Unnamed Story: Part 3

January 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Blah, blah, legacy, blah, I really need to write some new content soon, blah blah, Tales of TAY based story thing.

“It was Chuloopa.”
“Indeed it was, ser Tech,” a hint of mirth in the man’s voice. “But, pray tell, what was it that he was doing?”
“Dealing with a criminal.”
“Indeed. And there’s the problem I always had with you lot. It’s simply black and white, life and death. That man was stealing, yes, but Loops didn’t stop to question why, or who for, he just dealt with the man. It matters not, those files were destined for some members of the lower office, to be re-posted as news. Our great leader can do only so much given the rampant corruption.”
Harli had had enough of his snide chatter, “If you know what he should have, what does it matter? The information is still somewhere, and someone can answer it, so why should everyone have to know? Are you saying everyone should be like you, desperately craving knowledge, locking yourself away and hoarding all you know, refusing to help others?”
“I never said I’d refuse to help. Please, Ambrose was my friend, long ago. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot I know.” The man sighed, the look in his eyes showing the pain he felt, the pain at being helpless in a situation that was spiralling increasingly out of control. “I have footage but it shows little. He was hiding, he knew his time was nearing its end. The only reason we know about his death is thanks to the window. The glass used in constructing a sixty storey building is not known for shattering, particularly not as violently as in this particular incidence. That’s all I know. I’m sorry to have wasted your time. I recommend you find the man, hiding in Plain sight. He knows things that elude even I. Particularly his location.”
“Now, if you could please leave, there is much for me to do. I urge you to think over what I’ve said,” the man paused, looked them over and finally added “Oh, and get Bunny to send me more music, he does have impeccable taste.”
2 pm. Ask Me Stuff Square.
“I don’t care how far away they are, I need support!”
The explosion had rocked the square. The door of the Community Kudos vault had blown from out of its housing, and almost crushed five readers as they browsed through the square. Then the panic had set in, hundreds fleeing the building, joining the thousands in the square. Only one man stood resolute through all the chaos. Striding towards the building, as all the others tumbled away. This was a well planned Heist, its creators looking for an easy Pay Day. The Moderators were stretched to breaking point, and the sole guard of the vault, Josephine, was known for her dedication, as opposed to her efficiency.
“Don’t you have anything you can send? Lives are at stake, and more besides!”
FatShady was beginning to get mad. His greying temples were showing an age that his eyes refused to accept, his barrel chest sitting over a growing belly, as he slowly began to resemble his name.
“I’m going to go in, and Lord help me if there isn’t back-up here within five minutes.”
He strode towards the bank, drawing his tech-sword as he did. A spoil of war from the ancient incursion onto Gizmodo soil, it was said that the blade could cut a bullet in half. At just over a metre long, and weighing 12 kilos though, it could have made an effective bludgeon, even without power. As he reached the door he slipped to the side. Surveying the room, he saw two men standing guard, with an unknown number inside the vault. FatShady knew himself well enough, and he knew his limitations, and these two goons were well within them, so throwing caution to the wind, he strolled inside. Seeing him, blade in hand, the two men laughed, drawing their own blades, ignoring their holstered guns. It was to be their last mistake. Shady held the massive blade one handed, out to his right, the first man charged at him, swinging his sword down at Shady’s head. He sidestepped the blow, and brought his own sword round, crashing into the man’s blade, but only after it had passed through half his chest. The second man was more cautious, he approached Shady in a defensive stance, waiting for a blow to react to. After thirty seconds, with Shady just standing, blade held casually to the side, the man could take it no more, he swung hard, blade screaming through the air. With a casual movement FatShady executed a perfect parry, the forte of his blade striking the foible of his opponents, the Magnesium steel against the cheap iron, but he had no need to follow it up, as his opponents blade shattered against his, de-balancing the man, who slipped, and speared himself on the shattered remnants of his blade. Shady didn’t have time to wait, so he walked straight to the vault, a move that he regretted as soon as it was done. Inside were fourteen people, twelve of them garbed in the red and white of the IGNoble troops. They turned at his entrance, 10 of the troops rushed at him, drawing contratech blades as they ran, with a quiet curse Shady went into a defensive position, and his blade hummed to life. Its polished steel glowed white, and the blood that slicked its upper half seemed to evaporate.
