Sunday, October 03, 2010


Yesterday I spent the day finishing off a wiring job. One leftover thing I had never finished was to rewire the lights my bedrooms. I needed to do this before I can add extra insulation to the loft (which I would like to get done before winter sets in). It was a fiddly job spent in the dirty and dark loft, awkwardly trying to balance on bits of wood so as not to fall through the ceiling. I was glad to finally get it done though another job off the list.

In the evening I went round to Bruce, we played the F1 games for the Playstation 3. I found it like a lot of modern racing games the realism has detracted from the fun in playing the game. After a few rounds we decided to watch a film, Bruce chose Machete. A Robert Rodriguez film, it s a sort of Mexploitation tale of a Mexican Federale who after losing his family find himself embroiled in a complex plot. This is a gory action with ultra violence, linked to a question about immigration parodying the stupidity of people on both sides of the debate.

It was a little over the top for more tastes, but not terrible, avoid if you don't like gore though!

Civ V

Finally managed to start playing Sid Meier's Civilization V, so far its excellent. Civilization V is the latest incarnation of the Civilization series. I have been playing since getting hooked on Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Complete (PC). SMAC followed Civ two coming before Civ III, and it hooked me. Phil and I used to play for hours, famously we once played until 4am and he had to work the next day (I had university I think I did make it to lectures somehow).

The graphics are greatly improved, the world map looks great. They have streamlined the whole game, removing the spying and religion features. Personally I think that this really helps make the game simpler and more fun. To get you going Advisors pop up to help make recommendations on their areas. The main thrust of the game remains the same however, starting from a lone city in 4000BC build up our Civilization into an great power.

One of the biggest improvements is the battle options. The unit counts are reduced to a more sensible one per tile, so no more stupid 20 unit stacks crushing your cities. Units cost more so it more important to keep hold of them upgrade them. Tactics now seem to be favored over swamping enemies with units.

There is one new feature, city states. These are computer controlled cities which can be interacted with in a variety of ways, befriending, trading or attacking.

The only issue that I have had so far is the games stability. I rally enjoyed Civ IV I wasnt sure how they could improve it, but they have managed to tweak the game in all sorts of wyas to make it a simpler and more fun experience while still maintaining the essence of what makes Civ uch a good series. If you like god games this is one of the best!

That would be something

I have just finished reading White Noise  a book which according to the reviews is either modern classic or dreadful. Personally speaking I would rate it good, not great nor dreadful. White Noise was published in the 80s so is a story very much of its time. It focuses on Jack Gladney a lecturer on Hilter Studies, his family life. Its a very black comedy using satire to deconstruct many aspects of modern life. If anything some of the comments are even more cutting now in an age of Facebook and Twitter the in 1980s pre mobile phone revolution.

Gladney has a tangled family life, a collegue / friend who lectures in car crashes, yet is terrified by his own mortality.

I enjoyed the story, I also enjoyed reminiscing about the 80's, I could certainly relate to some of the scenes of family interaction, though not the multiple marriages fortunately my parents are still together. It is weird to think of a time before mobile phones, before the internet dominated. Now if I don't know something I ca look it up in minutes, growing up I had to spend hours in the library researching.  I wonder what is coming next?