or a psychology-related field might be rewarding.

With a career change looking inevitable, I want to make the most of my transferrable experience. I feel like I need to do more writing. I want to. I think it's good for me.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

#184 Leeeeeeeeeeeeeroy!

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with my old housemate Rich for lunch as he was in "the Wharf" and I live... nearby. Geographically. Rich had always been a gamer and a retro one at that, which meant that I'd frequently come home to find him either headshotting enemy soldiers on an old version of Call of Duty or mastering a new melody on Link's Ocarina of Time. I was impressed that he still got enjoyment out of the classics and had donated my PS2 to the cause by giving it to him when he moved out, so he could carry on playing GTA San Andreas. His latest fascination was, unusually, a newer game, Pokemon Go, which he enjoyed telling me about.

I'd never been into Pokemon myself but I'd played my fair share of games. I'd pretty much abandoned consoles back in 2007 after getting my hands on a trial version of World of Warcraft, which I played until 2011, at which point I moved to the city and discovered other things like running and girls. Maybe it was time to pick it up again though. Afterall, if someone as level-headed and mature as Rich was playing Pokemon Go, I figured I jolly well ought to let myself have some gaming time too.

I suppose it would be appropriate to call Warcraft "Retro". It debuted in 2004 and hasn't since changed much to look at or to play. The subscriber base apparently reached around 12 million at its peak and is still close to a substantial 5 million. It seems like the creators, Blizzard, have somehow combined the populations of several servers so that the virtual world remains busy and thriving.

The latest three Warcraft expansions (Pandaria, Draenor and Legion) have a more structured, cartoon-like feel to them, with a greater emphasis on following a central story as opposed to mindlessly grinding (killing) creature after creature. Lots of bonus objectives have been thrown in as well, to make levelling faster. As a result, I was able to get my old level 80 character, Danc, up to level 110 inside 14 days of eat, sleep and play. 

Progressing through Warcraft fast enough to get through that many levels in a fortnight meant that my character outgrew his equipment almost as fast as he earned it, which meant that I sucked at most of the cooperative elements of the game and got kicked out of a few online groups but it allowed me to condense an immense amount of distraction from reality into just two weeks. By the end of the period, playing it almost seemed like a chore and I felt more than happy to lay the game to rest again, at least for another few years. Still, it was a nostalgic and enjoyable trip down memory lane, even if the lane wasn't a real one.