He was forced, back and back. His blade moving in a flurry, a white blur, seemingly inpenetrable. He sidestepped a blow, ducked aunder another, with a strong block, followed by a quick riposte he crippled the hand of one assailant, but it was all too much. His foot slipped, and a blade ducked in, tearing the skin on his upper arm, with a roar he swung out, his sword connected, slicing through the man as swiftly as air, but it was all too much. He was forced back another step, and then another. Four of them had fallen, and then five. His right arm was struck again, and he switched to a left-handed stance, a blade nicked his leg, causing blood to flow down his shin. One of his assailants had resorted to simply using the same motion, a side-swing followed by a side-swing, as if the remise would effect him. He ended the blows with a swift kick and a harsh swing. That left only four of them, but they were young, energetic, and he was worn out. They were cautious around him though, none of them willing to attack. Shady realised that he’d walked all the way back to the entrance, and he saw the four remaining people begin to walk out of the vault, heavy bags in their hands. He didn’t have long to think it over though, one of the remaining blades sliced at his neck, and as he moved to parry, he stepped back, his foot finding only air. He tumbled back, falling head over heels down the shorts steps at the front of the bank.
“You fought well, old man,” said one of the four, his blade at Shady’s throat. “But I fear that this is the end for you.”
3 pm. The other side of the city.
Bish surveyed the building in front of him, his target was at work, where you could find him at almost any point in the day, three storeys from the top, but with a fantastic view when the sun set over the city. In the room with him were two others. Beautiful women, loyal to a fault, the Lord’s hounds, as the more respectable crooks called them, and best not to mention what the lesser ones said. He had to know, he’d been there, when it had all began, not the very start, but when it had all got going. It would be difficult to get in the usual ways, he had guards out the front, and getting an appointment was notoriously slow, so a more direct approach was required. There were air-vents, stretched throughout the building, and Bish was well practised at climbing through them, but time was not a luxury he had. With a quick sigh he stretched his legs, cramped from squatting for so long, and proceeded to launch himself off the roof of the 2010 Big Pile Of Crap, and towards Allure HQ. He spread his arms, short wings, designed for gliding sprung out of his back, and with a clench of his fist, a booster fired. He smashed through the window, glass showering around him, the only response came from the two women, who glanced up briefly, a grin from one, and an eye-roll from the other.
“Can’t you ever enter like a normal person?” Lord Serrels asked, his thick accent masking the words.
“I did that once, you may recall,” said Bish, his voice filled with mock patronisation. “If I recall correctly, you almost died of shock.”
“Aye, that I did. Now, tell me, what’s so important that they sent you to find me?”
“AmbroseIV has been found. And well, you won’t like”
7 pm. Somewhere in the city.
It was dark in the room. He knew that. There was only one source of light, a red LCD display, slowly ticking down the time. He’d been here for two days, he knew that. And it looked like he’d be here for another 7 hours. What would happen when that clock hit zero didn’t bear thinking about. He’d done it to protect himself, to protect his family, there shouldn’t have been ramifications, but here he was, only one thing could have caused this. “I regret nothing” he thought to himself. At least he had time to make peace with himself.
1:20 pm. TAY financials.
“I don’t like this at all,” said Strange, glancing at her companions. “Ambrose was one of us, he left, as was his right, but he’s been killed, and I can’t help but feel that we might be responsible.”
“He knew the risks, as do we all, however miserable that might sound.” Replied Sughly, his quiet voice barely heard above the cafeteria noises.
DAN! piped up then, “it’s only one death, anything could have caused it, we should only worry if it sets a precedent.” He paused, pretending to think, “now, Strange, tell me. Why did you send those three? I must say, I’m almost as curious as they were on their return.”
“To get results. Unfortunately, I didn’t count on how well he knew me. And them.”
“Yes, but why them specifically?” DAN! pestered, “you could have sent anyone, The Punishing Hand for instance is well reknowned for his… results.”
“I’ll tell you when you’re older.”
“Oh yes, of course. Mother.” DAN! muttered, the last word barely audible
And with a glare, Strange stalked off, the conversation over.

Please try to use our language properly

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Another legacy piece, because I’m lazy, this one was written in July of 2010, because I’m sick of people who just don’t care.

 

On rare occasions it has been known for the gears in my head to start turning, creaking along, and pushing against the rust and decay that builds up over months of disuse (A guy using the brain in his head? Yeah, right). When this happens, I feel that I have no choice but to write my feelings, get something out into the open and let it be absorbed into the apathy of the internet. But I got to thinking, and began to wonder about the language we use, and the abuse that if faces now that the masses have the ability to instantaneously comment on the mundane parts of everyday life.

 

Sean Richardson is making a sandwich

Ferd Franzinand Oh, I hope it has lots of bacon

T. Hat Guy Gawd Seean, that is the womens job to make a sandwich, get ot of the ktichen”

 

Or something along those lines.

 

When it comes to languages, there are few that are as poorly designed as this English one. As a basic example, we can look at

“i before e, except after c”

Which only holds true in some cases, which leads to additions such as

“or when sounded like a

as in neighbor and weigh”

Which itself is only true to some extent, and doesn’t cover nearly enough. I recommend going here as it has a brilliant video discussing this.

 

I understand that the English language is bad, and that not everyone wants to go through the effort of typing something correctly. I myself am unable to string two sentences together in a logical fashion, but at least the content is usually grammatically correct (although often poor) and correctly spelled. I can understand why people get annoyed at me for correcting their poor English, however I feel the same frustration every time someone squeezes a q into disadvantage.

 

I understand that our language can change, new words are constantly being added to dictionaries. Should we add definately to the Macquarie just because spelling it properly is annoying? Should it become reasonable to have twelve commas and four ellipses in a single sentence simply because that’s how I talk (that is how I talk, and I know that I overuse these horribly)? In short, no.

 

But why? I hear you ask. The reason is simple, but first, let me give you a tangent (that sentence is terrible, I’m sorry, I’m tired).

 

I like to think of myself as an intellectual. That isn’t to say that I think that I’m smart -I’m not- but simply that I believe myself to be a more learned (pronounced learn-ed) individual than some. I also imagine that anyone who has bothered to read thus far is also of a similar nature. As part of my education, I undertook the task of reading Nineteen Eighty-Four. I did this so that I could appear smart while we studied Animal Farm by making comparisons between the two. You are probably aware of the nature of the novel, and how it deals with a totalitarian government. However the idea of a totalitarian government was nothing new, what made this novel special was what they were doing with language. The government “creates” the language of newspeak. Newspeak is a simplified form of English, designed around the idea that by removing a concept from the language, you can remove it from people’s minds.

 

Now I return to the point at hand. I fear that our language will be simplified, reduced in both depth and breadth. People will only use a select few words, simplified down so that they can be easily typed. You will walk up to a girl, and say “illey”(because there is no real way of pronouncing ily), and she’ll respond with “your cute, lets do somthing”. The nuances and expression will be gone, our language will be a soulless beast. Our thoughts restricted and confined, with only the artistic among us truly able to express themselves.

 

I worry not for ourselves, but for the children of our generation (I’m not going to say “my children” because that is a terrifying thought). Forced to write an essay in 140 characters so that they can upload it to their mandatory school-based twitter accounts (I know, twitter will have died out soon enough, but you get my point). I worry because I know that there is nothing I can do, until I invent a way to slap people across the internet. I worry the most though, over the fact that I make these errors, and that this article is probably filled with them.

This story which I need to name: Part 2

January 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

The second part, same as last time applies to this one.

10:45am. Outside the TAY financials building.
They stepped outside, a group as unlikely as you’d ever see.
“Careful Techy,” warned Steve-O. “with all this rain you’d better hope you don’t rust.” A sly grin on his face, which slipped into a smirk as Tech Knight refused to rise to the bait. Tech Knight’s body, metallic as it was, vulnerable to strong magnets and malware, was well used to the near-constant rain that covered the city of Kotaku. Some believed the rain was there to ward off trolls, the moistness in the air helping to keep them subdued, others believed that it had been part of a marketing campaign by the Wild Goose, never truly removed. All Harli believed was that it was in her eyes, and that it would make the trip take approximately 23% longer by foot, or 36% by car. It wasn’t far though so she strode off, expecting the others to follow.
They reached the building. Its history and use, a mystery to most citizens, but it stood sentinel to the city, towering over those buildings around it. They entered the foyer, Tech Knight rushing forward to open the door for the others, and a spectacular sight beheld them. A grand chandelier, casting light over the gold-lined walls. A grand fresco roof, portraying some of Kotaku’s history, done in the classic Roman style helped to add to the grandeur. Steve-O, experiencing this sight for the first time could do little more than stare, his eyes matching the expressions on some of the statues which adorned the walls. Knowing how long this could take, Harli grabbed him by the elbow, and dragged him to the side, to a small elevator, its subtlety helping it to stand out against the grandeur of the rest of the foyer.
Tech Knight was the last to step in, a sliver of gold from the walls held in his hand, his curiosity outweighing his typical moral standings. The elevator began to rise of its own accord, only one button adorned its panel, a prize too tempting for Steve-O to resist. As the button depressed, a sudden change was felt throughout the elevator, and with the slight crackle of speakers, the TAYbies were serenaded by the sweet vocals of Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, inviting them to share A Whole New World. With a run-time of Four minutes and Five Seconds, the song was a perfect fit for the elevator ride up over 150 empty floors, each as lifeless as the foyer below.
With a clunk, and as the final note died, the elevator reached its destination, so the three stepped out, and into the “Attic.” A black room, three of its four walls empty, with the fourth covered in monitors, the majority of them flicking between different camera feeds. Some remained still. A dark room, with a bright pixel of red, shining in the darkness. One that followed a girl, walking through the rain. And one on the Major himself, working at his desk. Finally, another five, spread among the others, covering different parts of the building itself. Then, in the centre of the room, facing the monitors, headphones on ears, and plugging away on a keyboard, the man they had come to see.
“I know why you’re here,” he said, his quiet voice echoing through the room. “but you already knew that. I guess old habits die hard. The question is, do you know why you’re here?”
“We were sent to talk to you, to find out about Ambrose’s death.” Said Harli her voice cutting through the room.
“Yes and no.” Replied the man, as he walked towards them. “You were sent here because of that, but do you know why they sent you specifically?”
“Because they wanted results.” Piped up Tech Knight.
“I’m your friend, you know that.” Responded the man, the dim light from the elevator revealing him to be noticeably younger than those he talked down to. “If all they were after were results then they could have sent anyone. But why a group of three? Why you three specifically? I trust you can work it out yourselves.”
“By the way, Techy,” he started, a sudden change in his voice, “when your system is done analysing it you’ll find that it’s legitimate 24 carat gold, not the crap that’s been smuggled in. Though I must say, I admire your dedication.”
“Where were we? Ambrose, yes. You came here because you needed my help, and my help specifically. I see everything that is to be seen, and so know more than the rest of you combined. But before I help you, I want you to see something. Know what you take a part of.” He took Steve-O and Harli by the hand, leading them over to a monitor, trusting that Tech Knight would follow. “Tell me, what do you see?”
11:15am. A Darkened Alley. 2 Men Face Off.
“Look at you, stealing for some fun. I bet you think that you’re a real big man.” Said one of them, Fedora lazily strewn over his head, as he casually leaned against the alley wall. “Do you even know who you’re stealing from?”
“No, I don’t.” Replied the second man, his left hand grasping a briefcase filled with notes. “I just know that there’s nothing you can do about it, punk.”
“Punk, eh? My name’s Chuloopa, and you’ll never forget it.” Chuloopa said, as he slid his hand to his holster, releasing his 6 shooter, nicknamed “The Bolter.”
“Never forget it? What’cha gonna do? Shoot me?”
“If you wish.” And with an almighty bang, the man was dead.
“Hmm, most of this is crap.” Thought Chuloopa, as he sifted through the files. “But I guess, like with all Reddit activity, there’s some nuggets of gold in here. I’d better bring these back to base, some of these are so downright bad that they belong in a museum, specifically designed to showcase their failure.” And with a sigh he stood up, put the files in his satchel, and began to saunter back to the TAY headquarters.

Unnamed Story: Part One

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Part one of my Taybie story.  I can’t remember when I wrote this.  I want to try and fix the formatting, but it seems like WordPress hates me, so, for now it can have its original formatting.  I’ll probably come back and fix it later.  Probably.  And maybe I’ll even leave this here,  just to confuse people.

2 am. The rain poured down, drenching the city, cleansing it of evidence, but not removing the crime. Lightning cracks off in the distance, accompanied by the rolling boom of thunder. A window shatters, and a man dies.
9 am. More or less. A tall man confronts a small man, in a small street outside a jewelry store.
“Put the bag down.”
“No.”
“No? Are you sure that’s a wise idea?”
“I don’t see why I should listen to you, what’cha gonna do, arrest me?”
“No, I think I’ll just beat you into submission.”
“You wouldn’t do that, see” the small man said fear creeping into his voice. “That would be Mod brutality!”
“Indeed it would,” replied the tall man, cracking his knuckles as he stepped forward. “Except, “see” we’re not the Moderators.”
The small man paused, unsure of what to do, before he suddenly leaped forward, his fist flying towards the tall man. With a deft sidestep though his fist was avoided, and with an almighty crunch, the tall man’s knuckles smashed through the cartilage of the small man’s nose, knocking him down.

“Oh Snap!” Said a third man, silent until now, “I guess they call you Rocket thanks to your fists.”
“Yeah Mags, it’s something like that.” Replied Rocketman, before striding off. “Are you coming? Q called a meeting, and I’d hate to see the look on Bish’s face if we were late. Well, if I was late.”
“I don’t really have a choice,” replied JamesMag, as he jogged to catch up. “But shouldn’t we do something about this guy?”
“Nah, I’m sure he learned his lesson.”
9 am. But a few minutes earlier. The “Remember This” memorial bridge.
“Give me the details,” yelled ‘Flu, his deep voice penetrating through the carnage. “All I can see from here is smoke and chaos.”
“Approximately thirty minutes ago the perp leaped onto the bridge,” replied Trjn. A slight man, with a very precise way of speaking, Trjn had always mystified the other TAYbies, until they saw him in action, and remembered why he joined the vigilante group. “He then proceeded to open fire upon the rational commuters.”
“Rational commuters? So he just ignored all the irrational ones?”
“More or less. From what we can tell, he is currently making impossible demands, and has declared himself the “New Emperor.” Clearly he’s a troll, but he’s dangerous nonetheless.”
“Thanks Bunny, I guess our best chance is James Mac.”
“He’s already in position, awaiting our signal.” Trjn responded, “So we’d better not keep him waiting.”
A sharp crack, the witty retort of a large caliber rifle, and the troll was gone, fallen into the murky waters of Pages Past River.
“Come Effluvium Boy, we had best be off, Q has called a meeting, and he sounded on edge. We’ll leave the clean-up to the moderators.”
10am. Ish. 16 Storey’s underground, in the depths of the TAY financials building.
“I know Q called this meeting, but he is busy with other things, so I’m afraid you’ll have to deal with my blathering.”
“Oh well Aunty Strange, at least you’re a sight prettier than him.” Called a voice from the crowd. The First Lady, well used to comments like this, chose to ignore the interruption and move on. Her efficiency and the manner with which she handled in house fighting had earned her a second nick-name, one that no man was willing to call to her face.
“There was a murder last night, I know, I know, this is nothing new in this city, but this was something different. So far as we can tell, the shot was from almost a kilometre away, in the rain, with next to no visibility of the target.”
“You pulled in everyone to tell us that one person was killed?” Called Puppylicks. “People are probably being killed as we sit here doing nothing!”
“Yes, they are,” responded Strange. “but this was different. The man who died was AmbroseIV.”
A gasp went through the crowd, as all the older TAYbies looked solemly at one another. “Ambrose? Who’s that?” Asked Lucifer9783.
“You don’t know because you’re a new guy, but he used to be one of us.” Replied Strange. “He disappeared a while back, and while we knew he was gone, a few of us still hoped that we might see him again.”
The rest of the TAYbies stayed quiet, processing the shocking news.
“There’s a coupla things of note though,” called out Dr. What?, his soothing Scottish accent helping to ease the tension. “He was murdered last night, it looks as though he’s been in hiding for a long time. I’ve sketched up what I think happened, and I’m letting the crime labs look into it. And while there’s not a lot the majority of us can do, what we need right now is information. We wanted to tell you all about this together. You can go back to your patrols, or you can take the day off, it’s up to you. But Harli, Techy and Steve-O, we need your skills.”
“You’re going to send us to him, aren’t you?” Asked Steve-O, as he took a swig from a hip-flask.
“Aye, but we need info, and he’s the best. Well, the best we’ve got.” Replied the Doctor. “You know his motto.”
“From here to the eyes and the ears of the ‘Verse, that’s my motto, or it might be if I start having a motto.” Replied Tech Knight, his metallic body shimmering under the lair’s fluorescent lighting. “Oh well, to the king of the wankers.”

Overanalysing Film: Part 2

January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

The second part of my over-analysis of a singular aspect of Beauty and the Beast, this time in a far more serious* and intelligent manner, which is really quite dull.

*Not true, just the last part.

Welcome to the second part of me proving that I have too much time on my hands.  Here is where someone intelligent would link you to my previous work, but due to the stupidly inefficient way that Facebook handles internal movement, you could end up anywhere (like Norway), so if you are reading this and haven’t left in disgust yet and also haven’t read the previous part, I encourage you to read it, it’s somewhere on my profile, or something.

In the last part I came to the conclusion that the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast” was set sometime around the early 17th century, with this in mind, I shall be discussing the validity of the bookshop.

Let’s start with some fundamentals of marketing, when you are trying to sell something, you will typically market yourself towards two types of people.  These are the loyal customers, or really, anyone that is already using your service (the aim being to increase brand loyalty and the fanboy response), and to people who have no objection to it, but thus far have not been convinced of the merits.  You will hardly ever try to sell yourself to people who are, for lack of a better word, “haters”.  As an example, the Greens do not target the strongly right wing with their advertisements, they are instead designed to convince the fence sitters who are disillusioned with both major parties that there is a real alternative.  Although, if we’re going to be honest, the Greens ads don’t really seem to target anyone, but that’s another matter.

Now, what does the bookshop in Beauty and the Beast do?  Uhh, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to answer this question, I should really reword it, that’s the beauty of the Internet, but…  Yeah.  The bookshop is set up in a “small provincial town” where the average Joe looks down upon reading.  Certainly, since this is France the situation is far less dire than if it were England in the same period, but while not openly hostile to books, the people of the town have no use for them, and no desire to use them.  This leaves the bookshop with a mighty two consistent users, that being Belle and Maurice, her father.

Now if we look at the second part of marketing, once you have generated interest in your product (which this bookshop has failed at), you need to actually provide the service (for a bookshop, I imagine that would be selling books).  This is something the bookshop doesn’t do.  Belle borrows books from it (with no obvious cost, although, she may be paying some kind of persistent charge to have access to all of this), and then when she expresses her delight at a particular one, the owner simply gives it to her.  This is a terrible business model, similar in magnitude to the failure that is me not knowing where I can buy Old Spice.

So, to those who have scrolled thus far, but not actually read anything (or maybe you’re tired, or thick, I don’t know), where does this leave us?  A bookshop that has no real market, few customers, and a terrible business model.  To further exacerbate the problem, not only is there no local market, but there’s not really any market whatsoever.  Judging from what I’m reading on Wikipedia, France would have had a population of around 20 million, with only a few thousand considered members of the “reading public”.  That’s not to say that others couldn’t read, but simply that they did not do so for pleasure, or did so very rarely.

But wait, I hear you say (no, actually, that was just me again, disagreeing with myself as usual (frickin’ idiot (no I’m not (yes you are (shut up (no you shut up (no your face shut up)))))) *cough*) wouldn’t this lack of knowledge in the general populace act as a wonderful business opportunity for the bookshop?  Yes.  I imagine it would, and from here, we go into the world of wild speculation, a place where 9/11 was caused by pregnant hamsters, and the war in Iraq was because the Jackalope said so (don’t question me).  Back then the world was a big place (well, I imagine it was pretty much the same size it is now, but you know what I mean), the far off town of “just-over-that-hill” seemed like a long way away, and the hour long ride on your horse to go anywhere made travelling a chore.  However, you may want to communicate with people who are some way away, it’s doubtful that they’d be family, as you’d most likely been living in the same spot for generations, however there may be a trademan that you needed the assistance of, or a piece of tail you’re chasing from when you visited the big city (population 1,300).  For this you’d need a scribe, and who better to provide that role than the man in town who spends all his days with books.  You could visit him, get whatever it was you needed written down, and then have it sent along to the fine boys at the Royal Postal Service: serving the community since 1477.

So even without any real customers, the owner of the bookshop would have been able to earn some money, and then we can add the fact that expenses would probably have been quite low.  By lending out books, he’d hardly ever need to restock, and it’s unlikely that he’d have to pay rent for his shop, as it had probably been built by his family.  Add to that that he’s really an old man, and had probably taken up the job as something to do in his retirement, living off the spoils of his youth, and it really kind of makes sense what he does.  Really, he is most likely simply doing it for the love, of books, and he is kind of glad that he never sells anything, as then he’d just have to get more books.  With this in mind, and the logic of the bookshop and its owner explained in a way that probably only I understood, I leave you with this bit from Black Books.

Bernard: What do they want from me? Why can’t they leave me alone? I mean, what do they want from me?

Manny: They want to buy books. 

Bernard: Yeah but why me? Why do they come to me? 

Manny: Well, because you sell books. 

Bernard: Yeah, I know… but…

And then I’m back, to summarise that this entire piece is pointless, as what it says is “ooh, this doesn’t make sense but yes it does”.

Wikipedia pages I looked at briefly to try and pretend I didn’t simply make up all of this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_literature_of_the_17th_century

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_France

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparisons_of_the_French_and_English_Literary_Systems_between_1500_and_1800

Overanalysing film: Part 1

January 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Written in October of 2010, this post should be fairly self explanatory, I really like the movie Beauty and the Beast, and so I though I should be stupid about it.  Enjoy the first part of my ridiculous over-analysis.

While recently thinking about an inconsistency (really just a logical fail) in a movie recently, I began to wonder about the time period it is set in.  The movie is an animation, and does not explicitly say at what period it is supposed to be set, leaving it up to the viewers to gather that for themselves.  The problem?  A bookshop.  The movie?  Beauty and the Beast (manly, I know).  With this in mind, I decided to work out when the movie is set the hard way, by relying on things shown, and to not extend beyond the movie itself (as in, to the story it is based on).

First things first, the use of a prince.  By stating that the Beast is a prince, we can gather a very rough idea of when the movie is supposed to be set.  Since it is obvious that he is not in direct line for the French throne, we can assume that he is prince over a smaller area.  This means that the movie is set either prior to the French revolution (so 1789 or earlier, ignoring the fact that the monarchy was not officially over until 1792), or at some point  between the formation of the first empire (1802) and the fall of the second empire (1870, again, ignoring a little bit in the middle where there was the second French republic).

Secondly, the character Gaston reveals a lot about the setting.  Ignoring the fact that he is really a sexist time traveller*, the weapons he uses reveal quite a lot.  His gun features a flintlock firing system, a mechanism that was invented around the beginning of the 17th century.  Given that he still has a bow and arrow with him, and that they seem to be the standard in the town, we can assume that this puts it near the beginning of their lifespan, so probably somewhere between 1600-1650 (flintlock muskets were the standard for European armies between about 1660 and 1840, if they were used as a common soldiers weapon then there would most likely be more found in the village than just the one)

As such, the movie is most likely set somewhere between about 1600 and 1650, and you have learned absolutely nothing from reading this.

*In the interests of padding out, I will explain.  In the song “Me” from the stage version of Beauty and the Beast, Gaston sings “Each one stuffed with every Gaston Gene”.  Those with access to wikipedia and a strong desire to procrastinate among us will know that the term “Gene” was not coined until 1909 by Wilhelm Johannsen, the Danish Botanist.  This has given rise to the theory (by me, god, I hope no-one else has overthought this much before) that Gaston is in fact from a much more modern time, and that he went back in time so that he could be in a place where his sexism and small minded nature would be accepted by the untaught people.

Tune in at some possible point in the future if I can ever be bothered for part two, where I will pose some questions about the legitimacy of the bookshop, and then answer my questions in a way that makes it seem as if I hadn’t already worked this out weeks ago.

Raven Software: 1990 – whenever Activision kills them

January 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is the first of my “Legacy” attempts at blogging, things I’ve written long ago, that, due to laziness over the last 24 hours are being posted so that I could make my schedule.  This particular one was written near the end of August, 2011, if my memory serves, it was written at around the same time that Blue Tongue Entertainment was closed, though I can’t remember if it was before or after the official shuttering.  I still fear for Raven Software, but maybe less so than I did before.  Though probably only because I’ve become even more jaded to the world in general.
It’s a well known event in the video game industry.  Someone with authority, or someone who thinks they have authority makes a controversial statement, and fanatics burst out of the woodwork, desperate to prove them wrong.“I’m going to go on the record and say that I believe the middle class game is dead.” -Clifford Michael Bleszinski

But with this comment, I didn’t really see that happen.  Looking at the industry as it currently stands, only two styles really seem to work.  It’s all or nothing.  The Triple A games, backed by multi-million dollar advertising campaigns, teams of over a hundred people, powered by massive brands and from the biggest publishers.  Or an independently developed title, a small group of people pouring their love into a project, hoping they’ll become popular enough to continue supporting themselves so they can move out of their parents basement.  Now, ignoring the extreme generalisations (not to mention the difference between indie and garage developers) of my examples, it’s becoming increasingly clear that these two options really are the only valid choices, and as the industry adopts that stance, it seems to be becoming increasingly true.

With the recent closure of Blue Tongue and THQ Studio Australia I figured it was time to show some love to an old studio who I feel is doomed by the industry’s view of itself.  So, Raven Software, you had a good run.  Let me tell you a story.

My love affair began many years ago.  I sat at a friend’s house, watching as he sliced some merc’s apart.  Watching as a lightsaber cut through a stormtrooper’s hand, and sniggering as he writhed with pain before lying still.  Jedi Knight 2: Jedi Outcast.  I needed this game myself, but I had to wait, agonising months before the Mac version was released.  Mac gaming, the only way to game.  But there it was.  I had never felt so powerful as a Jedi.  I had never had such graphical fidelity as a Jedi (The Quake 3 engine in all its glory).  And I’d never had to deal with bartender’s with such bad grammar.  Or bartender’s in general, but I digress.

Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.  Metascore – 89

The year is 2006.  I’m at a different friend’s house.  We sit there, cringing as our humanity is removed.  Our legs are sawn off, we have chips implanted into us, and then, at the last moment, before all hope is lost, our friend’s rescue us.  The war against the Strogg had just begun.  Yet again I find myself unable to play this game, as not even the hardware wizardry of id Tech 4 could run on my cardboard-reinforced hamster powered machine, so I had to wait.  And wait.  And then suddenly I could see the game as it was.  Hideously ugly in that special “id Tech” way (secondary prize going to Bethesda for their work on Oblivion).  Still I played it.  I dealt with the ai whose scripted events made them seem almost smart (when they weren’t running into walls), I dealt with the claustrophobia, and then I stopped.  After years of hyping this up in my mind, I had to face that it felt dated.  My secret shame.  I never finished Quake 4, and I never intend to.  I played it until I did not want to any more, and for that, it remains untarnished in my mind.  The perfect length for a game.  This game solidified my respect for Raven as a developer.  I had been too young to appreciate their early works, and there was no way my teenagered self could look past all their flaws(mostly the dated graphics), but from here I considered myself a fan.  If only a minor one.

Quake 4.  Metascore – 81

It’s 2009.  Xmen Origins: Wolverine is hitting theatres, and being panned.  My man-love for Hugh Jackman standing as the only reason I sat through the early leaked build.  But a game is coming.  A movie tie-in, and with a cynical heart I decided to have a quick squiz at reviews.  My god.  The game isn’t being panned.  So I picked it up.  And Wow.  This game was GREAT.  Who cares that it ignores the mish-mash that is Marvel continuity, and that it ties itself plotwise vaguely to the movies hideous representations of characters?  Not me, I was too busy ripping people in half as Wolverine.  This game was satisfying.  It had beautiful pre-rendered cutscenes, and the in game graphics had moments of brilliance.  I have played few games that have beaten the joyous feel of running up to an explosive barrel, slicing it so that it explodes in your face, and then watching as your flesh knits itself back together.  That isn’t to say that the game was without flaws, but it sits in my mind with Batman:AA and Uncharted 2 as the games of 2009 that I had the most fun with.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Uncaged Edition – Metascore 75

Which brings us to Singularity.  This game was amazing.  As seems to be a trend with Raven it was flawed, and it did absolutely nothing new.  But it did it well.  There’s not a lot I can really say about it, just, if you like shooters, then you really should play this.  The biggest flaw I can really pick with it was its marketing campaign.  That didn’t exist.

Singularity.  Metascore – 76

Which brings us back to the start.  Raven Software is owned by Activision.  After the under performance of Wolverine and Wolfenstein, the studio faced lay-offs, as it did during the development of Singularity.  Since then they have worked on DLC for CoD:BlOps, and Modern Warfare 3, as well as having control over a Bond game as Activision milks its franchise to death.  And here is the final kiss of death.  A Bond game given to an under-performing studio?  Reminds me of Bizarre Creations.

And I could tell you a story about them…

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